"Both reports confirm our previous statements that there was no overflow from the areas of the bauxite waste deposits. There is also no indication or evidence of contamination in communities near the refinery as a result of the heavy rains in February," said the President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzaeg.
"We have initiated several measures to improve Alunorte's operational standards, including water treatment capacity, emergency and maintenance plans. We will also strengthen engagement with the community to ensure our contribution to Barcarena's sustainable development, in line with Hydro's social responsibility strategy, "he said.
After the exceptional rains of February, an internal task force and environmental consultancy SGW Services carried out studies at Alunorte. Studies include the operation of bauxite waste deposits, water and wastewater treatment systems and potential impact on the external environment.
The main conclusions of the internal task force and SGW Services are:
- There was no overflow from Alunorte's bauxite waste deposit areas
- There is no evidence that Alunorte contaminated the local communities in Barcarena & nbsp;
- There is no evidence of any significant or lasting environmental impact on nearby rivers
- Improvement proposals in the following areas:
- Water management and treatment capacity
- Upgrades and maintenance
- Emergency plans and training
Alunorte has already implemented or started a comprehensive list of short, medium and long-term actions, including the following measures:
- Short-term improvements to water resources management systems and treatment capacity, systems maintenance and emergency and training plans
- Investment of NOK 500 million (about R $ 200 million) in the refinery's water treatment system, increasing capacity by 50% and storage capacity by 150%
- Project to review and evaluate reinforcements of Alunorte's water treatment system as a proactive response to withstand even more extreme weather and climate conditions in the future
- Development of a sustainable closure concept for DRS1
- Updating of emergency procedures, including a review of communication practices with local communities during and after emergencies. This will also include training of neighboring communities of Alunorte
- Environmental assessment, to be carried out by a specialized company, contracted to assess the quality of air, water, springs, soil and forest
- Strengthening of local and corporate environmental resources and skills
- Toxicological studies to assess the health conditions of people in communities close to Alunorte
In addition, Hydro will implement additional measures to position Alunorte as a reference among alumina refineries in the world:
Technical and environmental measures
- Equipment maintenance and upgrade, including improvement opportunities identified in the reports
- Increase in the number of water sampling wells in the refinery and nearby to improve monitoring of the environment
- Strengthening the collection, testing, analysis and monitoring of environmental and health data, including water quality
Hydro maintains a dialogue with stakeholders, including the Government of Pará, to strengthen engagement with communities and contribute to sustainable development in Barcarena.
In parallel, to support social change in Barcarena, Alunorte is going to invest around R $ 100 million (NOK 250 million) in social actions in communities through the Sustainable Barcarena Initiative.
- Independent legal entity, with its own organization, staff and autonomy, financed by Alunorte
- The Initiative will provide training, establish a public platform for monitoring and evaluating data, develop social and environmental projects
- Alunorte will work in partnership with relevant communities, universities, authorities, unions and organizations
In addition to the Barcarena Sustainable Initiative, Alunorte is committed to maintaining access to clean water in Burajuba, Bom Futuro and Vila Nova. In the short term, the company is offering medical assistance and distributing water to about 1,800 families in these communities. Alunorte is also engaging communities to develop and implement short-term social projects.
"Our clear ambition is to make Alunorte a benchmark in our industry, ensuring sustainable operations and social change in neighboring communities," said Brandtzaeg.
Alunorte is the largest alumina refinery in the world, generates about 2,000 direct jobs and has a nominal capacity of 6.3 million tonnes per year. Hydro owns 92.1% of Alunorte.
The reports are available in English at hydro.com. & nbsp;