AluNews - January 2008

Huayin Aluminum's 400,000-ton alumina production line up and running in Guangxi (subscription), China January 3, 2008

Shanghai. January 3. INTERFAX-CHINA - Guangxi Huayin Aluminum Co. Ltd, a joint venture between The Aluminum Corporation of China Co. Ltd. (Chalco) and China Minmetals Corp., started official operation of a 400,000-ton alumina production line in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Dec. 28, a company official told Interfax yesterday.

The full text of this story is available to subscribers of our weekly and daily news services.

Alcoa stops operations in Badin

Stanly News & Press, NC - Tuesday, January 1, 2008

By Jay Almond, Staff Writer

With the end of July came the end of Alcoa Badin Works. The final order for high-purity aluminum cooled for transport and production was ended.

The aluminum plant that stood as a thriving economic centerpiece for nearly 100 years in what’s now the town of Badin, once employed hundreds of area residents but now awaits a new mission.

The community that gave the plant its soul has, through the years, weaned from its fiscal bonds to the company to emerge as a self reliant municipality.

But the imprint of the once booming local business permeates deep into Badin’s evolving culture and landscape.

The town remains bound to the corporation in many ways, as does Stanly County, but at different levels now than in years past.

Those bonds are physical, environmental, financial and for many Badin townsfolk, emotional.

And while Alcoa reported being the largest taxpayer in the county with a direct impact of $8.75 million per year on the Stanly County economy, some residents know it better as the source of their livlihood.

From a peak internal workforce at least 600 employees strong, down to the final 30 workers in more recent months, 2007 marked the exodus of an industrial giant.

Alcoa Badin Works was, while in operation, a complete system.

It consisted of two potlines, an anode and cathode producing electrode plant, casting facilities and a machine shop along with offices and utility buildings.

Since shuttering its doors, one of the plant’s pot lines was idled and the other decommissioned, and production ended.

Alcoa Power Generating Incorporated (APGI), an Alcoa corporate subsidiary company which employs roughly 35 people, is all that remains in operation.

It’s unlikely that will change, but with the assets of the vacant site, the promise of opportunity lingers.

New jobs are anticipated through redevelopment of the local plant, although no timetable has been defined regarding new tenants.

The vacated 130-acre plant site is marketable for business reuse, according to economic experts.

The fact that rail access, natural gas, electric and waste water utility infrastructure is already in place factors heavily into the equation.

Economic development analyst, Robin Hiott Spinks, hired by Alcoa, called that infrastructure the most important asset of the site.

"What you can’t see is far more valuable than what you can see," she said to community leaders during an early December summit.

"The most important asset at the plant site is the electricity. There’s not another site in North Carolina equal to this one."

Redevelopment in Badin got a $250,000 shot in the arm earlier in the month from the Alcoa Foundation, which awarded the funds for local use, specifically, redevelopment assistance.

That grant is a major tool and tool provider for Badin, as is continued cooperation from the global aluminum company.

Alcoa has pledged to approach the task with an ultimate goal of replacing the large number of high imcome jobs lost with the smelting plant’s curtailment.

"I’m optimistic in the redevelopment opportunities for the site and redevelopment in the town through the Alcoa Foundation," Alcoa representative and management team member Tommy Gibson said.

"I look forward to helping the town as I can.

"APGI is still here and we’re still going to be present in the community; it’s home."

Achieving that task would create a significant economic upswing for Badin and Stanly County.

In fact, county government officials hope, possibly through litigation, to secure a lasting financial arrangement with Alcoa to further those ends as the company taps local waterways to generate income.

Alcoa Badin Works went into initial curtailment of aluminum smelting in Aug. 2002 sending many workers to seek other opportunities.

Badin Works continued producing anodes for smelting for about two years, until Dec. 2004, and continued high-purity aluminum production until July 2007.

Alcoa, which began Aluminum production at Badin in August 1916, originally purchased local assets from a French firm.

Orders formerly filled through the expertise and effort of local and regional employees have since become the charge of workers in an Alcoa plant in Iowa.

Jay Almond can be contacted by email at

Integrated XRF and full pattern XRD X-ray analyser

Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science, has introduced the new ARL9900 Series X-ray WorkStation for process and quality control in the metals and mineral processing industries.

Thermo Fisher has expanded on the novel capabilities of the existing suite of Thermo Scientific ARL 9900 Series of analysers designed for process and quality control in metals and minerals applications.

Thermo Fisher Scientific announces the expansion of its comprehensive range of online resource centres with the addition of two new web entry portals for X-ray and Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES)

For the first time full X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) are combined in one single instrument bringing increased productivity and reduced cost of ownership.

Over the past ten years, there has been a growing demand in the metals and minerals applications for phase identification, in addition to the usual elemental analysis.

The novel ARL 9900 X-ray WorkStation fulfils this need, providing a comprehensive analytical ability for a complete chemical and full phase analysis from raw materials to the final product.

Elemental/oxide analysis can be accomplished by a series of XRF monochromators for high throughput and by an XRF Goniometer for flexibility with coverage of up to 84 elements of the periodic table.

Full pattern-based quantitative phase analysis can be achieved on the same sample by the XRD Goniometer under vacuum using Thermo Scientific OXSAS software for fully automated control.

X-ray Diffraction and Fluorescence in one unit

Thermo Fisher Scientific has made an important development in the area of X-ray analysis for industrial and central laboratories carrying out materials characterisation and quality control analyses

Fast and sensitive soil analyses by spectroscopy

Midwest Laboratories has chosen the powerful Thermo Scientific iCAP 6000 Series of ICP emission spectrometers to perform soil analyses in its agricultural laboratory

The new Thermo Scientific ARL 9900 X-ray WorkStation requires only one sample introduction for both XRF and XRD measurements.

In addition, the instrument provides seamless and integrated operation for routine analysis.

For example, in an iron and steel making plant, various important phases related to the iron ores and their transformation during the process can be monitored on a routine basis, alongside the chemical analysis.

Further to the various oxide and carbide phases related to Fe, direct quantification of metallic iron can be accomplished using the ARL9900 WorkStation.

In an aluminium plant, raw materials including Bauxite, alumina extraction and the electrolysis into aluminium metal itself, require analysis of various phases/minerals to optimise different steps in the process of aluminium production.

The novel ARL 9900 WorkStation is fully equipped to meet the requirements of aluminium production in an integrated manner.

In addition to the aluminium related phases, other applications such as monitoring the LC (for the anode materials) can be easily achieved.

This integrated technology enables greater optimisation and control of the mineral extraction process.

The full range XRD and phase quantification programme results in a complete and uncompromising chemical and phase analysis on the same sample.

The instrument benefits from IntelliPower configurations operating at 1200W or 2500W, which results in no external water cooling required (even for XRD).

Ultimate performance and throughput can be achieved by using higher power levels at 3600W or 4200W.

Since the two techniques (XRD and XRF) are fully integrated inside a single instrument, it is significantly easier, faster and more cost-effective when the instrument has to be integrated for on-line process control and routine analysis.

Automation capabilities range from simple link to automatic sample preparation machines with an interface from a central control system to the robot-based Thermo Scientific ARL SMS-3000 for a completely autonomous X-ray analysis laboratory.

The Thermo Scientific ARL9900 Series X-ray WorkStation is designed to operate with quick and easy installation, operation and validation.

On-site customisation of various programmes is more conveniently achieved with effective control files and optimised sample preparation for both XRF and XRD.

Govt rejects Balco expansion plans

Livemint, India - Dec 31, 2007

New Delhi: The environment and forests ministry has rejected a fourfold expansion of bauxite mining capacity in Chhattisgarh sought by Bharat Aluminium Co. Ltd, or Balco, severely castigating the firm for what it describes as a "deplorably callous and casual attitude" in addressing concerns the ministry had raised earlier.

Balco, which is 51% owned by Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd and is the third largest aluminium producer in India, says it will reapply. Sterlite Industries is a wholly owned subsidiary of London-based Vedanta Resources Plc.

Anil Agarwal, chairman of Vedanta Resources Plc . Sterlite Industries, which owns 51% of Balco, is the wholly-owned subsidiary of VedantaThe rejection, which took place following a 12 October meeting at the ministry, is only now coming to light.

"We were quite taken aback at the committee’s stern words as well, but our person in the presentation was not able to convince the committee. We shall go back in a month’s time and we are hopeful that we will get clearance," maintained Pramod Suri, chief executive officer of Balco.

Mining leases in India have to be cleared by the environment ministry on the basis of an environmental impact assessment, or EIA, which studies and determines the environmental and social impact of such a project.

Balco had filed applications to expand its mining capacity in Sarguja, from 0.45 million tonnes per annum, or mtpa, to 0.75 mtpa, and in Kabirdham, from 0.3 mtpa to 1.25 mtpa.

The expert appraisal committee, the internal panel in the ministry that decides on an EIA, in its 12 October report, the minutes of which have been reviewed by Mint, said: "The project proponent (Balco) has been in an unusual hurry in responding to the issues raised by the Expert Appraisal Committee in its meeting dated 18.7.2007 and, in the process, it has shown a deplorably callous and casual attitude in its replies, which are either incomplete or inappropriate and, on few vital issues, the replies have been in the form of assurances to give the details on an uncertain future date."

Balco, which ceased to be a public sector undertaking in 2001, has expanded its aluminium production capacity from 0.13mt to 0.36mt. Balco has ambitious expansion plans in the pipeline, with a new 0.65mt smelter estimated at $2 billion and a 1,200MW power plant in Chhattisgarh.

Expansion of its mining capacities in Chhattisgarh would significantly boost Balco’s ability to source more quantities of bauxite domestically.

In its rejection of Balco’s Kabirdham proposal, the appraisal committee said: "The status of compliance to the specific conditions to environmental clearance was accorded in 2003 is far from satisfactory."

See: Excerpts

The committee noted that Balco had not shown any "inclination" to think of a scheme to provide gainful economic activities on a sustained basis for these families that the company knew—well in advance—would have to be shifted when the proposed mining activities commence.

In a telephone conversation with Mint, Balco’s Suri said: "Flora, fauna, tribes or whosoever is there, we shall take care. We are committed to that."

Suri insisted that the ministry’s rejection of its mining plans will not impact Balco’s ability to get adequate raw materials.

Balco obtains a little less than one-third of the raw material, alumina, from its Lanjigarh refinery in Orissa and the rest, some 0.5mt, are imported by the company.

Though he agreed that there are risks, especially of rising prices, associated with the dependence on imports, Suri says the price of alumina depends on the negotiated long-term contracts.

A senior ministry official, who did not wish to be identified, explained that the ministry approves expansion plans only after it has reviewed a company’s compliance with social and environmental obligations that it had already undertaken.

"In case the company has not been abiding by the previous regulations, expansion proposal should be rejected," said the senior ministry official, explaining why Balco’s plans were rejected.

