Rio Tinto Yarwun is a world class alumina refinery situated ten kilometres north-west of Gladstone in Central Queensland.
An aluminium ore known as bauxite is transported from Rio Tinto’s mining operations in Weipa on Western Cape York to be processed into alumina at the Yarwun refinery.
Alumina is the common name for the chemical compound aluminium oxide (AI203), which is extracted from bauxite using a four-stage chemical process known as the Bayer process. The Bayer process has remained relatively unchanged since it was invented by German scientist Karl Bayer in 1888.
Refining alumina is the second step in the production of aluminium. Opened in March 2005 and expanded in 2012, the Yarwun refinery has the capacity to produce 3.4 million tonnes of alumina per annum and creates employment for over 700 employees and contractors.
Rio Tinto Yarwun uses leading edge technology and environmental design features. A key element of the expansion is a 160 megawatt cogeneration facility, which reduces our greenhouse gas intensity, harnesses heat that would otherwise be wasted, and feeds surplus, low emission, electricity back into the Queensland electricity grid.