2000 Aluminum Drive Columbia Falls, Montana

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CFAC Brief History

Hungry Horse Dam, the first major federal dam built after World War II, was completed in 1953.

The project employed many ex-servicemen with young families, and an industry was needed to retain the work force in the Flathead economy. The Harvey Machine Company first acquired options for an aluminum plant in the Flathead in 1949, and shortly after purchased 1000 acres six miles north of Kalispell at Rose Crossing. Although Harvey was unable to obtain financing to build the plant, on November 6, 1951, Anaconda Copper Mining Company acquired 95 percent of Harvey's interests, and on August 30, 1952, Anaconda announced that it would build its $45,000,000 aluminum reduction plant two miles northeast of Columbia Falls near Teakettle Mountain.

Two years and eleven months later, the first aluminum was produced on August 12, 1955. Initial construction consisted of two potlines with an annual capacity of 67,500 ton. Ten years later, in 1965, the third potline was added. With the addition of the fourth potline on August 3, 1968, and the fifth line in October of 1968, capacity was increased to 180,000 ton per year.

In 1976, Anaconda purchased Sumitomo process technology to improve plant safety, industrial hygiene, production efficiency and energy conservation. This technology allowed the plant to reduce carbon/chemical consumption and plant emissions. The Sumitomo conversion cost was $42,000,000.

The Anaconda Company was purchased by Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) on January 12, 1977. ARCO continued to implement and complete the Sumitomo technology improvement. In December of 1983, ARCO announced intentions to divest its Metals Division (brass and aluminum operations) including the Columbia Falls plant. In September of 1985, ARCO announced that the plant had been sold to the Montana Aluminum Investors Corporation, which would operate it as the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company.

On May 28, 1999, CFAC was purchased by Glencore AG. Glencore is headquartered in Baar, Switzerland and is engaged internationally in the processing and trading of metals and minerals, energy products, and agricultural products. Glencore is a leading world trader of aluminum and major supplier of smelter grade alumina ore.

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cfac_history.htm (10-19-2003 ps)