AluNews - September 2008

Ghana is to invest within five years $7.5 billion in aluminum industry

Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Ghana - Monday, 1, September, 2008

Ghana is to invest within five years $7.5 billion into the expansion of the Volta Aluminum Company and the construction of an aluminum work, mining of bauxite at Kyebi in the Eastern Region and Anyinam in the Ashanti Regions. The rehabilitation of the Eastern railway line will also be taken care of. The Minister of Trade and Industry PSI and Private Sector Development, Papa Owusu Ankomah announced this at the second Youth Conference of the Sekondi Constituency of the NPP.

He said government has already signed an agreement with Global Consortium, a leading aluminum company to buy 70% shares in VALCO for $175 million. Papa Owusu Ankomah who is also the MP for Sekondi commended the NPP youth for their immense contribution to the success of the party in previous elections adding that it is in recognition of this, that the party’s presidential candidate, selected a youngman as his running mate. The Constituency Chairman, Ernest Buah and the Youth Secretary, Prince Armah appealed to the youth to vote for the party in this year’s elections.

Chalco's Xiao Seeks Coal, Hydro Assets to Cut Costs (Update1)

Bloomberg Sept. 2, 2008

By Xiao Yu

Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., the nation's biggest producer of the metal, is seeking to buy coal mines and build power stations to reduce output costs.

The company may also secure hydropower supplies for its smelters, Chairman Xiao Yaqing, 49, said today in a Bloomberg television interview in Hong Kong. Chalco has bought minority stakes in two coal mines in Gansu and Henan provinces, and will buy more when valuations are more ``rational,'' Xiao said.

China's largest aluminum producers slashed output by more than a tenth from August because of a shortage of electricity, which accounts for as much as 40 percent of costs. Rio Tinto Group last year bought Alcan Inc. to secure hydropower supplies in Canada for aluminum production.

``We have been looking for opportunities to obtain coal and hydropower resources to ensure energy supply,'' Xiao said. ``We can work with local companies'' to secure hydropower supplies in western provinces such as Qinghai and Gansu, he said.

Chalco, as the Beijing-based company is known, fell 4 percent to HK$6.81 at 12:28 p.m. local time. In Shanghai trading, it dropped 0.3 percent to 9.78 yuan at the 11:30 a.m. break.

Energy coal prices in China jumped 41 percent in the first- half from a year ago period after the government closed small mines and demand from utilities surged. China is fighting a sixth year of power shortage and has raised electricity charges in the second half of the year.

Nuclear Option

``If coal prices keep rising this fast, it could be cheaper to use nuclear to generate power,'' Xiao said. ``It's a right direction for China to develop nuclear power.''

China is turning to alternative energy to cut reliance on polluting coal, which generates almost 80 percent of the nation's electricity. Nuclear-capacity will rise to at least 60 gigawatts by the end of next decade, according to Wang Yonggan, secretary of the China Electricity Council.

Chalco posted a 65 percent drop in first-half profit on rising coal, electricity and bauxite costs. It plans to double bauxite mine supplies to obtain half of the raw material it needs from its own mines in 2009 to help cut purchasing costs. Cost cutting is a priority in the second half, the company said.

``I am very certain to say that the majority of the aluminum producers will suffer in second half, and many will quit the business and pursue more profitable business,'' Xiao said. Smelters in China will cut output and delay new capacity, he said.

A reduction in China's aluminum smelting capacity may support prices of the metal used in planes, cars and beverages cans. The metal price jumped to a record in July when China's 20 largest aluminum smelters first said they will cut output by 10 percent from August.

``I am sure, if the economy is not too bad, the aluminum industry may have a chance of recovering as early as the second half of the year,'' Xiao said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Xiao Yu in Beijing at;

Company to ship giant casting machine to China

Rutland Herald, VT - September 1, 2008

The Associated Press

COLCHESTER - A Colchester company is set to begin construction on a 120-ton casting machine that will be shipped to China

Officials with Hazelett Strip-Casting say the machine being built by its employees will be a crucial element in melting, casting, rolling and coiling aluminum.

The $15 million machine is scheduled to be shipped to Henan Province, China, next year.

Hazelett human resources manager Peter Rowan says the machine will be about the size of a two-car garage.

Rowan says all 145 of the company's employees will have a hand in building the casting machine.

The TMS 2009 Annual Meeting promises to be the largest in the materials society’s 138-year conference history

Innovations Report (Pressemitteilung), Germany - September 1, 2008

With more than 3,150 abstract submissions, the TMS 2009 Annual Meeting is shaping up to be the largest in the history of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS). TMS 2009, the 138th installment in this yearly conference series, is scheduled for February 15-19 in San Francisco, California. The number of abstracts submitted for this conference exceeds the previous record by 15%.

The conference theme, "Linking Science and Technology for Global Solutions," describes the mix of fundamental research and industrial application of materials technologies presented at this conference. More than 50 symposia are planned in a number of topical areas, so that TMS 2009 offers something for everyone working in the field of materials science and engineering.

A key focus of this year's conference will be materials and society, a series of symposia that explore the intersection between technology and improvements in quality of life. Topics include replacing hazardous lead in soldering for the electronics industry, reducing energy use and environmental impact for metal-producing industries, and examining recycling and sustainability for the electronic and solar industries.

In addition, the conference will have strong programming in aluminum and magnesium technologies; extraction, processing, structure, and properties; and emerging technology areas such as nanomaterials and biomaterials.

For more on the conference, visit the TMS Annual Meeting web site at

TMS is the professional organization encompassing the entire range of materials science and engineering, from minerals processing and primary metals production to basic research and the advanced applications of materials. Included among its 9,500 professional and student members are metallurgical and materials engineers, scientists, researchers, educators, and administrators from six continents.

Chinalco may raise Rio Tinto stake

International Herald Tribune, France - September 1, 2008

By Alfred Cang and Li Hongwei (Reuters)

SHANGHAI: Chinese aluminium maker Chinalco said on Monday it may increase its minority stake in Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto if market conditions are right, but has no timetable for such a move.

"Under the right market conditions, this is an option, it is possible. But we have not decided when. It will depend on the timing of opportunities in the market and our requirements," company president Xiao Yaqing told reporters in Shanghai.

"A key requirement for the company is to preserve its opportunities and possibilities as we become more international."

Chinalco, formed five years ago through the consolidation of more than 60 aluminium smelters, bought 12 percent of Rio's London-listed shares, or 9 percent of Rio Group's total equity, in January, jointly with U.S. aluminium firm Alcoa Inc .

The companies have Australian government approval to raise their combined stake to 14.99 percent of the Rio shares, or around 11 percent of the Rio Group. Rio is listed in both London and Australia.

Rio Tinto is trying to fend off a $150 billion (83 billion pound) takeover bid from bigger rival BHP Billiton , which is awaiting clearance from Australian and European regulators, due later this year, before formally launching an offer. Chinalco's Rio stake purchase was widely seen as a deliberate move to stymie BHP's bid, but Xiao gave no direct indications whether his company would oppose a takeover.

"We will say yes if we think it will yield positive results for us, and no if we don't think so," he said.

Rio's Sydney-listed shares fell 2 percent on Monday, while its London-listed stock was off 3 percent, compared with a 0.8 percent drop on the FTSE 100 index .


China's booming economy has made it the world's largest metals and minerals consumer, and worries about resource shortages and rising prices have spurred Chinese firms to extend their reach to resource-rich areas from Africa to South America.

"People talk a lot about economic globalisation, but we are talking now about resource globalisation," Xiao said. "We are trying to obtain resources under fair laws and regulations from those lands that have been blessed by God, who allocated them unfairly."

Xiao, who also chairs Aluminum of China (Chalco) , which is controlled by Chinalco and is China's largest alumina and aluminium producer, said Chalco would welcome cooperation in its overseas projects from foreign players including Alcoa and Rio Tinto.

"It is very hard for Chinese companies to operate overseas ... Cooperation would help us to avoid risks and learn from our partners," he said, adding that many companies had expressed interest in the projects, but no deals had been struck.

Chalco signed a deal in May last year to invest $2.4 billion in the Aurukun bauxite project in Queensland, Australia, which will include an alumina plant with annual capacity of 2.1 million tonnes. It also agreed to pay $790 million for Peru Copper.

Xiao said the company's domestic bauxite projects now under construction would have annual capacity of about 10 million tonnes, with about 70 percent of that expected to be in production by end-2009.

He expected alumina prices to be volatile in the second half of this year while primary aluminium prices could fluctuate around 18,000 yuan (1,456 pounds) per tonne, pressured by oversupply but potentially boosted if rising power prices restrict output.

The most-active November Shanghai aluminium futures contract ended at 17,460 yuan per tonne on Monday.

Chalco on Friday posted a near two-thirds drop in first-half net profit, hit by high production costs, output disruptions and aluminium oversupply.

The company's Hong Kong shares rose 1.14 percent on Monday, while its Shanghai-listed shares fell 3.7 percent, compared with a 3 percent drop on the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index .

(Editing by Edmund Klamann; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

Infrastructure spat stalls Chalco’s $1.5 billion Vietnam project

Thanh Nien Daily, Vietnam - Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., the nation’s biggest producer of the metal, said a planned $1.5 billion bauxite project in Vietnam has stalled because of a disagreement over the construction of infrastructure.

"We haven’t decided who will build the infrastructure for the project," Chairman Xiao Yaqing said Tuesday in a Bloomberg television interview in Hong Kong.

Discussions are ongoing, he said, without saying who the disagreement is with.

Chalco, as the company is known, signed an agreement with Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Group to jointly develop the Dak Nong project in central Vietnam in November 2006.

The company is also seeking bauxite resources in Guinea and Indonesia to meet surging Chinese demand.

"We didn’t plan any infrastructure construction as it’s not financially feasible," Xiao said.

The infrastructure to be built includes a railway, he added.

Chalco to cut capital expenditure for 2009-2010 by 20-30 pct, boss

Trading Markets (press release), CA - Tuesday, September 02, 2008

BEIJING, Sep 02, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --

China's largest aluminum producer Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., ACH (Chalco) plans to cut its capital expenditure for the next two years by 20-30 percent so as to leave more money for possible acquisitions to expand capacity, said Xiao Yaqing, chairman of Chalco Tuesday.

The company also plans to cut the capital expenditure budget for the second half of 2008 by 20-30 percent, from the original 9.9 billion yuan, Xiao said.

Chalco earlier projected annual capital expenditure at 20 billion yuan for both 2009 and 2010.

Xiao said there are lots of chances for acquisition in and outside China. Chalco is trying to purchase bauxite mines in Vietnam and Indonesia to ensure raw materials supply.

Xiao predicted that 50 percent of its bauxite demand would be self- supplied by the year of 2009, up from the present 25 percent.

Chalco announced last Saturday that it planned to issue no more than 10 billion yuan of ten-year corporate bonds in China, which will reduce its interest expenditure by 100 mln yuan annually.

