UC RUSAL Sustainability report 2015




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[25].

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.

Generation, storage and treatment of waste (not including overburden), million tonnes G4-ЕN23

Generation of waste in 2015, %

Share of treated or reused waste in total waste generation, %


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.

Generation of mud from alumina production, million tonnes

Treatment of mud from alumina production, million tonnes

In 2015 UC RUSAL accomplished a number of projects on the construction and reconstruction of sludge disposal sites:

  • Due to the fact that the existing sludge ponds No. 1, No. 2 in the sludge disposal site of the Achinsk Alumina Refinery will be filled by the years 2017 and 2016, respectively, the construction of a new facility for storing nepheline sludge, sludge pond No. 3, has started. It is designed to hold 112 million cubic meters of sludge for a period of 20 years. Works on building the sludge storage continued in 2015. The construction was carried out in two stages – I and II sections. In construction of the ponds the Company applied the most advanced technologies and materials, ensuring safety during its operation. For example, here a geomembrane film was used, which serves as a protective shield and whose characteristics are considered the best in the world. For additional protection of geomembrane against damage the screen was reinforced with geotextile between the rock layer and sand cushion of the base. All works on section I were completed in 2015. The storage facility is expected to start operating in the 4th quarter 2016.
  • The new sludge disposal site was commissioned at the Uralsk Aluminium Smelter. With other operating sludge ponds, this site would provide secure 10-11 years storage of red mud, which is formed during processing of bauxites. On the territory of the enterprise the plant has built up a dam, a pumping station with a transformer feeding station, organized water lines and installed measuring and control equipment. State authorities confirmed the compliance of the works fulfilled with the project documentation.
  • Bogoslovsk Aluminium Smelter completed the construction and commissioning of the thirst phase of the new pond of sludge disposal area. Technology, equipment and communications used in the construction allow to provide non-stop monitoring of hydraulic engineering facilities, their smooth and trouble-free operation. The second phase of the sludge pond is planned to commission in 2016, thus allowing to operate the alumina production till 2024, and after launching of all three phases – up to 2036.
  • Reconstruction works of the sludge disposal site at BrAZ continues. The thirst phase of the modernized sludge ponds No. 3 has been commissioned. The environmental program of the enterprise also includes projects on processing, disposal and waste involvement in its own production. More than 50% of the plant’s waste is disposed or transferred to third parties as a raw material.
  • To prolong the life of the sludge pond of RUSAL Novokuznetsk OJSC, the Company has introduced in 2015 the new technology of sludge removal using the GeoTube membrane material. The technology allowed removing from the sludge collector the annual volume of waste - about 15 thousand tonnes of sludge;
  • The Aughinish enterprise in Ireland carries out reclamation of sludge storage areas in strict compliance with the requirements of laws. Significant progress was achieved in disposal of red mud. For optimization of the whole process GPS satellite navigation system was applied to control the sludge deposition process on different areas.

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.

Generation of carbon linings, thousand tonnes

Treatment of carbon linings, thousand tonnes

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.

Quantity of PCB-containing materials neutralised and sent for disposal, tonnes