In 2017, Rio Tinto announced the closure of the Gove Alumina Refinery and associated Residue Disposal Area (RDA), located in the remote region of North East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.
Since this time, detailed studies have been undertaken to determine a process to safely remove the infrastructure located at the refinery and to rehabilitate the RDA. The Gove closure program is one of Rio Tinto’s largest and most complex projects. Focused on safe execution, activities will also strive to optimise social, economic and cultural opportunities for the region.
The closure program will involve the following components:
1. Full demolition of the refinery, which is expected to take approximately 10 years. Removal and rehabilitation works will be undertaken in two phases:
- Phase 1: decommissioning, isolation of the alumina refinery from existing bauxite operations, removal of salvageable equipment and management of safety and environmental considerations
- Phase 2: decontamination, demolition, remediation, and rehabilitation of the refinery footprint.
2. Rehabilitation of the RDA, which will involve capping of ponds and treatment of wastewater in preparation for final landform and area rehabilitation.
Closure activities will be undertaken alongside continuing bauxite mining operations, which are expected to continue through to 2030.
Rio Tinto is committed to providing access to opportunities for local and Indigenous businesses to benefit from the closure project. Procurement awards will be made in consideration of local and Indigenous businesses’ competitive position.
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