The upgrade of the Kitimat smelter would increase its production by more than 60%, from its current 245,000 tons/yr to approximately 400,000 tons/yr. Alcan’s agreement with BC Hydro includes a ‘smelter first provision’ ensuring that power deliveries to the smelter would take priority over sales to BC Hydro. However, Alcan would sell any surplus power directly to BC Hydro, signalling an end to power sales to BC Hydro’s subsidiary, Powerex, as of 31 December 2006.

The implementation of the modernisation project is subject to the final approval of Alcan’s Board of Directors and to certain conditions including environmental permits and the successful conclusion of agreements with BC Hydro and the CAW union (Canada’s largest private sector union).

The first of the new capacity is expected to come online in 2009, with final metal online by the end of 2011.