AluNews - October 2011

Alouette aluminum smelter to expand capacity
Montreal Gazette - 31-Oct-2011
MONTREAL - The $2-billion Phase III expansion of the Alouette aluminum smelter at Sept Îles moved nearer Monday when Quebec assured the company of enough electric power to boost annual production capacity to 930,000 tonnes from 575,000 tonnes now.
Quebec Premier Jean Charest went to Sept Îles to announce an agreement with Alouette whereby Hydro-Québec will provide the 19-year-old smelter with an additional block of up to 500MW for Phase III.
Alouette is already North America’s largest smelter; Phase III would make it one of the world’s 10 largest and most modern smelters.
Alouette CEO André Martel said engineering for Phase III has begun and the project can now move forward step-by-step toward approval by shareholders Rio Tinto Alcan (40 per cent), Austria Metall (20 per cent), Hydro Aluminium of Norway (20 per cent), Investissement Québec (13.33 per cent) and Marubeni of Japan (6.67 per cent) in 2013-2014.
The total investment includes $1.5 billion for the third production line (electrolysis cells).
The balance of $500 million will go for new equipment, development of new AP30 low-energy technology and environmental improvements.
“That technology is already the most efficient available and it will be refined further,” Martel said.
“The new AP60 technology Rio Alcan is developing at its Saguenay pilot plant would not be suitable. Phase III will use Brazilian alumina, the intermediate material in the smelting process.”
Besides the construction workforce, Phase III would create about 300 new permanent jobs to bring Alouette’s workforce to 1,300.
“We’re working on the engineering with a joint-venture of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. and Hatch Ltd., which also handled the Phase II expansion,” Martel said.
“We have a network of 700 suppliers in Quebec, including 240 on the North Shore, spreading the economic benefits widely.”
The 2016-2017 startup date for Alouette Phase III will depend on global economic recovery and continuing growth in world aluminum demand, he added.
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Rusal announces $7 million modernization plan at Sayanal foil mill
Platts - 31-Oct-2011
Russian aluminum producer Rusal has completed the first stage of its modernization program at its 40,000 mt/year Sayanal foil mill, the company said in a statement Monday. The modernization will boost the plant's production capacity and quality of aluminum strip for the construction, decoration, engineering and packaging industries.
Stage one, which has cost $1.5 million, included changing the rolling mill's thickness gage and strip profile management system to improve overall quality. The upgrade was done jointly with specialists from German manufacturer Achenbach.
Stage two will include replacing the rolling mill units that are affecting productivity, which will increase metal processing efficiency by 5-10% of the total volume, the company said.
"Rusal's Packaging Division has about 40% [the] foil market in Russia, and we export up to 70% of the foil produced. We have ambitious plans for further development of this business. The high quality of our foil is recognized not only by our Russian and foreign corporate customers but also by retail consumers, demonstrated by high popularity of the Sayanskaya household foil brand," said Rusal Packaging Division Director Sergey Goryachev.
Currently Sayanal's production of 4-6 micron thick foil is considered one of the most promising elements of the development plan, because it is a high value-added product.
--Sarah Baltic,

Rio Tinto ready to sell UK plant Alcan
Business Sale Report - Mon, 31 Oct 2011
By Hanna Sharpe
Global mining giant Rio Tinto is readying to sell its aluminium smelting plant Alcan in Lynemouth, Northumberland, and is prepared to close it down if it is not sold.
John McCabe from Alcan explained the reasons for the move, “Rio Tinto is streamlining its global aluminium business in order to focus on its top assets globally, unfortunately Lynemouth isn’t considered to be one of them as it does not return 40 per cent rate of return for the business.”
“Lynemouth is efficient but it is a high-cost operation; that’s largely due to the cost of producing energy in the UK," Mr McCabe went on to say.
If the business does have to be shut down, Mr McCabe said that Alcan would do what it could to help minimise the impact on the 630 staff and local community.
GMB Regional Secretary, Tom Brennan, has requested that Rio Tinto rethink its decision to sell or close down the Alcan plant. He asked that, in light of the news of buyer interest in the power station, it should not be separated from the smelter.
“You could understand [the power station] being very useful in terms of a contribution to the National Grid, but by dong that it cuts off the lifeline to the Alcan smelter,” said Mr Brennan

Guinea bauxite exports resume after breakdown-CBG
Reuters Africa - 30-Oct-2011
CONAKRY, Oct 30 (Reuters) -Bauxite exports from Guinea's CBG have resumed, eight days after a breakdown blocked shipments from the West African state, the company told Reuters on Sunday.
CBG, a joint-venture between Alcoa , Rio Tinto and the Guinean government, is the world's largest bauxite exporter company with annual shipments of around 13 million tonnes.
"The breakdown on a part of the conveyor belt has been repaired by our engineers and we have restarted loading ships. A first boat has already left and we are in the process of loading a second," said CNG managing director Kemoko Toure.
The company has faced two suspensions of exports in the last two months due to trouble with its conveyor belt.
Toure said output for the year would still be 13.2-13.5 million tonnes of bauxite.
However, a company source, who asked not to be named, said hat operations were still being affected by concerns over the state of the machinery and it would take several days before it was clear if the problem was completely resolved.
The bauxite is loaded onto ships at Kamsar, some 300 km (186 miles) northwest of Conakry, Guinea's capital.
Guinea's bauxite production rose 5.2 percent year-on-year during the first half of 2011 to 9.7 million tonnes, according to a government report, released last month.

Vinacomin signs deal with South Korean firm
SteelGuru - 29-Oct-2011
The Viet Nam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group and Dongyang Gangchul, South Korea's leading aluminium producer agreed to study proposals for 3 aluminum projects in Viet Nam, following a cooperation agreement inked yesterday between the 2 companies.
These projects would include construction of an alumina refinery, a plant supplying electricity for the refinery and a factory producing aluminium products.
Mr Le Minh Chuan DG of Vinacomin said that "After this, Dongyang Gangchul will soon conduct a feasibility study expected to cost USD 200,000, on building an aluminium refinery and then advise Vinacomin on a suitable location and technologies."
Mr Chuan said that it was important to accelerate work with foreign companies to speed up development of the country's fledging aluminum industry. Vinacomin is also developing the Nhan Company alumina refinery plant in the Central Highland province of Dak Nong. The construction of the plant will be finished in late 2012.
(Sourced from

Intalco workers approve new contract, avert strike at Ferndale smelter - 29-Oct-2011
FERNDALE - Union workers at Alcoa Intalco Works have voted to ratify a new four-year labor contract, ending two weeks of uncertainty at the aluminum smelter west of Ferndale.
The polling ended at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, and the counting of the paper ballots took less than an hour. The ratification was reported on the union's Facebook page.
Glenn Farmer, union business representative, said the vote was "very close," but he declined to give an exact figure. He added that the fallout from the standoff with management would linger.
"I don't think Alcoa Intalco will ever be the same," Farmer said.
He noted that employees had joined management to help Alcoa lobby for a power sale agreement with Bonneville Power Administration that was vital to keeping the smelter in business. Workers expected something more from the company when it came time for a new contract.
"But they just refused to move past what they called their parameters," Farmer said.
The labor situation at the 500-employee aluminum smelter west of Ferndale had been tense since Oct. 14, when members of Local 2379 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers voted to reject an earlier offer from management and authorized a strike. But they also agreed to stay on the job while talks continued.
Alcoa spokesman Josh Wilund confirmed the ratification vote and said company officials were pleased that operations can get back to normal.
The company brought replacement workers into the plant for training in the event of a strike, but on Oct. 22 they dismissed the replacements, and labor and management went back to the bargaining table the next day.
Shutting down the plant would have been a drastic step for both the company and its 500 workers. The aluminum smelting process involves constant operation of potlines that convert ore to molten metal with a massive stream of electric power, and shutting down those potlines and restarting them is difficult and costly.
The company website says the four-year proposal will provide workers with a $1,000 lump sum payment in January 2012 and a 6.5 percent increase in base pay rates, as well as some added compensation to help employees cover an increased share of health insurance costs. The contract also contains new rules and restrictions on mandatory overtime - a sore spot with many workers.
Union representatives said they presented management's proposal to the rank-and-file without any recommendation.
In recent years, the union and the company have worked hand-in-hand during the long political and bureaucratic battle to get the smelter a secure supply of low-cost federal hydropower from the Bonneville Power Administration.
That's a battle that will heat up again in 2012. Intalco's current power purchase agreement with BPA expires in May.The Intalco smelter, which began operating in 1966, is among the last in a region where the industry once flourished, thanks to abundant and cheap hydropower from federal dams. But many smelters have shut down in the past 10 years as regional power demands increased and prices rose.
Pittsburgh-based Alcoa is the world's largest aluminum producer, with 200 locations in 31 countries, according to the company website. The Intalco smelter represents about six percent of Alcoa's worldwide aluminum-producing capacity, the website indicates.

Alcoa to Explore Development of Aluminum Smelter in Angola
BusinessWeek - 27-Oct-2011
Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, signed an agreement with Angola to explore development of a smelter in the southwest African country.
The project would produce 750,000 metric tons a year, with first production scheduled for 2020, New York-based Alcoa said in a statement. It would be powered by hydroelectric plants that have yet to be developed by the government, Alcoa said. The government plans to allocate 1,300 megawatts to the aluminum industry, according to the release.
“Alcoa is interested in pursuing projects that lower our cost position,” Ken Wisnoski, president of Alcoa’s growth group, said in the statement. “We believe the Angola government’s proposal to provide hydroelectric power offers great potential and we are pleased to have the opportunity to work together on feasibility studies.”
The agreement starts a 12-month exclusivity period to negotiate a power contract and cooperation agreement between Alcoa and the government, the company said. Angola emerged from a decades-long civil war in 2002 and is the second-largest oil producer in sub-Sahara Africa.

Century's 'frustratingly slow' Iceland power talks still on (subscription) - 27-Oct-2011
Aluminum Co.'s discussions with power providers in Iceland continue at a slow pace, but the company remains hopeful that it will soon resume construction on the first of four 90000-tonne potlines at its greenfield smelter in Helguvik. ...

Aluminium Dross Recycled into Fertilizer in New Zealand
Waste Management World - 27-Oct-2011
Taha Asia Pacific Ltd, the New Zealand subsidiary of Bahrain based Taha International Corporation has opened a new Aluminium Dross recycling facility in Bluff, New Zealand.
Dross is a mass of solid impurities floating on a molten metal. It is not entirely waste material; aluminium dross, for example, can be recycled and is used in secondary steelmaking for slag deoxidation.
Taha claims to have developed an environmentally sensitive, efficient, and cost-effective process to separate aluminium from dross, and produce fertilizer from the aluminium oxide residue.
To achieve this, the company says that it employs a Hot Dross Processing System, whereby the majority of metal is recovered without the need for additional energy or additives. The depleted dross is separated by mechanical means - a process which extracts fine metal particles. What remains is a high grade mineral, known as aluminium oxide.
The extracted metal is then processed even further in a specialised furnace to ensure that the client receives the highest possible return. According to Taha, hot dross processing saves energy and greatly increases metal recovery without the use of toxic chemicals and salts.
The aluminium oxide is then converted into various products but it is mainly used in the manufacture of mineral fertilizer, that the company says already has international approvals and certification in Germany and the European Union.
The facility has begun processing dross that the smelter produces, as well as treating dross that is stored in landfill. What remains is high-grade aluminium oxide, which is further processed by another company, Taha Fertilizer Industries, which converts it into mineral fertilizer.
Taha Fertilizer Industries is scheduled to begin operations in November. According to the company, it will test and analyse fertilizer blends, and will create custom product to suit individual crops and locations.

