AluNews - February 2010

Hydro closes Michigan plant
Norway Post - 28-Feb-2010
Norwegian aluminium producer Hydro has discontinued production and closed the doors at its aluminium tubing plant in Michigan, ending 70 years of manufacturing operations at the Adrian site.
Activities related to the closure, which Hydro announced last March, included the transfer of products and manufacturing equipment from the Adrian plant to Hydro's two other aluminium tubing sites in North America – in Florida and in Mexico.
The Adrian plant made its final product deliveries last week. Hydro has donated the property to the local township for future development. Hydro acquired the plant from Bohn in August 1990.
Demolition work and clean-up operations will begin immediately, with as much of the waste as possible being recycled. Plant manager Greg Hall, who is leading the process, says he expects these activities to last through September 2010.
Hydro is a global leader in the development of aluminium solutions for automotive and non-automotive heat transfer applications, including air-conditioning systems. Its precision tubing unit has about 1,200 employees at manufacturing facilities in Asia, Europe, North America and South America.

Govt has yet to decide on Inalum
Jakarta Post - Nani Afrida Mon, 03/01/2010
The Indonesian government has not decided whether it will go ahead with its plan to take over the Indonesia-Japan aluminum joint venture PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminum (Inalum).
"Inalum is still an ongoing issue. We have set up a technical team led by the industry minister. Their review will be presented to us and then we will set up a negotiating team to meet the Japan government," State-Owned Enterprises Minister Mustafa Abubakar told journalists last week.
He said that the negotiating team, representing the coordinating economic ministry, the industry ministry and the state enterprises ministry, would meet the government of Japan in March or April.
"We believe Inalum still has good prospects as it could produce more aluminum for us, which is so important," Mustafa said, adding that the alternative solution to convert Inalum into a state enterprise could also be a good solution.
The government has drafted options on the future of Inalum. One is to take over the aluminum producer when its contract ends in 2013, and the other is to revise the contract to ensure that the project would not only benefit the Japanese investors but also be more beneficial to Indonesia. It is reported that Indonesia seeks a better deal.
According to Mustafa, the technical team is also considering another option to involve the state-owned mining firm Antam alongside Inalum to balance Indonesia's position in the joint venture if the government were to extend the contract.
"This is an option. We want that the Antam involvement would bring us onto an equal footing between Indonesia and Japan," he said.
Mustafa says Antam would be able to invest in Inalum with many advantages for Indonesia, since the country has yet to benefit sufficiently from Inalum production.
So far, Inalum only sells 100,000 tons per year to the domestic market, out of the 250,000 tons of aluminum ingots produced per year.
The remaining production is exported to Japan. The installation was built in 1975 at Asahan, North Sumatra, and opened in 1977,
Inalum is now 60 percent controlled by Nippon Asahan Aluminum (NAA) - a consortium of seven Japanese multinational companies, while the rest of the stake is owned by the government of Indonesia. Inalum's assets are now estimated to be worth more than US$2 billion.
The Asahan Authority, an independent agency assigned to take care of the project, has said Indonesia could own Inalum fully if the government acquired NAA's shares currently valued at between $400 and $500 million.
However, Minister Mustafa acknowledged that Inalum has huge debts with NAA, saying that the government has planned the restructuring of Inalum debts before possibly taking on the company.
"Somewhat before 2013, we would take steps to improve the company's debt position," he said. Previously the Asahan Authority's chief, Effendi Sirait, confirmed that Inalum's debt to the Japan Bank for International Cooperation totaled $226 millions as of March 2009.

Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation Reports Fourth Quarter 2009 Results
Business Wire (press release) - 28-Feb-2010
Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation (“Noranda” or the “Company”) announced its consolidated financial results for the fourth quarter and the full fiscal year of 2009.
“In 2009, Noranda achieved financial success despite adverse market conditions”
Important metrics and events include:
Fourth quarter 2009 revenues were $229.4 million, operating loss was $72.9 million and net income was $64.9 million.
Full year 2009 revenues were $769.9 million, operating loss was $150.1 million and net income was $101.4 million.
Adjusted EBITDA was $28.6 million for fourth quarter 2009 and $98.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2009.
Fourth quarter 2009 cash cost for primary aluminum production was $0.78 per pound compared to $0.88 per pound in fourth quarter 2008. For 2009, cash cost of primary aluminum production was $0.77 per pound, compared to $0.81 per pound in 2008.
During fourth quarter 2009, the Company repurchased $83.0 million aggregate principal amount of debt for an aggregate price of $64.2 million, plus fees.
The Company ended 2009 with total debt of $951.7 million and $167.2 million in cash. At December 31, 2009, the Company had $190.7 million of locked-in value from aluminum hedges.
Over 80% of the New Madrid smelter’s pots were operating at the end of December 2009.
In December 2009, the Company and the Government of Jamaica reached an agreement setting the fiscal regime structure for Noranda’s bauxite mining operations through 2014.
“In 2009, Noranda achieved financial success despite adverse market conditions,” said Layle K. “Kip” Smith, Noranda’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The close of 2009 sees Noranda with less debt than we had at the beginning of the year, reduced production cost, and improved safety performance. 2010 will require as much effort as 2009, as the recent commodities cycle has intensified the competitive environment.”
Fourth Quarter 2009 Results
For fourth quarter 2009, the Company reported revenues of $229.4 million, compared to $218.6 million in the third quarter 2009 and $261.5 million in fourth quarter of 2008. The Company also reported a $72.9 million operating loss, compared to a $4.4 million operating loss in third quarter 2009, and a $64.6 million operating loss in fourth quarter 2008.
Fourth quarter 2009 operating results reflect $15.9 million of improvements in sales margin (sales minus cost of sales) on a consolidated basis compared to third quarter 2009. This improvement resulted primarily from improved LME pricing, the benefits of owning 100% of the former joint venture entities at Gramercy and St Ann, and off-peak power rates at New Madrid, offset somewhat by the usual seasonality experienced in the last month of the fourth quarter.
Consolidated sales in fourth quarter 2009 were $229.4 million, 4.9% above third quarter 2009, and 12.3% below fourth quarter 2008.
Fourth quarter 2009 revenues include $51.7 million related to alumina and bauxite shipped from Gramercy and St. Ann to external customers, compared to $19.4 million in third quarter 2009. Fourth quarter 2009 reflects a full period of Gramercy and St. Ann operations, whereas the third quarter reflects the results of operations following the August 31, 2009 acquisition.
The cash cost of primary aluminum production was $0.78 per pound in fourth quarter 2009, compared to $0.76 per pound in third quarter 2009, and $0.88 per pound in fourth quarter 2008.
Selling, general and administrative costs increased $5.1 million in fourth quarter 2009 compared to third quarter 2009, due primarily to the full quarter effects of the operations of Gramercy and St. Ann, and slightly higher payroll related expenses in fourth quarter 2009.
Fourth quarter 2009 operating results include a $65.0 million impairment write down for downstream goodwill. Third quarter 2009 operating results included $14.3 million of insurance proceeds recognized in excess of claim expenses related to the January 2009 pot line freeze in New Madrid, whereas in the fourth quarter operating expenses were adversely affected by the start up of Line 3 in New Madrid.
Fourth quarter 2009 net income was $64.9 million, compared to $4.3 million of net income in third quarter 2009, and a $72.3 million net loss in fourth quarter 2008. Despite the operating loss factors discussed above, fourth quarter 2009 net income reflects the following:
In fourth quarter 2009, the Company recognized a $120.3 million gain as a result of becoming the sole owner of the Gramercy alumina business and the St. Ann bauxite mining business (the “Joint Venture Transaction”). During fourth quarter 2009, the Company finalized its valuation of the assets acquired and liabilities assumed, resulting in the aforementioned gain net of consideration.
In fourth quarter 2009, the Company repurchased $83.0 million aggregate principal amount of its indebtedness for an aggregate price of $64.2 million, plus fees. The Company recorded an $18.0 million gain on these debt repurchases.
The comparability of the Company’s fourth quarter 2009 to fourth quarter 2008 income tax provision was affected by the 2009 accounting for the gain on business combination and the impairments of non-deductible goodwill. The effective tax rate for the fourth quarter stood at a 5.8% tax benefit compared to 73.8% in third quarter of 2009 and 29.8% in fourth quarter 2008.
Full Year 2009 Results
Revenues, operating loss and net income for 2009 reflect the unfavorable impact of the global economic contraction that began in the second half of 2008, as well as the January 2009 New Madrid pot line freeze.
For 2009, the Company reported a $150.1 million operating loss, compared to operating income of $44.4 million for 2008.
The significant reduction in aluminum pricing resulting from the global economic contraction, the reduction in primary aluminum production resulting from the power outage and pot line freeze in New Madrid on January 29, 2009 and the resulting cost inefficiencies created a $143.9 million unfavorable swing in operating income in the upstream business in 2009 compared to 2008. The upstream segment reported a $34.5 million operating loss in 2009 as opposed to operating income of $109.4 million in 2008.
During 2009, the Company recorded impairment charges totaling $108.0 million for goodwill and other intangible assets in the downstream segment. During 2008, the Company recorded similar downstream impairment charges totaling $25.5 million. During fourth quarter 2009, downstream goodwill was written down to zero.
The Company reached insurance settlements totaling $67.5 million for the pot line freeze claim relating to the January 2009 New Madrid smelter outage. Those proceeds were offset by $24.0 million of claim costs incurred through September 30, 2009, resulting in a $43.5 million residual recognized as “Excess insurance proceeds.”
As a result of the Company’s cost control efforts, the cash cost of primary aluminum production was $0.77 per pound in 2009, compared to $0.81 per pound in 2008.
For 2009, the Company reported $101.4 million of net income, opposed to a $74.1 million net loss in 2008. Compared to the adverse operating results discussed above, the Company benefitted from several major factors in 2009 as follows:
Interest expense was $34.4 million lower in 2009 than in 2008, reflecting lower average interest rates and lower average debt balances outstanding in 2009 due to debt repurchases.
In 2009, the Company reported $111.8 million of net derivative gains compared to $69.9 million of net derivative losses in 2008. For the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company reclassified $172.2 million of hedge gains from accumulated other comprehensive income to earnings, including $77.8 million reclassified into earnings as part of its discontinuation of hedge accounting following the smelter outage. In contrast, for the year ended December 31, 2008, the Company reclassified $24.2 million of hedge losses from accumulated other comprehensive income into earnings.
During 2009, the Company repurchased $403.8 million aggregate principal amount of debt for an aggregate price of $187.2 million, plus fees. For fiscal year 2009, the Company recorded a $211.2 million gain on these debt repurchases.
For 2009, net income reflects the impact of $80.3 million of impairment charges recorded in first and second quarter 2009 against the Company’s investment in joint ventures, related primarily to the Company’s investment in St. Ann. These impairment losses were offset in fourth quarter 2009 as the Company recognized a $120.3 million gain on business combination related to the Joint Venture Transaction.
The provision for income taxes resulted in a 36.6% effective tax rate in 2009 compared to a 30.8% effective tax rate in 2008.
For the year ended December 31, 2009, operating activities provided $220.4 million of cash flow compared to $65.5 million provided in 2008. Highlights include:
A significant source of cash was the early termination of hedges worth $120.8 million during the year. No such terminations occurred to during 2008.
Cash settlements related to hedging activities provided $25.6 million in 2009 compared to payments of $23.0 million in 2008. These cash settlements included payments of $11.9 million and $6.0 million related to interest rate swap settlements in 2009 and 2008, respectively.
Cash interest payments in 2009 were $17.3 million, compared to $87.2 million in 2008, due to the combined effects of exercising the paid-in-kind option on senior rate floating notes, lower average balances, and lower interest rates.
For the year, the Company’s operating activities provided $21.2 million through working capital reductions.
For the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company significantly curtailed its capital expenditures due to both the economic environment and despite the need to rebuild or reline pots damaged or destroyed in the power outage. The Company used $187.2 million to buy back its debt as opposed to borrowing $225.0 million on its revolver in 2008. Overall the Company at December 31, 2009 had on hand $167.2 million in cash as opposed to the $184.7 million on hand at December 31, 2008.
The Company ended 2009 with total debt of $951.7 million, and cash and revolving credit facility borrowings available totaling $167.9 million. In 2010, through February 22, the Company used available cash balances to repay $150.0 million of revolving credit facility borrowings. As of January 31, 2009, the Company had cash and cash equivalent balances totaling $74.4 million and $150.7 million available for borrowing under its revolving credit facility.
At December 31, 2009, the Company had $190.7 million of locked-in value from offsetting fixed-price aluminum sales and purchase swaps. On January 4, 2010, the Company terminated a portion of these hedges to fund fourth quarter debt repurchases, recognizing proceeds of $58.7 million and reducing the locked-in value to $126.3 million.
Workforce Reduction
On February 26, 2010, the Company announced a workforce and business process restructuring in its U.S. operations that will reduce operating costs, improve operating efficiencies and conserve liquidity.
“Noranda remains committed to its strategy to improve productivity and grow its business,” said Mr. Smith. “This restructuring is expected to generate approximately $8 million to $10 million annually through cost savings and operating efficiencies. It simplifies our organization to support faster decision making, setting priorities and managing risk.”
The U.S. workforce restructuring plan involves a total staff reduction of 89 employees through a combination of voluntary retirement packages and involuntary terminations. Substantially all activities associated with this workforce reduction have been completed as of the time of the announcement. It is estimated that these actions will result in approximately $6 million to $8 million of pre-tax charges to be recorded in the first quarter of 2010, primarily due to one-time termination benefits and pension benefits. Substantially all of these charges will result in cash expenditures.

