Our mine approvals

Our 2023 - 2027 MMP was approved in December 2023. The plan includes a range of enhancements to meet evolving expectations across the community and our stakeholders.

Separately, the WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has decided to conduct an environmental impact assessment into parts of our existing bauxite mining operations. During the assessment, we will continue to operate under an exemption granted by the WA Government.

We are committed to complying with a range of stringent new conditions that address key environmental factors including enhanced protections for drinking water, such as increased distances from reservoirs and biodiversity, along with accelerated forest rehabilitation.

The Government’s decisions provide a balance between protecting local jobs and investment while we continue to transition to the more contemporary environmental assessment and approvals process.

Mining and Management Programs

The robust statutory process for developing, reviewing and approving annual five-year rolling mine plans – known as Mining and Management Programs (MMP) – for our Huntly and Willowdale bauxite mines is currently set through the WA State Agreements that govern our operations.

Our MMPs detail our full operational cycle including:

  • Exploration
  • Environmental and social studies and management
  • Community and stakeholder consultation
  • Mining
  • Rehabilitation
  • Continuous improvement

We work cooperatively with various stakeholders to adapt our MMPs to meet evolving requirements and expectations.

Mining and Management Program Liaison Group

Various government departments and agencies make up the Mining and Management Program Liaison Group (MMPLG), which is tasked with overseeing the development and review of our MMPs.

The MMPLG provides considerable expert input throughout the process with approval resting with the Minister for State Development in consultation with other ministers.

The MMPLG is chaired by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science, and Innovation and comprises representatives from:

  • Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions
  • Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
  • Department of Water and Environmental Regulation
  • Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage
  • Water Corporation
Alcoa's Mining and Management Program (MMP) approvals process follows this cycle: Exploration, environmental & social studies; MMP drafted; Stakeholder & community consultation; MMP submitted to MMPLG for review & feedback; Alcoa updates MMP & resubmits; MMPLG reviews and makes recommendations; State Development Minister consults others & approves; MMP implemented in line with conditions & regulatory requirements.

Protecting environmental and social values

Our MMPs set out how potential environmental and social impacts are identified, avoided, minimised, or managed throughout our operational cycle. Areas of particular focus include:

  • Biodiversity
  • Water
  • Pollution (air, noise, visual)
  • Amenity
  • Heritage
  • Recreation
  • Access
  • Fire
  • Forest restoration

We work cooperatively with stakeholders and the MMPLG to adapt our MMPs to meet evolving requirements and expectations.

In addition to this statutory mine planning and approvals process, our operations are governed by the full suite of environmental laws that apply across the State and country.

We also have our own internal commitments and targets. This includes not mining in old growth forest, gazetted national parks, and areas of high conservation value.

Our 2023 - 2027 Mining and Management Program (MMP) for Huntly and Willowdale mines was approved by the Minister for State Development in December 2023 supporting mining at our current Myara and Larego regions.

Key commitments and conditions associated with the plan include:

Reducing forest impacts

  • Capping clearing at 800 hectares per annum across our two mines
  • Relinquishing more than 1,200 hectares in previous clearing approvals
  • Doubling our current rehabilitation rates by 2027 to more than 1,000 hectares per annum
  • Prioritising rehabilitation in areas considered vulnerable and changing mining practices to accelerate rehabilitation of mined pits

Enhancing protection of drinking water

  • Immediately ceasing clearing for mining within 1 kilometre of public drinking water reservoirs within our mine plan area and ceasing mining within 1 kilometre by mid-2024
  • No new clearing will occur at more than 16 per cent average mine pit slope within 2 kilometres of public drinking water reservoirs
  • Enhancing water monitoring and drainage controls

Increasing transparency

  • Publishing our annual rolling five-year mine plan and associated management plans on our website within seven days of approval.

Further Information

2023 – 2027 MMP and supporting documents can be viewed here.

Alcoa’s enhanced commitments can be viewed here.

The WA Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) environmental impact assessment process is conducted in accordance with the WA Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act) to provide the WA Government with advice on the environmental acceptability of development proposals and statutory planning schemes. The EPA process is applied across a range of industries in WA.

Proposals are referred to the EPA, either by the proponent or a third party. The EPA then decides whether they require formal environmental impact assessment, and if so, at what level.

Find out more about the EPA environmental impact assessment process here.

EPA’s third party referral decision

The EPA has decided to conduct an environmental impact assessment into parts of our existing bauxite mining operations.

We will continue to operate our mining operations while the EPA undertakes its assessment under an exemption granted by the WA government.

Find out more about the exemption.

We will engage with the EPA to understand the assessment process.

EPA’s decision can be found here.

Transitioning our future mine approvals

We are committed to working with the WA Government to modernise our State Agreements and the approvals framework for our bauxite mines and alumina refineries in the State.

This includes moving all proposed new major mining regions to the more contemporary EPA assessment and approvals process. We started this process in 2020 when we referred our next proposed mine regions – Myara North and Holyoake – for EPA assessment, and this assessment is continuing.

Further information about this project can be found on our website and in our Huntly-Pinjarra Environmental Assessment Fact Sheet.

Map of southwestern region of Australia highlighting Alcoa refineries and shipping in Kwinana, Pinjarra, Wagerup, and Bunbury in relation to Alcoa bauxite mines in Huntly and Willowdale within the boundary of Alcoa’s Mineral Lease 1SA