Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and executives from newly formed Braidy Industries Inc. announced in late April that Braidy intends to build a $1.3 billion aluminum production facility in Greenup County in eastern Kentucky.
According to the Think Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, more than 550 people will be employed at the facility, which will produce aluminum sheet and plate for the automotive and aerospace industries.
“Braidy Industries’ decision to locate in eastern Kentucky has the potential to be as significant as any economic deal ever made in the history of Kentucky,” says Bevin. “This $1.3 billion investment will create enormous opportunity for people in the region. The ripple effect of this investment will be significant and will produce positive change in the region for generations to come,” he adds.
Braidy Industries says it will construct a 2.5-million-square-foot aluminum mill on more than 300 acres near South Shore in Greenup County. The company says it expects construction to begin in early 2018 with completion in 2020.
Initially, the facility will produce about 370,000 tons of aluminum per year for the automotive and aerospace industries, with opportunities to expand over time. On its website, Braidy says it will use “minimill scrap-driven technology” and will offer “closed-loop scrap recycling for automotive companies.”
Craig Bouchard, Braidy Industries chairman and CEO, says, “Our team recognizes an opportunity to make incredible impacts both in the global aluminum industry and in bringing well-paying jobs to eastern Kentucky in the heart of Appalachia.
Bouchard, whose biography indicates he has prior experience in banking, software development, aluminum and steel manufacturing, founded Braidy Industries in early 2017. His steel industry experience included a stint at Esmark Steel Group, which is currently headed by his brother James Bouchard.
Craig Bouchard says his team at Braidy includes experts in the aluminum industry, metallurgical research, international business and a range of other disciplines.
Dr. Michael E. Porter, a professor at Harvard Business School who is often cited on issues of competitiveness and economic development, serves as a Braidy Industries board member. “Eastern Kentucky has significant competitive advantages, including its proximity to the leading automotive and aerospace customers, low energy costs and a skilled and available workforce for heavy manufacturing,” Porter comments.
Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Terry Gill says the project holds the promise of transforming the region. “Both in the immediacy and over the coming decades, Braidy Industries’ investment promises to make a tremendous positive impact on Greenup County and Kentucky’s eastern region,” he remarks.
To help fund the project, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) has preliminarily approved Braidy Industries for tax incentives up to $10 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program.