An apple in the (carbon free) aluminium

18th May 2018
-IAM, Gestion de fonds

Olivier Aeschlimann, Senior Financial Analys and Fund Manager

On Mai 10th, the aluminium producer Alcoa and the second largest mining company worldwide, Rio Tinto, announced the creation of the joint venture called Elysis. Its aim is to develop a production process for aluminium, without any carbon emission. Aluminium, a light metal resisting to corrosion is much appreciated in many different sectors. However its traditional production process by electrolysis has the major inconvenience of emitting a lot of CO2, which takes away of the shine of this metal. It is encouraging to see industrial giants investing together to develop a less polluting process. According to Rio Tinto, the technology of Elysis could eliminate in Canada 6.5 Million tons of greenhouse gas, which is the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads. What is more surprising is that Apple Inc, which a priori has nothing to do with the mining and metal sector, participates to the project. The joint venture Elysis is indeed financed to USD 188 million by Alcoa, Rio Tinto, Ottawa, the Province of Quebec and Apple. Even if rather small, the financial investment of Apple could have an important impact on the environmental efforts of the company with the apple, which could boast itself of only using carbon free aluminium for its IPhones, IPads, Macs and Apple Watches. Let’s just hope that Apple has more success with the carbon free aluminium than with the synthetic sapphire glass, which generated a loss of over USD 500 million.