Ormet's Tanchuk says Burnside alumina refinery to resume output 'within weeks'
Platts - 27-Oct-2011
Louisville, Kentucky (Platts).Ormet Corp.'s long-idled alumina refinery in Burnside, Louisiana, will resume production "within the next few weeks," Michael Tanchuk, the Ohio-based aluminum producer's CEO, said Wednesday.
The company had said the refinery was expected to start producing alumina before the end of October. While that timetable may not be met, Tanchuk said: "We're in the final stages. You're in the midst of a restart so it's unpredictable at this point in time."
Ormet recently achieved its goal of hiring 250 employees to operate the refinery. That's about how many people the plant employed when it closed in late 2006 because of low alumina prices.
The refinery will have a capacity of 540,000 mt/year, and most of which will be shipped to Ormet's six-potline 270,000 mt/year aluminum smelter in Hannibal, Ohio.
Tanchuk said Ormet could have an unspecified amount of alumina to sell in 2012, although the long-term plan is for Hannibal to use all of the alumina.
Meanwhile, the refinery restart has generated other spinoffs. Impala Warehousing, a business unit of Trafigura, an international commodity trader, bought Ormet's nearby river terminal for $28 million in June.
Impala and Trafigura plan to invest $100 million in remodeling and expanding the port facility, making it a key shipping point for coal imports and exports as well as an inbound destination for Ormet's bauxite shipments and an outbound terminal for alumina shipments from Burnside to Ormet's Ohio smelter.
--Bob Matyi,

A$3.5 bln aluminium smelter meant to enhance economic growth
The Borneo Post - 27-Oct-2011
KUCHING: The proposed Rio Tinto Alclan A$3.5 billion aluminium smelter development near Bintulu, along with other Australian investments, will enhance Sarawak’s economic growth in years to come.
Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Miles Kupa said this after meeting the CEO of Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot here yesterday.
He said: “Sarawak has proved to be an attractive destination for Australian businesses looking to invest in Malaysia.”
He added that it would also strengthen the bilateral relationship between Australia and Malaysia even further.
Kupa, who was on his official visit to Sarawak from Oct 23 to 26, had held broad ranging discussions with Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and other senior government officers and business leaders.
He said another high-technology company which is experienced in managing environmental issues would come to invest in Sarawak, but did not elaborate further.
He would probably visit Sarawak again including Miri and Sibu next year.
He said:” Sarawak is an important state to Australia, as we share strong linkages, particularly through education, tourism and investment. Over 17,500 Australians visit Sarawak in 2010.”
The success of two Australian higher education institutions in establishing campuses in Sarawak, Swinburne University of Technology and Curtin University of Technology demonstrates the importance of education exchanges to the Australian and Sarawak communities, added Kupa.

Aleris Planning Additional Investment in China
EIN News (press release) - 26-Oct-2011
Aleris has signed a Letter of Intent with the Zhenjiang Municipal People's Government in Zhenjiang City, Jiangsu Province, China, regarding a potential new investment of approximately $200 million by 2014 for the production of aluminum coil and sheet for automotive applications. If approved, construction of new production capacity would be expected to begin by the end of 2012.
"Aleris is committed to supporting its global automotive customers and their supply objectives," said Steven J. Demetriou, Aleris chairman and chief executive officer. "China plays an important role in our global automotive growth strategy.
"In line with that strategy, we are also on-track to complete the construction of a new cold rolling mill in our facility in Duffel, Belgium, by the end of 2012 that will significantly increase our capacity to produce wide automotive-body sheet," said Demetriou.
Earlier this year, Aleris began construction of a $300 million greenfield rolling mill in Zhenjiang City, with completion expected in the fourth quarter of 2012. A joint venture of Aleris and Zhenjiang Dingsheng Aluminum Industries Joint-Stock Co., Ltd., named Aleris Dingsheng Aluminum (Zhenjiang) Co., Ltd., the facility initially will produce aluminum plate for the aerospace, general engineering, tooling and molding, petrochemical and transportation industries.

Bosnia Aluminij foundry upgrade to boost output
Reuters Africa - 26-Oct-2011
SARAJEVO Oct 26 (Reuters) - Bosnia's sole aluminium smelter, Aluminij Mostar, said on Wednesday it would purchase a new melting and casting furnace in January to upgrade its foundry and boost annual output by an additional 50,000 tonnes.
Aluminij will turn to lenders to buy the furnace from the Austrian company Hertwich Engineering GmbH, while the world's top commodities trader Glencore International will provide the banking guarantees, Aluminij Mostar spokesman Darko Juka told Reuters.
Juka said the foundry line upgrade would be completed by the end of 2012.
Bosnia's second largest exporter, Aluminij Mostar is expected to return to profit this year and produce a record 128,500 tonnes of primary aluminium, after posting a loss of 13.4 million Bosnian marka ($9.6 million) in 2010 as the global crisis slashed demand for the metal.
In March this year, Aluminij signed a two-year deal with Glencore that will ensure continuous deliveries of alumina to Aluminij and of aluminium to Glencore from 2012 to 2014.
The smelter said last week that its exports in the first half of 2011 increased by 23.2 percent compared to the same period last year to 240 million marka. ($1=1.40 Bosnian marka)
(Reporting By Maja Zuvela; editing by Keiron Henderson)

Alcoa Seeks Reopening of Aluminum Bahrain Case, Wants Dismissal
Bloomberg - 25-Oct-2011
Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, asked a judge to reopen a racketeering lawsuit filed against it by Bahrain’s state-owned aluminum producer, saying that it will seek to dismiss the case.
Aluminum Bahrain BSC, known as Alba, sued in February 2008, claiming that Alcoa bribed senior officials in Bahrain and caused Alba to pay inflated prices for alumina, the principal raw material in aluminum. The case was filed in federal court in Pittsburgh, where Alcoa is based.
A month later, U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose halted the case after the U.S. Justice Department said it was investigating whether Alcoa made corrupt payments in Bahrain. The judge also administratively closed the case, “to allow the government to fully conduct an investigation without the interference and distraction of ongoing civil litigation,” court records show.
In a filing today, Alcoa asked Ambrose to reopen the case and also sought permission to file a motion seeking its dismissal because racketeering law “does not apply to the extraterritorial conduct” alleged by Alba. Alcoa said Alba should be required to file a statement laying out its racketeering case.
Alcoa has cooperated over the past three years in the Justice Department probe and a related investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the filing.
An Alba attorney, Mark MacDougall of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Washington, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on Alcoa’s request.
The case is Aluminum Bahrain BSC v. Alcoa Inc., 08-cv- 00299, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh).

Irkutsk Power Grid Co, RUSAL ink 154 bln rbl pwr supply agreement
Utility Products - 25-Oct-2011
Russia's Irkutsk Power Grid Company has signed an agreement worth 154 billion rubles on electric power supplies to Russian aluminum giant RUSAL until 2018, the power company said in statements its Web site on Tuesday.
Irkutsk Power Grid Company provides power transmission services in the Irkutsk Region. The company was set up based on power producer Irkutskenergo's power grid branches.
(30.8255 rubles - U.S. $1)
Copyright 2011 Prime-Tass Business News Agency

U.K. Arrests Figure in Alcoa-Bahrain Bribery Probe
Wall Street Journal - 24-Oct-2011
Two key figures in a bribery investigation of aluminum maker Alcoa Inc.'s activities in Bahrain have been arrested abroad, three years after law-enforcement officials began looking at millions of dollars allegedly paid to gain aluminum contracts.
The arrests, one in the U.K. and one in Australia, suggest that an international investigation tied to the Pittsburgh-based company is picking up steam.
Prosecutors in the U.K., U.S. and Switzerland have been focusing on Alcoa's relationship with Aluminum Bahrain BSC, a Bahrain government-owned manufacturing company also known as Alba. Alba, which has one of the world's largest aluminum smelters, bought raw materials from Alcoa.
Alcoa has been in the sights of the global law-enforcement community since 2008 when an unusual lawsuit was filed in federal court in Pennsylvania by Alba. The suit accuses Alcoa and its agent—Canadian businessman Victor Dahdaleh—of conspiring to overcharge Alba by hundreds of millions of dollars for the purchase of thousands of tons of alumina, which is used to make aluminum. In exchange for the overpayments, Alcoa and Mr. Dahdaleh allegedly paid kickbacks to at least one senior official at Alba, according to the suit.
Both Alcoa and Mr. Dahdaleh have denied the lawsuit's allegations.
On Monday, Britain's Serious Fraud Office arrested Mr. Dahdaleh, who was born in Jordan and lives in the U.K., on corruption charges for allegedly paying bribes between 2001-2005 to Alba on behalf of Alcoa in exchange for contracts, according to a news release from the SFO.
The contracts were for supplies of alumina shipped to Bahrain from Australia, according to the SFO release, which said other payments were made in connection to supply goods and services to Alba.
Mr. Dahdaleh was released on bail and asked to appear Oct. 31 at the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court. Michael Feldberg, an attorney for Mr. Dahdaleh, said his client "believes the charges lack merit and plans to contest them."
Late last week Bruce Hall, the former chief executive of Aluminum Bahrain, was arrested in Sydney, according to two people familiar with the situation. Australian authorities arrested him on corruption charges in conjunction with the British SFO's probe, one of the people said. A spokesman for the SFO didn't return requests for comment about Mr. Hall's arrest. Mr. Hall was CEO from July 2001 through mid-2005.
Mark MacDougall, a Washington, D.C., partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP who represents Alba in the lawsuit, called the arrests "a critical turning point in the anticorruption cases initiated by the Crown Prince and the leadership of Alba nearly five years ago."
Britain's SFO said Monday it has been investigating the matter since July 2009 with assistance from the City of London Police Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit, as well as with Swiss authorities.
Alcoa has been under investigation from the U.S. Justice Department since 2008 for alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act concerning its Bahrain operations, according to court filings from the Justice Department. The 1970s-era FCPA prohibits U.S. companies from paying bribes to foreign government officials to gain a business advantage. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.
The federal suit filed by Alba against Alcoa has been stayed pending the outcome of the Justice Department probe.
Alcoa, through a spokesman, said it hadn't been contacted by any law-enforcement officials in the U.K. and said it was cooperating with U.S. officials in the matter. "Alcoa has a strong commitment to compliance within the laws of the jurisdictions in which we operate and does not tolerate improper conduct with any of our employees or the parties in which we contract," said the spokesman, Mike Belwood.
U.S. and U.K. authorities have been cracking down on alleged overseas corporate corruption. A new antibribery law went into effect in Britain over the summer, and the U.S. for several years has stepped up FCPA fines and prosecutions.
Mr. Dahdaleh was a longtime agent of Alcoa who also has helped negotiate contracts with other companies in the Middle East and elsewhere. He has ties to former President Bill Clinton's philanthropic foundation, having donated between $1 million and $5 million to the organization, and has ties to U.K. Labour Party officials, according to public records. A spokesperson for the foundation didn't return a request for comment.
On his website, the 68-year-old Mr. Dahdaleh posted a statement from his law firm saying he interrupted his scheduled business commitments and voluntarily showed up at a police station in Bishopsgate, London. In 2009, U.K. authorities searched Mr. Dahdaleh's London home in connection with the probe.
Mr. Dahdaleh set up a company that acted as an intermediary for Alcoa, a move that officials at the metals company supported, according to several emails and faxes viewed by The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Dahdaleh's company used Alcoa's logo on its letterhead in its communications with Alba, according to the civil suit Alba filed.
The intermediary firm was buying alumina from Alcoa and then selling it to Alba at a mark-up, a person familiar with the matter said. In the past, Alcoa had sold materials directly to Alba, the person said.
An Alcoa spokesman declined to comment on the intermediary company's dealings.

Bellzone, Anglo Aluminum ink Guinea infrastructure agreements
Creamer Media's Mining Weekly - 24th October 2011
JOHANNESBURG ( – A memorandum of understanding signed between Aim-listed Bellzone and TSX-V-listed Anglo Aluminum Corporation would accelerate the development of resource projects in Guinea, Bellzone CEO Nik Zuks said on Monday.
The MoU would enable Anglo Aluminum to have access as a third party commercial user of the port and rail infrastructure being developed by China International Fund (CIF) for Bellzone's 100%-owned Kalia mine project, in West Africa.
The infrastructure will be developed through Kalia Horizon Minerals (KHM), a CIF subsidiary, in which Bellzone has a 10% carrying interest.
KHM received funding of $40-million from CIF to conduct the nearly completed infrastructure feasibility studies for the 300-million-ton-a-year multi-user rail and deep-water port located at Matakan at Ile de Kabak.
Bellzone said the design options for the multiberth port layout at Matakan at Ile de Kabak have been completed and the detailed feasibility study report is expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2012.
Anglo Aluminum CEO Jim Gillis said with infrastructure agreements in place, the development of bauxite mining at Mamou Dalaba was a step closer to being realised.
Anglo Aluminum has conducted Aster image analysis and preliminary exploration drilling at Mamou Dalaba, in the south of Guinea, which has the potential to host large bauxite deposits. The company is also planning additional resource drilling in early 2012.
The Kalia mine is expected to see its first production in 2014.

Bauxite exports from Guinea's CBG suspended: sources
Reuters Africa - 23-Oct-2011
CONAKRY (Reuters) - Bauxite exports from Guinea's CBG have been suspended due to further damage to the machine used to load boats, company and government officials said on Sunday.
The suspension follows a previous accident on a conveyor belt last month, which froze exports from the world's top supplier of the aluminum ore for ten days. Exports had restarted on September 20 after the earlier incident.
CBG, a joint-venture between Alcoa, Rio Tinto and the Guinean government, is the world's largest bauxite exporter company with annual shipments of around 13 million tonnes.
"There was an accident on T1, which is the last section of the conveyor that loads the boats. This has caused a shutdown of the operation," said one source at CBG, who asked not to be named as they were not authorised to speak publicly.
The source said that some of the repairs from last month's incident appeared to have been damaged when a counterweight gave way.
Kemoko Toure, managing director of CBG, said there had not been an accident but confirmed that the conveyor belt had been damaged and repairs were on-going.
The bauxite is loaded onto ships at Kamsar, some 300 km (186 miles) northwest of Conakry, Guinea's capital.
A senior official in Guinea's ministry of mines confirmed that CBG's exports had been stopped by the incident but he did not comment on the severity of the breakdown.
"There was an incident at around 2300 (GMT) last night but CBG's engineers are working to try and get things back to normal," the official said.
"These accidents should not massively affect the targets CBG have set to export 13.5 million tonnes of bauxite this year. It may end up at 13 or 13.3 million (tonnes) but the target has not been abandoned," he added.
Guinea's bauxite production rose 5.2 percent year-on-year during the first half of 2011 to 9.7 million tonnes, according to a government report, released last month.

