Alcoa Corporation has announced plans to cease production in 2024 at its Kwinana Alumina Refinery in Western Australia, with the process beginning in the second quarter.
The 60 year old facility has an annual nameplate production capacity of 2.2 million metric tons and has been operating at approximately 80 percent of its nameplate capacity since January of 2023.
Matt Reed, Alcoa’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, said the closure was based on a variety of factors, including its age, scale, operating costs and current bauxite grades, in addition to current market conditions.
Reed said: “Today’s curtailment decision comes only after thorough and careful deliberation, and we acknowledge that this action will impact workers, business partners, and the community.
“We deeply appreciate the commitment and support of our many loyal employees, contractors, and suppliers at our Kwinana refinery, which has made a major contribution to Western Australia’s economic development over the last 60 years of continual operation.”
The curtailment will include a phased reduction of the workforce from around 800 employees at the start of 2024 to approximately 250 in the third quarter of this year, when all alumina production will cease.
Some processes will continue until about the third quarter of 2025, when employee numbers will be further reduced to approximately 50.
“We will work closely with our employees to provide support with transitioning to other opportunities.
“This includes potential redeployment within our business or assistance to facilitate employment at other workplaces.”
Alcoa’s port facilities located alongside the refinery will continue to operate to import raw materials and export alumina produced at the Company’s Pinjarra Alumina Refinery.
Production at the Pinjarra and Wagerup refineries is not expected to be impacted by the curtailment at Kwinana.
The Kwinana refinery recorded a net loss (pre-tax and noncontrolling interest) of approximately US$130 million in 2023.
In the first quarter of 2024, Alcoa will record restructuring charges between US$180 million and US $200 million, related to the curtailment of the refinery.
Picture: Alcoa Corporation/Kwinana Alumina Refinery