May 08, 2023

Portland Aluminium establishes new koala habitat

Alcoa Portland Aluminium has successfully completed planting of 14 hectares of eucalypts to create new habitat for koalas found in high numbers in a blue gum plantation adjacent to its smelter.

The 16,000 newly planted eucalypt trees will form part of a total 77ha of suitable koala habitat near the smelter. The new trees will offset a gradual removal of the 17ha blue gum plantation that is currently supporting an unsustainable population of over 120 koalas.

The 17ha plantation is also exposed to fluoride levels which, while safe for humans and below Victoria Environment Protection Authority limits, can impact the health of koalas.

Portland Aluminium acknowledges this issue and has developed its Koala Management Plan to address overpopulation and potential impacts of fluorosis.

Beginning with 6ha in 2023, it is proposed that the plantation will be progressively harvested to encourage the natural movement of koalas into more suitable habitat surrounding the smelter.

High koala densities in Portland and south-western Victoria have become a significant issue in recent years.

Annual koala health assessments, carried out by independent experts, have identified significant over-population and declining health in the koalas closest to the smelter.

Health assessments comprise a full health check aligned with relevant government guidelines, as well as fertility control in all age-appropriate females to help maintain a sustainable population.

Since 2019, a total of 348 koalas have been assessed by veterinarians. Of those, 79 females have had fertility control treatment and a total of 152 koalas have been euthanised due to poor health.

Koala welfare is a high priority for Portland Aluminium, and our management plan is being actioned in consultation with Victoria’s Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA), and independent experts.

The plantation will be closed to the public from May 2023 in preparation for the harvest that is expected to occur in the second half of 2023 subject to authorisation from DEECA.

Portland Aluminium will maintain some recreational access outside the harvest area while reviewing additional options for future recreational use.

Quotes attributable to an Alcoa spokesperson:
“Portland Aluminium’s Koala Management Plan focuses primarily on the welfare of the koalas, managing potential impacts from our smelter and providing suitable habitat.

We remain committed to supporting the ongoing protection and management of the local koala population.”


Media contact:
Jodie Read, Director Corporate Affairs, 0404 800 335,

Supporting documents:
June 02, 2022, Alcoa Australia Media Release, Portland Aluminium to plant trees for koala habitat, available here.


About Alcoa in Australia
Alcoa has a proud history in Australia which it aims to continue by adding value to the communities where it operates, providing jobs for future generations and protecting and preserving the environment via world-leading research and rehabilitation programs.

  • Alcoa’s Australian operations have been contributing to the nation’s economy since 1963, investing more than $14.5 billion over our 60 years.
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  • In our 60 years, Alcoa has taken on more than 2550 apprentices, trainees and graduates.
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    • Invested $2.3 billion with 1518 Australian suppliers;
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    • Paid $714 million in Australian wages, salaries and associated benefits; and
    • Made $4.8 million in community contributions.

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About Alcoa Corporation
Alcoa (NYSE: AA) is a global industry leader in bauxite, alumina and aluminium products with a vision to reinvent the aluminium industry for a sustainable future. Our purpose is to turn raw potential into real progress, underpinned by Alcoa Values that encompass integrity, operating excellence, care for people and courageous leadership. Since developing the process that made aluminium an affordable and vital part of modern life, our talented employees have developed breakthrough innovations and best practices that have led to improved safety, sustainability, efficiency and stronger communities wherever we operate. Discover more by visiting, or follow us on our global social media channels: Global channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn