Rio Tinto Alcan awards US$200 million contract to Bechtel for Kitimat Modernization Project



    MONTREAL, July 9 /CNW Telbec/ - Rio Tinto Alcan has awarded a contract to
Bechtel, worth approximately US$200 million, to conduct the complete
engineering, procurement and construction management of the planned
approximately US$2.5 billion Kitimat Modernization Project in British
Columbia, Canada. The project would increase production capacity at the
smelter by 40%, taking it up to 400,000 tonnes per year.
    "Rio Tinto Alcan is pleased to announce the signing of this contract, a
critical step towards the realization of the Kitimat project. Bechtel brings
together a strong combination of aluminium smelting expertise, worldwide
presence, and large project experience," said Dick Evans, chief executive,
Rio Tinto Alcan.
    Bechtel received an initial contract in June 2007 for preliminary
engineering, feasibility and construction pre-work activity which has already
begun. It will have construction site offices in Kitimat as well as
engineering offices in both Vancouver and Montreal. Final Rio Tinto Board
approval of the Kitimat Modernization Project is expected before end of fourth
quarter this year.
    "This contract with Bechtel will ensure that a state-of-the-art plant
with leading-edge technology is efficiently installed at Kitimat within a
rigorous execution schedule, and is respectful of our high health, safety and
environmental standards of performance," said Jacynthe Côté, president and
CEO, Primary Metal, Rio Tinto Alcan.
    The project would upgrade the existing 54-year old smelter using
state-of-the-art AP technology and increase its aluminium production capacity
by 125,000 tonnes using hydroelectric power from Rio Tinto Alcan's Kemano
power station. It would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40
per cent per year. First metal from the modernized smelter is expected in
2011.

    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.

    Forward-Looking Statements

    This announcement includes "forward-looking statements" within the
meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section
21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements other
than statements of historical facts included in this announcement, including,
without limitation, those regarding Rio Tinto's financial position, business
strategy, plans and objectives of management for future operations (including
development plans and objectives relating to Rio Tinto's products, production
forecasts and reserve and resource positions), are forward-looking statements.
Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties
and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or
achievements of Rio Tinto, or industry results, to be materially different
from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by
such forward-looking statements.
    Such forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions
regarding Rio Tinto's present and future business strategies and the
environment in which Rio Tinto will operate in the future. Among the important
factors that could cause Rio Tinto's actual results, performance or
achievements to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements
include, among others, levels of actual production during any period, levels
of demand and market prices, the ability to produce and transport products
profitably, the impact of foreign currency exchange rates on market prices and
operating costs, operational problems, political uncertainty and economic
conditions in relevant areas of the world, the actions of competitors,
activities by governmental authorities such as changes in taxation or
regulation and such other risk factors identified in Rio Tinto's most recent
Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the United States Securities and
Exchange Commission (the "SEC") or Form 6-Ks furnished to the SEC.
Forward-looking statements should, therefore, be construed in light of such
risk factors and undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking
statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this
announcement. Rio Tinto expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking
(except as required by applicable law, the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers
(the "Takeover Code"), the UK Listing Rules, the Disclosure and Transparency
Rules of the Financial Services Authority and the Listing Rules of the
Australian Securities Exchange) to release publicly any updates or revisions
to any forward-looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in Rio
Tinto's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions
or circumstances on which any such statement is based.
    Nothing in this announcement should be interpreted to mean that future
earnings per share of Rio Tinto plc or Rio Tinto Limited will necessarily
match or exceed its historical published earnings per share.
    Subject to the requirements of the Takeover Code, none of Rio Tinto, any
of its officers or any person named in this announcement with their consent or
any person involved in the preparation of this announcement makes any
representation or warranty (either express or implied) or gives any assurance
that the implied values, anticipated results, performance or achievements
expressed or implied in forward-looking statements contained in this
announcement will be achieved.




For further information:

For further information: Rio Tinto Alcan Media Relations, Montreal:
Stefano Bertolli, +1 514 848 8151, stefano.bertolli@riotinto.com; Rio Tinto
Alcan Media Relations, Kitimat: Colleen Nyce, +1 250 639 8760,
colleen.nyce@riotinto.com; www.riotinto.com/riotintoalcan

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