"There are key issues surrounding mining approvals, and it’s a significant risk factor, especially because there are only a few aluminium producers in India," said Naveen Vohra, an analyst with Ernst and Young. He wasn’t talking specifically about the Balco case.

"If you compare India to other countries, such as Australia, on environmental benchmarks, India’s performance is abysmal," Vohra said. "Ensuring environmental compliance is costly and the process needs to be transparent, which lacks in India and given the increasing importance of the environment, there are bound to be rejections."

Balco’s Suri put it somewhat differently. "Definitely the way we have to go through the clearances in India is long drawn and tedious," he complained. "There is no single window clearance. We hope it will improve with liberalization, so that so much time is not wasted. First, we have to get environmental clearances from state and then the Centre, then land acquisition and then rehabilitation. We have one-fifth of the world’s best bauxite reserves but produce only 3% of world’s aluminium."

Another Vedanta affiliate also ran into unrelated legal and environmental issues in 2007.

Guangxi to raise electricity price for aluminum smelters (subscription), China - January 3, 2008

By Ida Chen

Shanghai. January 3. INTERFAX-CHINA - Southwestern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, a hub of aluminum and alumina producers, will increase electricity prices for local aluminum smelters in line with a government policy aimed at curbing investment growth in energy-intensive industries, a local government official told Interfax today.

"The aluminum smelting sector is the largest electricity consumer in Guangxi. We will start to implement the policy as soon as we get approval from the National Development Reform Commission (NDRC)," the official added.

The local government has decided to increase electricity prices among aluminum smelters by RMB 0.043 ($0.006) per kilowatt hour this year, following Beijing's call for local governments to increase average electricity prices for energy-intensive industries by at least RMB 0.02 ($0.003) per kilowatt hour in 2008, a Guangxi provincial government price monitoring department official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Interfax.

Currently, electricity consumption by domestic aluminum smelters is between 14,500 and 15,000 kWh per ton produced, with electricity prices averaging between RMB 0.36 ($0.049) and RMB 0.40 ($0.055) per kWh.

China's policy of increasing electricity prices will further decrease the profit margins of aluminum smelters in 2008, given the pressure they are currently facing from soaring alumina prices, Wang Weidong, a senior analyst with Beijing Antaike Information Development Co. Ltd., said.

"The Chinese government is determined to curb investment growth in the aluminum smelting sector, so aluminum smelters will face production cost growth and lower profits in 2008, despite the fact that domestic consumption is to remain strong throughout the year," Wang said.

Zhou Zhuowei, an analyst with Galaxy Securities in Beijing, predicts that China's aluminum production growth will slow down this year, as aluminum smelters without their own power station and bauxite mines are likely to quit the market if aluminum prices fall even further.

China's primary aluminum output will grow by 21.8 percent year-on-year in 2008, lower than the growth in output of 35 percent in 2007, Zhou said.

Aluminum benchmark futures prices at the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) have fallen by 7 percent by yesterday since Aug. 1, 2007, when China introduced a 15 percent export tax on some types of aluminum semis.

Wang said that the export tax policy has led to a rise in domestic supply, which has kept domestic aluminum prices down.

Brazil BNDES loans $370 mln to Alcoa alumina JV

Reuters - Tue Jan 8, 2008 12:44pm EST

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Brazil's state-run BNDES development bank said on Tuesday it agreed to lend 650 million reais ($370 million) to the local unit of Alcoa Inc. (AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) for the expansion of its alumina refinery, which has suffered delays due to mounting costs.

The government-run National Bank for Social and Economic Development said its contribution amounted to 13 percent of the total investment of 4.9 billion reais needed for the expansion of the joint venture Alumar refinery led by Alcoa.

The investment, which amounts to $2.8 billion at Tuesday's exchange rate, is more than double the initially-planned $1.2 billion announced in 2006 and exceeds later estimates of a 40 percent cost increase by one of the partners.

Alumar's main joint venture partners are Alcoa with a 54 percent stake and BHP Billiton Ltd (BHP.AX: Quote, Profile, Research) (BLT.L: Quote, Profile, Research), which holds 36 percent. Aluminum producer Alcan Inc. (AL.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) (AL.N: Quote, Profile, Research) also holds 10 percent.

The expansion should come on stream in the second quarter of 2009. BHP Billiton last year cited increases in construction, electrical, instrumentation and labor costs as reasons for the delay of the expansion's start-up from 2008.

Most foreign-held metals projects in Brazil have also been affected by a strong appreciation of the Brazilian currency, the real, against the dollar, which boosted costs in dollars. The real soared over 20 percent last year.

Alumar, in Sao Luis in the northeastern state of Maranhao, is adding 2.1 million tonnes a year of alumina capacity to its current annual output of around 1.4 million tonnes.

The extra output is mainly for exports, while the refinery's production now is destined for the Alumar primary aluminum smelter, located alongside.

Last month, Alcoa agreed to to pay 27 million reais in environmental compensation fees for its 1.8 billion reais Juruti bauxite project to go ahead. Juruti is due to start up in August with a production capacity for 2.6 million tonnes per year bauxite and its output will feed Alumar. ($11.75 reais) (Reporting by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Still High Barriers for Aluminum Manufacturers to Overcome According to New Report

News & Observer, NC - 08-Jan-08

DUBLIN, Ireland - Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of Alumina and Aluminum Production and Processing in the US to their offering.

This industry consists of firms mainly engaged in refining bauxite into alumina, smelting alumina to produce aluminum, recovering aluminum from scrap, producing aluminum plate, sheet, foil, extrusions or other rolled and drawn aluminum products. This report covers the scope, size, disposition and growth of the industry including the key sensitivities and success factors. Also included are five year industry forecasts, growth rates and an analysis of the industry key players and their market shares.

Aluminum Vertically Down

Major technological improvements in this highly globalized, but declining industry have related to automated systems which have reduced wastage and permitted closer tolerances in rolling and cutting. Being reasonably volatile, a high degree of vertical integration amongst existing participants means a capital intensive approach. This metal might be the second most sought after in terms of versatility, but theres certainly high barriers for manufacturing to overcome.


Industry Definition

Activities (Products and Services)

Similar Industries

Demand and Supply Industries


Current Prices Table

Constant Prices Table (applicable deflator applied)

Real Growth Table

Ratio Table


Statistics Available: Revenue, Industry Gross Product, Enterprises, Establishments, Employment, Imports, Exports, Assets, Total Wages, Domestic Demand


Products and Service Segmentation

Major Market Segments

Industry Concentration

Geographic Spread


Market Size


Downstream Industries

Upstream Industries

Demand Determinants

Domestic and International Markets

Basis of Competition

Life Cycle


Barriers to Entry


Industry Assistance

Regulation and Deregulation

Cost Structure

Capital and Labor Intensity

Technology and Systems

Industry Volatility



Key Sensitivities

Key Success Factors


Major Players Market Share

Player Performance Analysis

Other Players


Current Performance Analysis with data series

Historical Performance Analysis


Industry Forecast Analysis with five year forecast data series

For more information visit

Research and Markets Laura Wood Senior Manager Fax: +353 1 4100 980

Copyright Business Wire 2008

Alcoa Sees '08 Global Aluminum Demand Up 9.6% - January 09, 2008: 06:37 PM EST


Alcoa Inc. (AA) is forecasting 9.6% growth in worldwide primary aluminum consumption this year, a slight dip from last year's projected 10% increase in consumption.

Still, consumption in North America should climb about 0.8% in 2008, according to the company, after sliding 9.5% in 2007.

The aluminum giant is forecasting a 24% increase in China's aluminum consumption this year, on the heels of an estimated 37.2% increase last year.

Alcoa Chief Executive Alain Belda called the overall aluminum market solid on a conference call with analysts Wednesday to discuss the company's fourth- quarter results.

"The U.S. economy will muddle through 2008, and Europe will have a modest growth" rate, while emerging economies should continue to be strong, he said.

Belda said all of the end markets served by Alcoa, such as the automotive and construction sectors, are expected to be up globally in 2008, even as some likely will be hobbled in North America.

In Europe, Alcoa projected 2.1% growth in primary aluminum consumption this year, compared with 3.7% growth in 2007. Not counting China, the company expects 2008 consumption to climb 2.5% in Asia, compared with 2% last year.

Shares of Alcoa rose 3.8% to $32.44 in late trading.

-By Bob Sechler, Dow Jones Newswires; 512-236-9637

NALCO signs smelter deal with Indonesia

Economic Times, India - 11 Jan, 2008, 1339 hrs IST, REUTERS

JAKARTA: State-run National Aluminium Co Ltd signed a preliminary deal with the Indonesian government on Friday for a $3.2 billion project to build an aluminium smelter and power plant on Sumatra Island.

In the first phase, NALCO plans to build the smelter with an annual capacity of 250,000 tonnes and the coal-fired power plant with the capacity to generate 750 megawatts of electricity, BL Bagra, NALCO's finance director, told reporters.

The company will double the smelter capacity to 500,000 tonnes and add another 500 MW to the power plant in the second stage, Bagra said, without specifying a timeframe. The project may start commercial operation within five years, he said after the agreement was signed. The project will need 1 million tonnes of alumina a year once it is completed. The alumina will be supplied by NALCO in India.

"We have spare capacity in India, so we will supply alumina from our plant in India," Bagra said. Bagra said the South Sumatra government has allowed the company to explore the possibility of mining coal in the province, but if there is no coal available there the provincial government will arrange supplies from Tanjung Enim coal mine operated by state coal firm PT Tambang Batubara Bukit Asam.

"There will be a long-term contract with Bukit Asam because the life of the project is 30 years," he said. NALCO's project would be another fresh investment in aluminium processing in the country. In September last year, Indonesian state miner PT Aneka Tambang Tbk and Russia's United Company RUSAL signed a deal worth up to $1.4 billion to construct a bauxite and alumina complex on the island of Borneo.

NALCO owns bauxite mine with annual production of 4.8 million tonnes per year and alumina processing with output of 1.575 million tonnes per year. The company also owns an aluminium smelter, producing 345,000 tonnes of aluminium.

Nalco India signs MOU to build aluminum plants

Jakarta Post, Indonesia - Jan 12, 2008

India-based National Aluminum Company (Nalco) plans to build aluminum smelting and coal-fired power plants in South Sumatra with an investment of US$3.4 billion, to strengthen its market distribution in Asia.

Nalco is now preparing a feasibility study on the establishment of the plants after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Friday with the South Sumatra administration, said Ansari Bukhari, director general of Metal, Machinery Textile and Miscellaneous Industries at the Industry Ministry.

The MOU was signed at the ministry by Nalco finance director B.L. Bagra and South Sumatra vice governor H. Mahyuddin NS.

"We choose Indonesia because of the favorable government, availability of coal and strategic market distribution," said Bagra.

He said the aluminum smelter would produce 250,000 tons of aluminum ingot per year and the power plants would have a generation capacity of 750 megawatts.

