Grant, C 2006, 'Decommissioning Alcoa’s First Bauxite Mine in the Jarrah Forest of Western Australia ⎯ Cradle to Grave', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Proceedings of the First International Seminar on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 287-297, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/605_22
Alcoa World Alumina Australia currently operates two bauxite mines at Willowdale and Huntly in the
Darling Range of south-western Western Australia, 80-140 km south of Perth (Figure 1). Huntly is the
largest bauxite mine in the world, producing over 20 million t of ore every year. The bauxite from the two
mines is processed into alumina at three refineries at Kwinana, Pinjarra and Wagerup. The alumina is then
shipped interstate and overseas for smelting to produce aluminium.
Figure 1 Location of Alcoa’s mines, refineries and ports in Western Australia
Alcoa’s bauxite mining operations commenced in 1963 at the Jarrahdale Mine. The mine commenced
operations at the No. 1 site which is now a popular picnic spot called Langford Park. In 1970, the crushing
plant was moved to the No. 2 site where it was located until the mine ceased production in late 1998. During
this time, 168 million t of bauxite were mined. In May 2001, rehabilitation of the Jarrahdale Mine was
completed finalising the closure of this site. This was the first mine that Alcoa had closed and fully
rehabilitated in Western Australia. The company had set a challenging target for the site by wanting the
Jarrahdale mine closure to attain benchmark rehabilitation for surface mining worldwide producing an
ecologically sustainable area that meets agreed completion criteria. The specific objectives of the mine
closure plan were:
• Maintain a high focus on environmental and safety standards.
• All rehabilitation achieves the completion criteria for its era.
• Planning for the potential future use of the mine or infrastructure will involve the neighbouring
community and other interested parties and be approved by Alcoa’s regulators.
• The site is left in a condition which is safe, self sustaining and suitable for future land-uses.
• The amount of waste disposed to landfill is minimised by recycling and reuse.
Mine Closure 2006 ― Andy Fourie and Mark Tibbett (eds)
© 2006 Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, ISBN 0-9756756-6-4
Mine Closure 2006, Perth, Australia 287
• The final rehabilitated site is considered a role model by the mining industry.
• The site is liability free when relinquished to the State Government or utilised by another body.
The objective of this paper is to provide a summary of the major steps that were involved in the closure of
the Jarrahdale Mine. This included consultation with government and the community, removal of all
infrastructure, removal of a dam and numerous stream crossings, removal of all contaminated materials,
rehabilitation of all disturbed areas to agreed completion criteria, review and remediation (if necessary) of
older rehabilitation areas and development of long-term management plans to allow relinquishment back to
the State Government. Key activities relating to each of these steps are detailed below following background
information on Alcoa’s bauxite mining operations.
Alcoa/CALM Working Arrangements for Bauxite Mining Operations (2005-2009) Alcoa World Alumina Australia.
ANZECC/NHMRC (1992) Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for the Assessment and Management of
Contaminated Sites. ANZECC, Canberra.
Burrows, N.D. (1994) Experimental development of a fire management model for Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata Donn
ex Sm.) Forest, PhD Thesis, Australian National University.
Department of Industry and Resources (2002) Alcoa World Alumina Australia Darling Range Bauxite Mine
Rehabilitation Completion Criteria, DoIR, Perth.
Elliott, P., Gardner, J., Allen, D. and Butcher, G. (1996) Completion criteria for Alcoa of Australia Limited’s bauxite
mine rehabilitation. 3rd International and the 21st Annual Minerals Council of Australia Environmental
Workshop, Minerals Council of Australia, Canberra, pp. 79-89.
Gardner, J. (2001) Rehabilitating bauxite mines to meet land-use objectives: bauxite mining in the jarrah forest of
Western Australia, Unasylva 52, pp. 3-8.
Grant, C.D. (1997) Fire ecology in rehabilitated bauxite mines in the Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) Forest of south-
western Australia, PhD Thesis, The University of Western Australia.
Grant, C.D. (2003a) Post-burn vegetation development of rehabilitated bauxite mines in Western Australia, Forest
Ecology and Management 186, pp. 147-157.
Grant, C.D. (2003b) Investigating Thinning and Burning Operations in 10-13 Year-old Rehabilitated Bauxite Mines in
the Jarrah Forest, Preliminary Unpublished Report, Alcoa World Alumina Australia.
Grant, C.D., Duggin, J., Meek, I. and Lord M. (2001) End point criteria and successional pathways for manganese
mining rehabilitation on Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory. 26th Annual Minerals Council of Australia
Environmental Workshop, Minerals Council of Australia, Canberra, pp. 1-10.
Grant, C.D., Koch, J.M., Smith, R.D. and Collins, S.J. (1998) A review of prescription burning in rehabilitated bauxite
mines in Western Australia, CALM Science 2, pp. 357-371.
Morley, S.C. (2002) The effect of burning and thinning operations on the nutrient status of rehabilitated bauxite mines
in the Jarrah Forest, Western Australia, Unpublished Honours Thesis, Murdoch University.
Decommissioning Alcoa’s First Bauxite Mine in the Jarrah Forest
of Western Australia ― Cradle to Grave
296 Mine Closure 2006, Perth, Australia
Morley, S.C., Grant, C.D., Hobbs, R.J. and Cramer, V.A. (2003) Long-term impact of prescribed burning on the
nutrient status and fuel loads of rehabilitated bauxite mines in Western Australia, Forest Ecology and
Management 190, pp. 227-239.
Smith, M.A. (2001) Vegetation response to fire as an indicator of restoration success after bauxite mining in the jarrah
forest of Western Australia, PhD Thesis, The University of Western Australia.
Ward, S.C., Slessar, G.C, Glenister, D.J. and Coffey, P.S. (1996) Environmental resource management practices of
Alcoa in southwest Western Australia. In: D. Mulligan (Editor), Environmental Management in the Australian
Minerals and Energy Industries - Principles and Practices. UNSW Press, Sydney.
Ecosystem Reconstruction and Pedogenesis
Mine Closure 2006, Perth, Australia 297