Workers at the Alma plant heard the news on Tuesday.
The multinational Rio Tinto is investing 240 million Canadian dollars for the construction of an aluminum billet manufacturing center at its Alma facilities. The investment will create around 40 jobs.
Representatives of the Anglo-Australian giant made the announcement on Wednesday morning in the presence of numerous dignitaries, including Quebec's Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon.
“We will be able to process more of the metal produced here. The plant will also allow us to better meet the needs of North American customers. »
— Patrice Bergeron, Alma plant manager, Rio Tinto
The site should open in May 2023 and commissioning is scheduled for the beginning of 2025.
This new center will produce approximately 202 tonnes of aluminum billets per year.
“This represents an important strategic development for the future of our facilities here in the region. »
— Sébastien Ross, Director of Operations – Atlantic, Rio Tinto
Ministers Pierre Fitzgibbon and Andrée Laforest attended the announcement in Alma.
“The new billet casting center will meet the growing demand for low carbon aluminum, primarily in the automotive industries. automotive and construction. »
—Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy of Quebec
This project, which had been in the air for several years, had been put on ice in 2019. The company then claimed that the price of aluminum was not favorable to investment. The market has changed a lot since then.
The multinational estimates that the benefits of this new production center will be $200 million in Quebec, including $65 million in Saguenay–Lac-Saint alone. -John.
The union representative of Alma workers, Sylvain Maltais, also spoke at the press conference. He was greeted with thunderous applause from the employees on site. Visibly moved, the union president said he was extremely proud of this announcement.
Alma plant manager Patrice Bergeron (center) and union president Sylvain Maltais (on the right) spoke during the meeting with the media.
This project represents a lot of work, especially since many had doubts about the realization of the plant. […] I am confident that we will position the plant for further investment in the future. Alma II, I will not let go, he mentioned.
He said the first discussions he had regarding this billet plant project date back to 2017.