Affected by production cost surge and product price plunge, the net profit of Chalco fell by 65 percent to 2.41 billion yuan in H1. Analysts expect the operating cost of Chalco to stay at high level for rising prices of raw materials and energy.

Meanwhile, as Xiao predicted, aluminum price in Chinas would continue to face pressure of going down for slowdown of domestic demand.

Chalco targets to produce 10.2 mln tons of aluminum products in 2008, compared with 9.57 mln tons in 2007. Besides, it plans to produce 3.62 mln tons of primary aluminum in 2008, higher than the 2. 8 mln tons in 2007.

Montenegro: Fears over aluminium industry sale

EMportal, Serbia - 05. September 2008

Source: ANSAmed

Montenegro's s Privatisation Council and Economy Restructuring and Foreign Investment Agency fear that KAP could soon be closed or sold by its owner, Russian billionaire Deripaska.

Montenegro's s Privatisation Council and Economy Restructuring and Foreign Investment Agency fear that KAP (Kombinat Aluminijuma Podgorica), the country's major aluminium producer which accounts for more than 50% of Montenegrin exports, could soon be closed or sold by its owner, Russian billionaire Deripaska.

The office of the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE) in Belgrade recalled that KAP is the only foreign investment of Deripaska which is in the red, with 20 million euro annual loss.

So far the strategic investor and owner of KAP, CEAC, respected the investment programme and the entire procedure envisaged under the privatisation deal but now it is facing more complex problems, Branko Vujovic, member of the Privatisation Council and Director of the Agency of Montenegro for Economic Restructuring and Foreign Investments said, speaking of the possibility for withdrawal on the part of CEAC, due to problems with electricity supply.

"Unless the electricity supply problem is resolved soon, the efficiency of aluminium production would be threatened," Vujovic said.

The executive director of the bauxite mine, Igor Kisenkov, said that the mine currently employs 1,200 people while in fact 400 workers are enough, which leads to 15 million euro loss a year. (ANSAmed).

Environmental Assessment not to Delay Smelter Plans

IcelandReview, Iceland - 04/09/2008

Minister of Industry Össur Skarphédinsson said at the Althingi parliament yesterday that experimental drilling in the geothermal area in northeast Iceland for the planned Alcoa aluminum smelter at Bakki near Húsavík could begin despite environmental assessment.

That statement is at odds with what Minister of the Environment Thórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir had concluded, that the entire Bakki power plant and smelter project should undergo a joint environmental impact assessment before further operations were undertaken, which would probably delay the project by one year, Fréttabladid reports.

The minister has faced harsh criticism for her decision and now Skarphédinsson is proposing experimental drilling while the project is undergoing a joint assessment. "I do not see any laws against experimental drilling—which people say are bound to be postponed—taking their usual course despite an overall environmental impact assessment."

Experimental drilling is scheduled to begin next summer; otherwise the entire smelter project will be delayed by one year. Sveinbjarnardóttir had initially concluded that an assessment had to be undertaken first, but the inhabitants of Húsavík and the surrounding countryside are now hoping that she will change her opinion and give experimental drilling for next summer a green light.

In an interview with Fréttabladid, Industry Minister Skarphédinsson restated his opinion that it is natural for experimental drilling for geothermal energy to begin before the environmental impact assessment is completed in fall 2009 because such drilling will reveal how much geothermal energy is available in northeast Iceland.

"An overall assessment will take place as well, but part of that is researching the area and estimating the possibilities at hand," Skarphédinsson said.

Bergur E. Ágústsson, head of the local municipality of Nordurthing, welcomed the minister’s words. "We thought that the [environment] minister’s verdict ruled out drilling before the environmental impact assessment is completed," he said, adding that now it appears that the Bakki smelter project will not be delayed by one year after all.

In early August Sveinbjarnardóttir ruled that according to law, a joint environmental assessment for the planned aluminum smelter at Bakki by Húsavík, the Theistareykir geothermal power plant, Kröfluvirkjun II power plant and high-voltage transmission lines from Krafla volcanic area and Theistareykir to Húsavík, should take place.

Now the National Planning Agency is looking into a request from executors of the smelter project whether experimental drilling and other parts of the project can begin before the joint environmental assessment, according to the agency’s director Stefán Thors.

Strategy & Management: Russia – Fitting ethics into economic expansion

Ethical Corporation Magazine, UK - Sep 3, 2008

Firms such as aluminium giant Rusal want to change how business views Russia. But corporate governance and corruption problems dog their progress.

Russian companies are on a charm offensive to improve their image in the west as they seek finance and investment to fuel their growth. Russian directors tour London and New York investment houses to explain how their businesses are becoming more transparent. Former Soviet enterprises today use slick public relations firms to make their case for foreign capital. The message for outsiders could not be clearer: Russia is hungry and open for business.

Like any Russian firm planning for aggressive global expansion, United Company Rusal is keen to impress the west. The privately owned company produces 12% of the world’s aluminium and 15% of its alumina – making it the world’s largest producer of each. It has operations in 19 countries on five continents, with ambitions to expand further, and its products are sold to global carmakers, builders and packaging firms in 70 countries.

To improve its reputation abroad, Rusal knows that it must raise its standards of corporate governance, transparency and business ethics. The company is taking steps to address the concerns of potential financiers and investors, presenting itself as an attractive client and business partner. It is also promoting its green credentials to appeal to potential financial backers that are aware of climate change risk.

"Reputation is an increasingly important issue in modern Russia," says Rusal director of international and special projects Alexander Livshits. An "excellent reputation" is needed to secure loans from global financial institutions, he says, for all Russian firms. Rusal and its compatriots are "adopting international best practices in corporate governance and management", he says, to raise international capital and debt.

Chinalco sets up Tibet unit for mineral exploration

China Knowledge Online, Singapore - Sep. 8, 2008

Aluminum Corp of China (Chinalco), the country's largest aluminum producer, announced that it has set up a subsidiary in Tibet, namely China Aluminum Tibet Mining Corp Ltd.

Chinalco said in a statement on its Website on Thursday that the US$36.5 million wholly-owned subsidiary is based in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, which will be mainly engaged in exploration, mining, smelting and trading of mineral resources in the area.

The company also pledged to seek cooperative and socially responsible development in the region.

As one of the fastest-growing last frontiers in China, Tibet has abundant deposits of copper, chromium, bauxite and other precious minerals and metals, which are mainly untapped.

The newly-built Qinghai-Tibet railway is expected to facilitate the transportation of mining equipments and the mineral products.

Chinalco is the parent of listed Aluminum Corp of China Ltd<601600><2600><ACH>.

Ord River's Prospectus Bauxite-Alumina-Aluminium Project

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - Sep 3, 2008

(Part of the Prospectus)

A potentially very large bauxite, alumina and aluminium

project on the Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos. This

project is a joint venture between the Company and NFC

(through their respective subsidiaries). Ord holds 49%, NFC

51% of the joint venture vehicle.

o The project has one of the highest quality gibbsite dominated bauxites in the world with high alumina to silica ratio (31.9% available alumina and low level of 3% reactive silica) that can potentially feed a low temperature and consequently potentially low cost alumina processing refinery.o Total initial identified JORC compliant Indicated Resources of 93.7 million tonnes of bauxite under the project are intended to be increased progressively under current and future work programs. No Inferred Resource has yet been estimated for the total project. The joint venture presently is negotiating rights to 39.7 million tonnes of this identified resource, and those rights are intended to increase under an earning program. Within one tenement area of 436 km2(the Yuqida Project), the identification of JORC compliant Indicated Resource to date is over an area of 15.2 km2(less than 25% of the total mapped target area for bauxite definition within that tenement). Within a second tenement and over an area of a 66 km2block (the LSI Project), the identification of JORC compliant Indicated Resource to date is over 1.9 km2only. The Company believes there is a high probability of increasing the resources estimate substantially. o A pre-feasibility study for the project has commenced.

Identification of 200 million tonnes of bauxite resource is intended to trigger the start of a bankable feasibility study for construction of an alumina refinery.o The residue after processing alumina will contain approximately 50% iron and 8% titanium which can potentially add further value to the project. o Potential to utilise a substantial amount of "type 2 bauxite" to significantly increase the resource estimate. Type 2 bauxite has relatively higher levels of reactive silica and is presently excluded from the currently identified JORC compliant Indicated Resource. Beneficiation testing is about to commence on the type 2 bauxite.o The Company believes the Bolaven Plateau has the

potential to contain in excess of 2 billion tonnes of bauxite and the objective is to secure a major position in the area to establish a long life aluminium industry.

Chinese aluminum and alumina output cut on prices

SteelGuru, India - September 09, 2008

Bloomberg quoted China's Nonferrous Metals Industry Association said China's top 20 aluminum smelters, the largest in the world have cut production by more than 350,000 tonnes on an annual basis as part of a July agreement to reduce energy consumption and boost prices.

Mr Wen Xianjun vice chairman of the association said the companies took production offline between July 10th and August 10th as smelting became increasingly unprofitable because of higher costs. The reduction is equivalent to roughly 2.8% of the nation's production last year of 12.6 million tonnes.

He said that "The industry will face a tougher situation in coming months. Smelters such as Qingtongxia Aluminum Group are beginning to become unprofitable because of rising costs.''

Mr Lang Dazhan deputy head of the association's aluminum division, said alumina production capacity has also been reduced by 2 million to 3 million tonnes because of overcapacity and falling prices. Alumina is a raw material that is smelted into aluminum.

He said that aluminum Corp. of China's Shanxi venture, Shanxi Huaze Aluminum & Power Co has closed 80 pots or 30% of the company's 280,000 tonne capacity and Qingtongxia Aluminum Group hasn't restarted smelters that were halted for maintenance

NALCO to cut power output due to coal shortages

Commodity Online, India - 2008-09-08

KOLKATTA: National Aluminum Company ( NALCO) decided Monday to cut down generation from its captive power plant and to start importing power.

The crisis is so acute that Nalco authorities mull over shutting down units of the power plant in a day or two if the coal supply from Talcher Coalfield does not resume immediately.

Meanwhile the dwindling coal stock has further gone down for the past two days when the power plant received no coal from its feeding mine at Talcher due to contractual drivers’ strike there, paralyzing the entire transportation and production of coal at Talcher.

The power generation at its captive power plant slashed to about an average of 610 MW when the smelter plant demanded an uninterrupted supply of 620 MW to run its 715 pots. The normal power generation of captive power plant stands at 800 MW.

Nalco officials blamed irregular supply from MCL, less coal than the linkage demand since April to May 2008 causing depletion of the usable coal stock. The stock on May 1st 2008 was at about 200,000 tonnes.

Nalco draws about 14,000 tonnes of coal from Talcher Coalfield as per the linkage agreement. It normally runs six 120 MW units in its power plant keeping one unit standby.

