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October 17, 2002

Alcoa, BHP Billiton Sign Letter of Intent to Explore Further Opportunities in Suriname

PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 17, 2002--Alcoa Inc. announced today that it has signed a Letter of Intent with BHP Billiton Plc, the parent company of its joint venture partner in Suriname, formalizing cooperation on various opportunities in the country. The companies currently have joint interests in alumina refining and bauxite mining operations in Suriname.

The letter of intent covers the continuation of mining and refining bauxite, an ore from which alumina is extracted and used to make aluminum, in eastern Suriname beyond the existing term of the current joint venture agreement (2006); prepare the engineering for an approximately 12 percent expansion (250,000 metric tons) of operations at the Paranam refining facility to capture operating cost efficiencies; and exploration over the next two years of bauxite mining and refining opportunities in western Suriname. Separately, Alcoa will explore the feasibility of establishing hydroelectric power opportunities in western Suriname to be used for future development needs. Alcoa will own 55 percent of the joint venture interests and BHP Billiton will own 45 percent, which is the current ownership arrangement of the existing refinery. It is intended that construction of the Paranam expansion would be undertaken in 2003, subject to final agreements as well as governmental and other approvals.

Alcoa's presence in Suriname extends back to 1916. The business, now known as Suriname Aluminum Company, L.L.C. (Suralco L.L.C.), originally focused on mining bauxite. In 1958, Suralco signed an agreement with the government of Suriname to develop the country's hydropower and bring the aluminum industry to the country. Today, Suralco produces approximately 2 million metric tons of alumina annually at its facility in Paranam. Suralco is owned by Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC) - a global alliance between Alcoa and WMC, Ltd.

As part of its process Alcoa will take steps to ensure the projects meet the company's high standards for sustainable development.

Alcoa is the world's leading producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina, and is active in all major aspects of the industry. Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa's businesses to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components, Alcoa also markets consumer brands including Reynolds Wrap(R) foils and plastic wraps, Alcoa(R) wheels, and Baco(R) household wraps. Among its other businesses are vinyl siding, closures, precision castings, and electrical distribution systems for cars and trucks. The company has 129,000 employees in 38 countries.

Forward Looking Statement

Certain statements relate to future events and expectations and as such constitute forward-looking statements involving known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements of Alcoa to be different from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include changes in environmental assessments, governmental alterations, legislation and other risk factors summarized in Alcoa's 2001 10-K report and other SEC reports.