The UK’s only smelter has been praised in a motion submitted to the Scottish Parliament by Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron.

Based in Fort William, the Lochaber smelter is playing an essential role in providing aluminium to produce oxygen bottles for patients battling COVID-19.

Bridgnorth Aluminium, based in Shropshire, which usually supplies aluminium to the pharmaceutical and food industries, placed the order for the oxygen bottles.

The smelter’s Managing Director, Brian King, said: “Bridgnorth are our main customer and they have been for many years.

“Originally, we faced some criticism for keeping the plant running, but the workforce have been hugely supportive and we are now being recognised by the community for these efforts.”

When passing the motion, Mr Cameron said: “The smelter is one of many local businesses that are going the extra mile during this emergency.

“It’s very reassuring to see how our business community has been so flexible and creative in its response to the pandemic.”

ALVANCE also owns Europe’s largest smelter, which in turn is working to maintain production for aluminium use in blister packaging, as well as the food and pet food industry.

Guillaume de Goys, Managing Director of the smelter based in Dunkerque, said: “While we have reduced production to 85%, we are continuing to serve our customers and meet this increase in demand for pharmaceutical and food packaging during this crisis.

“Our customers experienced some difficulties in finding raw materials outside Europe, which is why we have focused our production in these areas.”

ALVANCE Aluminium Group was launched in January 2020 and is the international aluminium vertical, part of the GFG Alliance, which brings together assets across the aluminium supply chain.