Add aluminum to the list of precious metals.

Economic Impact of Century Aluminum of West Virginia, Inc.,a report issued today (Dec. 19) by the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, indicates the economic significance to the state of the Ravenswood plant and reflects the impact that a shutdown would have on hundreds of families and West Virginias economy.

Century Aluminum, formerly Ravenswood Aluminum Corp., had more than 660 employees and produced 170,000 tons of aluminum in 2007. Plummeting aluminum prices led to Century Aluminums Dec. 17 announcement that it plans to close one of four smelter potlines by Dec. 20, reducing primary aluminum production by 3,540 pounds, according to a Reuters report. The company said the plant may close completely within 60 days.

Century has a significant economic impact on the West Virginia economy, accounting for a total of nearly 1,600 jobs667 directly with Century and 910 jobs with other West Virginia businessesand nearly $580 million in business volume in 2007,according to Randy Childs, research assistant professor in the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research and lead author of the report. Childs indicated that the operation of Century was also associated with $5.9 million in assorted state taxes, including personal income, consumer sales, use, corporate net income and business franchise taxes.

The jobs impacts estimated do not include downstream jobs associated with the Alcan Rolling Mill adjacent to Centurys operations,Childs said.The approximately 1,500 jobs at Alcan and its other suppliers add up to a much larger number of jobs beyond those estimated in this report.

This study illustrates the significant economic loss in West Virginia if Century halts production at its Ravenswood plant,said Tom S. Witt, professor of economics and director of the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research.This closure would significantly reduce the role of manufacturing in West Virginia, leaving the state less economically diversified.

Witt said curtailment of the operation would be particularly hard on the Jackson County economy where Century and Alcan are located. He also said American Electric Powers West Virginia-based generation plants and the coal industry would also feel the impacts of reductions or closure since aluminum smelters use significant amounts of electricity.

The economic impacts of Centurys spending in West Virginia were estimated using the IMPLAN modeling system. This methodology has been used by the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research in a number of studies, some of which are available on its Web site. For the full report, go to www.bber.wvu.edu .