AluNews - May 2011

World Aluminum Output Reaches Highest Since 1999 as Prices Climb
Bloomberg - May 31, 2011
Global aluminum production climbed to the highest daily average in April since at least 1999 amid rising prices on the London Metal Exchange.
Primary aluminum output rose to a daily average of 118,800 metric tons in April from 115,400 tons a day in March, according to data, compiled by the International Aluminium Institute. Aluminum for delivery in three months on the LME rebounded since November, reaching $2,803 a ton on May 3, the highest level since August 2008, on expectations rising oil prices will boost production costs.
“The price makes everybody make money so there is no incentive to cut down on production,” said Edgardo Gelsomino, a London-based analyst at researcher Brook Hunt. “Most smelters are making the most of these prices and operating as much as they can.”
Aluminum is this year’s best performer among all metals traded on the LME, gaining 8.1 percent since the start of the year. The metal rose 1.7 percent to $2,670 a ton by 5:04 p.m. today. Daily aluminum output in April rebounded 9.5 percent since its 10-month low in November, according to the IAI data, which goes back to January 1999. Output has climbed 7.7 percent since January.
“Prices are helping, but are not the main driver,” Gelsomino said today by phone. “It’s normal to see growth. You need to supply a growing demand,” he said pointing to a ramp-up in North America and rising production in the Middle East and China.
Chinese Record
Aluminum output in China, which accounts for about 40 percent globally, climbed to a record last month as rising prices and ample power supplies spurred producers to use more capacity. Primary aluminum output in China climbed to a record 1.46 million tons in April, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Most of the aluminum production capacity that was halted last year due to power restrictions has been restarted, according to CRU International Ltd.
Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, will restart idled capacity at three smelters, adding 137,000 tons of output this year, the New York-based company said in January. Alcoa produced 3.59 million tons in 2010.
Emirates Aluminium reached its full production capacity in January. The Qatalum aluminum smelter in Qatar, a joint venture between Norsk Hydro ASA and Qatar Petroleum, is expected to reach full production in June, Hydro’s Chief Executive Officer Svein Richard Brandtzaeg said in April.
To contact the reporter on this story: Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at

RusHydro to launch 1st 3 units at Boguchanskaya plant Apr-May '12
HydroWorld - May 31, 2011
Prime-Tass English-language Business Newswire
KODINSK, Krasnoyarsk Region, May 31 (PRIME-TASS) ? Russian hydropower monopoly RusHydro plans to launch the first three units at the Boguchanskaya hydropower plant in the Krasnoyarsk Region in April-May 2012, the company's Deputy CEO Alexei Maslov told reporters Tuesday.
The three power units are expected to be launched gradually during four to six weeks, the plant's CEO Nikolai Tereshkov told PRIME-TASS. A total of six units is expected to be launched at the plant in 2012, Tereshkov said. The plant is slated to reach the full capacity in 2013.
The Boguchanskaya hydropower plant is part of the BEMO hydropower and aluminum project in the Krasnoyarsk Region, which is being jointly implemented by RusHydro and aluminum giant RUSAL. The construction of the power plant is currently 90% completed, with 50 billion rubles out of an approximate total of 62 billion rubles already invested in the project. The construction is being completed with borrowed funds. In December 2010, the Boguchanskaya hydropower plant concluded a deal to take out a 28.1 billion ruble 16-year loan from state-owned Vnesheconombank (VEB) for the construction.
(28.0685 rubles - U.S. $1)
Copyright 2011 Prime-Tass Business News AgencyAll Rights Reserved Prime-Tass English-language Business Newswire

SK Roongta may lead Vedanta's Aluminium business
Economic Times - 31-May--2011
MUMBAI: Anil Agarwal-controlled Vedanta Resources is likely to hire Sushil Kumar Roongta, former chairman of Steel Authority of India , as head of aluminium business , sources with knowledge of the development said.
Roongta is expected to oversee aluminium operations at Balco, Malco, and Vedanta Aluminium from June.
Roongta's appointment is viewed by industry experts as part of the group's strategy to get closer to government quarters following the problems it faced since the Cairn deal announcement. A Vedanta source said, "It is clear that we have to be close to the government and that's what we are working on."
Agarwal has given mandate to Roongta, who has spent about 37 years in metals space and worked closely with government machinery, to smoothen processes pertaining to seeking government clearances for aluminium projects, sources said.
Roongta, who was chairman of one of India's largest public sector companies SAIL from August 2006 to May 2010, made efforts to streamline processes to expand steel capacity and safeguard the firm's interest by retaining rights over Chiria mines. Both Vedanta Resources and Roongta declined to comment on the development.

Eskom gets US funding for new power station
Business Day - 2011/05/31
MORE than three-quarters of the R300bn Eskom needs for its capital expansion programme has been secured, the utility said yesterday.
This is an indication that Eskom has put behind it the financial woes of its build programme.
At the height of its financial problems, Eskom considered bringing in private investors for its Kusile coal-fired power station at Emalahleni in Mpumalanga.
Eskom announced yesterday that it had secured more funding for Kusile through a R5,7bn loan from the Export Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) of the US.
Ex-Im Bank is an independent US federal agency which provides financing for US exports of goods and services.
The loan will be used to buy plant engineering and construction management services for Kusile.
The Ex-Im Bank loan would add to the R31bn in export credit agency- backed finance which Eskom has already raised. Eskom said details of the deal still had to be negotiated.
The first unit of the 4 800MW Kusile plant is scheduled for commissioning in late 2014.
"We are pleased with the decision by the Ex-Im Bank board to approve financing which will help to build Eskom’s Kusile power station.
"This is a statement of confidence by the US agency in Eskom, and in SA, and an acknowledgement of the criticality of clean coal in Eskom’s fleet," Eskom’s financial director, Paul O’Flaherty, said yesterday.
Meanwhile, Eskom, which is managing a "tight" electricity system, is interrupting power supply to BHP Billiton ’s aluminium smelters in order to ease the pressure on the electricity system.
Eskom spokeswoman Hilary Joffe yesterday said the interruptions were provided for in the power supply agreements between the utility and BHP Billiton.
Ms Joffe said that in terms of the agreements, Eskom interrupted supply to BHP Billiton for about two hours a week.
"There has always been that ability to interrupt supply. We do not only invoke the clause because of the cold weather. We also use this to regulate the frequency of the system," she said.

Stub Straighteners Provide Cost Benefits for Aluminium Smelters - May 29, 2011
Inward bending of anode stubs, generally known as "toe-in", is a well understood occurrence in all pre-bake aluminium smelters. The difference in linear expansion of the carbon anode and the steel yoke or spider of the anode rod at high temperatures in the reduction cell means that the yoke expands more than the anode, bending the stubs which are anchored in the anode block.
Stubs become bent inwards just above the iron thimble, changing the geometry of the yoke, and stubs can no longer be correctly located in the anode holes during subsequent rodding. Ultimately the stubs will no longer fit into the holes.
Historically, smelters often continued to use toed-in stubs until they would no longer fit into the anode, when the bent stubs would be cut off and replacements welded onto the yoke. Today, many smelters accept that the use of a stub straightener has a cost benefit. Straight stubs reduce operational difficulties and improve the stub-carbon volt drop.
VHE of Iceland has proven solutions suitbale for different reduction technologies. For smaller diameter stubs, ambient temperature straightening is an economical approach. VHE has delivered a number of such stub straightening machines to smelters around the world.
For larger stub diameters, hot straightening is often a better solution. Stubs heated to 650°C need considerably less straightening force, and the cost of an induction pre-heating unit is to a large extent off-set by savings in the heavy duty steelwork and hydraulic systems which would otherwise be needed. VHE has delivered such stub straighteners for stubs up to 180mm to a number of smelters internationally.

Smelter plans big spendup
Marlborough Express - 30/05/2011
The Tiwai Point aluminium smelter has ramped up its capital expenditure and is planning to spend about $80 million annually for the next four years, with southerners expected to benefit.
New Zealand Aluminium Smelters is anticipating doubling its normal spending until 2015 after it secured a long-term electricity contract with Meridian Energy, ensuring power for the smelter until 2030.
New Zealand Aluminium Smelters general manager Ryan Cavanagh said the smelter typically spent $30 million to $50 million annually on project work and rebuilding aluminium cells, but last year spent about $76 million, and now the company had certainty of power its future looked safe, so he expected it to spend a similar amount, if not more, this year.
The outlook for the next few years was good because of strong demand for metal, and the smelter had also secured a new product from a sister smelter in Canada to produce billets – long cylinders of aluminium – for the Japanese market, Mr Cavanagh said.
However, smelters worldwide had closed in the past few years because of the global downturn and things could change, so the expenditure was still based on the markets, he said.
"We cannot control the metal prices, but at the moment it is healthy. As long as that continues we will too," Mr Cavanagh said.
The increased expenditure would not mean new jobs at the smelter, but it was good news for the community because businesses in the south typically tendered and picked up contracts for project work, he said.
"Our local contracting firms are very successful with getting this work ... [so] a fair whack of that money is retained locally," Mr Cavanagh said.
Project work included buying and installing new cranes on the production lines and putting in a new ship unloader, he said.
Venture Southland enterprise and strategic projects group manager Steve Canny said the increase in the smelter's capital expenditure was great news for the region because it showed the smelter was committed to investing in its future.
The smelter produced about 14 per cent of the region's gross domestic product and was a major contributor to the economy through jobs and the flow-on effects on the service industry, Mr Canny said.
Invercargill-based engineering business George Wilson and Sons workshop manager Rex McDonald said the smelter's increased spending was great news for Southland.
Work had quietened down in the past few years so any ramping up of the industry or flow-on effects were good, he said.

Eskom Interrupts Electricity to Industrial Clients, Rapport Says
Bloomberg - May 29, 2011
Eskom Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s state-owned power utility, is interrupting power supplies to some industrial clients during peak hours as electricity supply fails to meet demand, Rapport reported, citing Mike Rossouw, chairman of the Energy Intensive Users Group, an industry body.
Aluminum smelters were among clients affected by the interruptions, the newspaper said, citing Rossouw, without naming the companies involved. Eskom last week said it wouldn’t interrupt power supplies to consumers this winter.
To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Brand in Cape Town at
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at

Jewel of Shinas brings bulk alumina to Sohar
Oman Tribune - 28-May-2011
SOHAR The Jewel of Shinas, a Supramax bulk carrier, arrived at the Port of Sohar, carrying 55,000 tonnes of bulk alumina, on its voyage from Gove, Australia to Sohar Aluminum Company. Operated by Oman Shipping Company (OSC), this is the first bulk carrier to join OSC’s fleet. OSC has entered into a contract with Sohar Aluminium, to carry 690,000 tonnes of bulk Alumina per year, from ports in Australia to Oman, with two dedicated Supramax bulk carriers for a period of 15 years. The two bulk carriers, of 57,000 deadweight tonnes each, built in IHI Shipyard in Japan, will operate on a shuttle service between Australia and Sohar.
The Jewel of Shinas was delivered in April and the second vessel, Jewel of Sohar, will be delivered during the first quarter of 2012.

