Nowadays, little attention is paid to the issue of aluminium smelters in the field of industrial heritage protection. This study refers to changes in settlement structures that were associated with the development of industry. Aluminium plants were selected because of their rapid development and massive spread around the world within a century, and at the same time, because of their vulnerability at present. Three plants built in different parts of the 20th century were chosen for comparison. The plant in Kinlochleven was launched into operation in 1909, the one in Ziar nad Hronom in 1953 and in Dunkerque in 1991, each representing a certain stage in construction and philosophy of aluminium smelters corporate policy. Every industry type has had a major impact on the environment urbanization – the aluminium industry is no exception. Comparing them, the changes that have occurred in the construction of aluminium smelters were highlighted, as well as their impact on the look of the country and on the surrounding settlements. It resulted not only in establishment of new settlements, but also in extinction of existing settlements. Taking into account history and circumstances related to the formation of aluminium smelters, and their mutual confrontation, the links and relationships between them may be pointed out. Comparison also helps finding their architectural and historical significance. Attention will be paid to three European aluminium plants. Based on the analysis of their construction and influence on the surrounding built-up areas, they will be compared with each other. For the purposes of this work, particular plants, aluminium smelters and carbon factories will be analysed, since they are situated in all selected locations.