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:: Alcoa Advances Refinery Residue Filtration for Best-Practice
Significant local procurement and employment benefits have been delivered through an innovative project at Alcoa of Australia’s Pinjarra Alumina Refinery that will reduce the operation’s footprint and improve its environmental performance. More than 230 Western Australian businesses secured work for the construction of a new residue filtration facility, with the lead contract awarded to Henderson-based engineering and construction firm Civmec. Civmec directly employed more than 300 people for the project since it commenced in 2017, with about half of those employees from the Peel Region.
Bauxite residue at the refinery is currently deposited as slurry into storage areas, then solar dried. The new facility will process about 50 percent of the mud fraction of the bauxite residue using a filtration and stacking method. Filtration extracts moisture from the residue before it is stored, reducing the amount of land required.
Alcoa is the first major alumina producer in Australia to use the filtration and stacking technology in lieu of solar drying, with a similar facility already operating at its Kwinana refinery.
Alcoa of Australia Chairman and Managing Director Michael Parker said the residue filtration project was a key component of Alcoa’s continued operation in Western Australia.
“By being more resourceful and significantly changing the residue management process, we are improving water recovery and demonstrating our ongoing commitment to improve the sustainability of our operations,” Mr Parker said. “The project has also been instrumental in boosting our workforce throughout the Peel region.
“Alcoa actively employs people and businesses from the communities nearest to our operations. It’s great to have people on the job who are personally invested in the area where they work.”
Mr Kieran McElchar, Civmec Manager Operations, said Civmec was thrilled to have been awarded the opportunity to undertake the project. “Together with our local suppliers and subcontractors we have successfully delivered the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the project,” Mr McElchar said.
“We have directly employed more than 300 local staff while providing opportunities for the continued development of our apprentices and graduates involved throughout the project.”
Alcoa of Australia has been contributing economically and socially in Western Australia for more than 55 years. Each year, some $2.1 billion is injected by Alcoa into the Australian economy through engaging with local businesses, services, and products. Alcoa employs about 3,750 people across WA, and more than 4,275 people Australia wide.
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