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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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1968 news items

Stabroek News
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 02:11:15 -0700

With regard to the first part of Mr McLean's statement, there are several reports that show Alcan and even Reynolds paying corporation tax in the 1960s which I think is not outside the realm of recorded history. In the case of the state-owned industry ...
RTT News
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 00:25:28 -0700

Norwegian aluminum producer Norsk Hydro ASA (NHYDY.PK,NHYKF.PK,NHY: Quote) said that Hydro and Rio Tinto Alcan or RTA have signed an agreement for Hydro to take over RTA's share of the aluminium smelter Sør-Norge Aluminium AS or Søral in ...
Fri, 04 Jul 2014 04:01:47 -0700

Aluminium company Hydro and Rio Tinto Alcan (RTA) have signed an agreement for Hydro to take over RTA's share of the aluminium smelter Sør-Norge Aluminium AS (Søral) in Norway. Following the closing of the agreement, the plant will become Hydro's ...
Squamish Chief
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 11:09:10 -0700

A women's team from the Squamish Dragon Boat Association (SDBA) enjoyed great weather and some fierce competition at the recent Alcan Dragon Boat Festival in Vancouver. Team Chawanda, made up of 17 women from Squamish with a couple of ...
Langley AdvanceNews
Wed, 25 Jun 2014 10:15:00 -0700

Dragon boat racing has its roots in ancient Chinese myths and legends and originated in Southern China where traditionally the races were held on the Summer Solstice, hence the Rio Tinto Alcan Festival also taking place each year on this special day.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 04:26:15 -0700

Il s'agit d'un ajout modeste, mais qui annonce peut-être des jours meilleurs pour Rio Tinto Alcan. D'autres producteurs, comme Alcoa, qui n'ont pas accès à de l'énergie à aussi bas prix, continuent de fermer des usines et de réduire leur production.

The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail
Sun, 13 Jul 2014 20:02:35 -0700

Now, the report is the subject of a tug-of-war between the province and appellants in the EAB case, which concerns sulphur dioxide emissions from the Rio Tinto Alcan smelter in Kitimat. The province says it received a draft of the Kitimat Airshed ...
Business Spectator
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:28:20 -0700

The deal was Rio's first since its troubled $40bn acquisition of Alcan in 2007 and it's consequently no surprise that current Rio boss Sam Walsh this week said he 'doubted' his firm would make a major acquisition anytime soon. Meanwhile, the nation's ...

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