Controversial start-up renames itself ‘Unity Aluminum,’ says mill is closer

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ASHLAND, Ky. (WTVQ) – A controversial company that announced plans three years ago for a high-tech aluminum mill in Ashland says it is close to raising the needed capital and announced it is rebranding itself as Unity Aluminum, rather than Braidy Industries.

In making the announcement Thursday, company organizers say the name “signifies the company’s steadfast commitment to its customers, innovative technologies and local community in Ashland, Kentucky. Unity Aluminum also unveiled a reenergized vision, ‘Together. Lighter. Stronger. Greener’.”

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The start-up company, now led by Don Foster, claims it has “accelerated its plans to build the world’s most technologically advanced aluminum rolling mill” and is “working to finalize fundraising and begin construction.”

“Unity Aluminum has a bright future. Based on the market needs, the initial positive customer response, and the shovel-ready position we are in, I am extremely optimistic,” said Foster, president and chief executive officer of Unity Aluminum.

The start-up company announced plans in 2017 to build a $1.7 billion manufacturing facility at EastPark Industrial Center near Ashland. Using a state-of-the-art, low-emissions greenfield manufacturing facility, Unity Aluminum says it is positioned to fill the domestic shortage and become the premier low-cost provider of 330,000 annual tons of production-ready series 3000, 5000 and 6000 aluminum sheet for the automotive, transportation and distribution markets, the company boasted in a statement Thursday.

“Simply put, America is not producing enough aluminum to meet its own demands. Just to replace imports with American-made aluminum, the U.S. needs four new mills with production capacity similar to the one we are building in Northeast Kentucky,” added Foster. “Not only can the U.S. increase production to manufacture our own materials like aluminum, but we can do it with American workers, creating jobs that support local economies— Unity Aluminum is proud to be paving the way for this great on-shoring comeback.”

Unity Aluminum operates under the oversight of its five-person board of directors, led by successful Kentucky entrepreneur Charles Price. Earlier this year, it settled a lawsuit with founder and former president Craig Bouchard over his departure from the company. Foster and Price were among those who have taken control since then.

According to the company, the Eastern Kentucky mill is projected to generate more than 1,000 construction jobs, 550 full-time mill jobs and thousands of indirect jobs and additional investments in the region.