The Wagerup alumina refinery has been a part of the Western Australian community since it began operations in 1984. Located about 130km south of Perth, on the border of Western Australia’s Peel and South West regions, the refinery is four kilometres north of Yarloop and 13kms south of Waroona.

The refinery is surrounded by private agricultural land, is in close proximity to the Alcoa’s Willowdale bauxite mine in the Darling Range and 70kms from the Bunbury port.

Today the refinery has the capacity to produce 2.65 million tonnes of alumina from bauxite mined at Willowdale. This ore is transported by conveyor and refined to produce smelter grade alumina, which in turn is transported by rail to the Bunbury port for export to aluminium smelters around the world.

The Wagerup refinery is one of the most environmentally advanced alumina refineries in the world, with the application of advanced technology contributing.

In 2004 Alcoa announced a proposal to grow the capacity and efficiency of the refinery (commonly known as the Wagerup 3 expansion). This would increase production capacity to 4.7 million tonnes per year and increase Alcoa’s contribution to State revenue, and local communities. This project is current on hold.

Already for every dollar earned by Alcoa, 75 cents stays in Australia, contributing around $1 billion each year to WA’s economy. The Wagerup refinery spends more than $44 million in local communities each year.

Of the approximately 900 people employed at the Wagerup refinery and Willowdale mine, more than 30 per cent live in the local Shires of Waroona and Harvey.

In addition to investing in the local community through salaries, supply contracts, payments to government and dividends, Alcoa is making an investment in local businesses and training. Alcoa has trained over 1500 people through its apprentice program. This represents a more than $200 million investment in apprentice training for WA.

Alcoa’s three-refinery system in Western Australia, of which Wagerup is a part, is among the most technologically advanced in the world and has annual production of around 9 million tonnes of alumina.