Rio Tinto Alcan celebrates 60 years of operations in Northwest British Columbia

KITIMAT, BC, Sept. 12, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Rio Tinto Alcan is celebrating its 60th year of operations in Northwest British Columbia. The occasion will be marked by events on 12 and 13 of September in the municipality of Kitimat.

Arnaud Soirat, President and chief executive officer of Rio Tinto Alcan Primary Metal stated: "In 1954 Rio Tinto Alcan began operating its Kitimat aluminium smelter and Kemano power operations after embarking on what was then the largest engineering and construction project ever undertaken by private enterprise in Canada. We thank our employees, retirees, and their families – along with all members of Kitimat, Kitamaat Village, Terrace and all other communities of Northern British Columbia that have supported Rio Tinto Alcan through these 60 years."

With a historic peak annual capacity of 282,000 tonnes of aluminium per year, the Kitimat smelter was one of B.C.'s largest industrial facilities – and it required infrastructure that to this day is among the most impressive of their kind in the world. The Kemano power station, which provides clean and renewable hydro power to the smelter, is fed by a 16-kilometre power tunnel deep beneath the Coastal Mountains, which is supplied by 14,000 square kilometre watershed that is impounded by one of the largest rock-filled, clay-core dams in the world.

After 60 years in operation, the Kitimat smelter operation is at the brink of a new era. It is currently undergoing a major modernization project, which is once again one of B.C.'s largest current private investments. The project will increase aluminium production capacity by 48 per cent to approximately 420,000 tonnes per year while reducing overall environmental emissions by nearly 50 per cent.

Etienne Jacques, Chief operating officer, Rio Tinto Alcan Primary Metal, North America said: "We are very proud to celebrate the storied history in Kitimat – but we also look forward with anticipation to the future, knowing that our transformed Kitimat smelter – with its clean energy source, efficient technology and committed workforce, will once again be on the leading edge of the global aluminium industry, just as it was 60 years ago. Once completed, Kitimat's smelter will be one of the most energy-efficient, competitive smelters in the world. Most importantly, it will provide a safer, more environmentally-friendly workplace for the benefit of our employees and the local community."

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For further information: Media Relations, B.C. : Colleen Nyce, T +1 250 639 8760,; Media Relations, Canada : Claudine Gagnon, T +1 514-848-8151,; Media Relations, EMEA/Americas : Illtud Harri, T +44 20 7781 1152, M +44 7920 503 600; David Outhwaite, T +44 20 7781 1623, M +44 7787 597 493; Investor Relations, EMEA/Americas : Mark Shannon, T +44 20 7781 1178, M +44 7917 576597; David Ovington, T +44 20 7781 2051, M +44 7920 010 978; Grant Donald, T +44 20 7781 1262, M +44 7920 587 805, Media Relations, Australia/Asia : David Luff, T +61 3 9283 3620, M +61 419 850 205; Bruce Tobin, T +61 3 9283 3612, M +61 419 103 454; Investor Relations, Australia/Asia : Christopher Maitland, T +61 3 9283 3063, M +61 459 800 131; Rachel Storrs, T +61 3 9283 3628, M +61 417 401 018: Galina Rogova, T +852 2839 9208, M +852 6978 3011; Rio Tinto plc : 2 Eastbourne Terrace, London W2 6LG, United Kingdom, T +44 20 7781 2000, Registered in England , No. 719885; Rio Tinto Limited, 120 Collins Street, Melbourne 3000, Australia, T +61 3 9283 3333, Registered in Australia, ABN 96 004 458 404; Rio Tinto Alcan Kitimat, PO Box 1800, 1 Smeltersite RoadKitimat, B.C. V8C 2H2, Tel: 250-639-8000



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