Madras Aluminium may be merged with Sterlite

Economic Times, India - 9 Sep, 2008

MUMBAI : Vedanta Resources, an LSE listed company, is considering a restructuring of its operations in India, according to persons familiar with the details. The move is intended to realise better valuation. To begin with, the move is likely to result in the merger of Madras Aluminium Company (MALCO) with Sterlite Industries, both subsidiaries of Vedanta.

There is no official word on this from the Anil Agarwal-controlled entity, except an announcement that the boards of Sterlite and Malco will meet on Tuesday to "restructure their business". Sources said an announcement is likely as early as Tuesday.

The stock market, it seems, has got a whiff of the proposed restructuring, if that is what happens. The MALCO stock on Monday gained 20% to close at Rs 182.50. The stock’s recent gain of nearly 30% in the last one week has only added to speculation that a merger is on cards.

Sterlite Industries, on the other hand, gained nearly 6% to end the day at Rs 622.35 a share. The market capitalisation of Sterlite is around Rs 44,000 crore, while that of MALCO is Rs 2,053 crore.

Malco is an aluminium company with huge bauxite reserves. Sterlite Industries runs copper, aluminium, zinc and lead businesses. Post merger, sources said, these verticals could be spun off into separate entities so that they could fetch a better valuation.

However, it not clear whether there will be any announcement about this on Tuesday. The promoters hold 80% in MALCO and a 62.47% stake in Sterlite. It is learnt that one of the Big Four consulting firms has been advising Vedanta/Sterlite on the proposed restructuring. However, this could not be independently verified. Several attempts to reach Vedanta Resources failed.

Sources said Vedanta has been planning the merger for quite some time. The first step was to sell loss-making India Foils to Ess Dee Aluminium. MALCO was the group’s investment vehicle in India Foils. That transaction is pending.

Metal analysts say that talk about a Sterlite-MALCO merger has been on for some time even though management had denied that.

"MALCO is India’s largest aluminium company with large bauxite reserves," said a metal analyst with a domestic brokerage. "If Sterlite and MALCO merge, then Sterlite would gain due to scale," he added.

The shareholding pattern shows that there is some amount of cross holding between the two entities. MALCO holds around 4% in Sterlite Industries in which Twinstar Holdings has a sizeable stake of more than 56% stake. Twinstar Holdings, a Vedanta-owned Mauritius-based company, also holds a substantial 80% stake in MALCO.

Sterlite, which also owns 51% stake in aluminium firm BALCO, is also in talks with the Indian government to buy out the latter’s stake in the company. However, after the UPA government decided to offload 10% stake in BALCO through an IPO, Sterlite has opposed the IPO plans and has decided to move the court where the matter is currently pending.

Rio Tinto Says 2.6 Million Tons of New Aluminum Capacity Likely

Bloomberg - Sep 9, 2008

By Rob Delaney

Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Rio Tinto Group, the world's second- largest aluminum producer, said high production costs that are forcing rivals to idle refineries make it more likely Rio will complete the addition of 2.6 million tons of aluminum capacity.

Rio Tinto is studying new plants and expansions using hydropower and other technologies as rising energy costs force competing refineries out of business, Jacynthe Cote, chief executive officer of primary metal for Rio Tinto Alcan, said today in an interview. The projects in Canada, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Iceland, Oman and Cameroon would start in 2011 to 2014.

``Forward prices have gained, reflecting higher input costs, and they're holding there,'' Cote said. ``So when we look at our base of projects, especially in Canada, which are mainly driven by low-cost hydroelectricity, we want to accelerate our projects.''

China's biggest aluminum producers agreed in July to cut output by as much as 10 percent to ease a power shortage that has increased expenses.

Global aluminum output won't meet demand next year because of higher production costs, helping to push the cash price in London to $4,960 a metric ton by 2011, Robin Bhar, a metals analyst at Calyon in London, said at a presentation delivered today in Montreal. Aluminum for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange fell $47 to $2,603 a ton today.

``For the last five years, the Chinese have supplied the global deficit in a way that has deterred others from expanding,'' Michael Komesaroff, managing director of metals industry consultant Urandaline Investments Pty., said in an interview. ``China's going to slow down while demand won't slow, so any extra production elsewhere is going to be well-received.''

The Rio Tinto projects under consideration include a 400,000-ton-a-year capacity increase at a plant in Jonquiere, Quebec, from an initial plan of 60,000 tons. Rio is spending about $6 billion in Canada to boost smelting capacity and take advantage of interest-free loans and long-term water rights granted by provincial governments.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Rob Delaney at

Kaiser Aluminum Orders Traveling Homogenizing Furnace For Newark Ohio Works

ThomasNet Industrial News Room (press release), NY - September 9, 2008

Kaiser Aluminum Newark Works has purchased a traveling log homogenizing furnace for their plant in Heath, Ohio. The system will process 2x/6x/7x alloy aluminum logs of diameters typically ranging from 6 to 29 inches (152 to 727 mm). The furnace will be equipped with SECO/WARWICK's patented adjustable airflow baffling system to control airflow distribution throughout the load and improve temperature uniformity.


SECO/WARWICK will provide the patented movable baffle design or small load height system. This patented design will increase furnace performance, when less than the maximum size loads are processed. The baffle position will be adjustable according to the load height to effectively block any open space above the actual load being processed. The blocking action forces the recirculated air to pass through the openings between the layers of logs rather than taking the path of least resistance over the top layer of logs. The blocking results in a higher airstream velocity through the logs, which creates faster heat transfer and improved load temperature uniformity.

How It Works

One side of the stainless steel baffle is connected to the stationary horizontal baffle through a hinge arrangement. The other side of the baffle is connected through a linkage arrangement to a roof mounted electric screwjack. Each screwjack includes limit switches to sense full up and full down positions. In operation, the baffle will be automatically located, after the furnace is in position and the cycle recipe is selected. The baffle should be lowered until its bottom edge is approximately 1" above the top layer of logs. Since the baffle linkage includes a flexible connection, it is nearly impossible to damage the load by lowering the baffle too far. A limit switch will be interlocked with baffle position such that the baffle must be raised to its full up position after the completion of a cycle and before the furnace can be moved. SECO/WARWICK has been utilizing the movable baffle design since 1984.

Traveling Furnace Advantages

Limited plant floor space - The utilization of Traveling furnace provides twice the loading area in half the floor space, since the furnace moves from one loading area laterally to the second loading area.

Loading and unloading consideration- The Traveling furnace load base is at floor level and the load base can be loaded or stacked with a fork truck. Fork trucks can be used because overhead cranes are not needed. The potential of a billet rolling off an above floor level load car is reduced. The loading and unloading of the billet bases is accomplished in less time. Placing thermocouples in the load is made easier since the load is at floor level.

Energy Savings - With the conventional car bottom type of furnaces, the load car is removed from the furnace, unloaded and then reloaded, and is then driven back into the furnace. During this time, the furnace interior can lose a significant amount of heat, so to bring the furnace back up to temperature will take additional time and heat input.

Cycle Time Reduction - When the new Traveling furnace has completed the cycle, the furnace doors open and the furnace travels from one loading base to the next. The first base can be cooled, and then re-loaded while the other load is under heat. The result is a faster load changeover with reduced heat loss from the furnace. Once the furnace has moved into position on the adjacent load base, the heating cycle begins. With the Traveling furnace design, a reduction in overall cycle time can be accomplished, compared with car furnace designs.

Vedanta unveils 9.8 billion dollar expansion plan, mostly in India, FL - Sept 10, 2008

London, Sept 10: Vedanta Resources plans to spend 9.8 billion dollars in the near future to achieve its goal of becoming the world's leading aluminium producer.

According to the Londoan-based Financial Times, the biggest element in the expansion project is a 1.25m tone a year capacity smelter to be built at on a brownfield site at Jharsuguda in Orissa, the state where most of India's bauxite and coal reserves are located.

That plant will cost 5.65 billion dollars.

A new 325,000 ton capacity smelter at Korba in Chattisgarh will cost two billion dollars. Both projects will be phased over four years. Output will be begin in 2010 and 2011.

Each will be supplied by new build power plants.

On Tuesday, it said refinery debottle necking and new capacity to be built over the next three years at Lanjigarh would cost 2.15 billion dollars.

The plans, which have been announced three months after Vedanta said it intended to invest 20 billion dollars in India between now and 2012.

Copyright Asian News International

Rio could triple production

Sky News Australia, Australia - Sep 9, 2008

Rio Tinto could almost triple production at its Cape York Penninsula mines, in a bid to meet long-term growth for aluminium.

The mining giant is considering boosting production at its Weipa operations from 18 million tonnes a year to 35 million tonnes by 2013.

The company wants to go even further, asking the federal government for approval to go as high as 50 million tonnes in the longer term.

Rio is also currently investigating port deals with China's Chalco, which owns the neighbouring Aurukun bauxite deposit.

Chinalco invests in Harbin factory

People's Daily Online, China - September 12, 2008

Chinalco Northeast Light Alloy Co, which provides aluminum alloys to the aviation and defense industries, will spend more than 5 billion yuan to build a new plant as it tries to meet rising demand.

Construction of the 200,000-ton-a year alloy plant in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, began on Tuesday and it is due for completion in 2011, Beijing-based Chinalco said in a statement on its website.

The plant will produce aluminum plates and strips widely used in the defense, petrochemicals, transport and machinery industry.

Chinalco Northeast expects annual profit of 400 million yuan and sales of 7 billion yuan once the plant is operational, the statement said.

Song Huaibin, an analyst at Guoyuan Securities, said the new plant is part of the nation's push to change its aluminum product structure and export more high value-added aluminum products.

The nation's aluminum supply has exceeded demand this year, Song said.

Total domestic output of electrolytic aluminum in 2008 is expected to increase 15.4 percent to 14.5 million tons, which would exceed the projected demand of 14 million tons by a small margin, according to statistics.

The nation exported 621,001 tons of unforged aluminum from January to August, up by 68.3 percent on a yearly basis, according to Customs figures.

However, the country currently imports some high-end aluminum products, and that might have been a key factor in the decision to build the new plant, Song said.

Xiao Yaqing, general manager of Aluminum Corp of China, or Chinalco, said the company supplies 80 percent of the aluminum alloys used in aircraft, atomic reactors, nuclear weapons, satellites and missiles for the defense industry.

State-owned Chinalco, the parent of the Hong Kong-listed Chalco, is China's biggest producer of aluminum. It acquired 75 percent of Harbin-based Northeast for 1.2 billion yuan last September.

The new plant is expected to boost production and create jobs in the region, Song said.

We have advantage in China: RusAl

The Gazette (Montreal), Canada - Thursday, September 11, 2008


Russian aluminum producer United Co. RusAl is best positioned to reap most of the benefit, to rival Rio Tinto Alcan's detriment, from the continued expansion in China that will not abate soon and is not vulnerable to the West's general economic slowdown, Artem Volynets believes.

