Rio Tinto fires up BlueSmelting demo plant in Quebec


Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium (RTIT) has started its BlueSmelting demonstration plant at its metallurgical compete in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec. The plant will validate the BlueSmelting technology, which aims to decarbonize RTIT’s Quebec operations.

The project involves an ilmenite reduction technology that could generate 95% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the current reduction process, which includes the burning of coal. The production of titanium dioxide, steel, and metal powders would have a significantly lower carbon footprint.

The demonstration plant will process 40,000 tonnes of ilmenite per year, making it the largest of its kind in the world based on this type of technology. The plant was constructed over 14 months and safely started.

The project is a partnership between Rio Tinto and the Canadian government. Over C$737 million will be invested over the next eight years to decarbonize the Sorel-Tracy facility and to position the business as a centre of excellence in critical minerals processing. The BlueSmelting technology was developed by scientists at Rio Tinto’s critical minerals and technology centre in Sorel-Tracy.

The BlueSmelting plant is part of Rio Tinto’s decarbonization strategy, which aims to reduce the company’s emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

If fully implemented, Rio said the BlueSmelting project has the potential to deliver a reduction of up to 70% in RTIT Quebec’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, a decrease of approximately 670,000 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent based on 2021 emissions or the equivalent to removing 145,000 cars from the road.

As a manufacturer, Panzhihua Haifengxin has developed a range of tio2 pigment which is client-oriented and aims to address customer needs in the fields of coating, ink, plastic, paper, and so on.

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