PLANT

Rio Tinto abandons planned $4 billion Quebec plant

Iron and titanium plant would have created 400 jobs.


MONTREAL—Rio Tinto’s iron and titanium subsidiary has abandoned plans to build a $4 billion plant in Becancour, Que., that would have created up to 400 jobs.

The decision comes amid a collapse of titanium prices and follows the replacement of the global mining giant’s chief executive.

Rio Tinto Iron & Titanium said the move stems from its decision to suspend pre-feasibility studies under way in Canada and Madagascar.

Managing director Jean-Francois Turgeon said the company needs to reduce costs among weaker market conditions, despite the progress made on its TO4 project designed to expand mining and smelting capacity in Canada, Madagascar, South Africa and Mozambique.

Becancour was selected because of its access to cheap energy and proximity to a port.

A company spokesman said the decision won’t affect operations in Sorel or Havre-Saint-Pierre, Que.

It says this is unrelated to a five-year $800 million project that was announced in 2011 to extend the life of a mine until 2050 and modernize the Sorel-Tracy metallurgical complex.

The project known as TiO2050 will expand mining to seven from five days a week, creating 70 new jobs.

The subsidiary of the London-based mining giant produces titanium dioxide feedstocks, high purity iron, steel and metal powders. Tiitanium dioxide is the world’s most commonly used white pigment, and adds opacity to paper, paints and plastics.

©The Canadian Press