Our history and contribution


Part of the fabric of Gladstone

Known as the giant that never sleeps, QAL has been part of Gladstone’s social fabric since its inception in 1964 when construction began. QAL was the first industrial plant to appear in town’s landscape and remains the region’s largest employer today.

Long term residents of Gladstone often speak of “when QAL came to town”, dividing the town’s history into two distinct eras.


The plant is officially opened by Mayor Bill Golding

Mayor Bill Golding
“I think each and every one of us will admit, this is something fabulous”
First ship departs QAL with alumina on board bound for the US. The 35,586 tonne shipment is carried by a vessel named 'Holtefjell'

Gladstone town plan developed

The QAL Board (aware of Gladstone's recreational shortcomings from the beginning) agree to provide sponsorship for the scheme as an appropriate way to contribute to improving the level of social amenities in the town, as well as demonstrating Gladstone's unrecognised potential for civic beautification.
Yaralla Men's Hostel is built and named after the aboriginal word for “resting place”


Commitment to the environment

QAL has maintained a commitment to the environment since its inception. With developments in Environmental Legislation over the years, the plant has undergone significant changes. One of the most momentous pieces of work to have been undertaken by QAL is the 5 Year Environment Strategy (5-YES) which is delivering on a committed $480 million spend towards environmental improvements across its lifespan.

Clean Air Act extended to cover the Gladstone area in September 1970
QAL is setting a fine example in its profession and responsible outlook on community health
Council's director A. Giplin
Plant transitioned from predominantly Fuel oil to Natural Gas
Purchasing Australian gas instead of offshore oil to be more environmentally responsible.

Less emissions, More efficiencies

Plant upgrades include removal of rotary kilns and installation of three Gas Suspension Calciners that significantly decreased the fugitive dust emissions that had previously impacted the community. 25% less energy required and 95% less Alumina dust emissions

Thermal Oxidiser Commissioned to reduce odour emissions

QAL installs a $2.4 million Cleveland Cascade Chute to significantly reduce dust emissions whilst loading alumina onto ships
5 Year environmental strategy (5-YES) program begins
Initial commitment of between $130 and $260 Million increased to $480 Million across 6 focus areas. QAL still committed to lessen environmental impacts
$130m Investment
$260m Investment
$440m Investment


Building a better tomorrow

From the very beginning, QAL has been the heart of Gladstone; working alongside the community to ensure the future of the region.

QAL invests $500,000 towards a new local water treatment plant
QAL also invests in the "Boyne Bridge" that crosses south trees inlet at Boyne Island and the Green Belt Scheme comprising of duck ponds, swimming pool, tennis, netball and basketball courts and hockey fields.
The popularity of the QAL Sports Club was such that by 1977, extensions and upgrading were necessary.
By mid 1975, the QAL Sports Club had 1,230 members representing about 93% of the plant's workforce. In 1977 the company provided $250,000 to carry out construction of a modern extension. The company considered that the club's existence had a positive effect of workforce stability and employee relations and that it was also beneficial to the community.

QAL Donates the land that Yaralla currently sits on back to the organisation.


Striving for equality

QAL believes that the way we treat each other matters. An active Inclusion Committee work closely with teams throughout the plant to ensure everyone feels psychologically safe to express themselves for the most positive outcome for all involved.

QAL employment of the first female apprentice
The first adult apprentice joins the team in the 1992 apprentice intake
Inclusion at QAL


Engaging with our community

QAL has been the heart of Gladstone’s prosperity since we produced our first alumina in 1967 and we continue to make these contributions to the sustainable development of the region.

Our diverse communities give us the opportunity to bring positive, long-term benefits to the Gladstone region – evident in the many liveability improvement projects we have strongly supported over the years.

A key focus of our work is making Gladstone a great place for our employees and our neighbours to live and grow with their families. This starts in addressing the primary areas of need such as health and local business development.

Rio Tinto Community Fund begins support for the local community
QAL implements ROCS online portal for community feedback, Community Advisory Committee is created
QAL donates hay bales to farmers during drought
Bird Watching at QAL - The Gladstone Waders group have an annual visit to QAL plant to monitor bird life in the area. These visits continue to thrive 12 years later
QAL enters into a 3 year commitment with Boyne Island Environmental Education Centre to host a STEM-Tacular women's camp, enhancing learning and passion for STEM related subjects for female students throughout Central Queensland
QAL celebrates 55 years of giving back to the Gladstone Community with a free, community wide family fun day
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