On 26 September the Brazilian federal court lifted the final embargo on Alunorte’s new bauxite residue disposal (DRS2). Parent company Hydro is now allowed to resume the activities of installation and commissioning at DRS2 and ending a 19-month embargo period which has restricted production at the plant.
The decision by the federal court to lift the DRS2 embargo came after a decision on 20 September to lift the DRS2 embargo under the civil lawsuit. “We are happy and eager to resume installation and commissioning activities at the state-of-art bauxite residue deposit DRS2, which is the only long-term solution for sustainable and robust operations at Alunorte,” said John Thuestad, head of Hydro’s Bauxite & Alumina division.
The embargoes have prevented Alunorte from following the originally planned transition from the old bauxite residue (red mud) deposit area DRS1 to the new DRS2 deposit area, in combination with the most modern press filter technology available for depositing bauxite residue.
The construction of DRS2 started in 2014. The press filters generate a residue with 78% solid content, which allows stacking by compaction, increasing the safety of DRS2 and significantly reducing the area needed for disposal.
Internal and external reviews, including inspections by authorities, confirmed that there was no overflow of Alunorte's bauxite residue deposits from the February 2018 rainfall.