In February 2007 UC RUSAL acquired a majority stake in ALSCON and immediately began a large scale modernization programme of the smelter, which has been out of operation for eight years. The modernization programme includes completing the construction of the smelter, as well as upgrading the existing production technology.
The smelter includes two potlines, an anode rodding shop, a cast house area and various infrastructure facilities, including a port on the Imo River and a power-generating gas station. To date, the first start-up section of the cast house has been launched; dry scrubbers installed; two gas-turbine units have been refurbished; the anode rodding shop has been completed and a system of alumina transportation has been organized. The automated management system of technological processes, which is successfully applied at UC RUSAL’s facilities all over the world, has also been implemented at the plant.
As part of the technological modernization programme, the smelter’s cells are being upgraded using technology designed by UC RUSAL’s Engineering and Construction Division to increase the cell’s productivity and efficiency. The first section of ten reduction cells has been put into operation and 40 more will follow in March out of the 140 cells to be put in operation by the end of the year. In 2010 the total production capacity of the plant is expected to reach 197,000 tonnes per annum.
Once ALSCON reaches full capacity, the smelter will provide 1,900 jobs. Associated small and medium size businesses to support the smelter and the development of necessary infrastructure will also generate approximately 20,000 related jobs in Akwa Ibom state.
The modernization programme also includes dredging the Imo River, which will enable the company to take full advantage of the smelter’s favourable location and ensure direct supplies of raw materials can be delivered by river. This project is a priority for UC RUSAL as the proper operation of the plant is only possible if dredging of the Imo River is successfully completed. UC RUSAL is also completing its research and development phase. Once this is finalised in the summer, the company will issue a tender for the project execution. UC Rusal will consult with the local community to ensure that their interests are taken into account, before starting the dredging of the Imo River in the second half of 2008.
“The launch of the ALSCON smelter in Nigeria demonstrates that UC RUSAL is successfully implementing its strategic goal of creating a full production cycle in Western Africa as well as once again proving the company’s ability to develop business on all five continents,” said Alexander Bulygin , UC RUSAL CEO. “We are pleased to be able to export our production technologies and management practices to create a highly efficient and technologically advanced aluminium production in Nigeria. It will contribute significantly to the economic development of the region, create new jobs and add to the general growth of social well-being in the country by delivering necessary infrastructure, helping to developing small and medium-scale business and through social programs.”
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