Alcoa to Delay Construction of New Potline

Aluminum company says it will permanently close two potlines at its Baie-Comeau smelter in Quebec.

May 21, 2013
Recycling Today Staff

The aluminum company Alcoa has announced its decision to postpone the construction of a new potline at its Baie-Comeau smelter in Québec. The project was slated to be a part of the company’s modernization plan at the smelter.

The company also says that it will begin preparations for the upgrade by investing $100 million in the smelter over the next three years and by permanently closing the smelter’s two Soderberg potlines.

The new potline is now expected to be in service in 2019 instead of 2016, subject to board approval. The change is due to current market conditions.

The $100 million investment includes $30 million that will be used to upgrade the plant’s casthouse facilities in support of the growing automotive market. This is in addition to the $75 million already dedicated to rebuild the port facilities to better meet the future needs of a modernized plant.

In a press release, Martin Brière, president of Alcoa Canada Primary Products, says, “The government of Québec proved to be very open to reviewing the schedule when it became important for Alcoa to adapt to market realities and make the project as cost-effective as possible. These efforts will help move our Baie-Comeau plant down the global aluminum cost curve, and continue to provide important economic benefits to the region.”

The closure of the two Soderberg potlines, which are among the highest-cost smelting capacity in the Alcoa system, will be complete in August. The two lines represent 105,000 metric tons of capacity, and are part of the 460,000 metric tons of smelting capacity Alcoa announced was under review on May 1, 2013.