Rio Tinto's Monumental Recycling Endeavor

Rio Tinto Scrap
Rio Tinto ScrapImage Source: Rio Tinto


Rio Tinto initiates Australia's largest demolition at the Gove alumina refinery, Northern Territory. Shipping 15,000-tonne scrap steel loads, equivalent to 21 Eiffel Towers, for recycling marks the beginning. Demolition aims to recycle 142,000 metric tons of steel and 300,000 metric tons of concrete. The project engages Traditional Owners, aiming for a site handover after remediation, targeting completion by 2027.


Rio Tinto has embarked on an ambitious project, heralding the country's most extensive demolition at the Gove alumina refinery in Australia's Northern Territory. The venture involves shipping 15,000-tonne scrap steel shipments, representing a colossal 21 Eiffel Towers, signaling the commencement of recycling efforts. This initiative is a significant step towards recycling 142,000 metric tons of steel and repurposing 300,000 metric tons of concrete from the refinery site. The project emphasizes collaboration with Gumatj Traditional Owners, intending to hand over the site after restoration, a gesture acknowledging the community's connection to the land.

The Gove alumina refinery, operational from 1972 to 2014, embarks on a historical journey toward closure and demolition. Rio Tinto's decision to repurpose the site catalyzed the commencement of this monumental demolition, set to culminate in 2027. The initiative signifies not just an engineering marvel but also a testament to environmental stewardship through extensive recycling.

Rio Tinto's collaboration with Traditional Owners signifies a shift towards sustainable practices. Involving Gumatj decision-making in site restoration demonstrates a commitment to respecting the land's heritage. This synergy also includes considerations regarding infrastructure usage post-demolition, underscoring the shared decision-making process.

The partnership with Liberty Industrial spearheads this monumental undertaking. Their cooperation has facilitated the efficient start of the project, surpassing initial expectations in scrap load outs. Engaging closely with Traditional Owners has enabled overcoming logistical challenges inherent in a vast and remote demolition project.

As a significant milestone in environmental restoration, Rio Tinto's Gove refinery project aims to restore the land to its traditional custodians. Beyond its scale, the endeavor emphasizes community engagement, environmental sustainability, and legacy preservation.


This collaboration between Rio Tinto, Traditional Owners, and Liberty Industrial epitomizes a holistic approach to site restoration. Beyond the engineering feat, it signifies a step towards honoring ancestral ties, environmental rehabilitation, and community partnership.

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