Rio Tinto to invest $1.1 billion to expand aluminum smelter in Canada

June 12 (Reuters) – Rio Tinto (RIO.AX), (RIO.L) will invest $1.1 billion to expand its “low-carbon” aluminum smelter at Complexe Jonquière in Quebec, Canada, the Anglo-Australian mining giant said on Monday.

The investment will boost annual capacity by about 160,000 metric tonnes of primary aluminum, the global miner said, adding it was sufficient to power 400,000 electric cars.

The total investment includes up to $113 million of support from the Quebec government.

“This is the most significant investment in our aluminum business for more than a decade…,” Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm said in statement.

The investment into the expansion has been factored into the capital expenditure for 2023 to 2025, Rio Tinto said, retaining the capex guidance of $9 billion to $10 billion for 2024 and 2025.

“The expansion will coincide with the gradual closure of potrooms at the Arvida smelter on the same site,” it said.

Construction will run over two-and-a-half years, with commissioning of the new pots expected to start in the first half of 2026 and the smelter fully ramped up by the end of 2026, it said.

Rio and the Canadian government have also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen supply chains for low-carbon primary metals, critical minerals and other value-added products, the miner said.

Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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