Premier John Horgan celebrated the one-year anniversary of the new Rio Tinto smelter going into operation in Kitimat today.
“The new Rio Tinto smelter is a great example of how companies can improve conditions for workers and reduce pollution all while improving their bottom line,” said Premier Horgan. “Rio Tinto is producing twice as much aluminum with one-third of the electricity and half of the emissions produced by their previous plant. This means they are now producing some of the lowest carbon aluminum in the world, giving them a competitive advantage at a time when consumers are looking for ways to reduce their impact on the climate.”
As part of the celebration, Premier Horgan and Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall admired a beautiful new totem pole created by Sammy Robinson, master carver and Hereditary Chief of the Haisla Nation.
“Rio Tinto has shown that investing in local jobs and protecting the environment is a good business decision,” said Mungall. “Our government is going to continue working with companies to grow our resource industries in a way that creates benefits for people and respects the rights of Indigenous peoples.”
The Rio Tinto BC Works smelter contributed $339 million to the British Columbia economy in its first full year of operation, including $190 million in annual salaries and pension plan benefits for B.C. workers.
“We’re happy to welcome the Premier, and the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources on their visit to Haisla Territory this weekend,” said Crystal Smith, Haisla Chief Councillor. “We look forward to continuing our work with the new provincial government on efforts to bring further job opportunities to the region, in particular the development of a liquefied natural gas industry which continues to have the support of Haisla Nation Council.”
“With the completion of the modernization project, the Kitimat smelter is now producing some of the world’s lowest carbon footprint aluminum and will provide jobs for future generations,” said Alf Barrios, chief executive, Rio Tinto Aluminium.
In addition to viewing the new totem pole, the Premier and minister participated in a community celebration and toured the modernized smelter.
- The traditional territory of the Haisla Nation is situated along the Douglas Channel region of Kitimat on B.C.’s North Coast, and includes the Kitlope Valley, which is rich in natural resources, especially salmon.
- Rio Tinto’s aluminum smelter in Kitimat is one of the largest manufacturing complexes in the province, with 1,000 employees.
- The 60-year-old aluminum smelter completed a $4.8-billion modernization project one year ago, and is now the aluminum industry’s cleanest technology with the lowest emission levels.
- Production level will be boosted to about 420,000 tonnes of aluminum per year, while having nearly 50% less impact on the local environment.
Read about the Haisla Nation: http://haisla.ca/
Read about the smelter’s history and current operations: http://www.riotinto.com/canada/bcworks/kitimat-kemano-17841.aspx
Read about the technology used to transform the Kitimat smelter: https://www.ap-technology.com/
Jen HolmwoodDeputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier