UC RUSAL’s waste management activity is aimed at meeting the following main strategic goals: increasing the ratio of waste processing and recycling, safe waste storage and disposal, complete rejection of using equipment containing PCBs and disposal of existing PCB waste.
To ensure the safe storage of waste, the Company is actively building new and rebuilding and modernising the existing waste disposal sites.
The quantity of waste generated without overburden has decreased from 14.4 million tonnes in 2014 up to 14.1 million tonnes in 2015 году. The correlation in the quantity of waste disposed and treated has also changed in the same period. The share of waste disposed of at in-house sites or transferred to outside organisations has decreased from 83% up to 81%. Correspondingly, the share of waste treated has increased from 17% to 19%. Fluctuations in the quantity of the treatment of waste generated depend directly on the volume of treatment of red mud and nepheline mud.
Red mud and nepheline mud prevail in the structure of waste generation by the Company. Their share is almost 60% of the total quantity of waste (not including overburden).
Fluctuations in the volume of generated mud are connected with a change in the volume of production, as well as the depth of ore deposits and the percentage of alumina contained in ores and bauxites being processed.
In 2015 the quantity of mud generated from alumina production has slightly increased and equaled 12.2 million tonnes, the quantity of treated sludge has also increased and reached 1.4 million tonnes. The amount of processed sludge depends directly on the implementation of measures for construction of sludge ponds.
In cooperation with research centres and institutes, UC RUSAL continues work to develop and implement new technologies for processing specific waste created from aluminium and alumina production.
In 2015 UC RUSAL accomplished a number of projects on the construction and reconstruction of sludge disposal sites:
The second most significant production waste of UC RUSAL enterprises, after sludge, is used carbon lining of electrolysis cells. The amount of this waste generated depends directly on the number of electrolysis cell overhauls at the various Company enterprises.
The amount of generated carbon lining waste has risen significantly in the reporting year as compared to 2014, up by 19%, and made 51.4 thousand tonnes. In this connection the amount of treated waste has increased by more than three times by contrast to the previous year. Since 2014 the recycled raw material from its processing has been sold to the West-Siberian Metal Plant.
In 2015 the Sayanogorsk Aluminium Smelter completed the construction of the second phase of the landfill for solid domestic and non-toxic industrial waste. The landfill project has passed the state ecological expertise, it meets all sanitary rules and regulations and eliminates entry of any contaminants into the environment. The landfill can store up to 17 thousand cubic meters / year and is expected to be operational within 10 yeras. To prevent possible contamination of soil and underground waters the factory installed an impervious screen made of polyethylene film covered by a layer of sand. For diversion of surface waters, a special drainage system was made. The first phase of landfill was put into operation nine years ago.
In order to reduce the amount of solid waste storage at the landfill, SAZ has been successfully implementing the lining technology of electrolysis cells С175 with reusing of up to 80% of unshaped lining materials. In 2015 the new technology was developed and tested which allows using this procedure on C255 electrolysis cells of SAZ and EcoSoderberg electrolysis cells of KrAZ. The following stage involves using the electrolysis cells lining with unshaped, recyclable materials on the electrolysis cells of BrAZ and IrkAZ.
As part of the ongoing work on PCBs disposal, 5.1 tonnes of PCBs waste were neutralized and sent for disposal to external organisations, which is almost six times less than in the previous year. By the end 2014 the amount of equipment and the remains of PCB wastes at the enterprises was equal to 186.8 tonnes, which is 16.7% less than in 2014. Complete removal of the equipment and waste containing PCBs is planned by 2020.