Rio Tinto spending $87 million to boost Lower Carbon Aluminum production in Quebec

Nov. 22, 2021
The multinational mining firm will add 16 new smelting cells at its AP60 smelter

Miner Rio Tinto is spending $87 million to add 16 new smelting cells at its AP60 smelter in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec to boost its low-carbon aluminum production.

The new pots will add to its existing 38 pots at the AP60 technology center. The addition of the new smelting cells will boost production capacity at the smelter by around 45% to 86,500 metric tons of production capacity.

Work is expected to start in spring 2022 and complete by the end of 2023. The miner will study the potential to add more cells to its AP60 site.

“Rio Tinto is committed to strengthening its position as a leader in low-carbon, hydro-powered aluminum production to meet the clear demand from our customers in North America and Europe,” said Rio Tinto Aluminum chief executive Ivan Vella, “Our AP60 technology is one of the most energy efficient, environmentally friendly and cost effective systems in commercial production today. It produces some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminum with renewable hydropower here in Quebec. We are assessing options for further investments, as we progress development of the ELYSIS™ zero carbon smelting technology with our partners."

Rio Tinto's research and development teams developed the AP60 technology, which emits 7-times less greenhouse gases than the industry average. The AP60 technology pots, set up initially, have produced more than 465,000 tons of low-carbon aluminum.