- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Alcoa will permanently close the two remaining potlines at its Massena East plant in northern New York in the first quarter of this year, the company announced Wednesday.

The company said those potlines, or long rows of reduction pots in its smelting operations, will close because they are no longer competitive. Pittsburgh-based Alcoa said it closed another potline there in August.

According to the company, the Massena East plant employs 332 people.

Bob Wilt, president of Alcoa Global Primary Products, said they plan to work with the New York Power Authority and others to keep its Massena West smelter operating successfully.

“We will be working with our unions, state, local and other stakeholders to minimize the impact of these changes,” he said.

The Massena West plant employs 669 people, company spokeswoman Christa Bowers said.

State and power authority officials met with Alcoa on Wednesday to say they “intend to enforce the terms” of the contract for long-term, low-cost hydropower that requires the company to maintain employment at the plants, said Melissa DeRosa, spokeswoman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“To be clear, we will hold Alcoa accountable to maintain the operation of the Massena West smelter and ensure the planned modernization of the Massena East facility proceeds without delay as required by the contract,” DeRosa said. “Our goal is to protect jobs while avoiding involuntary layoffs in the North Country and nothing less.”

Alcoa officials are meeting with the governor’s office Thursday and will be working with NYPA to manage any contract issues, Bowers said.

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