The deputy chief executive officer and director of strategy and business development for the world's biggest aluminum maker - its 4.2 million tonnes output is slightly higher than Rio Tinto Alcan's 4.18 million tonnes - said in an interview during a break at a metals industry conference here that nothing will derail the Chinese expansion.

And being next door - cutting down on soaring transportation costs - offers an advantage to Rusal that Rio Tinto Alcan cannot match, Volynets said.

RusAl has low-cost smelters and is in the midst of an aggressive expansion phase, launching four new ones, three of them in Siberia. These will be the natural front-line supplier for Chinese aluminum demand, whose overall as well as per-capita consumption is expected to surge as its economy expands and modernizes rural areas.

Rio Tinto Alcan spokesperson Stefano Bertolli countered that "we do see continued strong demand from China, but we feel our (smelters) are well-positioned on the cost curve (to serve that market) and that we have the best technology in the industry."

As for the bare-knuckles fight over control of the board of Russia's largest mining company, OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, in which RusAl acquired a 25-per-cent stake this year, Canadian director Heinz Schimmelbusch has become a focus of that fight.

RusAl is controlled by Oleg Deripaska, Russia's richest oligarch, while his arch-rival billionaire Vladimir Potanin, a co-owner of Norilsk, recently won a bruising boardroom battle, installing Schimmelbusch and a former Russian tourism minister as independent directors, probably blocking what most insiders say is Deripaska's ambition to get total control of Norislk.

Volynets condemned their "so-called status as independents," saying they were, in fact, Potanin puppets.

"It's really improper and unfortunate to act that way," said Volynets, adding that his boss, Deripaska, will soon file a demand to void that slate of directors and install "real, proper directors who understand good governance."

Russian Billionaire in Montenegro Dispute, Serbia - September 11, 2008

The KAP works in northern Montenegro11 September 2008 Podgorica _ Oleg Deripaska, the owner of Montenegro aluminium giant, KAP is seeking compensation from Montenegro’s government over a dispute, reports a local daily.

Podgorica daily Vijesti reports that Deripaska, who owns the KAP aluminium plant through his CEAC firm, wants the government to pay €300 million because it allegedly failed to provide a realistic report on the state of the factory at the time of its sale.

Montenegrin Economic Development Minister Branimir Gvozdenovic reacted by saying that the request for international arbitration was "unfounded".

The Russians are seeking the arbitration to take place in Frankfurt, as specified in the KAP acquisition contract, and are lodging their complaint against Montenegro’s government and state owned funds based on several issues connected to the 2005 takeover of KAP and bauxite mines in the north of the country.

CEAC argues that the government failed to provide proper auditing records of the factory and the value of its property.

KPMG carried out the auditing of KAP, while Deripaska's company, soon after the takeover, hired Deloitte, which produced a report significantly different from the one given by KPMG.

"It is my personal impression that the start of the arbitration is not motivated by the buyer's conviction that their demand is well-founded. The buyer wishes to formally proceed with all the issues that they believe will strengthen their negotiating position in the overall relations that they have with the government and local partners," Gvozdenovic commented.

CEAC acquired a majority stake in KAP, the mines, and bought the mining concession for a total of €58.5 million in December 2005.

Alcoa closes facilities in Texas, La. ahead of Ike

Forbes, NY - 09.12.08

PITTSBURGH - Alcoa Inc., one of the world's largest aluminum producers, has temporarily shut down two facilities in Texas and Louisiana to guard against the possible effects of Hurricane Ike, the company said Friday.

The Pittsburgh-based company closed an alumina refinery in Point Comfort, Texas, and an anode manufacturing facility in Lake Charles, La., starting Thursday, said Kevin Lowery, a company spokesman. Alumina, or aluminum oxide, is used to make aluminum. Anodes made at the Lake Charles plant are used in aluminum smelters.

"As soon as it's safe for them to restart, that's what they'll do," he said.

An unknown number of employees were evacuated from the two plants, Lowery said.

The Point Comfort operation is Alcoa (nyse: AA - news - people )'s only alumina refinery in the United States. It supplies the compound to the company's global production network. The impact of the shutdown on production remains unclear, Lowery said.

Washington, Alcoa reach deal for river clean-up near aluminum smelter

The Oregonian -, OR - Friday September 12, 2008, 3:00 PM

by Allan Brettman, The Oregonian

VANCOUVER -- The Washington Department of Ecology and aluminum producer Alcoa Co. today announced an agreement that will lead to dredging of PCB-contaminated sediments from the Columbia River near the Port of Vancouver.

By settling on a consent decree, the two sides took a big step toward commencing clean-up in November, Ecology spokeswoman Kim Schmanke said.

Alcoa, the original owner of the defunct aluminum smelter at the site, and the state announced a plan last year to clean up polychlorinated biphenyls in the river and shoreline. That work is expected to take four months.

In addition to allowing the clean-up to start, the consent decree also outlines what must be done for Alcoa to be released from future liability of the site.

Alcoa built the aluminum smelter about three miles from downtown Vancouver in 1940. The company closed the smelter in 1985 and sold the operation to Vanalco that year. In 2002, Vanalco sold it to Glencore International, a Switzerland-based trading and supply corporation doing business as Evergreen Aluminum. Evergreen never produced aluminum at the site.

The Port of Vancouver is poised to one day take over the land and develop it for marine and industrial uses. In December, Port commissioners approved buying 218 acres from Alcoa and Evergreen for $48.25 million.

The purchase closing awaits final cleanup.

UC RUSAL to invest up to US$3 bln in China

China Knowledge Online, Singapore - Sep. 19, 2008

United Company Rusal (UC RUSAL), the world's largest aluminum and alumina producer, announced that it will invest up to US$3 billion in China within seven years, considering the increasing demands from China's mass construction projects, the South China Morning Post reported.

UC RUSAL plans to establish up to four factories in China first and is selecting the sites for the plants in northern China, according to the report.

It was also reported that UC RUSAL and China Power International Dev. Ltd<2380> are planning to jointly set up a Fe-Al-oxygen and aluminum smelter in Guinea and an aluminum smelter in China.

UC RUSAL has the capacity of producing 4.2 million tons of aluminum and 11.3 million tons of alumina per year, accounting for 12% and 15% of the world's total, respectively.

Copyright © 2008

Alcoa and Pew Center on Global Climate Change Launch Make an Impact Climate Change Program (Pressemitteilung), Austria - 2008-09-19 03:28:59 - - Growing concern around the environmental impacts of climate change and rising energy costs has prompted many to question what they can do to take action in their daily lives.

In what is believed to be a first for corporate America, Alcoa (NYSE:AA) and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change have launched a unique

new program to help find the answers.

Make an Impact provides the tools for Alcoa's employees and the local community to manage their individual carbon footprint, reduce their energy costs, and become part of the solution to global climate change.

The Make an Impact program includes:

-- Interactive website with tools and resources on reducing energy bills and living more sustainably (;

-- Custom-built carbon calculator with individual 'footprint' analysis and personalized action planning;

-- Comprehensive outreach program of localized interactive workshops.

Pew Center President Eileen Claussen applauded the project, "We often think that solutions to climate change and energy costs can come only from business and government. But everyone needs to play their part - and through our partnership with the Alcoa Foundation - we are making that possible.

"We expect this program to serve as the benchmark on personal carbon accounting across business and the community and we look forward to sharing it with our business partners in the near future."

Alcoa President and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said that this was a part of a global leadership position on addressing climate change and in addition to Alcoa reducing emissions inside its operations 33% from a 1990 base, Alcoa Foundation had invested over $8 million in community-driven climate change projects in the last year.

"Climate change is the most critical sustainability issue of our time and to make a real difference we all need to take action - on all fronts and at all levels, individually and together," said Kleinfeld.

"Our 97,000 employees are finding new ways to meet this challenge every day and our product is also playing a key role - not only can aluminum be recycled endlessly - taking only 5% of the energy needed to make new metal - but it is also reducing fuel use in transport by making lighter vehicles," he added.

"By providing our employees and neighbors the tools to understand and manage their environmental impact, we support them in being part of the solution to global climate change. Because as individuals we can all make a difference, but by working together, we can really make an impact."

The Make an Impact program builds on the success of the program developed in Australia in 2006 through an Alcoa Foundation partnership with Greening Australia.

Make an Impact will kick off in the US on September 18th and initially be introduced at nine Alcoa locations from Washington to Pittsburgh, with plans to take the program elsewhere to other US locations and beyond.

To find out more visit

Rio Tinto May Be `Broken Up' Within Two Years, BlackRock Says

Bloomberg - Sept. 18, 2008

By Jason Scott and Kyung Bok Cho

Rio Tinto Group, battling a hostile $115 billion takeover bid from BHP Billiton Ltd., will probably be broken up within two years by a group including Chinese investors, BlackRock Inc. said.

``It probably won't all go to BHP,'' Richard Davis, who oversees $30 billion in global commodity equities at BlackRock's London unit, told reporters today in Seoul. ``There probably will be some sort of consortium, which will break the company up and will obviously involve the Chinese.''

Shares of London-based Rio have fallen 38 percent since Aluminum Corp. of China, the nation's largest maker of the metal, bought a 9 percent stake with Alcoa Inc. in February for 6,000 pence each. BHP Chief Executive Marius Kloppers wants the Chinese company's support for his takeover, which would create the world's biggest producer of aluminum and energy coal.

``Rio Tinto probably won't exist in a year's time or in two year's time,'' said Davis, managing director of the U.K. unit of the largest publicly traded U.S. money manager. ``The Chinese paid a lot more per share than what the price is today, so potentially that breakup could occur at 60 pounds a share or more.''

Rio, the world's second-largest iron ore producer, rose 2.6 percent to 3,746 pence in London trading. BHP, the world's biggest mining company, rose 2.3 percent to 1,320 pence.

Aluminum Corp., or Chinalco, has said it bought the stake to diversify into other metals. It last month won permission from the Australian government to raise its stake in Rio to 11 percent.

Kloppers this month said falling commodity prices and a slowing global economy will help convince investors to support the bid, along with the Melbourne-based company's higher profit margins and lower debt than its rivals. Rio's Chief Executive Officer Tom Albanese rejected BHP's sweetened offer of 3.4 shares for each Rio share on Feb. 6, saying the bid undervalues its assets and prospects.

To contact the reporters on this story; Jason Scott in Perth at; Kyung Bok Cho in Seoul at

Aluminum Plant failed in tender

EMportal, Serbia - 18. September 2008.

Swiss electro-energy giant Atel Energy won the Bosnian tender for the sale of 1.6bn kWh of electric energy.

Swiss electro-energy giant Atel Energy won the Bosnian tender for the sale of 1.6bn kWh of electric energy.

The Swiss offered as much as EUR 83 for a mWh of electric energy, which enabled them to purchase a total of 85 percent out of the total amount of offered electricity, which will be produced during 2009.

Podgorica-based Aluminum Plant (KAP) did not manage to buy electricity, so it will have to obtain it in some other way.

