Century Aluminum Mt. Holly is committed to keeping our neighbors informed and updated.
On Sunday, September 3, 2023, a small number of parts failed in Century Aluminum’s emissions control system, allowing a release of alumina from the facility’s stack and into the air above DHEC allowable levels. Due to pressure and strain on the emissions system exacerbated by replacing these parts, there were releases on September 16th and 30th, 2023. Immediately upon discovering each of these releases, the plant worked non-stop to address the issue promptly and determine the cause.
The powder is alumina (technically known as aluminum oxide), a grey-white fine-powder. It is the main raw material we use in producing aluminum.
As discussed above, there have been incidents on three days this past month. Since the first release took place on September 3, Century has been in close communication with state regulators at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). As discussed with DHEC, we expect to have corrected the cause of these emissions and return to stable operations no later than October 17. In addition, as the work proceeds, the risk of another emissions incident will be reduced incrementally each day.
Yes, the initial release occurred on Saturday, September 3, 2023. Once the issue was identified, Century Aluminum promptly reported it to DHEC in accordance with our air permit, as it also did with the subsequent events. DHEC has had inspectors on our site.
No. The Mt. Holly aluminum smelter has been operating continuously since 1980 and is the newest primary aluminum smelter operating in the United States. Century has a robust preventive maintenance program; however, this is the first time Century has experienced the conditions that occurred over the past month.
Century Aluminum is taking an “all hands on deck” approach to resolving this issue from our corporate office in Chicago all the way to on the ground in Goose Creek. We have more than quadrupled the number of Century employees dedicated to our emissions control systems to fix the issue as quickly as humanly and technologically possible. Additionally, we have brought in more than a dozen outside contractors and experts to resolve the issue. The team is working 24/7 until the issue is resolved. Our technical and environmental experts are working in lock step with both DHEC and local and state officials to update them almost daily on our progress.
As outlined earlier, we immediately notified DHEC and followed the protocol required by state law. Additionally, we briefed local and state elected officials. When asked for comment by local media we provided the most updated information we had. We were unable to provide any additional information until we determined the extent and cause of the issue and had developed a plan to resolve it. Now that we have a plan in place, we will continue to use this site as a platform to provide the most up-to-date information.
Yes, once we complete the immediate efforts to return to stable operations over the next two weeks, Century will have someone contact any individual that has reached out to us either by email or telephone.