Alunorte receives authorization to utilize press filter as first step to resume operationsVolker Karow
Hydro’s alumina refinery Alunorte in Brazil was granted authorization on 5 October by the federal environmental agency Ibama to utilize its state-of-the-art press filter technology in the processing of bauxite residues, which will extend the life of Alunorte’s DRS1 bauxite residue disposal area and allow the company to continue operations on safe conditions. The authorization follows an announcement by Hydro on 3 October that Alunorte was preparing for full curtailment of its operation due to an embargo on its press filter and the newly developed bauxite residue deposit area (DRS2).
Following Ibama’s decision, Alunorte will be working with the Secretary of State for Environment and Sustainability (Semas) to obtain the authorization to use the press filter on DRS1. This filter provides stackable residues with considerably less water content than the drum filter. After receiving this authorization, Alunorte will be able to re-start the operation at 50% of capacity.
“We are ready to re-start our operations and we thank for all the support that we have received from the authorities and society. We are now making every effort to go back to producing as we maintain our dialogue with authorities to resume full production,” said John Thuestad, head of Hydro’s Bauxite and Alumina business area.
Thuestad adds that resuming 50 percent production at Alunorte would also allow Hydro’s bauxite mine Paragominas and its joint-venture primary aluminium smelter Albras to continue operating at half capacity, as opposed to being fully shut down as a consequence of Alunorte being idled.