Novelis Inc. will invest more than $2.5 billion to build a new low-carbon recycling and rolling plant in Baldwin County, AL. The aluminum rolling and recycling company’s new facility at the 3,000-acre South Alabama Mega Site in Bay Minette will create approximately 1,000 jobs.
According to Novelis, the Alabama facility will be the first fully integrated aluminum mill built in the U.S. in 40 years. It will leverage the Atlanta-based company’s long-term relationships with leading beverage, packaging and automotive brands seeking sustainable aluminum solutions.
“Through this investment, we are making a demonstrative commitment to continue to grow alongside our customers and meet their needs for low-carbon, highly sustainable aluminum solutions,” said Steve Fisher, president and CEO of Novelis. “In addition, we are well positioned to efficiently expand capacity at this facility in the future — above the 600kt announced today — to capture ongoing strong demand. Our readiness to invest to serve growing markets is a perfect example of how we are delivering on our company purpose of shaping a sustainable world together.”
Novelis’ new plant will be the most sophisticated and sustainable of its kind and will have a strong focus on employee safety. The facility will be powered with renewable energy, use recycled water and be a zero-waste facility. Novelis is committed to being a carbon-neutral company by 2050 and plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 30% by 2026.
In addition, the Baldwin County plant will make use of advanced automation and digital technologies, including artificial intelligence, augmented reality and robotics. The facility will have an initial 600 kilotonnes of finished aluminum goods capacity per year.
Site work is currently underway, and Novelis expects to begin commissioning the facility in mid-2025. AIDT, Alabama’s primary workforce development agency, will assist Novelis in assembling and training a workforce for the facility.
“With this massive investment and large-scale hiring plans, Novelis will launch a high-tech aluminum mill that will generate significant economic impacts throughout the region for generations,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “Novelis is a world-class company, and we know that it has selected a prime location in ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and specifically Baldwin County as home for its growth plans.”
“Novelis’ decision to locate the nation’s most technologically advanced aluminum mill in Baldwin County is a powerful testament to both the state’s attractive business climate and to the capabilities of our talented manufacturing workforce,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.. “The magnitude of this project makes it a game-changing development for Alabama’s industrial sector and a jobs engine for the region.”
Novelis will also develop an Advanced Manufacturing and Leadership Center of Excellence in Daphne, where best-in-class training will be provided to industry leaders across the company’s footprint. The leadership center will be located at the Daphne Innovation + Science Complex and will help push Baldwin County to the forefront of innovation in workforce training and leadership in the metals industry.
Airbus Adding 1,000 Jobs In Mobile
Just a few days after the Novelis announcement, Airbus announced new growth plans at its Mobile, AL manufacturing facility. The aerospace company’s latest expansion project calls for the addition of a third 350,000-square-foot Final Assembly Line (FAL) to support increased production of its A320 Family of single-aisle passenger aircraft. Airbus plans to add 1,000 new jobs over the next several years to its current workforce of about 1,200 at the Mobile manufacturing facility.
”The fact that Mobile will lead our unprecedented global production rate increase in coming years is a tribute to the world-class labor force in Alabama,” said C. Jeffrey Knittel, Chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas. “I’m so proud of our Mobile employees for proving through years of hard work what Alabama is capable of, and I’m also immensely grateful to state leadership for making Alabama such a great place to invest and do business.”
“It’s wonderful to see Airbus continue to grow its only U.S. airliner manufacturing operation with another expansion in Mobile,” said Gov. Ivey. “This growth is made possible by the company’s skilled workforce in Alabama and our commitment to developing a pipeline of future aerospace workers.”
To facilitate Airbus’ hiring plans, Alabama workforce development and education organizations are collaborating on new recruitment and training initiatives to build out the jobs pipeline, said Ed Castile, director of AIDT and Deputy Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“Airbus has been an extraordinary partner as we work together daily to help change people’s lives,” Castile said. “Airbus provides incredible career opportunities, and we have the awesome opportunity to help them find their team and assist with training.”
AIDT plans to expand its Aviation Training Center at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, a 36,500-square-foot facility that opened in 2014 specifically to help Airbus get production up and running. AIDT is also expanding apprenticeship programs and supporting Airbus training initiatives at Flight Works Alabama, including FlightPath9, We Build It Better and aviation dual enrollment at area schools, according to Castile.
Flight Works Alabama is an aerospace education center located near the Airbus facility that aims to inspire future aviation workers across the Mobile region. The 15,000-square-foot facility, which features more than 40 high-tech exhibits, opened in August 2020.
Flight Works also directs the FlightPath9 program that targets high school seniors in the Mobile community with a desire to work in aerospace. We Build It Better is an innovative learning program that provides classroom kits and interactive techniques designed to help instructors expand students’ creative capacity and encourage discoveries.
During 2021, companies within the aerospace/aviation sector announced new investments totaling $220 million in projects expected to create 667 jobs, according to Canfield.
“Aerospace industry growth continues to be a high-value opportunity for Alabama, not only in terms of capital investment but also in job creation,” said Canfield. “There are a lot of exciting things going in aerospace and aviation in the state, and we’re seeing that today with the expansion at Airbus.”