It All Started in 1984 ...

A new chapter in Alcoa’s already long history was being written in 1984: on 11 April the Wagerup Alumina Refinery and Willowdale Bauxite Mine were officially opened, bringing jobs and prosperity to the Waroona and Harvey Shires.

Since 1984 [between 1984 - end 2012], we have produced more than 50 million tonnes of alumina - equivalent to around 3.2 million Boeing 747s or 1.25 trillion aluminium cans.

But all of that wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated people.  In 2009, we celebrated 25 years of operation and paid tribute to those who have been with us since the beginning.

Willowdale employee Tony Vergone, who has been with Alcoa for 38 years, said having job security and flexibility were the best things about working for Alcoa.  He also mentioned the unique location as a big drawcard to Alcoa Wagerup: “I enjoy my job and the people I work with, and being able to live on the coast less than an hour from Perth and work in a mine site environment is great.”
Yarloop local and Wagerup veteran, Andrew “Benny” Goodman, saved a memento from the day the refinery first started up.
“As the first conveyor load of bauxite entered the mill I grabbed one of the first rocks to come up the belt. I put the rock in my change room locker and a few years ago rediscovered it. I keep it with me to this day,” Benny said.
Both current managers at Wagerup and Willowdale said the one thing, above all else, that contributed to the operations’ success since day one was the people.
“Each day more than 600 employees across various shifts make up the Wagerup team. They all pull together to make our facility operate safely, productively and to continue to improve,” said Wagerup Refinery Manager Scott Thompson. 

WA Operations Manager of Mines Mal Briggs said that the ‘Willowdale spirit’ emerged in the early days of the mine.
“We have always had this amazing spirit at Willowdale; our people have a sense of pride in the place and this seems to be adopted quite quickly by new employees when they start with us,” Mal said.

“I have no doubt our ‘spirit’ is one of the key reasons we are able to consistently hit our targets and continue to be one of the world leaders in bauxite mining.”

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Our people enjoying a BBQ lunch on site