MONTREAL, Que. — In addition to eventually expanding its new $2-billion Alma smelter in Northern Quebec, Alcan says it may build a new $50-million aluminum wheel plant.
A proposed joint-venture with Ohio-based auto parts manufacturer Amcast, the wheel plant would take molten metal directly from Alcan’s Saguenay smelters and create new 300 jobs.
Alcan has formed an alliance with Hydro-Quebec, the provincial energy giant, to develop the electric power resources of the Saguenay area north of Quebec City together to support expansion of Alma’s existing annual capacity of 400,000 tonnes.
Quebec produces 2.4-million tonnes of primary aluminum annually or 10 per cent of the total western output — 90 per cent of that is shipped to the U.S., Europe and elsewhere for processing into sheet, pipe, wire and building products. About 35 per cent of production goes into building vehicles and componentry.
World primary aluminum demand has a long-term growth rate pegged by analysts of 2.5 per cent annually and the industry estimates at least one new smelter is needed each year to keep up.
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