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Maps and illustrations

Hydro’s Alunorte alumina refinery in the state of Pará in northern Brazil is the world’s largest alumina refinery outside China. The refinery is situated next to the Pará river in the region of Barcarena.

aerial image of the Alunorte site and the para river
Satellite view of Alunorte and Pará river Photo: Google Earth

Alunorte alumina refinery

Satellite view of Alunorte and Pará river
Satellite view of Alunorte and Pará river
Satellite imagery of Alunorte refinery.
Satellite imagery of Alunorte refinery. Photo: Google Earth
Illustrated map of Alunorte alumina refinery
Illustrated map of Alunorte alumina refinery

1. Refinery area
2. Bauxite residue storage area DRS1
3. Bauxite residue storage area DRS2
4. Licensed discharge to Pará river
5. Wastewater treatment plant

Rainfall on February 16-17, 2018

Satellite view Alunorte refinery
Satellite view Alunorte refinery

In February 2018 Barcarena suffered from flooding. There were no leaks or overflow from the bauxite residue deposits (confirmed by IBAMA and SEMAS). The areas flooded included Alunorte, and there were three incidents of rainwater being discharged from the refinery area.

Illustrated map of Alunorte alumina refinery
Illustrated map of Alunorte alumina refinery

A. Unlicenced discharge from Calan Velho
B. Flooded area and disused pipe
C. Coal storage shed

Birds eye image over the refinery and the Velho canalA. Discharge of rainwater through the water canal "Canal Velho"

Alunorte discharged partly untreated rainwater from the refinery area into the Pará river as an emergency measure to ensure that the water treatment plant would have sufficient capacity to process and treat all the water that had been in contact with the bauxite residue deposits.

Sealed pipe in the area 45
Sealed pipe in the area 45

B. Rainwater leaked through cracks in a sealed pipe in the refinery area

A disused construction pipe in a corner of the refinery area that should have been entirely sealed turned out to have thin cracks in its concrete cover. During the heavy rainfall, some water seeped through the cracks in the disused pipe to the other side of the refinery area fence.

Coal shed
Coal shed during inspection in March 2018.

C. Discharge of rainwater from the roof of the coal storage shed

There was an unlicensed connection between the coal storage shed of Alunorte and a licensed drainage canal from the Albras aluminium plant. Rainwater that fell on the coal storage shed area at Alunorte was not lead to the water treatment plant but flowed through this internal canal into the Pará river.

Operational upgrades to Alunorte

Satellite view of Alunorte and the Pará river
Satellite view of Alunorte and the Pará river

We aim to bring Alunorte up to a new environmental standard and are in the process of upgrading the plant:

  • Increase the water basin capacity by 350% (completed)
  • Increase the capacity of the water treatment facility by 50% (to be completed in the forth quarter 2019)
Illustrated map of Alunorte alumina refinery
Illustrated map of Alunorte alumina refinery

By the end of 2018, the capacity of the water basin was increased by 350%

ii The capacity of the water treatment facility will be increased by 50% in the forth quarter of 2019

Water basin at Alunorte
Water basin at Alunorte

By the end of 2018, the capacity of the water basin was increased by 350%

Alunorte alumina refinery, water treatment
Alunorte alumina refinery, water treatment

ii The capacity of the water treatment facility will be increased by 50% in the forth quarter of 2019