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West Virginia Metro News
July 1, 2014
By Chris Lawrence

Power contract allows restart at Mason Co. plant

NEW HAVEN, W.Va. -- Nearly 200 employees will return to work at a Mason County plant in the weeks ahead. Felman Production announced this week they'll restart operations at their facility in New Haven.

The company makes additives used in steel production and laid off the workers last summer when the market for silicomanganese went sour. The material is a ferroalloy which acts as a deoxidizer and adds strength to steel.

"It's super news for the people of Mason County and surrounding counties," said Rick Handly, President of the Mason County Commission. "We get to put people back to work and it's a shot in the arm for our economy."

Mason County has struggled in recent months on the job front. Handly hopes the restart of operations at Felman will be a catalyst for other companies to consider locating there.

"It's just a hidden treasure people haven't really learned about," Handly said. "We have the land, the water, the rails and the people who are willing to work."

The key to restarting production was a new agreement Felman was able to negotiating with Appalachian Power for their electric supply.  Power makes up 20 percent of the operating expenses at the plant. The company was able to craft the contract between Appalachian Power and the PSC using the law which was originally passed with the intent of reopening Century Aluminum in Ravenswood.

Under the modified agreement approved by the Public Service Commission, the rate for power will be tied to the price of silicomanganese and raw materials. When prices are low the cost of power goes down, but when the market priced increases so will Felman's power bills.

The company is ready to restart one of the three arc furnaces on site immediately and planned to bring a second furnace on line by the end of July.