About Alumina Refining

Alcoa in Western Australia
Alcoa of Australia operates a three-refinery system in Western Australia between the capital city, Perth, and the port of Bunbury which is 200km to the south.

Alumina is a white granular material, a little less coarse than table salt, and is properly called aluminium oxide. Aluminium does not occur as a metal, but must first be refined from bauxite in its oxide form.

The Bayer refining process used by alumina refineries worldwide involves four steps - digestion, clarification, precipitation and calcination.

Together, Alcoa's Kwinana Refinery, Pinjarra Refinery and Wagerup Refinery produce around 9 million tonnes of alumina each year. This makes this three-refinery system the biggest single source of alumina in the world. Alcoa produces almost 45% of Australia’s alumina, while our alumina production in WA accounts for 11% of total world demand.

In 1992 Kwinana became the first alumina refinery in the world to achieve an ISO-9002 Quality Accreditation. Pinjarra and Wagerup, and the bauxite mining operations, achieved this standard in 1994. Similarly Kwinana refinery led the way in 1997 in achieving ISO-14001 Environmental Management Certification.

Click image to enlarge.

The Wagerup Alumina Refinery.