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Dieback Management
Dieback, caused by the pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi, has been present in the jarrah forest for more than 80 years. It has become widespread due to human activity transporting infested soil.  Dieback is also spread by water and plant material.
Large areas of the forest remain free of dieback, including areas within Alcoa’s mining lease. It is one of Alcoa’s key environmental objectives to minimise the spread of dieback during mining. This is a major challenge because mining moves millions of cubic metres of soil each year, so the potential to spread infested soil into dieback-free areas is high.
Ever since mining began in the 1960s, Alcoa has implemented procedures to minimise the spread of dieback. Research and development projects have created a greater understanding of the disease, and this in turn has resulted in intensive dieback management procedures.
In 1979, a State Government established committee predicted that mining would spread dieback to a hectare of forest for every hectare it cleared for mining. Detailed monitoring of the spread of dieback was undertaken following the introduction of intensive dieback management procedures – the actual rate of spread was found to be between 0.0006 and 0.003 ha for every hectare mined.
Our dieback management process continues to be one of continual improvement. Results from research and development projects, monitoring and auditing programs are used to revise procedures to further reduce the risk of spreading dieback to uninfested areas.

Dieback Management

  Dieback Management Fact Sheet [647 KB]

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Banksia Grandis

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Banksia grandis, one of the plants most susceptible to Phytophthora cinnamomi.

Dieback Washdown Unit

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Alcoa’s dieback management plan focuses on ensuring the protection of uninfested areas of the jarrah forest from dieback – this requires diligent cleaning of all vehicles that enter dieback areas by use of mobile washdown units.