The WA Premier has leapt to the defence of an industrial refinery. 

WA Premier Roger Cook has expressed disappointment over Alcoa's president, Bill Oplinger's comments about the potential closure of the Kwinana refinery. 

Oplinger said in a recent interview that all options, including “curtailment and closure”, are under consideration for the future of the alumina operation. 

The decision is influenced by increased environmental scrutiny and financial pressures due to concerns about its impact on Perth's drinking water supplies.

The Environmental Protection Authority in the state is evaluating whether to assess Alcoa's mining management plan for the 2023-2027 period. Alcoa's use of lower-grade bauxite ore in previously approved locations has cost the company approximately $70 million in the last quarter.

Premier Roger Cook, representing the Kwinana area, says Alcoa had recently assured that operations at the Kwinana refinery would not cease. 

He criticised Oplinger's remarks, saying that they create “unnecessary uncertainty for their workforce” and emphasised the importance of protecting local jobs while maintaining high environmental standards.

Alcoa is reportedly exploring cost-saving measures to enhance competitiveness, mitigate the impact of lower-grade bauxite mining, and maintain current production levels in its WA operations. 

The Kwinana refinery has been operating at 80% capacity since January and plans to eliminate around 90 positions by early next year. 

The company aims to implement these changes with care, offering redeployment and voluntary redundancy where possible.

Alcoa operates two mines in the state's south-west region, along with refineries in Pinjarra and Wagerup near Waroona. 

The potential impacts on the local community have raised concerns, as Alcoa plays a significant role in the area's employment and economy. Waroona Shire president Mike Walmsley has stressed the importance of any changes to Alcoa's operations, as they have a substantial influence on the local community.