Alcoa wants to prove that responsible exploration is possible
A small town on the banks of the Amazon River, in the state of Pará, is the scene of the most ambitious project ever implemented by Alcoa, the world’s leading aluminum producer. It is here that the company plans to transform a bauxite mine into an exemplary case of responsible exploration. The challenge: to manage the impact of the project on the lives of thousands of residents who think Alcoa should not even be there in the first place.
The community of Juruti did not choose to receive Alcoa. On the contrary, it was chosen. The 125-year-old municipality, with 38,000 inhabitants, sits on top of a 700 million metric ton deposit of bauxite. The exploration of this wealth it vital for the future of the company. Alcoa currently extracts an annual 31.5 million tons of bauxite. The biggest mine it runs is in Australia, which has a potential 2 billion tons. When it goes online, early this year, the Juruti mine will be third in the ranking. It will be part of a complex that will consist of a river port, more than 100 kilometers of new roads and railways and two small thermoelectric plants to be run by state oil company Petrobras. However, convincing the residents of the region that the mining project is beneficial for Juruti is still one of the major challenges facing CEO Franklin Feder and his team.