Alumina Limited believes that responsible and ethical management of the business is critical to minimising the impact on the environment, the communities in which AWAC operates and business sustainability.
AWAC is an energy and resource intensive business that primarily mines bauxite ore and refines it into alumina for sale for further processing into aluminium. The majority of AWAC’s bauxite is mined in open pits in forested areas of Western Australia and Brazil. When a mine is no longer in use, AWAC prioritises rehabilitating mined land to re-establish biodiversity, or converting areas into land that can be farmed or used to improve the quality of life of the local community.
The industrial processes required to convert bauxite ore into alumina requires consumption of significant energy to provide the heat and steam necessary for the refining process. The majority of the energy AWAC’s uses is generated by natural gas, resulting in the emission of Greenhouse Gases (GHG). AWAC is constantly reassessing its operational efficiency to reduce energy use and the GHG emissions and investigating options for lower carbon energy alternatives.
The refining of bauxite into alumina results in a significant amount of residue in the form of red mud. The red mud contains some residual caustic soda and is stored in containment areas which require ongoing, responsible management. AWAC has developed policies and practices regarding the safe management of the residue and has invested in research to determine if the residue can be used for other purposes.
Management of a sustainable supply of water for the production process is also a focus of AWAC to ensure the sustainability of the business and the protection of this vital resource for the surrounding communities. AWAC looks for ways to reduce consumption and appropriately manage discharge and the use of secondary sources of water, and increase recycling and other opportunities through advanced technologies. AWAC’s Kwinana alumina refinery in Western Australia reduced its freshwater use by 1.2 gigalitres annually after investing in the innovative technology of residue filtration.
Refer to Alumina Limited’s most recent Sustainability Report