Venezuela ‘s state-owned aluminum smelter Alcasa and Swiss resources group Glencore have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a fifth line at the plant.

“The memorandum outlines the conditions and commitments of each party to create a joint venture company to carry out the Line V project,” an Alcasa spokesperson says.

The US$650mn project was awarded in February this year to a consortium made up of Glencore, French aluminum maker Pechiney and US engineer and constructor Fluor Daniel.

“We expect the technology and financing contracts and the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract to be ready within three months,” the official says.

When up and running the new potline will increase Alcasa’s installed capacity from 210,000t/y to 450,000t, bringing in additional revenues of around US$350mn/y.

The construction phase, to begin late this year or early next, will take an estimated three years, employing up to 3,000 people. The new line will create some 270 permanent jobs, according to Alcasa.

The smelter, in the Matanzas industrial park of Puerto Ordaz city in eastern Venezuela , is 92% owned by state heavy industry holding company CVG and 8% by US aluminum maker Alcoa.

CVG also owns the larger Venalum aluminum smelter in the same region.