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Air Quality

Alcoa clears and rehabilitates around 600 hectares of forest each year for mining.  Since 1963 the total area cleared for mining represents only about one per cent of the jarrah forest. The Forest Products Commission removes all merchantable timber from mining areas before clearing, leaving approximately 240 tonnes of residual wood per hectare.  Historically, Alcoa has burnt all of this wood.
 
Over the past few years, a range of options for disposing of residual wood material have been investigated including:

• Burial of the wood in rehabilitated areas;
• Using residual wood as fauna habitats in rehabilitated areas;
• Use of material for power generation or charcoal production;
• Mulching material for use in residue rehabilitation; and
• Incorporating residual wood into the soil profile of mine rehabilitation.
 
The most successful of these trials has been the utilisation of wood residue for charcoal production in Simcoa's silicon plant at Kemmerton. 
 
Following the success of the trial, Alcoa and Simcoa have signed an agreement granting Simcoa access to remove wood residue followign clearing operations.  Investigations are currently underway by Simcoa to further expand their capacity, allowing them to utilise more of the wood. However, only about two-thirds of this material is suitable for use by Simcoa.
 
We are continually investigating alternative options for this resource.



Air Quality - stockpiled timber.

Click image to enlarge.


Current day practice is to remove all merchantable timber before clearing, which leaves about 240 tonnes per hectare of residual wood. Historically this wood has been burnt.