Shawinigan Aluminium Inc. (SAI) is currently investing US$7 million to build a new aluminum recycling center adjacent to its billet casthouse in Quebec, Canada. The closed-loop operation will recycle clean process scrap from Rio Tinto and other aluminum manufacturers in order to meet customer demand for products made with recycled aluminum.
SAI’s new remelt plant will be able to produce 30,000 tonnes of aluminum billet from clean process scrap. The project will also give the company additional operational flexibility, increasing its product range and reducing production cycle times. In addition, the recycling of aluminum will enable the company to greatly reduce its carbon footprint on the environment.
“This investment will allow SAI to continue to produce [quality aluminum] in accordance with the long tradition [we’ve] established since 1956, while ensuring the well-being and safety of employees,” said Michel Boudreault, president of SAI. “I would also like to thank all those without whom this project could not have materialized, including governments (Canada, Quebec, City of Shawinigan), customers, suppliers, and employees.
Rio Tinto is partnering with SAI to enable the launch of its first closed-loop recycling solution. Through this agreement, SAI will provide its recycling services from the new plant. “Our focus is on working with customers to deliver high quality products that respond to their needs, and we have developed this new recycling solution after requests from customers who want options to reprocess their extrusion scrap,” explained Tolga Egrilmezer, Rio Tinto Aluminium vice president Sales and Marketing.
The closed-loop recycling system will compliment Rio Tinto’s existing production of low carbon footprint aluminum billet, providing customers with additional options for sustainable products. “It’s an offering that combines responsibly produced primary aluminum and recycled metal, demonstrating our commitment to a more sustainable, circular economy,” said Egrilmezer. “Our hydro-powered operations in Canada produce some of the world’s lowest carbon footprint aluminum. Now we are enhancing our product offering with a true closed-loop recycling solution, that further expands our wide range of customer focused solutions. We expect this will be the first of many initiatives on the recycling front.”
The new SAI recycling center is expected to be operational in early 2021, at which time Rio Tinto will begin to offer closed-loop recycling to its customers in North America.