Apple involved in 'carbon-free' aluminium smelting with Rio Tinto, Alcoa, and Canadian governments

Siri, show me a CA$188 million joint venture that's well outside Apple's usual activities.

Rio Tinto, Alcoa, Apple, and the governments of Canada and Quebec have collectively stumped up CA$188 million for a joint venture dubbed Elysis that eliminates "all direct greenhouse gas emissions" from the smelting of aluminium.

The process, which has been used by an Alcoa plant near Pittsburgh in various forms since 2009, will be developed by Elysis, with plans for it to sell a technology package from 2024.

The governments of Canada and Quebec are each contributing CA$60 million to Elysis, which will be headquartered in Montreal and conduct research in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, with Rio Tinto and Alcoa providing CA$55 million each as well as patents and intellectual property. Apple will provide CA$13 million and technical support to the venture, the companies said.

Equity in Elysis will be split between Rio Tinto and Alcoa, apart from a 3.5 percent stake held by the Quebec government. Former Rio Tinto head of technology, research and development, and automation programs Vincent Christ will become the CEO of Elysis.

"Apple is committed to advancing technologies that are good for the planet and help protect it for generations to come," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement.

"We are proud to be part of this ambitious new project, and look forward to one day being able to use aluminium produced without direct greenhouse gas emissions in the manufacturing of our products."

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau said it was an historic day for aluminium, and would significantly reduce Canada's carbon footprint by as much as 6.5 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases if rolled out across the Great White North's existing smelters, the companies said.

Elysis will begin with 100 employees.

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