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A breath of fresh air for Sorel-Tracy

It was an unusual Tuesday afternoon in Sorel-Tracy, when Rio Tinto Fer et Titane announced a joint investment with the federal government of $737 million over eight years to accelerate the decarbonization of its industrial activities and the transformation of critical metals in Quebec. A great investment in the economy of the XXIme century.

Posted at 6:30 am

An announcement of this magnitude, in a sector as critical as mining and metals, does not rain tons in Quebec. However, we would like similar initiatives to multiply throughout the territory and in all sectors of activity.

Imagine if the multinational Glencore also decided to open its multi-million dollar coffers in such a significant way to return an acceptable quality of life to the citizens of Rouyn-Noranda…

It was therefore a day of celebration at Sorel-Tracy, as evidenced by the presence of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, who came to confirm a federal contribution of 220 million to the vast project in which Rio Tinto Fer et Titane (RTFT) is engaged.

The CEO of the multinational Rio Tinto, the Dane Jakob Strausholm, also attended the event, which he described as historic for the Sorel-Tracy processing plant. The CEO only had good words for the RTFT Technology Center team, who have managed over the years to obtain the maximum possible yield from the extracted ore.

In addition to the 220 million from the federal government, taken from the Strategic Innovation Fund, RTFT will inject 517 million over the next eight years in the decarbonization of its transformation processes and in new productions of critical minerals.

In addition to titanium powder, which is used in particular in the manufacture of paints, the Sorel-Tracy plant manufactures titanium metal, destined for the aeronautical and automotive markets, and steel.

For the past two years, RTFT’s Critical Minerals and Technology Center has succeeded in producing scandium, a critical mineral, from titanium processing residues in a pilot plant. Scandium increases the resistance of certain metals, including aluminum, and is also used in the manufacture of fuel cells.

It is a critical mineral highly coveted by the automotive and aerospace industry because it reduces the weight of their products and increases their mechanical and thermal resistance, Stéphane Leblanc, former CEO of RTFT, who has just retired.

It should be noted that RTFT is the only producer of scandium in the Americas and its pilot plant is capable of producing 3 tons of this critical mineral. With the investments announced on Tuesday, the goal is to quadruple production in the coming years.

Pilot plant and lithium

The three-quarters of a trillion to be invested over the next eight years will also make it possible to halve the greenhouse gases generated by RTFT by 2030 and achieve net-zero carbon neutrality by 2050.

Starting next year, RTFT will start producing titanium in a pilot plant where 40,000 tons of ilmenite will be transformed through a new process that will eliminate the use of natural gas.

“Once fully operational, the BlueSmelting project will allow us to reduce our CO2 emissions by 670,000 tonnes.twothe equivalent of taking 145,000 cars off the road”, explained Didier Arseguel, Vice President of Technologies at RTFT.

Parallel to these initiatives, RTFT has just put into operation another pilot plant where the research group has been able to develop a new spodumene concentration process that offers lithium contents significantly higher than the industry average.

This new process uses no chemicals and will soon test minerals from local producer Sayona.

Not in vain, the CEO of Rio Tinto made the trip from London to Sorel-Tracy on Tuesday. Quebec’s experience in innovation and reduction of greenhouse gases is the largest of the group in the world.

There is Rio Tinto’s Iron and Titanium Critical Minerals and Technology Center, which offers game-changing solutions, and there is technology developed by Elysis in Saguenay, a joint venture between Rio Tinto and Alcoa, that will enable the commercial production of completely green aluminium.

The movement to decarbonize the economy has a long way to go and although its beginnings were slow and chaotic, it is beginning to take off and show results that allow us to hope to believe in it.

#breath #fresh #air #SorelTracy

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