With an annual production of 3.2 million metric tons, Canada is the fourth-largest producer of primary aluminum in the world. Even more impressive, nearly 90% of Canadian aluminum is produced in Québec.
Aluminum is the second largest sector in Québec after aerospace. With an export value of $7.1 billion, this sector represents 10% of the province's export market and 5% of all manufacturing shipments. Without a doubt, aluminum is a major industry in Québec.
Aluminum produced in Québec is the greenest in the world as more than 97% of all the energy produced in Québec is renewable and almost entirely hydroelectric. In fact, primary aluminum produced in Québec generates 67% and 76% less greenhouse gas than primary aluminium produced in the Middle East or China, respectively.
Québec Aluminium’s Energy Efficiency Advantage
Source : Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation, MEI
These two major economic powers are the two largest producers of primary aluminum in the world and mainly use coal energy to produce it. For example, in China, 90% of the electricity used in primary aluminum production comes from coal.
Thanks to its vast hydroelectric resources, Québec has ready access to renewable energy that has very limited environmental and climatic impacts compared to other traditional sources of electricity production. Also, given that several steps in the aluminum processing chain are taken into account when it comes to fighting climate change, many importers consider Québec a producer of choice. Additionally, importers are increasingly required to meet strict sustainable development standards.
With strong demand from growing industrial sectors such as transport equipment, construction and infrastructure, the future looks promising for aluminum producers and processors.
To stay competitive with other suppliers of low added-value goods in a context of rising global competition, Québec can leverage its vast expertise from across the province to develop new, innovative and value-added end products, such as sheets of aluminum essential to the automotive sector.
Since it is so light and durable, automakers are very attracted to aluminum as they are always looking for ways to make their vehicles lighter to meet new average fuel consumption standards.
Some processing methods are much in demand in North America, including large diameter extrusion (greater than 16 inches) which may reach 100 million pounds (45,000 metric tons) by 2027.
Indeed, a study conducted in the summer of 2017 on behalf of AluQuébec has identified a unique business opportunity in North America for a large extrusion press project. Some of the favourable factors identified in the study’s conclusions are: