Alcoa Corporation on Wednesday announced that it would immediately begin to curtail half of the one operating potline at the Aluminerie de Bécancour Inc. (ABI) smelter in Québec, Canada.
The Bécancour aluminium smelter, owned by Alcoa (74.95%) and Rio Tinto Alcan (25.05%), has nameplate capacity of 413,000 tonnes per year, across its three potlines. Two of the facility’s potlines were curtailed in January 2018, after union members rejected a proposed labour agreement for hourly employees. The one operating line has a nameplate capacity of 138,000 tpy, of which 103,000 tonnes represent Alcoa’s ownership interest. This partial curtailment is expected to be complete by today (21 December).
Since the lockout, ABI’s salaried employees have operated the one potline, performed maintenance, restored stability and improved metal quality. The additional curtailment, however, was necessary to ensure continued safety and maintenance in light of recent retirements and departures, said Alcoa. The salaried employees who remain will continue to ensure that the smelter can be ready for a potential restart. After extensive negotiations this year, ABI and the union have yet to reach an agreement on key terms to improve productivity and profitability.