- Copper producer Wieland will invest $500 million to re-equip, expand and modernize its facility in East Alton, Illinois.
- The project includes the installation of an additional hot rolling mill to increase its production of critical copper and copper alloy components used in products such as electric vehicles, EV charging infrastructure and renewable energy production.
- The investment will also retain and upskill the Germany-based company's 800 workers for the site, according to the state’s press release.
Wieland has been making strides to increase its footprint across North America with several acquisitions. Wieland acquired Texas-based Farmers Copper in November 2023 along with its two sites in Texas City, Texas, and San Antonio.
The company is concentrating on “attractive” growth markets, including aerospace, marine, defense and oil and gas industries, which its acquisition Farmers Copper specializes in, according to the press release. Wieland also recently acquired Concast Metal Products and Randall Bearings in January and Small Tube Products in August.
The copper producer currently has five other facilities in Illinois, including Carol Stream, Granite City, Montgomery, Tinley Park and Wheeling.
For the East Alton plant, the state of Illinois is offering Wieland a total incentive package of approximately $231 million.
Through the Reimagining Energy and Vehicles Illinois Program and other incentives, Wieland can receive tax benefits totaling $172 million over the next 30 years. The remaining benefits include capital funding for infrastructure projects in East Alton, such as the construction of a new electricity substation, flexible funds for workforce support and additional tax incentives.
The investment is still subject to approval of state and local incentives.
Despite the East Alton investment, the same site recently laid off 100 workers in October, with separations starting that month, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act post filed on Oct. 19.
Wieland initially bought the mill in 1982, where they produce 60 distinct copper alloys, including both horizontally and direct chill vertically cast compounds, according to its website.
Other key minerals in EV batteries and energy renewables, like lithium-ion and cobalt, are also receiving funding from the federal government. The Energy Department awarded $131 million toward battery manufacturing research and development projects focused on enhancing durability and lowering battery price points in the transportation sector.