Rio Tinto is preparing its first shipments of metal from its world-class Kitimat aluminum smelter in Canada following an extensive modernization of the facility. The modernization of the aluminum smelter will increase production capacity by 48% and result in Kitimat becoming one of the lowest cost smelters in the world. Rio Tinto is now focused on safely ramping up toward its annual production rate of 420,000 metric tons (mt).

The modernized smelter, which was delivered in line with the revised schedule and budget, is powered exclusively by Rio Tinto’s wholly owned hydro power facility and uses the company’s proprietary AP40 smelting technology, which will effectively halve the smelter’s overall emissions.

Aluminum Chief Executive Alf Barrios said, “The modernization of Kitimat will fundamentally transform its performance, moving it from the fourth quartile to the first decile of the industry cost curve. At full production, Kitimat will be one of the most efficient, greenest and lowest-cost smelters in the world. Positioned in British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada, Kitimat is well placed to serve rapidly growing demand for aluminum in the Asia-Pacific region and to serve the North American market.”