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Rio Tinto say alumina dust not cause for concern

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Rio Tinto say a photo of alumina dust escaping from its Yarwun wharf this week was nothing to worry about, stating the plume posed no threat to health or the environment.

Rio Tinto say a photo of alumina dust escaping from its Yarwun wharf this week was nothing to worry about, claiming the plume posed no threat to health or the environment.

According to the Gladstone observer, a woman who previously worked at the company’s Gladstone refinery took a photo of the dust which she says signals an alumina overflow", which happens when skirts break.

"Today it was really bad, just pouring out ... it was like it was snowing," she said earlier this week.

However a Rio spokesperson said the dust presented "no threat to health, or harm to the environment".

He said the area was developing engineering modifications that would minimise dust that comes off the wharf.

"It looks intense but it's not, it's a very fine product."

Earlier this year Rio Tinto Alcan plead guilty in court for breaching its environmental obligations at its alumina plant.

The company admitted it did not have the capacity to deal with flooding which hit its red mud dam last year.

Rio has since met the capacity requirements and is on schedule to meet this year’s conditions.

While last year the company announced a gasket failure caused waste material to disperse from the site, with some residents reporting small amounts of the fine red material on cars and windows.

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