By Robb M. Stewart
MELBOURNE--Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) said Monday it had completed construction on the 2.4 billion Australian dollar (US$2.45 billion) expansion of its Yarwun alumina refinery in eastern Australia, and has begun the process of ramping up to full production next year.
"The Yarwun expansion project will more than double production at the refinery to 3.4 million [metric] tons of alumina per year, making Rio Tinto Alcan the world's leading bauxite and alumina producer," said Armando Torres, chief operating officer for bauxite and alumina at Rio's Alcan aluminum division.
Mr. Torres said the focus for the remainder of the year would be to bring the expanded plant safely into stable operation and gradually increase its production capacity.
The Yarwun plant, located 10 kilometers northwest of Gladstone in central Queensland state, began refining bauxite into alumina in 2004.
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