EU to probe Romania's cheap hydro electricity deals
ICIS (subscription) - 21-Oct-2011
The European Commission is investigating a number of contracts for cheap electricity supplies signed by Romania's Hidroelectrica with industrial clients, EU competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia told a conference in Bucharest on Friday.
Some of the clients who reportedly bought cheap energy from Hidroelectrica include ArcelorMittal's steel mill and aluminium company ALRO. Their combined consumption is around 8% of the country's total production.
"We are currently looking into potential aid to the Romanian steel and aluminium producers ArcelorMittal and ALRO, through reduced electricity tariffs offered by Hidroelectrica," Almunia said.
"More recently, we also started looking into potential state aid issues in Hidroelectrica's contracts with some electricity retailers and other industrial clients.
"Reduced electricity tariffs hamper the development of genuinely liberalised electricity markets. When electricity prices are not set freely on the market, the whole functioning of the electricity market is distorted and electricity prices for the rest of the consumers become higher. Industrial consumers from other sectors of the economy are also affected, having to bear the additional costs caused by the distortion in the electricity prices," he said.
Hidroelectrica was unavailable for comment on Friday at press time.
Long-term deals
Earlier this year Hidroelectrica decided to renew a number of long-term deals with its customary clients until 2018, locking in nearly 80% of the production that remained after it served the regulated market in bilateral contracts (see EDEM 5 July 2011).
The state-owned company reportedly signed a number of deals with clients seven years ago. These contracts were expected to end in 2010 and 2011, a source from Romania's trade union federation BNS told ICIS Heren in July.
After the expiry dates, Hidroelectrica had two options: sell the production on Opcom, as required by law or renegotiate bilateral deals on an annual basis after their end dates, as stipulated in the clauses of the initial contracts.
Price spikes
The source explained that clients who had renewed their contracts with Hidroelectrica were now buying electricity at prices below Romania New Lei 110.00/MWh (€26.00/MWh), nearly New Lei 200.00/MWh below prices seen recently on Opcom. On Thursday, the Friday Baseload contract outturned at New Lei 334.82/MWh, the highest Day-ahead contract for a working day since 2008, according to ICIS Heren data.
Earlier this autumn, Hidroelectrica declared force majeure after hydro resources reached critical levels following a prolonged dry spell (see EDEM 27 September 2011).
Some traders active on the Romanian market said the company had to buy electricity on Opcom in order to honour its contractual obligations. This has reportedly led to the three-year record spikes on the exchange. AS

Bosnia's Aluminij Mostar exports up 23 pct in H1
Reuters Africa - 21-Oct-2011
SARAJEVO Oct 21 (Reuters) - Bosnia's sole aluminium smelter Aluminij Mostar increased exports in the first half of 2011 by 23.2 percent on a year earlier to 240 million Bosnian marka ($170 million), its general manager said on Friday.
"The plan for exports in the second half of this year is about the same as the results from the first half, and I am certain it is going to be fulfilled," Ivo Bradvica told the magazine InfoKom, published by the Foreign Trade Chamber.
Bradvica said Bosnia's second-largest exporter, based in the southern town of Mostar, was expected to swing to a profit for the year from last year's loss of 13.4 million marka in 2010.
Bradvica said Aluminij had practically completed the process of cutting its 900-strong workforce by 10 percent through early retirement and other measures.

Bradvica had told Reuters earlier that he expected Aluminij to produce a record 128,500 tonnes of primary aluminium this year, after the company returned to full capacity in late 2010. In 2009, it was forced to cut output by a quarter after the global economic crisis slashed demand for the metal. ($1=1.417 Bosnian marka) (Reporting By Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Will Waterman)
First phase of a new aluminum plant in Azerbaijan starts work
Azerbaijan Business Center - 21-Oct-2011
Baku, Fineko/ The first phase of construction of a new Ganja aluminum complex with capacity of 100,000 tons of finished aluminum has been finished.
The State Committee on Property Issues reports that on 1 October Det.Al Holding Limited launched the complex’s first phase with capacity of 50,000 tons of aluminum. Thanks to the use of new technology energy consumption for production of 1 ton of aluminum is 13,500 kWh that is by 6,000 KWh less than at other CIS factories.
Air cleaning equipment enables to capture 98.5% of harmful emissions.
The first finished output will be made in 40-50 days after the beginning of work, and in November Det.Al will provide aluminum of high-quality grade A7.

Global aluminum production falls 61000 metric tons to 2.122 mn tons in September
Commodity Online - 21-Oct-2011
Global aluminum production fell by 61,000 metric tons to 2.122 million tons in September from a revised 2.183 million in August, reported International Aluminum Institute.
However, the September tally was up from 2.007 million in the same month a year ago. Month-on-month declines were reported for all eight of the regions tracked by the IAI, including Africa, North America, South America, Asia, western Europe, eastern and central Europe, Oceania and the GAC/Gulf region.
By Allen Sykora of Kitco News

International Conference on Aluminium to be held in Hyderabad
India - 20-Oct-2011
Aluminium industry is one of the leading segments of the Indian economy and is expected to play a significant role. Apart from its potentially large growing market, India is endowed with large deposits of high quality bauxite ore, resources for ...

Business News $9.5bn investment
Gulf Daily News - 20-Oct-2011
JAKARTA: The UAE may make possibly the largest-ever investments in Indonesia's industrial sector by pumping $9.5 billion into aluminium smelter projects in Kalimantan, Indonesia's ambassador to the UAE said yesterday.
However, the UAE's Ras Al Khaimah emirate, one of the investors mentioned, has refuted suggestions by the Indonesian official that it is to invest billions of dollars in an aluminium smelter in Southeast Asia's largest economy.
Ambassador M Wahid Supriyadi said that Emirates Aluminium would invest $4bn, and the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (Rakia) would provide $5.5bn, to build two different aluminium smelter projects in Kalimantan province. The investment would have been a massive one by Ras Al Khaimah, one of the less wealthy emirates in the UAE.
"Rakia will not be contributing $5.5bn to this project, whether as an individual entity or through the RAK government," said a source.
"It is not a project we are involved in.

Alcoa Positive, While Rio Alcan In Retreat
MetalMiner - 19-Oct-2011
It’s curious how two major metals producers can have apparently divergent views on the future of their industries.
In an interview with the FT, Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa’s chairman and CEO, observed that the future for aluminum prices was solid based on a number of observations regarding China’s production costs. As we have observed before, China is not a low-cost producer and Kleinfeld took the issue one step further, saying that China is actually not a logical or sensible place to be making aluminum at all. Its bauxite supply is limited, forcing the country to import about 40 percent of its needs — a trend that will only get worse as production continues rising (a point we will come back to).
Production costs for turning bauxite to alumina are high — 37 percent of Chinese refineries are in the top quartile worldwide — and power production relies heavily on pollutant-rife coal-fired power stations. Likewise, smelting alumina into aluminum is expensive in a country renowned for generally high power costs (exceptions being hydro for those plants strategically positioned to be able to access such opportunities). Some 45 percent of Chinese smelters are in the top cost quartile.
Even so, the article cites Brook Hunt’s forecast that Chinese aluminum demand will rise from 19.8 million tons this year to 29.8 million in 2015, yet in spite of the 12th five-year plan expressly intent on reducing the expansion of power-hungry and polluting industries, much of this additional capacity will come from domestic sources. By 2015 only 2 million tons, or 7 percent, of primary aluminum will be imported – still a sizeable quantity for a global industry, said by the World Bureau of Metal Statistics (WBMS) to be in surplus by only 378,100 tons in the first seven months of this year.
Alcoa sees this high-cost structure as an opportunity, believing it will open up the possibility of cooperation with Chinese producers looking to set up smelting operations outside the country and in partnering with Chinese firms to make high value-add products within China — typical of Alcoa to see opportunity in adversity. At the same time, Alcoa has announced they will not be proceeding with a long-mooted second smelter in Iceland, expected to be based on geothermal power sources, because the firm could not secure sufficiently attractive power tariff agreements. Maybe not surprising in the current market, although many of Alcoa’s plants are still making money at around $2,200 per ton; smelters elsewhere are not. This cost-of-production issue is another reason Kleinfeld feels the aluminum price has not got much further to fall – for any prolonged period, anyway – capacity would be shut (particularly in China) if prices fell much further.
Rio Retreat
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Rio Tinto has announced it’s getting out of the aluminum business. It’s splitting its Alcan division into two parts – a six-asset Pacific Aluminum Asian division and a Rio Tinto Alcan division containing the rest – and putting both blocks up for sale with values mooted by Deutsche Bank in a Telegraph article at US$8 billion.
A great result for Rio, having paid some $40 billion just four years ago for Alcan’s aluminum business at the top of the market, and now selling arguably not much above the bottom. How Tom Albanese, Rio’s CEO, has managed to keep a straight face, let alone his job, in the face of such an appalling squandering of shareholder value is unbelievable.
Going back to our opening sentence, clearly Alcoa, which is totally aluminum-focused, and Rio, which is largely an iron-ore producer (plus some other metals), are not going to have the same priorities. But Rio may yet (again) come to regret their decision to sell out of one product area when it’s in a dip to focus on another (iron ore) which arguably is at a peak – all commodities are cyclical.
–Stuart Burns

Alcoa creates new Latin America headquarters
BusinessWeek - 17-Oct-2011
Alcoa Inc. said Monday it is creating a new Latin America and Caribbean headquarters to help accelerate growth in the region.
The aluminum producer said the division will be run by Franklin Feder, who becomes regional chief executive officer on Jan. 1.
Feder was most recently Latin America and Caribbean regional president of Alcoa's Global Primary Products division, which includes the company's refining and smelting operations.
"Brazil has long been an important region to Alcoa, particularly in our upstream businesses, but with Brazil's rapidly growing economy, its strategic importance to Alcoa extends beyond our Global Primary Product business," CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said in a statement.
Alcoa's involvement in the aluminum business includes mining, smelting, and selling rolled metal sheets that wind up as aircraft, autos, soda cans and many other products.
Of total revenue of $21 billion in 2010, the company said $1.18 billion came from Brazil. Nearly half its revenue came from the U.S.
The company said it expects a 12 percent increase in the global consumption of primary aluminum in 2011, similar to the improvement in 2010. Emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil, and Russia are all expected to have double-digit increases in aluminum demand.

