Quick facts - QAL History 

 

  • In the 1950s Comalco and Kaiser joined forces to develop newly found deposits of bauxite in Weipa, North Queensland.

  • Rich deposits of bauxite had been discovered in Weipa in 1955, and in the early 1960s  engineers started to investigate suitable sites in Queensland for a large alumina plant.

  • An agreement was made between the Queensland Government and CRA/Comalco to ensure that the bauxite mined in Weipa would be processed in Queensland. The government was after vertical integration of industry from mining through to smelting.

  • The owners were hesitant to select a remote site, given the lack of infrastructure, so a choice had to be made between Gladstone and Brisbane.

  • In 1951 Marty Hansen MLA at the time, was sent to Brisbane to push Port Curtis as the logical choice – with Barney Point in mind. 

  • Gladstone (500km north of Brisbane) was chosen because its combined advantages outweighed any other location - availability of land, a recently retrenched workforce, a deep-water harbour adjacent to the plant site, rail access, a nearby power station, etc.

  • Site construction from 1963 to 1966 with a peak construction workforce of 2800 people

  • Production began on March 11, 1967

  • QAL became one of Australia’s largest alumina refineries and was expanded over the years

  • Current annual production of 3.80 million tonnes

  • Economic contribution - in 2013 $657 million spent in local economy (wages, salaries, capital works, etc.)

  • Number of employees – 1050 permanent staff, approximately 300 contractors

  • Ownership – 80% Rio Tinto, 20% Rusal