Aluminum plant lays off workers; power costs hurt industry

Citing a plunge in world aluminum prices because of weakening demand, Alcoa Inc. has announced some layoffs at Alcoa Intalco Works near Ferndale, in western Washington state, as part of a company-wide cost-cutting effort.

Kevin Lowery, spokesman at the company's Pittsburgh headquarters, said the Intalco job cuts, announced at the plant on Thursday, would affect fewer than 50 workers.

Last July, Lowery said, aluminum sold for $3,300 a ton. Today the price is $2,150. And while the price of metal has fallen, the price of power has not. Lowery said the company does not disclose information about the profitability of Intalco or other individual smelters. But he noted that earlier this year, Alcoa shut down its smelter in Rockdale, Texas, because of power issues.

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