Rio Tinto to extend life of titanium dioxide operations in Quebec in response to growing global demand

SOREL-TRACY, QC, May 26, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Rio Tinto, Fer et Titane (RTFT), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Rio Tinto Group, has set out its vision to extend the life of its Lac Tio ilmenite mine in Havre-Saint-Pierre and modernise its Sorel-Tracy metallurgical complex.

Known as TiO2050, this plan includes expanding mining operations from five to seven days a week, which is expected to create 70 new jobs in Havre-Saint-Pierre, and extending the life of the mine until 2050.  RTFT will continue to upgrade equipment and systems in Sorel-Tracy to achieve improved efficiency and better environmental performance, including a 60 per cent reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions.  RTFT expects to invest CAD$800 million over the next five years in sustaining and improving its Quebec operations.

Dominique Bouchard, president of Rio Tinto, Fer et Titane, said "This is an important milestone in bringing this world-class resource to its full potential and continuing to deliver benefits to the people of Quebec. We consulted a wide range of stakeholders before setting out our plans, and will continue to engage with employees, unions, communities, customers and governments as the project proceeds."

TiO2050 is aligned with Quebec's Northern Plan, a 25-year social, environmental and economic development project.  The plan calls for a government investment of more than CAD$2.1 billion over the next five years to provide access to the territory and support the training and development of a skilled local workforce - all with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life in communities and strengthening the economy across all the regions of Quebec.

Rio Tinto, Fer et Titane, has operated in Quebec for more than 60 years and is a world leader in producing high quality titanium dioxide feedstock, cast iron, steel and metal powders. The business is part of Rio Tinto Iron & Titanium (RTIT), which supplies approximately 19 per cent of global demand from its operations in Quebec, South Africa and Madagascar.

Titanium dioxide is used to produce white pigment for the paint, plastics and paper sectors. Demand growth for higher grade feedstock is driven by urbanisation trends and infrastructure development in mature markets and, increasingly, in China and other emerging economies. RTIT's production increased 21 per cent in 2010 compared to 2009.

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.

SOURCE RIO TINTO PLC

For further information:

Media Relations, Rio Tinto, Fer et Titane
Chantal Capistran
Office: +1 450 746 3074
chantal.capistran@riotinto.com




Media Relations, Canada
Bryan Tucker
Office: +1 514 848 8151
Mobile: +1 514 825 8319
bryan.tucker@riotinto.com

Media Relations, Americas 
Tony Shaffer
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 1138
Mobile: +44 (0) 7920 041 003


 
Investor Relations, North America
Jason Combes
Office: +1 (0) 801 204 2919
Mobile: +1 (0) 801 558 2645
 


 
Media Relations, Australia / Asia
David Luff
Office: +61 (0) 3 9283 3620
Mobile: +61 (0) 0419 850 205



Websites:   www.riotinto.com   www.qit.com

 


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