November 5, 2014
By Bob Matyi

 Production 'stabilized' at Felman SiMn plant: USW

Production has "stabilized" at Felman Production's 105,000 mt/year silicomanganese plant in New Haven, West Virginia, four months after the facility was restarted following a year-long shutdown, according to a United Steelworkers union official.

Roy Martin, a USW staff representative, told Platts by email that two furnaces continue to produce silicomanganese at the plant.            

Although there has been market speculation that Felman, a subsidiary of Florida-based Georgian American Alloys, might be preparing to restart the plant's third furnace, Martin said that did not appear to be the case.           

"They have not had any more talks of starting the third furnace anytime soon," said Martin, who also has served as vice president of USW Local 5171 at the plant.        

Martin also said that, since the plant resumed operations in July following its lengthy hiatus, "they have had several challenges with faulty equipment during start-up." He did not elaborate.

A Felman spokesman on November 5 declined to comment on Martin's remarks. 

Felman restarted the plant after the West Virginia Public Service Commission approved a new special electricity rate for the facility.               

Under the new power arrangement, initially endorsed by the PSC in late March, Felman is receiving a discount of up to $9 million/year on its electricity costs from Appalachian Power, the plant's longtime supplier and an American Electric Power subsidiary.               

Felman said the discount should enable New Haven to be more competitive with other silicomanganese producers around the world.