Texas county to offer financial package to aluminum recycling company

Audubon Metals Texas mulls building secondary aluminum smelter in south Texas.

Commissioners for Bexar County in Texas have approved plans for the county to negotiate with Audubon Metals LLC , Henderson, Kentucky, on an incentive package that would be used to help Audubon build a secondary aluminum smelter in the county.

A spokeswoman for the county says that the incentive package would be around $1 million and would be a 10-year, 75 percent real and property tax abatement.

Audubon Metals is looking to build a 200,000-square-foot aluminum recycling in the county. Bexar was chosen over five other locations in the state. When fully operational, the company says it will have a staff of more than 80. Audubon Metals sought a site close enough to the Mexican border to allow it to conduct business in both the United States and Mexico.

Bexar County, located in south Texas, includes San Antonio. The location also is fairly close to Mexico and its auto manufacturing facility, which is a key region and end market for Audubon.

Audubon Metals says its other location in Henderson, Kentucky, is the only heavy-media separator and secondary specification aluminum alloy producer under one roof in the United States.

Jim Butkis, president and general manager of Audubon, says the company still has a long way to go before officially breaking ground on a facility. He points out the company still has to negotiate for land, apply for an air permit and complete other necessary steps before it can break ground.

However, Butkis does point out that the Bexar location is close enough to Mexico to allow the company to ship its finished product to diecasters who service automakers in Mexico. At the same time, locating the secondary aluminum smelter in Texas would give the company’s smelter access to plenty of secondary aluminum, especially zorba, which is generated at auto shredding plants in Texas.

Conversely, while building a secondary smelter in Mexico would reduce transportation costs, a large concern, according to Butkis, is that the supply of aluminum scrap in Mexico is less certain, making running a smelter in Mexico more of a challenge.