Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Group announced the beginning of construction of 202 thousand metric tons per annum of low-carbon, high-value aluminium billet at its Alma aluminium smelter in Quebec.
The C$240 million project will involve the addition of new cutting-edge equipment including furnaces, a casting pit, coolers, handling, inspection, sawing and packaging systems. Rio Tinto anticipates that the new equipment will come online in early 2025.
Rio Tinto said that the new equipment will aid the plant in using renewable hydroelectric power, which will put it in a position to take advantage of expected increase in demand for high value-added products in the automotive and construction industries, among others.
Sébastien Ross, executive director of Rio Tinto Aluminium’s Atlantic operations, said in a press release that the expansion is going as planned.
“This expansion of our low carbon billet casting capacity in Quebec will allow us to better meet our customers’ growing demand for high quality alloys and value-added products made with renewable hydroelectricity. We are pleased to have started construction this spring as planned and to be able to rely on the expertise of qualified employees, world-class Quebec equipment manufacturers and our partners to bring this project announced last year to fruition.”
Rio Tinto estimates that the new capacity will generate an economic impact of more than C$200 million for Quebec as well as adding about three dozen jobs to the plant’s existing workforce of 770 individuals.