Fire breaks out in Tajik aluminium plant - 28-Feb-2010
Excerpt from report by state-owned Tajik news agency Khovar website
Dushanbe, 28 February: A large-scale fire broke out in the Talco [Tajik aluminium company] unitary enterprise today, 28 February. A source at the Tajik Interior Ministry's main fire safety directorate has told the Khovar news agency that the fire started in the baked anodes department.
The investigation service said there had been an explosion in a transformer substation.
As a result, the fire destroyed the transformer in an area of 12 square metres and 300 litres of transformer oil.
"The preliminary version of the cause of fire is technical overload. The losses and culprits of the fire are being established," the source said.
Originally published by Khovar website, Dushanbe, in Russian 28 Feb 10.
(c) 2010 BBC Monitoring Central Asia. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

Guinea's CBG says 2010 bauxite orders rebounding
Reuters India - Sat Feb 27, 2010
Orders for 20101 hit 12.8 mln tonnes, could reach 13.4 mln * 2009 output estimated at 11.3 mln tonnes
CONAKRY, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Guinea's CBG, the world's top bauxite exporter company, said on Saturday orders for 2010 have already exceeded last year's output by more than 10 percent in a sign of improved global demand for the aluminium ore.
The company, a joint venture between Alcoa (AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Rio Tinto (RIO.L: Quote, Profile, Research) (RIO.AX: Quote, Profile, Research), has taken orders for 12.8 million tonnes of bauxite, up from estimated output of 11.3 million tonnes in 2009, an official said on condition of anonymity.
"With the rebound in global demand, we're now up to 12.8 million tonnes booked," the source said.
He said he expected orders to climb further to between 13.2 and 13.4 million tonnes for the year.
CBG accounts for 80 percent of the Guinea's bauxite exports.
CBG output hit 13.7 million tonnes in 2008, but dropped sharply in 2009 due to the effects of the global financial crisis and local political turmoil after a December 2008 coup.
A government document obtained by Reuters in December showed Guinea's output of bauxite during the first nine months of 2009 was down more than a fifth from the same period the previous year in part due to "institutional instability."
(Reporting by Saliou Samb; editing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Ron Askew)

Upgrade of smelter seen as path to viability
Evansville Courier & Press - 26-Feb-2010
HENDERSON, Ky. — A proposed $50 million upgrade at Rio Tinto Alcan's Sebree aluminum smelter would increase its efficiency and improve productivity, helping keep the 500-employee plant viable for years to come, company officials said Friday.
That's significant, considering that most U.S. aluminum smelters have closed in recent years, unable to compete with foreign plants that have lower energy costs.
"Rio Tinto Alcan is one of the few remaining aluminum smelters left in the country," Gov. Steve Beshear told nearly 150 people at a ceremony here to formally announce up to $15 million in state tax incentives for the project.
Those incentives are intended "to encourage this company to make a long-term investment for its future sustainability and help it compete at a global level," he said.
Rio Tinto Alcan is one of the few remaining aluminum smelters left in the country." Gov. Steve Beshear
That will help its employees "go to bed at night and sleep a little more soundly," knowing their jobs are more secure, Beshear declared.
"We want to be here in the coming years," plant manager Stephane LeBlanc declared.
We want to be here in 25 years, in 50 years, in 70 years."
"When you can hang onto an Alcan, that's what it's all about," said Henderson County Judge-executive Sandy Watkins, a former employee of the smelter.
Officials stressed the importance of hanging on to the jobs at Alcan, where hourly wages average $23.64, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.
"These (kind of) jobs are hard to come by these days," said Butch Puttman, president of Steelworkers Local 9443-00 at the plant.
The Sebree smelter proposes constructing a new bake furnace in its carbon plant, which produces the big electrical anodes that are vital to the aluminum smelting process, as well as to make changes that will allow it to increase its electrical amperage and produce more metal.
The $50 million investment would "increase energy efficiency, and the technical updates would make it more environmentally friendly and increase productivity," Beshear said.
The project also would employ about 100 construction workers for six months or longer, LeBlanc said.
With assistance from Brenntag Corp. and Ohio Valley Financial Services, a delegation from Henderson and Frankfort flew to Montreal about three weeks ago to meet with Rio Tinto Alcan headquarters executives.
That trip was "absolutely" critical in securing corporate backing for the $50 million project, Northwest Kentucky Forward President Kevin Sheilley said after the ceremony.
"We wanted to demonstrate that the local community and state were willing to rally and with R.T.A. to make this investment, that it wasn't just a plant issue," he said.
"I support all of our existing businesses. But I don't know of anyone that has the economic reach of Alcan" with the combination of employment, suppliers, support companies and utility purchasers, he said.
Rio Tinto Alcan executives "commented several times (about the significance) that we came to them and didn't just wait for them to come to us," Sheilley said.
"We still have a lot of work to do," LeBlanc said, including obtaining environmental permits, completing detailed engineering and securing final corporate approval. But, he added, "I'm pretty sure we'll succeed."
LeBlanc thanked the employees at the Sebree smelter for working hard and making sacrifices last year that helped the plant survive a severe downturn in the aluminum market.
They stepped up and kept that plant operating," he said. "Without them, we wouldn't be here today to talk about our future."
"You can't imagine what they do year after year after year," Puttman said of his union's members.
"They keep coming back and coming back to make that plant profitable."
Kentucky is home to 120 aluminum-related companies that employ 13,500 people and pay $100 million in state and federal taxes, Beshear said.
"Clearly, this industry has a significant economic impact on this state," he said

Alcoa to keep Italian plants running for six months
eTaiwan News - 26-Feb-2010 Agence France-Presse Page 16
Aluminium company Alcoa said Thursday it would not halt operations at its two Italian plants for the next six months while it awaited an EU decision over the reimbursement of energy subsidies. "Alcoa will continue to operate the Italian plants for a period of up to six months, awaiting a final decision by the European Commission" on the legality of an Italian government decree that has subsidized the price of energy, the company said in a statement Thursday.
In November Alcoa said it would temporarily shut down its Sardinian Portovesme and northern Fusina smeltering plants after the European Commission told the company it would have to repay the 300 to 400 million euros (US$400 to 540 million ) it has received in state aid from Italy since 2006.

World's Biggest Power Plan May Be Thwarted by Congo
BusinessWeek - 26-Feb-2010
By Michael J. Kavanagh

A plan to build the world’s biggest power complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo may never happen because the government is too indecisive, the head of a venture that had planned to invest $5.2 billion said.
Western Power Corridor, a venture between five African countries, had planned the first stage of the complex on the world’s second-biggest river, that could yield 100 gigawatts of power for markets as far afield as southern Europe and the Middle East. Yesterday, Congo’s national power company said Western Power, known as Westcor, will be dissolved.
“If we’re struggling with a 5,000 megawatt project, how are we going to get a 100,000 megawatt project off the ground?” Pat Naidoo, chief executive officer of Westcor, said yesterday from Durban, South Africa, after learning that his company will be closed. Congo is weighing an offer from BHP Billiton Ltd. to use some of its power generation potential.
Westcor’s Inga 3 project was envisaged as the first step in harnessing the Congo River, the second-biggest by volume after the Amazon, at a cost of tens of billions of dollars. The African Development Bank is planning a feasibility study this year for a “Grand Inga” project that could yield between 40,000 and 50,000 megawatts. Congo has the potential to produce 100,000 megawatts of hydropower, the World Bank has said.
Three Gorges, Itaipu
Currently China’s Three Gorges hydropower complex is the world’s biggest with a generating capacity of 22,400 megawatts while Brazil’s Itaipu, with a capacity of 14,000 megawatts, is the second largest.
“It was a big decision,” Yengo Massampu, the chief executive officer of Congo’s National Electricity Society, said in an interview. It would be good for Congo to retain more of the project’s electricity for its own use, he said. “Each country needs to look at how it can develop itself.”
Congo is in talks with BHP Billiton about using as much as 2,000 megawatts from a future hydroelectric project for an aluminum smelter in the country’s western Bas Congo province, Illtud Harri, a BHP spokesman, said by e-mail.
“The future of the aluminum smelter project hinges on progress being made on the Inga 3 project and it is still very early days,” Harri said.
BHP is Africa’s biggest aluminium producer with two smelters in South Africa and one in Mozambique.
‘Clever Move’
“There’s a lot of benefit for the Democratic Republic of Congo in not selling the electricity and using it for private investment,” Cornelis van der Waal, an energy analyst at Frost & Sullivan in Cape Town, said in an interview. “For BHP it’s a clever move. It’s a blow for inter-Africa relations.”
Westcor had held talks with BHP, Naidoo said.
“We called BHP Billiton and we told them to come and join us,” he said. “Probably they overtook us.”
BHP’s Harri declined to comment on the talks.
“It is bad faith” from Congo, Kiala Pierre, the director of international cooperation at Angola’s energy ministry, said in an interview in Luanda, the country’s capital. Amendments made by Congo to the venture’s agreement would have resulted in it becoming “nothing,” Pierre said.
BHP Billiton has proposed building its own plant at the site, Reuters reported today, citing a company presentation that it obtained.
“The spirit of utilities cooperation has been dampened,” Jacob Raleru, the chief executive officer of Botswana Power Corp., said in an interview.
The amendments were introduced on Feb. 20, he said. “We regret this because the project was such a model of regional cooperation.”
‘Falling Off the Pedestal’
Under the Westcor plan Inga 3 promised 2,000 megawatts of power each for Congo and South Africa, as well as a combined 1,000 megawatts for Angola, Namibia, and Botswana, Naidoo said.
“There were five governments behind this project and the DRC part always kept falling off the pedestal,” Naidoo said. “The other four are intact and united, strong as can be.”
The project would have generated $2.2 billion dollars annually for the shareholders, he added. Congo would have received $500 million per year for the use of the river as well as a new factory for maintenance and repairs, he said.
Westcor was about to start a detailed engineering study on Inga 3, Naidoo said. The plant was supposed to start generating electricity by 2012 and reach full capacity in 2015.
“You couldn’t find a better project,” he said. “Maybe this is mother nature’s way of saying ‘don’t come and disturb me.’”
Southern Africa had planned to use the project to meet an electricity shortfall after South Africa, which has traditionally supplied its neighbors with power, delayed investment in power plants leading to blackouts in its cities and rationing of power to mines and metal smelters.
Zambezi Alternative
South Africa’s national electricity utility, Eskom Holdings Ltd., is planning to spend 460 billion rand ($59 billion) on expansion over the next five years to address the shortages and is seeking opportunities to expand further including the purchase of power from plants in other countries.
“Other projects will come to the fore, that’s what’s going to happen now,” Naidoo said.
Westcor’s member countries will need to begin to look at alternative energy sources, Naidoo said, including nuclear, thermal power plants and natural gas as well as hydropower from the Zambezi river which runs between Zambia and Zimbabwe and into Mozambique.
“The drawback with the Zambezi is that at times” its flow dwindles, he said. “The Congo river is constant at 30 thousand cubic meters per second.”Congolese ministers have been asked to come up with a new plan for the project’s development to present to Westcor’s shareholder-nations at their next meeting in April, Massampu said.
With assistance from Candido Mendes in Luanda and Jerry Bungu in Gaborone. Editors: Antony Sguazzin, Karl Maier
To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Kavanagh in Kinshasa on
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at

