Rio Tinto Alcan aluminum smelter employs 1,000, exports $600 million annually to U.S.
Vancouver’s shipbuilding and construction industries could pay more for steel and aluminum if the U.S. revokes an exemption granted to Canada under plans to impose 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% tariffs on aluminum imports.
But no community in B.C. would suffer more than Kitimat under the tariffs if they result in a worst-case scenario: layoffs or even a complete shutdown of the Rio Tinto Alcan (NYSE:RIO) smelter there.
The smelter is Kitimat’s biggest employer and taxpayer. With a workforce of 1,000, it employs one out of every six people in the town of 6,400 inhabitants. It sells roughly $600 million worth of aluminum to the U.S. annually, so a 10% tariff would add $60 million to U.S. prices.
Despite a $6 billion expansion and modernization in 2014 and 2015 that increased the smelter’s production capacity and shrank its carbon profile, the smelter faces both international and local pressures.
While the modernization reduced some pollutants from the smelter’s operations, the increased production capacity also resulted in a doubling of the smelter’s sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions.
For the rest of this article: https://biv.com/article/2018/03/kitimat-would-be-biggest-loser-if-us-revokes-tariff-exemption