Alcoa refinery closure to hit supply chain, jobs

Image: Alcoa

Alcoa’s decision to close its alumina refinery in Kwinana will have significant impact on the local supply chain and job losses. 

Around 1,000 workers will lose their jobs when the 60-year-old facility wraps up operations this year.  

The refinery recorded a net loss of about $130 million in 2023. 

In a statement to the ASX, Alcoa’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Matt Reed, cites the refinery’s age, scale, market conditions and operating costs as reasons for the closure. 

“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,” he says. 

Impact on local business 

As reported in CCIWA’s quarterly Business Confidence report last month, three in four businesses see rising operating costs as the biggest growth barrier for 2024. 

Alcoa’s refinery closure is a significant blow for workers and the small and medium-sized businesses who have worked with the US industrial giant. 

In 2022, Alcoa reported its Kwinana facility contributed $161m in wages to local workers, and $362m in WA-based supply contracts. 

Alcoa will continue to operate its refineries at Pinjarra and Wagerup and maintain its port operations at Kwinana. 

“We remain committed to WA in the long term and will continue to assess options for the refinery, monitoring the factors that have led to the curtailment decision,” Reed says. 

Kwinana still Perth’s industrial heart: Cook 

Premier Roger Cook, who is the local MP for Kwinana, says the decision to stop production is “devastating” for workers and the local community. 

“This is a very disappointing outcome, and Alcoa needs to do everything it can to support its workforce through the transition,” he says. 

Premier Cook says new projects slated for the Kwinana industrial precinct will ensure it maintains its position as the city’s biggest industrial hub. 

“Kwinana is the industrial heart of Perth and has a bright future with new job-creating industrial projects emerging on the strip – keeping Kwinana strong for generations to come,” he says. 

CCIWA’s Economic reports, including Outlook, are available exclusively to CCIWA Advantage and Corporate Members. For more see CCIWA’s Economic Insight page.   

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