Governments, Apple invest in Alcoa-Rio Tinto JV for carbon-free aluminum project

Veronica Silva
May 16, 2018

The federal and Quebec governments are investing millions in a joint-venture project between aluminum industry leaders Alcoa Corporation and Rio Tinto Aluminum that is also being supported by technology giant Apple, Inc. The $558-million two-phased project will involve Alcoa and Rio Tinto forming a joint venture called Elysis. The federal government is investing $60 million to support Elysis while Quebec is contributing a matching amount and will become a limited partner in the JV. The federal funds will come from the Strategic Innovation Fund, which was refocused in Budget 2018 to support large projects of over $10 million. Apple will provide $13 million for the first phase of the project and technical support. The project is touted to be revolutionary and “the most significant innovation in the aluminum industry in more than a century.” It will involve working on aluminum that produces oxygen and eliminates greenhouse gas emissions in the smelting process. The new company will be based in Quebec and directly employ 100, including jobs in R&D, management and sales. Another 1,000 more jobs are expected to be created by 2030, and thousands of existing jobs in the aluminum industry can be secured by the new project. The commercialization phase of the project will be done in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec. Companies said the JV will commercialize “the first ever zero-carbon aluminum smelting technology in the world,” reducing Canada’s carbon footprint and helping Canada live up to its commitment to the Paris agreement. Vincent Christ of Rio Tinto has been named CEO of Elysis.

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