Work to begin on second alumina plant this month
Thanh Nien Daily - 25-Feb-2010
State-owned Vietnam National Coal and Minerals Industries Group plans to start building the country’s second alumina plant in the Central Highlands this month, the government said in a report.
Construction of the US$655-million Nhan Co alumina project will begin on February 28, the report says.
The project consists of two phases. When the first phase is completed in 2010, the plant will be able to produce 650,000 tons of alumina a year. The figure is set to double in the second post-2015 phase.
The plant will create jobs for 1,350 people and have annual revenue of VND3.7 trillion, according to government estimates.
The bauxite mine in Nhan Co in Dak Nong Province has 270 million tons of reserves. Bauxite is refined into alumina, which is then smelted into aluminum metal.
Alumina is a white or colorless oxide of aluminum that is used in catalysts, abrasives and the manufacture of artificial rubies and sapphires.
The national coal group said last year it expected its first mine in Lam Dong Province to start production as early as August this year and produce 650,000 tons of alumina annually by late 2011.
Vietnam has 5.4 billion tons of bauxite reserves, the world’s largest after Guinea and Australia, according to a US Geological Survey report published last year.
President Nguyen Minh Triet said early this year that bauxite mining and processing in the Central Highlands region must be done effectively and cause no environmental damage.
Source: Thanh Nien

Nalco to start building Indonesian plant
BloombergUTV - 25-Feb-2010
MUMBAI: National Aluminium Co., India’s second-biggest producer of the metal, will start construction of its $4 billion joint venture smelter and coal-fired power plant in Indonesia by June, to extend its reach into Southeast Asia.
The project, in the east Kalimantan province, will be built over three to four years, Chairman A.K. Srivastava said today in an interview in Mumbai. It will include a 500,000 metric ton plant and a 1,250-megawatt power generation facility, he said.
Aluminum prices have rallied 60% in the past year as stimulus spending by the Chinese government spurred demand from automakers and builders. United Co. Rusal, the biggest producer, said this week it will increase output having seen the first signs of a recovery in demand.
“The project will help the company source cheaper coal for its power plant which will reduce their costs and will also give them access to new markets for the metal,” said Sumeet Singhania, assistant vice president at Antique Stock Broking Ltd., with a “hold” rating on National Aluminium.
National Aluminium shares rose as much as 2.1% to 383 rupees, and traded at 376.9 rupees as of 12:14 pm in Mumbai. The benchmark Sensitive Index fell 0.3%.
“We are hoping to sell part of the output in Indonesia and export the rest to neighboring countries,” Srivastava said. The Bhubaneswar-based company, which will produce 2.1 million tons of alumina in fiscal 2011, plans to export about half of its output to Indonesia to feed the smelter.
Expanding output
National Aluminium also plans to raise bauxite output about 41% to 8.9 million tons in the next four years, from an expected production of 6.3 million tons this fiscal year, Srivastava said. Bauxite is a raw material used to make alumina, which is then used to produce aluminum metal.
RAK Minerals & Metals Investments, a unit of RAK Investment Authority, holds 24% of the Indonesian venture. RAK Minerals is based in the United Arab Emirates.
Indonesia, the fourth-most populous country, may see a spurt in aluminum demand because of orders from carmakers and builders, Effendi Sirait, head of state agency Otorita Asahan that supervises PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium’s project, said Dec. 21. The company operates the nation’s only aluminum smelter.
Global demand for aluminum may rise 5% this year, driven by China, National Aluminium’s A.K. Sharma, director of production, also said today in an interview in Mumbai.
“Demand is there, it’s increasing,” Sharma said. “Mostly it will come from growth which is taking place in China.” The return of demand from the transport and building industries in the US and Japan may help bolster consumption, he said.
The company expects higher profits from its aluminum business as average prices may exceed $2,100 a ton this year, Srivastava said. Cash prices on the London Metal Exchange averaged $1,671 a ton in 2009.
The Indian metal producer is planning to raise aluminum output to 460,000 tons in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011 from about 420,000 tons this year.

Nalco's Iranian JV faces diplomatic, funding hurdles: CMD
Business Standard - 25-Feb-2010
State-run aluminium producer National Aluminium Company (Nalco) today cited "diplomatic" and financial roadblocks for not being able to make any progress in the Rs 10,000-crore greenfield project in Iran.
"Due to diplomatic reasons and not tying up of funds, we have not been able to pursue our joint venture in Iran," Nalco CMD A K Shrivastava told reporters on the sidelines of a conference here.
Nalco plans to construct a power plant and a 3,10,000-tonne greenfield aluminium smelter in Iran at an investment of Rs 10,000 crore.
Asked if it has been shelved due to political pressure, Shrivastava said, the project was still in pipeline, but things were not progressing, "because we are not able to firm up finance."
He, however added that the company is going ahead with its aluminium smelter project in Indonesia.
On a query if infrastructure posed a problem for transporting coal to India from Indonesia, Shrivastava said that in the previous location there had been problems, but in the new location in Kalimantan, rail and road connectivity has already been planned.
Therefore, by the time the project starts, these issues would get resolved, he said.
In 2008, Nalco inked an agreement with the Indonesian government for setting up a 0.5-million tonne aluminium smelter and a 1,250 MW captive power unit at an investment of about Rs 17,000-crore.

Inalum asked to provide power to curb blackouts
Jakarta Post - Thu, 02/25/2010
The North Sumatra provincial administration called on PT Inalum, the Japan-Indonesia joint venture aluminium smelter, to help the PLN state power company overcome the province's power crisis.
During a meeting Wednesday, Governor Syamsul Arifin expressed his hopes PT Inalum could work with PLN to address the chronic power crisis.
"We hope PT Inalum is willing to provide 200 megawatts (MW) of power to PLN to curb the blackouts until April."
Public services have been disturbed by the regularly schedule blackouts, and the public has reportedly been increasingly angered.
On Tuesday, students staged a rally at PLN office, urging officials to resign.
The governor said they had to turn to Inalum because PLN was no longer able to guarantee that they would solve the situation.
"I see that the situation is becoming worse by the day. We don't know what else to do but to request help from PT Inalum."
PT Inalum, upon request, has previously transferred to PLN as much as 98 MW of power at night and 45 MW during the day.
"We hope for the same thing this year," said Syamsul, adding he planned to bring the power crisis issue in North Sumatra to the PLN headquarters in Jakarta if PT Inalum failed to meet expectations.
PT Inalum human resource development director Nasril Komaruddin said the company management would report the matter to the company's Japanese shareholders, who hold 60 percent of the stakes at PT Inalum.
-JP/Apriadi Gunawan

Modern smelters pose no risk
Trinidad & Tobago Express - Wednesday, February 24th 2010
Juhel Browne
Norwegian smelter industry expert Jan Yttredal, who says smelters built with new technology pose no environmental or health hazards, met last evening with residents of the La Brea area where the Alutrint smelter is being built.
In an interview with the Express in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port of Spain, Yttredal, 66, said he is in this country due to an invitation extended to him by Alutrint but is not being paid by the company for his services.
He had retired as the general manager of SORAL, which is a smelter owned by Arcelor Mittal, Norsk Hydro ASA and the Rio Tinto Group, in 2008 after a 38-year career in the smelting industry in Norway.
’I am coming from the Norwegian industry. I am not here to sell anything. I am asked to come just to tell what’s the situation in the Norwegian aluminium industry when it comes to EHS (environmental, health and safety) or whatever issue you may be concerned about. So I cannot tell you about the Trinidad situation too much,’ Yttredal said.
He said he checked Norway’s environmental authority just before he left home to come to this country, and asked them if there are any environmental issues as his homeland has ’at least four smelters in narrow fjords with high mountains around with very, very sensitive nature’.
’And I couldn’t hear them mention anything but certainly, this has not always been the case, but we are speaking about the industry as it is today after a thorough development within technology, organising, operating, stable operation,’ Yttredal said.
Yttredal added several studies had also been carried out to determine if there was any link between the smelter industry and cancer in Norway and noted, ’we could not find any significant relationship between exposure through many, many years and cancer’.
’Please keep in mind cancer takes about 20 to 25 years to develop, so what we had been studying was people who had been exposed to the old industry and still, we couldn’t find any significant relationship to cancer... Maybe there will be somebody, say one out of a million cases or 100,000 or whatever we referred to,’ Yttredal said.
He now owns a shipping industry company called Joycon but said he was invited to Trinidad by Alutrint after company officials visited a smelter where he had once worked as the plant manager.

DJ Century Aluminum: Hopes To Restart Smelter Construction Mid-2010
Trading Markets (press release) - Wednesday, February 24th 2010
Century Aluminum Co. is hoping to restart major construction of its Helguvik smelter project in Iceland around the middle of the year after making progress on the financing for the project.
The U.S.-based company halted construction at Helguvik last year after the global financial crisis make financial backing of the project difficult.
"We have made encouraging progress on our financing program for the project," said Logan W. Kruger, Century president and chief executive officer.
In September, Century said it had appointed BNP Paribas SA, Societe Generale SA and ING Bank NV to serve as exclusive structuring banks in order to raise project financing from the international debt markets.
"We are focusing on the major elements required for a full restart of construction activities; the most significant of these items remains finalizing the power arrangements, including confirmation of the financing plans of the power suppliers," said Kruger.
Century in 2006 signed a memorandum of understanding with two Icelandic geothermal power producers for the supply of energy to produce up to 150,000 metric tons a year of aluminum in the first phase, rising ultimately to 250,000 tons a year.
But last August, Century said it planned to construct the smelter in four 90,000-ton phases that will eventually yield an annual production capacity of 360,000 tons.
Century also reported a net loss of $24.4 million for the fourth quarter of last year, and a net loss of $206 million. Sales for the fourth quarter were $256.8 million compared with $402.2 million during the previous corresponding period.
Total 2009 primary aluminum shipments stood at 605,126 metric tons, compared with 803,771 tons the previous year.
"Century's operating environment generally improved during the latter part of 2009, in concert with global economic conditions," said Kruger.
"China's impressive growth has continued despite recent signals that its government will act to contain potential economic excesses; economies in India and certain other developing regions have also performed strongly," he added.
However, Kruger still sounded a cautious note, given that aluminum inventory levels have stayed at near-record highs, and higher cost capacity in the western world is continuing to operate.

