Western Australia's Wagerup Refinery celebrates 30 years of operations
Western Australia’s Wagerup Refinery has come a long way since operations first began 30 years ago on 11 April 1984.
The journey began in 1976 when Alcoa selected Wagerup as the site for its third refinery in Western Australia. In October 1978, the state and federal governments gave the go-ahead and construction began in January 1979. With a few delays due to a downturn in the market for aluminium, Wagerup Refinery was finally completed in July 1982 but it wasn’t until two years later, on 11 April 1984, that the refinery was officially opened.
Its initial capacity was 500,000 tonnes a year. Today, after numerous expansions and improvements in operating and maintenance practices, the refinery has the capacity to produce 2.65 million tonnes of alumina per year. This ongoing growth in refinery output has been a major contributor to Wagerup becoming a world class alumina refining operation and is an important, ongoing consideration as we look to the future.
Wagerup Refinery Manager Scott Thompson said while the business had celebrated many achievements, the past 30 years had not been without its challenges.
“In the past, adopting new technology such as the liquor burner, property purchase programs and odour concerns have unfortunately tested our relationship with our neighbours. Today, our greatest challenge is retaining our competitive edge while operating in one of the most difficult economic climates we have ever faced.”
Scott said reaching this significant milestone was a testament to the many talented, courageous and industrious people, some of who had clocked up 10, 20 and 30 years of service at the refinery.
“Without their dedication and commitment we would not be here today celebrating this remarkable achievement.”