Century Aluminum’s board is still considering the deal we first told you about on Tuesday. Santee Cooper offered them a slightly better deal after meeting with state legislators earlier this week. The deal would keep the company at Mt. Holly at least through the next General Assembly session in Columbia. In the meantime, work on closing the plant continues.
Long-time Century Aluminum employees say this process of closing their plant is one of the toughest things they have gone through. “It’s disappointment and frustration that everyone’s feeling.” Larry Phillips has worked at Century 30 years, the past 10 at Mount Holly.
On Monday at 7AM, Century began to shut down one of their two pot lines. “It involves an orderly tap down of the metal in the pots. It commenced daylight shift. Night shift, at about 3AM we deenergized the first half of the first pot line.”
They are now in the process of shutting down the second half of that pot line. “And it will be deenergized tonight if it goes according to schedule.”
“It’s a heartbreaking process to go through. All the sweat and work to keep these plants running at peak efficiency, and with the flip of a switch to see the pot line idle after all that work is just heartbreaking.”
One plant worker told us that waiting to see if a deal will be accepted to keep the plant open feels like they are in a waiting room at the hospital waiting for the surgeon to come out and tell them whether their loved one made it through surgery.
Phillips said, “to see the impact on the community and see the impact on family’s breaking up, all the negatives that go along with people losing their livelihood, it’s a terrible thing.”
People at the plant say they will hope for a deal to keep the facility at least partially open. Even with a deal, some employees will be laid off beginning next week.