China ministry orders East Hope alumina units in Henan to shut
Reuters Africa - 27-May-2011
HONG KONG May 27 (Reuters) - China's Ministry of Environmental Protection has ordered East Hope Group's alumina refinery in Henan province to shut down production facilities that had not been approved.
The ministry said East Hope (Sanmenxia) Aluminium, the alumina arm of the large aluminium and agricultural products group in China, had been given approval to build annual capacity of 700,000 tonnes in two phases in Sanmenxia city in the central province. But the refinery had built extra 400,000 tonnes of capacity without an additional approval, according to a statement posted on the ministry website on Thursday.
The refinery also had added another two phases in the construction of alumina capacity and four power generators that all had not been approved by the ministry, the statement said.
The ministry ruled that East Hope (Sanmenxia) had to shut down units with 400,000 tonnes capacity and the added two phases of alumina production capacity. The refinery was also fined 100,000 yuan, said the statement dated May 23.
The statement did not disclose the total capacity involved and the timeframe of closure.
East Hope Group's metal arm operates the alumina refinery in Henan and an aluminium smelter in Inner Mongolia in the north.
The group's website does not provide capacity of the alumina and aluminium plants. (
Industry sources estimate East Hope's alumina refinery has more than 2 million tonnes of annual capacity and the aluminium smelter has about 1 million tonnes.
China, the world's top consumer of alumina used to produce primary aluminium, has more than 41 million tonnes per year of alumina capacity. (Reporting by Polly Yam; Editing by Ken Wills)

Bakun stays with Federal
Malaysia Star - 27-May-2011
KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) and Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd will sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) for electricity produced by Bakun hydroelectric dam on June 1 in Kuala Lumpur.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said the state government had come to an agreement with its federal counterparts that it was not necessary for Sarawak to buy the dam.
“The power from Bakun will be used exclusively for Sarawak’s industries and we’ll sign an agreement on the June 1 to buy power from Bakun at a certain price which is quite favourable to Sarawak,” he told reporters after chairing the state cabinet meeting here yesterday.
Asked if it would be around six sen a unit, Taib, who is also Planning and Resource Management Minister and Industrial Development Minister, said he could not disclose more on the deal.
Last month, SEB sealed separate PPA term sheets with four major investors — Press Metal, OM Materials, Asia Minerals Ltd and Tokuyama Corp. The four companies, which plan to invest some RM9.5bil would require a combined 1,300MW to power their upcoming plants in Samalaju Industrial Park.
SEB has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Smelter Asia Sdn Bhd, which needs more than 600MW to power its proposed RM4.8bil aluminium smelter in Samalaju.
It was reported in StarBiz recently, quoting SEB chief executive officer Torstein Dale Sjotveit, that the PPA would be for 30 years and the signing of the PPA was imperative to give security to SEB customers that the Bakun power was coming.
He had said together with the State Planning Unit, SEB was in discussions with close to 20 other potential Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy customers.
It was also reported in The Edge recently that Sarawak Hidro, the unit of Finance Minister Inc that manages the Bakun dam, was close to concluding a PPA with SEB at 6.25 sen a unit. Sarawak Hidro’s earlier asking price was seven sen a kWh while SEB was willing to buy at six sen a kwh.
Second Planning and Resource Management Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan said the dam’s first of eight turbines would start producing its 300MW by July or August.
He said the present one-sen water levy which amounts to about RM150mil a year imposed by the state Government on Sarawak Hidro still remained.
“It was one of the conditions to issue a licence for Bakun,” he said.

Orbite shares surge after aluminum production
Financial Post - May 25, 2011
MONTREAL – Shares in Orbite VSPA Inc. surged as much as 18.4% in morning trading after the Quebec junior miner said it produced the first samples of aluminum at its Cap Chat pilot plant.
The stock rose from its previous close of $3.65 to a high of $4.32 before tapering back.
Orbite chief executive Richard Boudreault, who founded the company, has developed a patented technology for producing alumina by extracting it from clay. The clay is abundant in the Grand Vallée in Quebec’s Gaspé region.
Producing the raw material locally would save his potential aluminum producer customers millions of dollars a year in transportation costs because the bulk of the alumina used by Quebec’s aluminum makers is now shipped in from Jamaica and Brazil. Orbite owns the mineral rights to 3,500 hectares of land in Grand Vallée area.
The company announced Wednesday that production of the first samples of aluminum conclusively demonstrated the viability of its entire value-added chain, from clay to metallurgical aluminum. It said the quality of the metallurgical alumina was verified by an independent research facility in Canada.
“[This is ] a vital step for the company,” Mr. Boudreault said in a statement. “It demonstrates [our] ability to make a superior quality, high-demand smelter grade alumina product, and to do so more efficiently and without the environmental impacts associated with the Bayer process — the industry’s most commonly used process. Not only have we produced metallurgical alumina from Gaspesia clay, but we have done so under the supervision of an independent research centre, demonstrating that aluminum can be produced using the standards, technology and methods of the aluminum industry.”
Unlike alumina-making with bauxite, Orbite produces alumina with a method that starts by crushing the clay and then acid-leaching it. The company plans to split its output, making alumina for use in aluminum and also supplying a higher-premium, ultra-pure alumina used to manufacture specialized components like LED lighting systems.
Ten years out, Mr. Boudreault expects to be employing more than 2,000 people working at several alumina factories. He estimates he can supply 20% of the world’s high-grade alumina and the entire smelter grade needs of all the aluminum plants on the north shore of Quebec’s Saint Lawrence River.
The major risk for investors remains Orbite’s ability to transform its early successes at its pilot plant to full commercialization.
Institutional investors are betting Mr. Boudreault can execute. They backed Orbite with $12-million in capital last fall.
The company said it is in discussions with various aluminum producers to supply them with raw material.
Once a penny stock, Orbite’s market value now stands at $561-million.
The Cap Chat plant is slated to pump out one tonne per day of metallurgical alumina during its six-month test phase. The aim is to optimize production ahead of a feasibility study planned in the second half of the fiscal year.
Global producers current crank out about 82 million tonnes of alumina each year and this amount is expected to grow to 156 million tonnes by the end of the decade, Orbite said. The current spot price is about $425 per tonne.

China power crunch to worsen as drought slashes hydro output
Reuters - May 25, 2011 8:35am EDT
BEIJING (Reuters) - The worst drought to hit central China in half a century has brought water levels in some of the country's biggest hydropower producing regions to critical levels and could exacerbate electricity shortages over the summer.
The official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday that the water level at the world's biggest hydropower plant at the Three Gorges Dam in Hubei province has fallen to 152.7 meters, well below the 156-m mark required to run its 26 turbines effectively.
Total capacity at the Three Gorges hydropower project amounts to 18.2 gigawatts, the equivalent of about 15 third-generation nuclear reactors and more than a third of Hubei's total. It generated 84.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2010, delivering power as far afield as Shanghai on the eastern coast.
The water level is expected to fall further to around 145 meters by June 10, when planned discharges are scheduled to end.
The drought has struck at the time of year when China's hydropower output would normally surge. Hydro output bottoms out in January and February and peaks over the summer. During six months of last year, from May to October, 20 percent of China's electricity generation was hydropower.
High temperatures and record low rainfall in 2011 have caused water levels on the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River to dwindle, cutting support to thousands of hydropower plants as well as millions of hectares of farmland.
Official figures from Hubei province earlier this week showed that 1,392 reservoirs in the region are now too depleted to generate any electricity at all.
Water levels on the Yangtze midstream are 6 meters lower than they were the same time last year, with rainfall only a fifth of the levels seen in 2010, according to the China Daily newspaper, quoting local drought relief agencies.
China's meteorological administration said on Wednesday that average rainfall in Anhui, Jiangsu, Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Shanghai is the lowest since 1954.
The Three Gorges reservoir has already released more than 17 billion cubic meters of water downstream, and analysts expressed hope that the move will ease the problems facing downstream rice planters in Hubei and elsewhere.
The affected provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui and Jiangsu together accounted for 47 percent of China's total rice output in 2010, according to China's Agricultural Yearbook.
"With the Three Gorges Dam now releasing water to downstream provinces, the drought will be eased to some extent and it may not cause any damage to the early rice harvest," said Ma Wenfeng, an analyst with Beijing Orient Agribuiness Consulting Co.
China is such a large country that virtually every year some part of it is hit by disastrous droughts or floods, many of them caused by fluctuations in the Yangtze, the country's longest river stretching from Tibet to Shanghai.
Nearly 10 million people, mainly in the Yangtze farming heartlands, have been affected by the 200-day drought so far, and several Jiangxi tributaries normally used by fishermen in rowing boats have now completely dried up, China Daily reported.
The early harvest usually accounts for only a fifth of total annual rice output, he said, adding that some planters might have delayed their activities until the second mid-year harvest beginning in June, when the rain season begins.
The release of water from the Three Gorges and thousands of other reservoirs in the region might help beleaguered local farmers, but it could be bad news for industries dependent on hydropower supplies.
"Fundamentally there is a conflict between hydropower generation and water supply, irrigation, and navigation," said Ma Jun, of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPEA), a non-government organization that monitors China's rivers.
China is facing historically high power shortages as the summer consumption peak approaches, and lower water flows in major hydropower producing regions like Hubei and Hunan are expected to put more pressure on coal and diesel supplies as they search for alternative sources of fuel.
PetroChina has already supplied 18.6 percent more diesel than a year earlier to Hubei to help the province combat the drought, its parent CNPC said in a company newspaper on Wednesday.
Hydropower utilization rates in Hunan fell 55 percent in April, according to analysts from Dongfang Securities, and traders said the impact was already being felt by local industry.
"By yesterday almost half of all silicon-making facilities (in Hunan) had been suspended because of the lack of electricity," said a Shanghai-based trader.
Aluminum and copper smelters in the region could also suffer, especially if scarce coal supplies are diverted to meet residential power needs, another trader said.
Hydropower will be a crucial component in China's energy strategy in the coming decade as it tries to reduce its dependence on coal, and plans are under way to put an additional 140 GW of capacity under construction by 2015.
But the drought has drawn attention to the impact that big dam construction programs have had on China's river systems, including the Yangtze and its tributaries.
Government experts have rejected widespread claims that the Three Gorges reservoir has worsened the risk of drought in the region, saying that the current crisis has been caused by unfavorable global weather patterns.
But Ma of IPEA said the 600 sq km reservoir has disrupted water flows and made it harder to supply downstream regions.
"Without the Three Gorges Dam, the water level in the Yangtze would not be that low," he noted.
(Additional reporting by Niu Shuping in Beijing and Ruby Lian in Shanghai; Editing by Ken Wills)

Justifying Alcoa's Aluminum Growth Estimates
Trefis (subscription) - May 24th, 2011
Alcoa (NYSE:AA) recently announced that it expects the global consumption and supply of aluminum to double from its 2010 figures by the year 2020. [1] This is based on the company’s forecast that aluminum demand will grow at a compound average rate of 6.5% annually. Here we look at the key trends that lend support to these growth estimates by the world leader in production and management of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina. ...... Click on the headline to read it all

jRUSAL sees aluminum demand in CIS up 6%?8% annually till 2020
PRIME-TASS (subscription) - 24-May-2011
MOSCOW, May 24 (PRIME-TASS) -- Aluminum consumption in Russia and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is expected to increase by an average of 6%–8% annually until 2020, a representative of Russian aluminum giant UC RUSAL said at a conference Tuesday.
In 2011, aluminum consumption in Russia is expected to increase by 11%, the representative said.
Earlier, RUSAL said it planned to increase aluminum sales in Russia and CIS-countries by 22% to 900,000 tonnes in 2011 thanks to a revival in the machine building, construction, and packing industries.
In January–March, the total demand for aluminum in Russia and CIS-countries amounted to 198,000 tonnes. Of the total, rolled products accounted for 43%.

