Rio Tinto says checking impact of gas pipeline incident on Gladstone operations

Yarwun alumina refinery in Gladstone, Queensland. (Image courtesy of Rio Tinto.)

Rio Tinto said on Thursday it had been notified of an incident at its Queensland gas pipeline, which Australian media had earlier said was a fire that had impacted supplies.

Rio Tinto also said it was checking with energy provider Jemena to understand how its alumina and aluminum operations would be affected by the disruption.

“We are working with Jemena and the Australian Energy Market operator to understand the impact to our Gladstone operations,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

Australian media had reported that a fire had broken out on Tuesday at a section of the pipeline and that industrial gas users had been asked to lower consumption so that residential users were not impacted.

“Preliminary work is underway to prepare the impacted section of the Queensland gas pipeline for repairs,” energy provider Jemena said in a statement. “We will be in a position to provide more detail on our restoration plan and timeframe once this initial stage is completed.”

A spokesperson for Orica, which manufactures explosives for Rio and runs alumina projects in Gladstone, said it had worked closely with Jemena to safely reduce its cyanide production at the site until the incident was resolved.

“Ammonium nitrate production is continuing as normal and we don’t expect any supply disruption to our customers at this stage and will provide further updates as they become available,” the spokesperson said in an emailed response.

Rio’s Gladstone operations include its Yarwun and Queensland alumina refineries and its Boyne aluminum smelter.

(By Renju Jose, Melanie Burton and Poonam Behura; Editing by Jamie Freed, Miral Fahmy and Sohini Goswami)


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