November 22, 2010

Alcoa’s Bill Knight awarded Mine Manager of the Year

Alcoa of Australia’s Bill Knight has taken out top honours at the 7th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards in Sydney.

The Australian Mining Prospect Awards aim to encourage, recognise and reward excellence in the Australian mining industry.    Mr Knight won ‘Mine Manager of the Year’ which awards a mine manager or general manager who has led a team to improve productivity, safety, environmental standards and/or reached notable milestones.

Working through most areas of Alcoa’s Western Australian Operations, since joining the company as an Environmental Scientist in 1980, Mr Knight was promoted to the position of WA Manager of Mines in 2005.

Mr Knight was recognised as ‘Mine Manager of the Year’ for his unwavering commitment to provide a safe workplace for all, creating an environment where people feel empowered and valued, being a visible leader, as well as his volunteering efforts in the local community.

“I am very proud that we have created a culture within the Alcoa Mining Group in which people genuinely care about each other, and they want to recognise the little extra things that we all do, every day, to help each other - apparently it was my turn to be recognised,” Mr Knight said.

“The Alcoa Mining Group has always felt like a family to me and, as a leader, it is critical that I help foster, build and strengthen this culture.

“When we work this way we all win, and we can continue to build a great place to work for the hundreds of people who will work for Alcoa in the decades ahead.

“Alcoa really is a great company to be a part of and I’m very proud of our achievements in Mining, particularly around our excellent environmental record.

“We are a recognised world leader in mine site rehabilitation and were the first mining company in the world to achieve 100 per cent plant species richness in our rehabilitated mine site areas,” he said.

“I feel very fortunate to work in a strong values based organisation with a wonderful team of people – it’s the people who are our success at Alcoa, so this award is as much theirs as it is mine.”

Alcoa of Australia was an Award finalist in four categories this year, including ‘Minerals Processing Plant of the Year’ for which Alcoa’s Pinjarra Refinery received a Highly Commended for its blow off tank project.

This project was delivered on-time and under budget and helped Pinjarra Refinery achieve record production in 2009.  Blow off tanks are flash vessels that cool pregnant liquor and recover condensate in Alcoa’s alumina refining process.  The company’s original 1970s tanks were replaced with new vessels, designed and constructed with state of the art safety systems and features to significantly improve the tanks’ operating and maintenance efficiency.

“We liken the blow-off tank project to ‘open heart surgery’ on a live refinery, because the ten tanks were designed, built and installed as the existing tanks were disconnected and removed and their foundations extensively upgraded … all without missing a beat of production,” Mr Knight said in accepting the Award.

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Background
The Australian Mining Prospect Awards were announced at an Awards presentation dinner in Sydney.

Other finalists in the ‘Mine Manager of the Year’ category were:  Andrew Cole (Rio Tinto Coal), Brian Grebenc (Barrick Gold), and Brian Kilgariff (OZ Minerals).

Read more about the Awards at: www.miningaustralia.com.au.

About Alcoa Bauxite Mining
Alcoa currently operates two bauxite mines within its Western Australian Mineral Lease. The Huntly Mine, established in the early 1970s is located near Dwellingup and is the world’s largest bauxite mine, supplying bauxite ore to the Pinjarra and Kwinana alumina refineries.  The Willowdale Mine is located east of Waroona and supplies bauxite ore to the Wagerup Refinery.

Read more about bauxite mining at: www.alcoa.com.au/bauxitemining.

Media contact: Bernadette Hiles, 0448 844 159