China leads global aluminum output to all time April high
Commodity Online - 24-May-2011
Global aluminum output was at an all-time high in April with China’s record production leading the way, according to Harbor Intelligence. In its aluminum industry fundamentals report, Harbor says practically every region delivered growth, based on IAI figures.
Global daily primary aluminum production increased in April by 2.9% month on month, or by 1.22 annualized million tons to a new to a record high of 43.35 annualized million tons. In year on year terms, it rose 5.9%. China led the increase, Harbor Intelligence says, with output growing 6.0% month on month, or 993,349 annualized tons to an all-time high annualized rate of 17.6 million tons.
Harbor says in the rest of the world, primary aluminum output rose 0.9% month on month, or 228,419 annualized tons, to 25.69 annualized million tons, levels not seen since October 2008. The largest monthly increases outside China were by North America, followed by Africa, Oceania, Latin America, West Europe and the Middle East.
Harbor says that although output in China is growing fast and has pushed global output to a record high, challenges continue to emerge for aluminum production. “Potential energy cuts in China during the summer and poor economics, project delays in India, jeopardized output in Venezuela and minimal brownfield/greenfield projects outside China are expected to enter the market in the next 12 months," the Harbor report says.
By Terry Wooten of Kitco News;

Economics hold up greenhouse gas project between Adnoc and Masdar
The National - 24-May-2011
The Gulf region's first project to store greenhouse gases underground is being held up by pricing issues despite having completed technical feasibility and engineering work.
Masdar, Abu Dhabi's clean-energy company, wants to press ahead with a 500km pipeline network to funnel industrial emissions into oilfields to force out remaining oil. But the customer to which Masdar wants to sell the carbon dioxide, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), already has a source of cheaper natural gas for the same purpose.
Because the two companies have not been able to settle on a price or timetable after two years of talks, a 50km pipeline that is to be the first part of the network is being held up, reducing the time that Masdar has to meet its own targets.
"They are trying to come to some solution. What they are trying to come up with is a commercial model that works," said Paul Crooks, the manager of the pipeline project at Masdar's carbon unit. "There's no point in producing [carbon dioxide] with nobody to use it."
Masdar sees carbon-capture technology as a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions - which many scientists say contribute to a warming of the planet - as the emirate increases power production and builds immense smelters. The bonus would be that Abu Dhabi could inject the gas - as much as 30 million tonnes a year - and potentially earn the UAE carbon credits and international prestige under a UN system to combat climate change. It would also free up more natural gas for use in power generation.
But the plans Masdar outlined in 2008 have not taken off yet because the state oil company has not agreed on a timetable or how much it will pay for the gas.
"There's a timing issue. They've got a different time schedule than we have," Mr Crooks said on the sidelines of a conference in Abu Dhabi. "They haven't scaled it down. I've always said we have done this in phases.
"We're not going to put a 500km pipeline in the ground at once. We have to match the timeline to Adnoc."
Abu Dhabi is not alone in its trouble moving carbon capture off the drawing board. Last year, one-fifth of all such projects worldwide were cancelled or delayed, according to the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute. That included Shell putting off a high-profile plan to bury carbon in the Netherlands after encountering resistance from the local population.
The plan Masdar sketched out in 2008 was to connect a hydrogen-fuelled power plant, aluminium and steel smelters, and other power stations, with Abu Dhabi oilfields.
Part of that original network has been in question since January, when BP pulled staff off a planned US$2 billion (Dh7.34bn) hydrogen-fuelled power plant that was to feed into the network. The problem, company officials said, was the lack of an established price for carbon.
"It's easier to pump down that natural gas than to capture carbon dioxide," said Brian Freeman, the business development manager at Integrated Environmental Solutions, an energy consultancy in Kuwait.
"With carbon dioxide you've got to capture it, which is half of the battle. Capture technology is very expensive and it just hasn't been developed. You've already got access from your existing exploration, so why not just use that?"
The only engineering completed so far on the Abu Dhabi network has been for the 50km pipeline to connect Emirates Steel Industries' smelter in Musaffah with Adnoc's Rumaitha oilfield, where engineers successfully tested carbon dioxide injection last year.
Masdar completed the engineering work last year. Mr Crooks said the pipeline was a challenge to design because of the high pressure of the compressed carbon dioxide gas and a lack of recommended practice in the relatively new field.
"We need more validated data," he said.
If Abu Dhabi can get that pipeline operating by a scheduled date in 2013, it would be in record time. Masdar hopes to solicit construction bids this year, but that hinges on the negotiations and a go-ahead from the authorities.
"We're going to start the tendering process as soon as we get the green light from the leadership," said Mr Crooks. "It's going at the speed that it is going."
Pricing has been an issue for other energy projects in Masdar, which is informally charged with meeting Abu Dhabi's goal to source 7 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2020. Shams I, a 100 megawatt solar plant, relied on a "green payment" from the Government to allow the project to proceed.

Rusal Signs 'Memorandum of Intent' With Cameroon Mines Ministry
BusinessWeek - 23-May-2011
May 23 (Bloomberg) -- United Co. Rusal Plc signed a memorandum of intent with Cameroon’s mines ministry to investigate mining opportunities, including for bauxite, in the West African country, the company said.
Rusal will conduct a “wide ranging feasibility study of various metals and mining projects” in Cameroon, the Moscow- based company said in a statement on its website. It also planned to buy petroleum products in Cameroon, Rusal said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Latham in Durban, South Africa at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gordon Bell at

Alba's Line 5 achieves turnaround in Q1 2011
Zawya (press release) - 23-May-2011
Alba’s Line 5 scores improved metal purity, increased productivity and enhanced efficiency during Q1 2011.
Metal purity was below 700 ppm, production exceeded targets by 986 metric tonnes and current efficiency reached 95.9 per cent.
Line 5 team’s success was the result of effective team work.
Alba’s commitment to global competitiveness is yielding positive results as the company’s state-of-the-art Pot Line 5 achieved a solid turnaround in metal purity, increased productivity and operational efficiency during Q1 2011.
A celebration was held on Thursday, May 19, 2011 at the Alba plant to mark this milestone.
It was attended by Chief Executive Laurent Schmitt, Chief Supply Chain Officer and Acting Chief Operating Officer, Isa Al Ansari, Chief Financial Officer, Tim Murray, Line 5 Manager, Abdul Raoof Mohammed and other senior officials.
The management and employees of Line 5 were commended for their accomplishment despite the challenges related to the political unrest in the first quarter 2011.
A decision was taken in the beginning of the year to restructure the Line 4 & 5 management, and streamline the various processes to boost productivity, to strengthen efficient operations, and to maximise savings.
Metal purity reached way below 700 part per million (ppm), the recognised world standard, and as a result the company achieved higher revenue through sale of higher purity metal. Productivity figures exceeded the planned targets for the first quarter by 986 tonnes as total production reached almost 80,236 metric tonnes. Another important achievement was that the current efficiency reached 95.9 per cent, which was much more than the world standard of 94 per cent. Safety also remained a key focus during the entire process to reflect Alba’s commitment towards creating a safe working environment as well as to emphasise the integral role safety plays in boosting productivity and efficiency.
Commenting on the Line 5 accomplishments, Chief Executive Laurent Schmitt said:
“The success achieved by the Line 5 employees provides a solid evidence of how effective teamwork contributes in overcoming adverse challenges. Q1 2011 was not the easiest periods for most companies in Bahrain, including Alba
. And yet it was during this period that the management and staff of Line 5 turned the prevailing challenges into opportunities.
“The Line 5 team’s accomplishments are in line with Alba’s continuous improvement processes that have been put in place to strengthen the company’s operational efficiency and enhance its global competitiveness.
When it commenced operations in 2005, Line 5 set new world records for the fastest and safest start-up of a reduction line – 77 days without a single loss time injury (LTI). Utilising advanced AP technology, it is also one of the world’s longest reduction lines.

Kitimat project set to be the leading smelter in the fleet
Houston Today - May 22, 2011 4:00 PM
It is the number one project for Rio Tinto Alcan.
The board of the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako was provided with an update on the company's Kitimtat modernization project during their meeting last week.
Paul Henning, Rio Tinto Alcan's vice president of B.C. operations and strategic projects for Western Canada spoke to the board for nearly an hour about the project.
Henning was also accompanied by Rio Tinto Alcan employees Justus Benckhuysen, Nechako operations coordinator, Lianne Olson, stakeholder and community relations liason and Colleen Nyce, manager of communications.
Henning said the Kitimat modernization project is a $2.5 billion project that will, for a time be the largest of the Rio Tinto Alcan 100 per cent owned plants.
"A bigger one will come on stream a few years later in Quebec and there is one in Australia that is even bigger, but we only own 40 per cent of that one," he added.
The old smelter is still currently being used and Henning said they are building the new smelter right on top of the old one, which poses some challenges.
"We can't take our eye off production ... we are still invested in the old smelter and have to keep it operational [until the new smelter comes online]."
A total of $300 million has been committed to the project for 2011.
"We have to spend about $1 million a day, this money has to be spent to keep us on track," Henning said adding that the project does not yet have final board approval, but that they are confident the project will go through.
"We are scheduled to recieve final approval this year."
A construction crew of over 400 people is expected to be working on the site this year.
A utilities loop will be constructed to service the old plant as well as the new one, cleaning and demolition will take place and brownfield relocation is scheduled. There will also be a new reduction services building constructed, along with pedestrian bridges, industrial soil removal and a village for construction crew.
"This is what $300 million looks like. There will be 400 beds on site and they will be populated in 2011. In 2012 we are looking to increase this to a 1,500 populated bed count," Henning said.
With close to 2,000 additional people on site Henning said that ensuring safety of the personnel is key.
The new smelter will come on board with optimized AP40 technology which Rio Tinto Alcan own and sell.
"The technology is a world class standard. It will be the leading smelter in the Rio Tinto Alcan Fleet and its environmental footprint will be 50 per cent less than what we have today."
Rio Tinto Alcan have secured the smelter's operation in Kitimat for between 35 - 50 years and to date have allocated $650 million to the modernization project.
The new smelter is also set to increase hot metal production by close to 50 per cent.
Henning said aluminium is not back to its peak price, but that it is at a good level.
"Growth rate is three to four per cent a year," he said.
Work is also being completed on the Kemano intake tunnel at Tahtsa Lake which includes running a submersible inside the tunnel to check for blockages and cracks.
The tunnel, built in 1954 stretches for 16 kilometres inside Mount Dubose.
It is a 25 feet around, horseshoe shaped, flat bottomed, concrete lined tunnel that brings water to the smelter from the Nechako reservior.
Henning said there is also the possibility that work may continue on a second tunnel [which is currently eight kilometres long] to protect the old one.
"It would allow the old tunnel to breathe ..... if the second tunnel is completed we would then run two tunnels," Henning added.

Sr Mechanical Design Engineer - Aluminium Smelter - UAE - 20-May-2011
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JSW puts R4,200-cr Andhra aluminium project on hold
Financial Express - 20-May-2011
Mumbai: In a bid to remain focused on augmenting steel making capacity, Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Group has put its proposed R4,200-crore greenfield aluminum project on hold. The steel major, which acquired debt-ridden Ispat Industries in December last year, wants to focus on leveraging the steady growth in steel demand in India to become the country’s largest steel maker, ahead of public sector SAIL. Steel demand is expected to grow in double digits this year too, after a 10.5% growth in financial year 2010-11.
JSW is expanding its capacity from 7 mt to 10 mt in Vijayanagar. This will be completed in June. This, coupled with its 1 mt capacity at Salem and another 3.3 mt of Ispat, takes its total capacity to more than 14 mt. Seshagiri Rao, joint MD and group CFO told FE, “We are currently not pursuing our aluminum expansion. That project is on hold as of now.”
When asked whether the company is still looking for a suitable partner for its aluminum expansion, Rao said, “Not as of now.” JSW Aluminum was incorporated on July 8, 2005, as a special purpose vehicle to set up 1.5 mt alumina plant in Vizianagaram district (Andhra Pradesh). The plant was expected to become operation in April 2010. The company had earlier said that the project cost of R4,200 crore would be funded via mix of debt and equity, of this R3,000 crore debt would be raised from various financial institutions.
However, hit by the economic slowdown and short of funds, the group in 2009 had slowed down on its other expansion plans including aluminum till the market revived. Shares of JSW Steel were up 1.89% to close at R940.75 on the BSE on Wednesday.
JSW will further expand its steel making capacity to 12 mtpa from 10 mtpa at Vijayanagar with an estimated cost of R 2,695 crore by June 2013, which will be financed by way of cash accruals to the extent of R945 crore and balance through debt. The steel major has planned a capex of R15,000 crore to be spent over three years, of which R8000 crore will be spent in the current year.
JSW Steel, has reported a growth of 29.89% in its consolidated net profit to R793.63 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2011 against R611.02 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. Rise in volumes and increase in steel prices in the January to March quarter led to bottom line growth for the company

RUSAL may cut aluminium output by 0.5 pct in '11
Reuters Africa - 19-May-2011
MOSCOW, May 19 (Reuters) - The world's top aluminium producer, Russia's UC RUSAL (0486.HK: Quote), said on Thursday it might cut its 2011 metal output forecast by less than 0.5 percent this year due to supply problems at two Siberian smelters.
"In connection with the collapse of the railway bridge over the Abakan River in Khakas region that was used to deliver... raw materials to Sayanogorsk and Khakas aluminium smelters, the company decided to reduce production at both smelters," it said in a statement.
"The volume of the production reduced is expected to near 20,000 tonnes, which the company will seek to reallocate to other smelters."
It said that after the bridge collapsed on May 7, the smelters started to use trucks to transport raw material until the recovery of rail transport.
This means of supply proved to be insufficient, and RUSAL decided to cut temporarily output at both plants.
Although local authorities have started to build a temporary rail bridge on the spot of the collapsed one, which is expected to be rebuilt in June, RUSAL warned it might lower its aluminium production forecast for 2011.
In February RUSAL said it planned to raise aluminium output this year by 2 percent from the 4.08 million tonnes produced in 2010. (Reporting by Aleksandras Budrys, editing by Jane Baird)

