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May 30, 2012
Alcoa Bauxite Mine Reforestation Done in a Natural Way
Method uses nature itself for ecological restoration
NEW YORK--Alcoa (NYSE:AA) is using a new, natural method for reforestation at its Juruti
bauxite mine in Brazil that is efficient, cost effective and
The technique is based on the theory of nucleation, where small dense
nuclei of plants and animals facilitate the arrival of other species. At
Juruti, birds and other elements of nature are helping recover the soil
rather than traditional reforestation, which works the soil and then
“The nucleation method restores the environment in a short amount of
time, leading to greater richness in biodiversity,” explains Pedro
Pinto, Alcoa Environment, Health and Safety Manager for the Juruti
bauxite mine. “It benefits the formation of the soil by keeping the
micro-environment more humid. This technique also reduces the need for
using machinery, resulting in lower use of diesel oil and emissions,”
The natural nucleation approach to reforestation was created by
Professor Ademir Reis of Brazil's Federal University of Santa Catarina.
Techniques used include artificial shelters for animals; perches to
attract birds and bats, which deposit seeds and help trees to germinate
alone; laying out seeds, roots, branches and small tree trunks to
stimulate the natural regeneration of species, which attracts animals
and creates a food chain in the restoration process; and ecological
stepping-stones of small refuges for fauna inside crop plantations.
“The nucleation system is cheaper and ecologically more efficient
because it makes the worked areas ‘look for’ its sustainability in a
spontaneous way," says Professor Reis.
The Juruti bauxite mining area is among the first places in Brazil to
use the nucleation method of environmental conservation. Alcoa began
using the technique last August on a 175-acre (70 hectares) area there.
In about two years, the area will have an understory favorable to the
introduction of new species, like Brazil nut trees, andiras, trumpet
trees, copaibas and others.
Alcoa is the world’s leading producer of primary aluminum, fabricated
aluminum and alumina. In addition to inventing the modern-day aluminum
industry, Alcoa innovation has been behind major milestones in the
aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial
transportation, consumer electronics and industrial markets over the
past 120 years. Among the solutions Alcoa markets are flat-rolled
products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, as well as Alcoa® wheels,
fastening systems, precision and investment castings, and building
systems in addition to its expertise in other light metals such as
titanium and nickel-based super alloys. Sustainability is an integral
part of Alcoa’s operating practices and the product design and
engineering it provides to customers. Alcoa has been a member of the Dow
Jones Sustainability Index for ten consecutive years and approximately
75 percent of all of the aluminum ever produced since 1888 is still in
active use today. Alcoa employs approximately 61,000 people in 31
countries across the world. More information can be found at www.alcoa.com.