Rio Tinto Aluminium manufactures hand sanitiser to combat coronavirus

Image: Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto Aluminium has transformed its laboratory spaces in Australia and New Zealand into spaces for chemists and researchers to develop hand sanitiser during the coronavirus pandemic.

The mining giant aims to ease the demand for hand sanitiser products brought about by the outbreak, as well as helping to prevent the spread among its own staff.

These sanitisers have been developed to meet the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards to ensure the utmost safety and cleanliness when used.

Rio Tinto’s laboratories at Tasmania’s Bell Bay site, the Yarwun refinery in Gladstone, Queensland and the New Zealand Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) at Tiwai Point have all become temporary hand sanitiser development hotspots.

The NZAS team has produced 103 litres of sanitiser, which is already being used by staff across the site, while at Yarwun, a five-litre test batch has been developed.

Meanwhile at Bell Bay, the teams have made a five-litre batch, sourced the required ethanol and started manufacturing an extra 75 litres of sanitiser.

“Our priority is the wellbeing of our people and the communities where we operate,” Rio Tinto Aluminium Pacific operations managing director Kellie Parker said.

“Using the knowledge of our teams to develop hand sanitiser in our laboratories can help protect Rio Tinto workers and reduce the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

“At the same time, (this) eases the strain on supply for the local community.”