Rio Tinto and Government of Quebec strengthen historic partnership

24 July 2018

Rio Tinto and the Government of Quebec have a renewed partnership agreement that strengthens their joint commitment to Rio Tinto’s world-class aluminium assets in the region.

Generations of employees and local stakeholders joined Rio Tinto and the Government of Quebec as they renewed the historic partnership, marking almost a century of collaboration to ensure that Quebec continues to provide high quality aluminium to customers in North America.

The renewed partnership, which supersedes a 2006 agreement, enables Rio Tinto to continue its operations at the Vaudreuil refinery and Arvida smelter. The extension of Arvida has been made possible by permits granted by the Government and the continuation of a linked power contract at preferential rates.

Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios said "This agreement provides Rio Tinto with the confidence to invest $193 million (C$250 million) to extend the life of its Vaudreuil refinery and $154 million (C$200 million) to continue operations at the Arvida smelter."

The agreement also provides a platform to support Rio Tinto’s growth options, with flexibility around potential future investments. Rio Tinto is progressing studies into a range of potential projects including increasing smelting and value added product capacity, and enhancing research and development in the region.

Mr Barrios said "Renewing our long-standing and successful partnership with the Government of Quebec ensures that Rio Tinto’s hydro-powered aluminium operations in the region will continue to lead the industry in the production of sustainable low carbon aluminium."

Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations Gervais Jacques said "We will continue to work in partnership with the Government of Quebec as we explore potential options for future investments and strengthen our competitive position to meet rising demand for aluminium from customers in North America."

Notes to editors

Rio Tinto’s operations have a history in Quebec running back more than 100 years.

Rio Tinto has over 8,000 employees in Québec, invests more than $7.7 million (C$10 million) per year into community partnerships and contributed $166 million (C$215 million) in payroll taxes in 2017.

The renewed partnership agreement supersedes a 2006 agreement with the Government of Quebec and runs through to 2025.

It supports the competitiveness of Rio Tinto’s world class aluminium operations in the Saguenay Lac Saint Jean region of Quebec, with benefits including:

  • Permitting to extend the life of the Vaudreuil refinery and Arvida smelter
  • Maintaining a power contract for Arvida smelter at preferential rates
  • Providing a new system to account for surpluses and deficits in hydropower
  • Providing flexibility and support on potential future investments in projects

The agreement provides Rio Tinto with the confidence to make a number of key investments in its Quebec operations:

  • Extending the life of the Vaudreuil refinery beyond 2022 with a $193 million (C$250 million) investment
  • Extending operations and improving productivity at the Arvida smelter beyond 2020, with an investment of $154 million (C$200 million)
  • Together these two operations provide work for around 2,000 people

Rio Tinto is progressing studies for future potential investment options in areas including:

  • Research and development
  • Further productivity improvements
  • Increasing smelting capability such as the addition of 16 pots of AP60 and fabrication of value added products to meet demand for specialized products in North America