The two plants would be constructed on an area of around 1,000 hectares in Musi Banyuasin region in South Sumatra.

The aluminum smelter would procure alumina as intermediate material from Nalco's plant in India, while the power plant would procure coal from PT Tambang Batu Bara Bukit Asam's mine in South Sumatra.

The 27-year-old Indian company operates a mine in India with an annual capacity of 4.8 million tons of bauxite (a raw material for alumina production), an aluminum refinery with a capacity of 1.575 million tons per year and an aluminum smelter with a capacity of 345,000 tons.

The company expanded those facilities to increase its capacity to 6.3 million tons of bauxite, 2.1 million tons of alumina and 460,000 tons of aluminum ingots.

Bagra said the production of the smelting plant would be prioritized for domestic sales in Indonesia and the remainder would be exported to Japan, China and Taiwan, his company's strongest markets in Asia.

Ansari said there was a shortage in aluminum supply in the country, which currently had 75 aluminum companies.

According to the data given by director for metal industry I Gusti Putu Suryawirawan, last year's national consumption for aluminum ingot was 425,000 tons while the production capacity was 312,000 tons, resulting in aluminum import of 290,000 tons.

Ansari said the province government's main challenges were to improve infrastructure like roads and railway tracks connecting Nalco's project and the coal mine and harbor to support the company's operation.

The company is controlled by the Indian government. (ind)

ABB supplies automation for aluminum smelter in UAE (press release), MN - January 10, 2008

Baden, Switzerland, January 10, 2008 – ABB won a $30-million contract from Emirates Aluminum Company (EMAL) to supply a 220kV Gas Insulated Substation, automation and protection systems for a new aluminum smelter near Abu Dhabi. The order was booked during the third quarter of 2007.

The new smelter will be located in Al Taweelah, close to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Initial start-up capacity in 2010 will be 700,000 tons per year; when completed, the smelter will have a total annual capacity of 1.4 million tons, making it the largest single site aluminum smelter in the world. This smelter project represents Abu Dhabi's entry into the global aluminum industry.

ABB’s scope of supply during the first construction phase includes a 220kV Gas Insulated Substation to provide efficient, reliable power to the new smelter. ABB has more than 40 years of experience with High Voltage Gas Insulated Substations; these substations have a smaller footprint and lower operating and maintenance costs than traditional solutions. The delivery also includes System 800xA for process control, as well as the substation automation system.

"By combining standard ABB products and systems with our industry-specific knowledge, we have established a strong track record for meeting customers’ needs in terms of productivity, reliability and energy efficiency," said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division. "This important project illustrates the broad range of technologies and solutions we offer our customers in all industries to help them be competitive and successful."

SNC-Lavalin International, in joint venture with Worley Parsons, will manage the project; the group is also responsible for engineering, procurement, and construction.

ABB’s Process Automation division delivers integrated solutions for control, plant optimization, and industry-specific application knowledge and services to help process industry customers worldwide meet their critical business needs in the areas of operational profitability, capital productivity, risk management and global responsibility. These industries include oil and gas, power, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, metals, minerals, marine and turbocharging.

ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 110,000 people.

Request more information Phone Inquiry: 262-785-3200

Aluminum Supply to Japan Disrupted, Showa Denko Says (Update1)

Bloomberg - Jan 11, 2008

By Aya Takada

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Industria Venezolana de Aluminio, Venezuela's largest state aluminum smelter, didn't ship metal to Japan in December for the second time in five months as talks on a new supply contract stalled, Showa Denko K.K. said.

Japanese companies are entitled to receive aluminum from Venalum, as the producer is known, as they own shares in the company, said Kyosuke Okano, general manager at the metal center of Showa Denko, the biggest Japanese shareholder. The smelter also skipped an August shipment, Okano said in a Tokyo interview.

The missed deliveries forced Japanese processors to find alternative supplies and depleted stockpiles of the metal at the nation's ports to their lowest in at least 13 years. Venalum shipped 15,000 tons every two months to Japan, Asia's largest aluminum importer, under the previous supply deal.

``We want to agree on a contract with the producer as soon as possible,'' Okano said. Showa Denko, a metal fabricator, represents the Japanese shareholders in supply talks.

Maxwell Martinez, head of sales at Venalum in Ciudad Guayana, didn't respond to two calls seeking comment and an e-mail with specific questions this week. A spokeswoman said she couldn't comment and declined to give her name, citing company policy.

Shipments were disrupted after Venalum asked Japanese companies to pay rising shipping costs. The smelter previously paid the freight charges.

Shipping Costs

Global shipping costs have soared on raw-material demand led by China and on a shortage of vessels. The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of transporting commodities by sea, reached a record close of 11,039 on Nov. 13.

Venalum was established in 1973 as a joint venture to produce aluminum using Venezuela's natural resources and labor, with funds and technology from the Japanese consortium.

The company is 20 percent owned by Showa Denko and five other Japanese companies. The remaining 80 percent is held by a subsidiary of Corp. Venezolana de Guayana, the holding company that owns Venezuela's state aluminum and steel companies. Marubeni Corp. is the only Japanese shareholder that does not receive metal from Venalum. Other shareholders are Kobe Steel Ltd., Sumitomo Chemical Co., Mitsubishi Materials Corp., and Mitsubishi Aluminum Co. Spokesmen for the companies said Showa Denko represented them in the contract talks.

After the previous contract expired in March, 2006, Venalum continued to make shipments every two months to Japan under so- called tentative sales terms until June last year.

Resource Rich

Resource-rich countries such as Venezuela and Russia are implementing policies that give them a higher share of revenue through an increased role in national companies. This has forced some international companies to renegotiate with governments.

Japanese companies invest in aluminum smelters overseas because of high electricity costs in Japan, where only one smelter operates. Imports of refined aluminum totaled 1.9 million tons in 2006, according to the Ministry of Finance. Australia was the largest supplier and Venezuela ranked fifth.

Venalum, which supplied about 90,000 tons a year to Japan under the previous contract, has annual production capacity of 430,000 tons of aluminum a year. The company also suspended aluminum shipments to Japan for nine months from April 2002 because of a failure to renew a contract, Okano said.

Aluminum for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange was little changed at $2,489 a ton at 3:51 p.m. in Tokyo.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aya Takada in Tokyo at

SGL Carbon to invest 200 mln eur in expansion of Malaysian plant

Forbes, NY 01.11.08, 2:48 AM ET

WIESBADEN (Thomson Financial) - SGL Carbon AG said it will invest about 200 mln eur in the expansion of its Malaysian graphite electrode plant, which is currently being built.

The company will build an additional grassroot graphitised cathode plant which will transform the site into a fully-integrated carbon and graphite hub, the company said in a statement.

'With the new Malaysian cathode plant, SGL Group is accelerating the already announced capacity expansion for this high performance material in aluminum smelters,' chief executive Robert Koehler said.

The total investment includes the initial 50 mln eur which have already been announced in connection with the graphite electrode plant in March 2007.

The combined plant will be completed in early 2011 with an overall capacity for graphite electrodes and cathodes of 60,000 metric tons.

UPDATE 2-Guinea CBG targets record 13.5 mln T bauxite in 08

Reuters - Jan 10, 2008

By Saliou Samb

CONAKRY, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The world's biggest bauxite exporter, Guinea's Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG), aims to produce a record 13.5 million tonnes of bauxite this year, up from 12.5 million in 2007, when strikes and unrest hit output.

"This year, we're well set to produce 13.5 million tonnes of bauxite. That would be a record," a senior company official in Guinea told Reuters on Thursday.

"We managed (in 2007) to produce 12.5 million tonnes despite a production stop of several consecutive days due to a general strike," the official said.

Unrest in January and February 2007 in the West African country, which came on the back of a union-led national strike, caused major disruption to shipments of bauxite, the ore used to make aluminium, hurting an already fragile economy.

At one stage during the 18-day general strike, CBG officials said the company was losing $1 million a day.

U.S. aluminium giant Alcoa (AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Canada's Alcan, which was bought by Rio Tinto (RIO.AX: Quote, Profile, Research) last year, control the Halco joint venture that owns 51 percent of CBG. The remaining stake is held by the government.

Guinea's powerful trades unions had threatened to launch an indefinite general strike from Thursday to protest against President Lansana Conte's dismissal of a minister in a consensus government formed under a deal to end last year's unrest.

But the unions suspended the threat early on Thursday following 11th-hour talks with the government in the former French colony. (Writing by Nick Tattersall; editing by Chris Johnson)

Rio Tinto and Alcan merger creates aluminum giant

Lawyers Weekly, Canada - January 18 2008

By Luigi Benetton, Toronto

Big business stories abounded in 2007, but if you equate the size of a news feature to the amount of money that traded hands during the telling, the number one blockbuster in Canada this past year – indeed, throughout Canada’s history – turned out to be the $38.1 U.S. billion takeover of Canadian corporate icon Alcan Inc. by British/Australian firm Rio Tinto.

As a whirlwind of public interest buffeted the process that produced Rio Tinto Alcan, in-house legal teams huddled in the eye of the storm with external counsel from Ogilvy Renault LLP and McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

Norm Steinberg, co-chair of Ogilvy Renault, provided guidance to Alcan throughout discussions dating back to 2005, more than two years before the takeover. That was when a long-time industry rival, New York-based Alcoa Inc., began to float the idea of a merger of equals, the consummation of which would have produced the largest aluminum company in the world.

The sheer size of the firm that would result made Alcan think twice about Alcoa’s advances. Merging the world number-one and world number-two aluminum concerns would undoubtedly trigger anti-trust radar around the world. Alcan foresaw one-to one-and-a-half years of intense regulatory review, particularly in Canada, the U.S. and the European Union.

"The results of such reviews would inevitably be the required disposition by the merged company of important assets," said Steinberg. "Oftentimes, when they make you do that, they make you dispose of your best assets and they make you sell those assets to people who have the financial and technical ability to run the assets as good competitors."

Citing their concerns, Alcan declined. But Alcoa wouldn’t take no for an answer. In May of 2007, Alcoa delivered a hostile takeover bid. So Alcan assembled a strategic committee led by Chief Legal Officer David McAusland, set up a data room and started making phone calls. Interesting discussions ensued, some of which went past simple talk and became serious negotiations. Down the home stretch, though, only two bidders were still in the running: Alcoa and Rio Tinto PLC.

Alcoa had a bid on the table, but Rio Tinto, bullish on the prospects of aluminum markets in developing economies like China, blew Alcoa’s bid out of the water with a July offer of $101.00 per share. At a 66 per cent premium, Alcoa found the bid too rich and backed off, while Alcan board members unanimously agreed to recommend the deal to shareholders.

While both are large companies, Rio Tinto, unlike Alcoa, had very few aluminum assets. "That’s why regulatory reviews were very fast and non-problematic," said Steinberg. Three short months later, Montreal’s Rio Tinto Alcan was born.

