November 08, 2022

New mine site designed to eliminate risks for pedestrians

Willowdale Bauxite Mine Site

Alcoa’s design for its new mine region Larego at Willowdale Bauxite Mine in the South West of WA recently received a certificate of merit in the Best solution to a work health and safety risk category at the 2022 Work Health and Safety Excellence Awards.

In a first for Alcoa and rare in Australian mining, the site was designed with the primary intent of eliminating rather than preventing known safety risks.

Acting WA Manager of Mines Trever Stockil said after 20 years the move of mining activity from Orion to Larego in March 2021 afforded the rare opportunity to design a new facility that entirely eliminated critical safety risks around uncontrolled pedestrian and light and heavy mobile mining equipment interactions.

“Mines usually use preventative controls such as zebra crossings, traffic lights and stop signs to manage interactions between people and vehicles, however these rely on human decision making and the possibility of human error remains very real,” Mr Stockil said.

“We re-thought our approach and took a marked step away from usual practice to create a pedestrian tunnel and dedicated walkway system that separates people from light or heavy vehicles.

“We are extremely proud of our considered approach to the elimination of known safety risks at Larego.Thanks to our remarkable team, every aspect of the new design keeps our people safer.”

Measures were also put in place to segregate operating and maintenance environments for light and heavy vehicles to limit interaction.

Mr Stockil said these measures removed the capacity for human error and eliminated the risk of serious or fatal injury from uncontrolled pedestrian and light and heavy mobile mining equipment interaction.

“There might normally be between 160 to 180 pedestrian interactions with vehicles in any 24 hour period and the new design has completely eliminated these,” he said.

“We have also eliminated an average of 40 interactions between light and heavy vehicles each day.”

Discover more about Alcoa’s approach to responsible environmental, social and governance practices at