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TMS 2009: Alumina Refinery Fundamentals and Practice
Date: Sunday, February 15

This course is designed for individuals who would like to understand more about the alumina refining process.


Who Should Attend?
 People beginning careers in alumina refining; People engaged in other aspects of aluminum manufacture; Engineers or technologists in the alumina industry interested in process technology, alumina production, operation, and maintenance and design of refineries

Attendees will learn about:

  • Bayer alumina process including the basic process for producing alumina from bauxite ore, definitions of key process terminology, importance of bauxite quality in refinery design, and basic refinery facilities.
  • Fundamentals of alumina calcination, process design criteria, and operational and maintenance requirements for large calciners in the alumina industry including both circulating fluid bed and gas suspension technologies.
  • Tools and measures to increase performance and availability of industrial calciner units.
  • Major influence of microstructure and properties of smelter grade alumina on the operation of smelters.
  • Current trends in alumina properties, for example, in relation to changes in calciner technologies and in terms of phase distribution and alumina microstructure.
  • History of Process Safety Management (PSM) and how it is applied to the Bayer process for the production of alumina. Examples will be provided.

How to Register for this Course
Register by January 16, 2009 using the online registration form or download the Registration Form (PDF) and mail or fax with your payment. The cost for this course is $475 for members / $560 for nonmembers, which includes a meal.


Don Donaldson is a consultant for the alumina industry, based in Medford, Oregon, USA. His expertise lies in the technology, operation and design of alumina refineries, including research, development, process design, refinery startup, production management, engineering management, technology sales, specialty aluminas and other areas related to the technology of producing alumina. Mr. Donaldson was fully responsible for the process design and basic layout of the QAL refinery in Australia. He has also been a technical and engineering consultant for alumina refineries in the United States and 11 other countries. In addition to teaching alumina courses for industry, Mr. Donaldson also developed a computer program for the Bayer process to provide a rigorous heat and materials balance and a detailed process design. He holds seven patents in process and equipment design, and has published papers in "Light Metals" proceedings and JOM. Mr. Donaldson is a registered professional engineer in chemical engineering in California, and a member of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas.

James Metson is a professor, associate director of the Light Metals Research Center, and head of the Department of Chemistry, at the University of Auckland. He has been with the university since 1985 and previously held positions as director of the Research Centre for Surface and Materials Science, acting director of the Light Metals Research Centre during its formation, and associate deputy vice chancellor (research) for the university. Professor Metson’s research work has involved areas such as alumina microstructure, dry-scrubbing technology and studies of cell emissions, electrolyte chemistry and electrode reactivity. He was a TMS Light Metals Award winner in 1994 and has more than 140 research publications and 70 technical reports to his credit, many dealing with applications in the aluminium industry. Professor Metson graduated with a doctorate in chemistry from Victoria University of Wellington in 1980.

Hans W. Schmidt is a consultant working primarily for Outotec in Frankfurt, Germany, since his retirement from the company in 2006. While at Outotec, he was responsible primarily for sales and development of alumina technology. Outotec had taken over Lurgi, where Dr. Schmidt was head of the Department for Alumina Technology. He contributed to a large number of new developments, such as the CFB technology for the alumina industry and other applications in the chemical industry. Earlier in his career, he worked in the research and development section of Lurgi on fluid bed technology and combustion technology. He also worked at the Institute of Flame Research in the University of Karlsruhe and was promoted to Dr.- Ing. for Chemical Engineering. Dr. Schmidt graduated from the Technical University in Darmstadt with a diploma in mechanical engineering.

Carlos Suarez is associate senior process consultant for light metals at Hatch Associates Inc. in Cranberry, Pennsylvania, USA. A member of the leadership team, he has worked with alumina clients on several projects over the past four years. Mr. Suarez has more than 25 years of global experience in process safety, quality, training and development, technical sales, plant operations, and EPCM and consulting in the bauxite, alumina and alumina chemicals industries. His extensive experience also includes project management, chemical process design, chemical processes expert systems, research and development, chemical plants commissioning and startups, knowledge management, organizational development, technology transfer and business development. Prior to working at Hatch, Mr. Suarez worked for companies such as Bauxilum Alumina Refinery in Venezuela, Gove Refinery in Australia, Kaiser Aluminum Gramercy Works in the United States, and Vialco in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He is an associate faculty member at the University of Phoenix, and a member of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Mr. Suarez holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.

Susanne Wind is a process engineer with FLSmidth Minerals A/S. She has been with the company for 16 years, working on process design and commissioning of cement kilns, lime kilns and alumina calciners. In 2003, she was part of the commissioning team of 3x4500 tpd Gas Suspension Calciner at Queensland Alumina, Australia, and is now lead engineer for design of FLSmidth Minerals Gas Suspension Calciner.


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