The Western Australian state government said Wednesday it has granted the Australian unit of Alcoa Inc. (>> Alcoa Inc.) a five-year extension for its proposed Wagerup alumina refinery expansion.
The approval, by Environment Minister Bill Marmion, follows the Environmental Protection Authority's recommendation in February that Alcoa be allowed to defer the start of construction under the terms of its 2006 approval.
"The EPA recommended that, as the environmental factors of the proposal had not significantly changed and no new factors had emerged since the initial approval, the time limit be extended a further five years," said Marmion in a statement.
However, before starting construction Alcoa will still require a works approval from the Western Australian state government, which would involve public consultation, he added.
Wagerup's expansion to 4.7 million tons a year has been deferred by Alcoa of Australia, owned 60% by Alcoa Inc. and 40% by Alumina Ltd. (>> Alumina Limited), until market conditions improve.
-By Stephen Bell, contributing to Dow Jones Newswires; 61-8-9244-4243; [email protected]