It will have to import more than 850m kWh of electricity this year, while its annual consumption is around 1.9bn kWh. Bosnian Elektroprivreda received a total of 10 offers.

India signs agreement to build 2 dams in Myanmar

Conde Nast Portfolio, NY - Sep 19 2008

An Indian state enterprise has agreed to help build two hydroelectric dams in northwestern Myanmar, Myanmar state media reported Friday.

The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said that the country's Hydroelectric Power Department signed a memorandum of understanding with India's National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd. to build the 1200-megawatt Htamanthi hydroelectric power project and the 600-megawatt Shwesaya project in northwestern Chin state.

The agreement was signed Tuesday in the Myanmar capital of Naypyitaw, said the report, which provided no further details.

India is Myanmar's western neighbor, and competes for influence with China, the ruling junta's closest ally and diplomatic supporter.

India, the world's largest democracy, was a harsh critic of the junta in the immediate aftermath of its suppression of a pro-democracy uprising in 1988. But concern that China was gaining too much influence over Myanmar contributed to a diplomatic about-face, and relations have improved significantly since 2000, with the country's leaders exchanging visits.

The second-highest ranking member of Myanmar's junta, Vice Senior Gen. Maung Aye, visited India in April to witness the signing of a $120 million project to upgrade waterways and highways along Myanmar's Kaladan River and develop the port of Sittwe in western Myanmar.

During a visit to Myanmar by an India minister in June this year, India agreed to provide Myanmar with $84 million in loans and credits to build power transmission lines and an aluminum plant.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.

Melting Ice Brings Competition for Resources

Spiegel Online, Germany - 09/19/2008

By Gerald Traufetter

selected item:

US aluminum producer Alco plans to build a huge aluminum smelter near Greenland's capital city, Nuuk. Hydroelectric power from melting glaciers will provide the electricity for the plant.

full article,1518,579265,00.html

Jamaica's Alpart alumina refinery to cut 150 jobs

Reuters Sept 19 2008

KINGSTON, - Jamaica's largest bauxite and alumina producer, Alumina Partners of Jamaica (Alpart), said on Friday that it would cut around 150 jobs by the end of the year.

A further 200 non-unionized management workers might also be affected, the company said.

The announcement came after a union representative said the company planned to cut 10 percent to 12 percent of the alumina refinery's workforce.

Owned by Russia's giant aluminum producer United Company RUSAL and Norwegian aluminum group Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Alpart has the capacity to produce 1.65 million tonnes of alumina per year, and employs close to 1,300 workers.

Raw material bauxite mined and refined into alumina, which is then turned into aluminum.

Earlier this year, the company signed a new three-year wage agreement that will see workers receive a 41 percent pay increase over the period.

Alpart said rising energy prices, an increase in the price of chemicals used to process bauxite and alumina, and a new productivity scheme in the current wage contract lay behind the decision to trim the workforce.

"The company has officially informed us of the decision to cut staff and we will be having further meetings to deal with this matter," said the president of the National Workers Union, Vincent Morrison.

Another union boss, St. Patrice Ennis, who leads the Union of Technical, Administrative and Supervisory Personnel, said that his union had also been told of the decision.

"We have been kept informed of the latest developments," Ennis said.

"The company in meetings with us has informed us of the number of workers that will be cut and the categories that will be affected," he said.

Located in the southwestern parish of St. Elizabeth, the company gave no figure for the cost of the redundancies nor a specific date for the layoffs. (Reporting by Horace Helps, Editing by Michael Christie and Carole Vaporean)

Hindalco aims big

Calcutta Telegraph, India - Sept. 19, 2008

Mumbai, AV Birla group company Hindalco Industries Ltd will invest Rs 19,800 crore in expansion over the next three years.

The investment will be spread across many locations in the country, Hindalco chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla told shareholders at the company’s 49th annual general meeting today.

For the current fiscal, Hindalco’s capital expenditure stands at Rs 6,000 crore.

The expansion of the Muri alumina refinery in Jharkhand to 4.50 lakh tonnes from 1.10 lakh tonnes is in progress and production is expected to reach full capacity by the end of this year. The second phase of expansion at the Hirakud unit in Orissa is on schedule.

Aditya Aluminium, the integrated aluminium project in Orissa involving a 1,500-kilo-tonne alumina refinery, a 359-kilo-tonne aluminium smelter and a 900MW captive power plant, is also on course.

Environmental clearances have been received for this project, and technology contracts given to Alcan.

"The first metal from the smelter should be produced by October 2011," Birla said.

According to the Hindalco chief, construction of the Utkal alumina refinery having a proposed capacity of 1.5 million tonnes is underway. A 4,200-kilo-tonne bauxite mine located nearby will supply the raw material. The company is in the process of acquiring land for the project.

The technology for alumina will come from Alcan, and the refinery is expected go onstream by January 2011.

Hindalco has become the world’s largest maker of aluminium rolled products after the acquisition of Novelis.

Chalco won't cut aluminum output

The Standard, Hong Kong - Reuters 21-Sep-2008

Aluminum Corp of China, also known as Chalco, (2600) is planning to maintain its output of primary aluminum despite low prices that may force higher-cost smelters in China to cut production, the firm's president Luo Jianchuan said.

"We are not considering cutting production,'' Luo said on the sidelines of an aluminum conference in Chongqing.

He said Chalco was confident of 2009 Chinese primary aluminum consumption because the government was working on measures to boost domestic demand.

Trinidad & Tobago 2009 budget highlights

Tuesday, September 23 2008

Government's spending in 2009 to resemble 2008's.

Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Finance Karen Nunez-Tesheira expects this country's 11.9% inflation to increase further. While delivering her maiden National Budget speech this afternoon at the Red House in Port of Spain, she also said the Ministry expects the price of oil to fall further.

She reported that the government-owned Trinidad Hyatt Regency expects to turn a profit ahead of schedule in 2009. She hinted during her speech that Government wanted to collect more from non-energy businesses.

Alutrint is back on the national agenda as the Finance Minister said the aluminum smelter is expected to begin construction in 2009.

The unemployment rate in Trinidad is 4.2% and in Tobago 3.5%.

The fiscal package provided $2.65 billion for Tobago.

The Finance Minister announced that a Trinidad and Tobago International Financial Center Management Company will be established next month. She reported that a Special Purpose Economic Zone will be created for the TTIFC.

See the full article by clicking on the link below (if you are interested)

RusAl Joint Venture in Libya

The Moscow Times, Russia - Tuesday, September 23, 2008

United Company RusAl said Monday that it signed a joint venture accord with Libya to explore the possibility of building a smelter and power plant in the country.

The memorandum of understanding concerns a project to build an aluminum plant with a capacity of 600,000 tons per year and a 1,500-megawatt gas-fired generator, the company said. RusAl would hold 60 percent of the project and a Libyan partner the rest. (Bloomberg)

Mozambique plans to export produce to Europe

Mozambique said it would export to The Netherlands and other European countries beans, groundnuts, chili peppers, cashew nuts and handicraft, Radio Mozambique has reported here.

The national broadcaster reported on Wednesday that these products on European markets rely on support from the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI), which is an agency of the Dutch foreign ministry.

Radio Mozambique quoted the Chief Executive Officer of the Mozambican government’s Export Promotion Institute (IPEX), Joao Macaringue, as saying this project seeks to diversify Mozambican exports.

The country also intends to export goods that have already undergone some degree of processing, and thus earn more value added revenuem the radio said Wednesday.

Mozambique’s total exports are currently running at around US$2 billion a year. Over 60 per cent of this consists of one product, aluminum ingots from the MOZAL smelter, on the outskirts of Maputo.

Currently Holland is the main purchaser of Mozambican aluminum.


Saudi Arab to invest USD 17 billion in metal

Your Industry News (press release), UK - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2008

Zaway reported that Saudi Arabia has approved projects worth more than USD 17 billion to produce over 3 million tonnes of aluminum per year and become the dominant exporter of the metal in the Middle East.

One of the biggest smelters in the Gulf Kingdom is a JV between Saudi Arabia and the UAE as it will have an initial output capacity of nearly 700,000 tonnes per year with a potential to double that capacity.

The National Commercial Bank said that the planned investments to build five major smelters will turn Saudi Arabia into a net aluminum exporter as it currently relies heavily on imports given the absence of upstream aluminum projects.

Emirates Business said that ""Saudi Arabia is on the verge of becoming a net exporter, if not a global supplier of primary aluminum. Five upstream aluminum projects have been announced in the Kingdom, valued at nearly USD 17.1 billion. Emirates Business added that once commissioned, the projects will allow the Kingdom to possess a combined production capacity of 3.1 million metric tonnes per annum of primary aluminum by the end of 2012 making it a major global upstream player.""

According to the NCB, four key factors have prompted the massive investments in the Saudi aluminum sector mainly a surge in domestic demand for aluminum, the absence of upstream aluminum industry, a sharp rise in imports because of an economic boom and a government drive to diversify the oil reliant economy. It estimated the local aluminum market at around SAR 5.5 billion with annual consumption estimated at 195,624 tonnes by the end of 2007. Domestic consumption is forecast to grow 37% by 2010 reaching 267,541 tonnes.

The UAE and Bahrain are currently the main aluminum exporters in the Middle East with the combined production capacity of their smelters in Dubai and Manama exceeding 1.8 million tonnes at the end of 2007. With the recent commissioning of another smelter in Oman and planned projects in Qatar and Kuwait, the Gulf region is set to become a dominant aluminum supplier that will control more than 10% of the worlds output.

Source: SteelGuru

BHP: the official interview

Business Spectator, Australia - 24 Sep 2008

The following is a transcript of the video interview by Robert Gottliebsen of BHP chairman Don Argus and CEO Marius Kloppers being posted on DVD to BHP shareholders. The interview was conducted on 30 July 2008. For omitted material see Out-takes from the BHP interview.

Don Argus: Hello I’m Don Argus, thanks for taking the time to watch this production. This DVD represents a new way for BHP Billiton to talk with our shareholders, we know you're very busy, but also understand that at this vital stage in our company's history, you're keen to know more about BHP Billiton’s performance, and our future plans, particularly in relation to Rio Tinto. What follows is an interview with myself and our CEO Marius Kloppers, conducted by Robert Gottliebsen, from the independent business information website, Business Spectator. I trust you find this DVD interesting and informative, and encourage you to regularly visit our website for up to minute information. Thanks again for watching.

Robert Gottliebsen: Marius this is an amazing time in resources. I’ve said I’ve not seen anything like it. How long is it going to last?

Marius Kloppers: We are tremendously excited, and excited for the next decades. This industrialization, the urbanization in China, is an event that the world hasn’t seen. We’re planning an investment program to feed that raw materials demand for decades. Now, that doesn’t mean there won’t be the normal business cycles on top of that. But we’re tremendously excited by demand for our products in the long run.

RG: And you think it’s going to keep going.

