Alcoa plans $275 million expansion of rolling mill, adds 200 jobs

Alcoa plans $275 million expansion of rolling mill, adds 200 jobs

May 2nd, 2013 by Dave Flessner in Local - Breaking News

Fred Westbrook, 59, inspects the finished rolls of aluminum as they comes off the last stage of the production line in this file photo at an Alcoa plant.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Alcoa announced today it will expand its rolling mill in Alcoa, Tenn. to meet the growing demand for light, durable and recyclable aluminum sheet for automotive production.

The $275 million plant addition at the company's Alcoa, Tenn., facility is projected to add 200 permanent full-time jobs upon completion within three years, as well as 400 jobs during the construction phase.

"Our Tennessee expansion is a great example of how Alcoa's edge in technology and innovation is capturing growth opportunities in our value-added mid- and downstream businesses," Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said in a statement today. "More and more auto producers are turning to aluminum to increase the fuel efficiency and quality of their vehicles. We anticipate a quadrupling of auto sheet volume by 2015 and a tenfold increase by 2025."

The project will convert some of the plant's can sheet capacity to high-strength automotive aluminum capacity, as well as install incremental automotive capacity. The Blount County expansion is scheduled to begin this month and be completed by mid-2015.

When completed, the plant will be a key supplier to both the packaging and automotive markets. Much of the volume for the automotive expansion is already secured under long-term supply agreements.

Bill Hagerty, commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, said Alcoa's expansion is part of the state's Jobs4TN strategy focusing on the automotive industry.

"Innovation drives economic development, and Alcoa's adaptability and growth over the past 100 years in our state is an ideal example of what can be achieved," Hagerty said. "I am pleased Alcoa recognizes Tennessee's business-friendly climate, quality workforce and unique strengths within the global automotive industry."