Norsk Hydro: Preliminary findings from internal task force

The internal expert task force established to review the Alunorte alumina refinery after the flooding in February has reported preliminary findings.

March 13, 2018

The status report has the following main findings:

  • Discharge of water overflowing from the adjacent waste-water holding pond into the internal open drain, Canal Velho, in addition to the already communicated rainwater release. 
  • A release of diluted caustic soda inside the plant due to a power failure on February 17. This was mixed with rain water from the factory area before entering the waste-water holding pond, with overflow into Canal Velho.
  • Based on the preliminary findings of the task force, Hydro has no indications of leaks or overflow from the bauxite residue deposit areas.

In addition, an inspection has detected cracks in a pipeline, leading effluent from the DRS1 deposit area to the water treatment station. Current information indicates that the effluent was contained in a containment box.

Hydro has been ordered by the public prosecutor of Pará to within 48 hours take measures, including repairing the cracks and to block the entrance to Canal Velho. Corrective actions are being taken within the deadline.

 “The preliminary findings from the internal task force shows that we do not have the full overview of the situation and the course of events. I will evaluate the situation thoroughly and revert with more information in due time,” says Hydro’s President & CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg.

The full report, together with findings from the first phase of the independent review conducted by the environmental consultancy SGW Services, will be presented first week of April.

Hydro is South America’s biggest aluminium company after acquiring Brazilian mining company Vale’s aluminium assets in the northern state of Pará in 2011. Alunorte is the world’s largest alumina refinery, employs around 2,000 people and has a nameplate capacity of an annual 6.3 million tonnes. Hydro owns 92.1 percent of Alunorte.

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Updated: March 13, 2018