Capral and Tomago Aluminium agreement to local aluminium remelting

Capral Aluminium and Tomago Aluminium have signed an agreement that will see approximately 550 tonnes of manufacturing production scrap annually returned for remelting and reuse.

Capral manufactures semi-fabricated aluminium products used in residential, commercial and industrial applications, while Tomago operates Australia’s largest aluminium smelter in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales.

This industry leading arrangement is the first of its kind within Australia, paving the way for the production of low carbon aluminium for Australian manufacturers.

Capral Aluminium’s general manager of supply Luke Hawkins said: “As far as we are aware this is the first commercial scrap arrangement for post-production scrap aluminium to be remelted in Australia, and we are very excited to be working on this with the team at Tomago Aluminium.”

Whilst scrap aluminium has long been collected for recycling within Australia, until recently Australian aluminium smelters have had limited capacity for safe and successful remelting.

More than 95 per cent of Australia’s scrap aluminium is exported for recycling in South Korea and Indonesia, as well as European countries and India.

In 2020 Australian exporters reported 119,075 tonnes of aluminium were sent overseas, an increase of 25.13 per cent on the previous year.

Hawkins said: “Australian customers are demanding access to more sustainable aluminium and we need to make changes as an industry to respond to this.

“For Capral that means working in close partnership with our suppliers to ensure we have access to Australian aluminium with recycled content.”

Capral operates six manufacturing facilities around Australia, extruding aluminium for use in a diverse range of industrial, manufacturing and construction applications.

Production scrap from Capral’s Penrith extrusion plant will be baled and sent to Tomago to be remelted and added to new aluminium products – including billet.

Tomago Aluminium CEO Matt Howell said: “We are delighted to be able to close the loop for Capral and Tomago in a true ‘cradle to grave’ aluminium alloy supply and recycle arrangement.

“Best off all, the product that is made in NSW is now recycled in NSW.

“With global supply chains experiencing significant disruption and carbon footprint an increasing consideration, these new arrangements do not require international shipping through already congested ports.”

Generally, aluminium smelters have limited capacity for remelt because of safety and process risks of contamination.

Within Australia, aluminium smelters use approximate 14 per cent of the power produced by our national energy grid, mostly sourced from coal-fired power stations.

Tomago Aluminium uses around 10 per cent of the New South Wales power supply to produce 590,000 tonnes of aluminium per year.

Picture: Capral Aluminium

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