Hand sanitiser, Bell Bay

The (hand) gel that keeps us together

3 reasons why hand sanitiser is our newest essential material

Last updated: 24 April 2020


One of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by washing our hands often with soap and water, or if that is not an option, by using hand sanitiser. And because right now everyone is being extra vigilant about keeping our hands squeaky-clean, hand sanitiser is in short supply. To help, our teams around the world are doing everything from donating it to making their own. Here are three reasons why:

1. When we make our own, it leaves more for others

Six of our sites in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States have already made around 7,000 litres. By making our own, we can make sure we have enough to keep our employees’ hands germ-free, and also free up supplies for other people in our communities.

2. Our chemists love getting their hands dirty (or clean, in this case)

By day, our in-house chemists – like Devin at our Bell Bay Aluminium smelter in Tasmania, Australia – are busy turning alumina into aluminium or finding cleaner, greener ways to produce aluminium and copper. In their off hours, they are lending their expertise to making hand sanitiser, using ingredients we have onsite. And we don’t use grandma’s recipe – our homemade hand sanitiser is made to strict World Health Organization and relevant local government specifications (including the US Food and Drug Administration and Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration). 

3. Because we’re all in this together

From our Richards Bay Minerals operations in South Africa to our aluminium operations in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, in Quebec, Canada, we are supporting local government efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And where we can, this includes donating hand sanitiser (and also masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment) to medical teams, paramedics and hospitals. Because we can all be part of the solution.

Our hand sanitiser makers

Bell Bay Aluminium



New Zealand's Aluminium Smelter

Rio Tinto Fer et Titane

Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean

Yarwun Alumina Refinery

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