Rio Tinto Alcan and the Government of Cameroon sign an agreement for a potential hydro-power project and greenfield smelter



    PARIS, Nov. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Rio Tinto Alcan and the Government of
Cameroon announced today that they have signed an amendment to the letter of
intent of October 25, 2005 providing additional access to water resources for
the construction and operation of a new, 1,000-megawatt hydroelectric
generating station at Songmbengué. This new energy capacity will facilitate
the launch of technical and pre feasibility studies for a new greenfield
aluminium smelter with potential production capacity of 400,000 tonnes/year.
    "What we are seeing today are the results of the long and prosperous
collaboration between Rio Tinto Alcan and the Government of Cameroon. This is
a promising project that will have a positive impact for all stakeholders. I
would also like to take the opportunity to congratulate and thank all of the
Alucam employees for their exemplary work and unwavering commitment", said
Jacynthe Coté, President and CEO of Rio Tinto Alcan Primary Metal.
    Rio Tinto Alcan plans to carry out all of the required technical studies
to evaluate the scope of this new greenfield project and expects to make
decisions on proceeding by the end of 2009.
    The original letter of intent dated October 25, 2005, was for an
expansion and modernization of the Edea smelter which would increase its
production capacity from 90,000 tonnes/year to 300,000 tonnes/year. The letter
also called for the construction and operation of a 330-megawatt hydroelectric
generating station at Nachtigal. This brownfield project continues to move
forward as all of the technical studies have been completed and environmental
authorizations have been obtained. An energy contract with the local
electrical utility AES SONEL is currently being negotiated.
    Rio Tinto Alcan and the Government of Cameroon have agreed to jointly
study ways to accelerate construction of the required Lom Pangar dam. In
addition to meeting the power needs of the projects, the dam will help boost
Cameroon's global energy supply.
    The Government of Cameroon and Rio Tinto Alcan each hold a 46.7% interest
in Alucam. The facility employs 750 people. After opening in 1957, the plant
has continuously updated its operations in order to stay at the cutting edge
in its market and support the development of local communities.

    About Rio Tinto

    Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the
UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London 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.

    %B NM %C 1,3,21,20 %D Agreement with Cameroon government




For further information:

For further information: Rio Tinto Alcan Media Relations, Montreal:
Bryan Tucker, +1 514 848 8151, media.relations@alcan.com; Rio Tinto Alcan
Media Relations, Paris: Chrystele Ivins, +33-1-56-28-24-18,
chrystele.ivins@alcan.com; Email: questions@riotinto.com, Website:
www.riotinto.com, High resolution photographs available at:
www.newscast.co.uk

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