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Worsley Alumina converts first boiler from coal to natural gas

25 OCTOBER 2023

Worsley Alumina has completed the conversion of the first of its coal-fired boilers to natural gas, helping to reduce the operation's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

In alumina production, boilers are essential for the generation of steam which is used in the refining process. 

Work to convert the first boiler commenced in May 2023 and the workforce for the project peaked at 120 people, including 80 people employed locally. 

The converted gas-fired boiler commenced operation in late-September and the conversion of a second boiler is planned for 2024.  

The conversion of Worsley Alumina’s boilers supports our medium-term target to reduce operational GHG emissions by 50 per cent (from 2021 levels) by 2035, and our longer-term goal to achieve net zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

Erwin Schaufler, Worsley Alumina Vice President Operations, said: “We expect the conversion will reduce Worsley Alumina’s operational GHG emissions by up to 208kt of CO2-e per year, or around 5.5 per cent, supporting South32’s broader emissions reductions goals and targets. The use of natural gas at Worsley Alumina remains an interim step, as we pursue longer-term energy transition solutions focused on electrification and renewable energy.” 

In addition to delivering immediate reductions in operational GHG emissions, the conversion of coal­ fired boilers to natural gas boilers aligns with the WA Government's coal exit timeline, and mitigates the impact of local coal supply challenges. 

"Worsley Alumina has been part of the South West community for nearly 40 years,” said Erwin.  
“As we continue our work to decarbonise our operations, we are working closely with government, community, and industry stakeholders to support a just transition for Collie, its people and businesses, and ensure a strong future for the town and broader region."