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Rio Tinto Alcan plans for capacity addition in Quebec ‘on ice’

Keywords: Tags  Rio Tinto Alcan, Jerome Lucaes, Kitimat, expansion, aluminum, Michael Cowden

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. expects its expanded operations in Kitimat, British Columbia, to begin production next year, according to a company executive.

But the Montreal-based aluminum producer’s plans to expand capacity in Quebec have been put on hold, Jerome Lucaes, the company’s director of product stewardship, said during a question-and-answer session at the Platts Aluminum Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "We had plans, but the current situation has put a lot of plans on ice for the moment."

Lucaes declined to answer further questions about the time line on Kitimat or any potential expansions in Quebec, citing company policy not to talk to media at the event.

Rio Tinto Alcan has said the modernization of its Kitimat smelter is on track for start-up by the end of 2014 (, Dec. 3).

During the session, Lucaes characterized the aluminum industry as cyclical. It is currently in a "down phase" but "poised for long-term, remarkable growth," he said.

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