Rio Tinto will invest $240 million to build a new aluminum billet casting center in Alma, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean.
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With this new center, Rio Tinto aims to increase the production capacity of low-carbon aluminum billets at its Alma smelter by 202,000 metric tons.
The existing casting center will thus be extended to accommodate new state-of-the-art equipment, in particular a casting shaft and furnaces.
The company announced Wednesday morning that construction will begin in May 2023 with commissioning scheduled for the first quarter of 2025.
This new center should generate economic spinoffs of more than $200 million for Quebec, including $65 million for the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region. In addition, around forty permanent jobs have been created there.
Increase in demand
"The aluminum billets are extruded through a die and the resulting profiles are used to make various products such as bumpers and roof bars for cars as well as doors and window frames," said explained Rio Tinto.
The company estimates that global demand is expected to grow on average around 3% per year over the next ten years.
“[This expansion] will allow us to better meet our customers' growing demand for high-quality alloys and value-added products made with renewable hydropower. This new capability will help strengthen the position of our Alma smelter,” said Rio Tinto Aluminum Executive Director of Atlantic Operations, Sébastien Ross.
“In Quebec, we produce the greenest aluminum in the world. It is thanks to modernization projects such as this one that we will be able to maintain our leadership position in this area and contribute to the growth of this strategic sector," indicated Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy and of Innovation and Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development of Quebec.