Century Aluminum has taken a major step toward restarting its shuttered West Virginia plant.
The company announced an agreement in principle late Wednesday with retired workers from the Ravenswood factory regarding their health benefits.
Century dropped the health coverage in December 2010. The Ravenswood smelter closed in 2009, costing more than 600 workers their jobs.
Retirees must approve the deal. But resolving this impasse would remove a major hurdle in the quest to restart the plant.
Century says remaining factors include the aluminum market, a competitive labor agreement and an energy contract.
The Legislature appears ready to consider a tax credit meant to help the Ravenswood plant offset initial losses after restarting.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin were among those heralding Wednesday's announcement.