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MEI Online: Electrometallurgy: Latest News: February 22nd 2012


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:: Rio Tinto Alcan Welcomes the First Electrolytic Cell at its Arvida AP60 Technology Centre


The first AP60 cell has been delivered to Rio Tinto Alcan's Arvida AP60 Technology Centre, located in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec. "This is a momentous day for Rio Tinto Alcan. With the new generation of AP60 cells, metal production per cell will be 40 per cent higher than in other existing smelters", declared √Čtienne Jacques, chief operating officer, Rio Tinto Alcan Primary Metal, North America.

The arrival of the first AP60 cell at the plant is a significantmilestone. Indeed, the AP60 technology will become an aluminium industry benchmark due to its operating costs, energy consumption, and environmental performance. "This is all the more significant because the cell was built right here in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, by Charl-Pol Saguenay, a company that will deploy the leading edge technology around the world. First metal is expected at the plantin 2013", added Mr. Jacques.

Note that Phase I of the Arvida AP60 Technology Centre is the launching pad for the next series of AP electrolytic cells, which makes Rio Tinto Alcan a leader in aluminium electrolysis technology. Phase I will see the commissioning of 38 cells in 2013, with a yearly aluminium production capacity of 60,000 tonnes. Construction of this first phase of the project, a US$1.1 billion investment, currently involves 900 employees. Rio Tinto Alcan invests one million dollars per day in the project. Production capacity could reach 460,000 tonnes in the upcoming phases, which are currently under study.

The AP60 technology was initially developed at the Rio Tinto Alcan research & development laboratories in the Rhone-Alpes region of France. When Phase I of the smelter becomes operational, the Arvida Research & Development Centre, in Jonquiere, will conduct the continuous development of the AP60 technology, leading to its eventual market readiness. The Rhone-Alpes team will also be supporting these development efforts.

AP60 is the most advanced AP electrolysis technology within Rio Tinto Alcan and is an industry benchmark. Much like the other AP technologies, it focuses on productivity and the reduction of overall production costs.




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