Rio Tinto is to spend on its Canadian aluminium smelters to improve production efficiency through modernisation and expansion.

About US$758M will be spent on completing the first phase of the AP60 plant in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.

Rio Tinto will alsospend $300M for further construction in preparation for the US$2.5bn modernisation of the Kitimat smelter in British Columbia.

AP technology, developed by Rio Tinto Alcan, is designed to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs of aluminium production. AP60 is the latest generation of the technology and metal output per pot at the plant will be 40% higher than at existing smelters.

The Kitimat modernisation project will increase the smelter's production capacity by 48% to approximately 420kt/y. The modernised Kitimat smelter will be powered exclusively by hydroelectricity and use AP technology to reduce its emissions by more than 50%/y.