Biodiversity and Mine Rehabilitation

We operate in a manner that aims to minimize our environmental impact and promote sustainable land use. We are also working toward no net loss of biodiversity for new sites and major expansion projects.


We endorse biodiversity conservation, and we are committed to the mitigation hierarchy of avoidance, minimization, restoration and offsets during the lifecycle stages of our operations.

In 2021, we updated our Biodiversity Policy to reflect our commitment to contribute to the collective efforts to halt deforestation globally.

In March 2021, through a partnership with Alcoa Foundation, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published its report “Guidelines for planning and monitoring corporate biodiversity performance.” The report provides a platform for industry to measure and report its contribution to biodiversity conservation. It has informed our own efforts toward identifying potential indicators for biodiversity performance and disclosure, which we will further develop throughout 2022.

Mine Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is a post-mining activity, but we begin planning for it in the very early stages of a mine’s development. When we inherit legacy obligations at former mine sites, we begin rehabilitation planning as soon as we recognize such an obligation.

We engage with stakeholders to develop a rehabilitation plan to ensure that the site can be returned to sustainable use. In many cases, we strive to return the land to its natural state, such as forests, wetlands and grasslands. Where appropriate, and in concert with government or local communities, our rehabilitation supports other productive land uses, including farming and residential, recreational, commercial or industrial developments.

Our goal is to maintain a corporate-wide running five-year average ratio of 1:1 or better (meaning less than one) for active mining disturbance (excluding long-term infrastructure) to mine rehabilitation. This will manage net expansion in the area of land disturbed.

The ratio for the 2017 to 2021 period was 0.82:1, which indicates we had more areas rehabilitated or transferred to other land users compared to new disturbances. We expect the ratio to decrease over the next few years as more areas of our closed mines in Suriname are returned to the government of Suriname after rehabilitation.

Mining Land Disturbed/Land Rehabilitated

► Hide the table▼ Show the table

Mining Land Disturbed/Land Rehabilitated

Open Mine Area
(Cumulative as of year-end)
Area Disturbed
Area Rehabilitated
2017 15,448 1,173 1,008
2018 15,769 1,243 923
2019 15,805 1,368 1,140
2020 15,636 1,354 1,523
2021 15,392 670 914

Case Study

    The plot thickens with less fertilizer

    Learn why Alcoa halved fertilizer use during jarrah forest mine rehabilitation and how it is enabling greater plant diversity.

    Return of the Native Animals

    Read how Alcoa in Australia is helping nature experts and the aluminum industry better understand the return of fauna for wildlife during the different stages of mine rehabilitation.

    Putting ‘Mussel’ into Reef Restoration

    They might not be typical gardeners, but residents, groups and schoolchildren are volunteering to tend to about 80 shellfish gardens in the Peel-Harvey Estuary in Western Australia.