Power Costs May Rise in South Africa
Wall Street Journal - Wednesday, February 24th 2010
JOHANNESBURG—South Africa's power supplier Eskom Holdings Ltd. generates nearly all the nation's electricity at some of the world's cheapest rates. That arrangement has allowed global mining giants to extract vast amounts of gold, platinum and coal from South Africa's earth and to keep electricity affordable for the poor.
But the state-run utility says artificially low electricity rates have left it with dangerously low generating capacity, leaving the country vulnerable to power cuts.
It is proposing raising tariffs 35% annually in each of the next three years—current and former Eskom executives warn anything less will threaten the company's ability to provide a steady supply of electricity.
The proposal has brought a barrage of criticism from politicians and consumers, fanning concerns about inflation and imperiling the recovery of Africa's biggest economy. On Wednesday, government regulators are set to decide on its rate-increase proposal.
Meanwhile, the company has been left with a leadership vacuum at a critical time after the acrimonious departure of its chairman and CEO in a public clash late last year.
The economic bellwether has long been Africa's dominant power producer—it generates about 45% of the continent's electricity through its operations in South Africa and neighboring countries. And while political turmoil has rocked the foundations of other economies, Eskom has been a stable presence amid upheaval at home. During the transition from an apartheid government to a multiracial democracy, cheap electricity has been among the few constants in South Africa.
"This is the only place in Africa where the lights stay on," says Bobby Godsell, who served as Eskom's chairman until late last year.
Mr. Godsell said he resigned in November after a dispute with chief executive Jacob Maroga over the direction of the company. Mr. Maroga also left Eskom around the same time, but is now challenging his former employer in court. In a statement, Eskom said it was aware of the former chief executive's legal action and would oppose it. Eskom declined to provide contact details for Mr. Maroga.
Mr. Godsell and others have argued that South African industry has become too dependent on artificially cheap electricity. At the same time, a growing economy and the emergence of a black middle class over the past decade has created greater demand for power. As a result, the utility says there is a risk of blackouts because of a low reserve margin.
For the Fifa World Cup football championship in June, South Africa's most important coming global event, Eskom has sought to assure the public that stadiums would have reliable power supply.
To remedy the country's electricity shortfall, Eskom embarked on a program to build new power stations; to bring old plants back to life; and to price power more in line with what it costs to produce.
But the company's initial proposal to raise annual rates 45% over three years was shot down. Eskom reduced that proposal to 35% annually, and said it would delay construction of some new power plants. Last year, Eskom boosted prices 31%, although it limited the increase for the poor to 15%.
In an appeal for public support, Eskom's acting chairman, Mpho Makwana, said that the most recent proposal will present "significant challenges that we have to manage together as a country." Mr. Makwana didn't return telephone messages seeking comment.
Several executives at mining companies operating in the country have warned that granting Eskom the tariff hike it has requested will mean a sharp jump in production costs, which could make some operations unviable and put jobs at risk.
Rio Tinto Ltd. last year shelved plans to build a new multibillion dollar aluminum smelter, in part due to uncertainty over stable supplies of electricity.
Gold producers, in particular, are seen as vulnerable. Some of them mine to depths of three kilometers and more, which requires a heavy reliance on electricity for cooling and pumping water in the hot, wet environment. AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., Gold Fields Ltd. and Harmony Gold Mining Co. have each commented on the risks of rising costs in recent weeks.
"Clearly none of us is in a position to sustain large electricity price increases year after year," Anglo American PLC Chief Executive Cynthia Carroll told an African mining conference earlier this month.
The country is slowly surfacing from recession, with almost one-quarter of the working age population still unemployed. On Tuesday, South Africa's government said economic growth in the fourth quarter rose 3.2% over the previous quarter, beating expectations. But economists have questioned whether that growth can be sustained. "There is still considerable uncertainty ahead," said Razia Khan, regional head of research at Standard Chartered in London. The country's central bank has warned that a sharp rise in electricity tariffs would endanger its inflation forecasts of between 3%-6%, and that higher prices are likely to hit the poor hardest.
Eskom has been struggling to find other ways to fund its expansion. It has government approval to seek investors for a minority stake in a new coal-fired power station—a step that some say reflects a state preparing to relinquish some control over a key industry.
So far, there has been little public interest shown in buying a stake in the planned plant. A study that AngloGold Ashanti helped commission suggested that Eskom would attract greater investor interest if it were to sell control of several existing power stations, thereby easing the pressure to raise prices. "It is surprising that Eskom has not paid more attention to the possibility," the study concludes.
South Africa generally has lagged behind China and India in opening state-run industries to overseas investment. Whether transport or telecommunications, South Africans like to deride so-called parastatals for wasteful spending and poor service.
Some say what South Africa's electricity supplier needs now is a jolt of foreign competition. "There's no energy crisis in South Africa. There's a serious management crisis," said Chris Yelland, managing director of EE Publishers (Pty) Ltd., a group of engineering magazines that track, among other things, South Africa's power sector.
South Africa's government, led by the left-leaning African National Congress, has in the past shied away from capitalist prescriptions for the economy, including privatization. But Eskom's stake sale plan marks an acknowledgement that its problems are "bigger than the government can fix," says Ettienne Le Roux, chief economist in Johannesburg for Rand Merchant Bank. "We aren't talking about the "P" word yet," he cautions, "but the state is becoming a little more open."Write to Peter Wonacott at and Robb M. Stewart at

UPDATE 1-High power prices hamper Norway metal firms
Reuters India - 23-Feb-2010

* Metals producers cutting consumption during peak hours
* Norsk Hydro, Elkem curbing power use due rocketing costs
* Day-ahead spot prices peak above 130 euros per MWh

By Wojciech Moskwa and Gwladys Fouche
OSLO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Two major Norwegian metals producers said on Tuesday they have been curbing consumption of electricity during peak hours due to sky-rocketing power costs, which have soared during an unusually cold Nordic winter.
The day-ahead Nordic spot price, also called the system price on regional power bourse Nord Pool, hit a high of 134.80 euros ($183.1) per megawatt hour on Monday and remains a high 92.70 euros ($125.9) for Wednesday delivery.
That compares to an average system price of 53.38 euros in January and a 2009 average of 35.02 euros, Nord Pool data shows.
"There are very high electricity prices in Norway, especially in mid-Norway where we are exposed," said Lars Nermoen, spokesman for aluminium group Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL: Quote, Profile, Research).
"We do what we can to save energy. A handful of times this year we have reduced our electricity consumption at the Sundal aluminium plant for about an hour or so," Nermoen added.
Norwegian power prices are part of a single pan-Nordic system which has been strained by well-below normal temperatures since mid-December, which have boosted demand for heating electricity. There has also been less snowfall than normal.
The thinner snow cover means that after the spring thaw less water will flow into reservoirs at hydro-electric plants, which produce about half of the Nordic region's electricity.
Abundant rainfall in most years means that Nordic power prices are usually some 10-20 euros per MWh lower than in Germany, helping keep Nordic industry competitive despite high labour costs in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.
Elkem, the silicon producing arm of Norwegian conglomerate Orkla (ORK.OL: Quote, Profile, Research), has also had to reduce power consumption.
"We have shut down some of our capacity for an hour or two per day since the strained power situation came along," Johan Hovland, Senior Vice-President for public affairs and energy, told Reuters. "When it's rational we will reduce consumption."
Nordic power traders have said that reduced consumption by industry has helped stabilise the market, along with a slight warming in temperatures from start-of-the-week lows.
"The spot price has eased off based on those decisions," said Morten Nilsen, portfolio manager at Bergen Energi. "If you take out large consumption units at this stage, it is helping to reduce the spot price ... It has not had a dramatic effect but of course it has had an effect."
The day-ahead spot price fell to 92.70 per MWh euros on Wednesday from Tuesday's system price of 98.98 euros. But due to reduced flow capabilities between grids, the regional spot price for Sweden, Finland and northern Norway was 133.04 euros, while windy western Denmark had a spot price of just 39.36 euros.
(Editing by Keiron Henderson)

Hilco Industrial Announces International Aluminum Sheet Rolling Facility ...
Earthtimes (press release) - Tue, 23 Feb 2010
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. - (Business Wire) Due to complete plant closure, the machinery and equipment formerly used in the continuing operations of one of the Aleris Aluminum Canada L.P. facilities in Québec will be offered at auction. Hilco Industrial will be organizing the massive 4-day auction sale March 9 through 12, 2010.
The huge facility specialized in the production of bare and clad aluminum strip for the manufacturing of automotive heat exchangers.
Assets for sale will include Achenbach, Mesta and United cold mills and hot mill, Pittsburgh and Reycan foil mills, Kampf, Midi, Schmutz and Stamco slitters, tension leveling line and several foil finishers. Also in abundance are complete machine & repair shops, labs, offices and material handling equipment featuring 26 lift trucks, cranes, hoists and more.
The company's patents and intellectual property and over $10,000,000 in replacement parts will be sold as well.
The auction will include over 5000 lots, and attract local and international bidders. It will be broadcast in English with simultaneous broadcast in French. Buyers will be able to bid using the phone and internet at, or bid on site in person at 290 St. Laurent, Trois-Rivieres, Québec, Canada.
Visit the Hilco Industrial, LLC website for more information on this Worldwide Webcast Auction, to register or to view the lot catalogue.
Please click here if you wish to receive information regarding Hilco Industrial LLC auctions.

India is the ideal destination for aluminium smelting
Business Standard - Kunal Bose / February 23, 2010
What should have happened to demand and prices of industrial commodities in a normal business cycle was brought forward with suddenness in the third quarter of 2008 leaving producers across the board struggling to keep their head above water. It is only now that the world is seeing some recovery, thanks to the efficacy of stimulus programmes.
The destruction of demand in the wake of the memory’s bitterest recession saw a major collapse in profits of the country’s leading aluminium producers, Hindalco and National Aluminium Company (Nalco), during 2008-09 and they continued to see further profit erosion through the first three quarters of this financial year. The effective import duty being marginal, the local metal prices closely follow the pattern set at LME plus customs and freight. And since LME transactions are all dollar denominated, prices here are also impacted by the currency movements.
Shedding of profits was unavoidable as the spot unit price realisation on LME was down to a shockingly low of $1,250 a tonne at one point last year and three-month price is now around $2,120 a tonne, down from $2,230 a tonne a couple of weeks ago. What in the circumstances is gratifying about our aluminium industry is that neither of our two constituents cowered is unlike their counterparts in other places, including China when metal prices were rapidly beaten down. The recession caused such an overwhelming shock that Hindalco chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla indulged in introspecting that “if a downturn of this magnitude was to persist for some time, would we be the last man standing,” meaning whether his company, which also has one foot in copper would emerge from the crisis least scathed.
The recessionary impact was particularly severe on Hindalco since it has a large profile in the value added downstream products. The company, like its peer Nalco, sought remission from the crisis by sweating assets, making more primary metal and giving a push to brownfield expansion while chasing new projects with undiminished vigour.
Not only China, burdened as it is with many high cost and polluting smelters had to lay off as much as 3.7 million tonnes of capacity at the height of the current crisis as aluminium prices fell well short of production costs, but groups such as UC Rusal, Hydro and Rio Tinto were also not spared the pain of closing down some units. What did then work wonders for Indian smelters?
Equipped as they are with low cost and efficiently run power stations taking care of their smelters’ entire electricity requirements and as the country is endowed with rich bauxite deposits, our production cost of aluminium figures in the lowest quartile among world producers. Nalco has the unique advantage of ownership of huge high quality bauxite deposits at a single site in Orissa’s hills of Panchpatmali. The rich mineral endowment plus unremitting efforts to acquire more deposits both within and outside Orissa will keep Nalco a perennial exporter of alumina.
The Indian aluminium industry’s enthusiasm to grow smelting capacity on an ambitious scale here and abroad — the wanderlust is that of Nalco — was not dimmed in any way by the adverse performance of the metal during the recession. According to Nalco director BL Bagra, the company is working to give shape to three mega projects simultaneously, including a $4-billion 500,000 tonnes smelter along with a captive 1,250 power complex at East Kalimantan in Indonesia.
Nalco is also pursuing a project of similar configuration at Jharsuguda in Orissa. The promised access to 80 million tonnes of bauxite deposits at Gudem and KR Konda in Andhra Pradesh will also lead Nalco to build a 1.4-million-tonne alumina refinery in the state. For any metal group raw material security is of cardinal importance. Nalco will no doubt have enough bauxite to go by for a good number of years. The company’s move to acquire bauxite and coal resources globally is, however, to be seen in the context of its plans to build large new smelters.
Hindalco has also got big things on its plate. If all its projects get commissioned on revised schedule, then Hindalco will see its smelting capacity rising to 1.7 million tonnes from 500,000 tonnes and alumina refining capacity to 6.5 million tonnes from 1.7 million tonnes by 2013. Meanwhile, Novelis acquisition has given Hindalco global leadership in that value added segment where path breaking technologies are in application.
Vedanta has arrived on the Indian aluminium scene much later than Hindalco and Nalco. While it has made up for the lost time by gaining control of Balco and Madras Aluminium, Vedanta is aggressively building new capacity through greenfield and brownfield routes. By 2013, it claims, it will have at least 2.6 million tonne smelting and 5 million tonne alumina refinery capacity. Action of the three groups is vindication that India due to its abundance of bauxite and coal resources is the ideal place to smelt aluminium.

