An aerial view of Rio Tinto Alcan’s Yarwun site.
An aerial view of Rio Tinto Alcan’s Yarwun site. Brenda Strong

REVEALED: Alumina refinery's growth plans

ONE of Gladstone's largest employers is preparing for future growth.

Rio Tinto Yarwun has lodged a development application with the Federal Government detailing more than 10 years of projects and upgrades for its waste management.

The company wants to build new borrow pits, haul roads, and potentially expand the existing red mud dam, or build a second one.

Still in the early stages, the 64-page application said work to increase capacity of the dam could start in 2025.

A Rio Tinto Yarwun spokesperson confirmed the company submitted a proposal to the Department of Environment and Energy regarding its bauxite residue storage areas.

"In order to raise the walls at one of the storage areas, permission has been requested to extract construction materials from the other site currently not in use," the spokesperson said.

The application said the future expansion of the bauxite residue storage areas could take up all of the 898ha of the Rio Tinto-owned land at Aldoga.

"We remain committed to ensuring environmental impacts are minimised during this process," the spokesperson said.

Rio Tinto described performance at Yarwun as "strong" in its third quarter report. The site produced 790,000 tonnes of alumina in the third quarter of 2017 and between January and September 1,083,000 tonnes.

Meanwhile the site is under ongoing speculation of a potential sale, with recent reports suggesting Liberty House's Sanjeev Gupta is ready to take on Rio Tinto's aluminium assets.

Rio Tinto declined to comment at the time.