Yarwun Alumina Refinery from the air

Yarwun Alumina Refinery

Alumina & hydrate








2023 figures

Gladstone, Queensland

Construction on our world-class Yarwun alumina refinery in Gladstone, in Queensland, Australia, began in 2002, and the first alumina shipped in late 2004.

Expansions in 2012 doubled production, and today, Yarwun produces 3 million tonnes of alumina per year, which is exported to customers in Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific region.

Researching ways to reduce our emissions: Hydrogen

Creating alumina takes a lot of energy, which in turn creates greenhouse gas emissions. We know new technologies will be essential to helping us reduce our emissions, but many haven’t been proven.

We are partnering with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to research using clean hydrogen to replace natural gas in the calcination process of alumina refining at Yarwun. We are also partnering with Sumitomo Corporation on a study into building a hydrogen pilot plant at Yarwun – if the project proceeds, the pilot plant would produce hydrogen for the Gladstone Hydrogen Ecosystem.

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Could hydrogen help reduce emissions in the aluminium industry?

A new pilot program will help us find out.

Innovation at Yarwun

In 2018, Gladstone became the home of innovation – Rio Tinto’s Queensland Research and Development Centre (QRDC) relocated within Australia from Brisbane to Yarwun Refinery.

QRDC is Rio Tinto’s global centre for technology, research and development in the alumina refining process. The move confirms the need for our Research & Development team to be closer to the operations as a series of potentially game-changing technologies will be trialled in the coming years.

The QRDC provides laboratory and technical support to the Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL) and Yarwun Alumina refineries, northern Australia bauxite mines, and to the Rio Tinto Commercial group supporting bauxite sales into China.

The Yarwun and QAL refineries provide test platforms for our bauxite technologies globally, which helps market our northern Australian bauxite all around the world.

In 2024, Yarwun was Provisionally Certified under Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) Performance Standard V3, and is transitioning to compliance over the next year. Yarwun is ASI Chain of Custody Certified. This means we support responsible production of aluminium.

Yarwun communities

Our contribution to the broader Gladstone community is through Here for Gladstone, which is supported by Rio Tinto Yarwun, Boyne Smelters Limited and QAL. Here For Gladstone's formal programs are governed by a Board made up of community and business leaders.

Celebrating its 22-year anniversary in 2023, Rio Tinto Here for Gladstone has invested A$7.2 million into the Gladstone community across a wide range of projects to improve the health, livelihood and welfare of the Gladstone community.

For example, feedback showed the Gladstone community was concerned about economic development and diversification. So, in consultation with the community, we launched the Here for Business program in late 2017 that provides free business coaching and interest-free micro-finance loans to new or expanding businesses. To date, more than 36 businesses have participated in the program and more than 166 local jobs have been created.

Cultural heritage

At Yarwun, we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land in the Port Curtis Coral Coast region: the Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng and Taribelang Bunda peoples.

We protect cultural heritage sites identified during archaeological surveys before the operation was built by safekeeping artefacts and protecting important scar tree sites from disturbance.

Cultural awareness is also important to our culture at site; all of our employees must undergo cultural awareness training before starting their job at Yarwun.

Sourcing locally

We contribute in many ways to the Queensland and Gladstone economy, including by sourcing goods and services locally wherever possible. In 2021 alone, we spent more than A$114 million with local businesses, and $203,000 with Indigenous-owned businesses in Queensland.

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We know our operations can have far-reaching impacts on society.

Yarwun Annual EPBC Compliance Report

Yarwun Annual EPBC Compliance Report 2023
3.15 MB
Yarwun Annual EPBC Compliance Report 2022
2.43 MB
Yarwun Annual EPBC Compliance Report 2021
1.85 MB
Yarwun Annual EPBC Compliance Report 2020
3.49 MB

Yarwun contacts


Hanson Rd
Gladstone City QLD 4680

T: 1800 226 258

Community hotline

T: 1800 226 258