Smelter Modernization is a Go!

“This is formally a go!” were the words of Jean Simon, President of Primary Metal for Rio Tinto Alcan. The long-anticipated announcement that Rio Tinto's Board of Directors had formally approved the Kitimat modernization project then received an overwhelming, standing ovation.

Simon explained the ability to produce clean, self-generated, hydro power coupled with leading edge technology gives Kitimat a distinct advantage over other smelters world-wide.  Annual production capacity at the new smelter will increase over 48% to 420,000 tonnes.

“The smelter will be powered by our exclusively, fully-owned, Kemano hydro power facility and we will use our proprietary AP40 smelting technology to reduce emission density by 50% per year,” said Simon. “We will be making every effort to ensure local suppliers and businesses continue to benefit as much as possible from these activities now and in the future. We will also honour the landmark Haisla Nation - Rio Tinto Alcan Legacy Agreement and are proud of this partnership to provide opportunities and training; and proud this is resulting in increasing numbers of Haisla Nation members working on the project,” said Simon.

Speaking on behalf of the Haisla Nation, Clarence Nyce, Haisla Business Operations Regional Manager commented, "The Haisla Nation has worked very closely with RTA--and--support the reality of this important and exciting decision. Together with RTA, our Nation is very proud of the legacy agreement reached with Rio Tinto Alcan."

Mayor Joanne Monaghan addressed the enthusiastic audience, and warmly congratulated Rio Tinto Alcan on achieving this landmark investment decision. “This announcement is one our community has been waiting a long time to hear.  It is music to my ears.  My Council and I are very happy to be here to celebrate with you today” said Monaghan. "We hope that today's announcement will be the anchor for more environmentally-sound investment in Kitimat.  You are helping us send a message that industry--and Kitimat--is  here to stay and our community is willing and able to meet the needs of future investors” added Mayor Monaghan.

During the construction phase about 2,500 jobs will be created. Once operational, the new smelter will provide secure long-term and stable employment for approximately 1000 people.  See Rio Tinto press release for more information.