The process was far from simple. Outside interests exercised varying degrees of influence. For instance, any purchaser of Alcan would have to contend with the Quebec Continuity Agreement. When Alcan renegotiated water and hydro rights with the Quebec government late in 2006, the province, cognizant of the takeover talk, incented Alcan to build a $2 billion refinery extension in Quebec. In gratitude, Alcan pledged full corporate citizenship via gestures such as the expansion of its Montreal head office and continued support of the arts and culture.

Quebec sought this "gratitude" in a formal agreement that also stipulated protection of the province’s interests in the event of a takeover. If the buyer fails to honour the Continuity Agreement, Quebec can revoke the incentives it granted under the agreement.

Adding drama, several federal opposition politicians shouted their fears of the "hollowing-out" of Canadian corporate head offices and potential loss of sovereignty.

Bill Ainley, senior partner and an M&A specialist with Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, helped BHP Billiton during summer negotiations for Alcan prior to Rio’s bid. Ainley pointed out the current wave of consolidation in the mining industry, notably the 2006 Xstrata takeover of Falconbridge, as a partial explanation for opposition fears.

However, that transaction resulted in sizable expansion of several Canadian Falconbridge operations that Falconbridge itself couldn’t afford to fund on its own.

Ainley brushes off much of the controversy. "You can’t just pack up a mine and move it to India and fire everybody in Canada," he quipped.

For its part, the federal Conservative government assembled the Competition Policy Review Panel in July 2007. This panel will review Canada’s competition policies and its framework for foreign investment policy. The panel’s schedule calls for a report at the end of June 2008, at which point the government will hear more about how to balance the need to attract foreign investment with the need to reassure Canadians that they will continue to enjoy high-value jobs at home.

International consolidation that creates more powerful industry players fits the Darwinian order of business. However, Ainley is puzzled about the nationality of the consolidators. While Canada has historically done well at creating junior mining companies and growing them into mid-size and then large firms, Ainley noted that these big fish are often netted by foreign firms. "It’s a pity we’re not good at the fourth stage as well," Ainley said. "Why is it that a Canadian company doesn’t take on that role?"

The sheer amount of detail involved in a deal led Steinberg to note the obsessive nature mergers and acquisitions lawyers show when it comes to detail. M&A lawyers routinely synthesize information from a collection of outside advisors, including financial professionals, legal counsel and shareholder relations representatives. They then make decisions and make recommendations to the client management team and board of directors according to the vision the client has for the transaction.

"I think to do contested public M&A is the apex of a business law practice," Ainley said. "I think in most firms you start off as a young lawyer doing corporate work and you learn how corporations work really well, then you do securities work and you learn what a prospectus is, and how to raise debt and equity from the public market. Then you learn how to acquire businesses in private negotiations, where you negotiate purchase agreements and you do due diligence, and then you learn how to do public companies, negotiated mergers where you fix the problems before you announce anything. And the last thing you get to work on, the most complex thing, the most demanding thing, is a hostile, contested public takeover."

"You don’t get to negotiate solutions," Ainley said. "You just fight about it. It’s more and more the case that all the decisions that I and my colleagues make are going to get tested in court in the real short term. If you make a mistake, your client gets sued the next day by the army of litigators the other side has."

That army can be sizable. Steinberg estimates that a core team of 15 people from his firm stayed on the Rio Tinto Alcan project for the duration, while up to 50 lawyers contributed at some point.

"Complexity arose from the fact that we weren’t just dealing with one possible purchaser or one possible scenario," Steinberg said. "We were dealing with many possible scenarios with many possible parties."

"We were asked by David McAusland to break into several different teams. The teams included ourselves, people from Alcan, Alcan’s U.S. counsel, and somebody to be on top of all the different activities and all the different teams so that there’s a perspective on the whole."

Multiple scenarios, multiple groups of people, and maintaining insight into the whole situation "so that we were able to continue to advise our clients on the whole, to understand what’s going on in the different silos," are important keys to successful M&A transactions according to Steinberg.

"Our objective in having multiple scenarios reviewed was to end up with the best results for the shareholders of Alcan while taking into account the Quebec Agreement requirements and other matters as well."

While Alcan’s legal team has completed its work, further developments keep Rio Tinto’s tied to takeover considerations – mammoth Australian mining concern BHP Billiton Ltd. is currently eyeing Rio Tinto. (McCarthy representatives declined interview requests for this article.)

When does it end? Unless a deal is uncontested, the light rarely appears until the team steps out of the tunnel. "Other bidders can step in," said Ainley. "You can run into antitrust troubles. Even uncontested deals can turn hostile."

Throughout the process, M&A "utilizes all the other aspects of law you can imagine," Ainley said. "Labour law, corporate governance law, environmental law, corporate finance – you need a wide range of expertise."

From a wide range of scenarios and details, Ainley feels the trick is to find the one issue, whether it be potential anti-trust concerns, asset sales or any other facet of the deal, that will prove more vexing than the rest. "A deal is like a coat of armour," he explained. "You must find the chink. Once you get under the chink, the whole suit comes apart."

Chinese spot alumina prices rise on demands

Reuters - Mon Jan 14, 2008

Jan 14 (Reuters) - Alumina refineries in China, excluding the national champion Aluminum Corp of China Ltd (Chalco) (2600.HK: Quote, Profile, Research), have hiked the spot alumina prices by seven percent partly due to rising demand before holidays, trade sources said on Monday.

Non-Chalco refineries have been offering prices at around 4,500 yuan ($620.4) a tonne starting from last Friday, compared with 4,200 yuan a tonne early last week, they said.

The price hike came one day after India's state-run NALCO (NALU.BO: Quote, Profile, Research) sold 25,000 tonnes of alumina for $432.32 per tonne free on board. NALCO's alumina sales usually serve as a price benchmark internationally.

"Rising purchases ahead of China's Lunar New Year pushed up the alumina prices, and higher overseas prices also helped," a Shanghai-based alumina trader said. The Lunar New Year falls in early February.

Chalco (601600.SS: Quote, Profile, Research) raised its spot alumina price by 10.5 percent in mid-December after Chinese alumina prices rose 10 percent in the month. The company was offering spot alumina at 4,200 yuan a tonne currently. ($17.253 Yuan) (Reporting by Alfred Cang; editing by Michael Roddy)

Aluminum giant RusAl secures long-term electricity supplies

RIA Novosti, Russia - 14/ 01/ 2008

MOSCOW, January 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's largest aluminum producer UC RusAl has secured long-term electricity supplies to insure against the tariff hike expected after power sector reforms are concluded, a business daily reported.

Vedomosti said on Monday that the board of directors of electricity monopoly Unified Energy System of Russia (UES) approved in late 2007 the principles of signing long-term contracts on electricity supplies and approved the terms of a long-term contract between Federal Hydrogenerating company HydroOGK and United Company RusAl.

HydroOGK and UC RusAl are expected to sign a contract in 2008, the paper said.

Today only 15% of Russian electricity is sold on the market but the situation will change by 2011 when all power output will be sold at market prices. According to Economic and Trade Ministry estimates, electricity prices will rise 50% by that time, Vedomosti said.

UES shareholders voted in late October in favor of reorganizing the electricity holding to end its monopoly status. The reform is to be completed by July 1, 2008, when UES is to be liquidated.

Russia's electric power sector has undergone radical changes in recent years. The changes have been aimed at increasing the efficiency of power plants and developing the industry by attracting investment.

During the restructuring process, specialized structures have been created in place of the old vertically integrated companies.

By the end of the reforms, potentially competitive units of the industry - generation, sales and repair companies - will become mainly private and will compete with each other. However, natural monopoly functions - power transmission and dispatching - will remain state-controlled.

Chalco likely to hike aluminum prices to 4500 RMB/ton

Trading Markets (press release), CA - Tuesday, January 15, 2008

BEIJING, Jan 15, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- ACH | news | PowerRating | PR Charts -- China's largest aluminum producer Aluminum Corp. of China (Chalco, ACH.NYSE; 2600.HK; 601600.SH) is likely to hike aluminum price from current 4,200RMB/ton to 5, 400RMB/ton, said analysts.

China's minor aluminum producers adjusted up aluminum prices by seven percent or 300 RMB/ton to 4,500 RMB/ton on January 11, due to reduced supply on international market and brisk domestic demand.

Before, Indian National Aluminum Co., Ltd. lifted aluminum price from U.S. $ 403.79 to U.S. $ 432.32, which is usually seen as benchmark price on international market.

"China's aluminum price hike is fueled by international market trend, especially increased aluminum import costs," said Ge Jun of Changjiang Securities.

It's learnt that aluminum CIF stood at 4,450-4,550RMB/ton on January 14 at east China's Lianyungang Port.

According to Ge, booming domestic demand is the root for aluminum price hikes. Currently, electrolyte aluminum companies urge more supplies to stock raw materials for 2008 while aluminum production suffered setbacks due to increased power cost.

Chalco raised aluminum price by 300 RMB/ton and 400 RMB/ton on Nov. 27 and Dec. 18 of 2007 respectively, with aluminum price at 4200 RMB/ton at present.

No end seen for the weak aluminum demand from downstream end-use markets, MA - 1/17/2008

By Tom Stundza

Commodity-grade aluminum demand in North America has been relatively soft lately, says analyst Chuck Bradford at Bradford Research in New York. In fact, "conditions in the aluminum market have been ugly since the beginning of August." So, as the metalworking economy's growth rate slows in coming months, demand for aluminum-based mill products also is likely slow," says analyst Mike Gambardella at J.P. Morgan & Co. in New York.

On average, orders for aluminum mill products recorded by domestic producers during the first 10 months of 2007 are 9.3% below those of a year ago. And that's why Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst David Lipschitz in New York has a reduced $1.18/lb price average for ingot in 2008—as compared with an expected $1.21 in 2007.

Based on preliminary estimates from the Aluminum Association, aluminum supply in the U.S. and Canada, defined as domestic shipments of semi-fabricated (mill) products by domestic producers plus imports, totaled an estimated 17.7 billion lbs through the first nine months of the year, down 5.2% from the year-earlier period. After adjusting for end-use operations, actual use of mill products through September was 14.2 billion lbs, a drop of 4.3% from the first nine months of 2006.

Since the purchasing outlook for 2008 from the construction, aerospace, automotive and consumer-packaging markets isn't all that bright, market analysts expect a drop of 5% next year. So, buyers should see plentiful aluminum supply for some months with leadtimes for fabricated mill products at less than six weeks.

Meanwhile, the Metal Service Center Institute reports that U.S. service center shipments of aluminum products totaled 89,000 net tons in November, or 5.5% lower than November 2006. At press time, aluminum shipments of 1.08 million tons were down 5.2% from 2006r. U.S. aluminum product inventories of 272,200 tons are down 29.9% from a year ago and equal to a 3.1-month supply. This compares with a 4.1-month supply at the same time in 2006 and a 2.7-month supply at the end of October.

