Operations

RTA Quickfacts

Operation: Alumina refinery

Acting General manager: Greg Bacon

Ownership: 100 per cent Rio Tinto

Nameplate capacity: 3.4 million tonnes per annum

Officially opened: Original plant: March 2005, Expanded plant: October 2012

Technology: Bayer process

Product: Smelter grade alumina (aluminium oxide)

Number of employees: 735

Number of contractors: 400

QAL Quickfacts

Production began in March 1967

One of Australia’s largest alumina refineries

Annual production of 3.95 million tonnes

Economic contribution - $200million to local economy (wages, salaries, capital works)

Location – Gladstone, 500 kilometres north of Brisbane, Queensland

Number of employees – 1050 permanent staff, Approximately 300 contractors

Ownership – 80% Rio Tinto, 20% Rusal

   
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Rio Tinto Yarwun

Rio Tinto Yarwun is a world class alumina refinery situated ten kilometres north-west of Gladstone in Central Queensland. The operation represents Rio Tinto's first 100 per cent owned and operated alumina refinery.

An aluminium ore known as bauxite is transported from Rio Tinto’s mining operations in Weipa on Western Cape York to be processed into alumina at the Yarwun refinery. Alumina is the common name for the chemical compound aluminium oxide (Al₂O₃), which is extracted from bauxite using a four-stage chemical process known as the Bayer process. Interestingly, the Bayer process has remained relatively unchanged since it was invented by German scientist Karl Bayer in 1888. Refining alumina is the second step in the production of aluminium.

Opened in March 2005 and expanded in 2012, the Yarwun refinery has the capacity to produce up to 3.4 million tonnes of alumina per annum and creates employment for over 600 people.

Rio Tinto Yarwun uses leading edge technology and environmental design features, which are incorporated into the expanded refinery. A key element of the expansion is a 160 megawatt cogeneration facility, which allows us to reduce our greenhouse gas intensity, harness heat that would otherwise be wasted, and feed surplus, low emission electricity back into the Queensland electricity grid.

Queensland Alumina Limited

Queensland Alumina Limited commenced in March 1967 with an annual production rate of 600,000 tonnes of alumina.

Today, Queensland Alumina Limited is one of the world’s largest alumina refineries, producing some 3.95 million tonnes of the world’s best smelter grade alumina per year. Estimated replacement value of the refinery is approximately US$4 billion.

The refinery covers 80 hectares of a 3050 hectare site on the south-east outskirts of the city of Gladstone. Adjacent to the plant is a wharf and storage facility on South Trees Island, which is connected to the mainland by a causeway bridge.

Queensland Alumina Limited produces alumina on behalf of a consortium of two aluminium companies; Rio Tinto (80%) and Rusal (20%).

Queensland Alumina Limited operates with an average workforce of 900 employees and 250 contractors which varies with workload.

Annually the operation contributes approximately $200 million directly to the local economy in wages, salaries, maintenance and capital work. Local goods and services are used wherever possible.

Visit the Queensland Alumina Limited website