Rusal to Increase Aluminum Output as Demand Rebounds
BusinessWeek - February 21, 2010
United Co. Rusal, the world’s biggest aluminum producer, will increase output this year, having seen “the first signs of a recovery” after the global recession. Its shares rose the most since beginning trading.
Production will rise 3 percent this year compared with 2009, the Moscow-based company said today in a statement to the Hong Kong exchange. Output slumped 11 percent to 3.9 million metric tons last year.
Aluminum has gained 66 percent in London in the past 12 months as stimulus spending by the Chinese government spurred demand from automakers and builders. Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., the nation’s biggest producer, said China’s demand may grow 23 percent this year, Citigroup Inc. reported Feb. 1.
“Global demand is healthy, reflected in an increasing amount of Chinese exports of aluminum products,” said Helen Lau, an analyst at OSK Asia Holdings Bhd. “Rusal’s targeted output, even below the 2008 level, reflects a reasonable increase.”
Rusal rose as much as 11 percent and traded 6 percent higher at HK$7.95 at 11:07 a.m. local time. The gain is the biggest since its shares began trading on Jan. 27. The stock has dropped 26 percent from its initial offering price of HK$10.80.
“We are seeing the first signs of a recovery in demand as more countries emerge from recession,” Oleg Deripaska, chief executive officer of Rusal, said in the statement. Orders from European and U.S. clients are rising, it said.
Rusal’s alumina output dropped 36 percent to 7.3 million tons in 2009, from a year earlier, and will rise 7 percent this year, the statement said. Alumina is a semi-finished material used to make aluminum for packaging, window frames and airplanes.

Dubal in-house technology wins global recognition
Trade Arabia - 20-Feb-2010
Dubai Aluminium Company Limited (Dubal), the state-owned enterprise that operates the largest modern smelter with a captive power station, said DX Reduction Cell Technology, its in-house developed innovation proprietary, has achieved solid results.
Ali H A M Al Zarouni, Dubal vice president (Smelter Operations) said the UAE flagship technology has won recognition from international industry experts and had proven the aluminium giant’s mettle.
Zarouni presented a paper on the technology at the TMS Annual Meeting and Exhibition (TMS 2010) held at the Washington State Convention Centre in Seattle recently.
“As demonstrated by the information contained in my presentation, DX Reduction Cell Technology has the proven capacity to operate at higher amperages, with associated business, operating and environmental benefits,” said Al Zarouni.
“This is because DX Technology cells are inherently more energy efficient, more productive and more environmentally friendly. These benefits have been documented at our Jebel Ali smelter where the technology has been implemented at industrial scale, earning third party endorsement in the process," he explained.
"Also, DX Technology cells have also been specified and installed at new Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) green-field smelter, where commissioning of phase 1 commenced in December 2009," he added.
Al Zarouni also presented a technical paper on reduction cell start-up process that has been tried, tested and implemented at Dubal.
The technique, which involves hitherto unheard of cell pre-heat on full line current, offers techno-economic benefits of higher productivity at lower cost and lower energy consumption.
"Waste generation is practically nil and the process is environmentally friendly. It also offers an accelerated start up rate of cells; and therefore has great potential for application in expansion projects and in restarting a potline following a power outage," Zarouni explained.
Dubal’s technological progress was further promoted through an exhibition stand at TMS 2010, the theme and key messages being projected across all media, including the exhibition graphics and collaterals.
“Special emphasis was placed on the benefits offered by Dubal’s DX Reduction Cell Technology, which is fully a saleable and bankable innovation that we are proud to offer to the market place," he added.-TradeArabia News Service

China says aluminium sector in severe overcapacity
Alibaba News Channel - 19-Feb-2010
SHANGHAI, Feb 12 - China said its aluminium industry faces severe overcapacity, with the total smelting capacity at about 20 million tonnes, exceeding demand by 7 million tonnes.
The nonferrous metals industry will have to curb the excessive expansion in smelting capacity and phase out outdated capacity, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on its website (
After a rough start in 2009, the metals industry turned around quickly thanks to demand boosted by China's massive stimulus package.
In 2009, fixed asset investment in the metals industry grew 16.5 percent from a year earlier to 272 billion yuan ($39.8 billion), slowing down from a 40.9-percent expansion in the previous year, the ministry said.
As Beijing plans to control overall capacity in the industry, it also encourages more consolidation.
The ministry said it plans to remove administrative obstacles to make firms that belong to different regions and types of ownership merge more easily. ($1=6.832 Yuan)

Aditya Birla Group aims at doubling turnover to $65 billion
Stock Watch - Prema Kher 19-Feb-2010
The Aditya Birla Group is aiming to double its turnover to $65 billion in the next financial year, said the group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla.
"It was our ambition to become a Fortune 500 company and we were able to achieve this in 2008, two years ahead of the deadline we had set. Now, we want to become a $65 billion group by 2015," he added while speaking at an event organized by the National Institute of Personnel Management.
The chairman did not outline the sectors which are expected to contribute the maximum growth in reaching the target of doubling the turnover.
The Birla group is currently the third largest conglomerate in the country and its current turnover is around $30 billion. More than half of the group's earning comes from international markets and thus it is believed that the company will look for other markets to reach its ambitious target.
Birla has identified east Europe, South America, Southeast Asia and China as target areas for expanding its revenues. The group currently employs 1.3 lakh workers with its operations are spread across 20 countries, according to Mr. Birla.
The chairman also indicated that the company is not looking to re enter the power generation sector after it sold Rosa Power Supply Company in 2006 and Bina Power Supply Company in 2007.
Birla has emerged as the biggest aluminum rolling company in the world after Hindalco acquired Canadian firm Novelis for $6 billion in 2007.
In other sectors, the company is the fourth largest producer of insulators and carbon black in the world. The company is 11th largest cement producer and is also among the top 15 BPO firms in the world.

Rusal: Has Established Commission With Guinea Government

Easy Bourse - 19-Feb-2010

Edited Press Release

MOSCOW -(Dow Jones)- Russia's aluminum giant UC Rusal Ltd. (0486.HK) Friday said it has agreed with and the Government of Guinea to establish a joint high level commission to provided a stable basis for long-term and mutually beneficial cooperation in the country.

Rusal said the decision to establish the commission was reached during negotiations between the Guinean Government and RUSAL.

Guinean Prime Minister Jean-Marie Dore and the head of Rusal's Alumina Division Pavel Ovchinnikov took part in the negotiations.

The joint commission will be established and start working before 1 March 2010.

Rusal fails in its efforts to have Guinea's minister of mines ousted
Business Day -2010/02/19
MAHMOUD Thiam, the US investment banker who has served for the past year as Guinea’s minister of mining, energy and hydraulics, has been reappointed to his post, it was announced in Conakry, the Guinean capital, late on Monday.
Thiam won the support of Capt Moussa Dadis Camara, the head of state of the resource-rich country — who is recuperating from an assassination attempt in December — and of the defence minister and acting head of state, Gen Sekouba Konate.
Thiam’s reappointment follows what sources described as a month- long campaign by United Company Rusal, the Russian state-financed aluminium monopoly and Russia’s largest corporate debtor, to lobby for Thiam’s removal, after a new Guinean Prime Minister, Jean-Marie Dore, was picked by Camara, Konate and opposition leaders to govern until new presidential elections later this year.
Thiam’s new portfolio covers mining and hydraulics. Energy has been assigned separately.
Thiam has driven the review of Rusal contracts gained under the late president Lansa Conte, annoying Rusal. After a successful court campaign to have some of Rusal’s assets in Guinea frozen, Thiam notified Hong Kong and Paris authorities ahead of Rusal’s listing last month that the Guinean government was preparing multibillion-dollar court claims against Rusal for violation of its bauxite mining and alumina refining concessions in the country.
Moscow, meanwhile, had provided guarantees that billions of dollars of state loans would not be called in, which helped calm investors nervous about Rusal’s debts.
The Kremlin is ready to defend Rusal CE Oleg Deripaska from criticism by foreign governments where Rusal holds mining concessions.
The Rusal lobby effort in Guinea was led by a Russian former spy, Victor Boyarkin, whom Rusal’s Moscow headquarters confirms to be a senior company employee.
Before Dore was sworn in on January 26, Rusal had announced that Thiam “is no longer a Guinean government official and therefore does not represent the Guinean government”. The comment was subsequently withdrawn.
Two Rusal executives, Victor Boyarkin and Pavel Ovchinnikov, were in Conakry at the weekend and met Dore on Monday. They are reported to have conceded Thiam had been reappointed to his post.
Last September, a Conakry court ruled in favour of the government revoking the 2006 Friguia concession agreement with Rusal. The Friguia agreement covers production of bauxite and alumina.
Rusal holds three concessions in Guinea. The other two are the Kindia bauxite mine, and the Dian-Dian bauxite deposit, which is not yet in production.
The timing of Thiam’s Hong Kong letter was significant, because Rusal was preparing to sell shares on the Hong Kong exchange between December 31 and January 27.
The share sale prospectus did not put a value on the potential asset or revenue loss, dismissing the Guinean legal proceedings and claims on the ground that “that the RG (Republic of Guinea) courts lack jurisdiction over the dispute”, which should be heard in Paris.
Rusal data show that the Friguia bauxite reserves are 30% of its global aggregate.
While Thiam had continued at his post after Dore’s appointment, falsified documents were circulated implying he was about to be arrested in Guinea. The documents were riddled with errors, and Thiam told Business Day they were fake.
Boyarkin’s effort to have Thiam removed have backfired.
Thiam has already dispatched a 45-day official compliance notice, warning Rusal that it faces the revocation of the Dian-Dian bauxite concession.

India gets ready to confront EU on 'impending' carbon tax
Economic Times - 18-Feb-2010
NEW DELHI: The commerce department has begun mobilising opinion on the proposed carbon tax that developed countries, especially the European Union, are looking to impose on imports from advanced developing countries like India and China.
The Centre for WTO studies, a research body under the department, has come up with a report on WTO compatibility of border trade measures for environmental protection that also delves into the possible effects of such a tax on India’s exports.
The idea is to be prepared to fight the issue once the need arises, commerce secretary Rahul Khullar said.
The products that could be immediately hit by a carbon tax include iron & steel, aluminium, pulp & paper products, cement, glass and chemicals, the report said.
While the EU justifies the proposed tax as a measure to create a level playing field between polluting developing countries and countries that have agreed to cut emissions under the Kyoto protocol, the feeling in India is that it may be yet another step to render exports from certain countries incompetitive.
“It is not possible to pretend any longer that this (imposition of carbon taxes and related measures) is not going to happen,” Mr Khullar said, adding that in two-three years time this would be a reality and it made sense to prepare for it. The commerce secretary, however, stressed that India was not in favour of including environment in the trade liberalisation negotiations taking place at the WTO. “There are other forums for framing global environmental laws,” he said, releasing the report on Thursday.
The report, which describes the various forms under which environmental taxes can be levied and the various methods under which they could be challenged at the WTO, is a first in a series of other such reports. “The idea is to make everybody understand what the issues are in simple terms and generate a debate,” Khullar added.
With environmental issues capturing global imagination, especially after the Copenhagen Climate Conference last December, India feels that there is not much time to waste as developed countries could impose a slew of related restrictions on its imports.
India had refused to take any binding commitments at the summit while agreeing to voluntarily bringing down its carbon intensity (the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for each unit of economic output) by 20%-25% by 2020.
The report concludes that if the application of the proposed environmental taxes fails to take into account the specific conditions prevailing in developing countries (such as different levels of development, different emissions per capita, different financial and technological capabilities to undertake mitigation actions) and the efforts made towards adoption of nationally appropriate climate policies and actions, there is a high chance that I may be regarded as ``arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination’’ under WTO rules.

