Braidy announces investor partnership; Rusal to support aluminum mill

Photo by Glenn Puit

Braidy Industries CEO Craig Bouchard speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony at the site where his company's aluminum mill will built in East Park.

ASHLAND — Braidy Industries and London listed En+ Group announced a partnership for a $200 million lead investment in Braidy Atlas mill by United Company RUSAL Plc.

Braidy said En+ Group owns a controlling stake in Rusal. Rusal historically has been the second biggest supplier of prime aluminum to North America, after Canada while domestic supply in the U.S. is currently in a deficit.

Braidy said in a press release the partnership is significant on multiple fronts. One reason is that Rusal is the only company worldwide which could supply low-carbon at the scale required by Braidy. Rusal is the world’s largest producer of low-carbon prime aluminum. En+ Group, meanwhile, is a global leader in hydropower generation, the biggest independent producer in the world.

Lord Barker, En+ Group Executive chairman, will assume the role of co-chairman of the Braidy Atlas mill, alongside Braidy Industries’ Chairman and CEO Craig Bouchard.

A letter of intent will become a binding contract upon approval by the respective boards of both companies, expected later this year. Production at Braidy Atlas mill will begin in 2021.

Per the agreement, Rusal will serve as Braidy’s exclusive supplier of low-carbon primary aluminum, providing approximately 1.2 million mtons over 10 years. This includes 130,000 tons of slabs and 70,000 tons of P1020 per year.

Braidy Industries will be the first North American company to contract Rusal’s premier ALLOW-branded (low-emission/low carbon aluminum) slabs. ALLOW aluminum is made from renewable hydropower and has independently verified certificates of carbon footprint right from the smelter of origin.

“The partnership aims to create the lowest-carbon, highest quality, lowest-cost, end-to-end industrial aluminum manufacturing platform in the world,” Braidy said.

Braidy said the Braidy Atlas mill will be the first greenfield aluminum rolling mill built in the U.S. in 37 years.

“There are no plans for any other similar greenfield expansion in the U.S. for the foreseeable future,” Braidy said. “The Braidy Atlas rolling mill has a research and development goal to produce aluminum sheet that is 20 percent stronger than current market products, with 20 percent lower carbon emissions than its nearest competitor.”

The Braidy Atlas greenfield mill will create 1,500 construction jobs, 650 permanent “low-carbon” advanced manufacturing jobs in the Appalachia region, and approximately 3,600 additional jobs in the surrounding communities.

Braidy has also secured an economic impact study performed by James V. Koch, board of Visitors Professor of Economics Emeritus and President Emeritus at Old Dominion University. The economic impact data indicates ongoing production anticipated by Braidy in 2021 will generate an economic impact of $453.1 million, employee earnings of $90.5 million, and 1,929 additional jobs in the six county eastern Kentucky region. This includes jobs during construction, planning and eventually operation.

“Braidy’s 2021 anticipated production will result in $760.8 million in economic impact, $173.8 million in employee earnings and 3,600 additional jobs in the Commonwealth of Kentucky overall,” the report states.

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