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February 25, 1998

Alcoa to Study Feasibility of New B.C. Aluminum Smelter

VANCOUVER--February 25, 1998-- Alcoa and the British Columbia government signed a memorandum of understanding today to proceed with a planning and feasibility study for construction of a primary aluminum smelter. The announcement was made jointly by Premier Glen Clark and Alan Renken, president of Alcoa's Primary Metals business unit. The plant would represent an investment of C$1.2 billion (approximately US$843 million) as well as 500 direct and 1,500 indirect jobs. This represents the third potential new aluminum smelter investment in B.C. announced in the past six months.

Alcoa will determine the feasibility of potential sites for a new aluminum smelting plant in British Columbia, with the province providing site infrastructure information. The planning and feasibility study will be completed no later than December 31, 1998. Depending on the outcome of the study and all necessary government and company approvals, construction could start in 1999.

"Attracting the world's leading aluminum producer demonstrates that our Power for Jobs strategy provides the right incentives to get international private sector investors interested in British Columbia," said Clark. "Should the two MOUs signed this year, and a third MOU signed with Alcan, lead to construction of three new primary aluminum plants, our ability to use excess hydroelectric power as an investment tool could lead to over 6,000 direct and indirect jobs." In January, British Columbia signed a memorandum of understanding with Alumax to conduct a planning and feasibility study for a new smelter.

"British Columbia has sufficient hydroelectric power, the transportation infrastructure, the skilled labor, and access to Pacific Rim markets we need to make a primary aluminum smelter viable," said Renken. "Last December, the Premier presented us with a compelling case for investing in B.C. Based on ensuing discussions, we will now investigate the feasibility of establishing operations here."

Under the MOU Alcoa commits to:

» conduct a planning and feasibility study for construction of a primary aluminum smelter with an output of at least 250,000 metric tons per year (mtpy), annual demand of a minimum 425 megawatts of electric power at 100% load factor, and estimated direct, indirect and induced employment of up to 2,000 people.

» include in the study the use of optimum production technologies and state-of-the-art environmental controls.


The province agrees to:
» assist Alcoa with site infrastructure information
» negotiate a power contract with Alcoa




Alcoa and the provincial government also agree to identify opportunities for additional secondary manufacturing investments and maximizing purchases from B.C. suppliers in the construction and operation of the new plant in order to maximize B.C. employment and business opportunities.

The facility would include state-of-the-art environmental protection equipment and would meet all of the requirements of the Environmental Assessment review process for an aluminum production facility in British Columbia.