20 January 2009

But will Charest expropriate?

Alcan closes a smelter and slashes production in the latest round of cuts and adjustments:

    • A further six per cent reduction in aluminium production, bringing the total reduction to approximately 11 per cent, and close to six per cent reduction in alumina production
    • Reduction in global workforce by approximately 1100 roles (300 contractors and 800 employee roles)
    • Substantial cost reduction programmes in Rio Tinto Alcan facilities worldwide
    • Permanent closure of Beauharnois smelter in Quebec, Canada
    • Production at Vaudreuil alumina refinery in Canada to be temporarily curtailed by 400,000 tonnes
    • Expected sale of interest in Alcan Ningxia joint venture in China
    • As previously announced, the anticipated ending of smelting operations at Anglesey Aluminium joint venture in the United Kingdom in September 2009 when the current power contract expires. The impact on production and headcount is included in these figures.



Peter L. Whittle said...

Why would Charest do that?. Even with he closure of the Beauharnois smelter, ALCAN will employ 7000 people in Quebec.

Alcan also operates six hydroelectric power plants, with an average annual production capacity of some 17.5 TWh.

It invests for the future in Quebec, for example the Alma smelter.

It has paid more than CAN$800 million to the Quebec government in charges relating to water usage.

I do not hear any talk of Alcan selling its hydroelectric assets to other companies to generate cash.

Water and electricity are at the very heart of Alcan's presence in Quebec. Without a long-term supply of electricity and those water rights the company would be uncompetitive.

Now if Alcan was shutting down all of its operations and than selling its hydro assets in such a way that might impact Quebec's energy plan in such a ways ti impact economic development I am sure Charest would be looking at his options.

WJM said...

Why would Charest do that?

Why did Danny?

Edward G. Hollett said...

Well, Peter, since your sense of humour detector is obviously busted, let's play along.

ALCAN received things from the people of Quebec to develop for the people of Quebec.

Now if you want to look at the local situation, let's see:

ALCAN operates hydro plants just as Abitibi did up until they were expropriated.

If ALCAN doesn't need all that capacity any more what will it do with hydro assets? Interesting question and one you are likely to leave unanswered since it undermines your own position.

In addition, though, doesn't ALCAN received electricity from HQ at massive subsidies?

ALCAN invests? Obviously not at Beauharnois. That plant was scheduled to close in 2015 because its technology is old, out-moded antiquated and otherwise clapping out.

There's your investment for you. Bleeding the people of Beauharnois dry and leaving nothing in return to borrow the rhetoric of the local expropriation fanatics.

But let's leave all the fun and humour to one side. One can play silly rhetorical games about Abitibi - as the expropriators do - or one can deal with the issues seriously.

There's something more interesting to discuss and that's your last comment.

You claim, by implication, that
Abitibi was planning to sell its hydro assets in such a way as to:

a. impact [the province's] energy plan, and to do so

b. "in such a ways to impact economic development."

Do you have any evidence or argument to back that one up or are you just pulling it out of thin air?

Of course, you might well claim you never actually said Abitibi, that you were just speaking hypothetically. But then again, if that's your position that would be more of the local pols old-fashioned rhetoric.

Do you have a shred of evidence or explanation to back up your insinuation?

WJM said...

Now if Alcan was shutting down all of its operations and than selling its hydro assets in such a way that might impact Quebec's energy plan

Energy plan?

The only governments I know of that are thoroughly fixated on "plans" are those of moral compasses like Mae Tse Tung's, Enver Hoxha's, and Danny Williams'.

in such a ways ti impact economic development I am sure Charest would be looking at his options.

How would Abitibi, as former operator of a hydro facility in Newfoundland, be "impacting" "economic development" in Newfoundland by selling its operation to some other operator?

What's that operator going to do? Transmit that power to a customer in, um, well, Newfoundland?

Set up a big battery-charging plant to export Our Dear Energy?

The real fear, it would seem, is that a company might actually turn a buck for its shareholders. And as long as that's a fear for the NDP government of Newfoundland. and Labrador, then the business climate is going to sour even worse than it already has.

Where's Bradley George when you need him?

Winston Smith said...

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Dangovt's amazing recycling program, which, along with NALCO, is putting the province at the cutting edge of energy technology:

No doubt this is part of a super secret energy plan to use all those worn-out tires to dam the Lower Churchill and the old cans to construct a power grid.

That Dangovt..you just don't know what amazing thing they're going to do next.