Hydro has commissioned Brazilian environmental consultancy SGW Services to perform an independent review of the water treatment and effluent management systems at the Alunorte alumina refinery in Barcarena, northern Brazil. SGW will report its preliminary conclusions during the first week of April.
The independent environmental review of Alunorte was part of the actions announced by Hydro on Monday, March 5, in response to the challenging situation at Alunorte, where authorities have ordered several measures against Alunorte due to concerns that a period of extraordinary rainfall had led to harmful spills into surrounding areas, including the nearby Para river.
Among these measures by federal, state and local authorities, Alunorte has been ordered to reduce production by 50 percent and halt operations at its DRS2 bauxite residue disposal.
The objective of the SGW review is to assess whether Alunorte’s water and effluent management system has been operated according to design specifications, applicable permits and legislation, and relevant internal and external requirements. The review will especially focus on all outlets discharging into Alunorte’s external environment, and specify any identified irregularities or gaps.
In order to ensure the strict deadline, the independent review by SGW will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will cover the entirety of Alunorte, except the bauxite residue deposits by the first deadline set for the first week of April, while the second phase also including the deposits is due towards the end of April.
SGW is a Sao Paulo-based environmental consultancy formed by a multidisciplinary team of specialists with comprehensive technical knowledge and experience in environmental projects in Brazil and Latin America.
Hydro is South America’s biggest aluminium company after acquiring Brazilian mining company Vale’s aluminium assets in the northern state of Pará in 2011. Alunorte is the world’s largest alumina refinery, employs around 2,000 people and has a nameplate capacity of an annual 6.3 million tonnes. Hydro owns 92.1 percent of Alunorte.
Barcarena fact sheet