Feds pump $4 million into green aluminum production

By Robert Frank

Conservative cabinet minister Denis Lebel visited Orbite Aluminae’s technology development centre in Laval, Jan. 30, to announce that the federal government had granted the firm $4 million to invest it its aluminum production facilities.

The company has developed technology at its Laval laboratory that permits it to produce high-grade alumina—as well as rare earths and rare metals—without generating toxic red mud that has long been the bane of traditional aluminum manufacturing.

“It’s our job to support such organizations,” said Minister Lebel, who is responsible for the federal Economic Development Agency of Canada. “By supporting the start-up of Orbite’s high-purity aluminum production, we’re again acknowledging the role that business plays in stimulating economic growth and job creation. Orbite embarked on this project a few years ago, and Economic Development Canada has been behind it from the start.”

“We’ve invested $75 million to date,” added Orbite chief operating officer Glenn Kelly. “The $4 million loan will permit us to get into production in 2015.”

In addition to permitting Orbite to create some 50 jobs at its facility in Cap Chat, in the Gaspé region of Quebec, the project will create two-to-three new jobs at the firm’s Laval research facility. 

“Not only here in Laval, but also at Orbite’s head office in St. Laurent,” Kelly told The Suburban during a news conference. Officials said that the $4 million loan will be repaid without any interest or other conditions attached.

“This is one of the most important federal government announcements in recent years,” enthused Upper Gaspé reeve Alain Cormier about the environment-friendly aluminum plant. “It’s a historic moment in the industrial world. We’re proud to have it here. It’s a major step that will play a pivotal role in the economic development of our region.”
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