Rio Tinto Group and the federal government are planning to invest a combined $737-million to modernize a large Quebec metals processing plant that could see the giant Anglo-Australian miner dramatically cut its emissions and become one of the first North American producers of the critical metal titanium.
Rio Tinto, one of the world’s biggest mining companies, said in a release Tuesday it will invest up to $515-million into the Sorel-Tracy, Que., facility over the next eight years. Ottawa is planning to kick in as much as $222-million for the project over the same time frame.
The plant in southwestern Quebec currently produces steel, scandium and titanium dioxide. The more than 70-year-old plant is a major source of Rio Tinto’s existing carbon emissions in Canada, largely because its blast furnaces burn vast quantities of metallurgical coal. The plant currently emits more than one million tonnes of CO2 a year.
“We cannot afford to keep running it as is,” Jakob Stausholm, chief executive of Rio Tinto, said in an interview. “We have to change.”
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