Global aluminium producer Alcoa has announced its decision to curtail production at its Kwinana Alumina Refinery in Western Australia in the second quarter of 2024.
The company cited several factors for its decision to cease production, including the facility’s age, scale, operating costs, and market conditions. The refinery has been operating since the 1960s and currently employs around 800 employees and 250 contractors.
The federal government and the state government of Western Australia have expressed their disappointment regarding Alcoa’s decision.
Federal Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King, who serves as the local Federal Member for Brand which includes the City of Kwinana and the Kwinana Alumina Refinery, emphasised the significance of the decision and emphasised the definite impact that the curtailment of the refinery will have on the community.
“We understand that Alcoa is faced with difficult considerations, including the age of the facility, a constrained location and challenging market conditions, however, the closure of such a longstanding operation is disheartening for everyone involved,” Minister King said.
“I want to acknowledge the work of the WA State Government in ensuring there are measures to assist affected workers during this challenging time, including through the Rockingham Jobs and Skills Centre and South Metropolitan TAFE,” she added.
The WA State government said redundancy packages will be available to affected workers and urged Alcoa to support workers through this difficult period.
“This is a very disappointing outcome, and Alcoa needs to do everything it can to support its workforce through this transition. My Government will step up to provide supports for local workers to retrain, reskill and look for new career opportunities in the local area,” said WA Premier Roger Cook.
“We will continue to work with Alcoa to ensure its other operations in Western Australia – including its Pinjarra and Wagerup refineries – support local jobs into the future,” Cook added.
The state government also noted that more than 130 TAFE qualifications and short courses will be free in 2024, enabling even more people to get the skills they need to get into the workforce.
“While we are disappointed with Alcoa’s decision, the State Government has measures in place that will help minimise the impact on affected workers and set them up for the next stage in their career,” said Training and Workforce Development Minister Simone McGurk.
“Our Jobs and Skills Centres offer free services for jobseekers, from job-matching to training and career advice – and we have specialist local staff on standby to assist displaced workers.”
The facility in Kwinana will remain in care and maintenance for the foreseeable future. Alcoa’s port facilities at Kwinana will continue to support the company’s existing operations in Wagerup and Pinjarra.