Canadian service center aluminum shipments of 9,900 tons were down 2.4% from November 2006, and year-to-date shipments of 112,500 tons are 3.1% lower than the same period in 2006. MSCI data shows Canadian aluminum inventories of 27,600 tons, down 10.3% from 2006. At current shipping rates, this represents a 2.8-month supply, compared with a three-month supply at the end of November 2006.

Despite all this, prices have increased by 42% since 2006—mostly because of speculative investment in commodity exchanges and a global 4.5% surge in purchasing. "Aluminum is clearly a commodity product," says Bradford, "with all the price risks that come with London Metal Exchange (LME) and New York Commodity Exchange (Comex) trading." Still, he and other analysts agree with Lipschitz that 2007 will be the peak in aluminum transaction prices and the 2008 ingot price average will slide somewhat. Analyst Tim Hayes at Davenport & Co. in Richmond, Va., says, for example, that "prices should remain high by historical standards."

The key question for this year's aluminum market is whether supplies of heat-treated aerospace-grade aluminum will stay tight. Bradford says it's possible because, while the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is mostly a carbon fiber plane, it also uses a large amount of Alcoa aluminum fasteners. "More importantly, smaller Boeing planes and all the Airbus planes are largely aluminum," he says, and there are a limited number of firms globally—Alcoa and Kaiser Aluminum mostly—that are able to supply the so-called hard alloys to the airline manufacturers and their suppliers.

Rio May Have to Delay South African Aluminum Smelter (Update4)

Bloomberg - Jan 17, 2008

By Antony Sguazzin

Rio Tinto Group, the company fending off a $114 billion offer from BHP Billiton Ltd., may be forced to delay a $2.7 billion South African aluminum smelter because Eskom Holdings Ltd. says it can't supply enough power.

South Africa's state-owned electricity monopoly may renegotiate a power agreement it signed with Alcan Inc., prior to that company being acquired by Rio in November, Eskom Finance Director Bongani Nqwababa said today. Rio hasn't been approached for renegotiation, Robert Valdmanis, a company spokesman in London, said in an interview.

``We might be approaching them for a review,'' Nqwababa said in an interview. ``You can't sell what you don't have.''

In November 2006, Alcan signed a 25-year power agreement with Eskom starting in 2010 to ensure supply to the planned 720,000 metric-ton-a-year smelter in the country's Eastern Cape province. The smelter, which may later be expanded to 1 million tons, would be Africa's biggest and one of the largest foreign investments ever in South Africa.

The project may become the first major casualty of the government's four-year delay in deciding how to expand power generation, and its failure to anticipate the strength of growth in the economy and demand from business. Most areas of South Africa have been without power for 2 1/2 to five hours a day this week.

Power Gap

There is currently a 1,500-megawatt gap between demand and supply, according to Eskom's Web Site. The smelter would need 1,355 megawatts of power. Alcan said in September last year that it planned to agree terms with port authorities in October and then all ``cornerstone'' agreements would be in place.

A final decision will be made in June after an engineering study has been completed, South Africa's Business Report newspaper said, citing Rio.

``We have not taken our eyes off the ball and we don't expect our partners to take their eyes off the ball either,'' Valdmanis said, adding that Rio was today reassured by Eskom that the contract would be met.

Industries that are heavy power consumers, such as aluminum and chrome smelting, should avoid planning expansions before Eskom starts building up capacity in 2013, Nqwababa said.

While Eskom's contract starts in 2010 the first phases of a planned coal-fired plant, the first major power expansion it has scheduled, is due to start up in late 2011.

`A Huge Risk'

``It's a risk, it's a huge risk'' for the nation, Colen Garrow, an economist at Brait SA, said from Johannesburg today. ``It's going to retard our economic growth.''

The government delayed a decision on expanding electricity generation by four years to 2004, while economic growth rose to 5.4 percent in 2006, the fastest rate since 1981. In the third quarter of 2007, a construction boom pushed growth to a faster- than-expected 4.7 percent on an annualized basis.

Expansions of mines and developments such as shopping malls shouldn't be affected by the power shortage, Nqwababa said.

``What I am talking about is high-profile projects of the smelter variety,'' he said.

BHP has said it's considering expanding aluminum smelters in Richards Bay, South Africa, and Maputo, Mozambique, which are supplied by Eskom. The two South African plants and one Mozambican facility have a combined capacity of about 1.5 million tons-a-year of aluminum and use 2,150 megawatts of power.

Last year, the mining company said it may build a smelter in the Democratic Republic of Congo. South Africa is the biggest ferrochrome producer and Africa's largest source of aluminum.

Eskom's total generating capacity is now 37,678 megawatts.

Ormet shuts La. terminal, smelter at full capacity

Reuters Fri Jan 18, 2008

NEW YORK, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Ormet Corp. (ORMT.PK: Quote, Profile, Research), a closely held U.S. aluminum producer based in Hannibal, Ohio, closed its Burnside, Louisiana, terminal and laid off the 30 people working there on Jan. 11, a company spokeswoman said.

Ormet said it closed the terminal to reduce overhead.

In a notice on the primary aluminum maker's Web site, Tommy Temple, vice president of alumina and engineering, said the facility had served Ormet's Burnside alumina plant, which closed in late 2006.

The terminal also provided third-party stevedoring services on the Mississippi River. But with the alumina plant closed, Temple said, there was little demand for loading and unloading ships at the terminal.

"We've entertained a number of business proposals for lease or purchase of the terminal. None have been successful," Temple said.

The Burnside property include a bulk marine terminal and a large stretch of land.

In another cost-cutting move, the spokeswoman said, Ormet recently laid off six of the 12 people working at the idled alumina plant for maintenance and upkeep.

Ormet shut the alumina plant and laid off about 250 people at the end of 2006 because of a downturn in the prices for alumina, a basic material used to make aluminum, and a rise in natural gas prices.

Separately, Ormet's spokeswoman confirmed that the Hannibal aluminum smelter was completely up and running. At full capacity, the Hannibal plant produces 260,000 tonnes of primary aluminum per year.

Rio fell 186 pence, or 4 percent, to 4,479 pence in London trading. BHP declined 57 pence, or 4.1 percent, to 1,349 pence. On a Dec. 19 conference call, Ormet Chief Executive Officer Mike Tanchuk said the company restarted the last of its smelter's six potlines on Nov. 28, and expected a full pot count in the line by the end of 2007.

Ormet's smelter was idled in 2005 following a bankruptcy filing and a prolonged labor strike. In December 2006, under new management, the smelter restarted its first potline, gradually ramping up to full capacity by the end of 2007. (Reporting by Carole Vaporean; Editing by Christian Wiessner)

To contact the reporter on this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at

Warrick County depends on aluminum plant's prosperity

Henderson Gleaner, KY - 18-Jan-2008


Click on the link below for the full article with many pictures

Power cuts hit BHP's South African aluminum smelters in January

MarketWatch - Jan. 21, 2008

By Elisabeth Behrmann

SYDNEY (MarketWatch) -- Power shortages in South Africa have curbed electricity supply to BHP Billiton Ltd.'s aluminum smelters during January, a company spokeswoman said Monday.

State-owned electricity supplier Eskom is struggling with a shortage of generating capacity, and power cuts across the country escalated last week.

Eskom warned Friday that the rotating blackouts it has instituted since Monday to reduce pressure on its network are likely to continue over the weekend and through next week.

BHP's Hillside and Bayside aluminum smelters in South Africa and the Mozal smelter in Mozambique together produced 1.163 million metric tons of aluminum in the financial year ended June 2007. There have been several instances of lower power supply, known as load shedding, last year.

The exact impact on production from power rationing wasn't immediately clear, but BHP will issue a general production report Wednesday, where the company may comment on power supply issues in South Africa, the spokeswoman said.

Eskom will meet Monday with some of the country's largest companies and will issue a statement, an Eskom spokeswoman said Friday.

The struggle to meet rising energy demand may push back some large industrial projects, local press reports said last week.

This may include a renegotiation of a power deal for Rio Tinto Ltd.'s (RTP) US$2.7 billion Coega aluminum smelter, according to an Eskom official.

-Contact: 201-938-5400

EU to phase in CO2 auctions for refinery

Reuters Mon Jan 21, 2008

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union, responding to industry pressure, will phase in auctions for greenhouse gas emissions permits for refineries and airlines from 2013 as part of a plan to combat climate change, an EU source said on Monday.

Speaking after senior European Commission officials put finishing touches to proposals to be adopted on Wednesday, the source said the power generation sector would have to buy 100 percent of emissions permits in auctions from 2013.

But in response to lobbying from governments and key industries, officials had agreed that refineries and airlines would start at a level of 20 percent of permits auctioned in 2013, with the rest issued for free, rising by 10 percent a year to reach 100 percent in 2020.

The move is part of an EU plan to cut greenhouse emissions by a fifth from 1990 levels by 2020 to fight global warming.

"The business argument generally prevailed," said a senior EU source, speaking on condition of anonymity because the proposals have not yet been formally adopted.

European oil majors Shell and BP had mounted a campaign to have their refineries spared from having to buy emissions permits at auction, arguing it would put them at a competitive disadvantage against non-European rivals.

The United States, which some call the world's biggest polluter, has so far refused to accept any binding curbs on greenhouse gas emissions.

The source confirmed an earlier Reuters report that three energy-intensive industries -- steel, aluminum and cement -- would enjoy an easier regime, receiving their quota of emissions permits for free in 2013 and being phased in more gently.

The Commission will review the situation of energy-intensive industries in 2011 in the light of whether there has been an international agreement by then to curb emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main gas blamed for global warming.

Other sectors such as fertilizers or paper and pulp will be able to apply for the status of energy-intensive industries but will have to produce evidence of competitive damage, he said.

The source said the Commission would set national targets for reducing emissions from buildings, heating and cooling and transport, not covered by the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme.

As previously reported, the wealthiest old EU member states such as Ireland will have to cut CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels, while the poorest new members, Bulgaria and Romania, will be allowed to increase emissions by 20 and 19 percent respectively to enable an economic catch-up.

Germany will have to cut non-ETS emissions by 14 percent and Sweden by 17 percent, the source said.

On renewable energy sources, the Commission will set national targets for the level of power generation to be drawn from wind, wave, solar and hydro-electric sources and biomass by 2020, varying according to countries' wealth and starting point.

Thus Sweden will have the highest target with 49 percent, while Romania will have a goal of 24 percent of power from renewables, Germany 18 percent, Ireland and Bulgaria 16 percent.

(writing by Paul Taylor, editing by John Picinich)

Aluminum Seen Falling

The Moscow Times, Russia - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 / Updated Moscow Time

SHANGHAI -- Aluminum prices may decline for a second straight year on rising global supplies led by China, according to CRU International.

