Message from Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL) General Manager Mike Dunstan
QAL is getting back to basics after finishing 2013 in a stable and reliable position, despite a challenging first half year. The enormous rain event and loss of a conveyer in January were the main factors that contributed to lower production. The focus for the remainder of the year was about building a safe, environmentally compliant and maintained operation to bring production routines back on track. We ended the year with an annual output of 3.38 million tonnes of alumina, which is 200, 000 tonnes shy of our potential capacity.
Negotiations for a new environmental authority continue, which will mean a substantial commitment of capital expenditure over the next couple of years. As the day-to-day operating licensing requirements have become much more stringent, we have applied greater discipline to meet our targets. Our environmental projects have been completed to schedule.
Thanks to the hard work of our people, we now have a more systematic approach to maintenance, with almost 80 per cent of maintenance completed on schedule, compared with 30 per cent in previous years.
High staff turnover caused predominantly by the emergence of new industries in Gladstone has now stabilised, and we continued to look after the people who remain committed to QAL. Throughout 2013 we invested in developing the leadership skills of our supervisors to better equip them for their role. Our commitment to a philosophy of leading by example has resulted in a 25 per cent improvement in safety.
Meaningful engagement with communities is an important part of the way we do business. The Here for Childcare and Here for Health initiatives have been highly successful and embraced by QAL through its involvement in the Rio Tinto Alcan Community Fund. We also supported a broad range of community initiatives in 2013, including the Boyne Tannum Hook Up.
We’ve been here for 46 years and our goal is to be a sustainable operation well into the future.
Message from Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun
General Manager Pat Fordyce
Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun ended a challenging 2013 in a robust position. Production was affected in the first half of the year by the unprecedented rain event in January and subsequent adjustment to the expanded plant’s operational requirements. Despite these challenging conditions, the refinery set a production record of 2.45 million tonnes of alumina in 2013. This fell short of expectations by 760, 000 tonnes of product. Our aim is to take the refinery to its full annual capacity of 3.4 million tonnes in 2014. We will also continue to focus on leadership and core skill development.
There was an extensive recruitment process in 2013 following the loss of 150 employees, predominantly to new industries in Gladstone. We have capitalised on this opportunity to identify and recruit capable and talented people. Our aim is to continue to build on that capability.
Our environmental obligations remain a priority. In 2013 the refinery accomplished 100 per cent compliance with bund construction around chemical storage, which was a strong step in the right direction. A new campaign to keep the site clean, tidy and safe has also helped set higher standards. Unfortunately, we were fined $35,000 in 2013 for failing to meet the completion date for our Residue Management Area wall raise in 2012. We turned our performance around by completing the 2013 wall raise one month ahead of schedule. We still have a lot of work to do to reduce the number of environmental licence non-compliances.
Safety continues to be at the forefront of our operational focus. We injured 13 of our employees in 2013, which shows we need to make improvements in this area. On a positive note, we achieved 109 consecutive days without an injury in 2013, which gives me confidence that we have the ability to get our safety record back on track.
Engaging openly with our community is an important part of how we operate our business. Throughout 2013 we were proud to invest in two key areas of need for the Gladstone community—childcare and health. The Rio Tinto Alcan Community Fund will continue to address these critical areas of need for our community throughout 2014 and into the future.
My personal commitment in 2014 is to build and sustain a stable process at the refinery. Our focus will be on maintaining a clean, tidy and safe workplace. I want Yarwun to earn the reputation that we drive a culture of safety, growth and development of people. A place where teamwork is valued and leaders support their team members.More Information