MINING giant Alcoa will fight any legal action launched against its Western Australian refineries, including Kwinana, after 150 plaintiffs lodged a writ accusing the company of releasing toxic emissions.
In a statement provided to the Courier, a spokeswoman for the aluminium company said while Alcoa had not been served with any legal documents relating to the claim, it would “vigorously defend any legal action”.
In February, Shine Lawyers lodged a Writ of Summons in the Perth District Court on behalf of the plaintiffs, who had worked at or lived near Alcoa’s three WA refineries in Kwinana, Pinjarra and Wagerup.
The writ included plaintiffs’ claims against Alcoa of Australia for “personal injury, loss and damage” after they claim the company exposed them to toxic emissions from its refineries.
The Alcoa spokeswoman said the company would defend its reputation and warned it would “seek to recover its legal costs from claimants engaging in speculative litigation”.
“Alcoa is disappointed that a further claim of this nature has been filed,” she said. “In the company’s view, evidence collected over the past decade overwhelmingly shows that the air quality around Alcoa’s alumina refineries is safe.”
The spokeswoman said the State Government heavily regulated Alcoa’s WA operations and its Wagerup refinery was among the most studied industrial facilities in Australia.
She said air quality reviews by a number of groups, including the CSIRO and Department of Environment and Conservation, had shown no evidence for concern for employees or nearby communities.
The legal action has brewed for many years, with the writ originally lodged in the USA in 2009 at Alcoa’s head offices, but was ordered to be dealt with in WA.