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Alcan to pilot advanced AP50 technology through US$550M facility in Quebec


Saguenay, QC – Alcan plans to build a US$550-million pilot plant at its Complexe Jonquire site to develop its AP50 smelting technology.

The pilot plant is expected to produce approximately 60,000 tonnes of aluminum a year and will be the platform for future generations of AP50 technology.

The development plant is the first step in a planned ten-year US$1.8 billion investment program in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. The company says the overall investment will create 740 highly skilled jobs, in addition to an expected 1,200-1,500 related to construction. The new AP50 pilot facility will be the cornerstone of an industrial strategy developed by Alcan with the support of the Quebec government.

The AP50 pilot plant is the initial step in creating up to 450,000 tonnes of new generation AP smelting capacity, based entirely on clean, renewable hydroelectricity.

Engineering for the plant will start soon and construction is expected to begin in 2008, with first metal coming on stream in late 2010. This initial phase would be followed by up to an additional 390,000 tonnes of new capacity in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region by 2015.

AP50 will operate at 500 kilo amperes (kA), and is focused on productivity and reduction of full economic cost. When the pilot plant becomes operational, the Arvida Research and Development Centre (ARDC) will lead the on-going R&D related to the industrialization of AP50 technology.

“This AP50 pilot plant underlines Alcan’s position as the world leader and partner-of-choice for aluminum smelting technologies, further reinforcing its unique competitive advantage in line with Alcan’s objective of maximizing long-term sustainable value,” says Dick Evans, Alcan’s president and chief executive officer. “This element of Alcan’s strategy, developed in concert with the government of Quebec, will make Quebec the crossroads of the aluminum industry, yielding sustainable benefits for both the region and shareholders. This pilot plant will be complementary to Alcan’s breakthrough aluminum technology R&D initiative announced earlier today in France’s Rhne-Alpes region,” he adds.