By LEE McIVORlmcivor@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
GLADSTONE'S skyline will never be the same again and for Ross Greenhalgh that brings "tears of joy''.
Joy at seeing the three old calcination stacks at QAL disappear after 38 years of service.
Watching the first of QAL's calcination stacks come down this week QAL's health, safety, environment and communities manager, Mr Greenhalgh said he felt a sense of achievement.
Mr Greenhalgh has been integral to the building of the new plant at QAL.
"I began working for QAL 30-odd years ago just after the third stack was commissioned,'' he said.
"Those stacks have worked extremely hard during their 38-year history, helping to produce over 82 million tonnes of alumina.
"I am sure there are still many locals who remember their contribution to this plant and maybe even more specifically to building the stacks.''
Mr Greenhalgh said the removal of the stacks began once the refinery's nine old rotary calcination kilns were removed.
"Over the past 12 months a team of nearly 30 full-time employees have dismantled the original nine calcination kilns, leaving just the firing floor, some precipitators and the three stacks to be removed.''
Mr Greenhalgh said about 3000 tonnes of steel had so far been removed from the project site.
"The steel will be melted down and recycled,'' he explained.
The dismantling of the stacks will signify the refinery's change to a new operational era.
"We have installed new $175 million gas suspension calciners to address dust issues and lower greenhouse emissions,'' Mr Greenhalgh said.
"These new calciners have already produced dramatic environmental improvements for the refinery, exceeding their initial design expectations.