Canadian Mining Journal


ALUMINUM SMELTING – Alcan to spend $500M on pilot plant

QUEBEC - Montreal's ALCAN, one of the world's leading aluminum producers, has announced plans to build a pilot plan...

QUEBEC – Montreal’s ALCAN, one of the world’s leading aluminum producers, has announced plans to build a pilot plant worth US$550 million at its Jonquire complex to test its proprietary AP50 smelting technology. The plant will produce approximately 60,000 tonnes of aluminum annually.

The development of the pilot plant is the first step in a planned 10-year, US$1.8-billion investment program in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. Alcan’s commitment will create 740 highly skilled jobs plus generate 1,200 to 1,500 construction jobs.

Engineering for the plant is expected to start soon, and construction should begin in 2008. The first metal production is scheduled in late 2010. After the SP50 process is proven in the pilot plant, the company will add 390,000 t/y of new capacity using the technology in northern Quebec.

Alcan is basing its SP50 technology on a renewable energy source, namely hydroelectricity. The process will operate at 500 kA and is expected to produce aluminum at a lower cost than is possible with existing processes. The Arvida [Quebec] Research and Development Centre will lead the ongoing work related to the industrialization of the AP50 technology. Additional R&D will be conducted in Alcan’s facility in Rhne-Alpes, France.

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