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Alcoa Applies for Environmental Clearance for Smelter

Next step for proposed aluminum smelter project in Trinidad.

Alcoa has lodged an application to the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) for a proposed aluminum smelter in the Cap-de-Ville area in southwestern Trinidad.

The application is the next step toward finalizing the smelter project. The CEA will result in development by the EMA of Terms of Reference for completion of a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed facility. Terms of Reference are essentially instructions for conducting the EIA. The EIA process requires that the Terms of Reference must be open for public review before they are finalized. This ensures that members of the local community, non-governmental organizations, and members of the public in general can determine whether or not the Terms of Reference cover all the questions that must be answered in order to allow a proper evaluation of the effects--positive and negative--that the project will have on the environment and community.

"We are committed to a full and open Environmental Impact Assessment process to ensure all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago have the opportunity to participate and be heard. In keeping with this commitment, we have posted our CEC application on Alcoa's Trinidad and Tobago website and welcome its widespread distribution," said Randy Overbey, Alcoa's president of Primary Metals Development.

The EIA is a detailed study which identifies the environmental and social conditions currently existing and then determines likely effects of the project on those conditions and what must be done to mitigate any negative effects. Environmentally, the EIA must consider potential effects on soil, water, air, plants, and animals. Socially, it must consider potential effects on people, their health, and their communities.

"The EIA process provides a sound scientific basis for determining what measures need to be taken to protect the environmental and community health," said Overbey.

The project will include a 341,000 metric-tons-per-year (mtpy) aluminum smelter, an associated anode plant, and cast house. It is expected that upon completion, the smelter and associated facilities would permanently employ approximately 750 to 800 people directly and indirectly through associated jobs. Employment during the two-year construction period for the smelter is expected to average approximately 1,500 additional jobs.

Project plans call for the production of 240,000 mtpy of billet and forging stock, and also include possible downstream facilities. The facilities which would be powered by an on-site, natural gas-fires power plant are projected to cost approximately US$1.5 billion.

Alcoa will hold 100% interest in the smelter, with the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago an active partner in the provision and facilitation of requisite infrastructure.

Construction would not begin until the completion of the EIA, final costs are determined, and final approvals by Alcoa's Board of Directors and by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. First metal production would be expected in late 2008.

Alcoa has had operations in Trinidad and Tobago for more than 60 years. Its Tembladora Transfer Station loads approximately 525,000 metric tons of alumina from Suriname for shipment throughout the world each year.

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