Glencore under spotlight as corruption allegations surface
Bureau of Investigative Journalism - May 19th, 2011
The world’s largest commodity trader, Glencore International, is at the centre of serious corruption, tax evasion and environmental damage allegations days before Britain’s largest stock market listing.
An investigation by the Times revealed that the Swiss-based commodity giant is one of fifteen suspects in a corruption case being prosecuted in secret in Belgium.
According to court papers, Glencore allegedly received market-sensitive information from a member of the EU bureaucracy over a a four-year period.
Glencore poised to enter FTSE 100: Image Metro Centric/Flickr
The story initially reported by the French radio station France Inter, has come to light just days before the company lists on the London Stock Exchange with an expected valuation of £38 billion, six times that of Marks & Spencer.
The valuation will fast-track Glencore into the FTSE 100, forcing pension funds and other tracker investors to invest in the company. Yet few had even heard of the secretive behemoth until recently, let alone scrutinised its business.
At the heart of the allegations is a senior member of the European Commission’s agricultural department, Karel Brus, who was allegedly offered thousands of Euros in cash, holidays and cases of wine in exchange for market sensitive information by a subsidiary of Glencore. He is expected to stand trial this year.
Beyond the European bribery case, there are also allegations of controversial practices in Glencore’s operations in Columbia, Zambia, Russia, China, Belgium, Switzerland and the UK.
The Times reported that Glencore’s Columbian subsidiary is operating on government-owned land that was forcefully taken from the previous residents by paramilitaries. During the brutal 6-month takeover, 18 residents in the northern area of El Prado were murdered.
Moreover, accusations against Glencore for tax avoidance while in Zambia has led more than 30 MEPs to draft a petition calling for a moratorium on European financing of mining projects in Africa. The petition will be presented to the European Council next week.
A report issued by a mineral expert in the company’s listing prospectus has led to increased scepticism on Glencore’s environmental protection. The report revealed that two of Glencore’s metal plants in Zambia are consistently exceeding limits for sulphur dioxide emissions, which can cause respiratory diseases and create acid rain that destroys vegetation.
Now led by chief executive Ivan Glassenberg, Glencore generates nearly $150 billion a year moving metal, coal, oil and grain from source to market. The company has a massive hold over key commodities – it controls nearly two-thirds of the world market in zinc, half of the market in copper and almost a quarter of the aluminium market.
About 18 percent of Glencore’s stock will be offered when it lists in London and Hong Kong, allowing investors to take a stake in what historically has been an incredibly profitable company. But Glencore’s complex business is still not fully transparent. Even its 1,637-page prospectus does not clarify fully how this mysterious company operates, and with its business not subject to the same standards of regulation as the equities market, there is a clear need for more scrutiny of this giant that will wield huge influence over City investment.

No additional gas from Qatar: Rumhy
Times of Oman - May 19 2011
MUSCAT: Qatar’s Dolphin Energy will not be providing additional natural gas to Oman, Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy, minister of oil and gas, told the media here yesterday.
The Sultanate needs additional natural gas to meet its ever-growing demand for clean energy.
“There is no plan (at the moment). We are working very hard to find new sources of gas,” Al Rumhy said, on the sidelines of signing a pact for awarding front-end engineering design (FEED) and project management consultancy (PMC) contracts linked to the expansion of Sohar Refinery.
Like its GCC peers UAE and Kuwait, Oman has been trying to procure additional natural gas from Qatar to feed its power plants and gas-based industries through an exiting pipeline that connects Oman with the UAE.
Dolphin Energy now supplies 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to Oman through the pipeline, as both parties have signed a 25-year-long gas supply agreement.
The $3.5-billion Dolphin gas project links Qatar, the UAE and Oman in one of the region’s biggest gas supply networks.
“We are meeting all our demands right now. What is the future plan for meeting the additional demand…I really have no idea,” he said.
The Sultanate produces close to 90 million cubic metres of natural gas per day, and the entire production is consumed by various industries, especially liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, power projects and other gas-based industries. “Our priority (for gas allocation) is power projects and desalination plants.”
Of late, several Sohar-based mega industries have expressed their intention to go for massive expansion if they get additional gas from the government. In fact, cheap natural gas is the most important attraction for multinational giants to locate their manufacturing base in Oman.
For instance, Sohar Aluminium Company last month said it would proceed with its plan to double aluminium smelter capacity to 720,000 tonnes per annum with an estimated capital expenditure of $3 billion, if the government commits additional natural gas.
Likewise, Brazil-based global mining company Vale too has plans to double its pelletisation unit capacity in Sohar. It has the same caveat: if Oman government commits additional feedstock.
Once the second phase of the company’s Sohar project goes on stream by the year-end, the total capacity will be 9 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). And the proposal now is to double the capacity to 18 mtpa with an additional investment in the range of $600 million to $700 million.
The minister said British oil giant BP entered the testing phase to determine the exact volume of natural gas the company can produce from its block 61 concession in the country.
“Doing the test, we can find out exactly how much we can produce in future. It takes six months to one year to determine the volume of gas that can be produced from the reserves.”

Alcoa names Ayers president of Global Primary Products
Pittsburgh Business Times - 18-May-2011
Aluminum-maker Alcoa (NYSE:AA) named Chris Ayers president of the company’s Global Primary Products business.
Ayers, who was chief operating officer of the business segment, is replacing John Thuestad who will be working on special projects, the company said in a statement.
Ayers joined Alcoa in February 2010 in the newly created position of chief operating officer of Alcoa Cast, Forged and Extruded Products. In April of that year, he was elected vice president and, by August, he was named executive vice president before becoming COO of global primary products.
“Since joining Alcoa, Chris has had a solid track record of success in turning operational excellence into financial performance,” said Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld in a written statement. “He has provided steady leadership in overseeing GPP’s operations and I am confident he will continue GPP’s progress toward achieving its 2011 and three-year goals.”

Court nationalises RUSAL's Ukrainian smelter
Reuters Africa - May 18, 2011
* RUSAL to appeal the ruling
* Was at odds with government over energy price (adds RUSAL comment, background)
KIEV May 18 (Reuters) - A Ukrainian court has nationalised ZALK, Ukraine's only aluminium smelter controlled by Russia's AvtoVAZ-Invest, part of the RUSAL group (0486.HK: Quote), the state prosecutor's office said on Wednesday. Prosecutors said in a statement the ruling on nationalising the 68.01 percent stake had been made on Tuesday and the shares would be returned to the State Property Fund.
The prosecutor's office said AvtoVaz-Invest's failure to refinance one of ZALK's loans was the reason for the ruling.
ZALK, located in the city of Zaporizhya in southern Ukraine, is a part of the world's biggest aluminium producer UC RUSAL. RUSAL said in an emailed statement it would appeal the ruling.
"RUSAL will exercise its right to challenge the ruling in Ukraine's Supreme Commercial Court," it said.
In April, RUSAL shut down production of primary aluminium at ZALK citing high electric power costs.
The government cancelled a special energy subsidy for ZALK in 2005 and the company has repeatedly said it needed the subsidy reinstated.
The plant cut aluminium output to 50,000 tonnes in 2009 from 112,800 in 2008, then reduced it further to about 25,000 tonnes in 2010, and to 6,000 tonnes in Q1 2011, according to UGMK news agency.
In January UC RUSAL said ZALK could be sold or stop production in the near future. [ID:nLDE70A1O4] (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

Under pressure in Guinea, RUSAL eyes Cameroon's bauxite
Reuters Africa - May 18, 2011
* RUSAL looks to Cameroon as potential new partner
* Russian firm cites fears over Guinea investment climate By Tansa Musa YAOUNDE, May 18 (Reuters) - UC RUSAL (0486.HK: Quote), the world's biggest aluminium producer, is keen to invest in Cameroon as part of its efforts to diversify its sources of bauxite, the firm said on Wednesday. Yakov Itskov, director of RUSAL's international division, cited a new government and a mining review in Guinea, where RUSAL has a major operation, as potential threats to investors
and reasons to look for new partners elsewhere. Itskov was speaking to reporters in Cameroon after the company and the government set up a joint working group to explore investment opportunities, which could also involve energy and infrastructure projects. "Cameroon is of great interest to RUSAL because it possesses important reserves of bauxite, the basic raw material for the production of alumina and aluminium," Itskov said, praising the country's political stability. Cameroon is headed by President Paul Biya, one of Africa's longest-serving leaders who has ruled the oil exporter for 29 years and is expected to seek another mandate later this year after a reform in 2008 removed term limits. RUSAL has long operated in Guinea but has been involved in several disputes with the government and unions and, after elections last year, the government is trying to push through mining reforms, which risk spooking investors. A Guinea mines ministry official told Reuters last month that it was "moving toward a showdown" with the Russian firm. "The rise to power of the new government headed by Alpha Conde could result in the revision of laws regulating bauxite mining and development. All this may adversely affect the investment climate there," Itskov said. "RUSAL, having an understanding of the importance and necessity of economic and political stability needed for investing in the bauxite industry development, is trying to expand its resource base and looking for new partners and alternative raw material sources," he said.
(Writing by David Lewis; Editing by Dale Hudson)

Vimetco plans to sell share package in Romania's Alro Slatina through ... - May 18, 2011
Vimetco group plans to sell a 21 percent share package in aluminium producer Alro Slatina in Romania through a secondary public offer. The Romanian Securities Commission (CNVM) has recently approved the preliminary prospect for the sale, at a nominal value of RON 0.5 per share. The offer is intermediated by UniCredit Bank, together with brokerage firms UniCredit CA IB Securities Romania, Raiffeisen Capital & Investment and ING Bank.
The value of the secondary public offering could be of EUR 139.8 million, based on the last trading price on the Bucharest Stock Exchange. Alro Slatina’s shares are currently trading on the Bucharest Stock Exchange at a closing price of RON 3.85 per share. More about the evolution of shares here.
Vimetco owns 84 percent of Romania’s Alro. Other shareholders in the company are Fondul Proprietatea, with 10 percent of the shares and Conef, with 3.5 percent. Alro posted a turnover of USD 570 million last year and a net profit of USD 50.5 million. Alro Slatina estimates for this year a net profit of USD 64 million, up by 28 percent compared to last year, according to a report submitted to the Bucharest Stock Exchange.
The Russian company took over the majority stake in Alro in 2002 from the Romanian state, when it bought 10 percent of the shares for USD 11.4 million. Vimetco already had 40 percent share package in Alro from the Bucharest Stock Exchange.

Guinea reforms, disputes risk scaring miners
Reuters Africa - Wed May 18, 2011
By Richard Valdmanis and Saliou Samb
DAKAR/CONAKRY (Reuters) - Reforms by Guinea's first freely elected government are needed to clean up a mining sector in disarray after decades of political turmoil, but they risk scaring off investors if they go too far too fast.
The world's top bauxite supplier and a new frontier for iron ore, Guinea is rewriting its mining code, probing joint venture deals, and has dealt tough blows to major firms since the election of President Alpha Conde last November.
The poll in the country that depends on mining for 70 percent of revenues was heralded as its first free vote since independence from France in 1958, ending nearly two years of military rule and decades of authoritarian leadership.
"From one perspective, the government of Guinea is trying to clean up the books, which makes sense because Guinea is a country rich in resources but has not benefitted from them at all," said Samir Gadio, analyst at Standard Bank.But from a perception standpoint, it is a bit tricky. (These moves) might create a negative perception among investors, and Conde's government needs to take into account this tradeoff," he said.
Conde's government is drafting amendments to the mining code, the first changes since 1995, that include rules boosting state share in the industry to as high as a 35 percent and toughening up requirements for winning concessions.
An executive at one international firm operating in Guinea called the proposed changes "a step backward" and warned they could trim future investment after they are signed into law in the coming months.
But other industry players have said the new mining code could improve transparency on local terms of doing business, making it easier to judge investment options.
"It is the sovereign right of every state to define the rules of the game," said Mamoudou Diallo, president of the Guinean Chamber of Mines and also director of Guinean gold miner SEMAFO. "All we are asking for is that the rules are transparent and widely published from the start."
Top global mining firms Rio Tinto, Vale, and RUSAL are among Guinea's biggest investors.
The mining reforms come alongside reviews of Guinea's recent joint venture deals -- which include those between Rio and Chinalco, and Vale and BSGR for development of the Simandou iron ore deposit -- and follow the scrapping of big contracts with two international firms.
Conde in March cancelled a deal with France's Getma International for the management of a container port in the capital Conakry, and handed the multi-million dollar deal to port group Bollore.
Getma has said it is seeking international arbitration, and has also filed corruption charges.
In April Conde also suspended an agreement with Vale to upgrade a 640-km railway, and this month the country briefly seized the local assets of telecoms firm MTN over a license fee dispute.
"I think all these moves are supposed to help things somehow. But instead they are bringing chaos into the system," said Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, analyst at DaMina Advisors.
"To a degree these developments could hamper investment. There are so many investigations and so many reform plans that investors may take a wait and see approach."
Another big mining country, Democratic Republic of Congo, launched its own mining review in 2007 on the back of an election and high commodities prices, deeply undermining business confidence in the country.
In a sign of more squabbles to come, a Guinea mines ministry official told Reuters last month that it was "moving toward a showdown" with Russian firm RUSAL, a company already facing allegations it paid too little for its Friguia alumina refinery and that it underpaid on taxes.
Rio said in April that it had agreed to pay Guinea $700 million to secure rights to blocks 3 and 4 of the Simandou iron ore project, which it believes is one of the world's biggest unexploited reserves.
Guinea had stripped Rio of its rights to blocks 1 and 2 under the rule of former president Lansana Conte, and last year warned Rio it could lose its remaining stakes.
"The situation is not good, even if the initial outlook seemed promising," a banking industry executive based in Guinea said on condition of anonymity, referring to hopes Guinea's election would attract more investment.
"Under the junta, money was circulating. But now things are slowing down," he said.