China Zhongwang to invest $3.8 bln in production equipment
Reuters Africa - 18-Oct-2011
HONG KONG Oct 18 (Reuters) - Aluminium extruder China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd said it will spend $3.78 billion on production equipment as it taps growing demand for high-end flat-rolled aluminium products.
In a filing to the Hong Kong bourse late on Monday, the company said the equipment included hot continuous rolling mills, cold rolling mills, smelting and casting lines for the ancillary production of soft alloy plate and sheet products.
China Zhongwang said it would buy the equipment from independent third parties including China Machinery Engineering Corp, China Electronics Corp, and China Electronics Technology Group Corp.
Shares of China Zhongwang fell 4.9 percent to its lowest in two weeks. (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Chris Lewis)

Strong potential seen in value-added tertiary aluminium industries
Oman Daily Observer - 18-Oct-2011
By Conrad Prabhu - MUSCAT — The growth of a downstream aluminium cluster at Sohar augurs well for investment in value-added tertiary aluminium industries, according to top executives at two companies currently at the heart of a promising push to extend the downstream aluminium value chain.
Oman Aluminium Rolling Mills (OARM), which is currently developing a $400 million aluminium rolling mill at Sohar Industrial Estate, and Oman Aluminium Processing Industries (OAPIL), a fully operational downstream plant launched a year ago, have the potential to catalyse the growth of a value-added tertiary aluminium cluster.
At an investment forum held last week, the Chief Executive Officers of both companies outlined prospects for investment in manufacturing facilities further downstream to their businesses. Lloyd A ‘Buddy’ Stemple of OARM, and Frederic Andre Paul, representing OAPIL, also underlined their companies’ respective commitments to supporting the establishment of a value-added tertiary cluster in the Sultanate.
OARM, which is a 100 per cent subsidiary of majority government-owned Takamul Investment Company, is building a 140,000-160,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) capacity rolling mill adjoining the world-scale smelter of Sohar Aluminium. Molten metal from the smelter will be cast into aluminium sheet for the packaging and food preservation foil markets, while finstock will be produced for the automotive heat exchanger and air conditioning sectors.
According to Stemple, OARM’s aluminium coils can serve as basic raw material in the production of an array of value-add products, such as food containers and foil wrap, as well as packaging material for pharmaceuticals, antiseptics, and a wide range of related products.
Furthermore, the plant’s location next to the smelter and within proximity of Sohar industrial port makes it uniquely positioned to serve the regional and international markets for aluminium sheet, he said.
“(OARM) is one of the best examples of value added downstream opportunities where the upstream partner supplies 100 per cent of the requirement of the downstream. Very few rolling mills are supplied pure molten aluminium by smelter, and we maxed it up with technology and aluminium strip casting. So we can literally take the benefits of having molten pure aluminium supply into some very unique processing capabilities that allow us to focus on industrial and residential finstock and the foil markets. Also being close to Sohar Port, we can export to most places around the world — from Turkey to West Europe, China, India, Singapore, Thailand, and so on, through Sohar.”
Development and construction of the plant is being “fast-tracked”, with first coils targeted for production in August 2013, he added.
Significantly, Oman Aluminium Processing Industries (OAPIL) is also exploring the potential for developing tertiary units downstream to its plant at Sohar. A joint venture of Takamul (49 per cent) and Oman Cables Industries (OCI), OAPIL came into operation just over a year ago, and produces aluminium rod and conductor using hot metal as feedstock from Sohar Aluminium. According to Paul, conductor is primarily supplied to the GCC, while aluminium rod is marketed further afield. The latter is currently sold within the GCC, Maghreb states, Egypt and Europe, although the company is keenly exploring exports to Hong Kong, US and South Africa.
Plant production, which is targeted to reach 45,000 tpa this year, will be ramped up to 50,000 tpa in 2012, well beyond the unit’s design capacity of 48,000 tpa. The CEO also commended the vision of the project’s shareholders in securing enough land to allow for a three-fold increase in output if needed in the future. Commenting on the potential for tertiary investment, Paul stated: “That is under study. We see opportunities. The idea of an expansion is possible. We want to build on our success by making a good product”.

Alcoa drops Iceland smelter plan
Reuters - 17-Oct-2011
Oct 17 (Reuters) - Alcoa , the largest U.S. aluminum producer, has dropped long-held plans to develop a new smelter in Iceland, saying on Monday it had decided it could not get long-term, cheap power for the project.
The decision to cancel the smelter will be a blow to Iceland, still recovering from a deep recession caused by the collapse of the financial sector in late 2008.
"At this time, we are unable to acquire the amount of power we need at a competitive price, in order to consider building a smelter in Bakki," said Tomas Sigurdsson, managing director of Alcoa in Iceland.
Alcoa already runs the Fjardaal smelter in Iceland, which has the capacity to produce 346,000 metric tonnes of aluminium per year.
Since 2006, the company had also been assessing the feasibility of a second smelter in Bakki, North Iceland, which would have been the first in the world using geothermal power, abundant on volcanic Iceland.
Alcoa has been hit the global economic slowdown which has hurt demand and knocked prices for aluminium lower. Aluminum prices fell almost 20 percent in the third quarter on global economic concerns.
Iceland's economy collapsed in late 2008, brought down by a financial sector that dwarfed other activities. The island nation of 320,000 was forced to go to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout.
While that programme finished recently, the country still has capital controls in place and has struggled to attract foreign investment, meaning the economy remains fragile.

Rio Tinto Alcan plans to sell Sebree smelter plant
Evansville Courier & Press - 17-Oct-2011
Rio Tinto Alcan intends to sell its nearly 500-employee Sebree aluminum smelter here at some point, the international mining company announced.
The Sebree smelter is one of 13 facilities that parent company Rio Tinto characterized Sunday as being “non-core assets,” meaning they are no longer part of the company’s strategic plan.
Six Australian and New Zealand aluminum facilities will be rolled into a new company, to be called Pacific Aluminum, that will eventually be sold.
Rio Tinto Alcan will continue to operate Sebree and the six other properties — including three specialty alumina plants and an alumina refinery in France and Germany as well as an aluminum smelter and a power plant at Lynemouth, England — “while it further investigates divestment options,” the company said Sunday evening.
The Lynemouth smelter and power plant potentially could be closed, it said.
But a similar fate isn’t envisioned at Sebree.
“Sebree has been identified for divestment,” Rio Tinto Alcan spokesman Bryan Tucker said in email message, adding, “we do not believe that Sebree is at risk of shutdown at this point in time. We just modernized the baking furnace” — a $37 million investment — “and the plant has a flexible power contract.”
“The assets identified for divestment are sound businesses that are well-managed with productive workforces. But they are no longer aligned with our strategy and we believe they have a bright future under new ownership,” Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese said in a statement.
The company wants to “develop and operate top-tier, long-life, low-cost assets,” according to Tucker. “Sebree is a sound, well-managed plant with a productive workforce and we believe it will have a solid future under new owners with different strategies.”
It’s anyone’s guess who a new owner for the Sebree smelter might be; the possibilities range from one of the few remaining aluminum producers to a private equity firm. Spokesmen for two aluminum companies — Alcoa (which operates the Warrick Works across the river at Newburgh, Ind.) and Century Aluminum (which operates a smelter at Hawesville, Ky.) — declined comment, citing corporate policy to not comment on speculation about acquisitions.
A spokesman at the international headquarters of the United Steelworkers of America, which represents hourly workers at the Sebree plant, said the union has no comment on the announcement yet.
The sale of the Sebree smelter and other plants may not be immediate. “The strength of our balance sheet means that we can choose the most opportune method and timing to divest these assets, which may not occur until the economic climate improves,” Albanese said. “In the meantime, we will continue to run these operations safely and efficiently.
“This move is a further significant step towards achieving our performance targets in the aluminum product group,” he continued. “We have already made good progress, with plans in place to generate sustainable performance improvement, and we are investing at a number of our core assets.”
Rio Tinto would retain some Alcan plants, notably the hydroelectric-power smelters in Canada.
“We are already well on our way to building a truly outstanding aluminium business,” said Jacynthe Cote, CEO of Rio Tinto Alcan, which is the aluminum division of Rio Tinto. “Streamlining the product group allows Rio Tinto Alcan to concentrate its efforts even more on driving performance improvements and investing in growth to increase shareholder value.”
The announcement opens the latest chapter in the often-uncertain life of the nearly 40-year-old smelter.
The former Anaconda Aluminum plant opened in 1973 with bright hopes. But its outlook dimmed in the 1980s, largely because power supplier Big Rivers Electric Corp. began raising its rates to pay for a power plant in turned out to not need. That hurt the Sebree plant’s ability to compete with smelters that used cheap hydroelectric power in Canada and elsewhere.
Montreal-based Alcan Aluminum purchased the smelter from then-owner ARCO Metals in 1985, but only because Alcan wanted to buy 40 percent of a new aluminum rolling mill in Logan County, Ky., and ARCO insisted that the Sebree smelter be part of the deal.
The Sebree plant’s fortunes hit a low ebb in 1986, when a strike took place after the company sought wage and benefit concessions from union workers to compensate for high power costs. One aluminum production potline had already been closed at the time; Alcan shut a second potline when the strike began, leaving it operating at only one-third capacity.
Eventually, the strike was settled and the aluminum market rebounded, and the Sebree smelter has operated for most of the past two decades with all three potlines in operation.
New concerns arose a few years ago. As part of its financial restructuring, Big Rivers had leased its power plants to a subsidiary of Louisville-based E.ON U.S. The lease proved to be a big money-loser for E.ON, which offered to pay Big Rivers nearly $400 million to unwind the deal.
Alcan insisted that the unwind, which included a new contract and a more favorable price for electricity, was crucial to its smelter’s survival. But the city of Henderson and Henderson Municipal Power and Light — which own one of the power plants involved in the lease — refused for more than a year to approve the unwind because of a variety of issues.
The unwind was finally settled in mid-2009, and the Sebree smelter’s future looked brighter than it had in years. In early 2010, Gov. Steve Beshear announced that Rio Tinto planned to invest $50 million at the plant to boost efficiency and productivity.
Still, a cloud hung over Rio Tinto Alcan. Many analysts questioned whether Rio Tinto — an international mining company with headquarters in the United Kingdom and Australia — had overspent when it paid $38 billion to acquire Alcan Inc. in 2007, just before recession struck. It has been selling businesses and cutting costs ever since to reduce debt.
Last December, Rio Tinto revealed that it planned to sell some of the Alcan aluminum smelters and bauxite refineries — “smaller, older assets that exist in the portfolio that maybe don’t have much upside in terms of expandibility or extension of life,” in the words of Rio Tinto chief financial officer Guy Elliott.
The Sebree smelter once had plans for adding a fourth potline — a gravel footprint for the planned building was added years ago — but Alcan long ago abandoned any notion of such an expansion because of power costs.

Azerbaijan to restart aluminium, alumina output
Reuters Africa - 17-Oct-2011
BAKU Oct 17 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan has launched a new aluminium plant with an annual capacity of 50,000 tonnes and plans to restart production of alumina later this year at another plant, an official from the company, which manages both plants, said on Monday.
An old Soviet-era aluminium plant in the town of Sumgait was closed down in February 2009 due to the global financial crisis, dragged down by debt obligations it could not meet.
A new plant in the town of Gyanja was constructed by a Chinese branch of Australia-based engineering company SMEC.
"We have launched first 18 electrolytic cells at a new plant in Gyanja in October and plan to launch all 80 cells by Dec. 5-6, which means that annual output will reach 50,000 tonnes," an official from the Azeraluminium company, who did not want to be named, told Reuters.
He said that Asia's largest trader, Noble Resources, will sell 98 percent of aluminium produced at the new plant mainly to China, Iran and Turkey, adding that the plant's output could double by 2013.
The official also said that production of alumina could restart at the Soviet-era plant in Gyanja in November this year.
"We expect to restart production of alumina in Gyanja after two and a half years of this plant being on standstill," an official said.
He said that 280,000 tonnes of alumina could be produced at the Gyanja plant, with 100,000 tonnes to be sent to the new aluminium plant and 180,000 tonnes to be exported, mainly to Tajikistan. (Reporting by Lada Yevgrashina; writing by Margarita Antidze in Tbilisi)

Rio Plans to Sell 13 Aluminum Assets in Australia, US
BusinessWeek - 17-Oct-2011
Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second biggest mining company, plans to sell 13 aluminum assets, including smelters and alumina plants from Australia to the U.S., to improve the group’s financial performance.
Rio’s stakes in six Australian and New Zealand assets will be transferred to a new unit before being sold, the London-based company said today in a statement. Seven other assets in France, Germany, the U.S. and U.K. will also be sold, it said.
The $1 billion Tomago smelter in Australia and the $833 million Serbee smelter in the U.S. were the most valuable assets indentified last month by Deutsche Bank AG in a list of nine candidates the bank singled out for possible sale by the company. Rio has sold more than $11 billion in assets since 2008 to cut debt after the $38 billion purchase of Alcan Inc.
“It’s an appropriate course of action to take to concentrate on those that are the most profitable and to dispose, or put into a separate vehicle, those that aren’t,” Peter Rudd, mining and resources manager at Armytage Private Ltd., said by phone from Melbourne. The Rio assets may lure Chinese bidders as well as major producers such as Alcoa Inc, he said.
Rio, which counts Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. as its largest shareholder, rose 2.5 percent to A$70.03 in Sydney trading, compared with a 1.5 percent gain in the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index. Chinalco, as the state company is known, is the nation’s largest producer of the metal used in products including beverage cans and planes.
Profit Margin
Aluminum will have the biggest annual demand increase among industrial metals through 2015 as its surplus turns to a shortage, according to researcher CRU. Usage will outpace supply in 2015 as demand grows by an average of 7.6 percent a year, Paul Robinson, CRU’s non-ferrous metals group manager, said Oct. 3.
Rio plans to raise its aluminum unit’s profit margin to 40 percent by 2014, Deutsche Bank said in a Sept. 19 report. The unit’s margin was 39 percent in 2005 prior to the Alcan takeover and dropped to a low of 4 percent in 2009, the bank said in the report. It was 16 percent in 2010.
“The strength of our balance sheet means that we can choose the most opportune method and timing to divest these assets, which may not occur until the economic climate improves,” Chief Executive Officer Tom Albanese said in the statement. The operations to be sold “are no longer aligned with our strategy,” he said.
Deutsche Bank also named the Lynemouth smelter in the U.K. and the Gardanne refinery in France, which are on the company’s list, as possible assets for disposal, and estimated Rio may be able to achieve sales at 80 percent of its total valuation of $4.1 billion, raising about $3.2 billion.
Editors: Keith Gosman, Baldave Singh
To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Hobbs
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rebecca Keenan at

