Major investment plans announced for UK’s last remaining aluminium smelter yard at Fort William have been announced.
Plans to create up to 600 jobs and invest £120M at the site of the UK’s last remaining aluminium smelter yard at Fort William have been announced, following a £330M deal announced last month involving Liberty House and Simec to take over the Rio Tinto site. Their plans include creating an aluminium wheel manufacturing facility, and a further 300 jobs directly, with another 300 in the supply chain.
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon is due to visit the site later. There are plans to protect the existing 170 jobs in Lochaber and expand metal manufacturing and downstream engineering there.
Liberty and Simec are both members of the GFG Alliance. The recent purchase includes the hydro power plants at Fort William and Kinlochleven and more than 100,000 acres of land hosting the water catchment area, including Ben Nevis’ foothills.
Support has been shown by the Scottish government, who have guaranteed the power purchases of the aluminium smelter.
Ms Sturgeon described the day as “historic” for the smelter, and that the proposals reinforced the link between the smelter and the hydro station at Fort William.
She added: “Today is the start of an exciting new chapter in Scotland’s manufacturing story and the Scottish government and its agencies will keep working with Sanjeev Gupta and the GFG Alliance to help them realise their enterprising vision for Lochaber.”
Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of Liberty House Group and of the GFG Alliance strategic board, said: “We hope this day will come to be recognised as the start of a bright new future for Highland industry.
“It puts Lochaber right at the heart of our vision for sustainable and integrated local production that can revitalise British manufacturing.”
Jay Hambro, chief investment officer of the GFG Alliance, and chief executive of Simec energy & mining divisions said: “These hydro-power stations have enough capacity to power around 83,000 homes.
“Today Lochaber provides the power required to produce 47,000 tonnes of aluminium. We have already identified investment programmes to significantly increase power generation from the existing assets and are studying how to create further capacity locally.”