Chinese base-metals demand for power projects continues
Commodity Online - 17-May-2011
There appears to be no slowdown in the pace of spending on power projects in China, which results in demand for base metals, says Barclays Capital.
Analysts cite a report from Antaike that the Chinese State Grid Corp. of China plans to buy 1.6 million tons of aluminum, 1.12-1.25 million of copper and 5 million of steel semis this year to continue with its strong growth plans.
“To put that into perspective, it would equate to around 9% of our forecast primary aluminum demand for this year and 15% of our forecast refined copper demand,” Barclays says.
By Allen Sykora of Kitco News;

Alcoa's investment in Quebec will trim workforce without layoffs, say president - 16-May-2011
MONTREAL - Alcoa's $2.2-billion plan to improve the efficiency of its Quebec facilities will allow the U.S. aluminum giant to make a smooth transition to a smaller workforce — one without layoffs, the president of the Canadian division said Monday.
"We aren't waiting for a crisis to do major layoffs, we will (adjust) progressively using natural attrition and by putting money in at the same time to improve the productivity of our operations," Pierre Morin told reporters after speaking to the Canadian Club of Montreal.
An estimated 35 per cent of its 3,400 Quebec employees are eligible for retirement by the end of 2015, when the total investments are slated to be completed.
Morin said it's premature to know how many positions will be eliminated and how many will be replaced.
In 2008, Alcoa (NYSE:AA) announced a $1.2-billion investment to expand annual production of its smelter in Baie Comeau by 110,000 tonnes to 548,000 tonnes. The facility will still have room to expand further, if required.
It has committed to spend another $1 billion, including $400 million to improve the competitiveness of its Deschambault smelter and Becancour rod plant.
The remaining $600 million will be used for equipment maintenance, installation of new smelting ovens along with health and safety projects.
About $100 million of the total committed investment will be spent this year to improve the operation of its four primary aluminum plants in Quebec.
Morin said he hopes to get final approval for the $400-million upgrade by mid 2012. The upgrades won't require any changes to the electricity purchase agreement signed in 2008 with the provincial government.
Alcoa has put off any decision on doubling the output of Deschambault until 2016 or 2017.
The company believes global industry demand for aluminum will grow by 12 per cent this year and double by 2020 to some 80 million tonnes. Much of the increased interest comes from the industrialization of emerging countries, but there is also an expected shift in North America from other materials such as plastics and copper.
The aluminum company has yet to decide which technology will be used for the Becancour and Deschambault upgrades, but Morin said it must provide good synergies not just the best technology.
"It will be the technology where we believe it will be the most profitable. That doesn't necessarily mean the best or the newest. It has to be the one that fits with our operations."
However, he wouldn't say if Alcoa would sign on to use Rio Tinto Alcan's new AP60 technology that is being developed through a pilot project in Quebec.
"We're going to look at each opportunity that we have to grow. Our drive is clear, we're going to grow."
As for acquisitions, Morin said the global situation is so fluid that it is hard to know if market conditions will result in industry consolidations.
Rio Tinto and Alcoa have denied reports that the Anglo-Australian miner might buy the U.S. aluminum company.
In 2007, Canadian aluminum giant Alcan spurned an unsolicited offer from Alcoa before selling to Rio Tinto for US$38.1 billion.
The new owners subsequently unloaded Alcan's packaging, beauty and engineering products divisions to help reduce the large debt.
Morin wouldn't say if Alcoa was happy in hindsight not to have been successful."This is not the way to run the business. We're happy to see that we're growing, happy to see we're moving forward with or without (Alcan.)"
Alcoa's three smelters and the Becancour Rod Plants have one million tonnes of annual production. The company said its activities generate more than $1.2 billion of economic spinoff annually in Quebec.
Alcoa is the world's leading producer of primary and fabricated aluminum, as well as the world's largest miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina. Alcoa employs approximately 59,000 people in 31 countries around the world.

Ormet restarts idled Alumina plant in Burnside; project to create more than ...
The Republic - 16-May-2011
BURNSIDE, La. — Ormet Corp. says it's reopening its Ascension Parish alumina manufacturing plant that had been idled since December 2006.
State economic development officials joined with Michael F. Tanchuk, Ormet's president and chief executive, for Monday's announcement of a $21 million investment in the plant in Burnside. Tanchuk says they plan to begin production in the fourth quarter of this year, with full employment expected to be reached within a year. The plant converts bauxite into alumina, a key component in aluminum.
Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret says the project will create more than 240 new jobs, averaging $57,000 in salary, plus benefits.
Ormet, based in Hannibal, Ohio, closed the plant after falling demand, high natural gas prices and other market forces made production unsustainable.

Brazil Primary Aluminum Output Fell 6.2% In April Vs Year Ago -Abal
Fox Business - 16-May-2011
RIO DE JANEIRO -(Dow Jones)- Brazil produced 118,400 metric tons of primary aluminum in April, 6.2% less than in the same month last year, Brazilian aluminum association Abal reported.
Output in the first four months of the year fell 6.1% from a year ago to 473,100 tons, the association said in a statement Monday.
The fall in output was attributed to the closure of Novelis' Aratu smelter in Bahia state and lower production at Alcoa Inc.'s (AA) Pocos de Caldas works in Minas Gerais state and Votorantim Group's CBA smelter, Abal said.

Aluminium prices may recover soon: NALCO Chief
Economic Times - May 14, 2011
NEW DELHI: State-owned NALCO today said aluminium prices may recover soon from a low of $ 2,600 per tonne as the current declining trend in metal prices is not due to demand-supply mismatch.
"The correction is an impact of stronger dollar. It has got nothing to do with the market dynamics of demand-supply mismatch in the international market. In fact, prices of almost all metal - zinc, copper and silver among others - are now receding," NALCO's acting Chairman B L Bagra told PTI.
"However, I believe the price of aluminium might recover soon from the current low of $ 2,600 a tonne and would reach to the level of $ 2,700 per tonne recorded in late April," he added.
Aluminium price on the London Metal Exchange (LME) are hovering around a little over $ 2,600 a tonne against $ 2,700 a tonne in April. The prices were around $ 2,500 per tonne on LME in March.
The fall prices in global markets forced the domestic major to cut down its rates by Rs 6,000 a tonne late last week.
Earlier, it had raised the rates by Rs 3,000 per tonne in the first week of the month on firm global prices. The price of aluminium was on the upswing as a result of the slight demand-supply mismatch of the metal in the wake of closing down of some smelters in China.
Global production and consumption of aluminium currently stands at 39-40 million tonnes per annum. A slight change in the supply side lead to a price push.
NALCO, the second-biggest producer of aluminium in the country, had also raised prices in January, but corrected them in the third week of the month itself as global price dipped.
It again in February raised the price by Rs 6,000 to around Rs 1.21 lakh a tonne, but reduced it by Rs 2,500 per tonne in March.

Alcoa, China Development Bank to Collaborate
Resource Investing News - 13-May-2011
NEW YORK, May 13 (Reuters) - Alcoa Inc (AA.N), the largest U.S. aluminum producer, said on Friday it has signed an agreement with the China Development Bank (CDB) to collaborate on aluminum and related projects in China and abroad.
It said the arrangement would focus on Alcoa partnering with Chinese companies on global expansion projects and developing China's domestic aluminum industry
The agreement was signed in Beijing by Alcoa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld and CDB Governor Jiang Chaoliang.
Kleinfeld said Alcoa's Memorandum of Understanding with the CDB will support Alcoa's expansion around the world through knowledge sharing and potential financing support. He gave no further details.
Alcoa and CDB will work together to identify potential partners and projects in and outside China, the company said.
Alcoa shares were down 1 percent at $16.98 on Friday morning on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Steve James, editing by Matthew Lewis)

Main terms agreed for Bakun dam power purchase agreement
Malaysia Star - 13-May-2011
KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) and Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd have reached an agreement on the main terms of the power purchase agreement (PPA) for electricity produced by Bakun hydro dam.
SEB chief executive officer Torstein Dale Sjotveit said the main terms included the tariff that SEB would have to pay to Sarawak Hidro, the dam developer.
Sjotveit declined to reveal the agreed tariff but reliable sources indicate it is likely to be somewhere “between SEB's offer for a starting tariff of six sen per kwh and the request by Sarawak Hidro for seven sen per kwh”.
»All parties are working day and night. We will be able to sign the PPA, which will be for 30 years, next month« TORSTEIN DALE SJOTVEIT
Sources also said the PPA terms would go through the Cabinet soon and was likely to be announced at the end of this month. The sources added that negotiations were still ongoing “on a few outstanding issues that require the attention of both the state and federal governments”.
Meanwhile, Sjotveit said SEB and Sarawak Hidro had been working with the Sarawak government (which owns SEB) and the Finance Ministry (which owns Sarawak Hidro) on the main terms of the PPA.
“All parties are working day and night. We will be able to sign the PPA, which will be for 30 years, next month,” he told StarBiz yesterday. The legal documents of the PPA are being prepared.
Sjotveit said the signing of the PPA was imperative to give security to SEB customers that the Bakun power was coming.
The 2,400MW Bakun dam is expected to commercially produce its first 300MW in July. Wet testing of the dam's first of eight turbines will be carried out next month.
He said SEB's Similajau sub-station, which was designed to handle more than 4,000MW, was completed last month and ready to receive power from Bakun.
SEB is now constructing a dedicated power sub-station in Samalaju, which will serve industries in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu, within the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE). The sub-station is expected to be operational in June next year.
Last month, SEB sealed separate PPA term sheets with four major investors Press Metal, OM Materials, Asia Minerals Ltd and Tokuyama Corp. The four companies, which plan to invest some RM9.5bil, would require a combined 1,300MW to power their upcoming plants in Samalaju Industrial Park.
SEB has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Smelter Asia Sdn Bhd, which needs more than 600MW to power its proposed US$1.6bil (RM4.8bil) aluminium smelter in Samalaju.
Smelter Asia is a joint venture between Gulf International Investment Group Holdings Sdn Bhd and Aluminium Corp of China.
Sjotveit said SEB was concluding PPA term sheets with three more SCORE investors which planned to invest close to RM3bil.
Together with the Sarawak State Planning Unit, SEB is also in discussions with close to 20 other potential SCORE customers. “We have more customers than the available power from Bakun,” he added.
Besides Bakun, the supply of electricity for industries in Samalaju Industrial Park will come from the proposed 944MW Murun dam currently under construction by SEB. The project is located upstream of Bakun dam in the upper Rejang River Basin in central Sarawak.
Sjotveit said SEB planned to build another coal-fired power plant with a 600MW installed capacity in Balingian, Mukah Division. The project is expected to come on stream by 2015 to beef up the supply of electricity to industries in SCORE.
SEB now owns and operates a 270MW coal-fired plant in Balingian and another 210MW coal-fired plant in Sejingkat, Kuching.

