BRITISH COLUMBIA – The last of three hurdles has been cleared, and RIO TINTO ALCAN of Montreal is ready to move forward with the US$2-billion modernization of its Kitimat aluminum smelter in this province. An energy purchase agreement between Rio Tinto Alcan and BC HYDRO has been accepted by the BC UTILITIES COMMISSION.
The new power agreement gives priority to the power requirements of the Kitimat smelter over any other power sales. This will allow Rio Tinto Alcan to adjust its power sales to BC Hydro depending on the final configuration and power requires of the updated smelter. The modernized Kitimat smelter will be one of the three largest in North America. Aluminum output will be boosted by 125,000 tonnes to 400,000 tonnes annually.
The other two conditions necessary for the project to go forward were the negotiation of a long-term labour agreement (May 2007) and assurances about environmental permitting (December 2007).
More details of the planned expansion are available at www.Alcan.com in the press release of Aug. 14, 2006, which is archived in the media section.