Rio Tinto in talks to sell Quebec aluminum plant

Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:47pm EST
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By Josephine Mason

NEW YORK Jan 27 (Reuters) - A small Canadian aluminum producer is in talks to take over Rio Tinto Alcan's aluminum casthouse in Shawinigan, Quebec, rescuing the plant from closure at the end of this year, the fund's project leader told Reuters on Monday.

Sotrem, a company based in Saguenay, Quebec, that makes aluminum foundry alloys and deox, a type of aluminum used to remove oxygen in steel production, is leading the deal to buy the plant, said Yvon D'Anjou, who is in charge of the project.

"We expect to come to a consensus in the next few months," said D'Anjou.

He is familiar with the plant, having worked as head of business development at Alcan until 2008, he said.

A spokesman for Rio Tinto confirmed in an email that the company has entered exclusive negotiations for the sale of the casthouse, but did not give any further details.

Under a plan drawn up by Sotrem, the casthouse would produce 35,000-40,000 tonnes per year of small-diameter extrusion billet, a niche product used to make gas cylinders and scuba diving tanks, D'Anjou said.

That capacity could increase to 60,000 tonnes in the next two years if there was demand.

The smelter on site, which Alcan shut towards the end of last year, is not included in the deal, he said.   Continued...