Prices of three-month futures on the London Metal Exchange may average 11 percent lower this year to $2,361 a ton, after falling 14 percent in 2007, Wan Ling, a metals and mining researcher at CRU, said at a Shanghai forum on Jan. 19.

Rising electricity and materials costs will limit the decline, the second loss in six years, she said. (Bloomberg)

Multi-billion Bauxite Refinery For Ghana

Modern Ghana, Ghana - Business/Finance - Wed, 23 Jan 2008

A CANADIAN bauxite giant, Alcan Bauxite and Alumina, will establish a multi-billion refinery at Sekondi in the Western Region to add value to Ghana’s Bauxite. The project is geared toward improving the employment situation in the area.

Jacynthe Cote, President and Chief Executive Officer of the company disclosed this when she paid a courtesy call on President Kufuor at the Castle, Osu.

President Kufuor welcomed the news and expressed the hope that it would provide employment for the youth.

He said Alcan had been working in the country for over 60 years and was involved in bauxite extraction at Awaso in the Western Region.

This activity, he said, had added value to the nation’s bauxite. "We now know the company is not only into refining, but also in the mining sector."

The President called for a partnership that would enhance the development of a better relationship between Ghana and the company.

Ms Cote said the site for the project and finances were available and stressed that Alcan was about to strike. She however declined to specify the actual date for the commencement of the project.

"The industry is good and Ghana has quality mineral resources. The world is going to be in dire need of aluminum," she said.

For over 60years, Alcan, according to Ms Cote, had operated and enjoyed its partnership with Ghana in the extraction of bauxite.

She commended the government for its perseverance in pursuing all available avenues to enhance the development of Ghana.

"We congratulate you on your recent discovery of oil in Ghana which is good news for Ghana and Africa as a whole," she added.

In another development, the Executive Chairman of ICB Global Financial Holdings, the mother company of International Commercial Bank (ICB), Mr Tun Daim Zainnuddin, yesterday commended Government and the people of Ghana for the discovery of oil in the country when he paid a courtesy call on the President at the Castle, Osu.

President Kufuor noted that Ghana was committed to understudying other countries that were able to explore its natural resources and use it more holistically towards national development.

"Ghana wants the oil discovery to be a blessing to the people as we explore for more development projects."

By Henrietta Abayie

China Minmetals enters Fortune 500

China Knowledge Online, Singapore - Jan. 24, 2008

China Minmetals, the nation's major metal producer, was ranked No. 435 among the Fortune 500 companies in 2007, market sources reported.

The turnover and profits of China Minmetals reached US$21.8 billion and RMB 6.8 billion in 2007. Its resource reserves include 604 million tons of iron ore, 250 million tons of coke and 410,000 tons of tungsten. It can supply annually 11 million tons of rolled steel, 4.1 million tons of coal, 800,000 tons of coke, 145,000 tons of electrolytic copper and 700,000 tons of alumina.

In the field of ferrous metal, China Minmetals remained the top steel trader of the nation and sped up the development of its upstream industrial chain. In the iron exploration in Anhui province, it has controlled 100 million tons of magnetite and 30 million tons of pyrite.

In the field of nonferrous metal, China Minmetals cooperated with Jiangxi Copper Corp<600362> to purchase 100% stake of Northern Peru Copper Corp (Canada), and set up joint venture with the U.S. Century Aluminum Corp in Jamaica to acquire the mining right for 150 million tons of bauxite. Its alumina project in Guangxi Province has annual output of 400,000 tons, which is the country's largest alumina project in both the scale and the investment.

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Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) Increases High-Purity Aluminum Production Capacity

Japan Corporate News (press release), Japan - Jan 25, 2008

Tokyo, Japan, Jan 25, 2008 - (JCN Newswire) - Showa Denko Sakai Aluminum K.K. (SSK), a consolidated subsidiary of Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) based in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, has completed construction of a new aluminum refining line, increasing its high-purity aluminum slab production capacity from 1,000 tons a month to 1,600 tons a month. SSK rolls the slabs - with purity as high as 99.99% - into high-purity aluminum foils, which are then marketed by SDK to electrolytic capacitor manufacturers.

With the completion of the new refining line, SSK has increased its rate of internal procurement of high-purity aluminum slabs from around 70% to 90%. SSK's high-purity aluminum foil production capacity has also increased from 1,500 tons a month to more than 1,800 tons a month. SDK intends to strengthen its competitive position in the high-purity aluminum foils business by taking advantage of the expanded capacity at SSK and further improving the product quality.

Demand for aluminum electrolytic capacitors has increased substantially in recent years for use in electric appliances such as flat-panel TVs and automotive parts, resulting in higher demand for high-purity aluminum foils. In and after the third quarter 2007, in particular, high-purity aluminum foil production in Japan has continued to exceed 4,000 tons a month. The market is expected to grow at an annual rate of around 10% owing to such factors as the Beijing Olympics to be held this summer and increased demand for hybrid cars.

Under the "Passion Project" consolidated business plan, which runs from 2006 through 2008, SDK is proceeding with structural reforms of its aluminum business by expanding high-value product lines, such as aluminum cylinders for laser printers. In the area of high-purity aluminum foils for electrolytic capacitors, SDK is the industry leader both in Japan and the international market. We will continue to meet customer expectations through further capacity expansion in a timely manner and the provision of high-quality product.

Credit woes may worsen mine undersupply, scuttle high-risk projects – Lehman

Mining Weekly, South Africa - 25 Jan 08

Extract only To read the full article go here


Lehman describes aluminium as this cycle’s base-metal laggard. Despite global aluminium demand increasing by 9%-plus from 2006 to 2007, its price has been range-bound between $1,06/lb and $1,33/lb. Lehman cites the reason as the abundance of bauxite resources in low-risk Australia, bauxite mining’s technically unchallenging nature and the quick coming on line of new alumina refining and aluminium smelting capacity.

It notes that most of the world’s aluminium producers are racing to get to the bottom of the cost curve by building new smelting capa-city in the Middle East and Iceland, where there are large volumes of cheap, stranded energy. Chinese production increased by 35% year-on-year and Chinese aluminium smelters are the marginal producers. Lehman says that if prices go far above $1,30/lb, a supply-side response could drive them down. Its below-consensus aluminium price forecast for 2008 is $1,10/lb.

Kazakhstan plans new aluminium, steel plants

Reuters - Jan 23, 2008

ASTANA, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan plans to build a new aluminium smelter and, separately, a $1.2 billion steel plant, senior industry officials said on Wednesday.

Kazakhstan operates one aluminium smelter, launched in December last year, as well as a steel plant run by Arcelor Mittal (MT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) (ISPA.AS: Quote, Profile, Research), the world's largest steel maker.

Industry and Trade Minister Galym Orazbakov told an industry meeting that Kazakhstan wanted to attract foreign investment for the aluminium project. He said its start was slated for 2008-2009 but did not say how much it would cost.

"It's too early to talk about it (cost)," he later told reporters, adding that it would be built in the bauxite-rich region of Kostanai in the north of the Central Asia state.

"We have discussed it with investors from the Arab world, they have shown interest in the project," he added without elaborating.

Metals major Eurasian Natural Resources Corp ENRC.L opened a $900 million aluminium smelter -- the country's first -- in December. It is expected to reach full capacity of 250,000 tonnes a year by 2011.

Separately, the Sokolov-Sarbai Mining and Production Union, which is part of the ENRC, said it would invest $1.2 billion to build a new steel products plant in Kazakhstsan.

Vladimir Shcherba, Sokolov's vice-president, told Reuters its construction was likely to start as soon as at the end of this year but did not say where. (Reporting by Raushan Nurshayeva; Writing by Maria Golovnina, Editing by Peter Blackburn)

South Africa Declares Electricity Emergency Following Sweeping Outages

FOXNews - Friday, January 25, 2008

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Leading South African gold and platinum mines stopped production Friday as the government declared a national electricity emergency in the face of power outages that have caused chaos and threatened to choke economic growth.

The government said there was no foreseeable end to the electricity shortages that have spilled over the nation's borders into Botswana and Namibia, which rely heavily on South African energy exports.

"The unprecedented, unplanned power outages must now be treated as a national electricity emergency situation that has to be addressed with urgent, vigorous and coordinated actions," Public Enterprise Minister Alec Erwin told journalists after a Cabinet meeting.

"We are viewing the next two years as being critical," he said, as government officials unveiled a package of measures, including rationing, price hikes and a massive push for alternative energy.

The crisis reached new heights Friday when mining companies including AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. and Gold Fields Ltd. suspended all but emergency operations on some of the world's largest gold mines out of fear that power cuts would trap workers underground. The stoppage may add up to hundreds of millions in losses for one of South Africa's most important industries and fracture investor confidence that is already rattled.

Gold Fields — whose South African operations produce 7,000 ounces of gold per day — said state utility Eskom had warned the disruption could last up to four weeks. Eskom asked mines to cut electricity consumption by 60 percent per month.

The cutbacks come as gold hit record highs this month.

The trade union Solidarity published a "Black Friday scorecard" of worst hit industries. Topping the list was gold, platinum and coal mining. It said that BHP Billitons manganese mines were closed and electricity supplies to three aluminum smelters was discontinued. Samancor Chrome, the worlds second largest ferrochrome producer, is planning to close its plants, it said. Ferrochrome is used to produce stainless steel and most of that is produced in South Africa.

Rolling blackouts in South Africa have begun to arrive without warning.

Nearly forty people were trapped in a cable car in high winds for two hours this week at Table Mountain, a tourist destination that overlooks Cape Town.

Some climbed through the roof to escape to a loading dock more than 2,000 feet above ground. Hundreds more were stranded at the top of the mountain.

"The knock-on effect on Cape Town is immeasurable," said Simon Grindrod, a Cape Town city councilor. "A headline today is lost business tomorrow."

The South African Tourism Services Association said the crisis is jeopardizing soccer's World Cup games, to be held in South Africa in 2010.

Erwin said measures taken over the next two years would help ease pressure on supply ahead of the World Cup.

"There is no threat to the successful holding of the event," he said.

The government and Eskom say South Africa's economic growth has outstripped energy supplies and the nation must cut use by 10 percent to 15 percent. The government has acknowledged for the first time it shares some blame for ignoring a 1998 Eskom report warning of a serious energy crisis within 10 years. The government approved a new power station building program in 2004.

Erwin said the government, however, will not freeze planned electricity-gobbling industrial projects, like a big new aluminum smelter, as had been suggested by Eskom.

Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica said South Africa, which has until now relied heavily on its cheap and abundant coal for electricity, would put more effort into developing renewable energy. The government was also considering emergency measures to compel South African mines to supply Eskom with more and better coal rather than exporting it.

"If they don't give us the coal, they don't get the electricity," said Erwin.

Minister Sonjica said the government is studying countries like Brazil and Cuba that have been forced to ration energy. South Africa is now considering quotas, with fines for exceeding allotted energy use, Sonjica said.

