Malaysian government gives stamp of approval for SALCO smelter

Mar 14, 2008, 01:00 ET from RIO TINTO ALCAN - EN

    MONTREAL, March 14 /PRNewswire/ - Rio Tinto Alcan and Cahya Mata
 Sarawak Berhad (CMS)'s proposed US$2 billion (approximately RM7 billion)
 world-class aluminium smelter project in Similajau, in the state of
 Sarawak, has made significant progress with the granting of a manufacturing
 licence by the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority.
     "This is a clear demonstration of the Malaysian federal government's
 confidence in the SALCO smelter project," stated Sandeep Biswas, senior
 vice president, business development, Rio Tinto Alcan. "The Federal
 Government's support, through the granting of the licence from the
 Malaysian Industrial Development Authority, is a recognition of the
 significant benefits the SALCO smelter can deliver for Malaysia and
     The proposed smelter will have a production capacity of 550,000 tonnes
 per year in its initial phase, with the capability to be expanded to 1.5
 million tonnes. It is expected to contribute up to RM2.4 billion annually
 to Malaysia's GDP, and could generate up to 4,700 direct and indirect jobs.
     CMS group managing director Dato' Richard Curtis, in thanking the
 federal government for its support said: "SALCO looks forward to working
 with both the federal and Sarawak state governments to develop a truly
 outstanding project. The Sarawak state government and its agencies have
 also played a significant role in the progress of the SALCO smelter
 project," he concluded.
     Rio Tinto Alcan and CMS signed a Heads of Agreement in August 2007 to
 commence feasibility studies for the development of the SALCO smelter. A
 detailed environmental impact assessment has commenced and international
 engineering consultant Bechtel has been appointed to undertake an
 engineering study. As well, in February 2008, Rio Tinto Alcan and CMS
 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sarawak Energy Behard to
 allow negotiations to commence on power for the smelter. The MoU was signed
 during the launch of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewal Energy (SCORE) in
     The Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) is an agency of
 the Malaysian government established to promote and coordinate industrial
 development. All companies engaged in manufacturing in Malaysia must obtain
 a manufacturing licence.
     About SALCO
     Sarawak Aluminium Company (SALCO), a joint-venture owned by Rio Tinto
 Alcan (60%) and Cahya Mata Sarawak (40%), is undertaking studies to develop
 an aluminium smelter in the state of Sarawak, Malaysia. Rio Tinto Alcan,
 the new global leader in aluminium, owns bauxite mines, alumina refineries
 and aluminium smelters, and has extensive experience in the design,
 engineering, construction, commissioning and operation of world-class
 aluminium smelters. CMS is the largest conglomerate in Sarawak. Its
 operations span construction and property development, construction
 materials, road maintenance, financial services, trading, technology and
 education. For more information, please visit
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 Asia, Europe and southern Africa.
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