Rio Tinto labs turn out hand sanitiser

FOLLOWING on from a program at one of its Canadian aluminium operations, Rio Tinto scientists have started turning out hand sanitiser at its Australian and New Zealand operations.
Rio Tinto labs turn out hand sanitiser Rio Tinto labs turn out hand sanitiser Rio Tinto labs turn out hand sanitiser Rio Tinto labs turn out hand sanitiser Rio Tinto labs turn out hand sanitiser

Researchers at Bell Bay Aluminium are getting ready to turn out another 75L of hand sanitiser.

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The company has turned to making its own hand sanitiser products to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and ease growing demand for the product in local communities.

Chemists and researchers at Bell Bay Aluminium in Tasmania, Yarwun Alumina Refinery at Gladstone and New Zealand Aluminium Smelter at Tiwai Point have developed hand sanitiser to World Health Organisation specifications for on-site use.

At Bell Bay a 5 litre test batch was made. Ethanol has been sourced to make another 75L of hand sanitiser and work on that batch has begun.

At NZAS 103L of hand sanitiser has been produced and is already in use across the site.

At Yarwun a 5L test batch has been developed.

Rio Tinto Aluminium Pacific Operations managing director Kellie Parker said the company's priority was the wellbeing of its people and the communities it operated in.

"Using the knowledge of our local teams to develop hand sanitiser in our laboratories, we can help protect Rio Tinto workers and reduce the spread of COVID-19, while at the same time easing the strain on supply for the local community," she said.

The Rio Tinto home grown hand sanitiser effort was kicked off by researchers at the Rio Tinto Iron & Titanium Technology Centre in Quebec, Canada.

The RTIT Technology Centre's normally works on improving titanium dioxide processing and developing specialised metals and powders for a broad range of uses.

However, in response to a local shortage chemists at the centre developed a formula based on World Health Organisation specifications to produce a hand sanitiser.

So far they have produced about 300 litres of gel, which is being used at the Sorel-Tracy operation in Canada.