Hydro to Expand Primary Magnesium Output

High-pressure diecasting demand driving strategy

Citing its expectations for the growing high-pressure diecasting segment, the owners of the Hydro Magnesium smelter in Becancour, PQ, plan to expand the operation over the next 18 months to increase output by 7,000 metric tons/year. Oslo-based Norsk Hydro made no statement on the cost of the project.

High-pressure diecasting is on target this year to become the largest consumer market for magnesium, according to Hyro’s estimate. It sees the segment passing the aluminum-alloying market this year and continuing to grow at a rate of 9% through 2010.

According to a Hyrdo statement, the upgrade at Becancour "will consist principally of improvements to dehydration and the addition of four electrolytic cells."

Hydro Magnesium, based in Brussels, doubled the capacity of its diecasting operation at Bottrum, Germany, last year. In addition to the Canadian smelter, it operates casting centers in Norway and China.

"The investment in Becancour is the latest step Hydro (Magnesium) is taking to strengthen its leading market position in the magnesium industry. It shows that we remain committed to serving customers, and end-users, on a global basis," said Serge Huppe, Hydro Magnesium’s chief operating officer.

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