our business

renewing the terms of our anglesea mine lease
The process to renew Alcoa’s Anglesea mine lease continues, as we negotiate updated terms of operation with the Victorian Government.

The Mines (Aluminium Agreement) Act 1961 (MAAA) provided Alcoa with a 100 year legislative right - consisting of two 50 year terms - to explore for and mine brown coal, plus construct and operate a power station for our Point Henry aluminium smelter in nearby Geelong.

With the first 50 year term expiring at the end of 2011, we are in the process of exercising our right to the second term. 

The renewal of the lease is not a case of the Government deciding whether or not Alcoa Anglesea can keep operating. Alcoa could have continued operating under the current terms for another 50 years, but as a further demonstration of our commitment to working collaboratively with Government, community and other key stakeholders, we voluntarily elected to enter into a ‘modernisation’ process.  There were no financial or legal incentives for us to do this.

The discussions with Government to date have been robust and focused on providing Alcoa with business certainty, while ensuring that the non-mining part of the 7000 hectare lease has greater potential for environmental preservation than ever before.

The renewal process has required Alcoa to submit documents to the Victorian Government that identify coal reserves within our 7221 hectare lease area that could be the subject of future mining activities.

This has led to incorrect speculation that Alcoa plans to clear an additional 600 hectares of the Anglesea Heath.

Alcoa has coal mining plans in place through to 2016.  However, the detailed coal mining plans that dictate where Alcoa’s mining operations will go beyond 2016 have not yet been developed.  We will begin work on those plans shortly via a rigorous process to incorporate the relevant technical, social, environmental and economic considerations – and the framework for community involvement in that mine planning process is being designed at present.

Alcoa Anglesea’s two formal community consultation channels, the Anglesea Heath Consultative Committee and the Alcoa Anglesea Community Consultation Network have been briefed on the project’s progress in recent weeks and we will continue to seek their input as mine planning activities progress and other relevant information becomes available.

Since 1969, Alcoa Anglesea has supplied 40% of the power needed to operate the Point Henry smelter and rolling business in Geelong. For many years now, it has been Alcoa Anglesea’s stated intent to continue operating past 2011 so it can continue to be a critical part of Point Henry’s future.

Read the frequently asked questions and continue to follow updates at: www.alcoa.com.au/anglesea.
turning emissions into commercial products
This month Alcoa announced a new pilot program, in collaboration with Codexis Inc. and CO2 Solution Inc., focused on carbon capture technology designed to sequester industrial carbon emissions, neutralising the material to create a commercially viable product.

The project will be funded by Alcoa along with approximately $13.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) received from an award with the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). This funding was made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The pilot program, part of Alcoa’s ongoing commitment to enhance our operational sustainability, will use an innovative and proprietary in-duct scrubber technology to capture emissions. The collaboration is intended to devise solutions that treat and utilise a primary by-product of the aluminium manufacturing process known as alkaline clay, or bauxite residue, as well as other alkaline industrial residuals. This pilot project will test a scrubbing process that combines treated flue gas, enzymes and alkaline clay to create a mineral-rich neutralised product that could be used for environmental reclamation projects. The project is emblematic of how Alcoa is leveraging our extensive R&D capabilities and utilising game-changing technologies from companies such as Codexis and CO2 Solution to advance sustainable solutions that can have an impact beyond Alcoa’s operations.

“Our mission at Alcoa is to create a more sustainable world through innovative solutions and responsible operations,” said Kevin Anton, Alcoa’s Chief Sustainability Officer.

“Finding ways to turn industrial waste into beneficial products will create a more sustainable society for generations to come. We are committed to this project and partnership because it epitomizes our belief that sustainable technologies are fundamental for the maintenance of vital resources and, therefore, for our business.”

Scientists and engineers from Alcoa Technical Center in Pittsburgh will lead the three-year project, which has an investigation phase that runs through December. Upon successful completion of this phase, the project will proceed to the pilot testing phase. The DOE grant was received as part of an initiative to find ways of converting captured carbon dioxide emissions from industrial sources into useful products such as fuels, plastics, cement and fertilisers.

“We are very pleased to be expanding deployment of our carbon capture technology with Alcoa,” said Dr. Alan Shaw, Codexis President and CEO.

“We recently reported significant progress in our first program to reduce CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants. With this agreement, we are expanding to a second large market where our technology can add real economic value, and where it may convert industrial waste to new, valuable products.”

Glenn Kelly, CO2 Solution President and CEO, said: “We are delighted to be building on our relationship with Alcoa to support this important technology development and further expand into U.S. and global markets. This represents a significant new application of our technology, and we are pleased to be working with Alcoa as a global leader towards its realisation.”

Codexis and CO2 Solution have been collaborating since late 2009 on the development of custom carbonic anhydrase (CA) enzymes and processes that could significantly decrease the cost of carbon dioxide capture from industrial sources. CA is an enzyme that catalyzes the transfer of carbon dioxide in nature, and program results to date show that the technology can be used to create and deploy CA biocatalysts with substantially improved stability and performance under industrial conditions.

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Anglesea Coal Mine in Victoria.

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Anglesea Power Station.

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Alcoa's mine site rehabilitation is second to none.