Highland smelter wants to double capacity

Posted on 21 Oct 2018 and read 523 times
Highland smelter wants to double capacityThe owner of the Fort William aluminium smelter wants to alter plans for its proposed £120 million alloy wheel factory — to enable it to double the output.

With preparations to build the 400-employee plant under way, GFG Alliance is now considering an option to change the design so that it could be adapted to increase capacity and create more jobs.

The company said the move followed a “very encouraging” response from UK car manufacturers to the prospect of being able to source alloy wheels in Scotland, rather than having to import their entire supply.

The current design of the smelter — approved by Highland Council earlier this year — allows for a plant that would use half the aluminium produced in Fort William, with the rest being sold to other factories around the UK.

GFG said its long-term aim was to “optimise the value” of the smelter and its associated hydro-power schemes by turning all the metal produced there into alloy wheels.

Brian King, GFG’s Lochaber operations director (www.gfgalliance.com), said: “At present, almost all of the eight million alloy wheels used in British-made cars come from abroad.

"That’s going to change, and Scotland will be the flag-bearer for that change.

"We’re looking at ways of future-proofing the plant to ensure its long-term sustainability. That would save time and money down the line, if we need to increase capacity.

"We’ll be discussing this with local communities and Highland Council as part of our preparations to build the factory.”

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