Rio Tinto to Modernise Aluminium Smelters

Rio Tinto (59.4%) and its Joint Venture partners (40.6%) will spend approximately US$617 million on two projects which will modernise and extend the life of the Boyne Island aluminium smelters.

The first project, construction of a new baking furnace, will reduce onsite greenhouse gas emissions, while the second project, which includes overhead crane replacement and a crane runway upgrade, will result in a more efficient crane/alumina transport system. The projects will be built approximately over three years.

“Boyne Smelters is a key asset for Rio Tinto Alcan. This upgrade will underpin the successful operation of the smelter and help to ensure the continuing reliable supply of high quality aluminium to our global customers,” Xiaoling Liu, President, Primary Metal, Pacific, Rio Tinto Alcan said.

“At the same time, this installation of more efficient, state of the art technology will help to reduce our greenhouse emissions from the carbon bake by approximately 20,000 tonnes CO2-e annually.”

“This is a very exciting modernisation project that will extend the life of our asset and improve efficiencies and we are very pleased with the investment and support we have received from our Joint Venture partners,” Ms Liu said.

“With the construction of Carbon Baking Furnace 4 (CBF 4), two existing carbon bake furnaces will be replaced with a new furnace of open bake technology,” Ms Liu added.

With this crane upgrade, runways will be replaced, modernised cell tending assemblies installed and a new alumina distribution system installed to supply each cell independently of crane operations. The crane optimisation project is designed to improve the safety of our work environment.

Boyne Smelters was opened in 1982 and in 2007 achieved a record annual production, making it one of the largest smelters in Australia.

Posted Fenruary 8th, 2008

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