Smelter to Buy Power on Open Market

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A western Kentucky aluminum smelter involved in a rate dispute with a regional utility says it plans to purchase power on the open market.

State Rep. Tommy Thompson told the Messenger-Inquirer on Friday that Century Aluminum Co., which employs more than 700 workers in the region, had sent the notice to Big Rivers Electric Corporation.

Century gave a 12-month notice to end the contract with Big Rivers Electric Corp. for its Hawesville smelter on Aug. 20. The company said at that point that it wasn't obligated to continue operating the plant but was looking at options to keep it open.

Company officials say they can keep the smelter open with the right economic circumstances.

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