170221 Globe

Globe Specialty Metals off of Highland Avenue in Niagara Falls.

The parent company of Globe Specialty Metals, Inc. has announced plans to shut down its silicon plant on Highland Avenue in Niagara Falls.

In a prepared statement distributed by its press office, Ferroglobe PLC officials said the company will “suspend production operations” at the facility starting Dec. 30 (Sunday).

The company’s chief executive officer, Pedro Larrea, characterized the step as a “shutdown” in the statement.

“The decision to suspend production at the Niagara Falls plant was difficult given the unquestioned commitment of the plant’s employees,” Larrea said. “The shutdown of this facility follows our recent announcement regarding the evaluation of various production adjustments to optimize utilization rates and logistics to customers, and to maximize economic efficiency across our global platform.”

The move will put 100 employees out of work.

Ferroglobe, which is based in Spain, advertises itself as the world’s “leading producer of silicon metal” and a “leading silicon- and manganese-based specialty alloys producer.”

The Falls facility, located at 3807 Highland Ave., has a production capacity of up to 27,000 tons of silicon metal annually and is among the “oldest” of its kind in the U.S., according to the company. It has been operated under the banner of Airco Alloys, SKW and became Globe Metallurgical in 1994.

A temporary shutdown resulted in about 63 employees losing their jobs in 2003.

It was acquired by Globe Specialty Metals, Inc. in 2006, when it began taking steps to reopen after a three-year dormancy due to an apparent slow down in the market and increasing global competition.

After filing for bankruptcy protection at the time, market conditions corrected, Globe CEO Alan Kestenbaum said at the time. The pant re-opened in 2008 under an agreement with Empire State Development Corp., a state-run economic stimulus agency, and the New York Power Authority. The agreement called for the new management group to receive 40 mega-watts of hydropower over a five-year period with an option for a five-year expansion beyond the initial timeframe. The company was also eligible for up to $25 million in Empire Zone benefits for up to a decade.

Lynne Smith, a spokesperson for NYPA, said Thursday the public authority has not issued additional hydropower allocations within the past five years.