Ukraine May Try to Take Back Rusal's Zalk Unit, Izvestia Reports
Bloomberg - 12-May-2011
Ukraine’s State Property Fund may try to regain control of Zalk, United Co. Rusal’s Ukrainian aluminum unit, Ekonomicheskie Izvestia reported, citing Oleksandr Ryabchenko, who heads the fund.
The fund may take legal action to repossess a 68 percent stake in the plant, as investors failed to meet their obligations, according to the newspaper.
To contact the reporters on this story: Kateryna Choursina in Kiev at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at;

Emal expecting to reach full capacity by 2014
AME Info - 11-May-2011
Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, chief executive of Emirates Aluminium (Emal) has said production is expected to reach the full capacity of 1.5 million metric tonnes by 2014, Gulf News has reported. Phase two of its smelter in Al Taweelah, which will produce an additional 750,000 tonnes, should be completed by the end of 2013 and start production by 2014, he said. Natural gas supplies required for the production of aluminium have been secured, he noted.

Alcoa beats 2020 carbon reduction target
Australian Metal Worker - 12-May-2011
Alcoa yesterday announced it has exceed its 2020 carbon footprint goal, the findings of which were released in its 2010 Sustainability Report.
The report examines the company’s progress on the sustainability of its products, resources and operations.
According to the report, Alcoa was also the first company to receive silver-level Cradle to Cradle Certification for primary aluminum.
The results are part of the company’s long-term approach to sustainability, said Kevin Anton who holds the position of Alcoa chief sustainability officer – a role which was created in 2010 to reinvigorate renewed focus on the development of a comprehensive sustainability strategy.
The report outlines a number of achievements, including:
Reduced the greenhouse gas footprint in its operations - Alcoa Global Primary Products lowered its CO2 intensity by 7% over 2009 levels and achieved a 22% reduction over 2005 levels. The results exceeding the company’s 2020 goal of a 20% reduction.
Improvement over 2009 safety performance with 82% of locations reporting zero lost workdays and 48 percent with no recordable injuries in 2010
Exceeding its seven Cash Sustainability Program targets, ending the year with more than US$1.5 billion in cash on hand.
The company has always had a strong commitment to sustainability, said Anton in a statement.
“In the late 1980s, we publicly declared greenhouse-gas management and safety excellence as our two most important sustainability platforms. We began to set sustainability goals and publicly report progress against them starting in 1993,” the statement reads.
“In 2000, we adopted our first set of longer-term sustainability targets, including a 25% reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 2010 from a 1990 base year. We exceeded that goal in 2006. At the end of 2010, we had achieved a 37% reduction.”
Alcoa is a leading producer of primary and fabricated aluminum and miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina.

Hindalco gets green nod for Orissa alumina refinery
Business Standard - 12-May-2011
Hindalco Industries, the country's largest aluminium producer, has received the final forest clearance for its proposed 1.5-million-tonne, Rs 6,000-crore alumina refinery project in Orissa’s Rayagada district. The Aditya Birla Group flagship company is now expediting the project, especially to achieve financial closure soon.The Aditya alumina project is slated to go on stream in 2014. The first stage of the project has an aluminium smelter plant in Orissa.
“We have got the stage-2 clearance for the project last week and are now working on the financial closure,” Managing Director Debu Bhattacharya told Business Standard. He said the company was also looking at “other” kinds of funding for the project.
Elaborating, Bhattacharya said, “We went for a qualified institutional placement (QIP) last year. Now, I am not saying that we are going for another QIP to raise money for this project but we are looking at all possible instruments to raise money.”
Adding, “The forest area on the project site needs to be diverted and the stage-2 clearance was needed to do that. We can now go ahead with the project with full steam.”
He said the target for debt-to-equity ratio for the project was 1:1. “Right now, we have plenty of room to leverage our balance sheet, as the current ratio is 0.24:1.” He did not give details, saying it would be premature to say more on funding at this stage.
In 2010-11, Hindalco spent Rs 6,500 crore on new project expansion, majorly on Utkal ( also in Rayagada district of Orissa), Mahan (Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh) and a bit on the existing Aditya project as well.
The Aditya project has an aluminium smelter plant of a capacity of 359 kilo tonnes per annum (ktpa), with a 900-Mw power project for its captive use. The project is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2012 and has received the necessary approvals. The total cost is Rs 9,200 crore, except the financing charges.
The second leg of the project, for which it has got the forest clearance, will have an alumina refinery with a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per year. This is slated to be commissioned by the end of 2014.
Hindalco, on March 31, achieved financial closure for its Rs 10,500-crore Mahan aluminium smelter project. The project will have a total smelting capacity of 359 ktpa, with a 900 Mw power capacity. The debt-to-equity ratio for this project is 75:25, with a rupee loan agreement worth Rs 7,875 crore signed with banks.

Novelis Announces Plan to Reduce Lifecycle Impact of Aluminum
Recycling Today - 10-May-2011
Novelis Inc., Atlanta, has announced a corporate-wide commitment to significantly reduce its carbon footprint by, among other steps, expanding its use of recycled materials, increasing post-consumer recycling of aluminum products and accelerating the development of new, high-recycled content alloys.
In a Novelis release, the aluminum firm says that under its sustainability goal, it is seeking to increase the amount of recycled metal it uses in its rolling operations, and has committed that by 2020 80 percent of its products will be made from recycled metal. At the present time, Novelis says its use of recycled metal currently accounts for 34 percent of all the material it uses.
Novelis says that its sustainability commitment is focused on driving improvements in three areas:
Raw Materials – While Novelis recycled close to 40 billion UBCs in 2010, the company is looking to increase the amount of recycled aluminum it uses. To accomplish this, the company is planning major expansions of its recycling and remelting capacity globally. Additionally, Novelis is planning on expanding its buyback opportunities to customers for the aluminum scrap they generate in their processes.
Post-Consumer Recycling – Novelis plans to increase global aluminum recycling rates through innovation and expanding its recycling facility infrastructure. The company will build on its recycling operations by investing research and development into post-consumer recycling technology, collaborating with stakeholders to expand existing recycling programs and educating consumers in
Product Innovation – Novelis is accelerating its research and development of new products for sustainable applications, while increasing its partnership activities with its customers to target the next generation of aluminum alloys that enable increased use of post-consumer recycled metal. Novelis aims to develop innovative alloys that meet the combined performance and sustainability needs of its customers.
Novelis’ Sustainability Commitment is being led by John Gardner, who was appointed vice president and chief sustainability officer.
A detailed presentation outlining the elements of the Novelis Sustainability Commitment can be found on the new website, at

ALUMINIUM-Major market developments in April
Reuters Africa - 10-May-2011
LONDON May 10 (Reuters) - Aluminium prices made gains in April and, despite being knocked back by last week's broad-based sell-off the metal's near term fundamentals remain robust, some analysts say, while others think it will head lower.
"I think the short term fundamental picture is very strong, demand is still growing very strongly across all regions," said Barclays Capital analyst Gayle Berry. "This is a trend which is going to continue and that's going to help support the price."
The London Metal Exchange (LME) three-months aluminium price CMAL3 was last indicated at $2,652 a tonne. Early last week it reached $2,803, its highest since August 2008, before the sell-off, which took prices below $2,600 on Friday.
Citing ample capacity and huge inventories, Virtual Metals' analyst Carl Firman thought the earlier highs would not be revisited this year.
"Aluminium has been very robust... but I think we could see it back to around $2,300-2,400 a tonne," said Fastmarkets analyst Will Adams.
He said investors were getting nervous ahead of the end of the second round of quantitative easing in the United States in June, which could be the first step away from ultra-loose monetary policy.
The prospect of rising interest rates would make it less profitable to tie up aluminium in financing deals, leading them to unwind.
These deals have locked up about 70 percent of LME aluminium stocks which total almost 4.6 million tonnes.
Below are some of the more significant recent developments in production, stocks and prices that may continue to influence the direction of the market in 2011.
April 30 - Venezuela's government-run aluminium smelter Alcasa is in a "state of emergency" operationally and financially, an official newspaper said. In an effort to support Alcasa, the government said the situation at the facility was temporary and that it had approved new funding of $403 million.
April 29 - Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL: Quote) said it missed forecasts for its first-quarter results, as it suffered from weak alumina output from newly acquired assets. Volumes from its mining operations in Paragominas and in the Alunorte alumina refinery, recently acquired from Brazil's Vale (VALE5.SA: Quote) were disappointing. Norsk Hydro also said it was preparing to restart a 100,000 tpy potline at its Sunndal smelter in Norway in the second half of the year.
April 25 - India's state-run National Aluminium Co Ltd (NALCO) (NALU.NS: Quote) said it is raising alumina refining capacity at its Damonjodi plant in the eastern Orissa state by about a third to 2.1 million tonnes annually. NALCO produced 1.6 million tonnes of alumina and 0.431 million tonnes of aluminium in 2009/10.
April 20 - Daily average primary aluminium output rose to 69,800 tonnes in March from 69,600 tonnes in February, provisional figures from the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) showed. Daily average primary aluminium output in China fell to 45,600 tonnes in March, which had more production days, from 46,600 tonnes in February.
April 16 - The annual rate of primary U.S. aluminium production rose 10.5 percent to 1,906,619 tonnes in March from 1,725,567 tonnes in March 2010, and grew 4.8 percent from February's annual production rate of 1,819,290 tonnes, the Aluminum Association said in its latest report.
April 15 - China produced 4,055,000 tonnes of primary aluminium in the first two months of the year, up 1.6 percent from the same period last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Output of alumina rose by 10.4 percent over the same period to reach 8,208,000 tonnes.
April 11 - Ukraine's only primary aluminium maker ZALK, owned by UC RUSAL (0486.HK: Quote) said it is likely to stop production by May because of high electricity costs.
April 11 - China has decided to halt plans to build new aluminium plants in the country to tackle serious over-capacity in the industry, the official China Securities Journal reported, citing Su Bo, a vice industry minister.
April 6 - Norsk Hydro's ceo said he still expected the firm's joint venture aluminium smelter plant in Qatar to reach full production in June. The plant, a 50/50 joint venture with Qatar Petroleum, was launched in 2009 with a design capacity of 585,000 tonnes of primary aluminium but has been hobbled by technical problems.
April 4 - Aluminium Bahrain ALBH.BH is not having problems getting raw materials from ports and its smelter is operating normally, it said, despite weeks of unrest and a government crackdown on protests. Market talk had suggested the company was having difficulties getting raw materials to the facility, which produces around 860,000 tonnes of metal annually.
Aluminium was one of the LME-traded metals, which managed to finish April in the plus column at $2,767.50 a tonne from $2,648 the previous month.
Strength in other metals, boosted by demand hopes, helped take three-months to an initial high of $2,720 on April 11.
The subsequent sell-off, triggered by China inflation worries, was less marked in aluminium than in some metals and prices. The market adopted an increasingly firmer stance in the latter part of the month.
On May 3 aluminium reached $2,803, its highest since August 2008 on expectations rising electricity costs for the power-intensive metal will lead to further price rises.
A rout across asset classes inevitably took its toll on aluminium last week and the market fell below $2,600 for a time. But it has since regained its composure as others have bounced.
According to the latest Reuters poll [COMMODITYPOLL01] in January, aluminium cash prices CMAL0 are expected to average $2,484 a tonne in 2011 compared with $2,173 last year.
Total exchange stocks were at 4.994 million tonnes at the end of April, equating to around 41 days of demand.
Of the end April total, some 4.611 million tonnes were held in LME warehouses, up from 4.592 million a month earlier.
Total visible stocks, including latest International Aluminium Institute (IAI) unwrought stocks were 6.543 million tonnes, up from 6.513 million a month earlier.
According to latest figures from trading house Marubeni Corp (8002.T: Quote), estimated aluminium stocks at the Japanese ports of Yokohama, Nagoya and Osaka totalled 201,200 tonnes at the end of March, down 6,900 tonnes or 3.3 percent from February.
Marubeni said inventories remained within appropriate ranges, but they may rise if last month's quake dampens demand.
(3000 Xtra users can access Reuters Metal Production Database (MPD) by clicking on: here) (Compiled by Karen Norton; editing by James Jukwey)

mlAlcoa Turns Buildings into Pollution-Eating ?Trees?
CleanTechnica - 10-May-2011
The aluminum giant Alcoa is launching a new self-cleaning building material that can help decompose airborne pollutants that stick to surfaces, much the same as trees and other plants do. The new material, a pre-coated architechtural panel called “Reynobond with EcoClean,” is the result of a collaboration between Alcoa and the Japanese manufacturer TOTO. It’s based on titanium dioxide, the common white pigment with about a million different uses that is rapidly emerging as a sustainability powerhouse.
The Quest for Pollution-Eating Fake Trees
Researchers have long been trying to translate the air cleansing power of plants into new technology that could enable man-made surfaces to do double duty as pollution fighters. A tree-like form, of course, is totally unnecessary but could be useful depending on the setting. At Columbia University, for example, researchers are working with a firm called Global Research Technology to trap carbon dioxide and recycle it to produce synthetic fuels. In New Zealand, a company called LanzaTech has developed a system for trapping waste gas from industrial processes and converting it to fuel.
Titanium Dioxide and Sustainability
Titanium dioxide is used in a startling array of products, from skim milk and house paint to tooth paste and medications, and now it’s being put to work in the sustainable future. One example is a new surface treatment for concrete and asphalt roads developed by the company Pureti, which creates a photocatalytic reaction to break down air pollutants including nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide (a photocatalytic reaction is a process speeded up by the presence of light). At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, researchers are using nanocrystals of titanium dioxide to develop a more energy efficient way to produce hydrogen for fuel cells.
Alcoa and Sustainability
Alcoa is one example of a global company that has proved to be highly adaptable to the sustainable future. In addition to the new building material, it is also working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop a low cost concentrating solar power system, and building elements from its subsidiary Kawneer helped the Pittsburgh Penguins score enough points to become the National Hockey League’s first team to achieve LEED Gold status for its new arena.