Sonjica also said the government hoped that a million solar water heaters would be installed in the next three years and that measures were being considered to oblige hotels, hospitals and other institutions to use solar power.

Traffic lights may soon rely on solar power as well. Cape Town has pioneered a successful experiment, helping to minimize traffic snarl-ups now being caused by signal failures.

Electricity prices, which are expected to rise 14 percent this year, will likely continue to rise by a similar margin for the foreseeable future, said Erwin.

China's Snowstorms Halt Fuel Shipment, Flights, Power (Update2)

Bloomberg Jan. 28 2008

By Zhang Dingmin and Ying Lou

China, the world's biggest energy user after the U.S., said the heaviest snowstorms in decades have disrupted coal shipments, causing ``very serious'' power shortages in half of the country and delaying flights.

China, which generates 78 percent of electricity with coal, shut 5 percent of the country's coal-fired power plants after snowstorms delayed fuel deliveries, making it ``difficult'' to stabilize energy supplies, the National Development and Reform Commission said today. The problem may persist in some regions throughout the year, the country's top planning agency said.

China's fifth year of power shortages may add pressure on Premier Wen Jiabao to lift caps on coal, gasoline and electricity prices, undermining efforts to curb the worst inflation in 11 years. Snowstorms, which grounded flights in Shanghai and closed eastern Chinese highways, may disrupt travel plans during next week's Lunar New Year, when more than 2 billion trips are made.

``Energy shortages and transportation bottlenecks are likely to aggravate inflation pressures in China in the short term,'' Goldman Sachs Group Inc's senior economist Liang Hong said today. ``These latest developments will likely push up near-term CPI inflation to levels that will be very uncomfortable for policy makers and China's investors.''

`Enormous' Shortage

Inflation was near an 11-year high last month at 6.5 percent, forcing the Chinese central bank to raise interest rates six times last year to curb spending. The government also capped the prices of food, public transport and ordered banks to reduce their lending.

China's 2007 electricity demand jumped 14 percent, as the fastest economic growth in 13 years spurred new factories, shopping malls and offices. Power shortages have affected 17 Chinese provinces, or half of the country, the Chinese planning commission's spokesman Zhu Hongren said today. Closures of coal- fired power plants forced 13 provinces to ration power, figures from State Grid Corp. of China showed on Jan. 23.

``The shortage is close to 39.9 million kilowatt hours, an enormous number,'' Zhu said today in Beijing. ``The main cause is the shortage of coal. Power plants are all working against the clock to get more coal delivered.''

To ease the shortage, coal shipments were increased by 2,000 to 36,000 train carriages a day on Jan. 26, Railway Minister Liu Zhijun said at a conference yesterday, according to minutes released by the government. That's 30 percent more than the increase at about the same time last year, he said.

Dwindling Stockpiles

Coal stockpiles at 90 power plants in central and northern China have dropped below the ``caution line'' of three days' requirements, State Grid said. The shortage may ease after the Lunar New Year holidays, which start on Feb. 7, when weather conditions may improve according to forecasts, Li Xiaochao, spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics, said on Jan. 24.

``Other factors also contributed to the shortage, namely the various government controls of energy prices and transport bottlenecks,'' said Goldman's Liang. ``Bringing down inflation appears to be top of the macro policy agenda this year. Bad weather and bad policy choices have made this goal even more difficult to attain.''

China's coal production rose 9.4 percent last year to 2.3 billion tons, the statistics bureau said on Jan. 25. Exports of the fuel dropped 16 percent and imports jumped 33 percent in 2007, leaving the nation with 2 million tons of net exports, according to customs data.

Effects of Snowstorms

Snowstorms in central China's Hunan, Guizhou, Anhui and Jiangxi provinces were the worst in decades, affecting industrial production, the China Meteorological Administration said.

Electricity shortage may force smelters to cut their aluminum production by up to 200,000 tons, Beijing Antaike Information Development Co.'s chief analyst Wang Feihong said.

``About 800,000 metric tons of annual aluminum production capacity might be affected,'' Wang said in a phone interview today in Beijing. ``Assuming that the power shortages last three months, aluminum output this year will be 200,000 tons less than our earlier forecast.''

Zhuzhou Smelter Group Co., China's largest zinc smelter, had cut production since mid-January because of power shortages, said the company's trading managing director Wang Jianjun.

Snow delayed up to 35 percent of flights from two airports in Shanghai, China's financial hub, the airfields' operator said. At the railway station in Guangzhou, southern China's largest city near Hong Kong, 170,000 passengers were stranded for 24 hours yesterday after snowstorms in northern China threw the train schedule into chaos, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Jiangsu Expressway Co., the biggest operator of toll highways in eastern China, said it's allowing only trucks to get on to roads to reduce the potential for accidents and fatalities, according to a statement on its Web site.

Damaged Power Lines

Power lines linking the Three Gorges hydroelectric dam in central China's Hubei province to Shanghai were damaged in snowstorms, Xinhua said today, without saying when the lines were expected to be repaired.

``The difficulty in ensuring stable supplies of coal, electricity, oil and transportation is increasing,'' the planning commission's Zhu said. ``Coal supplies in China will rise in 2008 and the government will ensure shipments of fuel and natural gas.''

To contact the reporters on this story: Zhang Dingmin in Beijing at ; Ying Lou in Hong Kong at

Alcoa to study building a smelter in Brunei

Forbes 01.29.08

NEW YORK (Thomson Financial) - Alcoa Inc. Tuesday said it had signed a 12-month memorandum of understanding with the Brunei Economic Development Board to study the building of a gas-powered aluminum smelter in Brunei Darussalam.

Under the terms of the memorandum, Alcoa (nyse: AA - news - people ) and the board will have two phases of study, to determine the optimum scope and dimensions of the proposed facility and to assess the environmental and social impact of the facility. The second phase will only occur if the parties agree that further study is necessary. No completion date has been set for either phase.

The memorandum supplements a similar memorandum that was signed in 2005, and supersedes an original one signed in 2003.

Ryan Vlastelica

Alcoa Signs MOU With Brunei Economic Development Board

RTT News, NY 1/29/2008

Alcoa (AA) announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Brunei Economic Development Board to enable more detailed studies into the feasibility of establishing a modern, gas-powered aluminum smelter in Brunei Darussalam.

The company noted that as per the terms of the 2008 deal, both the companies would embark on the first of two distinct phases of study.

Jon Erik Reinhardsen, Alcoa Vice President and President of Alcoa's Global Primary Products Growth said, "We have been working with the BEDB since 2003 and admire the careful and diligent process that they are leading in order to assist the government in determining the feasibility of establishing a modern aluminum facility in Brunei Darussalam. We are fully committed to working through this process with the BEDB and delivering studies that enable sound, sustainable decisions to be taken."

All Alcan smelter modernization conditions now met

Kitimat Northern Sentinel - January 29, 2008

By Malcolm Baxter

All three conditions set by Rio Tinto-Alcan for the Kitimat aluminum smelter modernization have now been met.

The BC Utilities Commission this afternoon released its decision on the Electricity Purchase Agreement between Alcan and BC Hydro.

And it approved the deal without conditions.

"The Commission accepts the approach and objectives of BC Hydro to the bilateral negotiations with Alcan. The objectives were to obtain the best possible deal for BC Hydro and its ratepayers and to ensure the concerns raised by the Commission in the LTEPA+ Decision were dealt with," the decision notes.

The Commission also accepted the EPA is cost-effective and is in the public interest.

While it was concerned about some of the assumptions BC Hydro had made in assessing the benefits of the deal, " the Commission concludes the net benefits to ratepayers, calculated by comparing the cost of the 2007 EPA to other resource alternatives, are still positive under most reasonable scenarios."

While noting some intervenors - the Alcan smelter union, BC Old Age Pensioners Organization and municipality of Kitimat - felt the EPA should not approved without assurances, if not a commitment, that Alcan will proceed with the Modernization Project, "The Commission concludes that the decision as to whether or not to proceed with the Modernization Project rests with the Board of Directors of Rio Tinto."

Saying Alcan's evidence suggested the Modernization Project is more likely to be completed with acceptance of the 2007 EPA than any of the alternatives proposed by intervenors, the Commission said that, in such circumstances, it could not conclude that "the 2007 EPA is either at the expense of, or to the benefit of, the Modernization Project.

"For the same reason, the Commission Panel cannot conclude that acceptance of the 2007 EPA has probable economic effects on Kitimat or the surrounding communities."

Ormet Announces Several Recent Developments

Ad-Hoc-News (Pressemitteilung), Germany 29-Jan-2008


Ormet Corporation, a top U.S. producer of aluminum, today announced several items of interest.

Ormet's sixth and final potline was energized as planned on November 28, 2007.

'The restart was successful with no injuries and only two failures of restarted pots,' said Ormet's CEO Mike Tanchuk. 'The restart had no negative effect on the other operating lines and in fact, process stability, production and metal purity all improved plant-wide during the restart.'

The sixth potline is now fully operational with steadily improving metal grades while the plant is operating at 90 percent of capacity with metal purity significantly above historical performance. 'Plant efficiency is at its historical best levels,' added Tanchuk.

Ormet officials also announced that they have finalized a Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation waiver for the 2006 contribution, which was to be funded in 2007, on January 23, 2008 and completed related documents that resulted in a reduction of reserves required by the banks giving Ormet an additional net $15 million of availability under its bank lines. Concurrently, Ormet also contributed an additional $3 million to the pension funds.

Ormet also announced relevant developments in its business:

The company has secured sales contracts for 98 percent and approximately 50 percent of metal units at market prices for 2008 and 2009, respectively.

Holding operations at Ormet's Burnside Terminal were recently downsized resulting in a further reduction of holding costs by $3 million after severance costs in 2008.

Ormet has placed a hedge for 12,500 metric tonnes of aluminum per month for February through December 2008, and 5,000 metric tonnes per month for 2009. Additionally, alumina contracts tied to the London Metals Exchange are now in place for 2008 that equates to an additional 28 percent of a natural hedge.

The United States Bankruptcy Court Southern District of Ohio Eastern Division approved the 9019 motion on January 23, 2008. 690,000 Shares will be issued after 11 days with a reservation of shares for a group of 11 asbestos and hearing loss cases that did not enter into releases. The company is awaiting approvals before releasing the shares that will be reserved.

Ormet has accepted the resignation of Peter Cecchini from his position on the board of directors. He is leaving for personal reasons.

As of January 28, the company's liquidity was $20 million.

The USWA and the company have agreed to defer up to $7.1 million in VEBA trust contributions during 2008 until 2010 and 2011.

Volgograd Aluminum Plant Invests RUR400 Million into Ecological Projects

Financial Information Service(Registration), Russia - 29.01.08

VOLGOGRAD, January 29. /FIS/ The program aiming the reduction of contaminants emissions was developed for 2005-2009 and included the construction and assembling of the three-series 'dry' gas purification unit, introduction of 'dry' anode technology, mounting of the input ventilation of buildings No. 3 and No. 4 of the electrolysis works, reconstruction of horizontal electric filters of the anode mass dust and gas purification system. The implementation of the ecological program allowed the plant to reduce emissions by 680 tons per annum.

