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First boiler at South32's Worsley Alumina converted to natural gas

Alumina powder being loaded onto a ship

Alumina powder being loaded onto a ship

19th October 2023

By: Chanel de Bruyn

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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Diversified mining and metals company South32's Worsley Alumina operation, in Western Australia, has completed the conversion of the first of its coal-fired boilers to natural gas, helping to reduce the operation’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions.

The operation includes a bauxite mine, near the town of Boddington, and an alumina refinery, near the town of Collie. The refinery produces alumina powder that is shipped to smelters across the world, including South32's Hillside smelter, in Richards Bay, South Africa, and the Mozal smelter, in Mozambique.

The boilers are essential for the generation of steam used in the alumina refining process.

Work to convert the boiler to natural gas started in May. The converted gas-fired boiler started operation in late September and is expected to be formally "handed over" in late October.

South32 points out that the conversion of the boiler is expected to reduce Worsley Alumina’s operational GHG emissions by up to 208 000 t/y of carbon dioxide equivalent or about 5.5%.

“The conversion of the first boiler to natural gas is an important step in our path towards lower-carbon energy sources at Worsley Alumina, aligning with the Western Australian government’s coal exit timeline," comments South32 Worsley Alumina operations VP Erwin Schaufler

The company notes that this also supports its medium-term target of reducing operational GHG emissions across all of its operations by 50%, from 2021 levels, by 2035, and its longer-term goal of achieving net-zero operational GHG emissions by 2050.

Schaufler says the use of natural gas at Worsley Alumina remains an interim measure, while South32 pursues longer-term energy transition solutions focused on electrification and renewable energy.

“Worsley Alumina has been part of the South West community for nearly 40 years. As we continue our work to decarbonise our operations, we are working closely with government, community and industry stakeholders to support a just transition for Collie, its people and businesses, and ensure a strong future for the town and broader region,” he adds.

South32 plans to convert a second coal-fired boiler at Worsley Alumina to run on natural gas in 2024.

 

 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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