April 9, 2008
Alcoa Fjardaal finishes start-up and hires more people

The last electrolytic pot was started up at Alcoa Fjardaal in Reydarfjordur today, creating a demand for hiring of more employees, and beginning the generation of around 70 bn ISK per year in export revenues.

Based on the current world market price for aluminium and the exchange rate of the US dollar.  Almost 30 % of the jobs created by Fjardaal to date are filled by women, the highest % of any Alcoa smelter worldwide. There are 336 pots in the smelter, and they produce about 940 tons of aluminium every 24 hours; the smelter's productive capacity is 346,000 tons per year.
At a meeting today with Fjardaal employees, held in celebration of this milestone, General Manager Tomas Mar Sigurdsson said that the plan was to increase the number of the company's employees. He said that this would be done to meet the increasing number of tasks, including full processing of aluminium; about 20 people at the company work on the production of aluminium wire. The goal is also to create additional leeway for training, construction and job development, which Alcoa Fjardaal heavily emphasizes. Fjardaal is one of the most modern aluminium smelters in the world and a model for new Alcoa aluminium smelters. In the future it can be expected that the knowledge and experience of Fjardaal's employees will be utilized in the start-up of other new Alcoa aluminium smelters. About 70 foreign specialists from Alcoa who have assisted with the start-up are now returning home.
“The start-up has gone very well, and our employees have accomplished a Herculean task in starting up this long aluminium production line in less than a year. The start-up of a new aluminium smelter requires an enormous joint effort of the employees, and in our instance most of them are dealing with aluminium production for the first time. In addition to traditional production work, our staff has had to start up to four pots per day, and this has been masterfully accomplished. Of course, endurance has sometimes been sorely tested the last year, but now a major stage has been completed, and it is fun to look back on the accomplishment of a difficult and well-done task when production has reached full capacity,” said Sigurdsson.
There are now 410 Fjardaal employees. About one third of them are women, which is the highest proportion of any Alcoa aluminium smelter. About 50% of the employees are from East Iceland, and about 20% in addition are people from East Iceland who had moved away but have taken the opportunity to return to work in their home community. Other employees come from many parts of Iceland. The employees have diverse education and experience. About 20% of them have a university degree; another 20% are skilled tradesmen and over 60% have diverse additional education and experience. Over half of the employees are under 40 and about 5% over 60.

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Clauda Moisan an Claude Boileau, from Alcoa in Canada, have stayed in Iceland for more than a year to help Fjardaál's employees with the start-up. They have, among all Fjardaál's employees, had a
turbulent year and here they celebrate the last pot's start-up earlier today.

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Happy day

From left: Ingólfur Kristjánsson, Manager of aluminum production, Alcoa Fjardaál, Tómas Már Sigurðsson, Director of Alcoa Fjardaal, and Mark Piche from Alcoa, Canada, celebrate the startup.