Assessment process

We are committed to being more transparent about our Western Australian operations and we want our environmental assessment and approvals framework to evolve with community and regulatory expectations. We also need improved business certainty for our operations.

In line with this, Alcoa requested the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) conduct a Public Environmental Review into the proposed changes for our Pinjarra Alumina Refinery and Huntly Bauxite Mine. The EPA has agreed with this level of assessment, which is the highest possible, and determined there will be an eight-week public consultation period at the appropriate point in time.

The EPA will assess any potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed new 10-year mining areas of Myara North and Holyoake. It will also consider potential environmental impacts resulting from the proposed increase in production at Pinjarra refinery.

Alcoa will undertake detailed studies to inform the environmental assessment. The six key study areas set by the EPA are:

  1. Flora and Vegetation: Vegetation surveys for new mine areas including conservation-significant flora.

  2. Terrestrial Fauna: Fauna studies for new mine areas including for threatened species such as black cockatoos and Chuditch.

  3. Inland Waters: Hydrological and water quality assessment in new mine areas along with, assessment of refinery water requirements.

  4. Air Quality: Updated assessment of emissions to the atmosphere, including dust, and updated refinery health risk assessment.

  5. Greenhouse Gases: Assessment of potential impact from refinery production increases.

  6. Social Surroundings: Noise management studies, Aboriginal and European cultural heritage surveys, and assessment of recreational tracks and trails.

The full EPA assessment process is expected to run until around the end of 2022.

It is expected to result in updated environmental conditions for both Pinjarra refinery and Huntly mine.

More information about the EPA’s process can be found here.

FAST FACTS

EPA assessment

  • Independent process: ~30 months (2020-2022)
  • Consider impacts from mining and refining
  • Opportunities for public comment
  • Find out more here

Alcoa actions:

  • Alcoa requested highest level of assessment
  • Studies will include flora, fauna, water, air quality, greenhouse gases and social surrounds