The decision to expand SGW's scope of work and launch an internal audit was taken after notification by the Secretariat of Environment and Sustainability of Pará (Semas), on March 15. The notification refers to the unlicensed connection between the Alunorte refinery and a licensed drainage channel at the Albras aluminum plant. This connection carried untreated rainwater from the roof of the Alunorte coal shed to the Pará river. Hydro also detected an additional entrance to this water channel in the old hydrate storage area.
"We discard untreated rainwater and refinery surface on the Pará River. This is completely unacceptable and contrary to what Hydro believes. On behalf of the company, I personally apologize to communities, authorities and society. highlights the importance of a complete review of Alunorte, including operation interfaces with adjacent areas and the plant's licensing situation to verify full compliance with the licenses. We need full understanding so that we can implement the necessary actions ", says the President and CEO Hydro, Svein Richard Brandtzæg.
According to Alunorte's license, all rainwater and surface water in the refinery area must be conveyed to the plant's Industrial Effluent Treatment Station (ETEI). The tests carried out by Semas showed that the water, instead, flowed into the channel from Albras. This disposal is not related to the extreme rains that occurred in February.
After internal review, there is also an indication that water from the surface of the old hydrate storage area may have been carried to the Albras channel.
The water outlet from the roof of Alunorte's coal storage shed has already been closed. Hydro is working to find the best solution to close the connection with the hydrate storage area as well.
As previously communicated, the conclusions of the internal review and the first phase of the independent consultancy will be presented on April 9, together with the other necessary measures.
Hydro is the largest aluminum company in South America after the acquisition of Vale's aluminum assets in Pará, in 2011. Alunorte is the largest alumina refinery in the world, employs around 2,000 people and has a capacity 6.3 million tons per year. Hydro owns 92.1% of Alunorte.