Alcoa transitional approvals framework and assurance program

In December 2023, the State Government announced the Alcoa transitional approvals framework for Alcoa of Australia Limited’s (Alcoa) mining operations in the Darling Ranges of Western Australia
Last updated:

The Alcoa transitional approvals framework includes:

  • the Environmental Protection (Darling Range Bauxite Mining Proposals) Exemption Order 2023 (Exemption Order) issued under s.6 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986, which allows Alcoa to implement proposals while the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) assesses them, subject to conditions 
  • an assurance program to monitor Alcoa’s compliance with the Exemption Order
  • an endorsed mining and management program (MMP) 2023–2027, subject to conditions and Alcoa’s commitments
  • the commitment from Alcoa to transition to a contemporary approvals regime for its future mining operations. 

View the media statement

Exemption order 

On 14 December 2023, the Minister for Environment declared a statutory Exemption Order under section 6 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 to enable decision-making authorities to undertake assessments and decision-making processes, and to enable Alcoa to implement its 2023–2027 MMP while these assessments and decision-making processes are underway. 

The Exemption Order only applies to the geographical portion of Alcoa’s 2022–2026 and 2023–2027 MMPs that the EPA has chosen to assess following two third-party referrals. Alcoa must comply with conditions to ensure the Exemption Order remains in force. 

View the gazetted Exemption Order

Initial assurance program 

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (the department) has prepared an initial assurance program, which sets out the approach being taken to support the Minister for Environment in assessing whether Alcoa is complying with the conditions set out in the Exemption Order and is minimising environmental risk to water resources, biodiversity and human health. 

The initial assurance program includes an intensive high-frequency compliance inspection program that will be implemented by a team of experienced compliance officers. The scope and scale of compliance activities that will be undertaken have been designed to provide confidence that the proposals are being implemented and environmental impacts managed in line with the Exemption Order. The program activities are described in the initial assurance program.

The initial assurance program will operate for six months, commencing on the date the Exemption Order was declared. At the completion of the six-month period, a review of the operation and effectiveness of the program will be conducted to assist with the determination of future assurance activities and planning. 

The department's compliance outcomes will be published on this page on a periodic basis. 

Further compliance reports are published by Alcoa on its website to comply with the conditions of the Exemption Order. 

How to find information and provide information 

A range of information relating to Alcoa’s environmental approvals and operations can be found electronically via the following sources:

Information sourceInformation description and link
Alcoa of Australia

Under the Exemption Order, Alcoa is required to publish information relating to the Exemption Order and its MMPs.

View Alcoa Australia reports and publications.

Environmental Protection AuthorityYou can search for information on EPA proposals (both approved and under assessment) relating to Alcoa’s operations.
If you want to participate in the EPA’s public consultation on proposals that it is assessing, visit the EPA consultation hub.
Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and InnovationView information on State Agreements.
Department of Water and Environmental Regulation

You can search for information on existing works approvals and licences relating to Alcoa’s operations.

Information on water licences relating to Alcoa’s operations can be found via the Water Register.

You can report possible unlawful activities to Pollution Watch online or through the Pollution Watch hotline on 1300 784 782.