$5M from feds to ensure better traceability of aluminum
Follows 10% tariff slapped on Canadian aluminum by the Trump administration.
CHICOUTIMI, Que. — The federal government, through the Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) program, is providing the Aluminium Association of Canada with a close to $5 million non-repayable contribution to ensure better traceability from foundry to border.
The contribution follows a 10% Trump administration tariff on Canadian aluminum imports.
The Trudeau government says the move is in accordance with the agreement outlined in CUSMA and to guarantee the sourcing and origin of aluminum.
The project aims to boost the commercialization of Canadian aluminum products by authenticating and documenting the origin of products throughout the value chain.
In addition to the AAC support, Saguenay, Que. businesses Canmec, a manufacturer and installer of big, turnkey projects, and Staca, an industrial firm, are receiving repayable contributions of $500,000 and $133,470 for projects. The money will help with the purchase of digital and automated equipment, diversifying their products and modernizing their facilities.
In 2019, aluminum production was the second largest export sector in Quebec, after aerospace. Exports in the sector accounted for over 7% of Quebec’s total exports (compared to 12% for aerospace).
“In this period of economic and political uncertainty for the industry, the authentication of aluminum is a highly strategic approach to leverage the strengths of Canadian aluminum and consolidate its markets”, said Jean Simard, president and CEO of AAC .
The association said traceability will strengthen the application and compliance with obligations related to the lifting of tariffs.
AAC has initiated two pilot projects. In 2019, AAC and the Optel Group of Quebec assessed the feasibility of adapting existing and proven cloud computing solutions in the aluminum smelter environment in Canada. It was launched in September 2019 with the participation of Aluminerie Alouette.
Once the feasibility was demonstrated by this first pilot, the AAC launched a second pilot project in March with one of Rio Tinto’s smelter in Saguenay. This project is in the final phase.
The goal is to test the transit of the metal from “smelter to border” through a processor intermediary, adding an additional level of complexity.
Following this second pilot, AAC said the industry is ready for a nationwide rollout of the concept.