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2012 — Economic
New development program for Alcoa in Quebec
On November 7, 2011, Alcoa announced the approval of the next phase of a five-year, $2.1 billion investment plan for its Baie-Comeau, Deschambault and Bécancour smelters. In addition to increasing the company’s production capacity by 120,000 metric tons per year and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the new investment plan will move the Quebec smelters down the global aluminum cost curve by 13%, contributing to Alcoa’s goal of achieving an overall 10-point improvement.
The plan includes 25-year power contracts for all three facilities and enables the Baie-Comeau Smelter to undertake the last engineering phase of its modernization project, with plans for start-up of the new potline by the end of 2015.
As part of the modernization at Baie-Comeau, the older smelting pots using Söderberg technology will be replaced with an all-new electrolysis potline with an annual production capacity of 160,000 metric tons. These enhancements will reduce the plant’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40%. The construction phase of the Baie-Comeau modernization project will create approximately 6,800 job-years and generate economic spinoffs of some $500 million.
Through technology advancements made at Alcoa’s global Center of Excellence, the plan will also allow the Deschambault Smelter to increase its amperage to 405,000 amperes by 2016, increasing its production capacity by 25,000 metric tons per year. Preliminary engineering work is already underway.
These investments will enable Alcoa to optimize every megawatt-hour consumed in its Quebec smelters.
This plan allows Alcoa Canada Global Primary Products to look to the future with confidence, a cheering prospect for employees and their families of course, but also for Quebec as a whole and especially the communities where the company operates.
Added to Alcoa’s more than $2-billion investment is a $50-million contribution to the economic development fund managed by the Government of Quebec, and the $25-million Alcoa Sustainable Communities Fund created to benefit its three host communities in Quebec. The latter will provide $1 million annually, for the next 25 years, to the regions of Baie-Comeau, Bécancour and Deschambault-Grondines/Portneuf to support projects focused on attracting and retaining young people through sustainability and education initiatives.