Hancock County leaders are trying to stay optimistic about the future of a major employer in their area. Century Aluminum smelter announced this week it has given Big Rivers Electric Cooperative a 12-month termination notice. That puts the smelter’s ability to operate in jeopardy.
Century Aluminum employs 771, and pays $650,000 annually in occupational taxes.
The Messenger-Inquirer reports Hancock County Judge-Executive Jack McCaslin says it would be difficult to pinpoint the total economic impact on the county and region if the aluminum smelter shut down next year. But he and others say such a move would cause a domino effect of lost jobs, decreased consumer spending, and a diminished tax base.
Century executives have said they cannot continue to pay Big Rivers Electric Cooperative the current rate for power—a rate that was increased last year. Century says that, plus a drop in global aluminum prices, has it in a sustainable financial situation.
Century officials have called for a meeting of elected officials in the region this Thursday night at 6:30pm at the Hancock County Judicial Center to discuss the company’s future.