Matalco Inaugurates $100M Aluminum Smelting Plant

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Just one week after this village celebrated the groundbreaking of an $890 million project, officials gathered once again to welcome another industrial boon.

Some 200 guests attended a ceremony Wednesday at Matalco Inc.’s new $100 million aluminum smelting plant at the Ohio Commerce Center – a factory that company executives call the most modern of its kind in the world.

“We’re working hard to try to bring this Valley back, and so far it seems to be working,” said Mayor Arno Hill. “It took about 18 months to nail this project down, but good things come to those who wait.”

Just a week earlier, many of the same officeholders and development specialists were at a site less than one mile south of Matalco off state Route 45 where Clean Energy Future has started construction on its $890 million natural gas-fueled electrical power generation plant.

“The biggest impact is jobs,” Hill said of the Matalco project. Initially, the company expected to hire between 60 and 80 people to operate the plant. That number has since been revised upward to between 80 and 100. “It’s a very Class A facility,” the mayor said. “It’s great.”

The new plant is among the most automated and highly advanced of its kind in the world, said Robert Roscetti, vice president of Matalco U.S. “It brings in the latest technology in the market in terms of our business,” he declared. “It’s not only that, but it’s the way we put it together and configure the machinery.”

Construction on the 225,000-square-foot plant began in September 2014 and Matalco started its production runs three months. About $68 million of the company’s $100 million investment is in new, automated machinery, Roscetti said.

“We can run this plant with 80 employees,” he said. “It’s a highly automated process. It’s the top-of-the-line equipment on the market today.”

The company buys scrap aluminum supplied by a sister company, Triple M Metals. The aluminum is then melted down and cast into billets, which are then sent to extrusion companies located primarily in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Among them are Astro Shapes in Struthers, BRT Extrusions in Niles and Extrudex in North Jackson. “We’re going to branch out into Indiana, Kentucky and further south into Tennessee,” Roscetti said.

The plant should produce 90 million pounds of aluminum this year, or at 25% capacity. “By 2018, we should be at full capacity at 300 million pounds” per year, he added.

The Lordstown plant is Matalco’s third in North America. Matalco, based in Toronto, has one aluminum operation in Ontario and another in Canton. Combined, the three plants will be able to produce 700 million pounds of aluminum annually.

Brothers Mike and Tito Giampaolo founded Matalco – the name is an acronym for Mike and Tito Aluminum Co. – 10 years ago in Ontario. “This facility will be one of the most modern in the world,” said the company’s chairman, Mike Giampaolo. “All of the expertise we’ve developed over the last 10 years – it’s all ingrained in this plant.”

Giampaolo said that the company chose Lordstown because the region is home to a host of aluminum extruders in need of billet feedstock to manufacture their products. The company received a 50% job creation tax credit for eight years as well as state training grants and a 75%, 10-year property tax abatement.

Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber CEO and President Tom Humphries remarked that this region has the third-largest concentration of aluminum extruders in the United States.

“This is a very, very important industry to us,” he said.

Among the officeholders who attended the celebration were Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor; state Sen. Capri Cafaro, D-32 Hubbard; Trumbull County commissioners Mauro Cantalamessa, Frank Fuda and Dan Polivka; and Hill.

“This is an exciting day,” Cafaro said. “We want to welcome the Giampaolo family to Lordstown. This is incredible example of how state, local and federal entities come together for a common goal.”

Taylor, a Republican, said that the Matalco project is an example of how state government agencies such as JobsOhio and a bipartisan approach to economic development and job growth can accomplish great things.

“It doesn’t really matter. Some of us are Republicans and some of us are Democrats, but we all have common goals,” she said. “When we get to a project like this, we want to make our communities stronger and put more Ohioans back to work.”

Pictured: Brothers Mike and Tito Giampaolo founded Matalco 10 years ago in Canada. The company name is an acronym for Mike and Tito Aluminum Co.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.