Rio Tinto Ramps-Up Low Carbon Aluminium Production

Mining giant Rio Tinto will produce an extra 202,000 metric tonnes of low-carbon aluminium to meet rising global demand. Construction has begun on Rio’s $266 million Alma smelter in Canada, designed to produce high-value aluminium billets using renewable hydroelectric energy.

The expanded Alma facility will feature a range of advanced smelting equipment, including:

  • Furnaces 
  • Casting pits
  • Coolers 
  • Handlers 
  • Inspection systems
  • Sawing gear
  • And packaging systems 

Commissioning of the Quebec plant is scheduled for 2025. Driven by growing demand from the automotive and construction sectors – including global heavyweights like BMW – the Alma smelter will produce value-added aluminium billets mainly for North American extruders.

The smelter will support the local economy alongside a 770-strong existing workforce while adding an additional 40 upon completion. The project is expected to inject over $200 million into the local economy.

Rio is forging ahead with its plans for low-carbon aluminium, forming a partnership with Alcoa and Apple to create Elysis, a venture focused on smelting zero-carbon aluminium in Canada. 

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Ravenswood Becomes Queensland’s Largest Gold Mine

After a $350 million expansion project, Ravenswood Mine has become Queensland’s largest gold producer.

130kms southwest of Townsville, Ravenswood will now produce over 200,000 ounces of gold annually.

The site currently hosts 350 local employees while relying on a team of more than 1000 contractors. 

Queensland’s minister Resources Minister Scott Stewart was quick to talk up the announcement, highlighting the 75000 workers across the state whose jobs are directly supported by the resources sector.

Importantly, mining jobs are particularly prevalent in rural and remote regions.

“All Queenslanders benefit with royalties that will fund our schools, hospitals and roads,” Mr Stewart said.

“Ravenswood deserves a gold medal for how it supports locals and local businesses.”

Also bucking the fly-fo trend, Ravenswood announced that the “vast majority” of its workforce lives within 2 hours of the site.

The gold mining operation began in 1987 before being purchased by Ravenswood Gold in April 2020.

And, In 2021, the mine was named supplier of gold for the Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic medals of 2032. 

The Northern Territory Looks for Further Minerals Exploration

Home to world-class mineral deposits, the Northern Territory risks missing out on exports due to a lack of exploration.

The latest report from the Minerals Development Taskforce has underlined what it says is a Territory that’s “underexplored”.

The Taskforce went on to recommend the removal of barriers that restrict the level of investment in the region.

It’s hoped this will position the NT as a leading minerals supplier.

With the global hunt for net zero on in earnest, the Territory’s cache of lithium, cobalt, nickel and zinc will be critical.

Key recommendations of the report include:

  • Quickly develop new mines to achieve targeted economic outcomes.
  • Industry sees land access as posing a significant risk.
  • Regulatory processes are impacting project economics.
  • The Territory needs to recognise the new remote workforce landscape and capitalise.
  • Fix the infrastructure gap.
  • The success of mining relies on its ability to align with community values.
  • The Territory’s royalties regime is uncompetitive and deters investment.
  • Governments play a role in supporting projects to reach a final investment decision.
  • The Territory is well endowed with minerals essential to a clean energy future.


It’s been a big week of announcements in the mining and resources sector.

Rio Tinto continues its push towards clean aluminium smelting with an upgraded hydroelectric plant project underway in Canada.

The ‘Alma’ plant will be ready for commissioning in 2025.

The Ravenswood gold mine in Queensland has become the state’s largest after an upgrade program was completed valued at $350 million. 

Ravenswood will now produce 200,000 ounces of gold per year.

And last but not least, Plans are underway to open up the Northern Territory’s supply of critical minerals to the world.

A Taskforce has made numerous recommendations for the NT to improve its mining industry and capitalise on the global energy transition. 

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