Time to cel­e­brate birth­day at iconic alu­mina in­dus­try

QAL HAS EM­PLOYED GEN­ER­A­TIONS OF GLAD­STONE RES­I­DENTS AND THIS WEEK IT CEL­E­BRATED ITS 50TH

Central Queensland News - - CQ INDUSTRY -

ON JUNE 9, 1967, mer­chant ship, the Holte­f­jell, loaded with 35,586 tonnes of QAL alu­mina, set sail for the north-west coast of the United States.

It was the first ship­ment ex­ported from Queens­land Alu­mina and yes­ter­day, QAL of­fi­cially cel­e­brated 50 years since the jour­ney.

The Rio Tinto/Rusal joint ven­ture re­mains one of the world’s big­gest alu­minium re­finer­ies, employing 800 staff and 200 con­trac­tors, of which 98% call Glad­stone home.

QAL’s story be­gan af­ter baux­ite de­posits were dis­cov­ered near Weipa in 1950. The Queens­land Gov­ern­ment pre­pared to process the baux­ite into alu­mina then smelt into alu­minium, all in Queens­land.

By 1963, 11 dif­fer­ent sites were be­ing con­sid­ered to build an alu­mina re­fin­ery, but it was Glad­stone’s com­bined ad­van­tages of rail and a deep wa­ter har­bour that even­tu­ally won out.

Since 1967, QAL has pro­duced 143 mil­lion

❝sites By 1963, 11 dif­fer­ent were be­ing con­sid­ered to build an alu­mina re­fin­ery...

tonnes of smelter-grade alu­mina.

This week, more than 2000 peo­ple have joined in a range of ac­tiv­i­ties to cel­e­brate the mile­stone, in­clud­ing 700 who toured the re­fin­ery on Sun­day.

The head of Rusal’s alu­mina and baux­ite di­vi­sion, Yakov It­skov, trav­elled from Rus­sia for yes­ter­day’s of­fi­cial cel­e­bra­tion.

Mr It­skov told guests that alu­mina pro­cessed in Glad­stone trav­els 4900km by sea be­fore be­ing sent over­land, some­times up to 5800km, to smelters in Siberia.

Sig­nif­i­cantly for Glad­stone, Mr It­skov said he was con­fi­dent of smelt­ing low-emis­sions alu­minium in Siberian smelters for an­other 50 years.

PHOTO: CHRIS­TINE MCKEE

PROUD MILE­STONE: QAL gen­eral man­ager Mike Dun­stan.

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