DA: When you look at what China’s population is going to be, one point three billion by 2020 Marius I think was it, and they’re building a city the size of Sydney or Birmingham every six weeks, I was reading some stats the other day, their cement production, they control fifty percent of the world’s cement production, and it’s very hard to get your mind around that sort of a statistic, until you go there and you see the cranes and what people are doing. It’s quite incredible.

RG: But Don, you’re an ex-banker. You’ve seen people get terribly optimistic, you’ve seen the whole thing go down again. You’re seeing it right now. Couldn’t that happen in China?

DA: Ah, but see, Marius hit the nail on the head before. Industrialization and urbanization. Nowhere in economic history has seen a country have those dual figureheads, and that’s what’s happening. And it’s just a very exciting time for those that are there. And then you look at what they’re doing, they’re consuming ninety five percent of what they produce. Now, if they get past that and start to roll out past the ninety five percent, the rest of the world better start to understand what these guys are about.

MK: But Don, another way of thinking about it is when the UK drove the early industrialization, at the end of that it had perhaps, I don’t know, fifty million people. The United States that owned most of the twentieth century, had two hundred, two hundred and fifty million people. We’re talking about one point three billion people, only in China, that are moving to cities, they all need houses, infrastructure and so on. The prospects for our business really are incredible if we look at the long run.

RG: Marius’ predecessor Chip Goodyear would tell us that, "It won’t be like that. It’ll be like that on the way up, but there’ll be these corrections". Do you agree with him?

DA: Oh, look, there’s got to be corrections on the way. But nine percent growth is still very good growth, it’s come down from eleven to nine so that’s not too bad. But again, you have to feed one point three billion people, they have to be housed and they need transport, they need water. And the development is occurring.

MK: I think that China’s had an eight percent average growth rate for over thirty years. It’s had ups, it’s had corrections. The last thirty years, eight percent. Our view is that as the population industrializes, as they urbanize, we’re just going to see another couple of decades of exactly the same thing. Some ups and downs, strong long-term demand growth.

RG: What about carbon? Could the carbon situation change that whole situation and cause China to stunt its growth?

MK: Clearly we’re a believer that carbon in the atmosphere is a huge material and pertinent issue. But I also believe in human ingenuity. We’ve got seven billion people on the planet, we’ve got very smart people. Ultimately we are going to find solutions to that – technical solutions. One solution that I can clearly see, is that nuclear energy in China is going to play a bigger role going forward. And we’re very actively positioning ourselves to be a part of that.

DA: If the world is serious about cutting carbon emissions, then you cannot have a debate without the nuclear piece in that debate, because it is the most efficient way to cut carbon emissions.

RG: What’s the timetable in that? When do you think nuclear will be important to China?

MK: I think the world has lost a lot of its capacity to build nuclear reactors quickly. And as China is developing its nuclear program, what it’s doing is it’s gearing up for a bigger build program. That will take a couple of years, but clearly we are positioning the company to, from our side, participate in that over decades, not just for a couple of years.

RG: If you cast your mind forward, what are going to be the big drivers of the BHP profit in say the next three or four years?

MK: We’re investing about a third of our capital spend in our petroleum business. It’s a business that we like, it’s a business that we’d like to continue to expand. We’re investing a lot of money in our copper business, in Escondida, in Olympic Dam, iron ore, and perhaps something which we haven’t spoken about that much, coking coal, where we believe the industrialization of India is going to drive a big demand for coking coal. And we’re again actively developing our resources in order to be a part of that.

RG: Don, do you regret getting out of the steel business? You’ve taken BHP away from metal production.

DA: That was probably one of the toughest decisions since I’ve been on the board, Bob, that was made. The answer to that is no, and Marius gave you his response before. I think the concentration on the upstream part of what we’re doing is the way to go and he’s proving that with the numbers he’s producing, and the board’s very comfortable with the strategic direction that Marius and his team are now taking the company.

RG: So you don’t really want to make metals as such. What about aluminium?

MK: Aluminium we clearly believe we will have as a company a large and growing aluminium business going forward, with or without Rio Tinto. We see the early part of that business, bauxite, alumina, some forms of smelting, as being core business. Perhaps less so for, you know, the extrusions and rolling and so on. But the upstream part of that we definitely see as core business.

RG: Is this a change in the nature of the company?

MK: I think the company has become a more upstream company over the last decade. I think if I look at the businesses that we have sold, stainless steel production, long products, flat products, metal distribution, chrome, all very process-intensive industries, so yes, we like to be at the more upstream end of the business where we’re very close to the resource.

RG: If you acquire Rio Tinto, what will you do with their aluminium business?

MK: I can’t see a future where BHP Billiton, on its own, or in combination with Rio Tinto, does not have a large aluminium business. It is a business that we would like to continue to expand and grow as part of our diversified portfolio. No doubt in the entire portfolio when we’ve put them together, there will be some assets that don’t pass the test, and we’ll divest those assets in the same manner that we’ve high-graded the portfolio over the last ten years.

RG: Don, the Rio Tinto people say that BHP needs Rio Tinto more than Rio Tinto needs BHP. Why is Rio Tinto so important to BHP?

DA: Bob, look, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and the overlaps are there, the synergies, but I think there is a bigger opportunity for us there to close that demand and supply gap. We’re both in each other’s sand patch, as I call it, spending capital and you could say we could probably allocate this capital differently. We could probably devote some of the capital to getting the infrastructure right, so you can get the material out a bit quicker, and there’s a whole range of that type of activity that’s duplicated that you take out of both operations, and that’s for starters. And then once you start to get your supply chain moving, then clearly you can then create some other opportunities for your marketing activities.

RG: Marius, what are the synergies? How do you quantify them?

MK: Gosh, Bob, we share joint ventures, we operate next to each other, we operate in the same geographical spaces. If I look at the Pilbara, the Bowen Basin, the Hunter Valley, some parts of the copper belt in the southern United States, our operations in the Chilean joint venture, the proximity of our diamond mines in Canada, you know I can almost go on all day when I talk about the overlap and the synergy potential between these two sets of assets.

RG: The Rio Tinto people say, look if you had bid a bit higher we might have recommended it, but you didn’t do that. If it’s so good, why didn’t you make the high bid?

DA: We think we’ve created the value bid now, and it’s a relative value bid that’s on the table, or it’s a conditional relative value bid, and I probably could run a different argument with petroleum running pretty strongly at the moment, that probably it’s overpriced, so ah. (laughter)

RG: Marius, what’s the timetable for this bid? What happens next and how do you see that going forward?

MK: Such a long timetable, but one that is essentially unchanged from our initial communication early on in this year. We believe that the important work that we’ve got to put in with the regulators, particularly here in Australia and in Europe will take us well into the fourth quarter of this calendar year. Then we’ve got under the UK timetable that we’re running the deal on, about twenty eight days to post offer documentation, post completion of the anti-trust work, so about a month, and then you’ve got another two month process in order to complete the transaction. So about three months after the anti-trust clearances have been obtained and so somewhere in the early part of next year.

RG: What if the European Commission says you can buy Rio Tinto, but only if you sell vast amounts of it? What would you do in that situation?

MK: Well I think Don has alluded to the fact that this is a relative value deal, it’s the relative value of the two companies, plus then the increment you can get from all of this overlap reduction and acceleration of volume. We feel very confident that our arguments about extra volume out of the combination, that that is a very sound one. But clearly should we not be able to get the synergies, and the extra volume out of the combination, because of some of these issues, we’ll have to think again.

RG: And finally to either of you, if you acquire Rio Tinto, will BHP, or the combined company, be able to pay higher dividends, because you’ll be able to amortize your capital expenditure differently?

MK: Our first objective is always to try and invest more money in our business. We started off this conversation today by talking about that long-run strong market. I think one of the very attractive opportunities for this combination is that we should be able, in the combination of the portfolio, invest our money better, but we’d also like to invest more of it to get more product on the table. But we’ve had a long-standing policy of returning all surplus cash in the form of dividends and in terms of buy-backs, and that would obviously continue.

DA: There’s no hesitation to reward the shareholders, I think our actions over the last five or six years, Bob, have proven that, and you know, going forward there’ll be no change in that policy.

RG: Thank you Don. Thank you Marius.

MK: Thank you.

DA: Thank you.

Vale board okays $2.2 bln Brazil alumina refinery

Wed Sep 24, 2008

Vale on Wednesday said its board of directors had approved plans for an alumina refinery in the far northern state of Para, costing $2.2 billion in its first phase.

The plant, with an initial annual production capacity of 1.86 million metric tonnes of alumina will begin construction in October and is expected to begin operations in the first half of 2011, Vale said in a statement.

The company has a subsidiary, Alunorte, which operates an alumina refinery five kilometers from the site of the new plant to be named the Para Alumina Company (CAP). It will be able to expand production capacity to up to 7.4 million tonnes a year.

The company's board also announced it has approved an investment of $487 million to exploit a third section of its Paragominas bauxite mine which will supply the new refinery.

CAP will be 80 percent owned by Vale and the remainder will be owned by Norway's Hydro Aluminium. That will take the mine's capacity up to 14.85 million tonnes per year from 9.9 presently once it begins operations, also due in 2011.

(Reporting by Peter Murphy; Editing by David Gregorio)

Reynolds to close 2 aluminum foil plants in 2009

Associated Press - September 24, 2008 5:35 PM ET

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Reynolds Consumer Products is closing its two Richmond-area aluminum foil plants.

The company announced Wednesday that about 490 workers will lose their jobs. The first layoffs are expected to start in the fourth quarter and will continue into the second quarter of 2009.

The local operations were formerly a part of Reynolds Metals and Alcoa. The plants were acquired earlier this year by Rank Group Limited, a private investment group based in New Zealand.

Reynolds will move its manufacturing operations to other U.S. locations.

Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder says that while he's disappointed to see the plants close, he's optimistic about the potential for new development at those locations.

Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch,

Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation Announces Appointment of John Habisreitinger to Vice President of Procurement and Logistics

MarketWatch - Sept. 26, 2008

FRANKLIN, Tenn., Sep 26, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation today announced that effective immediately John Habisreitinger has been named Vice President of Procurement and Logistics. This is a newly created position in the Company and will report directly to Kyle Lorentzen, Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Mr. Habisreitinger also will be a member of Noranda's Executive Team, which is referred to as the "NET."

"John's proven leadership skills, operational expertise and industry knowledge has enabled him to be highly effective in supporting our business operations since he joined the Company in 2006. I am extremely pleased to have John move into this new role, and I am confident he will help us achieve our strategic CORE (cost-out, reliability, and effectiveness) initiatives, which will add economic value to our Company," stated Mr. Lorentzen.