Sarawak plans five more hydro dams
Malaysia Star - 17-Feb-2010
They will have a combined power capacity of over 3,000 MW
KUCHING: Sarawak plans to build five more hydro-electric dams, with a combined power capacity of more than 3,000 MW, over the next five years.
Technical studies on the proposed dams, to be undertaken by Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB), had been completed, said
Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan says technical studies on the proposed dams have been completed
The five new dams are Balleh (1,400 MW) and Pelagus (410 MW) – both in the upper Rejang River basin in central Sarawak where the Bakun and Murum dams are sited – and Baram (1,200 MW), Limbang (245 MW) and Lawas (100 MW), all in northern Sarawak.
Awang Tengah, however, declined to say which of the five projects would be implemented first, or their estimated development costs.
He said SEB, which was recently delisted from Bursa Malaysia after it was taken private by the Sarawak government, planned to increase its installed hydro-power capacity to 6,000 MW by 2015.
“The Murum dam project (944 MW) is progressing well and it will be completed by 2013,’’ he told reporters after the handing over of the Final report for the feasibility study on the Sarawak-Brunei power interconnection system to the Brunei government in Kuching.
The Bakun dam, developed and managed by Minister of Finance Incowned Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, will have an installed capacity of 2,400 MW.
It is expected to start producing the first 300 MW late this year, and to be fully operational by next year.
Awang Tengah said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had agreed that electricity from Bakun be dedicated for use by energy-intensive industries in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).
He said what was important now was for Sarawak Hidro to sell power from Bakun to SEB for use by industries in Score.
“There are now so many takers lining up for power from Bakun,’’ he said
Two aluminium smelters planned in Score are expected to be the biggest taker of power produced by Bakun.
The two projects will be jointly undertaken by GIIG Holdings Sdn Bhd-Aluminium Corp of China Ltd and Rio Tinto Alcan-Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd.
Awang Tengah said Sarawak would plan for its power generation capacity if submarine cables were to be built as planned to transmit electricity to Peninsular Malaysia.
The first of the proposed submarine cables is expected to be completed only in 2016 and the second a year later, Sarawak Hidro managing director Zulkfile Osman said recently.
Each of the cables 0will transmit 800 MW. Under a heads of agreement signed by SEB and Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) in 2008, SEB is only expected to start exporting its first 3,000 MW to TNB from 2017 to 2020, and sell an additional 5,000 MW to TNB from 2021 to 2030.

Hydro to Cut Jobs, Keep Output Curbs as Chinese Imports Slide
BusinessWeek - February 17, 2010
Norsk Hydro ASA, Europe’s third- largest aluminum producer, will add to last year’s 4,500 job cuts, extend output curbs and may mothball a plant in Germany after Chinese imports of the metal fell in the fourth quarter.
“The imports are going down,” Chief Executive Officer Svein Richard Brandtzaeg said today in an interview in London. “This is one of the main reasons why we’re not planning to restart any of the production lines.”
Aluminum producers slashed output as average prices fell 35 percent in 2009 on the global economic slump. Hydro, which cut production 26 percent, says it won’t resume curbed output until prices recover to pre-crisis levels. Aluminum in London is trading 20 percent below the average for 2007 and 2008.
“Things are moving in a positive direction but we are starting from a very low level,” Brandtzaeg said. “It takes years to get back to pre-crisis levels of demand.”
Chinese imports that dragged prices up 74 percent from a 2009 low of $1,279 a metric ton waned at the end of the year. Aluminum shipments to the nation, the biggest metals consumer, tumbled to 100,000 tons in the fourth quarter from 1.3 million metric tons in the first three quarters, Brandtzaeg said.
“China has restarted most of its curtailed capacity,” he said. “China will be in balance in 2010.”
Hydro fell as much as 5.5 percent in Oslo trading, the most in more than four months, after reporting a wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss and saying it doesn’t see signs of returning demand. The company posted a net loss of 569 million kroner ($97 million), compared with the 404.5 million-kroner median of eight analyst estimates
German Mothball
The company may mothball a German smelter depending on energy costs and aluminum prices, Brandtzaeg said.
“We could end up in a situation where we have to shut down the production now put it in a mothball and see what happens in the future,” he said.
Gains in 2009 from the rebound in aluminum prices on the London Metal Exchange to $2,230 at the end of the year were countered by high prices for bauxite and alumina raw materials and hedging losses, the company said in a statement today.
The company’s fourth-quarter loss shrank from a loss of 6.02 billion kroner a year earlier as prices bounced.
“We expect substantial negative earnings revisions for 2010,” Samir Bendriss, head of research at Pareto Securities ASA in Oslo who has a “buy” rating on Hydro, said in a note.
Editors: Tony Barrett To contact the reporter on this story: Firat Kayakiran in Istanbul at +44-20-7330-7484 or To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at +44-20-7673-2631 or

ABG Likely To Set Up Rs.1000 Cr. Aluminium Downstream Project
RTT News - 2/17/2010
Aditya Birla Group or ABG is likely set up an aluminium downstream project involving Rs.1,000 crore near its existing smelter unit at Hirakud in Orissa, for setting up a rolling mill to manufacture high-quality aluminium flat rolled products and cans, report media.
he project, to be put up by Hindalco Industries, a group company, has received sanction of the State Level Single Window Clearance Authority or SLSWCA and is awaiting approval from the High Level Clearance Authority or HLCA of the Orissa Government.
ABG Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla called on Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday and is said to have discussed the project and a proposal of expansion of the smelter capacity of Aditya Aluminium at Sambalpur to 0.36 mtpa from the present 0.26 mtpa.
Birla said later that importance would be given to existing projects while setting up the downstream project at Hirakud. He expressed satisfaction with the support being offered by the state government to the company.
Orissa government officials said an environmental study was being conducted by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) of Nagpur for the Sambalpur-Jharsuguda region. After it was received, the government would consider the company's proposal to expand the capacity of the smelter.

Rio Tinto Alcan to invest US$7.6 million at casting centre southwest of Montreal
The Canadian Press - 15-Feb-210
MONTREAL — Rio Tinto Alcan says it's investing US$7.6 million at its aluminum casting operation in Beauharnois, Que., where the mining company operated a smelter until it was closed last year.
The renovated casting centre, which has operated despite the smelter's closure, will employ 35 people. The smelter employed 220 when it stopped operations last spring.
The former Alcan, now owned by Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE:RTP), said Monday construction work has begun on the casting plant and additional capacity could be online as early as this spring.
"This investment will maintain our previous production levels at Beauharnois without interruption, and serve our foundry small form customers over the long term," Gordon Hamilton, a Rio Tinto Alcan vice-president, said in a statement.
Construction will last two years with a pre-heat furnace to be installed by the end of summer.
The company is also expected to install several systems, including one that recuperates energy and remelts faster, improving productivity.
The remaining money will be used to renovate and modernize the cast house.
Rio Tinto's network of aluminum smelters in Quebec will supply the raw materials.
The investment follows a detailed study of market needs "and the appropriate world-class equipment necessary to meet all customer and environmental requirements," said spokeswoman Emily Toms.
Rio Tinto Alcan is a leading supplier of aluminum to the casting sector, for use automobiles, aerospace and transportation.
"As these markets begin to show signs of recovery, we are preparing to meet our customer demands in the long-term and maintain our leadership position," Toms added.
She said using aluminum is a key component of making lighter products that produce more fuel-efficient vehicles and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Rio Tinto's profits increased by 33 per cent in 2009 despite large losses in its aluminum division.
The Anglo-Australian mining company earned US$4.872 billion last year, up from its 2008 figure of $3.67 billion.
The profit came despite a loss of US$578 million at its aluminum division, Rio Tinto Alcan, for the year due to low prices.
However, the Montreal-based unit earned a profit in the second half of the year. Its underlying earnings, adjusted to remove one-time items, were US$111 million in the last six months of 2009, compared to a US$689 million loss in the first six.
The turnaround was due to severe cost cutting and rising prices, partly offset by unfavourable currency exchange and higher energy costs.
Aluminum production was cut by nine per cent in the year as 16,000 employees around the world lost their jobs and facilities closed including the Beauharnois smelter.

Dubal introduces innovative technology at TMS 2010
AME Info - 13-Feb-2010
Dubai Aluminium Company Limited ("Dubal") — the entirely state-owned enterprise that owns and operates the world's largest modern smelter with a captive power station — will leverage the industry platform offered by the TMS Annual Meeting and Exhibition ("TMS 2010") to promote its latest technological achievements.
Held at the Washington State Convention Centre in Seattle, USA from 14 to 19 February 2010, the focus of TMS 2010 is on updating metallurgists, materials scientists and engineers with the latest scientific and technical developments, the annual is widely regarded as a vital networking experience for materials professionals.
"In our estimation, TMS 2010 offers a credible forum for sharing technology-related information with a broad audience representing diverse stakeholder groups," says Abdulla Kalban (President & CEO of Dubal). "Accordingly, we have chosen to divulge the details of two major technological milestones achieved by Dubal at TMS 2010."
Kalban advises that Ali H A M Al Zarouni (Vice President: Smelting Operations), will present two papers at TMS 2010, namely:
"DX pot technology powers green-field expansion" — This paper focuses on DUBAL's in-house developed, proprietary DX Reduction Cell Technology that has the proven capacity to operate at higher amperages, with associated business, operating and environmental benefits. Already operating at industrial scale at DUBAL's Jebel Ali smelter, DX Technology cells have also been specified for and installed at the new Emirates Aluminium ("EMAL") green-field smelter, where commissioning of phase 1 commenced in December 2009.
"Cell pre-heat on full line current at DUBAL" — This paper presents an innovative process of starting a reduction cell for aluminium production. It has been tried, tested and adopted as a standard practice at DUBAL. The method offers techno-economic benefits of higher productivity at lower cost and lower energy consumption. Waste generation is practically nil and the process is environmentally friendly. The technique also permits accelerated start up; the potential benefit is therefore many times more when it is applied in an expansion project or in restarting a potline following a power outage.
In addition, DUBAL will have a stand within the exhibition component of TMS 2010, the theme of which is the company's progress through technological innovations. The key messages projected across all media, including the exhibition graphics and collaterals, will highlight the specific benefits offered by DUBAL's DX Reduction Cell Technology.
"Our primary objective in participating at TMS 2010 is to raise awareness in the industry that DUBAL is much more than a producer of primary aluminium," continues Kalban. "Our company has expanded sustainably over the past 30 years through a combination of continuous improvements to our processes and brown-field expansions using the latest technologies available. Having developed our own, saleable technology, the time has now come for us to tell the world what we have to offer."

Chinalco plans to invest electrolytic-alum project with GIIG
Alibaba News Channel - 11 Feb 2010
Feb. 12 MetalBiz--Chinalco said that board director got approval agreeing that the company and GIIG sign the agreement on February 2010, and both sides plan to build up one 330,000-ton electrolytic aluminum project in Malaysia. Meanwhile, both sides intend to restructure GIIG's wholly-funded subsidiary, Asia Aluminum Co., Ltd. into one joint venture, to take charge of operating their electrolytic aluminum project.
The company introduced that the total investment amount is expected to stand at U.S.$1bln, and the company will provide capital of U.S.$350mln-U.S.$400mln to hold 35%-40% shares of Asia Aluminum Co., Ltd

Novelis to Move North American Base to Atlanta
GlobalAtlanta - 02.11.10
Novelis Inc. is moving its North American headquarters to Atlanta from Cleveland, creating at least 80 new corporate jobs.
Atlanta has been home to Novelis' global headquarters since the company was formed in 2005 as a spin-off of Canadian aluminum maker Alcan Inc. Hindalco Industries Ltd., one of Asia's largest producers of aluminum and a leading copper producer, bought Novelis in 2007 for $6 billion.
Hindalco is a flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group, a multinational conglomerate based in Mumbai, India.
Novelis has 12,000 employees and operates in 11 countries. The company serves large customers like Coca-Cola Co., Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp.
For more information, visit

