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Aluminum November 18, 2021 06:20:56 PM

Rio Tinto to Boost North American Smelter Capacity

Paul Ploumis
ScrapMonster Author
The additional capacity equates to almost 0.7% of the total regional production, it said.

Rio Tinto to Boost North American Smelter Capacity

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): Rio Tinto Plc announced that it plans to add smelter capacity at its North American operations by 2023, in response to rising demand for electric vehicles, solar panels and recyclable packaging.

According to the company, it will invest $87 million towards adding 26,500 metric tons of capacity at its smelter in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec. The proposed investment is expected to boost production by 45% and support existing jobs at these smelters. The additional capacity equates to almost 0.7% of the total regional production, it said.

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The investment decision comes in the wake of recent surge in aluminium prices, boosted by rising demand amidst increasing shortages of the metal across the globe. The analysts too have been maintaining bullish outlook on the metal in the near future.

While announcing its outlook for 2021, Rio Tinto anticipates slight dip in Canadian output during the year, mainly on account of the nearly two-month strike action by workers at its Kitimat, B.C. smelter. It must be noted that the company had produced around 1.8 million metric tons of aluminium last year.

Ivan Vella, chief executive of Rio Tinto Aluminum noted that the drive towards low carbon alternatives is likely to ensure elevated demand for aluminium.

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