After facing a shortage of aluminum in late October because of supply chain disruptions, Montana Correctional Enterprises (MCE) received about 40,000 pounds of aluminum last week, allowing workers there to resume regular license plate production for the state of Montana.

“Last week’s delivery provides us with enough material to make more than 200,000 aluminum license plates and take us through February or March 2022,” said MCE Administrator Gayle Butler. “Workers in the license plate shop are working overtime to get us caught up.”

MCE, located in Deer Lodge, is a bureau of the Montana Department of Corrections. Its license plate shop produces about 750,000 license plates per year for Montana motorists in all 56 counties.

At the end of October, MCE depleted its supply of aluminum and, due to a material shortage affecting businesses throughout the United States, received no clear guidance from suppliers regarding when the shop could expect to receive its next shipment.

In consultation with the Montana Department of Justice’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), Butler and her staff determined, as a short-term solution, MCE would print the license plates on the same reflective sheeting used in its regular production process without the aluminum backing.

Now that the normal process has resumed, the approximately 1,200 individuals who received the temporary plates should expect to receive an aluminum plate within the next four months, according to Laurie Bakri, administrator of MVD.

Anyone who does not receive a replacement plate by April 30, 2022 should contact MVD at for more information.

Load comments