Since 1989, Bechtel has helped Quebec emerge as a world leader in aluminum production by building four smelters in the province. Two of them were completed for Alcan, including the Alma smelter, whose capacity of more than 400,000 tons per year makes it one of the world’s largest. Bechtel provided engineering management, procurement, and construction management for the $1.7 billion project, which began commercial operation in the third quarter of 2000.
The Alma project included construction of a carbon plant, a reduction plant, a casting center, and supporting infrastructure. At the peak of construction, more than 4,500 workers were on site, in the small town of Alma on the shores of Lac Saint-Jean.
Bechtel managed a team of architecture and engineering firms and worked closely with Alcan to incorporate the company’s proprietary process equipment and technology into the Alma project. The result: a facility that produces five times as much aluminum as a nearby plant while requiring only 35 percent more workers. The Alma smelter also is gentler on the environment, thanks to innovative emissions reduction features developed by Alcan and implemented with Bechtel’s help. Bechtel contributed expertise of its own in the form of ProjectWorks®, automation software that utilizes specialized modules to coordinate all phases of design and construction.
For more information, see the June 1999 Bechtel Briefs (pdf).