Lefebvre Industri-AL perfecting dross recovery

BAIE-COMEAU, QC – Since 2014, Lefebvre Industri-AL’s team has been developing an innovative, non-polluting process to recover 100 percent of aluminum dross, while eliminating the production of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and use of polluting salts. In concrete terms, this process – expected to be implemented in 2020 – will lead to the recovery of an additional 1,500 tonnes of aluminum, and the elimination of over 11,600 tonnes of CO2 (GHGs) and 750 tonnes of polluting salts annually.

Baie-Comeau business Lefebvre Industri-AL is an important player in the aluminum industry in Quebec’s Côte‑Nord region. Founded in 2000, the family-run eight-employee SME—which specialized in managing alloy products for the Alcoa factory, its main client—has diversified its operations to focus on recycling residues such as aluminum dross.

Dross is a by-product in aluminum manufacturing, normally recovered through a complex, polluting process. This method also enables barely 50 percent of processed dross to be reused, requires the use of an oil furnace and leads to the discharge of dangerous materials destined for burial.

Before Lefebvre Industri-AL created this process, no smelter residue recycling process existed to reclaim all processed material profitably without creating GHGs or dangerous residual materials for burial.

The new process will have a direct impact on the environmental footprint, as it aims to reclaim 100% percent of aluminum dross while eliminating the need to transport and bury several thousand tonnes of dangerous residual materials

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) has given the company a repayable contribution of $1.7 million to further development of the new technology.

This contribution will enable the business to expand its factory and acquire technological equipment to produce aluminum with a low carbon footprint in Baie-Comeau. In addition, 10 jobs will be created, and the business will be better able to meet Alcoa’s expectations while opening the door to new contracts.

“For our team, this support from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions represents a crucial lever,” said Joanne Lefebvre, director general, Lefebvre Industri-AL.

“By making this project a concrete reality, we are encouraging the growth of a greener, more inclusive economy, while favouring strong regional expertise. This assistance will enable us to do better and to begin the decade by providing an innovative solution that is promising for the region and for the entire industry.”

Quebec aluminum smelters have the capacity to produce 2.9 million tonnes annually, according to figures from the AluQuébec Aluminum Cluster. Two-thirds of Quebec’s production of primary aluminum comes from the Côte-Nord and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean regions.