Alcoa celebrates 50 years in WA

Alcoa bids farewell to its first batch of alumina.
Alcoa bids farewell to its first batch of alumina.

Fifty years ago Alcoa started the process of mining bauxite at Jarrahdale and then adding value locally by producing alumina at the Kwinana Alumina Refinery and smelting it into aluminium ingots at Point Henry Smelter in Victoria.

Since the first bauxite was extracted from the Jarrahdale mine site in July 1963, Alcoa has achieved numerous milestones.

The Kwinana refinery was commissioned using bauxite from Jarrahdale in 1963, and the first shipment of alumina set sail from the refinery to Point Henry Smelter on February 22, 1964.

On February 20, 1964, the MS Lake Sorrel arrived at Kwinana refinery, setting sail to Alcoa’s Geelong smelter two days later.

Then Premier David Brand opened the refinery and was among 200 guests who were each given a small hourglass filled with enough alumina to time a boiled egg.

Managing director Alan Cransberg said the anniversary was testament to the many talented, courageous and industrious people who had worked for Alcoa.

‘We have many long-term employees who have clocked up 25, 30 and 40 years of service and without them we would not be celebrating this achievement,’ he said.

‘While Alcoa has contributed to the nation’s economic and social prosperity, through royalty and tax payments, local purchasing, jobs and wages, it’s the regional communities in which we operate that are the real beneficiaries.

‘Each year we invest around $5 million in a variety of community programs and dedicate hundreds of hours in people time and in-kind support.

‘Our employee volunteering program is second to none,’ he said.