Progress may slow at Alcan smelters

Dec 11, 2008 | 12:28 PM | Tom Jennemann

Rio Tinto Alcan is proceeding with planned aluminum smelter expansions in Canada but has warned that progress could be slowed due to the massive capital spending cuts announced this week.

The Montreal-based company will not give specific details on the status of capital projects until the beginning of next year, but an Alcan spokesman did talk in general terms about the Montreal-based company's three large-scale projects in Canada.

"The Kitimat and AP50 projects will continue to advance but we will be reducing the spend rate and revising the timelines on those projects," he said.

A modernization at Kitimat in British Columbia will replace a 50-year-old, 277,000-tonne-per-year Soderberg smelter with a 400,000-tonne-per-year smelter using Aluminium Pechiney (AP) technology. The project, which has been approved by the British Columbia Utilities Commission, will draw power from Alcan's Kemano hydroelectric station (AMM, Oct. 23). The company had previously announced a tentative completion date of 2011, but that timetable could be pushed back. The price tag of the entire project was previously put at $2.5 billion.....

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