Business

Production figures at both operations fell short of targets mainly due to the impact of the record rainfall and flooding in January 2013. Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun achieved a record production of 2.45 million tonnes of alumina in 2013. This record fell short of expectations by 760 000 tonnes of product. Despite the successful commissioning, Yarwun’s ramp up was significantly impacted by the weather event in January 2013 followed closely by a failure in the seawater pipeline. This set the operation back in the successful ramp up to nameplate capacity of 3.4 million tonnes. In the second half we achieved month on month improvement in production volume. We continued to strive to deliver high quality alumina to our customers with 82% specification.

Production

Yarwun 2 Commissioning and ramp-up

The $2.5 billion Yarwun 2 expansion has doubled production capacity at Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun. In 2013, we achieved an operating factor of 92.5 per cent. This was behind our original planned profile, primarily because of the wet weather in January.

Market Conditions

Both operations continued to operate within difficult market conditions during 2013. The market for alumina was relatively balanced globally with some shortfall in the Pacific region that kept the alumina price low but steady. The strengthening of the US dollar in the second half of the year decreased our input costs and allowed for positive margins.

Looking Forward

At Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun we will continue our safe ramp up of Yarwun 2 bringing it to nameplate capacity. We will focus on achieving and maintaining a safe, clean and tidy workplace. There will also be a strong emphasis on developing our leaders through the leadership development plan to include standardised work practices and cost management fundamentals.

Wages and Benefits

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

QAL

$122.5m

$133.7m

$142.1m

$124.1m

Yarwun

$59m

$82m

$100m

$104m

Payments to local suppliers

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

QAL

$589.9m

$700.8m

$635m

$615m

Yarwun

$69m

$100m

$180m

$367m

Production ('000 tonnes alumina)

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

QAL

4,821

3,360

3,692

3,383

Yarwun

1,377

1,342

2,175

2,446

Case Studies

QAL to make use of Gladstone’s grey water

QAL will soon be pumping about 700 mega litres per month of grey water from Boyne Island and Tannum Sands. The move will save the Gladstone Regional Council building a water treatment plant, and annual projected savings for the Boyne Island/Tannum Sands area of $3.9 million dollars over the next three years. For QAL it means additional water will not have to be purchased from Awoonga Dam with savings of about $860 per mega litre. QAL has been processing all the grey water from the Gladstone township since 2002.

Improved stability in the grinding mills at Yarwun

The availability of bauxite mills, used to mix the bauxite and caustic was identified as a key bottleneck for the Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun refinery in 2013. Ensuring effective operation of the grinding mill is crucial to the successful start up and operation of the expanded plant. The process of bauxite milling depends on the ability to maintain mill screen life. As the mill screen panels become blocked over time, the ability of the screen to transfer milled media is reduced. This has a negative effect on the mill to produce slurry at the nameplate of 450 tonnes per hour. An improvement team was established and changes to the maintenance strategies and work flow, spares management, equipment reliability improvement and procession operation were made. The work resulted in improved availability and stability.