Rio Tinto Alcan today inaugurated specialty aluminas facilities at its refinery in Gardanne, France, which include a grinding workshop, a packaging workshop and 12 storage silos. The inaugural event was attended by local government, economic leaders, media and employees. "This investment will help increase Gardanne's production for the rapidly growing global specialty aluminas market," said Frederic Weishaar, Managing Director, Specialty Aluminas Europe for the Bauxite and Alumina unit. "The new facilities will enable Rio Tinto Alcan to meet the growing demand for a variety of applications, such as liquid crystal display television screens, and to capture new markets in both Asia and the United States. These facilities represent just part of the (euro)20 million that has been invested in the Gardanne site over the past two years," Weishaar continued.
"Rio Tinto Alcan is committed to minimizing harmful effects to the environment through effective management practices," said Weishaar. "In line with this commitment, Gardanne also invested (euro)5 million this year in a new process; whereby, bauxite residue (a by-product of the alumina refining process) is filtered, dewatered and transformed into Bauxaline(C), a product with numerous commercial applications such as road embankments and sub-grades."
Gardanne, which employs a total of 500 people, has a production capacity of 700,000 tonnes of aluminas per year, which makes it the leading producer in Europe and number two globally. Specialty aluminas represents 80% of Gardanne's sales; while, 20% can be attributed to smelter-grade alumina.