Alcoa celebrates a billion tonnes of bauxite

ALCOA’S workforce is celebrating a historic milestone for the company, after achieving one billion tonnes of bauxite mined in Western Australia since the company began operations in 1953.

At a celebratory event on Thursday evening, Alcoa Mining president Garret Dixon saluted the hard work and tireless efforts of past and present employees who have worked across its mining operations at Jarrahdale, Huntly and Willowdale.

“We’re very proud of this achievement and also our decades-long, internationally recognised land rehabilitation program – one of the most critical parts of the mining process which sees jarrah forest ecosystems restored,” Mr Dixon said.

Mr Dixon said Alcoa had built a world-class integrated mining, refining and smelting system in Australia with a strong sustainability record.

“In Australia, our bauxite is used to produce alumina to supply approximately eight per cent of world alumina demand and we make alumina as low as one third of the greenhouse footprint per tonne of product of some of our Asian competitors,” he said.

Mr Dixon said Alcoa’s value-add refining and smelting businesses in Australia meant the company has made a significant economic and social contribution.

“Alcoa injects billions of dollars each year into Peel and South-West communities, the State and the nation,” he said.

“In Western Australia alone, we employ approximately 4,000 people and inject more than $2.2 billion per annum in local procurement and payroll.

“We also invest millions of dollars and thousands of volunteering hours each year into local community groups and projects.”

The company celebrated its success with past and present employees, key stakeholders and MP Nigel Hallett, who represented Premier Colin Barnett.

Huntly mine’s Jim Blacklock, Alcoa’s longest serving mining employee, also joined the celebrations.

“Since joining the company in December 1971 (44 years ago), I’ve seen huge change,” Mr Blacklock said.

“The automation of processes and the volume of production are what impress me the most.

“But by far it is the people who have given me the greatest enjoyment; they’re brilliant,” he said.

Alcoa named a mining road after Jim Blacklock in recognition of his commitment to the company.

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