Aluminium does not occur naturally in its metal form and is produced during the smelting process from a white powder called Alumina.  Approximately two tonnes of Alumina is needed to make one tonne of Aluminium.
Alumina is the result of Bauxite refining.  Alcoa mines Bauxite, a sedimentary rock, in Western Australia and then refines it to produce Alumina.  Alumina is made up of aluminium and oxygen and to produce aluminium metal - these two elements need to be separated through the smelting process. 
From the time alumina is unloaded at Portland Aluminium, it can take 7 to 10 days until an aluminium ingot is produced.
The aluminium production process involves many stages, and Alcoa needs the support of a workforce of more than 600 people at its Portland Aluminium smelter to see the process through.