Rudd's carbon plan gives certainty to affected industries
Sydney Morning Herald - Paul Howes - 02.11.10
The Australian Workers Union is on the frontline of the climate-change debate. Its members work in the industries most affected by the global crisis - aluminium, iron and steel, plastics, manufacturing, paper, liquefied natural gas, food processing, glass, cement, mining and agriculture.
That's why they are watching the current parliamentary debate closely; why they cheered Malcolm Turnbull promoting a bipartisan Australian national policy response; and why they feel let down by Tony Abbott.
Australia needs to be prepared to adjust the way its economy responds to climate change if, along with the rest of the world, it is going to tackle it.
That's why the AWU supports the government's carbon pollution reduction scheme.
Accepting that big changes were needed as these industries moved to a lower-carbon economy, the union worked with the government to secure investment and jobs in these industries.
The government's proposal does this by including a realistic domestic target of a 5 per cent cut in emissions by 2020 in the absence of immediate global action, a fixed carbon price of $10 a tonne in the first year and generous allowances in the form of free permits, concessions and grants to a host of affected industries through to 2020 and beyond, as required.
But the main benefit is that the scheme provides certainty to industry on what the rules of the game are and on how the government intends to assist them once it is introduced. This allows industry to build a long-term strategy and ''hardwires'' adjustment to a lower carbon future at least cost into the national economy.
Compare this with the uncertainty and waste inherent in the new Opposition Leader's regulatory response - a mish-mash plan so obviously dreamt up in a hurry in the 10 weeks since Malcolm Turnbull was deposed.
Abbott's plan does not set a carbon price, allow industry to buy and sell emissions permits or to receive free permits to manage their emissions liabilities and abolishes other measures by way of adjustment assistance. Industry would be reliant on Canberra bureaucrats to pick winners and manage their exposure to risks of adjusting to climate change. All care, no responsibility.
Despite opposition claims, this is unlikely to lead to voluntary action because the onus is on business to assume the risks of different rules applying for different industries. The proposed incentives may be just not worth the trouble. Industry leaders have already expressed their concerns to me that the opposition is not providing the leadership and policies to create viable long-term investment possibilities.
The opposition has adopted a short-term election-oriented strategy to scare people into voting against the carbon pollution reduction scheme, a political gesture that could be harmful for our long-term economic opportunities. Costly price increases are far more likely to occur as a consequence of not responding to climate change.
Carbon trading will provide important financial incentives for new industry to create good jobs - and provide the type of economic security I want for my union members.
The capital-intensive industries vital to our nation are all characterised by long-term investment requiring lead times of five to 10 years.
So the operating environment beyond 2020 is right now on the decision-making radar of big employers. Board decisions are being made today to stay in Australia or go elsewhere - and the terms on which they would stay. Board members tell me they cannot see how they can support investment based on Abbott's reckless policies.
In these circumstances stability and certainty and a bipartisan approach to dealing with the climate change challenge locally is vital in the national interest for an economy still recovering from the global financial crisis.
Dealing with climate change is not easy or costless. Pretending otherwise wastes precious time and does a disservice to the electorate and the nation's industry and workers. It is a matter of time before the electorate sees through this pea and thimble trick.
Paul Howes is national secretary of the Australian Workers Union.

India to have 2 MT surplus aluminium for export by 2013
Business Standard - Ap Genco - February 12, 2010
Dilip Kumar Jha / Mumbai
Capacity expansion by planned projects to treble production to 4.4 mt.
The aluminium industry in India may be moving towards overcapacity, since supply is likely to grow in excess of demand going forward. Considering that all aluminium projects would begin commercial production with expanded capacity as planned, there could be at least two million tonnes of additional capacity for exports by 2013.
“India’s aluminium production will more than treble to 4.4 million tonnes by mid-2012 with new capacities coming on stream, along with requisite captive power generation capacities,” stated a Fitch Ratings report recently.
Vedanta, Hindalco and Nalco together produced 1.5 million tonnes of the metal for the year ended 31 March 2009, a growth of 9 per cent year on year. Though higher cost capacities were shut down (in Vedanta’s subsidiaries Balco, Malco and Vedanta Aluminium) to the extent of 0.14 million tonnes, additional capacities from Vedanta Aluminium Ltd in Orissa, along with incremental capacity expansions at Nalco and Hindalco compensated for the loss. For eight months between April and November 2009, total aluminium produced was 0.98 million tonnes, a rise of 16.6 per cent over the corresponding period in the previous year.
“Although demand outlook for aluminium is likely to grow in line with the economy, supply is estimated to grow far in excess of demand, resulting in overcapacity in the domestic market over 2011-2013,” the report added. Large power and housing projects, which use aluminium extensively, depend largely on growth in economy and, thus, spur consumption of the metal.
According to an Icra report, “With sharp increase in capacity over 2010-13, India will start massive export of aluminium. The country could by 2013 be an annual exporter of 2 million tonnes of the metal, assuming the planned capacity expansions become operational as currently envisaged.” It added that the current demand-supply situation for aluminium was largely balanced with consumption in line with existing production, and a relatively small volume of exports.
India’s per capita consumption of aluminium is 1 kg as against 30 kg in the developed world, it stated in the report. “The industry is exploring new application areas and untapped demand potential, which may result in greater preference for aluminium in the future,” Icra added.
The expansion projects are subject to execution risk given their scale, greenfield nature, and regulatory risks with regard to mining approvals. These could delay some of the projects, or postpone indefinitely. However, the risks are partly offset by the fact that the new capacity would have low, globally competitive costs once operational. The surplus production would be exported.

Emal Enters International Aluminium Market With 1st Shipment To Daewoo
WAM - Emirates News Agency - Feb 10th, 2010
Abu Dhabi: Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) announced today that it had signed a contract with Daewoo International Corp. to deliver aluminium sow ingots to the South Korean conglomerate. EMAL has taken an important step towards fulfilling its vision of becoming one of the world's largest producers and suppliers of aluminium products.
Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, CEO of EMAL, expressed his pleasure over the agreement with Daewoo, saying he believes it sets the stage for EMAL to attract other important clients in the coming years.
"We are delivering our 1st shipment to Daewoo and we're pleased that such a strong, established Asian company with global reach understands the benefits partnering with EMAL," he said. "This agreement is in line with our business strategy to develop a wide international client base." Kim Yong Hyun, General Manager of Non-Ferrous at Daewoo International Corp. believes that the deal with EMAL will prove to be long lasting.
"EMAL is meeting our requirements and quality standards, and we're thrilled to receive the company's first international shipment. We have established a solid foundation for what should be a long-term working relationship," he said.
EMAL's high-tech USD 5.7 billion aluminium smelter is the world's largest green field project of its kind, representing a key piece of the Abu Dhabi Government's industrialisation and diversification strategy

CHALCO To Develop Aluminium Smelter Plant In Sarawak
BloombergUTV - 09-Feb-2010
China's top aluminium producer, Aluminium Corporation of China Limited (Chalco), together with GIIG Holdings, a local consortium, will develop an aluminium smelter plant in Sarawak in a move set to boost investments there.
Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the joint-venture is expected to gain US$1 billion (RM3.43 billion) worth of investments in its first phase.
He said the investment by Chalco, a state-owned company and the country's second biggest alumina producer, signalled the confidence of the Chinese government in Malaysia's economy and investors.

First Bauxite Enters Into Letter of Intent With Bauxite Corporation of Guyana (press release) - 09-Feb-2010
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, FIRST BAUXITE CORPORATION ("First Bauxite" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that on February 5th, entered into a Letter of Intent with Bauxite Corporation of Guyana Inc. ("BCGI") to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of BCGI ("the BCGI Shares") and accordingly, 100% of its interest in and all right and title to, the contiguous Tarakuli and Tarakulli North-West Prospecting Licenses in Northeast Guyana (the "Property"). First Bauxite will immediately commence due diligence on BCGI and its rights to the Property. The parties have agreed to negotiate and prepare a comprehensive acquisition agreement (the "Definitive Agreement") for execution on or before March 31, 2010. Read the full article by clicking on the headline above

China Zhongwang to buy Guoxin Aluminum Industry

China Knowledge Online - Feb. 10, 2010

China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd<1333>, the world's third-largest extruded aluminum product maker, plans to take over Qinghai Guoxin Aluminum Industry Incorporated Co, China's largest hard alloy manufacturer, according to a source familiar with matter.

Both parties expect to reach an agreement soon, said the source. No financial details were disclosed.

Reportedly, China Zhongwang started acquisition talks with Guoxin Aluminum in September.

China Zhongwang in November announced that its net profit jumped 49% year on year to RMB 2.4 billion in the first nine months of last year and that its revenue was RMB 9.64 billion, up 7.7% from RMB 8.95 billion a year earlier, according to an earlier report from China Knowledge.

Level of Improvement at Jamalco Highest Among Alcoa's Network
Government of Jamaica, Jamaica Information Service - Saturday, February 06, 2010
The level of improvement at Jamalco in 2009 was the highest among alumina refineries in Alcoa's Global Primary Products (GPP) network.
This was announced by Alcoa's Executive Vice President and President of Alcoa's GPP Business Unit, Mr. Bernt Reitan, who led a high level team of Alcoa Executives on a visit to the Clarendon based bauxite and alumina facility, this week.
Mr. Reitan noted that while other Alcoa refineries had shown improvement, he was particularly impressed with Jamalco, given the position of the company at the end of 2008. "All the parameters have shown a lot of progress and the plant is very clean," he told members of Jamalco's executive management team.
In commending Jamalco's employees and management for successfully meeting the challenges of 2009, Mr. Reitan said he was pleased with the alignment of the process and business systems across Jamalco's operation.
He noted that Jamalco has refined its strategies and taken the company to the next level. "This is terrific and dynamic," he declared.
Jamalco ended 2009 with its best ever annual production of alumina, with 1.4 million metric tonnes - some 100,000 metric tonnes above the previous 2006 record of 1.3 million metric tonnes. This placed the facility fourth on the cost curve among the nine Alcoa refineries.
Mr. Reitan pointed out that the major challenge facing Jamalco now is its energy cost, and there is need to find an alternative energy source to replace oil, urgently.
The Executive Vice President was accompanied by Chief Operating Officer of Alcoa's GPP network, Mr. John Thuestad, and Alcoa's President for Latin America and the Caribbean region, Mr. Franklin Feder.
They also visited Jamalco's mining operations in Manchester and Clarendon, the port at Rocky Point, Clarendon, as well as the residue storage area.

Environmental Engineering Manager
Environmental Expert (press release) - 06-Feb-2010

Ma'aden ( was formed as a Saudi joint stock company on 23 March 1997 (corresponding to 14/11/1417H) for the purpose of facilitating the development of Saudi Arabia’s mineral resources.
To date Ma'aden's activities have focused on its active gold business which has grown in recent years to include the operation of five gold mines: Mahd Ad Dahab, Al Hajar, Sukhaybarat, Bulghah, and Al Amar.
Ma'aden is now expanding its activities beyond its gold business with the development of its Phosphate Project ($US6B JV with SABIC), Aluminium Project ($US11B JV with Alcoa), and Other Projects.
In addition, since its formation, Ma'aden (through the Ministry of Petroleum & Mineral Resources) has collaborated with the Government and local legislators to develop a regulatory framework for the governance of the mining industry in Saudi Arabia.

Plans, provides and coordinates all necessary support in required environmental engineering disciplines especially air quality, wastewater and solid & hazardous waste necessary to all SBUs environmental activities in line with Corporate continuing commitment to minimize adverse environmental impacts throughout corporate operational functions and subsidiaries.
Ensures that the departmental functional sections have the full technical and operational capabilities to mitigate any adverse environmental impacts without any undue delay and to avoid any potential recurrence of such impacts.
Ensures that all necessary technical environmental data and information gathering platforms are operating in the most appropriate manner and in accordance with Maaden EMS Manual and procedures.
Key skills:A BS degree in environmental engineering / science or equivalent technical discipline, post-graduate qualifications in business would be an added asset
At least 10 years’ post qualification experience, either within a large complex organization in managing environment regulations or in regulatory position in setting up policies/ compliance
Must have significant MINING experience, or at minimum heavy industry.
Broad knowledge of environmental legal and regulatory developments and emerging best practice
Proven ability to interact with numerous stakeholders and to influence at a senior level
High standards of written communication, verbal and numerical reasoning
Good commercial acumen, excellent interpersonal and communication skills
An ability to demonstrate strategic and innovative thinking
Strong in integrating skills of multiple functions and people to deliver the best results in programme implementation
Negotiation and influence skills

McNally Bharat gets 2 Hindalco contracts
Hindu Business Line -
MUMBAI: McNally Bharat Engineering Company Ltd has informed BSE that the company has received Rs 28.32-crore contract from Hindalco for Aditya Aluminium Smelter Project.
The order is for design, engineering, supply of equipment, underloading, storage, handling, erection testing & commissioning and structural work at site of an HDPS System.
The company has also bagged another contract worth Rs 28.32-crore for Mahan Aluminium Smelter Project.
It is for design, engineering, supply of equipment, underloading, storage, handling, erection testing & commissioning and structural work at site of an HDPS System.
The contractual period of completion of the orders is within 24 months and 21 months, respectively. — Our Bureau