Bell Bay smelter for sale - 17-Oct-2011
MINING giant Rio Tinto has put its Bell Bay aluminium smelter on the market along with a number of other aluminium assets in Australia.
Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese did not nominate a timeline for the sale.
Rio Tinto's interests in six Australian and New Zealand assets would be transferred into a new business unit, to be called Pacific Aluminium.
The Bell Bay smelter employs more than 500 staff and the company recently signed a new power contract for the period beyond 2014.
In recent months Rio Tinto has lobbied against a carbon tax and costs at the Bell Bay business have increased because of the cessation of shipping services from Bell Bay.
Liberal spokesman Peter Gutwein said the news would create uncertaint - especially in northern Tasmania.
"Rio Tinto's Bell Bay smelter is one of Tasmania's largest single employers, and the State simply can't afford to lose these jobs," he said.
"We have seen recently that the cost of production at the smelter has risen by $3 million a year due to the loss of reliable shipping services from Bell Bay.
"The Green-Labor Government must do everything it can to ensure a competitive operating environment so that the smelter has a long-term future.
Mr Albanese said the assets identified for sale were sound businesses but they are no longer aligned with Rio Tinto's strategy and he believe they had a bright future under new ownership.
"The strength of our balance sheet means that we can choose the most opportune method and timing to divest these assets, which may not occur until the economic climate improves. In the meantime, we will continue to run these operations safely and efficiently," he said.
The assets are:
Australia: Gove bauxite mine and alumina refinery, Boyne Smelters and the associated Gladstone Power Station, the Tomago smelter and the Bell Bay smelter
New Zealand: New Zealand Aluminium Smelters.
A second group of seven non-core assets would continue to be managed by Rio Tinto Alcan while it further investigates divestment options.
These assets include:
France and Germany: Three Specialty Alumina plants and the Gardanne refinery
United States: Sebree smelter
United Kingdom: Lynemouth smelter and associated power station, for which potential options include closure.

Divestment not taxing for Rio
Sydney Morning Herald - 17-Oct-2011
The Gillard government can breathe easily – Rio Tinto’s decision to quit the aluminium smelting business in Australia has nothing to do with the proposed carbon tax, due to take effect in July next year. Sort of anyway.
Chief executive of Rio’s aluminium division, Jacynthe Cote, admits that the carbon tax was one of the elements that were taken in to consideration as Rio sets about what is essentially a clean-out of the division’s dog performers.
But it was only one of many considerations in deciding on the 13 assets – including the Australian smelting assets – which Rio has decided to sell in six countries – Australia, the US, France, Germany, Britain and New Zealand.

VHE's Potroom Ammeters Now Available with Datalogger - 16-Oct-2011
VHE's popular anode and cathode ammeters and now available with optional dataloggers.
The meters, which are used for measuring the d.c. current in cathode riser bars and anode stems, are now available with an updated display panel incorporating Bluetooth technology. As soon as the measurement stabilises, visual and aural prompts cue the operator to press a data button, when the reading is transmitted to a portable device running customised software.
VHE's potroom ammeters with optional datalogger.
Ammeters for direct reading, without the datalogger, continue to be available.
The handle lengths and geometry of both the cathode and anode ammeters are customised to suit each customer's pot configuration. Measuring heads are pluggable for quick change, and the meter unit will identify each head, eliminating the need to recalibrate the unit before every use.

Bauxilum aiming to produce 2 million tonnes of alumina in 2012
SteelGuru - 16-Oct-2011
Venezuelan state alumina and Bauxite Company Bauxilum aims to close 2012 with production of 1.65 million tonne of alumina.
Mr Wilfrido Flores director of labor relations said that "It's a completely achievable goal but it depends on two factors. The first is the injection of resources and the second is the payment of the debt that state aluminum reducers Alcasa and Venalum have with us."
Mr Flores said that to carry out the necessary investment, the company is already preparing the paperwork to ask the government for USD 80 million loan to invest in raw materials and the operational recovery of the plant.
The debts, which total USD 421 million at Alcasa and USD 66 million at Venalum have caused operational and financial problems for Bauxilum. However, progress was made this week when Venalum, Bauxilum and aluminum cable producer Cabelum signed an agreement that involves Venalum selling 400 tonne per month of aluminum to Cabelum and using the proceeds to pay off the debt it has accumulated with Bauxilum.
Mr Flores said that we are arriving at solutions to set a production target for 2012 that shows we are on the road to full recovery. We aren't projecting production of 1.8 million tonne or 1.9 million tonne because the recovery of this kind of plant is not immediate it happens over time."
(Sourced from

Alcoa Profit Trails Estimates as Europe Trims Aluminum Orders
BusinessWeek - 12-Oct-2011
Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Alcoa Inc., the first company in the Dow Jones Industrial Average to report earnings this quarter, posted profit that trailed analysts’ estimates, saying European customers “dramatically” cut orders on economic uncertainty.
The largest U.S. aluminum producer’s third-quarter earnings, excluding restructuring costs and tax benefits, were about 14 cents a share. The average of 15 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg was for 22 cents. Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld said yesterday European aluminum demand will decline 13 percent in the second half from the first.
Alcoa is grappling with rising production costs while the price of aluminum on the London Metal Exchange has fallen in the past two months. The company cut thousands of jobs and closed smelters after commodities plunged during the financial crisis in 2008. The New York-based company yesterday declined to forecast its fourth-quarter alumina and primary aluminum output.
“They are going through and trying to decide: Do they need to cut production somewhere and if so, when?” Lloyd O’Carroll, a Richmond, Virginia-based analyst at Davenport & Co., said in an interview. “If the LME pulls back enough, they will. I don’t know what their magic trigger number is, but I think there is one.” O’Carroll has a “buy” recommendation on Alcoa.
Net income rose to $172 million, or 15 cents a share, from $61 million, or 6 cents, a year earlier, Alcoa said. Sales increased 21 percent to $6.4 billion, beating the $6.23 average of nine analyst estimates.
Shares Drop
Alcoa dropped 2.4 percent to $10.05 in New York. The company fell 35 percent this year before today, the third-worst performer on the Dow after Bank of America Corp. and Hewlett- Packard Co.
“Fearful of a slowing economy, our European customers reduced their orders dramatically, even into September,” Chief Financial Officer Charles McLane said on an earnings conference call. That drove “a significant reduction” in profitability at the flat- and rolled-aluminum division, he said.
The three biggest euro-region economies will shrink 0.4 percent this quarter, the OECD said Sept. 8. European Union and International Monetary Fund officials are negotiating a 110 billion-euro ($151 billion) bailout. Alcoa received at least 24 percent of its 2010 revenue from European countries, according to company filings.
Rising Costs
The cost of goods sold -- excluding selling, general administrative and some other expenses -- increased 20 percent to $6.42 billion in the quarter, Alcoa said.
Primary aluminum production rose 8.2 percent to 964,000 metric tons while output of alumina, the raw material used to make the metal, gained 2.3 percent to 4.14 million tons. McLane said Alcoa is still evaluating fourth-quarter aluminum and alumina output ‘based on market conditions.’’
Aluminum for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.8 percent to $2,248 a ton as of 6:59 p.m. local time. It has declined 9 percent this year.
Improved productivity boosted earnings by $60 million from the second quarter, even as lower metal prices and currency moves reduced income by a combined $116 million. Cost increases in materials, energy and repairs cut earnings by $103 million. Income after one-time items fell to $165 million in the third quarter from $364 million in the second.
Growth Forecast
Alcoa yesterday maintained its 2012 global demand growth forecast of 12 percent and said the pace of expansion will slow in the second half. The company also reiterated its forecast that demand will double by 2020.
“The slowing markets have not changed the underlying fundamentals,” Kleinfeld said on the call. “The fundamentals are the mega-trends, the mega-trends of growing population as well as urbanization.”
China, the world’s largest user of aluminum, will see demand rise 17 percent this year, Alcoa forecast yesterday, compared with a previous projection of 15 percent.
Alcoa is a fully integrated aluminum producer. It mines bauxite, an ore that contains aluminum, and refines it into alumina, the raw material used by aluminum smelters. As well as selling aluminum to industrial users, Alcoa makes products such as can sheet and components for cars and aircraft.
Alumina Dividends
Alumina Ltd., Alcoa’s Melbourne-based partner in the world’s biggest producer of alumina, said yesterday it received $65 million in dividends from Alcoa World Alumina & Chemical. It fell 2.5 percent in Sydney.
Alcoa’s smelters will likely post a loss in the fourth quarter should spot aluminum prices average 99 cents a pound ($2,183 a ton) in the period, Brian Yu, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. in San Francisco, wrote in an Oct. 9 note.
Earnings were 66 cents in the second quarter of 2008, before the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and the financial crisis sent commodity prices tumbling They haven’t exceeded 32 cents since. The company posted three consecutive quarters of losses through June 2009. It has cut 20,080 jobs since June 2008, according to Bloomberg data.
In 2010, Alcoa permanently shut 295,000 tons of capacity at smelters in Maryland, North Carolina and Indiana.

Intalco workers vote to strike at Ferndale area smelter - 14-Oct-2011
Workers at Alcoa's Intalco Works rejected the company's final contract offer and have voted to strike.
In a vote that was counted Friday night, Oct. 14, employees at the aluminum smelter west of Ferndale rejected the company's latest contract proposal, with 78 percent authorizing a strike, according to the union's website.
Negotiations between the company and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers began in August, with one other contract offer from the company being rejected by the workers. The contract expired at midnight Friday.
While authorized to strike, union officials were considering options and had not officially told the company what they intend to do as of late Friday night.
At press time officials at Intalco had not announced what would happen if the union did strike, but it is expected that some sort of work stoppage would take place. Any announcement made after press time will be posted online at
"It's been our goal to come out with a contract that is not only fair to employees, but ensures the facility can keep operating," said Josh Wilund, a spokesman for the company, prior to the vote results.
The union contends that workers made significant sacrifices when the future of the facility was in doubt in recent years as the company negotiated with the Bonneville Power Administration on power rates. Glenn Farmer, a business representative for the union, said members were not happy about certain parts of the latest contract offer, including increases in what workers would pay in medical coverage.
"They (the workers) have been through so much in recent years, and they expected more from the contract offer," Farmer said. "We expect them to be fair."
The company's latest proposal includes a variety of wage increase proposals: A $750 lump sum increase to all active employees in January 2012 and a $1,500 lump sum increase in October 2012. In October 2012, a 30-cent-per-hour increase is proposed for all wage rates, with other increases to the wage rate coming in 2013, 2015 and 2016. Other changes are proposed in a variety of areas, including union representation, employee benefits and safety.
Alcoa has steadily increased its production at the Ferndale facility while continuing to seek a long-term power contract with BPA. In February it restarted previously idled capacity, adding around 60 jobs and increasing production by about 40,000 metric tons per year. The facility currently operates at about 80 percent of capacity,
The company negotiated a short-term contract with BPA last year, with the agency providing about 320 megawatts of relatively low-cost power through May 2012.

Exploration Orbite to become Orbite Aluminae
Montreal Gazette - 14-Oct-2011
MONTREAL – Exploration Orbite VSPA Inc., developer of the Grande Vallee aluminous clay deposits in Quebec’s Gaspé region, is changing its name effective Monday to Orbite Aluminae Inc. to better reflect its ambition to become an alumina extraction company. Also, trading in its A shares will move to the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol ORT.
Test production of alumina from the Grande Vallee clays has moved from a batch to semi-continuous system at Orbite’s Cap Chat pilot plant. This is a further step toward full commercial production of high-purity alumina for the aluminum smelting and pharmaceutical industries.
A 3,000-tonne bulk sample of the Grande Vallee clays is being shipped to Cap Chat in the next few weeks to support production for the months ahead, Orbite said. Also, the pilot plant will test aluminous clays from other world sources using its patented technology.
Alumina is the intermediate material for smelting primary aluminum. Rio Tinto Alcan, which helped to fund the Grande Vallee project in its early stages, operates a big alumina plant in the Saguenay, processing imported bauxite, the base mineral.
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Norsk Hydro : Revamp of Holmestrand aluminium rolling mill
4-traders (press release) - 14-Oct-2011
By thoroughly modernizing the electrical features, automation and process control of the hot mill at Holmestrand, Hydro is further developing the facility further and securing a high long-term performance.
The Holmestrand plant, employing a workforce of more than 300, is one of Hydro's two aluminium rolling mills in Norway among a global network of seven rolled products plants.
"The investment is good news for Holmestrand. Our engineers and craftsmen on site are constantly adjusting their facilities for optimum performance. Together with this expenditure, we strengthen a good, longer-term perspective for the Holmestrand plant," says Manfred Mertens, head of the Packaging & Building business unit in Hydro's Rolled Products business area.
"We are pleased with this measure and will directly start realizing it," says Martin Sagen, managing director of the aluminium rolling mill in Holmestrand. "It will help us to fulfill our strategic goals of safe, productive operations and jobs, satisfying our customers with high-quality products, delivered on time."
The Holmestrand plant also offers excellent local lacquering operations, supplying European customers with painted strip for building applications, tea-light cups and for packaging, e.g. food cans.
The casthouse of the Holmestrand plant ranks among the most experienced aluminium recyclers in Norway. Currently, it supports a campaign with IKEA to collect and remelt used tea-light cups. The campaign aims to strengthen a potentially infinite loop of recycling and re-use, as aluminium can be recycled forever and again with no loss in quality.

