Craig Bouchard

Craig Bouchard believes the Ashland Area is in the beginning stage of an economic resurgence. ANDREW ADKINS | THE DAILY INDEPENDENT

Braidy Industries Chief Executive Officer Craig Bouchard has repeatedly said the Braidy Atlas aluminum mill will demonstrate to the world how large scale manufacturing can be done with a low carbon footprint.

That commitment to reducing Braidy’s carbon footprint prompted an invitation for Bouchard to speak to the United Nations Climate Action Summit last week. Bouchard’s message, that Braidy will offer the lowest carbon footprint of any aluminum rolling mill in the United States, was well received in New York City.

"It was truly an honor," Bouchard said of speaking at the UN. "The meetings are going on for like three days. There are thousands of people there for many good reasons. They are from all over the world. So it was a complete honor...it was fantastic."

Reducing carbon is a priority for the Braidy mill, slated for EastPark Industrial Center, and the approach os earning praise and attention from across the globe.

"It is one reason BMW chose us...our sustainability, our carbon imprint," Bouchard said. "They have publicly stated, as a big public company, their goals for lower carbon, so they are going to pick suppliers that help do that and we are one of them.

"We are the lowest carbon imprint of any rolling mill in the United States," Bouchard said.

Braidy is finalizing its plans for the mill at EastPark. Bouchard said the mill remains on schedule. The Atlas mill is expected to open in 2021 at a total cost of $1.7 billion. It is expected to bring approximately 600 permanent jobs to the area. In July the company said $300 million has been raised and the majority of the remaining capital needed is now in hand in cash, binding commitments or letters of intent.

"We are making great progress," Bouchard said. "I'm very happy with it. We are not announcing investors as they come in but we are taking money consistently into the company and I suspect we will be finished with that process before year end on the debt and the equity side. It is going beautifully to be honest. It is going great."

Also speaking at the United Nations was Lord Gregory Barker, En+Group executive chairman. En+ Group owns a controlling stake in worldwide aluminum supplier Rusal. The partnership involves a $200 million lead investment in the Braidy Atlas aluminum mill at EastPark Industrial Center by the Russian-based Rusal. Rusal, meanwhile, supplies aluminum in a manufacturing process driven significantly by hydro-electric power. This, combined with Braidy’s plan to use a significant amount of scrap aluminum in its manufacturing, translates into a very low carbon footprint.

Barker said addressing climate change is a top priority.

"We are actually in a position...to do something about shifting the global economy to a lower carbon model of growth," Barker said.

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