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In August 2013 the Wagerup alumina refinery at Booragoon in Western Australia was granted approval to lift its production of alumina to 2.65 million tonnes a year from it previous limit of 2.6 million tonnes. The increase, that represents an additional 50,000 tonnes annually, has not resulted in any changes at the refinery, other than it recognising an increase in production efficiency along with it further reducing emissions, despite the fact that it is already recognised as being one of the cleanest alumina refineries in the world.

The Wagerup Alumina Refinery Began Production in 1984
The Wagerup refinery began refining bauxite in 1984, despite it being completed and ready to commence operations two years earlier, in 1981. However, the world alumina market at the time was experiencing a period over over-supply and it was decided to delay the opening of the plant for 24 months.

Wagerup Refinery Owned by Alcoa
The Wagerup Alumina Refinery is owned by Alcoa and it was built to refine bauxite mined at the company's Willowdale bauxite mine, that had began producing bauxite in the latter half of 1983, in order to build up a stockpile to ensure sufficient bauxite was available when the Wagerup refinery was ready to be commissioned. Both operations brought jobs and prosperity to the Harvey and Waroona Municipal Shires.

Wagerup Second Unit Completed in the Early 1990's
The initial bauxite ore delivered to the Wagerup refinery from the Willowdale mine was higher in organic content than that experienced by Alcoa in its other mines, so much so it was considered to have the potential to adversely affect the efficiency of the refinery. To prevent this from occurring the worst sections of the mine were deferred until a second unit was built at Wagerup. This was completed in the early 1990's.

The Wagerup alumina refinery is located about 130 kilometres south of Perth, 13 kilometres south of Waroona and four kilometres north of Yarloop. It is surrounded by agricultural land in the Darling Ranges 70 kilometres from the port at Bunbury. Ore mined from the Willowdale mine is transported by conveyor to the Wagerup refinery where it is refined to become smelter grade alumina. The smelter grade alumina is is taken from the refinery by rail to the port at Bunbury from where it is exported to aluminium smelters throughout the world.

Plan to Increase Wagerup Production on Hold
A plan to increase production to 4.7 million tonnes a year, known as the, Wagerup 3 expansion, is currently on hold. There are around 900 people employed at the Wagerup refinery and the Willowdale bauxite mine. Alcoa has trained more than 1,500 personnel through its comprehensive apprentice program. This represents over $200 million being spent on apprentice training in Western Australia.

Alcoa has three bauxite refineries in Western Australia which the Wagerup refinery is a part. The three refineries have an annual alumina production of around nine million tonnes. Bauxite is processed at the Wagerup refinery by mixing it with caustic soda before it being exposed to pressure heating. The extracted alumina emerges as a fine white powder. When alumina is smelted at an extremely high temperature by an electric current being passed through it, it becomes aluminum.


Alcoas Australian current operations include bauxite mining in WA alumina refineries, aluminium recycling plant in NSW and aluminium smelting in VIC. Alcoa produces almost 45% of Australia's alumina and over 25% of Australia's aluminium.Alcoa is one of Australia's largest exporters more


Cnr Davey Marmion Streets
Booragoon, WA 6954

PO Box 252
Applecross, WA 6953


Phone08 9316 5111
fax08 9316 5228

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