News & Alerts

Aluminum Recycling Operation Employs 18, Poised for Growth

By Mike Ruben (Jackson Newspapers)

April 12, 2007 – Jackson County is known as the aluminum capital of West Virginia. Most people are aware of the big two aluminum plants along the Ohio River. Century Aluminum is a 50-year-old smelter operation and its neighbor, Alcan Rolled Products, is a fabrication mill. The two are Jackson County’s largest employers and among the largest industrial operations in the state. There is now a third aluminum-related plant in the county. AL-REC is a growing aluminum recycling facility located in the Jackson County Industrial Park and Maritime Centre. The plant is operating in a building that was occupied by Plasma Processing for a five-year period in the 1990s. The facility was purchased by Phillip Metals of Canada, which later filed for bankruptcy. After being dormant for nearly a decade, AL REC acquired the facility in June of 2006 with production beginning about three months later. The plant has 18 employees divided into two 12-hour shifts per day working five days a week.

There is now a third aluminum-related plant in the county. AL-REC is a growing aluminum recycling facility located in the Jackson County Industrial Park and Maritime Centre. The plant is operating in a building that was occupied by Plasma Processing for a five-year period in the 1990s. The facility was purchased by Phillip Metals of Canada, which later filed for bankruptcy. After being dormant for nearly a decade, AL REC acquired the facility in June of 2006 with production beginning about three months later. The plant has 18 employees divided into two 12-hour shifts per day working five days a week.

After being dormant for nearly a decade, AL REC acquired the facility in June of 2006 with production beginning about three months later. The plant has 18 employees divided into two 12-hour shifts per day working five days a week.

Dan Grimm, who has been connected with the aluminum industry since 1956, is part of the ownership team which also includes area resident Joe McCoy. Erik Grimm is the plant manager. Another of Grimm’s sons, Brett, has environmental and safety responsibilities
here.

“We should double our workforce within a year and a half,” Grimm commented.

The plant is a collection point for aluminum scrap. The metal is sorted and loaded into a large furnace at a temperature of 1,300 degrees fueled by natural gas and pure oxygen. Melted into liquid form, the aluminum is poured into large molds. Once it cools, the 1,500-pound block of aluminum, known as a sow, is ready for another use.

While market conditions vary, Grimm says the price of aluminum is good. “The aluminum
market is strong now,” he noted.

Although the plant is located a short distance from Alcan and Century, Grimm says the largest source of scrap metal is the Ormet facility located at Hanibal, OH. More than half of the metal is eventually shipped back to Ormet under a tolling agreement, according to Grimm. “They send us material. We process it and return it to them for a fee.”

AL-REC also purchases scrap metal from other sources, converts it to sow, and sells it on the market to secondary and primary users.

He says business talks with the local aluminum plants have not been successful to this point, but are continuing.

AL-REC is currently operating with one furnace. It is anticipated that a second furnace will be brought into production later this year. The company is expected to begin purchasing scrap aluminum and other non-ferrous metals.

A modern laboratory facility has been a recent addition to the plant. Technician Rebecca
Franklin has access to state-of-the- art diagnostic equipment that analyzes metal purity and content of 29 other elements ranging from iron to lead.