Alcoa Permanently Closes Warrick Aluminum Smelter; Banks Defeat Zinc Lawsuit

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Björn Wylezich/Adobe Stock

Today in MetalCrawler, Alcoa, Inc., has closed a major US smelter and a judge dismissed a private antitrust lawsuit in which zinc purchasers accused affiliates of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Glencore Plc. of conspiring to drive up the metal’s price.

Major Alcoa Smelter Closes

Alcoa said it plans to close its 269,000 metric-ton-per-year Warrick smelter near Evansville, Ind. Thursday. This will bring US aluminum output to its lowest level since just after World War II as the industry endures tumbling prices amid rising trade tensions with China.

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Warrick is the largest currently-operating smelter in the US and the biggest shoe to drop in a string of recent curtailments and closures, potentially boosting prices and possibly bolstering some US producers’ claims they are harmed by subsidized Chinese production. 600 Jobs will be lost due to the smelter’s permanent closure.

Zinc Price Fixing Lawsuit Dismissed

In an 87-page decision, US District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan said zinc purchasers failed to show that defendants Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Glencore Plc. artificially inflated zinc prices by violating the Sherman Antitrust  Act.

The class-action lawsuit was dismissed and the class plaintiffs’ attorney did not make a statement to reporters.

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“Plaintiffs cannot adequately plead their broad, five-year conspiracy simply by noting developments in the zinc market, particularly when many of those developments occurred at vastly different times over the class period such that the possibility of causation is hard to assess,” Forrest wrote.

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