Rio Tinto aiming for Kitimat completion first half of 2015

Operations report shoots for midway through year for new Kitimat smelter commissioning.

While the company has kept mum on any specific dates, Rio Tinto, in its fourth quarter operations report, says Kitimat’s modernization will be done in the first half of 2015.

“Aluminium production in 2014 was broadly in line with 2013, despite the closure of Shawinigan in November 2013 and the partial shutdown at Kitimat, which continues to prepare for full commissioning of the modernised smelter during the first half of 2015,” read the company’s report, released January 19.

The 2015 completion comes one year later than the company predicted when they first announced modernization at the tail end of 2011.

Michel Lamarre, then-RTA’s project director for the modernisation, had said first metal in the new smelter would be poured in the first half of 2014. (Sentinel, December 7, 2011.)

At the time the project was slated to cost $2.7 billion as well, but that too has changed. In financial results posted last year, Rio Tinto said the project was now projected to cost $4.8 billion.

Overall for Rio Tinto’s 2014 performance, Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh said “We have had a successful year of production, capped off with a robust fourth quarter. Output is in line with our targets across all of our major products. In a challenging market Rio Tinto remains focused on operating and commercial excellence to leverage our low-cost position and maximise value for shareholders.”