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Alcoa owns and operates the Point Henry aluminium smelter near Geelong in Victoria, and has the majority share of the Portland Aluminium smelter in south-western Victoria.
Alcoa also owns the Anglesea Power Station which produces about 40 per cent of the power required by Point Henry.
Aluminium does not occur naturally as a metal, but must first be refined from bauxite in its oxide form – alumina.
Alumina is the feedstock for the smelting process. Two tonnes of alumina are needed to make one tonne of aluminium metal.
To make aluminium, the alumina must first be dissolved in a electrolytic bath in a large carbon or graphite lined steel furnace known as a ‘pot’.
Then a high electric current is passed through the pot at low voltage. This electricity enables the alumina to split into it components of aluminium and oxygen (Al2O3). The oxygen bubbles away and the aluminium metal settles to the bottom of the pot.
The molten aluminium is then cast to form ingots.
There’s a lot more to discover about aluminium smelting. Visit either Point Henry or Portland Aluminium.

  The story of aluminium in transport

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