UC RUSAL Sustainability report 2016




The activity of UC RUSAL in the area of waste management is aimed at the achievement of key strategic objectives: increase in the share of recycling and reuse of waste, safe storage and disposal of waste, total abandonment of use of PCB equipment and disposal of available PCB waste.

In order to ensure the safe disposal of waste, the Company is actively engaged in the construction of new, reconstruction and retrofitting of existing waste disposal facilities.

Results HKEx Appendix 27 KPI A1.1.

At the end of 2016, the production sites of the Company accumulated 987.4 mln tonnes of waste, including:

          red/nepheline mud – 507.9 mln tonnes (51.4%);

          overburden rocks — 392.0 mln tonnes (39.7%); HKEx Appendix 27 KPI A1.4.

          spent pot lining — 0.730 mln tonnes (0.07%).

Unlike most of the other countries of operation, the Russian legislation includes the overburden rocks in the waste category. The total amount of produced waste without overburden rocks dropped from 14.1 mln tonnes in 2015 to 13.8 mln tonnes in 2016. The amount of disposed waste has remained virtually unchanged during the same period. The volume of processed waste, including sale and transfer to third party organisations, decreased from 2.7 mln tonnes to 2.1 mln tonnes. The ratio of waste categories according to treatment is also slightly different. Thus, the share of waste disposed at own facilities or transferred to third party organisations has increased from 81% to 85%. Accordingly, the share of processed waste decreased from 19% to 15%. The dynamics of the recycling of the generated waste depends directly on the amount of recycling of the red and nepheline muds, which represent the waste of alumina production. 

In 2016, 1.04 thousand tonnes of 1-3 hazard class waste were transferred to the specialised organisations for disposal. G4-EN25, HKEx Appendix 27 KPI A1.3. 

Aluminium is the most frequently recycled material, it is easily disposed and can be 100% recycled without losing its unique properties. Today, in world practice the production of secondary aluminium accounts for about 30% of the total output, and its share continues to increase.

The form of the output of the final product (ingots, slabs, etc.) does not require the use of a special package for supply to consumers, so that this type of waste is virtually non-existent at most production facilities of the Company. HKEx Appendix 27 KPI A2.5.

Trends in the generation, disposal and recycling of waste, excluding overburden rocks, mln. tonnes G4-ЕN23, HKEx Appendix 27 KPIA1.1.

Share of recycled or reused waste from total generated, % G4-EN2


In the structure of waste of the Company dominate the red and nepheline muds, which are considered non-toxic waste of 5th class of hazard to the environment. Their share is of 85.9% of the total amount of waste generated. The quantities of generated mud are directly related to the dynamics of production, and also depend on such factors as the depth of ore beds and the percentage of alumina in the processed ore and bauxites.

Dynamics of the formation and use of mud from the alumina production, mln. tonnes HKEx Appendix 27 KPI A1.4.

The quantity of processed mud is directly dependent on the implementation of the measures for the construction of red mud disposal areas. In 2016, the level of generation of mud from alumina production reduced to 11.7 mln. tonnes, the volume of mud recycling also reduced to 1.2 mln. tonnes.

UC RUSAL continues to develop and implement technologies for the processing of specific wastes of aluminium and alumina production in cooperation with research centres and institutes.

In 2016, UC RUSAL implemented a large number of environmental projects for the construction and reconstruction of mud disposal areasHKEx Appendix 27 KPI A1.5, A1.6.

       In connection with the filling of the existing areas No 1 and No 2 of red mud disposal at Achinsk alumina refinery, the construction of a new facility for the storage of nepheline mud, the red mud disposal area No 3, has been completed. It is designed for the disposal of 112 mln. cubic metres of waste during 20 years. The new red mud disposal area will allow the operation of the Achinsk alumina refinery to be extended until 2035. The facility is built in line with all modern environmental requirements and using the latest technologies that guarantee its safety. In 2016 geophysical studies of the geomembrane were completed and confirmed the integrity of the built screen. A leak tightness test was then carried out. The commissioning of the facility is planned for the second quarter of 2017.

       On the Bogoslovsk aluminium smelter, a second stage of red mud disposal area was commissioned, which would allow alumina production to be operated until 2024 and after all three stages are commissioned, until 2036.

       The implementation of a large-scale project for the reconstruction of production waste disposal facilities at the Bratsk aluminium smelter continues. Over RUR 80 mln. were invested in their recycling, reintegration into production, and the reconstruction of red mud disposal areas of the smelter. The production facility uses in its own production, processes and sells to third party organisations as a raw material about 54% of total waste generated. The entire amount of generated coal froth has been recycled.

       The technology for obtaining scandium concentrate from red mud developed by UC RUSAL specialists was tested at the Urals aluminium smelter. In July 2016, the industrial production of scandium oxide was launched. In the first shipments received, the purity of the final product was of 99.1%. Work is under way to improve technology to reduce the cost of production. In the future, it is planned to increase the performance of the current installation to 0.8-1.4 tonnes of scandium oxide per year. The resulting products will be used to produce alloys at UC RUSAL production sites.

       At the Volgograd aluminium smelter the project was launched to reduce the load on its own solid industrial waste disposal site. Using the principles of efficient waste management, the smelter has developed options for the sale of flotation sludge, cathode and anode breakage for further processing. As a result, the load on the polygon was reduced by approximately 60 tonnes.

The waste from the production of UC RUSAL production sites second in priority after the mud is the spent carbon lining of the cells. The amounts of this type of waste, which belong to the fourth class of low-hazardous substance, directly depend on the number of completed pot rebuilds. A tonne of aluminium produces about 15 kg of carbon lining.

Dynamics of generation and processing of carbon lining, thousand tonnes HKEx Appendix 27 KPI A1.4.

The generation of carbon lining waste during the reporting period decreased by 12% compared to 2015 and made up 45 thousand tonnes.The quantity of processed waste dropped twice compared to the previous period. Since 2014, secondary raw materials obtained from recycling have been sold to the West Siberian metallurgical plant.

Since 2011, work has been carried out in the Aluminium Division to increase the sale and use of production waste, including through the participation of specialists from research organisations and specialised universities. As a result, the share of recycled waste of carbon lining has increased significantly over the past two years: in 2015, it made up 90.1%, in 2016 – 51%, which is much higher than the best indicator of the previous period of 40%.

In the reporting year, a site was launched to recycle the carbon lining at the Krasnoyarsk aluminium smelter. In the first quarter of 2016, a new industrial waste disposal area was put into operation at the Irkutsk aluminium smelter. Work is under way to build a site for temporary disposal of waste of the Krasnoyarsk aluminium smelter. Red mud disposal area No 3 is being reconstructed at the Bratsk aluminium smelter.

The Company's production facilities have existing and decommissioned equipment as well as waste containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). At the end of 2016, the volume of PCBs in the existing equipment was of 190.2 tonnes. The increase of 3.4 tonnes compared to 2015 is due to the rectification of the PCB content of the equipment.

As part of the ongoing work of disposal of PCBs during the reporting period, 15 tonnes of PCB wastes were neutralised and transferred to third party organizations for disposal, this exceeds by over three times the results of the previous year. Since 2008, 167 tonnes of PCBs have been removed/neutralised. It is planned to remove completely all equipment and waste containing polychlorinated biphenyls by 2022.

Amount of PCBs containing materials neutralised and transferred for recycling, tonnes