Kitimat Aluminum Smelter

Kitimat, British Columbia, Canada


1955 Alcan ad Showing proposed expansion of Kitimat Works


Oct 27, 1956 Aerial view of the Smelter


Smeltersite 1967 “Kitimat Works”

Kitimat Constructors,

A consortium of 8 construction companies, received the contract for the Smeltersite, Deep Sea Harbour, and Town of Kitimat.

1. Emil Anderson Construction Co. Ltd.
2. Bennett and White Construction Co. Ltd.
3. B.C. Bridge and Dredging Co. Ltd.
4. Campbell-Bennett Ltd.
5. Dawson and Hall Ltd.
6. Dawson, Wade and Co. Ltd.
7. General Construction Co. Ltd.
8. Marwell Construction Co. Ltd.

1. Emil Anderson Construction Ltd.
I know they were involved in the construction of the highway north of Kitwanga, thru Meziadin area.
Formed by Emil Anderson in Fort William ON in mid 1930's.
Moved to Hope area.
They are still going strong.

2. William White
b- 1861 Wales,
d- 1940 in Calgary
partnership with Joseph G. Bennett until 1931
Company incorporated in 1925
Joseph Bennett died June 1940.
John G. Bennett and A.G. Bennett continued the company, sons of Joseph
They were still building in 2000, in Calgary and Edmonton and probably other places.

3. B.C. Bridge and Dredging Co. Ltd. owned the dredge called the “Townsend” used to dredge for the deep sea port.
Located in Vancouver, they are a subsidiary of Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Company of Seattle
That was established in 1898. 1959 bought by Lockheed, became Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Co.

4. Campbell-Bennett Ltd.
not much found on this company, but some lawsuits.

5. Dawson and Hall Ltd.Bold Text of Vancouver, subsidiary of Dawson Construction Ltd. that are still based in Kamloops BC.

6. Dawson, Wade and Co. Ltd. based in Vancouver area.

7.General Construction Co. Ltd. (GCC) started under this name in 1914.
Located in Spokane WA
Various owners, sold in 2001 to Kiewit Corp.
(Peter Kiewit and Sons, Omaha Nebraska)

8. Marwell Construction Co. Ltd.
owned by 3 partners, based in Vancouver,
William G. MacKenzie, R. Douglas Welch, and Hugh A. Martin
Hugh was President of BC Liberal Party.
MacKenzie died, and other 2 partners sold the Company in 1967 to the American Construction giant Dillingham Corp.


Camp in Kitimat

They used an old riverboat as temporary housing for 400 workers.
It's name was the “Delta King”
Today (2010) it is a fancy hotel permanently moored on the Sacramento River, in old Sacramento, CA
It was bought in 1952 by Alcan (Kitimat Constructors), and beached on Hospital Beach.
It left Kitimat in 1959, towed back to California.

The Smeltersite when it opened used Aluminum ore, called Bauxite, from Jamaica
and later the Gove Bauxite Mine in Nhulunbuy, Australia, which of course is owned by Alcan.

The process of electrolyzing Al2O3 is referred to as the Hall-Héroult process.
named after Charles Marlin Hall of Oberlin, and Paul Louis Héroult of Paris

It takes approx 10kw to produce 1 lb of aluminum.


Fleet of Euclids used, July 1956


View of Smelter Site ca1956
Dock in foreground is where pictures below were taken

Early Managers

Arthur Clinton “Dutch” Turney,
Kitimat Works Manager, 1954-1957
Turney St. in Kitimat named after him.
I think he was born Apr 1908 in Thurlow Twp., Hastings Co, ON
this is not proven yet.
If this was him, his father was James H. Turney
July 25, 1952 he applied for a patent on Indirect Heat Calcining Kiln
He was in Arvida Quebec at that time.

W. J. Rich,
Kitimat Works Manager, ca June 1978
1990's Vice-President of Alcan Smelters & Chemicals Ltd


H. Cam Jenkinson
Alcan's resident Engineer at Kitimat
worked in Shawinigan plant as pot room supervisor 1948-1950
Then Assistant Manager of both the local plants there.
Graduate of Queen's University.
Joined Alcan in 1929 as an engineer
on the Chute a Caron Power Development.
Left Alcan in 1931 to work for various const. firms.
Rejoined Alcan at Arvida in 1938.
1947 named General Superintendent
of the Reduction Division of the plant, transferred to Shawinigan in 1948.
1950 appointed Manager of Beauharnois plant.
When Kemano project started he was named Resident Engineer
with headquarters at Vancouver.
Four years later he was named Director of Construction
at Saguimat at Kitimat.
He was transferred to Montreal
as the Chute des Passes project in 1958 as Project Administrator.
1960 promoted to Works Manager of Shawinigan plant.


Cecil Dunn stacking Ingots in the shipping building, June 1, 1955
photos courtesy Grant Walker, CA

Kitimat Wharf


Accidents happened, this one Feb 5, 1956 a cat went off the end of the public wharf as it was clearing snow there.
Left picture diver preparing to go down, to tie Crane cable on the cat.

The Ice Free deep sea port was built by sinking 3 concrete caissons, each as big as a 6 story house, built on the shore and tipped over in the sea, and sunk to a level of 40 ft.
They were 250 ft long, 45 ft wide, and 60 ft high. designed with 26 chambers. Capacity was 3 ships at a time at first, later up to 6.
It was equipped with kangaroo cranes, pneumatic unloaders, and special alumina handling equipment.
Saguenay Terminals Ltd, Alcan's shipping firm, put 7 ships on the run.

First load of 11,000 tons of refined alumina left Port Esquivel, Jamaica, May 16, 1954 on board the Canadian ship, Sun Karen

On Average it takes about 4 tonnes of bauxite to obtain 2 tonnes of aluminum oxide, which in turn yield 1 tonne of aluminum metal.


Sun Karen, first ship arriving at new wharf


Welcome sign at the wharf Jim Hanna Photo

Anderson Camp


Taxi, Anderson Camp, Kitimat
Not a great picture, better one coming
Photo courtesy Jeff Watts.

Delta King


Delta King River Boat
Used as temp housing on the beach at Kitimat
Jim Hanna Photo


Smelter Site ca 1954
note “Delta King” Riverboat on left side
originally had 1956 as the date on this one, but Mr. Arv Hardin corrected me, and said more like 1954.
Courtesy Grant Walker


Delta King, May 15, 1952
Courtesy Grant Walker



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