On September 5, Alunorte signed two agreements representing a milestone to resume normal operations at the alumina refinery in Pará, Brazil. Alunorte has operated at 50% capacity since March.
The agreements include a technical Term of Adjusted Conduct (TAC) signed between Alunorte - Alumina do Norte do Brasil S.A, Norsk Hydro do Brasil Ltda, the Ministério Público Federal (MPF), the Pará State Ministério Público (MPPA), the State Government of Pará, represented by the Secretariat of State of Environment and Sustainability (SEMAS). In addition, a social Term of Commitment (TC) has been signed between Alunorte - Alumina do Norte do Brasil S.A and the State Government of Pará.
"This is a milestone towards resuming normal operation at Alunorte. We are fully committed to the initiatives defined in the agreements with the Government of Pará and Ministério Público, which are complementing the measures under implementation at Alunorte. This will support continued safe operations at the plant," says John Thuestad, Executive Vice President and head of Hydro's business area Bauxite & Alumina.
The TAC regulates certain technical improvements, audits, studies and payments for food cards to families living in the hydrographic area of the Murucupi River. The TC addresses additional efforts and investments related to the social development of communities in Barcarena.
Alunorte is currently subject to embargos imposed by the authorities and has been operating at 50% capacity since March. Neither of the agreements signed include provisions or establishes a timeline to resume normal operations at the refinery. However, Hydro consider the agreements as an important step towards resuming operations and preserving jobs for Alunorte, as well as Paragominas and Albras.
Internal and external reviews confirm that there was no overflow from the bauxite residue deposits or harmful spills from the February rain event.
By signing the agreements, Alunorte reaffirms its commitment to the sustainable development of Barcarena, seeking engagement and partnerships with communities, authorities, academia and civil society.
"Our commitment to local communities have been strengthened through dialogue and an open-door policy. We are committed to contributing and making a positive difference in the society we are part of and being a partner for local development," says Thuestad.
Main points of the agreements:
Term of Adjusted Conduct
The TAC includes audits and studies, improvements of the water treatment system and increase of its capacity, a study of the drainage system, among others. The implementation of the initiatives will be monitored through a committee, with participation from civil society.
Alunorte estimates that investments and costs related to the improvements and audits defined in the TAC are BRL 60 million.
In addition comes payment of BRL 65 million for food cards for families living in the hydrographic area of the Murucupi River.
According to the agreement Alunorte will also pay fines related to the event of February 2018 and the 2009 event, totaling about BRL 33 million.
The combined investments, costs and fines are estimated at BRL 160 million. Alunorte will also present a financial guarantee of BRL 250 million to ensure fulfillment of the terms of the TAC.
This comes in addition to the already announced and ongoing investment in Alunorte's water treatment system, improving the robustness of the plant to withstand future change in weather conditions.
Term of Commitment
Alunorte commits to invest up to BRL 150 million in projects supporting sustainable urban development in defined communities nearby Alunorte. The Government of Pará and Alunorte will develop project plans for housing and urban infrastructure. Alunorte will construct and donate housing and related infrastructure to the State of Para, which will be responsible for further allocation and handling.
This comes in addition to the already announced BRL 100 million commitment in local community investments through the Sustainable Barcarena Initiative.