Legacy management: Steg aluminium smelter, Switzerland pdf 1.4

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Transcript of Legacy management: Steg aluminium smelter, Switzerland pdf 1.4

  • Legacy Management case study June 2013 [email protected] riotinto.com

    The former smelter at Steg is being prepared for new businesses, generating new jobs for the local community. Buildings have been decommissioned, dismantled or repurposed, and sold to investors and new companies.

    Steg aluminium smelter Valais, Switzerland

    The journey The smelter at Steg began operating in 1962, building on a long history of aluminium production

    in the Valais region. Another Rio Tinto smelter in the nearby town of Chippis, 20km downriver from Steg, had opened in 1908. However, like many energy intensive operations in western Europe, soaring energy prices led to it being no longer economically viable to operate and both sites closed in 2006. At the time of closure, Alcan employed around 1000

    people in the Valais canton. After the takeover by Rio Tinto in 2007, the former Alcan Engineered Products division was divested to Apollo (now Constellium). Constellium continues to operate in the region, employing around 800 people. The workforce at Steg (approximately 130) were given fair warning of the imminent closure of the site and either took early retirement or found employment within the newly divested company.

    The industrial site at Steg is 35 ha in total; comprising 21 ha of brownfield and 14 ha of greenfield land. The brownfield site was the production area and after remediation, will require long term monitoring, even after the land is sold.

    The greenfield area has never been used for production and can be sold as it stands today. There is also a former landfill site, at Schnydrigen nearby. In addition to the industrial site, there are several pieces of land adjoining the site to divest. Some

    have company housing that can be sold for residential use, and others are already used for agricultural purposes (including arable, vineyard and forested areas), and are likely to be sold or donated to the local community or a non-profit organisation.

    Manufacturing companies are moving into the former smelter site at Steg.

  • Legacy Management case study June 2013 [email protected] riotinto.com

    The transformation The revitalisation of the Valais projects is still a work in progress, with Steg being the most advanced.

    Rio Tinto aim to remediate the Steg smelter site and sell the land for industry and manufacturing. The desire is to build a future for the disused site that is based on regional economic development, meeting the needs of the community. Already, many of the industrial buildings have been decommissioned, cleaned and made

    available for sale. 1000 t of dust and asbestos have been cleared, and much of the remaining waste has been sold and transported around the world. 130 electrolysis cells were shipped to Iceland, 10,000 t of waste transported to a furnace in Germany, and a remaining 5000 t of alumina has been sold to other sites in France. The bricks inside the anode-baking furnace were transported

    to Holland. In some parts of the site, where it was not possible to reuse the building, it has been demolished and the surrounding land remediated. The greenfield site needed no such decommissioning and already has great potential for selling to property developers, investors and

    the municipality.

    The desire is to build a future for the disused site that is based on regional economic development, meeting the needs of the community.

    To date, three companies have invested in, and moved to, the brownfield site including Swissredux employing 30 people, Theler employing 20 and Plasco employing 25. Both

    Swissredux and Theler are discussing options for expanding into the remaining vacant areas within this site. Negotiations with other new investors for the remaining areas are underway. The casthouse from the original plant remains in operation, having been bought by Apollo (now Constellium) and employs 150 people. On the greenfield site, glass manufacturers,

    Schollglas, have invested 20 million CHF, building an award-winning, energy efficient premises and creating 40 new jobs. There remain a further 14 ha of the greenfield site to be sold and developed for industry. Rio Tinto are currently discussing options with the local community that would enable them to take the lead in finding new investors for this part of the site.

    The former landfill at Schnydrigen has been remediated but still needs monitoring and maintenance.

    Glass manufacturers, Schollglas have built an energy efficient property on the greenfield site.

    New investors, Plasco and Swissredux, have adapted existing buildings on the brownfield site.

  • Legacy Management case study June 2013 [email protected] riotinto.com

    Highlights Since the smelter closure, the Rio Tinto project team has worked continuously to instigate new activities on the site. The brownfield area is to a large extent already occupied with new industries and the greenfield area is likely to follow suit shortly.

    Stegs transformation has already generated a further 115 jobs; almost the same number as when it was an operating smelter, and with more land available, this number is likely to continue to rise. The community have been supportive of the redevelopment, and the local and regional

    agencies have provided favourable fiscal conditions to attract more industries to the site.

    The brownfield area is, to a large extent, already occupied with new industries and the greenfield area is likely to follow suit shortly.

    The site has an appealing combination of a long

    industrial past with good regional infrastructure, and is located close to the mountains, making it attractive to relocate to.

    Lessons learnt

    Look for solutions before completely dismantling the site. Rather than demolish

    the entire site before selling the land, specific buyers have been sought so that some of the existing buildings can be repurposed and resources saved.

    Where possible, the revitalisation process should be led by individuals with a strong understanding of, and connection to, the area. It has been helpful to have local links with key stakeholders, along with the respect of the community.

    Work in partnership with the local and regional authorities to ensure long term sustainable outcomes for the site. Rio Tintos partnership with the Service de la Promotion Economique du Canton du Valais and the municipality of Steg has proved to be invaluable.

    The successful regeneration of the Steg site will provide important lessons for that of Chippis, which is also already underway.

    Our Vision

    We aim to ensure that our legacy sites are made safe, that all problem areas are addressed cost-effectively, and that there is a sustainable socio-economic future for the community together with a minimised aftercare burden.

    The spectacular location helps to attract for new investors to the redeveloped site.