PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Aluminium major Alcoa’s Portland smelter, in Victoria, has been restored to full production capacity, following a power outage in December last year.
“Our interventions have protected this crucial industry, saved local jobs and continue to support communities in Portland and throughout Victoria’s south west,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.
Alcoa in January initiated work to restart smelting capacity, after a five-hour power outage on the Victorian transmission network in December had placed the smelter’s future in jeopardy.
Prior to the electrical fault on the Victorian transmission network, the smelter had been operating at nearly 85% of its nameplate capacity of 385 000 t/y.
Alcoa in January struck a deal with state and federal governments, and signed a new four-year power supply agreement with ASX-listed AGL Energy to secure Portland’s future.
It was estimated that the Victorian government invested some A$200-million to ensure that the plant remained operational for the next four years, with the federal government contributing an estimated A$30-million.
The smelter is Portland’s largest employer and more than 1 600 supply chain and indirect jobs depend on its continued operation. It directly supports 650 employees and contractors, injects more than A$120-million annually into the Portland region and generates about A$386-million of broader economic benefit, Andrews pointed out.