Rusal Surges in Moscow on $1.4BN Loan From China for Smelter
BusinessWeek - 12-Oct-2011
(Bloomberg) OAO Rusal’s Russian depositary receipts climbed in Moscow trading after China and Russia yesterday signed a deal under which the world’s biggest aluminum producer will receive $1.4 billion to help fund a smelter in Siberia.
The shares climbed as much as 5.4 percent and last traded 3.3 percent higher at 287.1 rubles by 10:47 a.m. in Moscow. Its Hong Kong-traded shares added 2.3 percent to $7.17.
The Chinese and Russian state lenders signed an agreement on the loan in Beijing yesterday during a visit by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, VEB Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Dmitriev told reporters in the city. China Development Bank will provide the money to VEB, which will in turn lend it to Rusal, he said.

Russia's Putin slams US, makes deals in China
Emirates 24/7 - 12-Oct-2011
Russia and China have vowed to make progress on a long-delayed deal on gas sales, as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sought to boost ties with Beijing while likening the US to a parasite.
Putin and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao emerged from a half day of talks and formalities Tuesday pledging to resolve the dispute over the pricing of gas Russia plans to deliver by two Siberian pipelines. Putin was to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday, the second day of a two-day visit. So far deals struck included Chinese promises to invest $1.5 bn (Dh5.5bn) in a Siberian aluminum smelter and to put $1 billion into a joint investment fund.
"Those who sell always want to sell at a higher price, while those who buy want to buy at a lower price. We need to reach a compromise which will satisfy both sides," Putin told reporters.
In an interview later with Chinese state media, Putin played up cooperation with China and lashed out at the US, describing the dominance of the American dollar as parasitic.
"The US is not a parasite for the world economy, but the US dollar's monopoly is a parasite," Putin said, according to a report on the interview from Xinhua, the Chinese government news agency. Putin said he offered the criticism constructively in a search for common solutions to ease a roiling world economy.
Putin has frequently tried to use Russia's burgeoning ties with Beijing as a counterbalance to US global predominance. And Chinese leaders have reciprocated the gestures. The Russian leader's trip to Beijing follows his recent announcement that he plans to swap jobs next year with President Dmitry Medvedev, returning him to the top position he held for eight years. Analysts have said that the transition could see Russia tilt further toward China.
Last week, the two countries squelched a UN Security Council resolution condemning Syria for its brutal crackdown on pro-reform protesters that has killed nearly 3,000 people since March. Their vetoes drew heavy criticism from Washington.
Chinese Premier Wen told reporters that China wanted to push ahead a "comprehensive strategic partnership" with Russia that would safeguard world stability and development.
But even as they reach out to each other, strains are evident between Moscow and Beijing in the trade and security issues that have bolstered relations over the past decade. Moscow is unhappy with China's copying of Russian fighter jets and other military hardware and recently announced the arrest of a Chinese man accused of seeking to buy military secrets.
While trade is booming — rising, by China's count, to more than 39 percent to $35.9 billion in the first half of the year from the same period last year — it's heavily geared toward Chinese purchases of Russian resources. Moscow wants more Chinese investment in Russia itself.
Efforts to complete the natural gas deal have plodded on, with Russia preferring to link gas prices to oil prices, as it does in Europe, and China wanting a lower price.
All told, Russian and Chinese officials say deals worth $7 billion are to be signed during Putin's visit, in fields including biotechnology and space exploration.

RusAl Smelter To Get $1.4Bln Chinese Loan
The Moscow Times - 12-Oct-2011
United Company RusAl will receive $1.4 billion from China Development Bank to help fund construction of its Taishet smelter in Siberia, according to state-run bank VEB.
The Chinese and Russian lenders signed an agreement on the loan in Beijing on Tuesday during a visit from Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, VEB chief executive Vladimir Dmitriyev told reporters in the city. China Development Bank will provide the money to VEB, which will in turn lend it to RusAl, he said.
The aluminum producer is proceeding with expansion projects in eastern Siberia that were suspended in 2008 as the global economic crisis eroded metal demand and tightened access to credit. The company plans to increase production capacity by 12 percent by late 2013 as it starts smelters in Taishet and Boguchansk.
VEB, chaired by Putin, said Aug. 4 that it was studying a loan for the Taishet project. The bank's board of directors approved the plan on Sept. 27, according to the lender's web site.
Taishet's first phase, coming online in 2013, will have an output capacity of 375,000 tons a year, RusAl said in an Aug. 29 presentation. The company currently has an annual capacity of 4.4 million tons.
VEB also agreed last December to lend 50 billion rubles ($1.6 billion) to build the 147,000-ton-a-year Boguchansk smelter and a hydroelectric generator to power the plant.

Venezuela's Alcasa may pare down $403 mil deal with China company
Platts -11-Oct-2011
Caracas (Platts)
A $403 million, multi-project deal to modernize CVG-Alcasa's smelter operations may have to be pared down if the Aluminum Corporation of China, or Chinalco, continues to insist that the projected outlay of capital is not sufficient, an Alcasa spokeswoman said Tuesday in an interview.
Chinalco says "they need at least $800 million, but [Hugo Chavez's] government is not likely to give us any more money. So there will probably have to be a prioritization of the projects involved in terms of which will be undertaken, and which not," she said.
Major projects include updating technology at the Puerto Ordaz-based smelter potlines 3 & 4, building an aluminum extrusion facility and expanding the lamination unit's installed capacity.
A delegation frrom Chinalco was scheduled to arrive Monday in Puerto Ordaz to confer with officials regarding the deal and its parameters, but they did not arrive and the Alcasa spokeswoman said it was unclear when they might show up.
Representatives from Alcasa recently returned from China, where they investigated the capabilities of the Chinalco to handle the various projects, in which seven of nine were approved.
The 170,000 mt/year Alcasa smelter forms part of the 600,000 mt/year primary aluminum complex in Puerto Ordaz, B
--George Soules,

St Ann residents say bauxite company has made their lives hell
Jamaica Observer - 09-Oct-2011
HERMAN Webb is an angry man.The 65-year-old says that Noranda Bauxite Company has been giving him, his neighbours and hundreds of residents in districts neighbouring the community of Stepney in South East St Ann a raw deal.
"If somebody don't come to we rescue it's going to be a bloody revolution around here. I have been farming this land for 42 years and they want to give me little or nothing," Webb fumed in an interview with the Sunday Observer.
Webb's outrage, and that of his neighbours, has its genesis in Noranda's mining operations in the districts which, the residents claim, have been having a negative effect on their lives.
"The dust is terrible," said Webb. "It affects everybody, but the company don't pay anybody who is more than 300 feet from the mining site. It is unfair, because the breeze blow the dust for miles."
Webb's frustration was shared by Gerald Lawrence, president of the Nine Miles United Districts Citizens' Association.
"We want the whole Jamaica to know what we are going through. Our lives have become hell," said Lawrence.
The association represents the districts of Prickly Pole, Glasgow Lodge, Eight Miles, Nine Miles, Stepney, Hessen Castle, Murray Mount and Grants Mountain.
Most of the residents in the bauxite-rich section of the parish are farmers who live on land owned by Noranda.
In recent times, the company served notice that the residents need to clear their crops from designated plots and has been paying compensation to the displaced farmers.
But this has been a bone of contention for the residents who claim that their crops are being grossly undervalued.
"They want to give me $700,000 for my six-and-a-half acres worth of crops. I had a big farm with 3,000 coffee plants valued at $2 million, and 2,000 roots of banana. They valued the coffee at $300,000. That can't be fair after 42 years," Webb said.
He said he has written to the minister of mining and the Jamaica Bauxite Institute about his plight but has so far not received a reply.
The residents produced documents bearing the letterhead of Noranda which gave them six months to clear the land. However, they allege that the company has not honoured the agreement and has been bulldozing crops before the six-month grace period expires.
Percival Cross and Diedre Lewis, whose plots have already been mined, said bulldozers came and destroyed their crops without notice.
The notice letter which Lewis showed the Sunday Observer stated that she had until October 30 to clear the land. However, she showed the newspaper the land that has already been mined.
Cross said his farm was cleared after only three months.
"One day we just wake up and them start clear the land — crop and all. Them say them give me six months, but the tractor come after only three. Them deal with me cold, and now me crop gone and me no have no way to feed my children. What we going do?" he said.
When the Sunday Observer contacted Kent Skyers, public relations officer at Noranda, he denied the residents' claims, saying that clearing land before the notice period expires was not in line with the company's policy.
"Our operations are not like that. We would not be giving notice and then go and push off crops before the time. We don't normally take off crops," Skyers said.
His response, however, ran counter to what was shown to this reporter. Other questions in relation to the residents' claims, sent to Skyers via e-mail on Friday, were not responded to up to press time last night.
In sections of Eleven Miles, Down Lodge and Ballintoy large craters, some more than 100 feet deep, littered the landscape.
Under the Mining Act, bauxite companies must adhere to land reclamation regulations set out by the Jamaica Bauxite Institute. Deep craters must be refilled and the miners must restore the land by placing at least six inches of top soil in mined-out areas.
But the residents of Dry Harbour Mountains complained that the company has not been strictly adhering to the land reclamation requirement.
At Down Lodge a huge crater remained unfilled and although sections of the land have been replanted with grass and cassava, other sections are bare and limestone is visible.
This reporter took at least 100 steps before reaching the base of the crater.
"This can't be right. They have ravaged the land, gone with all the precious nutrients and have left some dust on top of stone," Lawrence said, shaking his head slowly.
While some land had been sold to big money interests decades ago, other residents sold their land to the bauxite miners only recently.
Alvin Hall of Stepney is one such former land owner.
Hall lives in a modest dwelling perched on a mound bordered by a deep crater on one side and another plot of land which is being mined on the other side.
Hall said he sold his land and will be relocated by the company to another section of the island that has already been mined.
The Sunday Observer saw tractors and other heavy equipment being used to load tonnes of red dirt in the backs of tipper trucks as Hall's two sons romped on the little space that was left of their once-sprawling yard.
The mining was taking place almost 30 feet from his house.
Hall said he had signed a deal with Noranda in which the company promised not to disturb a family plot where the remains of his ancestors rested.
Less than 30 feet to the back of his house is a gaping crater stretching for more than 200 metres.
The residents have also complained that the miners have been filling sinkholes in the area, placing them at risk of flooding during heavy rains.
Sinkholes, which are found in many rural communities, are nature's way of providing drainage for rainwater to flow into rivers and eventually the sea.
Janet Smith, a respected resident of Sterling district, was critical of bauxite mining, claiming that it brought more problems than good to communities.
"It has destroyed the topography of many farming communities in the Dry Harbour Mountains. We do not need bauxite mining," she said. "They leave huge craters everywhere they mine and they don't seem to care that people's lives are being turned upside down. The land cannot be farmed after it is mined out. The dust and noise are hazards. This is wrong."

