QUESTIONING RIO TINTO'S COMPLIANCE WITH COMMITMENTS RELATED TO PERIBONKA RIVER WATER RIGHTS

SAGUENAY, QC, May 24, 2022 /CNW/ – A group of citizens, retired Alcan/Rio Tinto executives, are questioning Rio Tinto’s compliance with the commitments arising from the Péribonka Lease with respect to the water rights granted to it.

“According to our data, Rio Tinto’s decisions regarding compliance with the 1984, 2006 and 2007 commitments no longer offer a balance between the development of natural resources and their economic benefits for Quebec and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. They do not respect the various agreements and more particularly for the investments at the Arvida plant, they say.

That is why we have approached the government, which signed these agreements and is responsible for ensuring that Rio Tinto complies with them.

According to our analysis,” adds Jacques Dubuc, one of the group’s leaders, “Rio Tinto is benefiting from hydraulic resources that provide it with competitive advantages several hundred million dollars per year, without fully providing its counterpart in the form of sustainable investments for the production of primary aluminium, even though market conditions and future prospects have been favourable for several years.

Rio Tinto’s competitive advantage is even more important today,” says Myriam Potvin, “given the energy issues and pressures on greenhouse gas emissions and the implementation of the carbon tax. It is accentuated by the access to renewable energy on which Rio Tinto relies to market its “green” aluminum produced in Quebec.

To date, Alcan\Rio Tinto has built two of the three smelters it committed to build over the next 25 years in 1984 (Laterrière and Alma) and some pots for the third smelter (AP60). Of the 272 pots promised for AP60, 234 pots are missing and the investment is equivalent to $1.1 billion, in 2006 dollars.

This deprives the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region and Quebec of important investments and a significant number of jobs as well as a future perspective for the aluminum industry in Saguenay and Quebec.

“The surplus energy generated by the planned closure of the Arvida smelter in 2025 must be used solely for the production of primary aluminum in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region,” they conclude.

Jacques Dubuc was Director, Communications and Partner Relations, Primary Metal, Europe and Africa at the time of his retirement and Myriam Potvin was Internal Communications and Community Relations Consultant, SLSJ, at the time of her retirement.

SOURCE Jacques Dubuc, porte-parole

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