Rio Tinto’s modernised Kitimat Smelter Begins Production

Posted on July 9, 2015 9:44 am

Rio Tinto is preparing its first shipments of metal from its world-classKitimat aluminium smelter in Canada following an extensive modernisation of the facility.

The modernisation of the aluminium smelter will increase production capacity by 48 per cent and result in Kitimatbecoming one of the lowest cost smelters in the world. Having achieved first production in June 2015, Rio Tinto is now focused on safely ramping up towards its annual production rate of 420,000 tonnes.

The modernised smelter, which was delivered in line with the revised schedule and budget, is powered exclusively by Rio Tinto's wholly owned hydro power facility and uses the company's proprietary AP40 smelting technology which will effectively halve the smelter's overall emissions.

Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios said "The modernisation of Kitimat will fundamentally transform its performance, moving it from the fourth quartile to the first decile of the industry cost curve. At full production, Kitimatwill be one of the most efficient, greenest and lowest-cost smelters in the world.

"Positioned in British Columbia on the west coast of Canada, Kitimat is well placed to serve rapidly growing demand for aluminium in the Asia-Pacific region and to serve the North American market."

Rio Tinto Alcan's first hot metal event

Haisla Nation
"The Haisla Nation congratulates Rio Tinto on the completion of the Kitimat Modernization Project. We supported this Project because it would allow the aluminum smelting operations to continue but with significantly lower levels of environmental contamination. The Project also created employment, training and contracting opportunities for our community. These have always been, and remain, key Haisla Nation priorities. Now comes the hard part: the Haisla Nation and Rio Tinto must continue to build on the momentum created by the Legacy Agreement and the Modernization Process. This will require diligent hard work on issues that will sometimes be difficult, including long term employment of Haisla Nation members at Rio Tinto, continued environmental diligence and collaborative development opportunities. We have taken some significant steps ahead with Rio Tinto: we look forward to continuing this journey together"

– Haisla Nation Council

District of Kitimat
"The District of Kitimat is very excited to be a part of Rio Tinto's First Hot Metal celebrations for its new Kitimatsmelter. The Kitimat Modernization project has been a great economic stimulus for the community for the past number of years and the start-up is a key milestone that will provide certainty to the community for another 50 or 60 years.  Rio Tinto's modernization project has provided Kitimat with valuable knowledge.  As a result of this modernization project, Kitimat has current experience on the construction of a large industrial project within its boundaries.  As the community prepares for LNG development we will use these lessons learned to prepare for LNG projects.   It is a very exciting time for Kitimat.  Congratulations Rio Tinto Alcan for achieving this significant milestone."

– Mayor Phil Germuth, District of Kitimat

City of Terrace
"Rio Tinto Alcan's first hot metal event at the smelter is a historic occasion. The new modernized facility brings economic stability and employment that benefits the entire region. Terrace has strong ties with Rio Tinto Alcan and I'm pleased to be here on behalf of Terrace to witness this event. "

Carol LeClerc, City of Terrace Mayor

Kitimat Chamber of Commerce:
"The start of aluminum production with the arrival of first hot metal marks a tremendous milestone for Rio Tinto and for the community of Kitimat. The investment by Rio Tinto into the Kitimat Modernization Project, much like the original Kitimat smelter of the 1950's, has provided the community of Kitimat with a solid foundation from which to grow and prosper and enable the next generation of Kitimat to take shape.

On behalf of the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce I would like to congratulate Rio Tinto and the Kitimat team as they mark the start-up of the new Kitimat smelter and mark the next generation of aluminum production in Kitimat."

Derick Stinson, Chair Kitimat Chamber of Commerce

Kitimat Economic Development Authority
"With the start-up of Rio Tinto Alcan's new smelter, and its First Hot Metal event, we feel that it is a strong signal to other potential investors that Kitimat and the region is now ready for another MEGA project. Through Rio Tinto's construction the company has been committed to support local businesses and working hard to hire as many local people as possible. Their initiatives to help develop local businesses and train local people has not only provided an economic stimulus, but has set the stage for local businesses to take advantage of any new opportunities coming to the area.  Investing $4.8 billion dollars in the new plant will ensure Kitimat will have anchor industry for decades to come."

– Kitimat Economic Development Autority

Terrace Chamber of Commerce
"Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce is pleased to hear of Rio Tinto Alcan's celebration of this hot metal milestone. This project has had a significant economic impact in our region bringing new jobs to the communities as well as a substantial amount of business that spins off from their activity. The investment they are making in their facility brings certainty and stability to our economic future. Congratulations on reaching this milestone!"

– Terrace Chamber of Commerce

Terrace Economic Development Authority
"On behalf of the Terrace Economic Development Authority, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate Rio Tinto on the historic event of recognizing the First Hot Metal Celebration.  The tremendous efforts of company officials, staff, and contractors to complete this project in a safe, professional manner have set the standard for excellence and quality. Your support of local employment and procurement has been very beneficial to the surrounding area and helped to create thousands of man-hours in employment and benefits while supporting many local businesses with service opportunities. Thank you for the continued support and may you continue to flourish for the next 50 years of operation."

Rob Dykman, Chair - Terrace Economic Development Authority