Alcoa Corporation shuts down WA Kwinana Refinery: Hundreds of jobs to be cut

A major West Australian refinery employing hundreds of people will be shut down, with its workforce to be reduced to only 50 people.

US mining giant Alcoa Corporation on Tuesday announced it would fully curtail production in 2024 at its Kwinana Alumina Refinery south of Perth, with the process beginning in the second quarter.

The company has operated in WA for about 60 years.

550 of the 800 jobs at the refinery would be cut by third quarter of this year, when all alumina production will cease.

But certain processes will continue until about the third quarter of 2025 – reducing employee numbers to about 50, the company said in a statement.

The company’s Kwinana refinery has an annual nameplate production capacity of 2.2m metric tonnes.

But it has only been operating at about 80 per cent of its nameplate capacity since January this year.

Matt Reed, Alcoa’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, said the decision was based on the refinery’s age, scale, operating costs and current bauxite grades.

He also cited market conditions as a reason for the phased shutdown.

“Today’s curtailment decision comes only after thorough and careful deliberation, and we acknowledge that this action will impact workers, business partners, and the community,” Mr Reed said.

“We deeply appreciate the commitment and support of our many loyal employees, contractors, and suppliers at our Kwinana refinery, which has made a major contribution to Western Australia’s economic development over the last 60 years of continual operation.”

Mr Reed said the company would work closely with employees “to provide support with transitioning to other opportunities”.

“This includes potential redeployment within our business or assistance to facilitate employment at other workplaces,” he said.

More to come.

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