Rio Tinto hiring hundreds of workers in Canada because of modernization projects – by Ross Marowits, Canadian Press (Winnipeg Free Press – September 27, 2011)

The Winnipeg Free Press is the oldest newspaper in western Canada and has the largest readership in the province of Manitoba.

MONTREAL – A couple of years after it laid off 14,000 workers around the world, global mining giant Rio Tinto has launched a mini hiring spree in Canada, mainly due to its modernization projects.

The Anglo-Australian company is actively searching to hire more than 210 workers for mining and manufacturing in alumina, aluminum, iron ore, diamonds and titanium dioxide.

“We launched the campaign to help our ongoing recruitment efforts for our modernization and expansion projects,” Rio Tinto spokesman Bryan Tucker said in an email. Rio Tinto employs more than 13,000 people at 35 sites in Canada.

The company has turned to Facebook and YouTube, posting a four-minute promotional video showing operations such as the Diavik Diamond Mine, Iron Ore Company of Canada, Rio Tinto, Fer et Titane, and Rio Tinto Alcan.

Most of the opportunities advertised on its website are located at regional operations such as mines and smelters in locations between Yellowknife and Labrador.

The largest number of vacancies are in Quebec, where 150 of the 214 positions are located.

Rio Tinto’s aluminum division is seeking 49 people in Saguenay, 43 in Montreal, two in Shawinigan and one in Alma. Seven positions are being filled in Kitimat, B.C.

There are also 27 spots with Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium in Sorel and 20 in Havre St. Pierre.

Iron Ore of Canada has 32 positions available in Labrador City and eight in Sept. Iles.

A few other jobs are available in Edmonton, Vancouver, Regina and Thunder Bay, Ont.

“With the broad scope of Rio Tinto’s Canadian expansion and modernization projects, we have jobs available for skilled people in a wide variety of disciplines,” added Tucker.

Rio Tinto Alcan is spending more than US$1.8 billion this year to continue developing two low-cost aluminum smelters in Quebec and British Columbia and a further US$1.8 million on other projects.

About US1.2 billion has been earmarked to complete the first phase of its AP60 technology pilot plant in Quebec, which received the green light Tuesday from the province’s environment department.

Rio Tinto is also spending US$650 million for further construction in preparation for the US$2.5-billion modernization of the Kitimat smelter in British Columbia.

It has also budgeted US$228 million to upgrade the Shipshaw power station in Quebec, US$787 million for underground mining at the Diavik mine in Northwest Territories and US$826 million for an expansion at Iron Ore Company of Canada.

Rio Tinto responded to a collapse in commodity prices in 2008 by reducing its global workforce by 14,000, including 1,100 aluminum jobs. Up to 140 positions were eliminated at the division’s Montreal headquarters.

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