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Alcan was a Canadian mining company and aluminium manufacturer. It was founded in 1902 as the Northern Aluminium Company, Limited, renamed Aluminium Company of Canada, Limited in 1925, and Alcan Aluminium Limited in 1966. It took the name Alcan Incorporated in 2001. During that time, it grew to become one of the world’s largest aluminium manufacturers.

Alcan was purchased by Australian/European multinational Rio Tinto for $38 billion in 2007, becoming Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. in 2008. It is headquartered in Montreal, Canada, in its Maison Alcan complex.[1] In 2015, Alcan is scheduled to move its HQ from the building and relocate to the Deloitte Tower, which will be situated between Windsor Station and the Bell Centre.[2]


The Northern Aluminium Company Limited was founded in 1902, in Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada, as part of the Pittsburgh Reduction Company. In 1913, the company opened a kitchen utensil production plant and foundry in Toronto. It opened a rolling mill in the plant a few years later.

During the First World War (1914–18), aluminium production shot to 131,000 tonnes from 69,000.[3]

In 1925, the company was renamed the Aluminium Company of Canada. The Aluminium Company of Canada was responsible for rapid development in Arvida, today a part of the city of Saguenay in Quebec, by contributing to the construction of major ports and railway facilities. It began production at its sheet rolling and extrusion facility in Ontario in 1940.[4]

In 1931, the Northern Aluminium Co. Ltd. or Alcan Industries Ltd. pig and rolled Aluminium factory was opened on land acquired in 1929 on the east of the Southam road, in the then hamlet of Hardwick. The various Alcan facilities on the 53-acre site closed between 2006 and 2007. The factory was demolished between 2008 and 2009. The laboratory was also closed in 2004 and demolished in 2009.

In 1945, the Aluminium Company of Canada was officially registered under the trade name Alcan.[5] In 1951, it initiated a $500-million project at Kitimat, British Columbia, the largest public-private partnership ever introduced in Canada at the time.[6]

In 1994 Alcan sold their building products unit (with a plant in Scarborough) to Genstar Capital Corporation and the location later closed and demolished.

Between 1998 and 2001, the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean became the largest construction site in North America, as Alcan undertook a $3-billion construction project in Alma with a yearly production capacity of 400,000 metric tonnes. In 2000, Alcan acquired Algroup (Alusuisse Group Ltd.), merging the companies to become Alcan, Inc. in 2001. Alcan became the second biggest primary aluminium production company. It then became the world's largest aluminium manufacturer in 2004 after acquiring the Pechiney Group, the fourth player in worldwide production and fabrication of aluminium and the number 3 in packaging.[7]


In 2007, Rio Tinto acquired Alcan Inc., after a US$38 billion deal. Rio Tinto became the world’s leading aluminum producer. Rio Tinto quickly announced its intention to sell off the Engineered Products and Packaging business groups.[6] Alcan Incorporated was amalgamated with Rio Tinto Canada Holding Incorporated and renamed Rio Tinto Alcan Incorporated in 2008.[8]

In 2010, Alcan Packaging was sold to Amcor.[9]

In 2011, Rio Tinto received a binding offer from Apollo Global Management and FSI (Fonds stratégique d'investissement) to acquire 51% and 10% respectively of Alcan Engineered Products (excluding Cable). Rio Tinto retains 39%.


  1. ^ Maison Alcan. Lonely Planet. 
  2. ^ Marotte, Bertrand (11 July 2013). "Rio Tinto Alcan moving Montreal headquarters". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Jean Simard. "Home - Dialogue Sur L'Aluminium". Aac.aluminium.qc.ca. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  4. ^ Jean Simard. "Home - Dialogue Sur L'Aluminium". Aac.aluminium.qc.ca. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  5. ^ Jean Simard. "Home - Dialogue Sur L'Aluminium". Aac.aluminium.qc.ca. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  6. ^ Jean Simard. "Home - Dialogue Sur L'Aluminium". Aac.aluminium.qc.ca. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  7. ^ Jean Simard. "Home - Dialogue Sur L'Aluminium". Aac.aluminium.qc.ca. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  8. ^ "Media releases - Rio Tinto Offer for Alcan - additional shares acquired". Rio Tinto. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  9. ^ "Amcor completes acquisition of Alcan Packaging - 2010-02-02 15:25:52". Packaging Digest. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 

External links[edit]

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2703 news items

The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail
Thu, 07 Aug 2014 10:26:53 -0700

Rio Tinto Alcan's former chief executive officer, Jacynthe Côté, had said that difficulty in finding the right workers pushed the project off schedule and over budget. There are about 1,100 employees at Kitimat and nearly 3,000 people working on the ...
Bristol Press
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 22:06:30 -0700

27, 1942, and became a private first class in the 341st Engineers at work building the Alcan Highway in Canada. He died 'doing his duty in service for others,' Feb. 13, 1943, from injuries received in an explosion after he had volunteered to fight a ...
Reuters UK
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 21:18:45 -0700

Alcan of Canada, acquired by Rio Tinto in 2007, was stripped by the government of leases on the deposit in 2004 after failing to develop a mine over a 29-year period. Questions over the relatively low quality of the 439-million-tonne reserve have done ...
Thu, 07 Aug 2014 04:13:54 -0700

Shawinigan croyait pourtant bien échapper au pire puisque, plusieurs mois avant l'annonce de la fermeture prématurée de Rio Tinto Alcan, des pourparlers très prometteurs étaient en cours avec le premier producteur mondial de silicium, FerroAtlántica.
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 13:45:10 -0700

Rio Tinto Alcan (RTA) fait face à des accusations relatives à la Loi sur la qualité de l'environnement, qui pourrait lui valoir une très lourde amende. Une enquête de plus d'un an et demi menée par le ministère du Développement durable, de l ...


Thu, 28 Aug 2014 06:18:45 -0700

So in 2007, mining giant Rio Tinto acquired Alcan at the top of the cycle and destroyed tons of shareholder value in the process. Of course, not all of these mergers ended as badly as Rio's. In 2001, Billiton merged with BHP to combine mining with oil ...
Winchester Herald Chronicle
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 06:59:12 -0700

“I have ridden the Pacific Highway, the Million Dollar Highway, the Alcan, Route 66, and the Loneliest Road in America, to name a few,” Battles said. “I have traveled oceanto-ocean and border-to-border, and I want you to know, we live in the greatest ...
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 05:33:45 -0700

22, 2014 /CNW/ - Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) is pleased to announce the appointment of Jacynthe Côté to its Board of Directors, effective September 1, 2014. Ms. Côté was President and Chief Executive Officer of Rio Tinto Alcan from 2009 ...

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