May 17, 2020

Zambia protects assets with high tech security at Kagem emerald mine

Gemfields plc
2 min
A closeup of emerald
As the single largest producer of emeralds in the world, Zambias Kagem emerald mine is an asset well worth protecting. Nobody understands this better th...

As the single largest producer of emeralds in the world, Zambia’s Kagem emerald mine is an asset well worth protecting. Nobody understands this better than the Zambian government, still 25 percent owner of the mine in partnership with 75 percent owner Gemfields Plc. As a display of this understanding, Zambia has invested $167.5 million in state-of-the-art biometric technology in order to better defend its revenue building Copperbelt province property against theft and ultimately increase the mine’s bottom line.

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The new biometric security system being installed at the 41 square kilometer open pit mine site is being touted as the first of its kind to be activated within Zambia’s gemstone sector. Key features include fingerprint recognition for easier identification and more efficient clocking in and out for mine workers, along with more tightly controlled access throughout sections of the mine and adjacent processing facilities. The hope for the Zambian government is that the enhanced security will help to strengthen what is already proving to be a profitable and promising gemstone business, with increased production and growth serving as a fitting return on investment for the upgrade.

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“Since Gemfields took over the operation of the mine in 2008 it has turned Kagem into a profit-making business that has paid taxes, royalties and dividends to the government for the first time in its history,” said Kagem chairman William B. Nyirenda in a statement announcing this new development. “These additional security measures will further strengthen the company and ensure we continue to grow, for the benefit of the shareholders, the country and the communities in which we work.”

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[SOURCE: Communications Africa; African Business Review]

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Jun 30, 2021

Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech

Rio Tinto
3 min
Rio Tinto and Alcoa’s JV project ELYSIS has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint

Eliminating all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting has taken a major step forward with the start of construction on the first commercial-scale prototype cells of ELYSIS’ inert anode technology, at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.

ELYSIS has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium production

ELYSIS is a joint venture company led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa that is developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode, that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process and instead produces oxygen.

The technology has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint.

The inert anode prototype cells will operate on a commercial scale typical for large modern aluminium smelters, using an electrical current of 450 kiloamperes (kA).

The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry joined representatives from ELYSIS, Rio Tinto and Alcoa to mark the start of construction and announce a further CAD $20mn financial contribution from the Government of Canada to support the project.

The federal government's financial support will enable the creation of a unique commercial size inert anode technology showroom for future customers and will help develop the supply chain by involving local and regional equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the project.

ELYSIS is working to complete the technology demonstration by 2024 followed by the commercialization activities.

ELYSIS technology at a glance:

  • The ELYSIS technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon footprint products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
  • The new process will reduce operating costs ofaluminiumsmelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
  • In Canada alone, the ELYSIS technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
  • ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.

Alcoa and Rio Tinto will continue to support the ELYSIS development program alongside the Governments of Canada and Quebec.

ELYSIS is working closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was invented, and the Rio Tinto technology design team in France.

Alcoa's Technical Center supports ELYSIS in the manufacture of proprietary materials for the new anodes and cathodes that are essential to the ELYSIS process. The Rio Tinto technology team in France is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS technology.


Vincent Christ, CEO, ELYSIS commented: “This is a great day for ELYSIS. It means that we are becoming the first technology company in the world to build commercial-size inert anode cells. While we refine the technology in our R&D Centre, we start the construction of our prototype cells. This shows our confidence in our process and in the know-how of our team. The combination of ELYSIS' zero CO2 technology and Quebec's renewable energy will be great competitive advantage for the future. I would like to thank the government for its support and all the partners for their commitment.”

Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member added: “Today marks a real step towards the future of the aluminium industry, by progressing this breakthrough technology to cut carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is committed to supporting its ongoing development here in Quebec where we already use clean hydropower to deliver some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium. Combining this technology with renewable hydropower holds the promise of zero carbon aluminium smelting.”

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