Yarwun 2 stays on track

RIO Tinto announced the Yarwun refinery in Australia is on track by the third quarter of 2012 under an amended schedule.

The Rio Tinto Aluminium Yarwun refinery is situated 10km north-west of Gladstone.

The refinery was built at a capital cost of $1.5 billion.

Company officers led by Mr Pat Fiore president and CEO of Rio Tinto Alcan said that they were bullish that there will be growth in bauxite demand this year.

China is still the biggest user of mineral bauxite, mainly used for industrial production. He said it was positive that bauxite demand will again rise this year.

The first stage of the refinery has the capacity to provide 1.4 million tonnes of smelter grade alumina each year, with Rio Tinto Yarwun providing smelter grade alumina to Australia, New Zealand and other export markets.

Alumina is the material used in the smelting process to produce aluminium.

In a presentation to investors, Rio Tinto said that the refinery expansion project of the plant , since its acquisition of Canadian mining firm Alcan has been progressing significantly and initial trial shipment is on target for 2010.

Back in July 2007, Rio Tinto approved a US$1.8 billion expansion of the Yarwun Alumina Refinery. This is the $2b second stage of the former Comalco Alumina Refinery.

The project included extension of the existing refinery site, expansion of the wharf facility and upgrade of the facility at the Residential Management Area.

The expansion of the Yarwun site (Yarwun 2) will more than double annual production, increasing alumina output by two million tonnes to 3.4 million tonnes by 2011.

The company reported that efficiencies in work management and process improvement had further increased incremental output.

The expansion project includes a gas based 160 MW cogeneration plant which will reduce CO2 emissions per tonne of alumina by 35 per cent, relative to coal.



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