Ninety per cent of Rio Tinto Fer et Titane's products are exported, mainly to American and European markets. Over the past few years, RTFT has sold its products in more than 40 countries and on all continents.
The Rio Tinto Fer et Titane head office is located in Sorel-Tracy, and products are sold by Rio Tinto Iron & Titanium sales offices in Sorel-Tracy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Singapore.
The Tio mine is located 43 kilometres north-east of Havre-Saint-Pierre on the largest solid ilmenite deposit in the world. In operation since 1950, the open-pit mine still has potential for the future.
The ore is extracted by blasting. Each blast loosens 100,000 to 200,000 tonnes of ore and tailings.
The ore loosened by blasting is transported to crushers, which reduce it first to 20 centimetre sized pieces and the to 7.5 centimetres sized pieces.
The crushed ore is transported by train to Havre-Saint-Pierre and unloaded at the RTFT dock. From there is it transferred by conveyor on to an ore carrier destined for the Sorel-Tracy metallurgical complex, which receives about three million metric tonnes of ilmenite yearly.
Metallurgical complex (Sorel-Tracy)
RTFT's metallurgical complex in Sorel-Tracy is the only one of its kind in the world. It is the site of several interconnected plants with varied but complementary types of production. At the heart of the complex, the Reduction Plant has nine furnaces that feed the entire production line. The smelted ore is transformed into titanium dioxide feedstock and iron, or transported to the Steel plant and the Metal Powders plant for further processing. The resulting products are used as raw materials by pigment producers, the automotive industry and foundries.
Developed by RTFT in the 1940s, the reduction process makes it possible to extract iron and titanium dioxide from ilmenite ore. RTFT was the first company in the world to extract iron from ilmenite for commercial use.
Rio Tinto Fer et Titane employs more than 1,400 people at the Sorel-Tracy site, which also houses the RTFT Technology Centre and head office.
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