Novelis hiring 150 for Kennesaw R&D center
Atlanta Journal Constitution - 19-May-2011
Aluminum can and sheet maker Novelis Inc., headquartered in Buckhead, announced Monday the establishment of a research and development center in Kennesaw, affirmation of a growing global economy and Atlanta’s attractiveness to foreign-owned multinationals.
Roughly 150 well-paid scientists and technologists will be hired over the next few years, Novelis spokesman Charles Belbin said, adding that the R&D center should open next summer.
A “significant number of people” will transfer from Novelis’ research center in Ontario, Canada. Others will be hired locally, Belbin said.
Novelis could receive at least $1.9 million in job tax credits over five years from the state of Georgia.
Kennesaw will serve as the hub of Novelis’ R&D activities worldwide, which include seven other such facilities in the U.S., Canada, Europe and South Korea. Atlanta already serves as global headquarters for Novelis, a subsidiary of India-based Hindalco Industries.
Novelis, a world leader in rolled aluminum and beverage can recycling, employs 11,600 people in 11 countries. It notched revenues of $8.7 billion in fiscal year 2010.
“We selected this location for its proximity to our global headquarters, accessibility to customers from all parts of the world, and the ability to recruit talent to the area,” Philip Martens, CEO of Novelis, said in a statement. “The new facility will expand our R&D program to support Novelis’ aggressive growth plans for the future.”
Novelis added 153 employees to its Buckhead headquarters last year, boosting the total to 250. Customers include Coca-Cola, Ford, Audi and Chrysler. A year ago, it announced a $300 million investment in its Brazilian rolling operation – its largest single capital investment ever.
“Our business is growing, particularly in emerging markets such as Brazil, China, throughout Asia and the Middle East,” Belbin said. “As the middle class grows, as disposable income grows, there’s greater demand for the consumption of beverages in aluminum cans.”
The Kennesaw research center, located in an existing building in a business park, will focus on new applications, alloys and products primarily for the automotive, consumer electronics and beverage can industries, Belbin said. It will also study ways to streamline the manufacturing process

Oman-UAE electricity interconnect set to be operational this year ...
Oman Daily Observer - Sun, 08 May 2011
By Conrad Prabhu - MUSCAT — An interconnect linking the power systems of Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is expected to be brought into operation this year, according to the state-owned power offtaker Oman Power and Water Procurement Co (OPWP). The 220 KV interconnect, linking the Main Interconnected System (MIS) of the Sultanate and the power system of Abu Dhabi, is designed to support electricity transfers of up to 200 megawatts (MW).
According to OPWP, which has the mandate under the Sector Law to oversee the procurement of all new power generation and related water desalination capacity, the interconnect underpins a reserve sharing agreement reached by the two countries as part of a wider effort by the Gulf states to integrate their power systems. Subject to the availability of surplus generation capacity in the Abu Dhabi system, up to 200 MW of contingency support could potentially be provided to the Main Interconnected System (MIS), a grid serving much of north Oman.
Significantly, the transfer capacity of the interconnect can be ramped up to 600 MW in the medium term if preliminary plans for an upgrade are eventually implemented, the offtaker noted in its latest 7-year statement outlining the demand outlook for electricity and desalinated water over the 2011-2017 timeframe. Under a bilateral deal concluded by the governments and Oman and the UAE in April 2010, the two sides agreed to link their power grids initially to allow for the transfer of up to 200 MW of power. Transfer capacities are proposed to be augmented to 400 MW in the future.
Also as part of the agreement, a 220 kV double circuit line was erected between Al Ain in Abu Dhabi and Wasit in Buraimi Governorate. Separately, 33 kV power lines were also constructed between Musandam Governorate and the northern emirates of the UAE. The interconnect between Oman and Abu Dhabi is one of several electricity sources that OPWP hopes to tap in the event of capacity shortfalls within the Main Interconnected System (MIS), which serves the Governorates of Muscat and Buraimi, and most of the South Batinah, Dakhliyah, Sharqiya, North Batinah and Dhahirah regions.
Through another interconnect with the power system of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), OPWP has access to an additional 60 MW of surplus power from the latter. The main objective of this interconnect, according to the offtaker, is to support a reserve sharing arrangement between the MIS and the PDO system, providing improved reliability in both systems by allowing each system access to unused reserve in the other system during contingencies.
Likewise, OPWP also enjoys access to any surplus capacity available with major industrial schemes that operate captive power plants. Agreements for the purchase of surplus power are currently in place with Sohar Aluminium, Oman Oil Refineries and Petrochemical Industries, Oman Mining, Oman Cement, and Oman-India Fertiliser Company (OMIFCO). Under a similar arrangement with the Ministry of Defence, OPWP can purchase any surplus energy from its power plants connected to the MIS.
Surplus energy available from these sources amounts to around 350 MW, which combined with reserves that can be tapped via interconnects with PDO and Abu Dhabi, totals around 610 MW, according to OPWP.

Samsung Engineering wins $590m aluminium deal
Construction Week Online - 08-May-2011
The joint venture company between Saudi Arabian Mining Company and Alcoa has awarded an EPC contract to Samsung Engineering to build its aluminium rolling plant at Ras Az Zawr worth $590m.
The company, Ma’aden Rolling Company, is 74.9% owned by the Saudi miner, known as Ma’aden, and 25.1% owned by the aluminium giant, and has mandated Samsung on a lump-sum turn-key basis within a project execution period of 32 months.
“The rolling mill will be the first food grade can sheet mill in the Middle East,” Ma’aden told investors on the Tadawul in Riyadh yesterday. “With an initial capacity of 380,000 metric tons per year and designed for significant expansion, it will be one of the most technically advanced mills in the world.”
The manufacturing unit is part of the strategy of the Ma’aden Alcoa joint venture, which was formed in December 2009, to develop a fully integrated aluminium industry in the Kingdom. It is aiming to be the lowest-cost supplier of primary aluminium, alumina and aluminium products, with access to the Middle East and beyond.
The rolling mill is one major part of the planned industrial construction, which will eventually include a fully integrated industrial complex, including a bauxite mine with an initial capacity of 4,000,000 metric tons per year (mtpy); alumina refinery with an initial capacity of 1,800,000 mtpy; an aluminium smelter with an initial capacity of ingot, slab and billet of 740,000 mtpy.
Ma’aden has also signed a deal with Saudi Petrochemicals Company to invest SAR 2.8 billion in a caustic soda and ethylene dichloride complex at the Sahara Petrochemicals complex in Jubail Industrial City. The entire production of concentrated caustic soda to Ma'aden will be used in the alumina refinery.
Yesterday, CW reported that Mohammed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, and Malaysia’s Gulf International Investment Group will work together with Aluminium Corporation of China (CHINALCO) to build an aluminium smelter in Sarawak in Malaysia. Smelter Asia will develop, own and operate the private aluminium plant with an annual capacity of 370,000 metric tonnes during the first phase.
Samsung Enginering covers feasibility studies, engineering, procurement, construction in the Hydrocarbon, Industrial & Infrastructure business areas, such as refinery, gas and petrochemical plants as well as power, water treatment and metallurgical plants. It has offices in Abu Dhabi and Al Khobar.

Tajik aluminum smelter cuts output forecast
SteelGuru - 08-May-2011
Reuters reported that Tajikistan Aluminum Company has cut its 2011 production forecast by 18% after determining that repairs to outdated plant would cost more than previously planned.
The source said on condition of anonymity that the state run company known as TALCO expects aluminum output to reach 310,000 tonnes this year below an earlier forecast of 377,600 tonnes and also less than the 348,850 tonnes produced in 2010.
He said that equipment is outdated and production has entered a phase of modernization which will require 6 to 9 months. TALCO, the biggest aluminum producer in former Soviet Central Asia had planned to invest USD 100 million this year in the modernization of a plant first put into operation in 1975.
The source said that it appears that the modernization required will be on a larger scale and that expenditure will be higher. He added that the earlier investment plan would not be enough to maintain production at last year's level.
In the first four months of 2011, production fell by 8% YoY to 110,458 tonnes. TALCO has direct contracts for selling its metal. Its smelter 50 kilometers west of the capital Dushanbe was able to produce 419,060 tonnes of aluminum in 2007 its record year for production since independence from the Soviet Union.
The company's exports account for approximately 60% of revenues to the state budget in Tajikistan, the poorest former Soviet republic in Central Asia. Remittances from around 1 million migrant workers are also a major contributor to GDP. (Sourced from Reuters)

GMDC wants more players for its alumina plant
Business Standard - May 09, 2011
Even while Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation Ltd (GMDC) awaits a partner for its alumina project in Kutch, it has decided to invite financial offers from more companies for the project. It may be mentioned here that the state run mining major had shortlisted four companies for the project in January this year.
GMDC expects to get better price-proposition for the project by bringing in companies other than already shortlisted firms. Giving updates about the proposed Rs 14,000 crore alumina plant in Kutchh, V S Gadhvi, managing director, GMDC, said, "We are now in a process of inviting financial offers from the companies. We may invite these offers from shortlisted as well as non-shortlisted companies. We believe that most of the companies, which had filed the expression of interests (EOI) for the project earlier, are capable enough to partner with us for the project."
The public sector mining major would invite the financial offers by June 15, 2011. The final decision will be taken after consulting the state cabinet. Last year, GMDC had received EOIs from nine companies including Hindalco - an Aditya Birla group company, Jaiprakash Associates, JSW Aluminium, NALCO, Gujarat Foils, Aluchem (USA), Dubai Aluminium, Adani Group and Jindal Steel and Power. Of these four were short-listed after the evaluation of the expression of interests (EOIs). The company has decided to invite financial offers not only from the shortlisted firms, but also from some of the leftouts.
"It is not that the shortlisted companies failed to meet our criteria, but we feel that there is a scope for better price-proposition by inviting some more companies too. Few companies have no experience in this domain and some do not even have an experience of working in Gujarat. So we may not invite all the nine companies, but about 6-7 companies may be invited with financial offers," said Gadhvi.
Sources from Adani Group informed that the group was not in a race for the alumina plant. "We have no interests in alumina. There is no possibility of Adani group participating in the bidding or sending any financial offer for the project. Nothing as such has been discussed at the top level," informed a top official from Adani Group. The state-run mining major plans to set up a one-million tonne alumina refinery and 500,000-tonne aluminium smelter in Kutch. The plant would also require a power plant to be set up at the site.

