Rio Tinto to invest US$2.7 billion to complete the modernisation of the Kitimat aluminium smelter in Canada

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Rio Tinto has given the green light to an additional US$2.7 billion capital investment to modernise its aluminium smelter in Kitimat, British Columbia. This new investment will allow for completion of the US$3.3 billion project in 2014.

The Kitimat modernisation project will increase the smelter’s current production capacity by more than 48 per cent to approximately 420,000 tonnes per year. First metal is expected to come on stream in the first half of 2014, with an expected ramp up of nine months. The modernised smelter will be powered exclusively by wholly-owned hydropower and use Rio Tinto Alcan’s proprietary AP40 smelting technology to reduce the smelter’s carbon dioxide emissions intensity by approximately 50 per cent.

“The modernisation of Kitimat will transform its performance, moving it from the third quartile to the first decile of the industry cost curve, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by about half,” said Jacynthe Côté, chief executive of Rio Tinto Alcan. “This project draws on two of our greatest competitive advantages – clean, self-generated hydropower and leading-edge AP smelting technology. Once completed, Kitimat will be one of the most efficient and lowest-cost smelters in the world, and will better position us to serve the rapidly growing demand for aluminium in the Asia-Pacific market.”

Jean Simon, president, Primary Metal, Rio Tinto Alcan, said “For nearly 60 years, the smelter has been a major impetus for the economic development of northwest British Columbia. We are very proud to announce this US$2.7 billion investment to complete the modernisation project. This is one of the largest private investments in B.C.’s history, and it will ensure the sustainability of the aluminium business in Kitimat for decades to come.”

The modernisation project will secure approximately 1,000 stable, specialised jobs in B.C.’s northwest for the long term, and 2,500 jobs during the peak period of the construction phase.

About Rio Tinto in Canada

Rio Tinto employs over 13,400 people across its extensive operations in Canada, which include mining and manufacturing interests in alumina, aluminium, iron ore, diamonds and titanium dioxide. Rio Tinto also operates exploration activities, research and development centres, port and rail facilities to support various businesses, technical and sales service centres, and substantial hydroelectric power facilities in British Columbia and Quebec. Canada is also home to the global headquarters of Rio Tinto Alcan.


About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and New York Stock Exchange listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, thermal and metallurgical coal, uranium, gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide and salt) and iron ore. Activities span the world and are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.

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