31 January 2020

Update: Power restored to Portland Aluminium Smelter


Porland Aluminium logo

Power has been substantially restored to the Alcoa-managed Portland Aluminium Smelter following a major outage and restrictions earlier today (Friday 31 January).

Power to the smelter’s two potlines was lost around 2.30pm EDST. The cause of the power outage was external to the plant. It is the second externally-caused outage to significantly impact the smelter in less than three months following a similar outage in November.

Partial power (about 50% capacity) was restored to the smelter’s two aluminium potlines about three hours later (5.40pm EDST). It took about another four-and-a-half hours for power to be substantially restored (10pm EDST).

The smelter is currently receiving power from only one of its two incoming 500kV transmission lines, leaving it exposed should there be further supply issues.

Alcoa of Australia President Michael Gollschewki said it would take some time to assess the operational impact of the significant event and the focus at this time was on the safety of the plant and its workforce.

Mr Gollschewski said there was also a major focus on getting the second transmission line operational, without which the smelter was at significant danger of further unreliable supplies and operational impacts.

“We have substantial challenges ahead of us to ensure the safe and ongoing operations of the Portland Aluminium Smelter,” Mr Gollschewski said.

“Our focus continues to be on ensuring a safe work environment and we are extremely grateful to our workforce for their ongoing dedication to the plant.

“We recognise the importance of the smelter to our employees, their families and the community.

“We appreciate the support of government and community leaders who we continue to work with constructively.”

The Portland Aluminium Smelter is a joint venture between Alcoa of Australia Limited (55%), CITIC (22.5%), and Marubeni Aluminium Australia (22.5%). Alcoa manages day-to-day operations at the smelter.

-ENDS-

Media contact: Suellen Jerrard, suellen.jerrard@alcoa.com, 0417 949 817