Hydro signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Midwest Energy and Communications (MEC) to acquire a property in the Cassopolis, Michigan. The company plans to use the property to build a new state-of-the-art, greenfield aluminum recycling plant for the production of aluminum extrusion billet. The move is a key step towards Hydro’s ambition of doubling recycling of post-consumer recycled aluminum by 2025.
The new plant — which has an estimated total project investment of around $120 million (depending on final facility design, market conditions, and macroeconomic development) — will be designed to produce 120,000 tonnes of billet per year. The billet is expected to be used in critical automotive applications as well as other transportation and building systems. The facility will have around 70 direct employees.
The Cassopolis development will mark the first large-scale production of Hydro CIRCAL® extrusion ingot in North America. Unique to Hydro, CIRCAL aluminum contains at least 75% post-consumer scrap certified by third party auditors DNV GL and has a market-leading CO2 footprint of only 2.3 kg CO2e/kg aluminum.
The new facility will be the first manufacturing plant located at MEC’s Smart Park, a planned industrial and commercial development located in Cassopolis. Hydro will utilize direct rail service to bring supplies to the plant, helping to lower the overall carbon footprint of its operations, and plans to partner with MEC to source renewable electrical power for the plant.
Hydro aims to make a final investment decision on the planned greenfield development in Cassopolis before the end of 2021, with the facility expected to start up in 2023.