Rio Tinto to invest $30 million in its Quebec refinery operations to supply growing demand for metal powders

SOREL-TRACY, QC, June 8, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Rio Tinto, Fer et Titane (RTFT), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Rio Tinto Group, announced plans to invest $30 million to improve efficiency and increase capacity at its metal powders plant - part of its world class metallurgical complex in southern Quebec.

The investment will be used to upgrade equipment and increase metal powder production capacity by more than 20 percent over the next two years. Global demand for metal powders is driven mainly by the automotive sector where manufacturers are increasing their intensity of use to lower automobile weight and increase fuel efficiency. Metal powders are also used in the fabrication of home appliance and power tool components, welding rods and as food supplements.

The upgrade and expansion will add 10 new jobs to the company's roster and significantly reduce the plant's cooling water consumption.

"We are investing in a strong future for RTFT, and believe this investment will also pay off for our customers, who rely on us for high quality products and services; and for our communities, who rely on us for good jobs, responsible environmental stewardship and ongoing contribution to the local economy," said Dominique Bouchard, RTFT President.

The investment is part of the company's recently announced TiO2050, plan which calls for an investment of CAD800 million to extend the life of RTFT's mine in northern Quebec - one of the world's largest ilmenite deposits -  and improve efficiency and throughput at its refining complex in southern Quebec. Ore extracted from mines in Quebec and Madagascar is refined into titanium dioxide feedstock, pig iron, steel, metal powders and other products at this complex.

About Rio Tinto, Fer et Titane
Rio Tinto, Fer et Titane, is one of the leading manufacturers of raw materials for the titanium dioxide industry and a world leader in the production of high-quality cast iron, steel and metal powders.

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 (borates, 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 GROUP

For further information:

Chantal Capistran
Office: +1 450 746 3074
chantal.capistran@riotinto.com
Websites:   www.riotinto.com      www.qit.com

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RIO TINTO GROUP

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