This Morning in Metals: Rio Tinto invests to increase low-carbon aluminum production

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This morning in metals news: Rio Tinto said it is investing US$87 million to increase its low-carbon aluminum production in Canada; new natural gas pipeline capacity came on stream in Q3 2021; and, lastly, the U.S., E.U. and Japan released a joint statement affirming their trilateral trade partnership.

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Rio Tinto invests in low-carbon aluminum production

Rio Tinto sign

Argus/Adobe Stock

Rio Tinto said it is investing US$87 billion to increase low-carbon aluminum production in Canada.

The firm will add 16 new smelting cells at the AP60 smelter in Quebec.

“The investment will increase production at the smelter by around 45 per cent, or 26,500 metric tonnes of primary aluminium per year, to a capacity of 86,500 metric tonnes and provide a secure future for approximately 100 employees who work at the facility,” the firm said.

Furthermore, Rio Tinto estimates the global aluminum market to grow by 3.3% per annum for the next decade.

Natural gas capacity comes online in Q3

The U.S. added new natural gas capacity in Q3 2021, the Energy Information Administration reported.

The new capacity — amounting to about 4 billion cubic feet per day — primarily serves the Gulf Coast and Northeast regions.

“In the Gulf Coast, three projects either entered service in the third quarter or were partially completed, totaling 3.6 Bcf/d of additional pipeline capacity,” the EIA said.

Meanwhile, in New England, two projects will add over 100 million cubic feet per day of supply.

US, EU, Japan affirm trade partnership

Trade ministers of the U.S., E.U. and Japan released a statement today affirming their “trilateral partnership.”

“Ambassador Katherine Tai, United States Trade Representative, Mr. Hagiuda Koichi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, and Mr. Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, announced that they have agreed to renew their Trilateral partnership to address the global challenges posed by non-market policies and practices of third countries,” the joint statement reads. “The Trilateral partners will recommence their work in the coming weeks with the intention of meeting in person on the margins of the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.”

In other trade news, the U.S. and E.U. recently reached a deal to roll back the former’s Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, instead implementing tariff-rate quotas. Meanwhile, the U.S. and Japan have agreed to initiate talks to renegotiate the tariffs.

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