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Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec

Mining major Rio Tinto has announced a C$92-million investment in in maintenance work and upgrades to improve the reliability and efficiency of its Isle-Maligne hydroelectric station, which is essential to the production of hydroelectricity for the manufacture of low-carbon aluminum in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.

The plant was commissioned 95 years ago and is the oldest in Rio Tinto’s hydroelectric network. 

 The miner said this week that work would work begin this summer and take place over two years, with one turbine-alternator group being replaced and major maintenance work undertaken on another. The plant would be upgraded with state-of-the-art instrumentation and information management technologies to deliver improved operational efficiencies.

“This work at the Isle-Maligne power plant represents a major investment by Rio Tinto in the region that will enable us to continue our hydroelectric operations and maintain our low-carbon footprint aluminium production in Quebec,” said Rio’s MD for its Quebec operations, Sébastien Ross.

The project is expected to generate C$75-million in economic activity in Quebec and more than a hundred workers will be involved at the peak of the work.

The investment adds to a C$160-million maintenance project announced in October last year to replace valves in the Isle-Maligne station.