Rio Tinto’s revamped Kitimat aluminium smelter reopened

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Rio Tinto has announced that it has reopened its Kitimat aluminium smelter in Canada after completing the massive upgrade to reduce greenhouse gases, fluorides and hydrocarbons by 36 to 98 per cent.

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In a media release, the company said that the modernisation of the aluminium smelter will increase production capacity by 48 per cent and result in Kitimat becoming one of the lowest cost smelters in the world.

“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, Kitimat will be one of the most efficient, greenest and lowest-cost smelters in the world,” said Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios.

“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.”

The modernisation has boosted the smelter’s production capacity to 420,000 metric tons of aluminium.

Kitimat is powered by a hydropower facility that is wholly owned by Rio Tinto and uses the company’s proprietary AP40 smelting technology, which effectively halves the smelter’s overall emissions.

Rio Tinto sells aluminium produced by the facility in the Asia-Pacific region and North America.