Alcoa approved the next phase of a five-year, $2.1 billion investment plan for its Baie-Comeau, Deschambault and Becancour smelters in Quebec. The plan, which will increase production capacity by 120,000 metric tons per year, includes 25-year power contracts for all three smelters and allows the aluminum smelter in Baie-Comeau to immediately undertake the last engineering phase of its modernization project, with plans to have a new potline in service by the end of 2015. As part of the modernization at Baie-Comeau, the older smelting pots using Soderberg technology will be replaced with an all-new electrolysis potline developed by Alcoa with an annual production capacity of 160,000 metric tons.

In addition, the preliminary engineering phase of the Deschambault smelter’s amperage increase project will be launched as early as the end of this year. The investments will allow Alcoa to optimize every megawatt-hour of power used in the Quebec smelters. Through technology advancements made at Alcoa’s global Smelting Center of Excellence, the plan will also allow Deschambault to increase its capacity by 25,000 metric tons per year. Roughly 6,800 job-years will be sustained during the construction phase of the Baie-Comeau modernization, generating about $500 million in economic spinoffs.