Source: IIS Metal Supplies and Sales.--

UC RUSAL boosts aluminum output

RosBusinessConsulting, 29.01.2008,

Moscow 13:21:29.United Company RUSAL (UC RUSAL) increased aluminum production by 6 percent to 4.2m tonnes in 2007, the press office of the Russian aluminum giant reported today. Alumina output exceeded 11.3m tonnes, which is 5.1 percent greater than in 2006. Output of high added-value casthouse products grew 16 percent to almost 2.1m tonnes. Foil production expanded by 28 percent to 72,059 tonnes.

According to the company's management, the situation on the global aluminum market is expected to become less favorable for UC RUSAL. As a result, production costs are likely to go up, while demand for aluminum on the domestic market, as well as by foreign partners, is anticipated to decrease.

China's aluminum production may drop by 400,000 tons

Tehran Times, Iran - Thursday, January 31, 2008

SHANGHAI (Bloomberg) -- Aluminum production in China, the world's largest producer and consumer, may fall 33 percent more than previously estimated as snowstorms persist and spread, according to CRU International Ltd.

Losses may rise to 400,000 metric tons, up from Tuesday's estimate of 300,000 tons, Wan Ling, a metals and mining researcher at CRU, said by telephone from Beijing on Wednesday.

Storms that swept central China were the worst in decades, delaying deliveries of coal to power stations, damaging crops and causing metal producers to reduce capacity. More blizzards are forecast in southwestern China until Feb. 6, according to the National Meteorological Office.

About 1.3 million tons of capacity, up from Tuesday’s estimate of 1 million tons, "were known to have halted or be about to halt" because of cold weather and power cuts, said Wan. More capacity will likely be affected given aluminum-making is extremely electricity-consuming, she said.

It would take "two or three months" for the plants to resume running, Wan said.

The known affected capacities are in Guizhou, Hunan, Sichuan, Yunnan and Shanxi provinces, Wan said. All the 700,000 tons in Guizhou were halted, she said.

Henan, China's biggest aluminum-making province with 3 million tons of capacity, has so far stayed immune because most producers have their own power plants, she added.

China last year produced 12.3 million tons of the lightweight metal, used in car and plane parts, according to data from the statistics bureau. The Asian nation was earlier forecast by Beijing Antaike Information Development Co. to produce 15.6 million tons of aluminum this year, prior to the weather-induced reduction.

Alumina Says Alumar Project Capex Higher Due To Currency - January 30, 2008: 07:47 PM EST

MELBOURNE -(Dow Jones)- Alumina Ltd. (AWC.AU) said Thursday the cost of the Alumar expansion project in Brazil has risen due to the appreciation of the Brazilian real.

The miner said that together with joint venture partner Alcoa Inc. (AA) its share of the costs of the Alumar refinery expansion and the development of the new Juruti bauxite mine have risen to US$2.5 billion from previous estimates of US$2.3 billion.

Alumina Chief Executive John Marlay also told reporters global demand for aluminum is forecast to grow strongly in 2008, but that a slowdown in the U.S. could affect demand for the metal.

-By Alex Wilson, Dow Jones Newswires; 61-3-9671-4313;

Uribe: Brazil's Vale to invest billions in Colombia (Pressemitteilung), Austria - 2008-01-30

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - Brazil's Vale, the world's largest iron ore miner, will invest more than US$5.9 billion (¤4 billion) in Colombia, building an aluminum plant, a power generator and a port, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said Wednesday.

In a speech at a business conference in Bogota, Uribe said he had met with Vale officials

Tuesday to discuss plans to invest US$3.5 billion (¤2.4 billion) in an aluminum plant and as much as US$2.4 billion (¤1.6 billion) in a 1,500 megawatt power generation plant. The company is also set to build a port for an unspecified amount.

Uribe gave no further details on the planned investments, and Vale declined comment.

Companhia Vale do Rio Doce SA has been increasingly looking for investment opportunities abroad. Earlier this month, Vale said it was in talks for a possible purchase of Swiss mining company Xstrata PLC.

With violence down and the rate of kidnapping the lowest its been in years, foreign companies have been looking for deals in Colombia, Latin America's third most populous nation.

Last year, the inflow of dollars in foreign direct investment hit a record high US$6.77 billion (¤4.6 billion), 71 percent more than in 2006, according to the country's central bank.

Rio Tinto Alcan updates aluminium plant

The West Australian, Australia - 31st January 2008, 9:45 WST

Rio Tinto Alcan has announced a $US90 million ($A101.5 million) investment in the modernisation of its Lochaber aluminium production plant in Scotland.

The modernisation project is scheduled to begin next year and should be completed by 2012.

It will involve the installation of new hydroelectric turbo-generators to power the smelter.

Rio Tinto Alcan primary metal president Jacynthe Côté said the investment not only secured the plant's future but demonstrated the company's commitment to improving energy efficiency, increasing the usage of fully renewable energy and in turn, its levels of production.

Ms Côté said 36 per cent of the company's smelter energy needs were met by self-generated hydroelectricity.

The existing hydro generators at the Lochaber aluminium plant have been in use since their installation in 1929.

As a result of increased power generation, it is expected that aluminium production at Lochaber will increase from 43,000 tonnes per year to 50,000 tonnes per year.

Rio Tinto Alcan, created in November last year, holds the number one position in bauxite and aluminium production, and is a major producer of alumina.

Russia keen to set up aluminium plant in Orissa

Livemint, India - THURSDAY, JANUARY 31, 2008

The Russian government has held discussions with the state government about their interest in bauxite mining and a proposal to set up an aluminium plant

Bhubaneswar: Close on the heels of theworld’s largest steel maker Arcelor-Mittal and South Korean steel major POSCO turning to Orissa, the Russian government today expressed desire to set up industries in the coastal part of the state.

Russia had another plan for setting up a nuclear power station in Tamil Nadu, the country’s envoy to India, Vyachesiav I Trubnikov told reporters on the sidelines of signing of joint venture agreement between his government and Saraf Agencies for a titanium project in the state.

The envoy earlier apprised Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of his country’s interest in mining and allied sectors.

"We have already held discussions with the state government about Russia’s interest in bauxite mining and a proposal to set up an aluminium plant here," Trubnikov said.

To a query, the Russian envoy said his country was interested in the steel sector and also power generation in the state.

"While we have spoken to the Chief Minister regarding the proposed aluminium plant, talks will be held on other projects," he said describing the Titanium project as a pilot one for future investment from the Russian side.

He said both the countries had experienced ups and downs on the economic front which perhaps worked in a way to bolster economic relations in the backdrop of a liberalised economy.

UC RusAl to launch aluminum plant in Nigeria in Feb.

The FINANCIAL, Georgia - 01/02/2008

According to RIA Novosti, Alscon, a smelter in south Nigeria owned by Russia's aluminum giant UC RusAl, will resume operations within a month, a RusAl senior official said on January 31.

"We want to launch the Alscon plant in Nigeria within a month," said Alexander Livshits, the aluminum giant's director for international projects.

He predicted that global aluminum output will rise at an annual rate of 7-8% over the next few years.

RusAl closed a deal to acquire a majority stake in Alscon (Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria) in February 2007, receiving a 77.5% share in a 193,000-ton smelter, a port on the Imo River and a power-generating station. Germany's Ferrostaal AG and the government of Nigeria remain minority shareholders with 7.5% and 15% blocks respectively.

Alscon, based in Nigeria's Akwa Ibom State, produced its first metal in 1997, but was brought to a standstill in 2000, caused by high production costs, inadequate gas supply, and a lack of working capital.

RusAl says that once the smelter goes online, it will create 1,900 local jobs and 90% of the employees will be Nigerian citizens. Additionally, 20,000 jobs will be created through infrastructural projects, resulting in higher living standards for Akwa Ibom state residents.

UC RusAl, controlled by Oleg Deripaska's Basic Element, became the world's largest aluminum producer after a March merger between RusAl, rival Sual and Swiss Glencore's alumina assets.

New Alcoa manager glad to return to local plant

Siftings Herald, AR - Thursday, January 31, 2008

By Donna Hilton

There is a new yet familiar face at the Alcoa Primary Metals plant. Britt Scheer, formerly the plant's operations manager, recently took over as plant manager.

Scheer said he was delighted at the prospect of returning to Arkadelphia. "I like the plant and the people who work at the plant. I like Arkadelphia."

The northeast Arkansas native left Arkadelphia's operation in 2005 for another Alcoa plant in Texas. He has worked for the company for 10 years, having started as an environmental engineer.

He said he jumped at the chance to return to Arkadelphia because of the integrity of the employees. "We have better employees here than we do at other plants."

Alcoa depends on longtime, quality employees. "We depend on their knowledge and expertise for the materials and the process."

"Their integrity to maintain this plant in compliance (with state and federal laws) and remain faithful to the process" is invaluable to the company, Scheer said.

The local plant takes spent potliner - which is made from carbon and other materials which become hazardous during the process to make aluminum - and crushes it into smaller particles. This removes hazardous substances like cyanide from the material and incinerates it. Leftover materials are then transported to another location for disposal. In the past, the material was disposed of in landfills, but starting next month, Alcoa's product will be recycled, Scheer said.

The spent potliner will be used to make cement, he said. The company has already found two outlets for the spent potliner material, Scheer said. While it is not a money-saving measure, the company will realize some savings by not paying landfill fees.

"It's really a win-win situation," Scheer said. The materials help the concrete company in its process and "reduces their need for additives and for carbon fuels." By putting less material into landfills, Alcoa is helping improve land and air quality.

"Our ultimate goal is to not only eliminate our need for landfills, but to recycle the spent potliner already placed in the landfills," Scheer said. "The process is more environmentally friendly."

Scheer estimated that 10 percent of Alcoa's waste will be recycled in 2008. That number will increase as more outlets are found for the product.

Alcoa Primary Metals receives spent potliner from companies across the United States and Canada, including 13 that manufacture aluminum, Scheer said.

The process is still the industry standard and is expected to be used for years to come.

"Our employees are needed for their jobs," he said. "We don't foresee that changing in the future."

Scheer said he wants the local employees to stay involved in their communities. "We try to provide time for our employees to do volunteer work. That's a high Alcoa priority."

Community service is a tradition at Alcoa, Scheer said. The company provides grants for projects that range from landscaping around the Clark County Courthouse to funds to purchase children's bicycles.

Alcoa has a community advisory board comprised of people who help determine which projects are funded. "They help us decide where we spend our money," he said.

Scheer plans on staying at the Arkadelphia plant for years to come.

He and his wife, Tammy, live in Hot Springs with their triplet daughters, Nikki, Corey and Josie.