Work started on the Invergordon smelter in 1968, with it entering production in 1971. However delays to construction at Hunterston and spiralling energy costs, led to huge losses at Invergordon. When government financial support to cover the deficit incurred by the electricity boards involved was withdrawn, British Aluminium was forced to announce Invergordon’s closure in 1981.
The modernisation of the Lochaber works, which had started in the late 1970s, was completed around the same time. In 1982, British Aluminium merged with Alcan, and in 1985, the group’s name changed to British Alcan (now part of Alcan – Primary Metals Europe). After the merger, operations at a number of plants (including Falkirk) contracted.
In 1994, British Alcan announced that Kinlochleven would close, and over the next 6 years the Company worked with regional agencies to develop alternative opportunities in the area before the factory closed in 2000. In the first few years of the 21st century, Alcan wound up operations at its Burntisland, Falkirk and Glasgow sites. Yet in 2003, the Alcan’s Lochaber smelter was still producing around 1% of Western Europe’s output of primary aluminium and was judged to be one of the most efficient plants in the industry.