An English In Kentucky


















Thursday August 15th 2019Tim Candler9


    Aluminum by mass makes up about 8% of planet earth, I'm told. Odds are there's a sprinkle of it in the ground all around you, but none of it sufficiently concentrated to make mining it viable. The ore for Aluminum is a sedimentary rock called Bauxite, and there's some suggestion that Bauxite occurs around ancient volcanoes, but no one is absolutely certain. The US isn't rich in Bauxite, much of it is mined in Australia. Guinea, on the West Coast of Africa, is estimated to have the highest available reserves of Bauxite on the planet. Once the Aluminum is processed out of Bauxite, it is usually turned into Aluminum Slabs, which are large thick, heavy slabs of various grades and qualities, and it's these slabs that travel to Aluminum Mills where they are rolled into the sort of thickness that you'd find in Pepsi Cola can, or somewhere on a vehicle. The thing about Aluminum for manufacturers, it oxidizes a little but it does not rust gracefully away.   


    The business arguments for an Aluminum Mill in Ashland, Kentucky, is that within a days truck drive from Ashland is the bulk of the US Auto Manufacturing industry. Turning coils of Aluminum into useable parts results in a lot of scrap, which is then returned to be re-smelted into Aluminum Slabs or even ingots. The Ashland area of Kentucky is financially troubled and within the population it has percentage of people skilled in metal work. And such was the excitement after the slow decline and ultimate failure of a 100 year tradition of steel milling in Ashland that the project had some success crowd sourcing funds from citizens. Our own Congressmen, Congressional District One, opposite end of the state here in Kentucky, he's a fresh faced Republican, still quite young, possible not yet too cynical, back in April of this year he did express an opinion on the Ashland project. It was a wonderful idea he reckoned, but he suggested that it was such a pity and a little odd that this brilliant project appeared to need money from a Russian source which had, briefly, been sanction by the US for its very dubious ties to the Kremlin's interference with US elections. "I wouldn't take money from Russians," our young congressman claimed.  "Curiouser and curiouser," to quote Alice as she wondered why she couldn't see her feet.  


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