Rio Tinto is improving employee safety and optimising operations by upgrading facilities at its Vaudreuil Plant, the site of an alumina refinery and associated services in Saguenay, Quebec.

Through a US$51 million investment, three new energy efficient buildings are under construction and existing facilities will be rearranged to provide close to 400 employees with a centralised control room, offices and common areas once complete in early 2021.

The upgrades will move employees away from industrial processes and bring six separate control rooms into one centralised location with advanced reporting technologies, improving the efficiency of operations, communications and decision-making.

More than half of the investment has already been awarded to companies in the Saguenay - Lac-St-Jean region such as Proco, with more contracts to be granted in the coming months.

Rio Tinto executive director Quebec Operations Sébastien Ross said "This investment will provide our employees with an even safer and more modern work environment, as we optimise our operations at the Vaudreuil Plant. We’re pleased to be partnering with union representatives and contractors to ensure this project not only delivers a more efficient operation, but also generates significant economic benefits in the region.”

Proco general manager Jean-Denis Toupin said “We are extremely proud to contribute to this innovative project that demonstrates Rio Tinto's commitment to the safety of workers and its operations in Saguenay - Lac-St-Jean. We are drawing on a network of partners showing the world class services on offer here in the region, to help build a strong future for Vaudreuil.”