October 7, 2010

Alcoa’s WA Refinery Residue Areas Safe

The global aluminium industry has expressed shock and sadness at the tragic loss of life and injury to people and property as a result of the disaster unfolding in Hungary'sVeszprem, Gyor‐Moson‐Sopron and Vas counties. This was caused by a breach in the bauxite residue containment area of the Ajka alumina refinery, operated by Magyar Alumínium (MAL).

As a leader in alumina refining, Alcoa is keen to assure others it has developed residue storage practices in Australia that eliminate the potential for this sort of incident.

The dry stacking process Alcoa of Australia has developed, means its residue deposits are very stable. Alcoa’s residue is dried in thin layers to a high density, and would therefore not flow even if a residue containment wall failed for any reason.

Rainfall is not stored on the top of these dry stack storage areas – it is collected and transferred to separate run-off water storage facilities specifically built for this purpose (i.e. built as water retaining structures meaning their wall make up is specially designed to contain the water)

Alcoa continuously monitors its bauxite residue areas including third party structural integrity inspections, and has stringent processes in place to safeguard the local communities and the environment from any issues related to bauxite residue storage. Naturally Alcoa will study the findings on the investigation in Hungary and review its methods if required.

The International Aluminium Institute is leading global enquiries into the Hungarian incident, see

Media Contact: Michaela Southby 0400 127 427
Visit www.alcoa.com.au/residue