Alcoa announced in its first quarter 2020 results that it will curtail the remaining 230,000 metric tons of uncompetitive smelting capacity at its Intalco smelter in Ferndale, Wash., amid declining market conditions. The full curtailment, which includes 49,000 metric tons of earlier-curtailed capacity, is expected to be complete by the end of July 2020.

The smelter recorded a net loss of $24 million in the first quarter of 2020. Intalco employs approximately 700 people, and the workforce will be significantly reduced due to the curtailment.

“While our employees have worked diligently to improve the facility, the smelter is uncompetitive, and current market conditions have exacerbated the facility’s challenges,” said Alcoa president and CEO Roy Harvey. “This is difficult because of the impact on our employees, and we will ensure appropriate support as we work to safely curtail the facility.”

The action will bring Alcoa’s total curtailed smelting capacity to 880,000 metric tons, or approximately 30% of its total global smelting capacity.

In a statement calling for an end to Section 232 tariffs on imported aluminum, the Aluminum Extruders Council pointed to the curtailment as an example of how the tariffs have not led to a rebuild of domestic production of primary aluminum

“With the closure of Alcoa’s Intalco Works in Ferndale, Wash., U.S. extruders lost their only remaining primary billet supplier west of the Mississippi. Having no other option, those extruders have been forced to place orders for imported billet. How could another American smelter close while the 232 has been in place for nearly three years? If the 232 was to grow U.S. production of primary aluminum, where are the announcements of expansions and new operations? The truth is, no one is going to build primary aluminum production in the U.S. with or without the 232,” said the statement, adding that the administration’s focus should be on China rather than the global market.