MRO Magazine

Alcan expands operations in Quebec

Montreal, QC -- Alcan Inc. has been in the news lately following the announcement of two new facilities to be built...


December 11, 2003
By MRO Magazine

Montreal, QC — Alcan Inc. has been in the news lately following the announcement of two new facilities to be built in Quebec, and an award naming the company the top Canadian corporate citizen.

Alcan is a multinational, market-driven company and a global leader in aluminum, packaging and recycling with 2002 revenues of US$12.5 billion. Alcan is the only fully integrated manufacturer of aluminum cable, rod and strip products operating throughout North America.

Alcan Cable has three manufacturing operations in the U.S. and two in Canada. Alcan Cable also has a distribution warehouse in Canada. Alcan Cable, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is a division of Alcan Products Corporation. Owner Alcan Inc. is based in Montreal, Que.

The Canadian facilities are located in Concord, Ont., Shawinigan, Que. and Jonquiere, Que.


The Concord Distribution Centre, located north of Toronto, supplies distributor and utility customers with a wide range of products.

Shawinigan’s St. Maurice Plant manufactures a full range of bare aluminum overhead conductor, insulated secondary underground and overhead service cables, Nual aluminum building wire, and aluminum strip.

The Lapointe Works in Jonquiere produces electrical and mechanical aluminum alloy redraw rod using the “Properzi Continuous Cast” process. The rod is available in a variety of alloys and standard diameters for the purpose of manufacturing finished products such as building wire and utility cables. Other downstream applications include screen wire, co-axial cable, shielding wire, cold heading applications, flexible conduit and armor for electrical cable.

In September 2003, Alcan Inc. announced a C$25-million investment for the construction of a new manufacturing facility for the production of aluminum structural assemblies for the automotive industry in the Saguenay region of Quebec. The facility will create 35 new jobs with a potential of reaching close to 50 employees.

“The new plant expands on the significant expertise Alcan has developed in Europe in the application of aluminum for automotive structural and crash-management systems and we are confident these products will find a receptive market in North America,” said Travis Engen, president and CEO of Alcan Inc. “It demonstrates our commitment to Quebec to developing value-creating products and to promoting economic diversification in the regions where we operate.”

That development was followed on Oct. 17, 2003, with news that Alcan will invest up to C$150 million in the construction of a treatment plant in Saguenay to deal with spent potlining (SPL).

Spent potlining is the material removed from the bottom of electrolytic cells used to produce aluminum. Over the course of their five-to-eight-year lifespan, various chemicals accumulate in the lining of the cells during smelting. The lining must be treated or stored in accordance with government regulations. Finding an effective way to treat SPL has been a crucial environmental issue for the aluminum industry.

“We are particularly proud since the technology we will be using at this plant was developed by Alcan’s R&D team in the province of Quebec,” said Cynthia Carroll, president of Alcan’s Primary Metal Group. “This home-grown technology will not only treat the SPL, but also completely recycle the component substances. We have here a great example of Alcan innovation and our commitment to finding sustainable and financially attractive solutions. The new plant will be an example for the rest of the aluminum industry. “

The 80,000-tonne-per-year treatment facility will be built in Saguenay and will create 50 new direct jobs in the region. It will use Alcan’s Low Caustic Leaching & Liming (LCLL) Process. Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2004.

Last June, Alcan Inc. received an award for being Canada’s best corporate citizen. It placed first out of the TSX 100 companies judged in 2003 by Corporate Knights magazine. The Canadian-based multinational also ranked first in the materials sector in a field of 21 other corporations.

“We’re extremely pleased to be receiving this recognition,” said Engen. “Our governing objective of Maximizing Value is being recognized by many businesses and international agencies. Alcan’s 53,000 employees are executing our business plan and strive, through continuous improvement, to be the best.”

The 100 companies examined by Corporate Knights were ranked on their performance based on seven criteria: community relations, international practices, product safety, business practices, corporate governance, employee relations and diversity. Corporate Knights enhanced their analytical process this year by using three independent research groups to evaluate the rankings. Each group of researchers used the same parameters.

“Alcan is a good example of how a firm can forge sustainability with profitability. In a world that requires business to step up to the plate on their broader responsibilities, Alcan has set an evolving standard that other companies should shoot for”, declared Toby Heaps, publisher of Corporate Knights magazine.

Corporate Knights considers itself a bridge between corporate Canada and its environmental and social stakeholders. They are devoted to exploring the “intersection” of business, finance and public policy. Founded in 2001, Corporate Knights publishes a quarterly corporate social responsibility magazine available at newsstands and as an insert in The Globe and Mail.