Several contractors have filed liens and lawsuits against LAlumina LLC, which operated the Burnside Alumina facility until it was shuttered in August and laid off hundreds of workers.
Businesses filed lawsuits against LAlumina seeking money after they claim contracts for goods and services were broken. They are collectively seeking more than $3.3 million from the company, records show.
Among those filing liens or lawsuits are Gonzales-based TMA Environmental; Baton Rouge-based Environmental Specialties International and Providence Engineering and Design; Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Summit Electrical Supply Co.; Clayton, Mississippi-based Olin Corp.; and Dubai-based Mur Shipping BV.
LAlumina shut down in September within a year of acquiring the alumina refinery, records show. LAlumina had been awarded $7.2 million through the federal Paycheck Protection Program to support payroll expenses, records show, but laid off 300 workers when it shut down, citing a slump in market conditions exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
For 15 years, Maurepas resident Troy Leader commuted from his Livingston Parish community to a Burnside specialty alumina manufacturing plant …
LAlumina is a company affiliated with Arthur Metals, an independent startup business co-founded by former British multinational mineral trading business Glencore alumina traders Matt Lucke and Zach Mayer. Arthur Metals acquired the Burnside Alumina site for an undisclosed price in July 2019 from Almatis. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, the company is still negotiating with the United Steelworkers union over supplemental unemployment benefits and other contract details. The plant shut down while the union contract was still in effect and the union alleges that the company could be liable for millions in benefits. The union had filed a complaint with the Nation Labor Relations Board, but withdrew it in recent months to negotiate through arbitration by filing a grievance.
Among the companies filing liens or lawsuits are:
- Gonzales-based TMA Environmental says it is owed $245,232 for providing labor to unload bauxite shipments, vacuum truck use and other temporary staffing services on site in May 2020, according to its lien filed against the Burnside property.
- Baton Rouge-based Environmental Specialties International says it is owed $85,861 for installing a new water line in April 2020, records show.
- Providence Engineering and Design, also based in Baton Rouge, says it is owed $2,002 for professional services in March 2020.
- Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Summit Electrical Supply Co. says it is owed $66,117 for materials supplied in June and July 2020.
- Clayton, Mississippi-based Olin Corp. says it is owed $1.27 million for five caustic soda shipments dating back to December 2019. Olin Corp's lawsuit dates back to June 2020. An attorney represented LAlumina in the case seeking to dismiss the lawsuit but withdrew as the company's attorney in late December 2020, records show.
- Dubai-based Mur Shipping BV says it is owed $1.72 million for shipping costs related to a dozen shipments of bauxite, the raw material used in aluminum manufacturing, in what was expected to be a year-long contract. Mur Shipping filed a lawsuit in mid-December to recoup losses.
"LAlumina's default has caused MUR a considerable loss," according to a letter by MUR outlining several months of shipments unpaid.
None of the companies responded to requests for comment.