Murray River, Dwellingup.

Alcoa has announced its commitment to not mine within an area in and around the Western Australian forest town of Dwellingup, in an effort to secure the protection of the local forest and uphold the town’s ecotourism, environmental, lifestyle, and recreation values.

The company will not seek to mine within 3km – and in some instances more than 6km – of the Dwellingup town centre.

The 8,344ha no mining zone across Alcoa’s bauxite lease will connect with areas where future mining has already been ruled out by the company. Any potential future mining will predominantly be to the east and be subject to environmental review and approval.

Alcoa’s commitment not to mine in this area aims to help protect 5,000ha of forest and a combined 31km of the Bibbulmun walking track and Munda Biddi cycle trail near Dwellingup.

Alcoa Australia President, Matt Reed, said the company’s decision to establish the Dwellingup no mining zone followed extensive studies and consultation, and respected feedback about the area’s growing importance to not only the local community, but the broader state and nation.

“We hope this decision provides greater certainty about our intentions in a prospective mineral area and demonstrates our willingness to protect important environmental and social values,” Mr Reed said.

“We respect that the Dwellingup area has immense lifestyle, ecotourism and forest recreational values that people want to continue to enjoy now and into the future.

“We have worked closely with the Shire of Murray and other stakeholders in reaching this decision, and we believe this commitment will provide certainty to the community for the future.”

The company also recently committed to not mine within 5km of Jarrahdale, another Western Australia forest town about 60km north of Dwellingup. It has also withdrawn plans to export bauxite in an attempt to reaffirm its commitment to process all the ore it mines in Western Australia at its three local alumina refineries.

Mr Reed said Alcoa was focused on its two bauxite mines and three alumina refineries in Western Australia, continuing to add value to the state and local communities and meeting government and community expectations.

There is no immediate financial impact from the Dwellingup no mining commitment required to be recognised in Alcoa Corporation’s financial statements.

Alcoa’s announcement has been welcomed by Western Australian Premier, Roger Cook.

“The announcement reflects the value of Dwellingup’s incredible landscapes, including the magnificent jarrah and marri forest, to the local community, its expanding ecotourism industry and the state.

“The State Government will work with Alcoa to protect the natural beauty of the Dwellingup area for generations of Western Australians to come.”

This welcome was echoed by Murray-Wellington MLA, Robyn Clarke, who said it was an historic day for Dwellingup, with Alcoa’s announcement delivering certainty for the local community.

“This is one of the most beautiful parts of our state, and the people and businesses in Dwellingup now know that their home will be protected for generations to come,” Ms Clarke said. 

“I’m proud to have worked with the government, Alcoa and the Shire of Murray to advocate for the local community and achieve this important outcome.”

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