A golden contract for our green aluminum

More than $ 160 million of public funds have been invested in a joint venture that allows Rio Tinto and Alcoa to build green aluminum here, which won over American giant Apple.

Last Thursday, Apple announced that it would use aluminum built in -house by Elysis Limited Partnership in its new iPhone SE.

“They are [Apple] which led Rio Tinto and Alcoa to collaborate on a joint venture where Apple is involved and where the governments of Quebec and Canada have provided funds because it will significantly reduce greenhouse gases, ”he explained in Newspaper Jean Simard, CEO of the Aluminum Association of Canada (AAC).

“Apple has identified two companies working separately, and competing on the same thing, and has not been able to combine funds to move forward with it,” he continued.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard at the launch of the Elysis joint venture in May 2018.

Photo from Twitter, Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard at the launch of the Elysis joint venture in May 2018.

Major investment in Apple

Since 2018, Quebec and Ottawa have invested more than $ 160 million in the Elysis joint venture, which wants to commercialize its technology. Rio Tinto and Alcoa put in $ 55 million and Apple $ 13 million.

Initially, Investissement Québec (IQ) provided $ 60 million in financial assistance to the project, consisting of $ 40 million in the form of a royalty loan and $ 20 million in the form of limited partnership shares.

In the spring of 2021, Quebec put in another $ 20 million in the form of royalty loans and part of the limited partnership.

“Investissement Québec has a 3.5% share of the shares. The rest are split between Alcoa and Rio Tinto,” the Newspaper the CEO of Elysis, Vincent Christ, who says that Apple “is an investor without a shareholder”.

When the cabinet of the Minister of Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, was asked if public money could be used to finance Apple, the answer was no.

“No, there is no public funding for Apple’s research and development,” confirmed its communications director, Mathieu St-Amant.

Last year, Apple invested more than $ 23 billion in research and development, far behind Amazon, which added $ 53 billion.

Sa newspaper, Elysis CEO, Vincent Christ, is also categorical: green technology developed using public funds is beneficial for Quebec. When asked how $ 160 million earns for taxpayers, he replied that “the contracts are of a confidential nature”.

“When you develop a disruptive technology, the risks are high, and that’s why there are public funds here,” he pointed out.

Machine of Modernization

As for job creation, Vincent Christ said nearly 100 were announced in 2018, but about 30 have been created here so far.

“You shouldn’t put that into a traditional job creation equation. It’s a technological advancement, which will make it possible to modernize all the factories in Quebec to be the most competitive in the world”, the review Jean Simard, CEO of AAC.

For the industry, making green aluminum will make it possible to stay competitive, keep 30,000 or more jobs here, and create new ones.

Apple did not respond to our interview requests.

  • Quebec is the world’s 4th largest producer of primary aluminum and more than 90% of Canadian aluminum is produced here, according to the Ministry of Economy and Innovation (MEI).


  • The head office: Montreal
  • Research and development center: Saguenay
  • Foundation: 2018
  • The employees: 30


  • Alcoa and Rio Tinto: $ 55M
  • Ottawa: $ 80 million
  • Quebec: $ 80 million
  • Apple: $ 13M

A Quebec innovation in the Apple iPhone SE

The CEO of Elysis believes Quebec should be proud to see Apple use green aluminum in its new phone made using a process developed here.

“This unique technology is not present in Quebec. The patents were transferred to Quebec. We transferred operations to Quebec,” he explained in an interview. Newspaper Vincent Christ, CEO of Elysis.

VincentChrist.  CEO of Elysis

Photo courtesy

VincentChrist. CEO of Elysis

“Now, Apple is proof that we are moving forward,” added the man who previously headed Rio Tinto’s research and development and technology departments.


Last Thursday, Apple announced that it plans to use the first commercial batch of low-carbon aluminum from Elysis for the production of the iPhone SE.

For the first time, commercial purity aluminum without any greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is produced, which is in itself a major innovation, emphasizes the big boss of Elysis.

So far, this method would have eliminated the equivalent of 7 million metric tons of GHG emissions if it had been adopted by the country’s aluminum smelters, which is equivalent to 1.8 million vehicles on the road.

For Jean Simard, CEO of the Aluminum Association of Canada (AAC), the fact of producing aluminum with only oxygen emissions is an immense source of pride, which will change the entire industry.

“This technology will make it possible to do differently what we have been doing for 100 years around the world”, he said so far in Newspaper.

Gold green iPhone

For the American giant Apple, the new and greener way of making aluminum is welcome.

After incorporating green aluminum components into its 16-inch MacBook Pro last year, Apple plans to use them for its new iPhone SE.

For multinationals, the move to recycled aluminum and aluminum derived from hydroelectricity is paying for the environment.

Thus, since 2015, the American company has seen its carbon emissions associated with aluminum melt by nearly 70%.

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