Alba declined to give a value for the EPCM contract, but said that the award will allow on-site construction to begin in the first quarter of 2003 and for the project to be completed by mid 2005.

The new potline will comprise 336 cells, with a total production capacity of 307,000 tonnes a year, and will be based on the AP 30 technology developed by France’s Pechiney. In addition, a new casthouse and carbon plant will be installed. Hatch carried out the project’s front-end engineering and design (FEED).

To fire the new potline, Alba is planning a 550-MW expansion of its own generating capacity, which currently stands at 1,500 MW. The UK’s Mott MacDonaldwas formally appointed in June as the engineering and construction manager for the power element.

Alba produced 514,000 tonnes of aluminium in 2001, marginally up from the 512,000 tonnes in 2000.