Oil and Gas

UPDATE 1-Century Aluminum will keep 2 potlines at Hawesville smelter open

(Adding details in paras 4, 5)

NEW YORK, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Century Aluminum Co, which is owned by Glencore PLC, said on Wednesday it will keep two potlines at its Hawesville, Kentucky, smelter operating, a partial retreat from its plan to shutter the plant completely.

The plant, which has the capacity to produce 225,000 tonnes per year of aluminum, will run at 40 percent capacity, making high-purity aluminum and supplying molten metal to local customers, it said.

The move comes a month after the company said it would idle the plant by the end of October, the first aluminum plant to shut in years as sinking prices and increased Chinese exports harm producers.

Still the future of the operation depends on “acceptable” commercial conditions, including aluminum prices, premiums and operating costs, Century said.

The two potlines will be shuttered if the company fails to produce certain high-purity aluminum or if there is a material adverse change in commercial circumstances, it said.

The news comes as embattled Glencore aims to cut about a third of its $30 billion debt and to regain the trust of investors after its shares tumbled by about three quarters this year to record lows amid weak global commodity prices. (Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)