Mr. Habisreitinger, age 44, has over 20 years experience in the aluminum industry. Since May of 2006, he had served as the site manager for our downstream rolled products facilities located in Huntingdon, Tennessee. Prior to holding that position, John was Vice President-Commercial for Gramercy Alumina, LLC and St. Ann Bauxite Limited, joint venture partnerships of which Noranda owns a 50 percent interest. Before that, Mr. Habisreitinger served as Vice President of Commodity Sales for Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation. While at Kaiser, John also held a number of other positions that supported Kaiser's bauxite, alumina and aluminum operations in the United States, Jamaica, Australia and Africa. Mr. Habisreitinger holds a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from Southeastern Louisiana University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of New Orleans.

As Vice President of Procurement and Logistics, Mr. Habisreitinger is responsible for company-wide purchasing, logistics and supply management activities, and will lead the drive for standardization and optimization of Noranda's purchasing activities. "As our overall supply management performance plays a major role in our CORE initiatives, cost position, product quality and customer satisfaction, my goal is to further our disciplined approach toward applying best practices in these areas across the Company," said John.

Scott Croft, President of Norandal USA, Inc., the downstream division of Noranda Aluminum, will serve as interim site manager for the Huntingdon facilities until a new site manager is named.

China's aluminum bauxite resource facing exhaustion on overusing

Trading Markets (press release), CA - Sep 23, 2008

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BEIJING, Sep 23, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- ACH | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- China's aluminum bauxite reserves are available for ten years due to excessively mining, China Business News reported Tuesday.

According to Ding Haiyan, vice president of China's biggest aluminum producer Aluminum Corp of China (ACH.NYSE; 2600.HK, 601600. SH), China has less than two percent of the world's aluminum bauxite reserves, but uses 10 percent of the total. In this case, the overall resource will be used out in ten years.

China's aluminum output has maintained an annual growth of 28 percent since 2001, 10 percentage points higher than that of other countries.

Moreover, some 2.5 million tons of aluminum processing capacity will be released in the following 2-3 years, which is estimated to consume 12.5 million tons of aluminum bauxite.

Ding noted that the Chinese government is encouraging powerful Chinese companies looking for aluminum bauxite resource overseas so as to ease domestic supply tension. But domestic aluminum companies are suffering from capital shortage due to sharp aluminum price decline on the international market. The price was quoted at 16,985 yuan per ton on September 22.

The aluminum price is likely to dig below 14,000 yuan per ton soon on domestic demand stagnancy, overproduction and inventory increase, said Ma Junfeng, deputy general-manager of Orient Securities Futures, citing the conclusion of the company's analyst Cheng Hui as saying. Therefore, a large number of aluminum producers will go bankruptcy.

Russian aluminum giant RusAl to build metals complex in Libya

RIA Novosti, Russia - Sep 22, 2008

MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) - RusAl, the world's largest aluminum producer, will team up with Libya's Economic and Social Development Fund (ESDF) to build an energy and metals complex in Libya, the sides said Monday.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed by the Russian firm and its Libyan partner, RusAl will hold 60% and ESDF 40% in the joint undertaking.

"The memorandum stipulates feasibility studies to comprehensively assess the complex's technical, economic and financial aspects. If the results are positive, the sides intend to sign a final deal on the joint venture in 2009 and start building a gas-fired electric power plant and an aluminum plant in 2010," a joint statement said.

The aluminum plant would produce up to 600,000 metric tons annually while the power plant would have an annual capacity of 1,500 Mw, the statement said.

"The memorandum that has been signed is yet another important step in implementing our strategy of increasing global presence and strengthening the company's competitiveness through the establishment of energy and metals complexes in strategically important regions," RusAl General Director Alexander Bulygin said.

He said the plant would be the first aluminum producer in Libya and would help develop the Libyan economy.

Waterkeeper Alliance and Greenline File a Claim Against Rusal, the Aluminum Giant Owned by Russian Billionaire Oleg Deripaska, for Violating Environmental Regulations in Krasnoyarsk Region

MarketWatch - Sept. 29, 2008

NEW YORK, Sept 29, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Keepers of the Rivers, Moscow-based environmental group along with Greenline, independent environmental watchdog, has accused aluminum giant Rusal of dumping poisonous waste near its plant in Krasnoyarsk. The environmentalists submitted its claim against the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant (KRAZ), controlled by Rusal Holding, after reviewing a series of complaints from residents of two villages located near the plant. Independent tests revealed that concentrations of toxic chemicals in the soil were far above normal levels. They submitted the claim to the Krasnoyarsk Attorney's office and to Rosprirodnadzor, the country's environment protection agency.

The Russian State News Agency confirmed that a major inspection of KRAZ by Rosprirodnadzor is already under way. Vladimir Lapukhov, a senior expert on environmental issues in Russia, says KRAZ has done substantial damage to the environment of the Krasnoyarsk region. "The levels of toxic elements in the water near the plant exceed 400% of their normal levels. It's an actual threat to people's health," Lapukhov says. "I was happy to hear that Rosprirodnadzor has decided to inspect the plant and to make it follow environmental guidelines," he adds.

Maxim Shingarkin, "Keepers of the Rivers" director, said at a press conference held in Moscow: "We received complaints and filed a claim against Rusal's KRAZ according to the law. Now Rosprirodnadzor will inspect KRAZ or will authorize us to conduct an independent inspection." Arkady Zubov, director of the Krasnoyarsk ecology union, said: "KRAZ invests into purification faculties, but at some locations their equipment is still old and it fails."

KRUZ is owned by Oleg Deripaska, Russia's richest man, currently #9 on the Forbes Billionaires list. A spokesman for Rusal denied that the inspection was being conducted and said that the villages have been relocated some time ago, Russian State News Agency reported.

SOURCE Greenline

Copyright (C) 2008 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

Norsk Hydro sees world primary aluminum demand up by 7%

SteelGuru, India - September 29, 2008

Norwegian aluminum and renewable energy company Norsk Hydro ASA has said that as compared to the earlier expectation of the global primary aluminum consumption growth being about 8% it is now expects it to be about 7% in 2008.

A recent news agency quoted Mr Arvid Moss executive VP of Norsk Hydro as saying that the growth will be coming from China, while demand in US remains weak and consumption in Europe is weakening. Mr Moss said that "We are still not sure about consumption effects from the latest financial unrest. We need to see more of what will happen before we can incorporate the impacts into out consumption model."

Mr Eivind Reiten CEO of Norsk Hydro said that the turmoil in the financial market is hitting his company's markets. Meanwhile, the company informed that it expects demand growth in 2009 to be under 7%, while in the next 10 years it expects demand to be around 5% to 6%. During this time, it expects China to account for two thirds of the demand.

In 2008, the global demand is about 40 million tonnes, while probable capacity requirement in 2015 is 62 million tonnes with the major part of that capacity would be in China, which is around 15 million tonnes.

Norsk Hydro also expects soaring demand, high raw material and energy prices lending support to high aluminum prices in future. A healthy supply and demand balance will support a good development going forward.

Mid-term price outlook not too rosy

Malaysia Star, Malaysia - Monday September 29, 2008

CVG-Bauxilum debts are the result of executive mismanagement, violating laws and contracts at the expense of workers owed some $345 billion (Pressemitteilung), Austria - 2008-09-29

After five days of labor protests, Sutracarbonorca, Sintrabauxilum, Suprabaux, Sutralumina and Sunep-CVG labor unions say there is NO serious proposal by Basic Industries & Mining (Mibam) Ministry officials or central government in Caracas to end the conflict or to resolve, once and for all, the overriding questions of meritocracy, investment and production of aluminum at CVG-Bauxilum.

VHeadline Venezuela News reports:

Emilio Campos (secretary general of Sutracarbonorca), Valentino Edgar (general secretary of Sintrabauxilum), Antonio Rivas (general secretary of Suprabaux), Jose Sanchez (secretary general of Sutralumina) and Juan Gomez (secretary general of Sunep-CVG), met on Sunday to reiterate their warning that if the debacle at the bauxite plant is not relieved by investment, there will be no way to recover the nation's aluminum industry.

Suprobaux' Antonio Rivas says he will continue fighting to get the financial resources for CVG-Bauxilum to invest in technological adaptations which should have been implemented five years ago ... "what it implies is that we have to continue (the strike) even if in the short-term it affects the production processes!"

Rivas adds that documentation shows how his union has demonstrated its tolerance, respect and patience ... according to a document signed in September last year (2007), outgoing Mibam Minister Jose Khan had promised to pay off labor liabilities and that he was already working to put substantial investment into the company. Another document shows a request to the IRS/Seniat asking for the reimbursement of bonds and taxes. He warns that the fight will continue and clarifies that, for the moment aluminum production is not at risk ... that lies only with the input of raw material and much-needed investment. "On March 13 (2008) we went to Caracas to protest the lack of support for CVG companies that are on the edge of collapse ... but, to this day nothing has been accomplished."

Sutralumina's Jose Sanchez stresses that a committee from Caracas had offered a staggered payment proposals which was rejected by the unions. Bauxilum's interim president Alfredo Arcila offered US$10 billion to pay first and second week liabilities with an investment of $43 billion in bonds and Bs.F 27 billion in Certificates of Deposit from the sale of bauxite, but the unions called for an immediate injection of resources -- rather than the "fractured proposal" -- because of operational chaos and lack of supplies and maintenance. "There are no spare parts to repair 160 damaged equipment breakdowns ... it is NOT the first time we have asked for this situation to be resolved ... we also warned the (former Mibam) minister, Jose Khan, about the risks that the company would collapse. The new Mibam Minister, Rodolfo Sanz, was able to verify the situation with his own eyes, and concluded that aluminum companies has come to the point of no return ... they cannot continue for more than a few months in these conditions ... they do not appear to want to expedite the processes which are very slow and time is short".

Sanchez adds that CVG-Bauxilum and national executive labor liability debts are the result of executive mismanagement inasmuch as they believe that they can violate fundamental labor laws and contractual agreements at the expense of the workers, who are now owed some $345 billion.

Sintrabauxilum's Valentino Edgar says that they are committed turning the protest into a political manifestation --- "We are not fighting for the restitution of former CVG-Bauxilum president Hector Herrera Jimenez ... that is not the point ... what we want is for Mibam comply with the commitments they already made to the employees of CVG-Bauxilum ... the protest came about because only 30% of the outstanding labor liabilities were paid while 70% were not paid and it was done in a discriminatory fashion ... we are asking central government (which has the prerogative to appoint and remove executives) to refrain from removing and appointing new presidents every week ... we had one that lasted 4 months, another lasted only 9 days, and now we have an interim president, and tomorrow, another one will be appointed so that in less than a month, we will have had four presidents."

Emilio Campos says it is "disturbing" that there have been NO serious answers given to this problem. The problem of labor and environmental liabilities is the same as always. I ask Mibam Minister, Rodolfo Sanz, "where is the point of balance that we have not found in 4 months?

