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Ormet nearing full production

February 22, 2011
Times Leader
By BETTY J. POKAS, Times Leader Area Editor HANNIBAL – Full production expected in early March at the Ormet Corp. has brought positive and pleased reactions from many, including the company’s president/chief executive officer and officials in Monroe County. “I’m much happier today than we all were two years ago,” said Michael F. Tanchuk, president and chief executive officer of Ormet. He was referring to May 2009 when the company began curtailment at the plant in Hannibal, and two potlines were shut down. Carl Davis, president of the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, said that county commissioners “are pleased that the Ormet reduction facility soon will be back up to full operation with all six lines running. “We are especially happy with the restoration of a number of living wage jobs that this provides for Monroe County and surrounding communities. “It helps the economy and tax base in all the communities,” Davis concluded. Noting there is a spillover when residents are employed, Switzerland of Ohio Local School District Superintendent Larry Elliott said, “I’m glad to see people in the community working, and things moving ahead.” When operating at full capacity, Ormet is a major U.S. producer of aluminum and smelter grade alumina. Tanchuk added although there had been terrible economic times, Ormet is being helped because of growth in the world and developing countries such as China need aluminum as they grow. As to the work being done late this month, he said there’s a significant number of units for each line. Near mid-February, he said, “Each unit has to be started up separately.” Over half had been done near mid-month, and there probably were about 80-90 units left to start at that time, according to Tanchuk. Employment at the Hannibal plant totals around 1,000 with 850 hourly employees and 150 salaried employees. “If you look at every employee we bring back, there are three people out there providing services. It ripples through the community — services, taxes and so forth,” said the CEO. Noting that just about everybody is in place in regard to employment, he said it was necessary to bring them in to be trained. It is expected Ormet will produce 260,000 metric tons in 2011. “Our capacity is a little over 270,000 so we’ll be close to full production this year,” commented Tanchuk. Tanchuk assumed his leadership duties at Ormet May 1, 2007. As to accomplishments since that time, he mentioned the achievement of bringing people back to work and also told of a long-term electricity contract. Noting it takes a significant amount of electricity to produce aluminum, he said contract was finalized with American Electric Power in 2009. Another accomplishment, he said, is an improved relationship with the United Steelworkers of America. Most of its employees are represented by United Steelworkers Local 5724. As to what Ormet officials are doing now and in the future, Tanchuk said, “We’re working very hard to lock in our prices.” They also are making efforts to bring down their costs. The company, according to the CEO, is “working on the final legs” to get its Burnside, La., alumina plant restarted and is working on growing the company to get a larger base of plants. According to the company’s Web site, Ormet “has been in the alumina and aluminum production business since 1956 when it was first organized by Olin Corp. and Revere Copper and Brass Inc.” Construction of the Hannibal Reduction Plant and the Burnside Alumina Plant began in 1957. The following year, Ormet began to make aluminum at the Hannibal plant and also opened the Burnside Bulk Marine Terminal Division. In addition to the tons produced in Hannibal, the Burnside, La., alumina plant, which was idled in 2006, can produce more than 600,000 tons of metallurgical grade alumina annually. According to the Web site, Ormet’s “long history has taken it through the purchase and sale of several divisions linked to the aluminum industry, several private owners and the fluctuations of a volatile market marred by metals prices and escalating energy and health care costs.” It also was noted that Ormet “focuses on safety, quality, cost and timeliness in an effort to provide customers with its very best product.” Pokas can be reached at timesleader@timesleaderonline.com.

Article Photos

Photo Provided
MOLTEN?ALUMINUM is poured into sow molds at the Ormet Corp. plant near Hannibal.

 
 
 

 

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