Rio Tinto Alcan to Approve Kitimat Expansion Formally within Year

Rio Tinto Alcan (RTA) is expected to decide modernization of Kitimat works in British Colombia, Canada within this year, which is expected to increase smelting capacity of aluminium to 420,000 tonnes per year from 180,000 tonnes and to enhance capacity for aluminium supply to Asia and Pacific area. The firm started first phase work of AP 60 smelting plant in Quebec, Canada and plans to increase production capacity to 60,000 tonnes until 2013. Mr. Simon Farley, Asia and Pacific sales marketing director of the firm, said the plan in interview by Japan Metal Bulletin.

RTA is developing AP smelting technology, which increases energy efficiency and decreases production cost. Mr. Farley said AP is the newest model and makes easy to improve energy efficiency, cost competitive power and environment. He said the technology is the model for aluminium smelting industry.

The firm started first phase work of smelting plant for AP60 in January 2011, and installs 38 AP electrolysis furnaces by the investment of US$ 758 million. The firm already plans to second phase expansion work and to increase production capacity to 460,000 tonnes.

Kitimat wriks supplies aluminium base metal to Japan and South Korea, and reduces CO2 emission by installation of electrolysis furnace and usage of hydroelectric power. Total investment is US$ 2.5 billion.

Kitimat works stops production of billet until the end of 2011. On the other hand, the firm started renewal work of billet casting line in NZAS, smelting plant in New Zealand in January 2011 and will build up supply system of high quality billet for mainly Japanese market until ended 2011.

The firm is studying about feasibility of Sarawak project which is new smelting plant in Malaysia, and is negotiating with interested party. Mr. Farley said the plant is in Asian market which is significantly growing, and uses hydroelectric power.