ALCOA has announced a $1-billion modernization of its aluminum smelter in Baie-Comeau, Que. The investment will keep the company competitive and secure long-term employment at the facility. An additional 5,850 direct and indirect jobs will be created over the next eight years.
Several players besides Alcoa are involved. The smelter modernization is eligible for a 10-year tax break and financial assistance from the province. The financial assistance will take the form of a $170-million interest-free loan. Hydro-Quebec has also agreed to supply power at a preferential rate. For its part, Alcoa has agreed to employ a minimum of 1,476 workers at the smelter.
The modernization project involves both environmental improvements and a capacity increase. By replacing the current Soderberg production technology with a modern pre-bake technology the environmental impact of the facility will be reduced. Both greenhouse gas emissions will be significantly reduced, and emissions of PAH will be eliminated. Moreover, production will rise to 547,000 tonnes from 437,000 tonnes annually.
Alcoa and Quebec are also in talks concerning the expansion of Alcoa's aluminum plant in Deschambault, Que. For further information please contact Pierre Despres (514-904-5198) in Alcoa's public affairs office or Hubert Bolduc (418-643-5321), press officer in the Quebec premier's office.