The Mining & Rehabilitation Process
The stages of bauxite mining from clearing and conserving topsoil to returning habitat for wildlife.
view the stages of bauxite mining, Australia website
Squaw Creek Mine Reclamation Project
Alcoa has reclaimed more than 1,619 hectares (4,000 acres) of forestland, fish and wildlife areas, cropland, pastureland, water impoundments, and residential areas.
view details of this award-winning reclamation project
Sustainability and Biodiversity
Alcoa actively endorses the concept of conservation of biodiversity by operating worldwide in a manner that minimizes effects on natural habitats and biological resources.
view our progress in sustainability and land management
Award-winning forest restoration, Australia
Great Smoky Mountains conservation agreement, USA
Aluminum is one of the most plentiful metals in the earth's crust.
It is naturally found in the form of bauxite, an ore containing aluminum oxide, or alumina. Alcoa surface mines bauxite from reserves in Australia, Brazil, Suriname, Jamaica and other parts of the world, processing most of it into alumina.
Surface mining bauxite
Bauxite mining involves removing topsoil and overburden, storing it for later rehabilitation, extracting the ore below, and finally restoring the land to its former state. In some mines this process involves drilling and blasting of bauxite caprock so that it can be extracted along with the softer bauxite below. Where blasting would be unacceptable, heavy equipment is used to remove the rock. Once the ore has been broken, it is loaded onto haul trucks by excavators or front-end loaders and transported to primary crushers at the mines in preparation for refining into alumina.
Restoring the land
Alcoa considers mineral extraction to be only temporary use of the land. Areas used for mining must be restored to a land use that is socially and ecologically sustainable. Future users of the land have the right to expect the same ground to provide as many options as possible for satisfying their own needs.
At Alcoa, when we speak of rehabilitation, we mean that the disturbed site will be returned to a form and productivity that conforms to a pre-determined land use plan. Rehabilitation implies that the site is returned to a stable condition that will not deteriorate substantially but will be consistent with the aesthetic, environmental, economic, and social values of the surrounding.