NEW MADRID, Mo. (AP) – More than half of the 850 employees at a southeast Missouri aluminum plant are being laid off.
And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (bit.ly/1Psqilb) reports that Noranda Aluminum plans to shut down the New Madrid smelter altogether unless its electricity rate is lowered further.
The Franklin, Tennessee, company had already seen the market affected by slowing global demand when an electricity outage last week idled two of three aluminum production lines.
Noranda says 140 of the layoffs were planned before the outage. Rather than putting money into an expensive restart of the aluminum smelting lines, Noranda said it would cut another 350 jobs by Feb. 4 because of the outage.
Noranda’s smelter is St. Louis utility Ameren Missouri’s largest customer. Last year, Missouri regulators gave Noranda a reduced electricity rate.