MONTREAL (CP) -- Rio Tinto says it will invest an additional US$300 million to modernize the Kitimat aluminium smelter in British Columbia, taking the project's funding over US$500 million.
The announcement comes a week after the London-headquartered global mining and metals company had said it was reviewing all capital spending in light of the global financial crisis and slowing demand.
Rio Tinto, which acquired Alcan Inc. a year ago in a US$38-billion deal, said the Kitimat investment "continues construction and maintains critical paths for the project," while it seeks "opportunities to reduce capital costs in the currently challenging economic climate."
The funding confirmed today will ensure the launch of an anode baking furnace, substation, casthouse, and construction workers' camp, as well as ancillary services.
Jacynthe Cote, president of Rio Tinto Alcan primary metal operations, said the Kitimat modernization "remains a priority."