Our Regional Economic Development (RED) team helps local partners in four areas: aluminium fabrication, equipment manufacturing, innovation, and economic diversification.
From 2004-19, through RED, we invested C$90 million in Québec in Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean, creating or maintaining 2,500 jobs and supporting more than 200 projects and businesses. For example, RED helped repurpose former smelter sites. At one such site – Beauharnois – for example, we supported the launch of OVHcloud, a global cloud computing company, which is today one of the largest specialised website hosting providers in the world, with 360,000 servers on site. In Shawinigan, another such site, we helped to create the Center of Excellence in Energy Efficiency (C3E), aimed at commercialising innovative, energy-efficient transportation technologies.
We invest in Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean in other ways.
For example, the Rio Tinto Aluminium Canada Fund contributes to the region's non-profit organisations in five areas: First Nations, education, environment, health and well-being, and community. We partner with AlloProf to improve education in communities across Québec, an initiative that offers interactive study sessions to 400,000 students in the province. And CRÉPAS (Conseil régional de prévention de l'abandon scolaire du Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean), which the Fund also supports, works with teachers and educators to help young people throughout their journey to graduation.
Our business also plays an important role in the region’s economy. For example, we are investing C$250 million to extend the life of our Vaudreuil refinery, using industry-leading filter press technology and dry stacking to ensure it can continue to supply our aluminium smelting operations, support more than 1,000 jobs and generate significant economic benefits for the region. At our Arvida smelter, we are extending operations beyond 2020 with an investment of C$200 million. And at Alma, we are investing C$209 million to better position it to meet the demands of the future.
Helping Small Businesses Grow
In Quebec, we invested C$75,000 to help Enterprise Prémont, a new company that makes surgical masks, grow – and help the community along the way.
With our investment, this startup has added a new production line, hired more people and can make hundreds of thousands more masks per week for hospitals, retirement homes and other essential industries. So proud to be in this together with small businesses like Enterprise Prémont!