Opinion

A sad end to Century’s Ravenswood smelter

An editorial from the Daily Mail editorial page of the Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The permanent shuttering of the Century Aluminum plant in Ravenswood may be no surprise, but its inevitability doesn’t make it less unfortunate for the community and the state.

“This news surprises no one who has been paying attention,” said Ravenswood mayor and Republican Delegate Michael Ihle. “Unfortunately, political and economic factors were far bigger than our small town.”

Those factors include the rising cost of electricity and a challenging global market for aluminum.

The plant went idle in February 2009, costing 650 people their jobs. The average salary at the plant was more than $50,000. At the time, it had been running for more than 50 years and was the oldest U.S. aluminum smelter in operation.

Until this week, some had held out hope that the plant could reopen. But the price of electricity remained an insurmountable hurdle. Century is focusing on expansion in other parts of the world, where energy costs are lower…

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