CANADA – Anglo-Australian multinational company, Rio Tinto is investing US$29 million (C$35 million) to build a new aluminium recycling facility at its Arvida Plant in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.

The new facility will enable Rio Tinto to expand its offering of low-carbon aluminium solutions for customers in the automotive, packaging, and construction markets.

It will also make the company the first primary aluminium producer in North America to incorporate recycled post-consumer aluminium into aluminium alloys.

Clean aluminium scrap sourced locally from used vehicles and construction materials will be remelted to produce recycled content that will be used in aluminium billets at the Arvida smelter as well as other products from Rio Tinto’s Quebec facilities.

Rio Tinto Aluminium Managing Director of Atlantic Operations Sebastien Ross said: “Investing in new recycling facilities in Arvida is another step in our strategy to expand our offering of low carbon aluminium products and integrate the circular economy into our value chain.

“This will allow us to continue to meet our customers’ growing demand for responsible, traceable, and responsible products.”

Expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2024, the facility will have an initial capacity of 30,000 tons per year.

Construction will begin in the coming months, with a remelting furnace equipped with regenerative burners and an automated scrap loading system to be installed in an existing building at the Arvida plant.

The project is expected to generate US$23 million (C$30 million) of economic benefits in Quebec and will create around 10 new permanent jobs at the Arvida Plant.

In addition, the project is expected to help meet the increasing demand for aluminium in Canada following the government regulation to prohibit single-use plastics in the country from June this year.

Following the ban, big beverage companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi and others are considering long-term alternatives to plastic bottles.

With its infinite lifespan, aluminium can be recycled over and over without losing its quality, unlike plastic which can only be recycled 7 times.

According to The Aluminum Association, five million tons of aluminium are recycled in Canada and the US each year, with about 75% of all aluminium produced when it first entered the product market as foil and packaging in the early 1900s still in use today in some form.

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