Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance said last week it is preparing to invest £94 million in the construction of a new aluminium recycling facility in Scotland at its existing aluminium smelter at Lochaber.
Local media said the investment would also include a doubling of the aluminium smelter’s nameplate capacity, bringing it to 80 thousand metric tons per annum of aluminium billet.
The announcement marks a change in direction for Alvance’s plans, as an aluminium wheel plant was initially planned for the site. However, due to the economic downturn, the demand for aluminium wheels by the European automotive industry has receded.
Also planned as part of the project are renovations to the nearby port of Corpach to improve material flow to and from the plant.
Alvance has applied for approval from the local government, and development work is expected to commence next year. The firm says the new plant is expected to be online by 2024. The new plant will be powered by the nearby hydroelectric facility in Kinlochleven, which GFG Alliance acquired four years ago.
GFG’S chief investment officer Jay Hambro explained the reasoning for building a recycled aluminium plant at the site to local media.
“One of the key things happening in the smelter here is we are almost doubling capacity by introducing scrap metal into the process. So I think we are right in saying that we probably have some of the greenest aluminium in the world as a liquid product going into the construction material.”
“We have been going through a process of working with construction contractors for some time, so we are confident we will start on or before the spring of 2021,” he continued.
“The transformation plan we’re announcing today underlines our commitment to investing in Scotland and our belief in the bright future of green aluminium,” explained Gupta. “Recycling aluminium saves 95 per cent of the energy needed to produce primary aluminium and is a key part of GFG’s CN30 mission to be carbon neutral by 2030. By utilising domestic scrap aluminium that is currently exported, we will nearly double production here at Fort William. These investments will make us more competitive and will deliver a higher value product in the form of billet for construction to domestic and export markets.”