PHOTO STORY: Gov. Whitmer visits Hydro Aluminum facility in Cassopolis

Published 6:48 pm Friday, August 26, 2022

CASSOPOLIS — Cass County was host to a special visitor Friday.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer visited and toured the construction site of Cassopolis’ Hydro aluminum recycling plant Friday afternoon.  

A Norway-based aluminum and renewable energy company with more than 30,000 worldwide employees, Hydro broke ground on its $150 million aluminum recycling facility in April at the Midwest Energy & Communications SMART Park in Cassopolis. 

“It’s really exciting,” she said. “I think that the fact that this high tech sustainability project is happening is amazing. It just shows that we are very serious about economic development in every region of our state. This is about good-paying jobs but also recycling aluminum is something our economy depends on and doing it in this way creating good jobs is really exciting.”

Production at the Cassopolis facility will commence in 2023 with approximately 70 employees. When ramped up to full production, the plant will produce 120,000 metric tons of low-carbon aluminum extrusion ingot per year.

“We all know that Michigan is the best place in the world, right? But I think when you see the climate change and what the projections are, the Great Lakes region is going to be the place to be,” she said. “We are going to solve sustainability issues, whether it’s in mobility or it’s in reusing crucial materials. I’m very encouraged when I see here and that the state’s able to play a role in making this happen as we just put our foot on the accelerator.”

Whitmer said Cass County’s proximity to major metropolitan areas makes it an attractive location for businesses like Hydro.

“The great story about Michigan is we are doers; we work hard and we know how to solve problems,” she said. and it’s true in every part of this state, but I think that this is a unique place where this kind of a business can pull scrap from Chicago and from Detroit. This central location with the talent all around here is something that’s a huge strength of Cass County.”

Whitmer added that she believes the construction of Hydro speaks to the potential rural counties such as Cass possess.

“We are standing in the middle of a lot of cornfields and there is high tech recycling that is about to start happening here so there’s opportunity in every part of our state,” she said. “We can feed the world from the state of Michigan and that’s the agricultural part of our story. But high tech manufacturing is very much an important part of our fabric as well and you can see both happening right here from where we’re standing.”