Alcoa postpones Italian aluminum smelter shutdown
Reuters - Carole Vaporean, Gavin Jones 05-Feb-2010
NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Alcoa Inc. (AA.N) will continue discussing ways to resolve energy costs at its aluminum smelters in Italy and will not curtail its two plants there on Feb. 6 as previously announced, a spokesman said on Friday.
"We are continuing to analyze and continuing to talk. We're hopeful that the Italian government and the European Commission can help us resolve this situation. And we'll take it from there," Kevin Lowery, spokesman for the U.S. aluminum giant, told Reuters.
Asked whether Alcoa still plans to shut its Fusina smelter near Venice and Portovesme plant in Sardinia, he said, "We haven't taken any actions. We're going to continue to talk."
In November, Alcoa said it would temporarily idle operations at its 194,000-tonne-per-year smelters after the European Commission ordered it to pay back most of the state aid it received in Italy since 2006.
A meeting between the Italian government, Alcoa executives and Italian trade unions scheduled for Feb. 8 to discuss the matter was moved to Thursday, Feb. 11, an Italian government source in Rome told Reuters late on Friday without elaborating.
The European Union's executive body ruled that Alcoa must repay state power subsidies previously agreed to by the Italian government and the U.S. aluminum producer.
Alcoa argues that a $300 million penalty imposed by the Commission, currently under appeal, would have a "devastating impact" given the dramatic decline in aluminum prices amid the global recession.
Aluminum prices slid more than 60 percent off record highs reached in July 2008 to the 7-1/2-year low hit a year ago.
"We have a greater than $300 million payment we have to make and we are losing money each month we operate there on top of that. So there needs to be some kind of resolution," said Lowery.
He has said that the issue was over energy costs that both the company and the Italian government wanted addressed, "so the operations can provide jobs."
"Our position is that we want to operate. We're hopeful that the Italian government and the EC (European Commission) can get together and help us be in a position so that we can operate there," he said Friday.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is battling to control rising unemployment and faces important regional elections in March, wrote a letter to Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld last Friday asking him to wait until the European Commission studies the situation before shutting the smelters on Feb. 6.
Italian unemployment rose to 8.5 percent in December, its highest since monthly records began in January 2004, and Italy has one of the industrialized world's lowest workforce participation rates at only 22 million people from the 60 million population.
Alcoa's Italian operations employ about 2,000 people.

Church of England decides to sell stake in Vedanta
KalingaTimes - 05-Feb-2010
Bhubaneswar, The Church of England today decided to disinvest from controversial miner Vedanta Resources on ethical grounds, dealing a devastating blow to the company's credibility.
According to a press release issued by Survival International, the Church stated that ‘we are not satisfied that Vedanta has shown, or is likely in future to show, the level of respect for human rights and local communities that we expect…' adding that maintaining investments in Vedanta ‘would be inconsistent with the Church investing bodies' joint ethical investment policy'.
“The Church's decision is extremely unusual, as it almost always prefers a policy of ‘constructive engagement' to disinvesting, and is just the latest in a string of PR disasters for the company. Survival International has been lobbying the Church to disinvest from Vedanta for over a year,” according to the release.
Last year the FTSE 100 company was publicly rebuked by the British Government for failing to respect the human rights of the Dongria Kondh tribe in Odisha, in a similarly unprecedented move. The government said that ‘a change in the company's behaviour' was ‘essential'.
“The Church's unprecedented and very welcome decision sends a strong signal to companies that trample on tribal peoples' rights: we will not bankroll your abuses. Anybody that has shares in Vedanta should sell them today if they care about human rights,” Survival International director Stephen Corry said.
The Church is not the first organisation to disinvest from Vedanta on ethical grounds. In 2007 the Norwegian government sold its US$13m stake, saying ‘there is little reason to believe that the company's unacceptable practice will change in the future.'
In addition, Martin Currie Investments sold their £2.3 million stake last year, and BP's pension fund reduced its holdings in Vedanta due to ‘concerns about the way the company operates.'

Goa Carbon May Sign One-Year Contract to Sell Coke to Rio Tinto
Bloomberg - Ambika Jindal - 05-Feb-2010
Goa Carbon Ltd., an Indian maker of calcined petroleum coke, may sign contracts of as much as one year duration to supply the product to Rio Tinto Group and National Aluminium Co. Ltd., Chief Executive Officer and President, Jagmohan J. Chhabra, said in a telephone interview today. Discussions are underway and contracts may be signed by March, he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ambika Jindal in Mumbai at

Bosai Minerals Group to buy Rio Tinto's Ghana Bauxite stake
China Knowledge Online - Feb. 4, 2010
Bosai Minerals Group Co Ltd, a privately-owned group mainly involved in alumina, aluminum, calcined bauxite and coal, announced today that its plan to acquire Rio Tinto's 80% stake in Ghana Bauxite Co has won approval from the Chinese government.
According to Bosai Minerals, which paid US$30 million for the aluminum ore asset, Ghana Bauxite's mine has proven reserves of 100 million tons. Taking into account the cost of extraction and the market price of bauxite, Bosai Minerals expects to see a net profit of US$5 per ton from the bauxite ore.
The company plans to invest over RMB 3.5 billion to set up an alumina plant with an annual production capacity of 1 million tons by 2013. In fact, the Chongqing-based company is planning to build a complete aluminum industry chain in Ghana. To achieve this goal, it intends to acquire a closed electrolytic aluminum plant with an annual production capacity of 200,000 tons.
Yuan Zhilun, president of Bosai Minerals, said the company also plans to ship over 500,000 tons of bauxite ore back to Chongqing per year, which will ease domestic shortages.
The company is reportedly considering whether to expand the production capacity of its alumina plant in Nanchuan from 600,000 tons to 1 million tons or to buy another plant.

Alcoa Achieves Top Marks in Covalence Ethical Reputation Ranking
FOXBusiness - Feb 03, 2010
NEW YORK, Alcoa (NYSE:AA) announced today it has achieved the top spot in the Basic Resources category in the latest Covalence Ethical Rankings, a comprehensive study of the overall ethical performance of multinational corporations. Covalence's reputation index, distributed by Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg and Capital IQ, is a barometer of how multinationals are perceived in the ethical field.
Alcoa has been rated No. 1 in this category since the ranking began in 2005. Across all industries and companies, Alcoa placed 11th out of the 581 companies tracked.
Covalence, based in Geneva, Switzerland, has developed a methodology that uses a range of criteria, including labor standards, waste management, and human rights policy. It evaluates multinational organizations within 18 sectors. Because it is a reputation index, the Covalence survey also incorporates media, industry and non-governmental organization documents in its evaluation.
"I am proud of Alcoa's continued leadership position in this annual ethics ranking, which is regarded as a barometer of how multinationals are perceived in the ethics field. Alcoa Values are engrained in our culture, and every day Alcoa employees around the world put these Values into practice," said Alcoa President and Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld.

Hindalco to make aluminium cans in India
Commodity Online - 02-Feb-2010
MUMBAI (Commodity Online): India’s aluminium giant Hindalco Industries has finally decided to enter the beverage can business with the setting up of a new plant in Orissa.
According to reports in a section of the Indian media, the company will produce cans for beverages and food giants like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo from its plant at Hirakud in Orissa.
As part of the plan, the company has begun dismantling a closed plant of Novelis in Rogerstone, Britain, and intends to ship all key equipment to Hirakud.
The expansion for beverage can-making is scheduled to be complete by October next year.
Canada-based Novelis was acquired by Hindalco for $6 billion in 2007. It had announced the closure of the Rogerstone plant in March 2009, following the economic downturn and a demand crash. With the closure, about 440 workers lost jobs. Also, the company had transferred the businesses Rogerstone would handle to Novelis’ other plants in Europe.
The move to transfer the Rogerstone plant to India is intended to make the group’s beverages can production cost-effective. With the relocation, the company could cut costs by at least 20-30 per cent. However, shipping of the end products back to Europe and the US would be costly.
Hindalco would be using the plant and technology of Novelis to make cans’ body stock in India for the first time. Novelis is the world’s leading maker of aluminium rolled products, used for making cans.
About 45 per cent of Novelis’ shipment is beverage cans. It produces an estimated 19 per cent of the world’s flat-rolled aluminium products and is the number one producer in Europe, South America and Asia, and the second-largest in North America. It is also the world leader in the recycling of used aluminum beverage cans.
Land acquisition for the expansion has been completed and statutory clearances obtained. The technology agreement has been finalised with GAMI.
(Source: Business Standard)

Deripaska says will stay as RUSAL CEO
Reuters UK - 01-Feb-2010
By Gleb Bryanski
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Oleg Deripaska will remain chief of UC RUSAL (0486.HK) even after a $2.2 billion initial public offering (IPO) diluted his control of the world's largest aluminum producer, Deripaska told Reuters.
"I know the company very well and have no plans to leave the position of chief executive," said Deripaska, the physicist turned metals trader who emerged most strongly from the ferocious takeover battles for control of Russia's aluminum industry in the 1990s. It was his first major interview since the group listed in Hong Kong last month.
Deripaska, once Russia's richest man, spent most of last year clinching a huge debt restructuring deal with banks to be able to proceed with the Hong Kong IPO, which saw his stake fall below 50 percent.
Two legal cases hung over the listing: one a challenge by the outgoing government of Guinea to RUSAL's ownership of alumina assets in the west African country, and the other a $4 billion-plus lawsuit brought by ex-associate Mikhail Cherney against Deripaska in London.
Deripaska compared the case in Guinea against his company to "extortion" and said there was little risk for UC RUSAL from the suit against him by Cherney.
"We understand that the country (Guinea) is in a difficult economic shape and the government has to look for ways out of the situation. We are ready for talks," he said, also playing down risks from the Cherney case.
"There are no risks for the company because RUSAL is not part of that suit," said Deripaska, who spoke in short sentences in his trademark low voice as he sipped tea with honey and lemon in an upmarket hotel in the Swiss resort of Davos, where he stayed during the World Economic Forum.
Deripaska, 42, grew his empire from a small metals trading operation, expanding rapidly in the often-violent consolidation of the sector of the 1990s.
He is still seen by many Kremlin watchers as the ultimate insider, married to the daughter of a senior official in President Boris Yeltsin's Kremlin, who managed to expand even when Yeltsin handed over power -- a feat managed by only a few tycoons.
RUSAL, in its IPO prospectus, said the Cherney case could only affect the company should Deripaska lose the case and choose to use part of his stake to pay any costs incurred.
Retail investors, who usually swarm to Hong Kong listings, were excluded from the IPO before it traded because of RUSAL's debts and litigation involving Deripaska.
RUSAL stock plunged at the start of trade and remains below its IPO price, but Deripaska said the firm would ultimately become a stock market favorite.
"Ask any taxi driver (in Hong Kong) what is RUSAL and he will clearly explain to you what it is," said Deripaska, wearing a dark blue suit and no tie; he is not known for ostentatious displays of wealth, unlike many other Russian oligarchs.
The IPO was aimed at helping RUSAL raise cash as part of its more than $14.9 billion debt restructuring. Deripaska said UC RUSAL could list stock in Russia within 12 months, but added it planned no more share issues for the time being.
"We have obtained high-quality investors despite the fact that the markets have fallen by almost 18 percent since the pricing ... A new share issue now makes no sense. The market has not fully recovered and the price is not adequate yet," he said.
"I think the firm is worth more," he said, adding that RUSAL would focus on cutting power costs, already among the world's lowest due to cheap Siberian electricity, and debt servicing to cut the leverage to an amount that would allow a dividend.
He also played down the chance of shareholder wars erupting after he lost majority control. RUSAL's co-owners include tycoon Viktor Vekselberg, trading group Glencore GLEN.UL and the Russian government, which agreed to invest heavily in the IPO.
"We cannot have differences among the shareholders, as we have a joint understanding of strategic goals and tasks," he said. "All our shareholders are reasonable people. They all want the company to grow."
Asked about the reasons behind the Kremlin's move to refinance $4.5 billion of RUSAL's debts, Deripaska said he never saw it as a state bailout. "The VEB loan, which was lent to RUSAL, is one of their most commercially profitable."
In the long term RUSAL did not plan acquisitions and would focus on expanding in Asian markets. "We have a basket of assets that will allow us to develop for the next 25 to 30 years. We do not need to acquire anything."
Any decision regarding a long-discussed merger with Norilsk Nickel (GMKN.MM), in which RUSAL has a 25 percent stake, would be taken "based on the need to create long-term value," he said.
(Writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by David Holmes and Rupert Winchester)