Government fixing IMF hitch
Go Jamaica - 07-Oct-2011
Prime Minister Bruce Golding is reporting that the Jamaica Government is now closer to divesting its shares in Clarendon Alumina Production.(CAP)
The divestment is a key commitment the Jamaica Government made in the Stand-by agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Golding provided the update in a statement today as pressure continue to mount for the administration to provide information on the status of the IMF deal.
According to Golding, the negotiation for the sale of the Government’s stake in CAP is now in the final stage.
He says the negotiating team is expected to return to Jamaica this weekend with a draft agreement.
Aluminium Giant UC Rusal has linked its planned re-opening of the Kirkvine alumina plant in Manchester to being allowed to purchase the government's 45 per cent stake in Jamalco, which is held through CAP.
The partnership has not been beneficial because of a forward sales contract signed in 2002 to provide the Government with money upfront while guaranteeing future alumina sales at a set price.
So even though alumina price has now increased on the world market the Government has to provide the alumina at the set price which is much lower than the global benchmark.
This has cost the country $12 billion since 2001 and will cost another $15 billion by the time it ends in 2013.
Golding says the performance for this fiscal year is broadly on track.
But he says there are challenges that must be addressed in order to achieve the medium term targets through to 2015/2016
Golding says they include the provision for the payment of the 7 per cent salary increase to public sector workers plus retroactive for 2009 to 2011.
A provision also has to be made for payments ordered by the court or arbitration panels relating to Cricket World Cup 2007, the construction of the North Coast Highway and the revocation of the JUTC bus franchise.
Only last Friday the Court of Appeal ruled that the Government should pay $1.8 billion plus interest to the National Co-operative Transport Society arising from the revocation of the bus franchise in 1998.
Golding says Jamaica’s fulfilment of the IMF programme also means the Government must ensure that future wage adjustments do not push the wage-to-GDP ratio above 9 per cent of by 2015/16.
In addition there are certain crucial policy initiatives like tax reform including a cut in the granting of discretionary waivers.
It’s why Golding says the Government continues to hold discussions with Jamaica’s multilateral partners.
According to the Prime Minister the talks relate to the necessary actions to capitalise on the gains made in fiscal management.
Golding says he met with the technical officers yesterday who are to report to him, finance minister Shaw and Prime Minister Designate Andrew Holness on Monday.
Shaw was not at the meeting yesterday because he had to rush his infant daughter for specialist treatment abroad.

Global Alumina, partners agree to additional funding for West Africa project - 07-Oct-2011TORONTO - Global Alumina Corp. (TSX:GLA.U) says it will responsible for one-third of $4.1 million in additional project
funding that has been approved for development of an alumina refinery, mine and infrastructure in Guinea, West Africa.
The joint venture board had previously approved $768.7 million of cumulative funding through September, including $755.4 million that had been spent by the end of August.
The additional funds will cover the month of October.
The project is jointly owned by Global Alumina, which is a Canadian-listed company focused on the Guinea project, along with Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton, Dubai Aluminum Co. Ltd. and Mubadala Development Co. PJSC.
The goal is to develop an alumina refinery capable of processing 3.6 million tonnes per year.

Century Aluminum has the Highest EPS Growth in the Aluminum Industry (CENX ...
Financial News Network Online - 06-Oct-2011
Below are the three companies in the Aluminum industry with the highest year-over-year expected earnings per share (EPS) growth rates. The long-term growth rate is the expected annual increase in operating EPS over the next three to five years.

Century Aluminum (NASDAQ:CENX) is highest with EPS growth of 2.2. Century Aluminum Company produces primary aluminum, in both molten and ingot form, through facilities located in the United States. The Company owns and operates a reduction facility in Ravenswood, West Virginia, and owns a partial interest in a reduction facility in Mt. Holly, South Carolina. Century is also the operating partner of a reduction facility in Hawesville, Kentucky.Century Aluminum share prices have moved between a 52-week high of $20.76 and a 52-week low of $7.25 and closed yesterday at 24% above that low price at $8.98 per share. The 200-day and 50-day moving averages have moved 0.78% lower and 3.17% lower over the past week, respectively.

Following is
Alumina (NYSE:AWC) with EPS growth of 1.6.
Potential upside of 52.8% exists for Alumina, based on a current level of $5.89 and analysts' average consensus price target of $9.00. The stock should run into initial resistance at its 50-day moving average (MA) of $7.09 and subsequent resistance at its 200-day MA of $9.05.

Finishing up the top three is Alcoa (NYSE:AA), with EPS growth of 1.5. Yesterday, Alcoa traded 42.4 million shares vs. average volume of 27.8 million shares per day. The stock outperformed the Dow (2.7% to the Dow's 1.2%) and outperformed the S&P 500 (2.7% to the S&P's 1.8%) during yesterday's trading.

China gains in aluminum field
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - 06-Oct-2011
China uses clumsy and expensive methods to extract the raw material for aluminum in underground mines, Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said Wednesday.
Yet the Asian nation manages to produce about 40 percent of the world's aluminum and plans to produce more by mining from the surface, a more efficient method.
"The question is, are they serious about it, or is it just talk," Kleinfeld told an audience of 80 people at a World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh program at the Duquesne Club, Downtown.
If China, a nation of about 1.3 billion people, is serious, it will change the aluminum industry, said Kleinfeld, who became CEO of Alcoa, the nation's largest aluminum producer, in 2008.
Kleinfeld, a regular visitor to China, said it also consumes about 40 percent of the world's aluminum.
Aluminum prices have declined to levels that should affect output, particularly in China, an analyst at Dalman Rose & Co. said this week. Alcoa reports third-quarter results on Tuesday.
Kleinfeld said China's method of extracting bauxite, aluminum's raw material, is through underground mining, which is an unsustainable method.
China's new five-year plan includes mining bauxite from the surface, then reclaiming the land, which is a more efficient and sustainable method, he said. The nation, whose economic output has been growing at about 9 percent a year, is planning for an average 7 percent growth track over five years, which will incorporate similar sustainable practices, he said.
He said the nation is able to maintain its high economic growth rate because of its massive investments in infrastructure, increased urbanization and rapidly growing middle class.
Alcoa operates in 31 countries at more than 200 locations, including China, where it has invested more than $700 million in that nation's aluminum industry. More than 1,000 of Alcoa's 59,000 employees work at a half-dozen facilities in China. The company employs 1,930 in Western Pennsylvania.

Dross recycling plant opens at Tiwai
The Southland Times - 06-Oct-2011
A Bahrain-based company wants to expand its dross recycling operations throughout the world after opening a multimillion-dollar factory at Tiwai Point yesterday.
Construction of the Taha Asia Pacific recycling plant began this year at New Zealand Aluminium Smelters and was officially opened yesterday with a ceremony and Maori blessing.
The plant recycles aluminium dross – the waste byproduct of the smelting process – and the 40,000-odd tonnes stored in landfills at Tiwai.
Taha Asia Pacific's parent company Taha International managing director Frank Pollmann said a similar plant had been running in Bahrain for the past seven years, but the Tiwai one was its first overseas and he hoped to expand from there.
Mr Pollmann said the corporation was already in talks with a rolling mill in Soha, Oman, which he hoped to begin construction on next year, while it was also bidding to process dross in Aust-ralia.
The plant at Tiwai had been expected to cost $5 million to build, but cost "well in excess" of that, he said.
He declined to say how much it had cost.
Meanwhile, Taha Asia Pacific general manager Mark Egginton said the company employed 22 people to process the dross but that number was expected to rise to about 30 as it increased production.
Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said he was delighted to have a dross recycling plant in Southland after the problems dross had caused in the past.
About 10,000 tonnes was discovered stockpiled by Haysom Metal Industries in a warehouse at Bluff in 1991 after it shut down suddenly and created widespread public concern about potential health effects.
It was later moved to the landfill at Tiwai, having been found to pose little risk to human health, but since then new dross has been shipped to Australia for recycling.
The metal recovered through the recycling process will be returned to the smelter and the rest is used in the manufacture of phosphate fertiliser.
Taha is setting up the fertiliser plant in Invercargill and hopes to have it completed in late November, with a goal of producing about 160,000 tonnes of fertiliser.
Dross, the byproduct of the aluminium smelting process, is delivered to the plant from the smelter and is transported into a crusher where it is broken down.
Wet dross from the smelter's landfill is dried first the dross is then worked through a machine to separate it from the metal the metal is returned to the smelter to be reused and the rest is stored to be used to make fertiliser the rest of the details of the process are confidential.

Venezuela's Heavy Industry Faces Multiple Woes
Inter Press Service - 05-Oct-2011
CIUDAD GUAYANA, Venezuela, Oct 5, 2011 (IPS) - Like the biblical plagues of Egypt, 10 calamities have fallen in recent years on the previously flourishing basic industries of northeastern Venezuela, such as iron and steel, aluminium and hydroelectricity.
Lack of investment, the collapse of product prices, technological obsolescence, power failures, shortage of supplies, patronage, corruption, debt, a backlog in workers' wages and benefits, and environmental degradation are the problems most frequently raised by trade unionists, business owners and analysts.
As a result, the plight of state-owned heavy industry puts a spanner in the works of the private sector, social and labour conflicts are on the increase, and hopes for a diversified economy, overcoming dependency on oil, are fading away in this region bordering Guyana, and Brazil farther south.
"Nearly all the basic industries have the same problems: supplies, spare parts and equipment fail to arrive, paralysing production lines; payrolls are padded, labour agreements are violated and the executives who run them play politics but do not manage competently," steelworkers' union leader José Jiménez complained to a group of foreign correspondents visiting the area, including IPS.
In the aluminium industry, "production is crashing, together with the work ethic, while schools to supposedly teach Marxism to the workers are mushrooming," said aluminium union leader José Luis Morocoima, who is recovering from a bullet wound to the head he sustained in a labour conflict in May.
"The fall in production in state-owned basic industries has led to the closure of 162 out of 310 factories in the sector. In those that remain, use of installed capacity is less than 40 percent," said the president of the regional Chamber of Industry and Mining, Fernando Goyenechea.
Analyst Damián Prat, who has been following the history of this sector for the past 30 years, said "the decline in production began in 2005, and the common denominator has been falling investment and maintenance, payroll expansion and corruption."
The group of heavy industry companies in the region of Guayana developed in the last four decades of the 20th century around the confluence of the Orinoco and Caroní rivers, about 550 km southeast of Caracas.
The idea was to take advantage of the area's enormous potential in iron, bauxite, precious metals and other minerals, hydroelectricity, forest resources and tourism based on stunning scenery, like plunging waterfalls and flat-topped mountains.
A system of dams was built in the lower Caroní river, which is 900 km long with an average flow rate of 5,000 cubic metres per second. The outflow from an artificial lake, the Guri, covering 4,000 square km, drives hydroelectric turbines in three power plants with an installed capacity of 12,500 megawatts. A fourth is being built, although it is behind schedule.
The main dam on Guri lake feeds 20 turbines with a capacity of 10,000 megawatts; 14 turbines are in operation while the others are shut down or undergoing repairs, the correspondents found.
The availability of electricity drove the installation of Siderúrgica del Orinoco (SIDOR), a steel company that was originally state-owned, then sold in 1997 to the Ternium Group, belonging to the Argentine consortium Techint, and nationalised again in 2008.
In the latter years of the last decade, while it was still owned by Ternium and employed 5,000 workers, SIDOR produced 4.3 million tonnes of steel annually. In contrast, with twice the workforce, it has only produced 2.1 million tonnes so far in 2011 and is forecast to reach 2.6 million tonnes by the end of the year.
SIDOR is supplied by Ferrominera Orinoco, which mines iron ore in the area and sells it as iron ore, pellets and briquettes. From its past record of 20 million tonnes per year, Ferrominera's production fell last year to 13 million tonnes, according to the head of the trade union at the company, Rubén González.
Some six billion tonnes of bauxite (aluminium ore) reserves in the Orinoco river valley gave rise to the alumina and primary aluminium metal industry, and the foundation of the ALCASA and Venezolana de Aluminio (VENALUM) companies, with a joint nominal production capacity of over 600,000 tonnes a year.
Related industries like the Carbonorca company which makes carbon anodes for aluminium smelters, and FESILVEN which produces special alloys for the steel industry, have also grown up in the area. All these companies, according to reports from trade unionists and private business owners, are currently experiencing steep declines in production, taking on excess employees, and suffering from lack of investment, technological backwardness and shortage of materials.
At Carbonorca, "the workforce was increased from 470 employees to 700, for political reasons. Many of these people do not even have a chair to sit on, or they spend hours playing computer games, but many others keep working hard, producing the anodes that help our fellow workers at ALCASA to keep their production line going," said union representative Emilio Campos.
While debate continues over what should have been done and how much should have been invested in these Guayana companies, there was a severe drought in 2009-2010 which led to enforced power rationing and obliged firms like VENALUM to shut down half its electrolysis cells, in order to spare entire cities in the north of the country from power outages.
Power consumption at VENALUM "is 800 megawatt-hours, half of what Caracas (with its five million people) uses, and we had to shut down more than 400 out of our 905 electrolysis cells. In 2008 we produced 439,000 tonnes of aluminium, but output fell to 258,000 tonnes in 2010," Rada Gamluch, the company's "worker-president", told the journalists.
"The Socialist Guayana Plan that we are putting into practice aims for the gradual recovery of VENALUM, with a production target of 270,000 tonnes for this year, 300,000 next year and over 400,000 tonnes in 2014," Gamluch announced.
According to his calculations, an injection of 400 million dollars from state coffers would allow payment of the money owed to workers and suppliers, as well as paying VENALUM's overdue power bills from the state electricity company, which go back two years.
But Prat, the analyst, said "VENALUM's decline began even before the electricity crisis." In 2004 it reported net profits of 60 million dollars although aluminium was only worth 1,500 dollars a tonne, yet it made a loss in 2006, when international prices rose above 2,500 dollars a tonne, although it produced similar amounts of the metal in both years.
Bad management and heavy politicisation were to blame for these problems, according to critics. Wages were increased, apparently for electoral reasons, and there was also proselytism by the ruling party and corruption, they say.
Several sources mentioned the possible abuse of mandatory quotas - proportions of production - reserved for national producers, which some middlemen allocate abroad in order to profit from the difference in exchange rates. Venezuela has rigid exchange, price and tariff controls.
Labour conflicts are the order of the day, mainly sparked by delayed payment of workers' wages, in a context where basic industry companies have 45,000 employees but could operate with 12,000, according to Goyenechea.
The companies have also been the scenario of a great deal of violence, which dogs labour and trade union activity in the construction sector in Guayana.
And environmental protection has been lax, especially in the aluminium smelters.
To set the firms back on their feet, the centrist opposition party Un Nuevo Tiempo (A New Era) proposed in February - without success - a bill to create a 3.1 billion dollar fund. Goyenechea estimated that recovery of the basic industry companies and further development of local natural resources would take at least twice that amount.
The military dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez (1948-1958), the two-party democracy that reigned from 1958 to 1998, and the "Bolivarian socialism" instituted by President Hugo Chávez since 1999, have all shared a vision of a promising, bright future for the Guayana region in the northeast and southeast and its industries. It is still a long way off.

