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Alcoa halts T-bar output at ABI smelter

Keywords: Tags  Alcoa, Aluminerie de Becancour, ABI, United Steelworkers union, USW, aluminum smelter, aluminum, T-bar T-ingot

NEW YORK — Alcoa Inc. has halted T-bar production at its 400,000-tonne-per-year Aluminerie de Bécancour Inc. (ABI) smelter in Quebec, according to a source familiar with the facility.

"All T-production has been halted. The T-molds (were) put into quarantine the end of last week," the source told AMM. "We’re hoping at least one of the tables will be back by (Tuesday)."

The ABI smelter has also experienced delays in changing anodes at the smelter, the source said.

"Production at ABI is continuing and there have been no customer impacts," an Alcoa spokeswoman said, declining to comment further on production.

ABI produces aluminum P1020 ingot and T-bars, as well as billet.

The reduced production comes just days before a labor contract covering some 900 ABI workers expires. Alcoa and the United Steelworkers union have met regularly since Sept. 11 in attempts to hash out a new deal. The existing contract expires Nov. 22.

"Negotiations continued over the weekend and are ongoing," the Alcoa spokeswoman said.

The union didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Domestic producers and extruders have been buzzing about these discussions since midyear, fearing that if the Pittsburgh-based producer and USW fail to reach an agreement and workers either go on strike or are locked out, the already-tight North American billet market could become even more sparse next year.

"We’re sitting here waiting to see what happens in Quebec," one consumer said. "That’s the next big thing. If (a strike) is just a matter of days, I don’t think it’s too much of an issue. But if (a strike) extends to weeks, there would be an issue for everyone, certainly in North America."

The USW started parking trailers in front of the facility last week in anticipation of a lockout (, Nov. 13).

Alcoa owns 74.95 percent of ABI and Rio Tinto Alcan, Montreal, owns 25.05 percent.

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