Alucam, the Cameroon venture of Canadian aluminum giant Alcan Inc., held public consultations in December on a plan to expand its Cameroon aluminum smelter, including construction of the 56-MW Lom Pangar hydroelectric project to power it.
Alucam General Manager Raphael Titi Manyaka said the company has started technical and economic studies to more than triple production at its Edea smelter. Feasibility of the project requires construction of Lom Pangar by the government, which would provide electricity for the project and the Cameroon grid.
In October 2005, Alcan signed a letter of intent with the Cameroon government for the upgrade and expansion of their Alucam joint-venture, plus construction of the new hydroelectric plant on the Sanaga River. The letter of intent allowed the company two years to test the quality, quantity, and accessibility of deposits of bauxite, the raw material for aluminum.
“The expansion of the Edea factory, which will raise production from 90,000 to 300,000 tons per year, is the option chosen by Alucam as the most favorable to maintain and reinforce industrial activities in the whole region,” Titi Manyaka said.
The smelter’s expansion combined with the hydro project would require 675 billion Central French African francs (US$1.37 billion), 30 percent of which would be direct investment in Cameroon, Titi Manyaka noted.
Construction of Lom Pangar also is expected to increase generation of the downstream projects, 396-MW Song Loulou and 263-MW Edea. (HNN 12/21/06)
“Alucam hopes to set up economic activities that will contribute to sustainable development for the entire region,” he said, adding that local people would be employed in the construction and running of the project.
An environmental impact assessment is under way in order to evaluate the effect on the natural and human environment. Public consultations were held in December.
Alcan and the Cameroon government agreed on a set of conditions in order for this project to be realized. If they are met and the findings of the various studies are positive, Alcan and Cameroon could proceed with the expansion of Alucam. Alcan and the government each own 46.7 percent of Alucam.