September 2, 2011

Alcoa Anglesea safe

“Alcoa’s coal mine and power station have been part of the Anglesea community for over 40 years and are safe for employees and the neighbouring community,” said General Manager of Manufacturing, Victorian Operations, John Osborne.

The air emissions from the power station satisfy national and Victorian EPA limits that are protective of health.

Alcoa has the right to continue under its current mine lease arrangements post 2011, but voluntarily elected to enter into a process with the Victorian Government to modernise the terms, even though there were no financial or legal incentives to do this. This is consistent with the commitment to dialogue and engagement Alcoa has displayed throughout 48 years of operation in Victoria.

This is a lease renewal, Alcoa is not changing how it operates. Claims of a “dramatic expansion” of the mine are untrue. Renewing the lease does not mean Alcoa intends to increase the rate of mining, or rapidly increase the area of land disturbed within the lease.

“We have an existing long-standing coal mining plan in place until 2016. No decision around future mining plans will be made until research is complete and the relevant government and community consultation has happened – and this point has been communicated to the local community.

“Deciding on future mining plans is a separate process to what is currently being undertaken with the Victorian government to modernise the terms of the lease,” Mr Osborne said.

Alcoa Anglesea’s two formal community consultation groups, the Anglesea Heath Consultative Committee and the Alcoa Anglesea Community Consultation Network, have been briefed on this matter and have agreed to continued involvement in discussions with Alcoa in relation to future mine planning.

Alcoa is continually seeking ways to reduce the carbon intensity of its operations and since 2003 the company has reduced global direct greenhouse gas emissions to 44% below 1990 levels.

While the Anglesea mine and power station remain the most secure and cost competitive power source available to Alcoa in Victoria at this time, we will continue to investigate alternative power sources, including renewable technologies, as they become available at a price and scale required to power an aluminium smelter.

“Worldwide, Alcoa has a proven track record of utilising renewable energy where renewable energy is available – for example Alcoa’s smelter in Iceland runs on hydropower and, in China, Alcoa is collaborating with the China Power Investment Corporation to develop clean-energy projects, such as wind and solar.”

- ENDS –

Note: The Mines (Aluminium Agreement) Act 1961 provided Alcoa with a 100 year right (consisting of 2 x 50 year terms) to explore for and mine brown coal, plus construct and operate a power station.

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Media contact:
Sarah Tempest 0404 800 417