The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. and Northwest Kentucky Forward, an economic alliance of Henderson, McLean, Union and Webster counties, have joined with area aluminum producers to form the Kentucky Aluminum Network.
“There are 120 aluminum and aluminum-related facilities in 53 cities in Kentucky,” said Mike Baker, Hancock County’s economic development director. “Most people readily acknowledge the horse and bourbon industries as signature industries. We want to get aluminum placed in that category.”
According to a report released by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the commonwealth offers a number of advantages for the aluminum industry, including low utility costs, a central location, a significant presence in the automotive industry and ports along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. (The Owensboro Riverport is one of only two licensed warehouses approved by the New York Mercantile Exchange to serve as the delivery point of primary aluminum traded on its COMEX Division aluminum futures contract.) According to the report, Kentucky ranks as the No. 1 primary aluminum industry in the United States based on value of shipments.
The Kentucky Aluminum Network will serve as a nonprofit membership organization for producers and provide a vehicle through which to raise awareness of the industry’s importance to Kentucky.
Baker said the goal of the new group is to bring producers together with customers and suppliers. “We want to have a unified voice when we look at the threats to the industry,” he said. “We need cost-effective energy.”
Kentucky’s Aluminum Industry
• There are 120 aluminum-related facilities with 14,771 employees in Kentucky.
• There are 9,244 primary aluminum industry employees in Kentucky.
• Primary aluminum shipments totaled more than $4.3 billion in 2005.
• In 2007, the median wage for primary metal industry employees in Kentucky was $52,336 a year and $38,983 for the fabricated metal industry.