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Office Hours

Posts tagged: Kaiser Aluminum

Officehours counts down the major business stories: No. 5: the Mead smelter

OfficeHours will do its own 2013 business story run-down, counting from Five to One, over the next week.

What were the biggest business news stories of the past year, affecting the Eastern Washington-North Idaho region?

Please feel free to voice your own choices or post links to stories not covered in these pages or by the Spokane media. In fact, we are sure there are some stories that weren't covered in detail that deserved more attention.

Today's No. 5 story:  The ongoing and accelerated efforts by a California company, New Mill Capital to rehab the former Mead aluminum smelter.

We ran the story this past fall, with very strong photos by staff photographer Dan Pelle:

Small explosion idles mill temporarily

A small explosion in a furnace temporarily shut down the Kaiser Aluminum Corp. Trentwood rolling mill Saturday.

No one was injured by the blast in one of several casting areas that was undergoing routine maintenance, said company spokesman Dave Quast.

Operations in other areas of the vast plant resumed by 6 p.m. Saturday, he said, and full operation was expected by 6 p.m. Monday.

The maintenance work was being done by an outside contractor, Quast said.

Dan Wilson, president of United Steelworkers of America Local 338, said few people were in the area, and there was no molten metal in the idled furnace.

The furnace is natural gas-fired, but gas is not a suspected cause, he said, adding “There was no fire.”

Wilson said the company and union are working together to find the cause.

“It’s kind of unusual. We don’t see this kind of explosion very often,” he said.

The Trentwood plant rolls aluminum ingots into sheet and plate, much of it used by the aerospace industry.


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Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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