Featured Image: ABC4 News
Earlier this week news broke that Century Aluminum could be on the verge of closing its Mt. Holly aluminum smelter plant for good causing a devastating impact on the local community of Goose Creek.
The utility, which had to close half its facility back in 2015 due to the high cost of power purchased from Santee Cooper, sent a notice to employees that the plant could close entirely as early as December 31, 2020.
As reported by ABC4 News, Goose Creek Mayor Greg Habib said the closure and resulting job losses would damage the local economy. “It certainly is a negative impact to put it simply. In 2015, the University of South Carolina did a study that showed the Mt. Holly aluminum smelter has a $1 billion dollar impact on the local economy here.”
Habib wasn’t the only one to address the issue. South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Frank Knapp also spoke out. “The crazy thing about this is Santee Cooper is the entity that’s going to make this all happen. A state agency that is supposed to be helping economic development in this state is doing exactly the opposite. They are creating an economic disaster.”
Meanwhile, Santee Cooper, who is currently billions of dollars in debt and fighting their own battle, said they’ve offered a one-year extension on the current agreement between them and Century Aluminum which has been rejected both times.
However, just last year, Santee Cooper opposed the City of Goose Creek’s idea to create a municipal electricity utility that would allow Century Aluminum to purchase power at a more affordable price than what they were paying Santee Cooper.
Unless something changes, Century Aluminum will close at the end of the year, and hundreds of employees will be handed pink slips during the holidays.