Rio Tinto will invest $250 million to extend operations beyond 2022 at the Vaudreuil alumina refinery in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec, a project that includes the construction of a filtration plant and the optimization of the Jonquière complex bauxite residue site.
“Today is an important milestone in the Vaudreuil plant’s 80 year history,” said Managing director of Atlantic Operations Gervais Jacques. “It will continue to supply our world class aluminium smelting operations, support more than 1,000 jobs and generate significant economic benefits for the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region.
“Our employees and their representatives have given it all so that this plant can continue to operate.”
The $250 million investment will allow the company to plan for the coming years, said Jacques, adding that “the high quality alumina produced at our Vaudreuil plant allows us to remain competitive in terms of costs and increase value for our customers.”
In addition to this investment, Rio Tinto is continuing its work to identify pathways for the valorization of bauxite residues. Operations at the Vaudreuil plant support over 1,000 jobs in the Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean region and generate annual regional economic benefits of around $135 million.
“I would like to recognize our employees and partners for their hard work,” said Jean-François Nadeau, General Manager of the Jonquière complex. “Without them, this pivotal step would not have been possible. I would also like to thank the community members whose contributions have enhanced the project.”
In 2015, Rio Tinto began a community consultation process, which allowed the company to improve and supplement the Vaudreuil 2022 project.
Commissioned in 1936, the Vaudreuil plant processes bauxite into alumina. In 2017, the plant imported 3.7 million tonnes of bauxite from Africa and Brazil.