Rio Tinto Alcan completes construction of its US$225 million pilot plant for treating spent potlining in Saguenay, Quebec

    MONTREAL, Feb. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Rio Tinto Alcan confirmed today that it
has completed the construction of its spent potlining treatment pilot plant, a
US$225 million investment, in Saguenay, Quebec. Pre-operational checks and
pre-commissioning are underway at the facility, which will come on-line and
begin ramping up in April 2008, in keeping with the initial timetable.
    "We are very pleased that the project is on time and on budget," said
Jacynthe Côté, president and chief executive officer of the Rio Tinto Alcan
Primary Metal business unit. "Rio Tinto Alcan is proud to have developed an
environmentally sustainable, innovative and economically competitive solution
for treating potlining. It may well become the industry standard. In
collaboration with its partners, we will continue research aimed at full
recycling of the by-products generated by the process."
    The plant will use an exclusive technology that will allow it to treat
about 80,000 tonnes of spent potlining per year. Some of the by-products will
be reused within Rio Tinto Alcan's alumina refining process. Research will
continue into the possible uses of remaining by-products, which will have been
rendered inert. Developed by Rio Tinto Alcan's Arvida Research and Development
Centre (ARDC), the technology will also enable the plant to treat potlining
from other Quebec aluminium producers. The completion of the new Rio Tinto
Alcan facility, a unique, industrial-scale pilot plant, means the creation of
50 new jobs.
    Spent potlining is a material that is removed periodically from the
electrolytic cells used to produce aluminium. It is made up of carbon and
other products, and is normally pre-treated before being disposed of in highly
controlled conditions. The new process provides the global aluminium industry
with a sustainable solution for treating spent potlining.

    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, Saguenay:
Claudine Gagnon, (418) 699-4005,; Rio Tinto Alcan
Media Relations, Montreal: Stefano Bertolli, (514) 848-8151,;;

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