The city of Boonville and Alcoa Warrick Operations have come to an agreement over the year-long Liberty Mine expansion dispute.
The city and the corporation had been in disagreement for months over Alcoa expanding the Liberty Mine in northern Warrick County to help fuel the plant's potlines.
In response to the proposed expansion, a group of homeowners who would be affected by the mining banded together to create the protest group Save Our Homes, LLC, while the city of Boonville passed an ordinance earlier this year stipulating no mining within three miles of city limits. Alcoa fought that ordinance in court. And now, after months of litigation, the two parties have come to a resolution.
Boonville City Mayor Charlie Wyatt and Alcoa Communications Leader Kari Fluegel met at Boonville City Hall on Friday to discuss the compromise.
The requirements include: both parties will dissolve any ongoing appeals, blast warning sirens must be used, a 1,000-foot buffer must be maintained between the Save Our Home residents and the blasting, seismic monitoring must be increased and Boonville must repeal its mining ban ordinance, which the council did during a special meeting just a few minutes before Wyatt and Fluegel spoke.
"We've come to an agreement that we all can live with, so we can all move forward at this point," Wyatt said, "and welcome Alcoa, Liberty Mines, Save Our Homes and the city of Boonville being together and working together for our community here in Warrick County, as well as the safekeeping of those jobs at the Alcoa plant."
Fluegel said Alcoa is pleased to reach an agreement with the homeowners and the city of Boonville.
"That keeps Liberty Mine as a vital option for fuel to support our integrated aluminum complex at Warrick Operations," she said. "And we look forward to maintaining the open dialogue we have established with Save our Homes and the city of Boonville in the future."
Wyatt said negotiations started to come together in the last month.
"Alcoa is a tough outfit to bargain with," he said. "They're a good company, but they know what they're doing, and we think we do, too, and I think this is a good agreement for everybody. I am proud of it and I think Alcoa is too."
Wyatt said he was glad the parties were finally able to reach a compromise after so much back and forth.
"In a way that provides protections for the city of Boonville and homeowners while allowing Alcoa and Liberty Mine to move forward," he said. "I look forward to continued relationships with all parties involved for the betterment of our collective community."