Rio Tinto Alcan launches $8-million fund to encourage local suppliers to the AP50 project in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Canada

    MONTREAL, Dec. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Rio Tinto Alcan today launched an
$8-million fund to promote and enhance competitiveness among equipment
suppliers and contractors in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region involved in
the development of the Group's AP50 smelting technology. This $8-million fund
fulfills one of the commitments made to the Government of Québec in
December 2006 regarding Rio Tinto Alcan's investment program in the
Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.
    "This fund aims to enhance the global competitiveness of the regional
companies involved in the development of the AP50 smelting technology. We
expect it to encourage investment in the region, to stimulate employment, and
to reduce the level of financial risk for the companies involved in the
project," noted Jacynthe Côté, president and chief executive officer, Primary
Metal, Rio Tinto Alcan.
    Jean Simon, President, Primary Metal North America, Rio Tinto Alcan
added, "this announcement underlines Alcan's commitment to the sustainability
of its activities in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region and demonstrates that
the construction of the Jonquière Complex AP50 pilot plant is progressing
well. We are confident that all subsequent steps involved in the development
of our AP50 technology will be equally successful, and that we will fulfil all
the other commitments Rio Tinto Alcan made to the Government of Quebec on
December 14, 2006," he added.
    The fund is managed by the Fonds de solidarité des travailleurs du Québec
(FSTQ) Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Applicants for financial assistance from the
fund will be subject to a third party selection process. Representatives from
Rio Tinto Alcan, the Quebec Ministry for Economic Development, Innovation and
Export Trade, and the external management firm will be involved throughout
this process.
    As announced on December 14, 2006, Rio Tinto Alcan plans to build a
US$550-million pilot plant at its Complexe Jonquière site in Canada to develop
the Group's proprietary AP50 smelting technology. This pilot plant is expected
to produce approximately 60,000 tonnes of aluminium per year and will be the
platform for future generations of AP50 technology. This pilot plant is the
first step in a planned ten-year $2.1-billion investment program in Quebec's
Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.

    About Rio Tinto

    Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the
UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London 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.

    %B NM %C 17,3 %D $8-million supplier fund

For further information:

For further information: Media Relations, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean:
Claudine Gagnon, (418) 699-4005,; Media Relations,
Montreal: Bryan Tucker, (514) 848-8151,

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Rio Tinto Alcan

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