ALVANCE Aluminium, a member GFG Alliance, plans to invest £94 million (US$124.4 million) in its Fort William smelter in Scotland. The project will expand the plant’s capabilities to include a new recycling and casting facility for the production of GREENALUMINIUM billet.
“Recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy needed to produce primary aluminum and is a key part of GFG’s CN30 mission to be carbon neutral by 2030,” said Sanjeev Gupta, GFG Alliance executive chairman. “By utilizing domestic scrap aluminum that is currently exported, we will nearly double production here at Fort William. These investments will make us more competitive and will deliver a higher value product in the form of billet for construction to domestic and export markets.”
The new recycling and casting facility will produce around 40,000 tonnes of high quality aluminum billet per year for the domestic construction sector, which currently relies heavily on imports. This will increase the total capacity at the Fort William facility to just over 80,000 tonnes of billet per year. To support this development, ALVANCE is also proposing significant upgrades to the nearby port of Corpach to improve efficiency of material flow.
With current smelting processes already powered by GFG Alliance’s zero emission hydro-electric power, the new addition of aluminum recycling and expansion into downstream billets will allow ALVANCE to manufacture some of the most sustainably produced billets in the world — which will be sold under the brand GREENALUMINIUM. The company believes this will give it a competitive advantage as the demand for sustainable aluminum grows.
The Fort William expansion project is expected to secure the long-term future of the Fort William aluminum smelter, safeguarding 200 local jobs and creating 70 new high quality roles. “I’m very pleased to be putting these plans forward which will provide a long-term future for our Fort William operations,” said Brian King, chairman of ALVANCE British Aluminium. “Since putting forward our original plans for a wheels factory, the automotive industry has gone through significant decline in the U.K. Fortunately, the construction industry is buoyant and is using ever more aluminum billet giving us the chance to produce a quality product making use of primary metal from the smelter and recycled scrap. There will be opportunities for local firms to be involved in the construction of the new facilities and new job opportunities for local people.”
ALVANCE has submitted proposals to the Highlands Council for approval. These proposals will replace the previously announced plan for an alloy wheels factory. Once approved, the company will be able to move forward on the new integrated business plan and associated developments.
“The Scottish Government is committed to working with ALVANCE Aluminium to secure the long-term future of the Fort William smelter and grow output and employment through investment in downstream manufacturing capability,” said Fergus Ewing MSP, cabinet secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism. “We will work with ALVANCE to consider the new business plan and to secure the earliest possible investment in the Fort William complex.”
Subject to approvals and any further impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, ALVANCE aims to commence the new development works in 2021 — targeting full operation by 2024.