Anglesey Aluminium - August 2016
Visited with Humpa
Anglesey Aluminium Metal Ltd, which shut down on 30 September 2009, was a joint venture between the Rio Tinto Group and Kaiser Aluminum. Its aluminium smelter, located on the outskirts of Holyhead, was one of the largest employers in North Wales, with 540 staff members, and began to produce aluminium in 1971. Until recently it produced up to 142,000 tonnes of aluminium every year and was the biggest single user of electricity (255 MW) in the United Kingdom. Alumina and coke shipped from Jamaica and Australia would berth at the company's private jetty in Holyhead harbour. This jetty is linked by a series of conveyor belts passing through tunnels to the plant. A spur rail link from the main Holyhead to London rail line runs into the plant and was used for both receipt of raw materials and despatch of aluminium. The plant was powered from the National Grid and received most of its electricity from Wylfa nuclear power station 15 miles away. AA was used as a base load for Wylfa and saved the grid the cost of keeping a power station on standby. The power contract terminated in 2009, and the aluminium smelting operation was shut down as no new contract was negotiated. The company has announced tentative plans for a biomass plant on the site, but smelting operations have been halted and the plant mothballed until 2016. Near the smelter the Aluminium Powder Company (ALPOCO) produces aluminium powder, which is used in pastes, pigments, chemicals, metallurgy, refractory, propulsion, pyrotechnics, spray deposition and powder metallurgy.
Saw this one pop up in a leads and rumours forum not long ago, thought we may as well pop over to have a look with it not being too far away. Good explore albeit brief for us, there's so much that we didn't see on this occasion, but hopefully this spurs some people to go and have a look too and discover more. It's an absolutely massive site with all manner of huge buildings on it, apparently there are also tunnels directly to the harbour for transportation so that would make a nice explore in itself if people can work that one out. Plus the chimney for people who like that kind of thing!
RioTinto Alcan have a summary of how the process at Anglesey Aluminium worked, I thought it was an interesting read not knowing a great deal about aluminium smelting.