Alcoa expects demand to double
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - 06-May-2011
Global demand for aluminum could nearly double in the next decade as a result of population growth, higher energy consumption and other trends, Alcoa Inc. CEO Klaus Kleinfeld told shareholders at Friday's annual meeting.
"We are aluminizing the world," Kleinfeld said in a presentation at the Fairmont Hotel, Downtown. He touched on the metal's increased use in markets ranging from aerospace to industrial gas turbines, construction materials and beverage packaging. "We got sick and tired of plastic bottles," he said as an image of aluminum beer and soft drink bottles appeared on a screen.
Kleinfeld said he wouldn't discuss rumors after a shareholder asked him about speculation that Rio Tinto Group might make a takeover bid for New York City-based Alcoa, the largest U.S. aluminum producer. Alcoa's operations center is located on the North Shore.
He also answered a few complaints about lackluster stock performance. "We have accelerated the growth of shares" following an economic crisis in which aluminum prices fell 60 percent in less than five months, he said.
Shareholder return is up 9.6 percent over the past 16 months, compared to a 7.5 percent drop at some other aluminum producers, he said. Alcoa shared closed yesterday at $17.15, up 14 cents; the stock traded for more than $40 a share in mid-2008.
Alcoa forecasts that demand for aluminum will rise by 6.5 percent a year from 39 million metric tons in 2010 to 73 million by 2020. To continue growing, the company is investing $30 billion a year in projects and acquisitions such as:
Rebuilding a 50,000-ton forging press at its Cleveland Works this year to make the plant a premier producer of large aluminum and titanium forgings for aerospace and other markets.
Buying TransDigm Group Inc.'s aerospace fastener business for $240 million this year. The business makes engine fasteners, airframe bolts and other products.
Acquiring window maker Traco Inc. of Cranberry in August for an undisclosed price, to boost its line of building products.
Building a $10.8 billion rolling mill in Saudi Arabia with Saudi mining company Ma'aden, to serve Middle East and other markets. A bauxite mine, alumina refinery, aluminum smelter and rolling mill will be part of the complex, where production will start in 2013 and 2014.
Reports about a Rio Tinto bid for Alcoa were "trader chatter," Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese said this week. More than 360,000 option calls to buy Alcoa stock changed hands on Tuesday and shares climbed by 2.6 percent, the biggest gain in almost a month.
Kleinfeld, along with James W. Owens, a former Caterpillar Inc. CEO, and Ratan N. Tata, chairman of the holding company that owns India's Tata Group conglomerate, were re-elected to three-year board terms.

Novelis to Invest $400 Million to Expand Aluminum Rolling Capacity and ...
PR Newswire (press release) -May 5, 2011
ATLANTA, May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Novelis Inc. announced today that it will invest approximately $400 million to expand its aluminum rolling and recycling operations in South Korea in response to the growing demand for its products in Asia and the Middle East.
The rolling expansion, which will include investments in both hot rolling and cold rolling operations, will increase Novelis' aluminum sheet capacity in Asia to one million metric tons annually. A response to projected market growth in the region, the move is designed to rapidly bring to market high-quality aluminum rolling capacity aligned with the projected needs of a growing customer base. The new capacity is expected to come on stream in late 2013.
"This investment represents a key step in executing Novelis' strategy for future growth," said Phil Martens, president and chief executive officer of Novelis. "Asia is the largest and fastest growing region in the world for aluminum, particularly in beverage cans, electronics and automobiles, and this expansion will allow us to maintain our leadership in this dynamic region."
The move follows a year-long assessment by Novelis of strategic opportunities to serve rapidly growing markets in Asia and the Middle East. "Our analysis clearly shows that expanding our capacity in Korea is the best approach to serve increasing demand from our customers in these regions," said Martens. "The quality of our existing operations and assets in Korea, the expertise of our management there, the experience and stability of our workforce, a readily available metal supply, speed to market and return on invested capital all make this expansion the best strategic approach to serving customer needs."
The expansion will increase Novelis' aluminum sheet capacity in Asia by more than 50 percent, and will also include the construction of a state-of-the-art recycling center for used aluminum beverage cans and a casting operation with annual production capacity in excess of 220,000 metric tons of sheet ingot.
The recycling component of the investment is further indication of Novelis' emphasis on recycling as a core part of its business. Novelis currently obtains used aluminum beverage cans from across Asia and recycles them into new can sheet in partnership with third party processors. The new recycling center at Yeongju will be Novelis' first integrated recycling and casting facility in Asia. The company is already a leader in can recycling in North America, Europe and South America.
"Our growth strategy has a strong foundation on sustainability," said Martens. "We are committed to reducing our environmental footprint – and those of our customers – over the lifecycle of our products through increased recycling. This investment continues our ongoing commitment to benefit the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving energy and natural resources, and lowering waste generation."
Tom Walpole, senior vice president, global manufacturing excellence, and president, Novelis Asia, pointed to significant economic development factors as the driving forces in the company's expansion plans. "The growing consumption of beverages in developing Asian countries, the conversion of steel can-making lines to aluminum, the expanding use of aluminum in consumer electronics, and China's emergence as the largest automotive market in the world are all factors boosting demand for our products in Asia," said Walpole.
"The recycling investment will be in our Yeongju plant, and is in no small way a credit to the leadership of our Yeongju union representatives and employees," said Walpole. The new recycling and casting facility is expected to begin operations in late 2012.
Novelis Korea Limited, a subsidiary of Novelis Inc., has two integrated rolling facilities in Yeongju and Ulsan, South Korea, both of which have casting, hot rolling, cold rolling, finishing and recycling capabilities.

Alcoa Fears Australian Carbon Tax
Trefis (subscription) - May 4th, 2011
Alcoa (NYSE:AA) reacted to the decision of the Australian government to implement a carbon tax in the country by announcing that its earnings figures would be hit. The world leader in the production and management of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina commented that it understood the importance of having sustainable operations and that it has voluntarily made significant cuts to its carbon emissions over the years. [1] But it was not possible to reduce emissions to lower levels without incurring heavy capital expenditures on its part. Alcoa competes with other international metals and mining giants like Rusal, Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO), BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) and Chalco (NYSE:ACH).
Our price estimate for Alcoa, at $18.55, is roughly 5% below the stock’s market price.
Understanding the Australian Carbon Tax
The Australian federal government, led by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, announced on 24th February 2011 that they have a framework in place to implement the Carbon Tax from 1st July, 2012. According to the announcement, “the price on carbon would be fixed for a period of three to five years before moving to a cap-and-trade system” [2]
While the exact price to be levied as carbon tax has not yet been disclosed, it is expected to be between $23 – $26 per ton of carbon emitted.
Alcoa’s Business in Australia
Alcoa has extensive operations in Australia. Alcoa’s alumina refining facilities at Kwinana, Pinjarra and Wagerup in Australia constitute almost half (8.9 million metric tons) of the 18.1 million metric tons total capacity for the company. Besides this, the company has mining, smelting and processing facilities spread across Australia.

Rio dismisses Alcoa takeover rumours
Sydney Morning Herald - May 5, 2011
Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese has dismissed speculation the mining giant could be planning a takeover bid for aluminium giant Alcoa.
Observers say such a move would be a surprise, given Rio Tinto has strived to reduce debt associated with its takeover of Alcan in 2007 for $US38.1 billion.
Net debt now stands at $US4.3 billion, down from $US18.9 billion previously.
‘‘I’ve seen some I call it ’trader chatter’ over the past day or two,’’ Mr Albanese told reporters at the company’s annual general meeting in Perth today. ‘‘It sort of disappeared as quickly as it emerged and I thought that spoke for itself.’’
Mr Albanese also said Rio Tinto continued to consider small to medium acquisition opportunities, but was focused on expanding its existing business.
Chairman Jan du Plessis said the company was not avoiding large takeovers or asset purchases because of a lack of confidence in global markets.
Rather, the company was cognisant of market volatility and did not want to overstretch itself in case of major economic turmoil.
‘‘We want to maintain at all times a prudent balance sheet so that we are able to invest in our businesses without the disruptions caused by these sharp shocks that we might see from time to time,’’ Mr du Plessis said.
‘‘We think it is a lower risk, sensible strategy in which we can add value to shareholders.’’
He also said Rio Tinto had completed about $US1.3 billion of a $US5 billion share buyback program and would consider more buyback programs in future.

Abu Dhabi plans to set up second aluminium plant
Khaleej Times - 4 May 2011
ABU DHABI — Abu Dhabi is planning to build an aluminium plant in Khalifa Industrial Zone, a top official said.
Jamal Al Dhaheri, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Basic Industries Corporation or ADBIC, which is part of Abu Dhabi’s industrial arm General Holding Company, expected to make public details on the new joint venture facility in two weeks.
In November, 2007, the company hinted to setup a 550,000 metric tonne capacity smelter in collaboration with a leading industry leader.
Taking part in a panel discussion on ‘Diversification: Defining Abu Dhabi’s economic outlook’ at the 4th UAE Global Investment Forum, the chief executive ADBIC said that industry will contribute 25 per cent to the emirate’s gross domestic product in 2030.
Abu Dhabi Ports Company, which is building the Khalifa Industrial Zone or KIZAD in Taweelah, said it will establish a cluster for Aluminium’s downstream industries at the zone in next 5-10 years.
Khaled Salmeen, executive vice president of Industrial zone at ADPC told investors that the company will spend Dh8 billion to develop the industrial zone being built in Taweelah area, this year. The first phase will be ready in the fourth quarter of 2012 and will account for 15 per cent of the emirate’s non-oil economy within 20 years.
Abu Dhabi Ports expects to announce this month the first company to set up in the zone, Khaled Salmeen. The unnamed company, a public- private joint-venture aluminium project, will invest Dh715 million in the zone, he said. He said that the total cost of the first phase is Dh26.4 billion and will be ready in the fourth-quarter of 2012.
Taking part in the discussion, Fahad Al Raqbani, the director general of Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development said that Abu Dhabi’s industrial landscape has rapidly changed in the recent year as its major steel plant has doubled its output with further capacity increases plans underway, while an Aluminium smelter, one of the largest in the world, has recently gone into commercial production.
He told a business executive said Abu Dhabi is not competing with Dubai, as both are complimentary to each other.
“If something happens in Dubai it effects Abu Dhabi and something happens here affects Dubai,” Al Raqbani said. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Ports will visit Mumbai, India and Seoul in South Korea this month to attract investment into the industrial zone.

Century Aluminum's CEO Discusses Q1 2011 Results - Earnings Conference Call (blog) - 03-May-2011
By Seeking Alpha 05/03/11 - 10:01 PM EDT Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the first quarter 2011 earnings call. At this time, all lines are in a listen-only mode. Later there will be an opportunity for your questions and

Romanian aluminium producer Alro Slatina expects net profit up 28% this year - 02-May-2011
Romanian aluminium producer Alro Slatina estimates for this year a net profit of USD 64 million (around EUR 53 million), up by 28 percent compared to last year, according to a report submitted to the Bucharest Stock Exchange.
The company also forecast for this year USD 728.9 million (EUR 608 million) in turnover, nearly 28 percent higher than the one achieved in 2010, according its income and expenditure budget for 2011 approved by the General Meeting of Shareholders. However, the Alro Slatina mill planned for this year an investment of nearly USD 30 million (EUR 25 million).
In 2010, the company reported a net profit of USD 50 million (EUR 41.71 million) while its turnover was USD 570 million (EUR 475.46 million). Alro is one of the top eight aluminium producers for the aircraft industry and is a subsidiary of Vimetco NV. Alro is the largest aluminium producer in Central and Eastern Europe, with an installed production capacity of 265,000 tonnes per year.
The main markets for Alro products are in the European Union, but the company also exports to Asia and the United States. Alro currently has 2,530 employees, the company being the largest employer in the county of Olt, Romania.
Irina Popescu,

Milling System from VHE Safely Removes Spikes from Aluminium Smelter Anodes - 01-May-2011
Spike or mushroom formation on the underside of carbon anodes causes pot instability and reduced current efficiency.
Affected anodes are usually pulled from the cell and the spike removed manually by breaking it with a crowbar or sledge hammer, or in some cases the partly used anode is discarded.
VHE manufactures a millling system which can safely remove anode spikes, returning this valuable resource to further use.
The VHE Anode Milling Machine mills away irregularities in partially used anodes, improving their profile and extending their usable life. Defective anodes are pulled from the pots and milled whilst still hot, then returned again to the original stall. Alternatively, anodes can be cooled and milled cold.
VHE offers two variations - a machine installed in a fixed location, and a trailer-mounted mobile machine. Both options can operate in semi-automatic and manual modes. Where total control over the process is desired, each level of the procedure can be separatey controlled. Scrap carbon is collected in a container located under the machine.