- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

HAWESVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Century Aluminum is planning to keep at least a portion of its Hawesville Smelter in western Kentucky open after announcing plans to close the plant in August.

In a statement Wednesday, the company said that the plant will continue operating at about 40 percent capacity after Oct. 24, the date the plant was scheduled to shut down, the Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro (http://bit.ly/1RhQd1J ) reports.

Company officials cited a stagnant aluminum market and low prices for Chinese aluminum as the cause of the initial decision to shut down the plant. The company also said in a press release that it is unable to compete with subsidies the Chinese metal industry receives from its government.

The company said it will keep two pot lines operating at the plant. The operation of those lines, however, would depend on “acceptable commercial conditions” such as aluminum prices, and on the plant’s operating costs.

In a press release, Century Aluminum cautioned that the two pot lines would be closed if “certain high-purity production levels are not achieved, or if there is a material adverse change in material circumstances.”

There are about 565 employees at the Hawesville plant. The company did not say how many workers would be retained for the two pot lines.

Century Aluminum’s spokesman Kenny Barkley couldn’t be reached for comment by the newspaper Wednesday.

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Information from: Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, http://www.messenger-inquirer.com

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