Alunorte has been operating at 50% production since March, after embargoes from the Brazilian authorities. Environmental authorities confirmed that there was no leakage or overflow from the waste areas. The embargoes prevented Alunorte from using the newest bauxite waste deposit area (DRS2), which was being commissioned in February, and the filter press technology, which represents an investment of more than R $ 1 billion. The filter press is the most modern and sustainable technology for depositing bauxite residues, reducing the required storage area and the environmental footprint. Alunorte since the embargo has made unsuccessful efforts with the authorities to be allowed to use the filter press, as well as the DRS2. & Nbsp;
Due to the embargo, Alunorte was forced to operate only DRS1, which was originally planned to be closed, and the less efficient drum filters. DRS1 is therefore approaching its end of life faster than anticipated, forcing Alunorte to make the responsible decision to temporarily close 100% of its operations. This will have an immediate effect on the Paragominas bauxite mine, which will also suspend 100% of operations. Both Alunorte and the Paragominas mine initiated the shutdown process safely. & Nbsp;
“Our team has been working hard for the past seven months to keep operations safe and preserve jobs. This is a sad day, as we have the most advanced technology in the world to continue with safe operations, which we are prevented from using. This will affect jobs, communities, suppliers and customers ”, says John Thuestad, Executive Vice President of Bauxite & amp; Hydro's Alumina.
Hydro is working in collaboration with the unions and will do its utmost to reduce the consequences for employees, but the decision to halt the operations of Alunorte and Mineração Paragominas will affect both direct and indirect jobs at both units.>
Although it is too early to determine the full impact, the decision to paralyze Alunorte and Mineração Paragominas will have significant operational and financial consequences, potentially also for Hydro's primary aluminum portfolio, including Albras.
“We will continue to work constructively with the authorities to lift the embargo and resume operations in order to re-establish Alunorte as the largest alumina refinery in the world,” says Thuestad.
On February 16 and 17, the city of Barcarena, where the Alunorte alumina refinery is located, was hit by extreme rains that extended over the following days, causing flooding in the region.
Internal and external audits confirm that there was no leakage or overflow of the bauxite waste deposits and there is no evidence of contamination resulting from the February rain event.
Since March 1, Alunorte has been operating with a 50% reduction in its capacity, following determinations by SEMAS and Justice. Consequently, the Paragominas bauxite mine and Albras also reduced their production by 50%.
Both the refinery and the mining company granted collective vacations to around 1,000 employees to mitigate the impacts of reduced activities. & nbsp; In July, Mineração Paragominas had to temporarily suspend the employment contracts of 80 employees and reduce 175 outsourced positions.
On September 5, Alunorte signed two agreements representing a milestone to resume normal operations. The contracts include a Conduct Adjustment Term (TAC) signed between Alunorte - Alumina do Norte do Brasil SA, Norsk Hydro do Brasil Ltda, the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), the Public Ministry of the State of Pará (MPPA), the Government of the State of Pará, represented by the State Secretariat for the Environment and Sustainability (SEMAS). In addition, a social Term of Commitment (TC) was signed between Alunorte - Alumina do Norte do Brasil SA and the Government of the State of Pará. TAC promotes technical improvements, audits, studies and payments of food cards for families who live in the hydrographic area of the Murucupi River, while the TC addresses additional efforts and investments related to the social development of the communities in Barcarena. & nbsp;