Work begins on $2.5 billion Bay Minette Novelis plant

By Guy Busby
Government Editor
guy@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 10/12/22

BAY MINETTE — Work is starting on the $2.5 billion Novelis aluminum plant that company officials said will provide up to 1,000 jobs in Bay Minette.Novelis, along with state, county and local …

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Work begins on $2.5 billion Bay Minette Novelis plant

Posted

BAY MINETTE — Work is starting on the $2.5 billion Novelis aluminum plant that company officials said will provide up to 1,000 jobs in Bay Minette.

Novelis, along with state, county and local officials and supporters, held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday, Oct. 7. Novelis President Steve Fisher said the plant should be open by 2025.

"In just a few short years, we'll be able to look out and see a state-of-the-art aluminum recycling and rolling facility, one that will be a shining example of sustainability and proof that aluminum manufacturing can be carbon neutral," Fisher said. "But we're not just building a plant, we're building a future for hundreds of individuals and families. When this site is fully functional, we expect to grow our team here to nearly 1,000 people, helping local residents build high-paying advanced careers in a fantastic town."

The plant is the first aluminum rolling mill to be constructed in the United States in 40 years, Chuck Johnson, president of the Aluminum Association, said. He said the Bay Minette plant is also the largest single investment in the industry since the 1980s.

Baldwin County Commission Chairman Jeb Ball, a Bay Minette native, said the plant will be a great opportunity for the city and county.

"This is my hometown. This means a lot to me," Ball said. "The investment that they have made in this community is life changing. It will change the face of what we have here forever.

This company planted their footprint here and it's going to continue to allow people who live here to go off, if they want, to go to college, but they'll have a place to come back to work instead of leaving."

Bay Minette Mayor Bob Wills said the start of construction is a historic day for the region.

"This is going to be a great long-term relationship that will last for decades," Wills said. "It's going to improve not just Bay Minette, not just Baldwin County, but the entire state for years to come and we are grateful that you're here."

Lee Lawson, director of the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance, said the plant is the third largest investment from an economic development standpoint in state history.

"It's going to mean a lot for this community," Lawson said. "When you look at north Baldwin, north Baldwin over the last decade was flat in growth and every other city in the county was growing 5, 8, 9, 10, 15%. Now, north Baldwin's time to shine in the sun is here."

Gov. Kay Ivey said the investment will provide good jobs for residents of Bay Minette and other Alabamians who might want to work in the area.

"This massive investment in our state, one that I often brag about, will connect around 1,000 Alabamians with a high-paying job and that, my friends, is key to our success as a state," Ivey said. "Folks in Bay Minette who thought they might have to leave Bay Minette to get a good job, they can think again. Folks in Alabama who thought they might have to leave the state to find better opportunities can also think again. Because, y'all, these advanced high-paying jobs are now right here in L.A., Lower Alabama, that is."

U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl, R-Mobile, said the plant is the result of work going back 10 years to when the county commission purchased the site where the plant will be constructed.

"To the local elected officials, 10 years was a long time, wasn't it? That's 10 years of a lot of people complaining and griping about you'll never get it done. It will never happen. Today's the day, you can say I told you so and I'm proud for each and every one of you," Carl said.

Earthwork, excavation and piling work has begun at the site, according to a company statement. In the next three months, Novelis will construct two new roadways on the site and expand the utility infrastructure necessary to begin building construction.

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