Spectro Alloys boosts capabilities with recycling expansion project

Spectro Alloys has unveiled a $71 million recycling expansion plan geared at enhancing its aluminium sorting and melting capabilities for sheet and billet casting amid subdued market conditions

The initiative, scheduled to commence construction in 2024 and become operational by 2025, is driven by rising demand for sustainable aluminium products that align with green building standards, the Rosemount, Minnesota-based recycler said.

The expansion will add initial recycling capacity of up to 120 million lbs per year to feed recycled billet and sheet ingot production.

Recycled used beverage cans (UBCs) and other end-of-life aluminium products will be used to produce sheet ingot – high purity aluminium slabs that are used as feedstock for rolling mills, the company said.

Aluminium billet is used as raw material for extruders, whose primary end-use markets are construction and automotive.

Spectro Alloys president, Luke Palen, highlighted the project’s broader goal of advancing recycling in Minnesota by locally producing valuable aluminium materials.

“This investment isn’t just about adding jobs and producing more, it’s about helping Minnesota as a whole become better at recycling by creating an extremely valuable type of aluminum that manufacturers need,” he said. “It is about closing the loop for locally sourced materials – ensuring the value in aluminum products we use every day supports responsible recycling of aluminum right here in Minnesota.”

The announcement follows the company’s November debut of a new distribution center for shipping and processing finished products. The new distribution center aims to streamline the production, shipping and receiving processes to provide recycled aluminium ingots to regional die casters and foundries.

The announcement, however, comes amid soft US demand for aluminium, with spot trading remaining sluggish and consumers well-stocked.

Scrap sources have been reporting stable prices and a lack of activity, particularly over the summer months, describing the market as “lackluster.”

Sources have also noted depressed activity ahead of and during the United Auto Workers (UAW) strikes. The ongoing UAW strike in the automotive industry has added uncertainty to the market, and while some competitive sales were reported, sources do not anticipate that aluminium premiums will fall below the current range due to thin trading

One source said that market participants are “waiting for the other shoe to drop,” and for some consensus on the market’s direction.

Despite this, UBC prices have remained largely on par with 2022 levels.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of aluminum scrap used beverage cans, domestic aluminum producer buying price, fob shipping point US, was last assessed at 66-70 cents per lb September 14, up slightly from 65-69 cents per lb on September 7, but down slightly from 72-76 cents per lb on September 15, 2022.

Meanwhile, Fastmarkets’ assessment of the aluminium P1020A premium, ddp Midwest US was at 19-20 cents per lb on Tuesday September 19, unchanged from September 5.

Fastmarkets last assessment for aluminum 6063 extrusion billet premium, delivered Midwest US, however dropped 9.09% at 9-11 cents per lb on September 8 from 10-12 cents per lb on August 25.

Kirstyn Petras in New York City contributed to this story.

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