The Rio Tinto Alcan site at Yarwun. This section has been christened ‘Sophie’ after the first worker’s baby daughter born during the commission stage.
The Rio Tinto Alcan site at Yarwun. This section has been christened ‘Sophie’ after the first worker’s baby daughter born during the commission stage. Brenda Strong GLAYARW

Refinery expansion almost complete

ONE of the key construction projects in Gladstone is nearing completion.

Rio Tinto Alcan's Yarwun refinery expansion is now 93 per cent complete and less than a year away from commissioning.

General manager Yarwun operations, Mike Dunstan, said the project team had been working hard to get the new plant ready for commissioning. The site will soon begin the transition from construction site to being a fully operational part of the facility.

"To ensure all operates as it should, we will now work through a reasonably long, but necessary, commisioning process, testing and introducing each and every step of the new plant," Mr Dunstan said.

"We have a highly capable team in place to manage the commissioning, which is always a challenging process.

The refinery expansion, otherwise known as Yarwun 2, is expected to be completed by August 2012.

Mr Dunstan said recruiting a skilled workforce locally continues to be a priority.

"To help us in our recruitment efforts, we developed a three month training course and three months on-the-job training for people with no refinery experience. The course is designed to give them the skills and knowledge to become competent process technicians," Mr Dunstan said.

"Providing people with on-the-job training means we will have a skilled workforce, in place, before the Yarwun expansion is fully operational."