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Alcan given approval to commence mining of Ely Bauxite Deposit

Alcan Inc : 30 July, 2007  (Company News)
Alcan announced that the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Water has given approval for mining to commence on its Ely bauxite deposit near Weipa, on Queensland
“Alcan is focussed on developing its significant bauxite resources in Australia on a sustainable basis,” said Kurt Thurnherr, President of Pacific Operations for Alcan Bauxite and Alumina. “To do this, the Company is partnering with Traditional Owners to ensure that they are involved in those aspects of development that affect them and will make certain that all obligations are met under the EBMPA,” Thurnherr continued. “For Alcan, this approach is simply part of doing business the right way.”

In 1998, Alcan and Comalco signed the Bauxite Mining and Exchange Agreement. As part of the agreement, bauxite from Ely will be mined and beneficiated by Comalco at their Andoom plant. In exchange, bauxite from Comalco’s Weipa bauxite deposit is supplied to Alcan for refining by Queensland Alumina Limited in Gladstone. The Ely deposit has a reserve of close to 50 million tonnes to be mined over a period of approximately 25 years.

The EBMPA, which sets out the terms for initial development of the Ely deposit, was signed in 1997 by Alcan, six Traditional Owner groups (the Dulhunty, Taepithiggi, Thanakwith, Tjungundji, Yupungathi and Warrangku peoples), the Aboriginal Shire councils of the Mapoon, Napranum and New Mapoon communities and the Cape York Land Council.

“Initiatives already in place under the EBMPA include local consultation and partnership (through the Ely Coordination Committee made up of Traditional Owners and Company representatives), road upgrades, Indigenous apprenticeships, educational bursaries, a business development fund and compensation to Traditional Owner groups through a beneficiaries trust,” Thurnherr added.

Ely Coordination Committee Vice Chairman, William Busch, welcomed the mining announcement that followed extensive consultation with the Ely Coordination Committee. “We will continue to work with Alcan, Traditional Owners and the communities of Mapoon, Napranum and New Mapoon, to ensure all cultural, environmental, social and economic conditions of the EBMPA are met,” said Mr Busch.

Alcan has been part of Australia’s aluminium industry since 1967 and its Australian operations play a critical role in the Company’s international portfolio. Australia is now Alcan’s major capital base outside of Canada, contributing 60 percent of Alcan’s global alumina production and employing more than 3,500 people around the country. Alcan’s interests include the Gove alumina refinery in the Northern Territory (100 percent ownership), Queensland Alumina Limited (41.4 percent), the Tomago aluminium smelter in New South Wales (51.5 percent) and bauxite reserves in the Northern Territory and North Queensland.

Alcan’s other Australian interests include, Alcan Engineering, a Brisbane based firm providing engineering and design services to Alcan and other third party clients around the world, the Queensland Research and Development Centre located at the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies (a joint venture between the CSIRO and Queensland Government), as well as a production facility in Adelaide, South Australia for Stelvin wine screw caps. For further information please visit

Alcan’s Australian operations are part of Alcan Inc., a leading global materials company, delivering high quality products, engineered solutions and services worldwide. With world-class technology and operations in bauxite mining, alumina processing, primary metal smelting, power generation, aluminium fabrication, engineered solutions as well as flexible and specialty packaging, today’s Alcan is well positioned to meet and exceed its customers’ needs. Alcan has 65,000 employees in 60 countries and regions, posted revenues of US$20.3 billion and was selected as a Super-Sector Leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.
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