The plan will move the Quebec smelters down the aluminium cost curve by 13 percentage points and contribute the company’s goal of achieving an overall 10-point improvement.
The plan will also increase production capacity by 120kt/y and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The plan includes 25-year power contracts for all three smelters and allows the smelter in Baie-Comeau to undertake the last engineering phase of its modernisation project, with plans to have a new potline in service by the end of 2015.
The preliminary engineering phase of the Deschambault smelter’s amperage increase project will be launched by the end of this year. The company said the investments will allow it to optimise every mega-watt-hour of power used in the Quebec smelters.
As part of the modernisation at Baie-Comeau, the older smelting pots using Soderberg technology will be replaced with an all-new electrolysis potline developed by Alcoa with a production capacity of 160kt/y. This will reduce the plant’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40%.
Through technology advancements made at Alcoa’s global Smelting Center of Excellence, the plan will also allow Deschambault to increase its amperage to 405,000 amperes by 2016, increasing the plant’s capacity by 25kt/y.