Braidy

Braidy Industries CEO Craig Bouchard speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony at the site where his company's aluminum mill will built in East Park.

Braidy Industries Chief Executive Officer Craig Bouchard said the company is on track for opening its Atlas mill in 2021 with the company also on schedule for raising the necessary capital.

Bouchard said Tuesday the mill's projected total cost is $1.7 billion. As of Tuesday $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.

"Between the debt and equity markets the total cost of the mill is $1.7 billion," Bouchard said. "In essence that is the raise between debt and equity to pay for it. Braidy Industries has raised over $300 million of cash equity to date. So we have had a tremendous amount of success and we have a very strong interest level from people in negotiating with us for the final pieces."

Bouchard said Braidy is going to be able to raise the remaining capital.

"The majority of our capital raise — both debt and equity — is now in hand in cash, binding commitments or letters of intent," Bouchard said.

"We are right smack dab on our expected timeline to open the mill in 2021," he said, adding "We are recruiting strategic partners to come in and help us for the next 20 to 50 years to rebuild Eastern Kentucky."

Braidy is scheduled to construct a massive aluminum rolling mill at EastPark Industrial Center. The mill will be the first greenfield aluminum rolling mill built in the U.S. in 37 years.

The project has received $15 million in taxpayer seed money. The mill is considered a major component in ongoing efforts to rebuild the eastern Kentucky economy in the aftermath of major losses of jobs in the coal and steel sectors throughout the region.

Bouchard and Braidy have said previously $200 million raised so far is from a partnership with En+ Group subsidiary United Company RUSAL. Rusal is a Russian-based entity expected to supply 200,000 tons of certified low-carbon prime aluminum ingot and slabs each year for a 10-year period, allowing Braidy to target 20% lower carbon emissions than its nearest competitor.

Bouchard reiterated Tuesday that the partnership with Rusal will make the Atlas mill unique in its low carbon footprint. The deal with Rusal has been finalized, representing 12 percent of the total capital invested in the mill. Rusal uses hydropower instead of coal or gas to make their prime aluminum.

He described the partnership as a wise business deal because "low carbon aluminum is in short supply around the globe. Rusal opens the first new hydro smelter in a generation in 2021. We open our mill in 2021. They can supply the large quantities we need. The timing is perfect for both of us."

He addressed criticism of the deal given the Russian origins of Rusal, saying "our mill has no government contracts and there are no national security issues involved. This was poorly reported (some would say intentionally) by some publications that did not do their homework."

He said there is already an extensive amount of foreign investment in Kentucky aluminum mills.

"The mill in Logan, Ky. is half Indian owned (Novelis) and half Japanese owned," Bouchard said. "Bowling Green is Dutch (Constellium). Aleris in Lewisport is being sold to the Indians (Novelis). Therefore when we open we will be the only majority American owned aluminum mill in Kentucky."

The Braidy update comes as the company said its going to close its investment offering for so-called Main Street investors on July 22. This represents a very small portion of the company's capital raise -- roughly 2 percent.

"There are lots of people out there who just wanted to invest $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000," Bouchard said. That is great. We love having everyone who wants to support us."