Business

Smelter project moving right along

SENIOR RIO Tinto Alcan official Jacynthe Cote, left, with Terrace residents Dawn Martin, Lael McKeown and Val Gauvin at a Kitimat luncheon held May 13.  - CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
SENIOR RIO Tinto Alcan official Jacynthe Cote, left, with Terrace residents Dawn Martin, Lael McKeown and Val Gauvin at a Kitimat luncheon held May 13.
— image credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

WHILE THE Kitimat smelter modernization project may still be waiting for full Rio Tinto Alcan board approval, Jacynthe Cote, president and CEO of the company’s primary metal division, said May 13 that total expenditures by year’s end will have reached $700 million.

Cote was speaking at a company-hosted luncheon to approximately three dozen members of the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce and guests from Terrace.

She pointed out that translated to expenditures of about $1 million a day on a project that hadn’t even been green-lighted.

Recalling the economic crash of 2009, Cote said the decision had been made then to keep going, albeit at a slow pace, because in the long run it was actually cheaper to do that than halt it completely.

But once the go-ahead is given, she said the goal will then be to complete the project quickly because the longer it took to do, the more it would cost.

Therefore, “We all have the same objective,” she said, that being to have everything in place for when the approval came down.

Recalling the old smelter was built more than 50 years ago, Cote said the company was building for the next 75 years.

She also drew a contrast between the original project and this new one. When the original smelter was built, the technology used was “old” even then. The modernization however would use the very latest in aluminum production technology and therefore would be well-positioned on a global scale.

And she would be “challenging” the local project team to bring the modernized Kitimat smelter into the lowest cost percentile.

Turning to the question of board approval, Cote noted that aluminum prices had come back from their post-crash low ebb and the financial position of Rio Tinto as a whole was stronger today.

However, she was taking nothing for granted and cost control would have to remain the watchword of the project.

 

Turning to safety, Cote admitted, “Some people think we are crazy about safety.” She preferred to say the company was obsessed - and she was proud of that obsession. The Kitimat smelter has just been awarded a company gold medal for safety.

 

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

High school students test drive college life
 
Just the Facts: The B.C. Teachers Strike (VIDEO)
 
Fill the bags for B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive this weekend
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory wins the Chamber Excellence Award
 
Nelson a finalist for business award
 
WK Women in Business meet in Castlegar
Upgrades to Prince Rupert airport terminal now underway
 
Ridley Terimnals Inc. hints at tough years ahead
 
Balfour ferry move ‘years out,’ MLA says

Community Events, September 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Sep 17 edition online now. Browse the archives.