An influx of $2.7 billion can help nearly any project near completion, even one of the largest private infrastructure investments in British Columbia.

UK-based Rio Tinto Alcan announced this month that it will plug that sizable sum into wrapping up the $3.3 billion modernization project of its 60-year-old aluminum smelter in Kitimat, B.C. Still expected to see the first metal come on line in the first half of 2014, with nine months of ramping up production to follow, Rio Tinto says the production of the facility will grow by more than 48 percent to approximately 420,000 tonnes per year upon completion.

Powered exclusively by wholly owned hydropower, new technology will cut the smelter’s carbon dioxidemission by about 50 percent, says Jacynthe Côté, chief executive of Rio Tinto Alcan.

Rio Tinto claims the project will secure approximately 1,000 specialized jobs in B.C.’s northwest for the long term with 2,500 jobs during the peak period of the construction phase, which includes the demolition of buildings on site to make room for new portions of the plant.

The announcement of fresh capital into the British Columbia project comes at the same time that Rio Tinto suspended operations in Quebec and a plant in Australia. 


Tim Newcomb is Engineering News-Record’s Pacific Northwest contributor. He also writes for TIMEPopular MechanicsSports Illustrated and more. You can follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb or visit his website here.