Rio Tinto to invest US$228 million in clean hydropower upgrade in Quebec



    MONTREAL, Oct. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Rio Tinto is to invest US$228 million in
the construction of a new 225 megawatt high-efficiency turbine at Rio Tinto
Alcan's Shipshaw power station in Saguenay, Quebec, Canada. The project is
expected to be completed in December 2012.
    "This modernisation and upgrading of the Shipshaw power generating
station underscores the importance we place on secure, competitively priced
energy resources, which are key to realisation of the long term Quebec
investment programme announced in December 2006," said Tom Albanese, Chief
executive officer of Rio Tinto, speaking at the Board of Trade of Metropolitan
Montreal luncheon. "Rio Tinto remains committed to sustainable, value creating
investments in Quebec and the rest of Canada."
    The Shipshaw power station is a major component of Rio Tinto Alcan's
extensive hydroelectric network, which has a total installed capacity of
approximately 2,900 megawatts in Quebec. The new turbine is expected to
replace four hydro generator units at the Chute-à-Caron power station and will
thereby promote more efficient water use.
    "This investment complements other projects in Quebec, such as our pilot
plant using groundbreaking AP 50 smelting technology and the proposed
expansion of our world class Alma smelter. The Shipshaw upgrade reinforces our
longstanding commitments to Quebec," said Dick Evans, Chief executive, Rio
Tinto Alcan. "This project strengthens Quebec's position as a global leader in
aluminium production and clean renewable energy, with a solid network of local
suppliers, world-class engineering capabilities and an exceptional foundation
for innovation, research, and technology."
    Rio Tinto has already committed more than US$430 million to the AP 50
pilot project. To date, there are approximately 200 construction workers on
the AP 50 pilot plant site in addition to more than 150 technicians and
engineers working on this project throughout Quebec. Onsite workers are
currently focused on infrastructures, site preparation, and installation of
the necessary substation.
    The plant is currently undergoing construction of its first phase, and
detailed environmental reviews are already underway for possible second and
third phases. When completed, the plant will serve as the platform for future
development of this new generation of Rio Tinto Alcan's proprietary AP
technology, the most cost-effective, energy efficient, and
environmentally-friendly smelting technology available.
    Also in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, the Alma smelter is one of
Rio Tinto Alcan's most modern and efficient facilities. The potential
expansion project, currently in pre-feasibility, would add approximately
170,000 tonnes to the current production of slightly more than 400,000 tonnes,
making it one of the largest smelters in North America.

    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.




For further information:

For further information: Rio Tinto Alcan Media Relations, Canada:
Stefano Bertolli, (514) 848-8151, stefano.bertolli@riotinto.com; Rio Tinto
Alcan Media Relations, Saguenay: Claudine Gagnon, (418) 699-4005,
claudine.gagnon@riotinto.com; www.riotinto.com/riotintoalcan

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