When Rio Tinto undertook the modernization of its Kitimat aluminum smelter in British Columbia, the goal was not only to increase production, but also to create an environmentally superior and safer facility.
The result? Kitimat is now one of the world’s most efficient and lowest-cost smelters.
Bechtel partnered with Rio Tinto to upgrade the facility, which originally began production in 1954, in one of the largest private construction projects in British Columbia’s history. The modernization employed the latest evolution in our customer’s state-of-the-art AP40 technology. In addition to creating a more energy efficient facility, we helped implement digital monitoring and computer control systems, more advanced cleaning systems, higher levels of material recovery to maximize raw material yield and recycling opportunities.
As a result, production was increased to 420,000 metric tons per year, while the smelter's overall emissions were cut by nearly 50 percent, including approximately 500,000 metric tons per year of greenhouse gases.
The operation subsequently received the Canadian American Business Council’s Corporate Leadership Award and has been certified by the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative for producing metal that meets the highest internationally recognized standard for responsible environmental, social and governance practices.