The origins of the Alcoa Worldwide 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, 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.