Rio Tinto marks 70th year of operations at British Columbia’s only aluminum smelter

Rio Tinto’s modernised Kitimat smelter. Photo by Rio Tinto Alcan.

Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) said on Monday it is marking the 70th anniversary of its BC Works operation, the only aluminum smelter operator in British Columbia, Canada.

The Australian miner hosted a celebration on June 1 at the Kitimat smelter site, with more than 1,800 attendees including four generations of employees and retirees.

The event, which featured bus tours of the smelter operations, kiosks and displays, served as a thank you to employees, business partners and the community. Attendees also had the opportunity to learn about the responsible low-carbon aluminum production process, Rio said.

“As we celebrate 70 years of operations acknowledging the transformations undergone along the way as future generations are upon us, we remain dedicated to the production of high-quality, responsible low-carbon aluminum, while continuing to build authentic relationships with communities, the union, and business partners, all of which play a significant role in the sustainability of our smelter,” BC Works general manager Simon Pascoe said in the statement.

Coinciding with the start of National Indigenous History Month, the event also featured the unveiling of a special commemorative structure by Haisla artist Paul Windsor.

Crafted from aluminum, the totem symbolizes unity, adorned with two of the original Haisla traditional Clan Crests: the Beaver at the base and the Eagle at the apex. In its center stands the representation of an Elder.