Alcoa Named to Climate Disclosure Leadership Index for Sixth Consecutive Year; Commended on Quality of Climate Change Disclosure Practice

MarketWatch - Sept. 29, 2008

Alcoa announced today that it has been named to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index for the sixth consecutive year. This index, a key component of CDP's annual Global 500 Report, highlights companies within the FTSE Global 500 Index that have displayed the most proficient approach to corporate governance in regards to climate change disclosure practices.

The CDP represents 385 global institutional investors with $57 trillion in assets under management. Carbon disclosure and climate change reporting is critical for investors to fully assess their risks, liabilities and opportunities within their portfolios.

The Climate Disclosure Leadership Index is comprised of 67 global 500 companies that showed distinction in their responses to the CDP survey based on reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, emissions reduction targets and risks and opportunities associated with climate change. The index, which provides an evaluation tool for institutional investors, is made up of the top 34 companies selected from non-carbon-intensive sectors and the top 33 companies selected from carbon-intensive sectors.

"Alcoa is committed to address climate change responsibly and sustainably, and we are pleased to be a member of this prestigious honor roll of global corporations addressing the challenges of climate change," said Alcoa President and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld.

When thinking globally requires unpleasant action locally

Economist, UK - Sep 29th 2008

LAST Thursday, at a conference on aluminium smelting in Germany, environmental activists tripped the fire alarms. Later, they set off a deafening rape alarm in the main auditorium, and suspended it out of reach of the indignant organisers using helium balloons. They also chucked in a few stink bombs, and scattered leaflets among the bewildered crowd.

Protesters from the same group have chained themselves to machinery, suspended banners from building façades and blockaded construction sites, to name just a few of the activities that have got them arrested, all in the name of "Saving Iceland", as their organisation is called. Their grievance is simple: they do not think that power companies should be building dams and drilling wells for geothermal plants in pristine parts of Iceland, simply to provide power for aluminium smelters.


A necessary evil?There are currently three aluminium smelters in Iceland, with a fourth under construction and others planned. Iceland is one of the world’s top ten producers, despite having no bauxite (the main ingredient) and a population of barely 300,000. Aluminium has a huge share in the economy, accounting for 37% of exports in the early part of this year, compared with just 10% in 1995.

This investment boom is driven by one thing alone: cheap, clean power. Aluminium smelting is a very power-hungry business. Indeed, electricity accounts for such a high proportion of costs that it is worthwhile shipping the raw materials to a spot with cheap power, such as Iceland, and shipping the finished aluminium on again to consumers elsewhere.

Iceland has lots of rivers, and sits atop a volcanic ridge. Its electricity comes almost entirely from hydropower and geothermal plants. There are plenty of rivers left to dam, and lots of subterranean steam to tap. Local power companies have even started building power plants solely to cater to new smelters. Electricity consumption has more than doubled in recent years; Iceland now uses more power per person than any other country in the world. And consumption will only grow as more smelters are built.

But some Icelanders are beginning to have doubts. A planned expansion of the oldest smelter, near Reykjavik, was defeated in a local referendum last year. Saving Iceland wants to call a halt to all such projects. But the prime minister, Geir Haarde, argues that the protesters do not reflect the views of most Icelanders, especially in the smaller and more remote communities in the north and east of the country, who welcome smelters and the jobs they bring.

Others believe that Iceland has a moral obligation to use its plentiful clean energy for the benefit of the planet. If the aluminium is not made in Iceland, the theory runs, it will be made somewhere else, using much grubbier energy. Smelting has grown rapidly in China in recent years, for example, fuelled by coal-fired power. Were it not for Iceland, China would presumably be making even more aluminium. Iceland, in other words, should sacrifice its own landscape for the good of the planet.

Saving Iceland denounces that formula as a false dichotomy. If everyone lived more modest lives, it says, we would not need so much aluminium in the first place. But that sounds like wishful thinking. It might not be too much of a sacrifice for extravagant Westerners to drink fewer fizzy drinks from aluminium cans, and to take fewer flights in aluminium planes. But it is hard to believe that consumption of aluminium will fall any time soon, given the growing demand from developing countries.

What is more, even if more aluminium is not really needed, there are plenty of other good uses to which Iceland could put its green power. There is already talk of locating data centres there. What could be worthier than helping to keep the internet running? And if electricity is going to be made anywhere, it might as well be made where it does the least damage to the environment.

On the other hand, the damage to the environment from a new dam must seem enormous if you happen to live at the bottom of the valley being flooded. Not many people live anywhere in Iceland, it is true. But the few that do probably value the preservation of their immediate surroundings more than an intangible and, in the grand scheme of things, tiny contribution to the health of the atmosphere.

"Think globally, act locally" is a classic environmentalist’s rallying cry. But what should the green at heart do when the two are at odds?

Alcoa to shut down smelter in Rockdale

Temple Daily Telegram, TX - October 1, 2008

by By Jeanne Williams - Associated Press Copyright ©

Alcoa’s Rockdale plant will shrink by an additional 660 employees as the company shuts down the rest of its smelter.

ROCKDALE - Citing an "uncompetitive power supply" and overall market conditions, Alcoa announced Tuesday it has begun shutdown of the remaining three potlines at its Rockdale smelter and would lay off about 660 employees over the next three months.

Beginning immediately, Alcoa is curtailing the remaining production at its Rockdale aluminum smelter, comprising about 150,000 metric tons of production a year. Alcoa will adjust alumina production accordingly.

The Rockdale plant decades ago was the company’s largest smelter in the United States with eight potlines in operation. The Rockdale Alcoa plant will continue to operate its aluminum atomizer in Rockdale as well as its anode operations there, employing a combined 140 people.

In June, the company laid off 160 smelter employees when it idled three of the plant’s six operating potlines representing about 120,000 metric tons per year of production as a result of ongoing local power supply issues, which led to Alcoa suing Luminant last month.

Luminant, owner of the lignite-fired Sandow Steam Electric Station Unit 4, provides electricity to Alcoa’s Rockdale Operations.

Alcoa to sell Sandow 4 power after smelting ends

Reuters - Tue Sep 30, 2008

Alcoa Inc (AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it will attempt to market excess power from Luminant's Sandow 4 power plant in Milam County once smelting operations cease at its Rockdale facility, an Alcoa spokesman said on Tuesday.

Alcoa will stop making aluminum later this year at the Rockdale smelter because of power supply issues and lay off about 660 workers, the company said Tuesday.

In June, Alcoa idled half the Rockdale plant's production, citing the high cost of buying replacement power when Luminant's 545-megawatt, on-site Sandow unit was was shut numerous times for maintenance.

Alcoa and Dallas-based Luminant have squabbled publicly for months over the operation of Sandow 4 and pricing issues.

Alcoa spokesman Kevin Lowery said some operations will continue at Rockdale and the amount of excess power that will be available to the market has yet to be determined.

"Following this curtailment of smelting, Alcoa will continue to pay its cost of generation from Sandow Unit 4 and we will attempt to recover that cost by marketing the power in the Texas energy market," said John Thuestad, president of Alcoa's U.S. primary products business, in a statement.

Luminant, a unit of privately held Energy Future Holdings, said Sandow 4 has run smoothly since July, giving Alcoa "no new significant power generation concerns or new pricing issues," according to a release.

Luminant is building a new 600-MW coal-fired unit at the Sandow site after assuming the air permit from Alcoa in 2007 over the objection of numerous environmental groups.

(Reporting by Eileen O'Grady; Editing by David Gregorio)

Luminant Statement Regarding Alcoa Layoffs

Sept. 30, 2008

DALLAS, Sep 30, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Luminant has issued the following statement in response to Alcoa's decision to lay off more employees at its Rockdale facility:

Unfortunately, it appears Alcoa is once again refusing to take responsibility for its business decisions.

Nothing at Sandow has changed since Alcoa's last round of layoffs that could have precipitated Alcoa's decision to curtail the remaining production at its Rockdale smelter. Our Sandow power plant has been operating smoothly and without any major issues since early July. As a result of Luminant's consistent efforts, there have been no new significant power generation concerns or new pricing issues - even after Hurricane Ike.

We believe Alcoa has a history of using layoffs like this as a vehicle for managing costs and driving the company's profitability. Alcoa should acknowledge its independent decisions instead of blaming power supply issues and unspecified "market conditions." Since 2000, Alcoa's annual reports show their global employment has decreased by 35,000 employees.

Luminant remains committed to investing and hiring in the Central Texas region as we build a new, state-of-the-art power plant unit at Sandow. We are proud of our economic development efforts in Milam County and we look forward to a long continued relationship with key businesses and others in the county.

SOURCE: Luminant


Allan Koenig, 214-875-8651

Copyright Business Wire 2008

Market Report -- In Play (AA)

MSN Money - September 30, 2008

Alcoa to record pre-tax charge of $48 mln due to curtailing the remaining production at its Rockdale, Texas aluminum smelter Co announces it will curtail the remaining production at its Rockdale, Texas aluminum smelter - comprising approximately 150,000 metric tons of production a year (mtpy) - beginning immediately as a result of uncompetitive power supply to that smelter and overall market conditions. In June, the company idled three of the plant's six operating potlines representing approximately 120,000 mtpy of production as a result of ongoing local power supply issues. As a result of the curtailment of the remainder of aluminum smelting in Rockdale, approximately 660 employees will be laid-off in addition to the approximately 160 employees who were impacted earlier. The company will continue to operate its aluminum atomizer in Rockdale as well as its anode operations there, employing a combined 140 people. Lay-offs at the facility will be implemented in a phased process, with the majority of the reductions occurring toward the end of November and in early December. Additionally, Alcoa will adjust alumina production accordingly. Alcoa will record a third quarter 2008 pre-tax charge of approximately $48 million to cover the costs of the curtailment.

Alcoa to Shut Down More Operations

KXXV News Channel 25, TX - Sep 30, 2008

ROCKDALE - A Central Texas company is shutting even more doors, laying off more employees.

Metal producer Alcoa will announced Tuesday its plans to close its three remaining potlines at its Rockdale facility, effectively laying off 660 additional employees.

The company will continue to operate its aluminum atomizer as well as its anode operations, keeping 140 employees.

Alcoa announced that the layoffs will have their largest impact in late November and early December.

"When we initially curtailed half of our aluminum production in Rockdale," said John Thuestad, President of Alcoa's US Primary Products business, "we said it would be extremely challenging to try to be competitive operating only half of the plant. Unfortunately, the cumulative effect of operating only half of the smelter, well-known issues regarding the cost and long-term reliability of the power supply in Rockdale, and current market conditions, has forced us to make this difficult decision."

Back in June, the company idled half of production and said it might have to lay off as many as 300 employees because of increased power costs from its supplier, Luminant.

Three of the plant's six operating potlines were stopped in June because local energy market costs increased as much as $2,000 to $4,000 per megawatt hour.

An additional 100 contract employees were laid off at the end of August.

Venezuelan Guayana Corporation (CVG) president and CEO, Rodolfo Sanz, feels full "attack of vultures" as rumors run wild of imminent departure! (Pressemitteilung), Austria - Sep 30, 2008