Eurallumina, Europe’s largest alumina refinery located in the industrial area of Portovesme, on the island of Sardinia, Italy with access to the Mediterranean Sea and two dedicated berths has its operation of the facility is mothballed at the moment. Nonetheless, the refinery needs to overcome two hurdles in ninety days to safeguard the € 300 million investment.
It has a capacity to produce 1,07 million tonnes of alumina and alumina hydrate, using the Bayer process as its production technology.
The first hurdle to be overcome by September is the provision relating to the arrival of methane on the island and in particular in Portovesme, while the second, to be overcome by November, concerning the conclusion of the authorization procedure that signals the green light towards the restructuring and modernization of the refinery.
These are the concluding steps of the long and troubled path that the company and workers have been going through for years amidst protests in the streets and institutional protocols. In 2009, the Eurallumina dispute cropped up when the Portovesme refinery shut down, which according to the experts being one of the largest in Europe due to its production capacity of 1.07 million tonnes of alumina per year.
The high costs of fuel oil, necessary for the production of steam, the drastic drop in the price of alumina, and the increase in bauxite decreed the stop.
The restart plan, in light of the latest changes, is worth around € 300 million and it involves the construction of a new gas-fired CHP, the transformation and conversion to gas of the existing calcination furnaces and the elimination of the sludge disposal area with the realization of a dry storage project.
The restart project also takes into account all the changes related to decarbonisation. One of the novelties concerning the project is also the reduction of emissions by 31%, accredited to the usage of gas instead of fuel oil.
Since 2009, the group has spent € 231 million especially on the maintenance of the complex. The majority stakeholder, Rusal’s has invested € 52 million in Eurallumina since 2007.