Rio Tinto invests $1.4 billion to expand sustainable aluminum production in Quebec
Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, has signed a partnership agreement with Rio Tinto. The new partnership will implement an agenda for the company to strengthen its production of green aluminum. This includes the construction of what Canada says is the first Western aluminum smelter in a decade as well as the industrial-scale deployment of its ELYSIS smelting technology across Rio Tinto aluminum operations in Canada.
Rio Tinto will invest C$1.4 billion to expand its aluminum smelter equipped with the company's low-carbon emission AP60 electrolysis technology at the Complexe Jonquière, in Saguenay, Quebec. Rio Tinto says that the project will create up to 1,000 jobs during the peak construction period, and about 100 permanent jobs will be maintained thanks to the new aluminum smelter.
The Government of Canada has also invested in the ELYSIS Limited Partnership, a joint venture between Rio Tinto and Alcoa. The joint venture says that once fully developed and implemented, the ELYSIS technology could eliminate Canada's aluminum smelting carbon footprint.
The Canadian government says that the decarbonization of critical mineral and metal production is essential for Canada to achieve its climate goals. To help with this goal, The Government of Canada has started to work with and support sustainable production practices. The government has also started to establish a cleantech ecosystem in Canada.
In October 2022, the Canadian government announced up to $222 million in funding to help Rio Tinto Fer et Titane advance its BlueSmelting decarbonization technology.
The Government of Canada says that the collaboration will explore the opportunity for value-added mineral processing and materials manufacturing for Canadian technologies and industries along with promoting circular economy principles by capturing critical minerals from waste streams.