Eurallumina has announced it has begun last stages of development; this comes as a huge milestone as the developments have faced issues such as the freeze of operations in 2009. The refinery needs to overcome two hurdles in ninety days to safeguard the €300 million investment.

The alumina refinery’s first hurdle, concerns the signing of the Sardinia Dpcm, which relates to the arrival of methane on the island. The second, expected to be overcome by November, concerns the conclusion of the authorisation procedure that signals the green light towards the restructuring and modernisation of the refinery. These are the concluding steps of the long path towards the end of completion of the investment.

In 2009, the Eurallumina dispute cropped up when the refinery shut down due to its high demand and cost of fuel, oil, which was both expensive and unsustainable. The company and workers have struggled through for years of protests and institutional protocols. The refinery, which according to the experts being one of the largest in Europe; with a production capacity of 1.07 million tonnes of alumina per year.

Francesco Garau, Filctem Regional Secretary, recollects:

"Immediately after the 2009 shutdown, all the preparatory activities for restarting the plants started and over time national projects and protocols have alternated… The first, for the construction of a coal-fired cogeneration plant, is set aside to make way for a steam pipeline capable of connecting the Eurallumina plants with those of the nearby power plant. In the meantime, the administrative procedure goes on.”

Francesco Garau, Filctem Regional Secretary

The investment plan, in light of the latest changes, is worth around € 300 million and it involves the construction of a new gas-fired CHP, the transformation and conversion to gas of the existing calcination furnaces and the elimination of the sludge disposal area with the realisation of a dry storage project.

Presently, the refinery’s employment plan guarantees the employment to 230 employees, while it provides for the employment of 363 direct people and an induced staff made up of contractors and subcontractors of 1,500 employees. The handling of 4 million cargoes in the port area of Portovesme is also expected.

The outcome of the project claims to reduce emissions by 31%, accredited to the usage of gas instead of fuel oil.

The Trade unionist said:

“The new project also takes into account all the changes related to decarbonisation. Now we hope that the times are respected and because it is good to remember that in recent years, the company has spent more than € 200 million to keep the refinery close down pending restart. Sixteen a year for the first three years, then 20 million a year”

The Trade unionist

The deadline to permit the resumption of the production is by 2022. Garau concludes by saying:

“There is a risk that if the time schedule is not respected. The entire project could skip... Furthermore, the meeting at MISE must be called for the signing of the new addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding.”

Francesco Garau, Filctem Regional Secretary

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