Alcoa Intalco Works is located near Cherry Point along the Strait of Georgia, 4050 Mountain View Road, Ferndale. The plant’s address is 4050 Mountain View Road, Ferndale, Washington, 98248.
From I-5, take the Ferndale Main Street exit, number 262, and head west on Main Street. Main Street becomes Mountain View Road. Alcoa Intalco Works is approximately six miles west of Ferndale. The administrative offices are on the right as you enter the plant.
Alcoa Intalco Works produces primary aluminum metal by the Hall-Heroult reduction process. The plant has three operational potlines, with two and a half currently running. The smelter is capable of producing 278,000 metric tons per year (mtpy) at full capacity. Its current capacity is approximately 226,000 mtpy.
The Smelting Process
Aluminum is processed from a raw material called alumina, which is produced from bauxite ore in Australia. One ton of aluminum is smelted from two tons of alumina. That one ton of aluminum is enough to make 60,000 beverage cans or the spaceframes for seven full-size cars. Intalco is a smelter that dissolves the alumina in a cryolite bath inside large, carbon-lined cells called pots. When a powerful electric current is passed through the bath, aluminum metal separates from the chemical solution and is siphoned off. That molten aluminum goes into furnaces for precise mixing with other metals to form various alloys with specific properties designed for particular uses. It is then poured into molds or cast into ingots. This is the finished product, which leaves Intalco primarily by truck. Further fabrication may include casting, rolling, forging, drawing or extruding to make thousands of different finished products from beverage cans to jet aircraft – either by Alcoa or by its customers.
The union at Alcoa Intalco Works is the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers .