Alumina Limited

AWAC's History

The origins of the Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC) partnership between Alcoa and WMC Limited (now Alumina Limited) began in the early 1960’s following the exploration and discovery of bauxite deposits and other resources by WMC Limited and two other Australian companies.

The Aluminium Company of America (Alcoa) was invited to join the project to provide technology, aluminium expertise and finance. The venture formed Alcoa of Australia Ltd (AofA), an integrated aluminium company, in 1961 with WMC Limited holding a 20% interest and Alcoa a 51% interest.

Over the following years the venture grew to include refineries and smelter interests as the partners sought to take opportunities to expand the business. By 1990, WMC Limited’s interests in Alcoa of Australia had grown to 48.25% through acquiring the minority interests of other participants, other than Alcoa.

In July 1994, WMC decided to expand this interest as a worldwide bauxite, alumina and alumina-based chemicals enterprise.

WMC Limited and Alcoa combined their respective bauxite, alumina and alumina-based chemicals businesses and investments and some selected smelting operations to create Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC) in January 1995.

Key events/dates of Alumina Limited’s involvement in the alumina industry

2019 Point Comfort alumina refinery in Texas closed
2017 Suralco alumina refinery in Suriname closed
2016 Amendments made to the AWAC joint venture agreements that ensure Alumina Limited's shareholders benefit from the improved performance of AWAC
  Ma'aden joint venture alumina refinery commercial production commenced
  Bauxite third party supply contracts signed
  Kwinana alumina refinery implements press filtration to reduce residue volume output and conserve water usage
  Point Comfort alumina refinery in Texas fully curtailed (2.3 million tonnes per annum)
2015 Anglesea Power Station (formerly used as an energy source for the Point Henry smelter) closed
  San Ciprian refinery in Spain converted from fuel oil as the prinicipal energy source to natural gas
2014 Jamalco alumina refinery in Jamaica sold
  Point Henry smelter at Geelong closed
2010 2.1 million mtpy expansion of the Alumar alumina refinery in Brazil (AWAC 54% interest) and the 2.6 million mtpy bauxite mine at Juruti in Brazil completed.
2009 AWAC enters into 25% interest in an alumina refinery (initial capacity 1.8 million mtpy) and bauxite mine (initial capacity 4.0 million mtpy) joint venture project with Ma'aden in the Kingdom at Saudi Arabia.
2009 AWAC acquires BHP's 45% interest in the Suriname Aluminium Company (Suralco) to own 100% of the 2.2 million mtpy alumina refinery and mining interests.
2008 Co-operation agreement signed between AWAC and Vietnam on the development of bauxite mining and alumina refining.
2007 Early works program at the Clarendon (Jamaica) alumina refinery completed adding 146,000 mtpy of production
2006 AWAC received Government approval to expand the Wagerup alumina refinery in Western Australia to a max. 4.7 million mtpy
2005 AWAC - Suriname alumina refinery 250,000 tonne expansion completed.
2004 AWAC - Jamaica alumina refinery 250,000 tonne expansion completed. 

Sale of AWAC Specialty Chemicals business.
2003 Alumina acquired QBE's 0.75% interest in Alcoa of Australia.
2002 Demerger of WMC Limited results in formation of Alumina Limited.
1999 AofA - expansion at Wagerup completed. Annual operating capacity is increased from 1.75 million tonnes to 2.2 million tonnes.
1998 AWAC acquires Inespal’s refinery in Spain.
1995 AWAC formed. WMC’s interest in AWAC is 40% (39.25% of AofA).
100 millionth tonne of alumina shipped.
1986 50 millionth tonne of alumina shipped.
Production begins at Portland Smelter.
1984 AofA - Wagerup alumina refinery commissioned.
1972 AofA - Pinjarra alumina refinery commissioned.
1964 AofA - first export shipment of Kwinana alumina, to Japan.
1963 AofA - first ingot poured at Point Henry, using US-sourced alumina.
1961 Formation of the integrated aluminium company, Alcoa of Australia (AofA), with WMC Limited holding a 20% interest. Alcoa was invited to join the project with a 51% interest to provide the technology, aluminium industry expertise and finance.
AofA - construction begins at Kwinana and Point Henry.
Late 1950s Joint exploration (with two other Australian companies) of bauxite deposits and secured other resources.