Rio Tinto names Alstom to supply Quebec’s 896-MW Shipshaw

Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto Ltd. named Alstom Hydro Canada Inc. to supply a new 225-MW high-efficiency turbine for the 896-MW Shipshaw hydroelectric project in Saguenay, Quebec.

Rio Tinto announced the equipment contract in February but did not disclose terms and details of the award. It previously announced it would invest C$296 million (US$230 million) to construct the addition. (HNN 10/29/08)

Shipshaw powerhouse is a major component of Rio Tinto Alcan’s hydroelectric network, which features a total installed capacity of about 2,900 MW in Quebec.

The new unit will replace four turbine-generators at another project, the 78-year-old, 224-MW Chute-a-Caron project, promoting more efficient water use. The new unit is expected to be placed in operation in late 2012.

Rio Tinto agreed in 2007 to buy Canada’s Alcan Inc. for C$49 billion (US$38 billion). At that time, it reiterated it would maintain Alcan’s commitment to invest some C$2.6 billion (US$2 billion) in Quebec expansion projects and manage waterways on which it produces electricity for its smelters.

Prior to purchase by Rio Tinto, Alcan started engineering work for the new Shipshaw turbine as part of a planned 10-year C$2.3 billion (US$1.8 billion) investment in company facilities in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean Region.

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