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May 12, 1999

Alcoa World Alumina Develops a Productivity Breakthrough in Alumina Refining

PITTSBURGH--May 12, 1999-- Alcoa World Alumina announced that it has applied for a patent for a high-efficiency causticization invention for use in the alumina refining process. A research team at Alcoa's Kwinana Works in Western Australia developed the new process, which improves productivity at a refinery by reducing the amount of carbonate in the Bayer circuit liquor. Other benefits include improved lime efficiency and a decrease of alkalinity in mud residue.

Alcoa World Alumina estimates that applying this process to its applicable refineries worldwide will increase production by 500,000 metric tons per year (mtpy). Full commercial trials are currently being planned at the company's Kwinana and Point Comfort, Texas, refineries. Alcoa has confidence in these trials and has started engineering a retrofit at its Pinjarra refinery, in Western Australia, which will result in a 165,000-mtpy capacity expansion at that refinery in early 2001. This process will then be expanded to all other Alcoa refineries with an expected target completion date of late 2001.

Alcoa World Alumina, based in Pittsburgh, Pa., is the strategic, commercial and operational center of Alcoa's global bauxite and alumina activities.