Rio Tinto brings sites together to celebrate 150 years
Teams from Rio Tinto’s three Gladstone operations – Yarwun Refinery, Boyne Smelters Limited (BSL) and Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL) – came together this week to celebrate the Group’s 150-year anniversary.
Founded on 29 March 1873 by a group of businessmen who purchased the Rio Tinto (Spanish for red river) mines in Spain, the company has grown into a global business providing materials the world needs.
In Gladstone, our operations started when QAL opened its doors over 55 years ago, and replaced the meat works as the key local employer after its closure in the early 1960s. Then, BSL followed in the 1980s before Yarwun opened in the 2000s.
To kick off our 150-year celebrations, employees from across the three sites gathered for a townhall-style event at CQ University to mark Rio Tinto’s 150-year anniversary and look back at their collective history in the town.
Rio Tinto’s Aluminium Pacific Operations Managing Director Armando Torres said:
“We are celebrating 150 years of being the explorers, collaborators, and innovators at the heart of Rio Tinto. We are learning from our past and we’re adapting to the needs of tomorrow.
“Gladstone has played a key role in Rio Tinto’s history. Our 150-year birthday has been a great opportunity to bring our teams together – to say thank you, celebrate our past, get to know each other better and continue to build those strong ties locally.
“I am incredibly proud of all that has been achieved in Gladstone over the years.”
Rio Tinto produces alumina and aluminium in Gladstone and directly employs over 3,000 locals, injecting over $400 million annually in salaries into the local economy. In 2022, the three Gladstone sites spent over
$US1.9 billion with Australian suppliers.
We also started a formal community program in 2002 called Here for Gladstone which provides a joint community contribution of Yarwun, Boyne Smelters and QAL to the Gladstone community. Over its 20 years, the fund has invested almost $7 million into the Gladstone community on a wide range of projects. This funding has also helped community organisations secure additional grants and contributions in excess of $10 million.
Rio Tinto’s 150-year anniversary celebrations will continue throughout the year in our operations around the world.