Nalco in $4.5 billion aluminium smelter and power plant JV in Indonesia
domain-B - 04-Oct-2011
National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco) will invest around $4.5 billion to set up a 4.5 million tonne aluminium smelter and a 1250 MW coal-based power plant in Indonesia's East Kalimantan province.
Nalco today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of East Kalimantan Province of Indonesia to provide technical cooperation for the two projects.
Nalco executive director P K Mohaptra and the governor of East Kalimantan, Awang Faroek signed the MoU on the two projects in the presence of visiting commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma and the Indonesian trade minister Mari Elka Pangestu.
Under the MoU, state-owned Nalco will set up a joint venture with local coalmines, in which Nalco will hold a majority 75 per cent stake and a local firm the remaining 25 per cent.
The project is expected to be completed in four years. Nalaco will secure raw material for the aluminium smelter project from its India operations while local participant in Indonesia will ensure regular supply of coal for the projects.
Sharma, who is leading a delegation of senior government officials and industry body CII to Indonesia, held a number of meetings with key ministers in Indonesia.
Indian business houses, including the Tatas, Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group and the Adani Group, have invested a total of around $20 billion in sectors like steel, power and coal in Indonesia.

Eco jobs hope over aluminium site
BBC News - 05-Oct-2011
There is hope of a jobs boost when the new owner of the Anglesey Aluminium site is announced on Wednesday.
It aims to set up an eco park made up of businesses using waste energy given off by a biomass power station, BBC Wales understands.
It is thought the firm intends to employ up to 500 workers in the long term.
The smelting company closed its works at Holyhead two years ago with the loss of nearly 400 jobs.
The Anglesey Aluminium site has been on the market with offers invited in the region of £10m.
Anglesey Aluminium's owners Rio Tinto, the Welsh government and Anglesey council have all had a say during the competitive process.
The preferred bidder chosen during that process is due to be announced later.
Last month, the UK government gave approval for a biomass power station on the site. About 100 full-time staff will be employed when it is operational.
It is understood that the new site owner aims to harness waste heat and water from that process, to use in other businesses on the site.
There are hopes that, long term, the new operation will create at least as many jobs as were lost when the aluminium plant closed.

LME WEEK: Rio Tinto Alcan: Rising Energy Prices Will Push Up Aluminum Costs
Fox Business - 04-Oct-2011
LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Rising electricity prices pose a challenge for the global aluminum industry as the cost of aluminum production continues to climb, Gordon Hamilton, a vice president of sales and marketing at aluminum maker Rio Tinto Alcan, said Tuesday.
Aluminum production is a very energy intensive process, where electricity cost can outweigh the cost of raw materials.
"It's certainly not going to get any easier" to find cheap power supply in the future, Hamilton said at an LME Week event in London.
As energy costs go up in China and other countries where power generation is relatively cheap, "we are likely to see a continual steepening of the industry cost curve," Hamilton said.
Aluminum is a light weight but sturdy metal that is widely used in food packaging, electronics, automotive production and construction among other applications.
Rio Tinto Alcan is one of the largest producers of the light weight metal.
Copyright © 2011 Dow Jones Newswires

Emal begins work on phase 2 development
Trade Arabia - 04-Oct-2011
Emirates Aluminium (Emal), a leading single site aluminium smelter complex, recently held a symbolic ground breaking of its Phase Two development in the $4.5 billion expansion.
The ceremony marked the start of construction of the Al Taweelah smelter’s second phase, with completion and full production planned to be reached in little more than two years. This will boost Emal’s total production capacity to around 1.3 million metric tonnes by the end of 2014.
Phase One was completed ahead of time and to budget, and has been making its mark as both a cornerstone project of the UAE’s 2030 Vision, and a major new force in the global aluminium market supplying 280 customers in 36 countries with high quality aluminium.
Emal Phase Two will include the addition of a new potline and will result in the world’s longest ever single smelting line.
“As an equal joint venture between Mubadala and Dubal, Emal embodies the united stance of the Emirates to diversify the UAE’s economy away from a dependence on oil and gas, for the benefit of present and future generations of the Emirati people,” said Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, president and CEO of Emal.
“When complete, Emal will take its place as the largest and most advanced single-site producers of primary aluminium in the world, and one of the leading contributors to deliver a stable and prosperous Emirati future.”
“We have achieved our successes through the dedication of our shareholders, employees, suppliers, and contractors, which has delivered the confidence to continue our endeavour with the construction of Phase Two,” Al Mazrooei continued.
“The lessons, experience, locally developed technologies, and exceptional achievements that have characterised this landmark project will ensure that we meet the increased international demand for aluminium by reaching full production of Phase Two by 2014,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service

Privatisation was only option for bauxite industry under IMF ...
NCN Guyana - 04-Oct-2011
The rationale behind Government’s move to privatise the bauxite industry was explained in detail to the court by Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS) Dr. Roger Luncheon, chief witness in President Bharrat Jagdeo’s libel case against Freddie Kissoon and the Kaieteur News.
Defence lawyer Nigel Hughes in his cross examination of Dr. Luncheon at a previous hearing, had asked about the capital investments in the sugar industry as opposed to privatization in the bauxite industry. The questions were rehashed by lawyer for the plaintiff Anil Nandlall who continued his re-examination of Dr. Luncheon today but, was met with objections from Hughes on the grounds that privatization and capital investment were dealt with separately.
Allowed a response, Dr. Luncheon said while the sugar industry up to the 2000s had proven to be profitable, bauxite operations in Linden and Berbice were quite the opposite even as there continued to be a considerable budgetary outlay on an annual basis and, this was long before the plaintiff assumed the presidency. Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon, plaintiff’s lawyer, Anil Nandlall and Ministers Robeson Benn and Priya Manickchand after court adjourned on October 3. He made reference to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) programme that imposed conditionality for cessation of public funds to the bauxite industry (LINMINE and BERMINE) as a prerequisite to the debt recovery process.
“If we didn’t execute the IMF agreement we would have had no debt agreement and debt relief donors would not do so without an IMF agreement,” Dr. Luncheon explained. For want of capital, the bauxite industry was inevitably exposed to privatisation which Dr. Luncheon said turned out to be successful and, helped the bauxite industry to acquire investments that exceeded the amount acquired for the Skeldon project. The IMF programme was inherited by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) when it took office in 1992 according President Jagdeo who at the launch of GuyExpo on September 29, noted that Guyana is no longer dependent on such a programme.
“The IMF was invited into Guyana when our country became bankrupt… un-credit worthy (and) we could not pay our bills and we worked our way out of that programme. Today, we do not have an IMF programme when quite a few countries in our region are contemplating getting into a one because of their balance of payment and other difficulties,” President Jagdeo said.
Privatisation policy
Dr. Luncheon also explained the main components of Government’s privatization policy executed by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) to dispose of Government properties, an issue that arose from the cross-examination by Hughes. Hughes objected to the question and plaintiff’s lawyer, Nandlall reminded that he (Hughes) had raised this matter in his line of questioning. The question was subsequently allowed by the judge.
The HPS said that the privatisation unit, working in conjunction with NICIL applied several considerations in the disposal of Government’s assets; these include identification of a ‘privatisable’ entity (one that is deemed unprofitable and had to be subsidised), an entity that needed investment to maintain market presence, and entities that are not strategic and where privatisation would not lead to an unacceptable impact on the national economy. Dr. Luncheon assured that the privatisation process is publicly carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Procurement Act. He explained that a market valuation is done of the assets and positive recommendations from the privatisation board are taken to Cabinet for consideration. Once approved, a public tendering process follows.
This includes an advertisement published inviting bidders to bid for the property at market price. Nandlall then asked how the transaction with regards to disposal of several properties was carried out including for a property to Roraima Airways, Queens Atlantic, National Hardware, Precision Woodworking, John Fernandes Ltd, Farouk Feroze and Roraima Airways. With respect to Roraima Airways, the HPS explained that Cabinet approved for that particular property to be disposed of by sale and a public tender ensued, attracting four tenders all of which were evaluated and Gerry Gouveia was deemed one of the most responsive bidders and was sold the property after negotiations.
The decision was largely influenced by the fact that Roraima Airways owned and operated a business that was adjacent to the property that was sold. On the issue of assets that were acquired by Precision Woodworking, owned by the Bulkan family (another issue that came out in the cross-examination), the HPS said that market valuations were done for all leased properties at the Ruimveldt estate. The lease hold properties were in existence for a long time and they were reviewed and redone and rent adjusted to reflect current market values and in each of these, a clause was put in giving the lessee the option to purchase at market value. Most of these lessees refer to above exercised the option to purchase and NICIL carried out the transactions. Leases were then renewed and in some instances, entities were given the option to buy.
With regards to property acquired by Queens Atlantic, the HPS said that it was leased to a Chinese firm by Sanata Textiles Limited. The lease was subsequently abandoned and despite re-advertisement the asset remained without uptake. NICIL then offered a direct negotiation on conditions under which a new lease could be made for the assets. On this basis, Queens Atlantic acquired a lease with an option to buy once the conditions under which the lease was granted were implemented by the purchaser. These conditions included certain development to the property. Subsequently, over a period of three to four years, those conditions were met and the company exercised its option to buy.
Nandlall also re-examined the issue of the 103.88 acres acquired by National Hardware Limited in Liliendaal. Dr. Luncheon said that a public tender was carried out and the most competitive bidder based on the current price per acreage in that specific area was awarded the property. Nandlall then asked the HPS if in his capacity as Director of NICIL, any asset was purchased by any person of African descent under Government’s privatisation policy other than Standford Soloman, previously mentioned during the cross-examination. Dr. Luncheon responded that NICIL sold property located immediately North at the corner of Holmes and Main Street, Georgetown to Victor Greene.

NALCO to attain full aluminum production level by October
SteelGuru - 04-Oct-2011
With coal supply well on the path of recovery, National Aluminum Company Limited announced that it was all set to achieve full production levels by the end of October.
Mr BL Bagra CMD of Nalco said that the aluminum major has started rebuilding on production stock as supplies have resumed from Bharatpur mines of the Mahanadi Coalfields Limited. We expect to restart all 60 pots that were closed on account of the coal supply crisis in October.
The PSU had earlier this month placed an import order for 200,000 tonne of coal as supply dipped to 7,400 tonne per day against a requirement of 12,000 tonne causing a loss of at least 1 crore per day. It was also forced to source about 300 MW of power from the State Grid to operate the smelter. With resumption of coal supply, the power drawl from State Grid has come down to 50 MW at present and will come down to nil soon.”
(Sourced from

VHE to Install Billet Homogenising Equipment at Rio Tinto Alcan's ISAL Smelter - 03-Oct-2011
VHE of Iceland has been awarded the contract to install Billet Homogenising Equipment at Rio Tinto Alcan's ISAL smelter at Straumsvík, Iceland.
The equipment, supplied by Hertwich Engineering of Germany, comprises three ultrasonic inspection stations, three electrically heated continuous homogenising and cooling facilities and
two packaging stations.
Hertwich awarded the installation contract to VHE after inviting tenders from suitably qualified installation contractors. The work, which involves more than 20 of VHE's skilled staff, began in mid-summer 2011 and is scheduled for completion in February 2012.
This installation is a part of Rio Tinto Alcan Iceland's smelter upgrade project, the ISAL Production Upgrade - or IPU - at the Straumsvik smelter. The casthouse production capacity will total 230.000 tpy of billets in diameters ranging from 178 mm to 254 mm, strengthening Rio Tinto Alcan Iceland's market position as supplier of high-quality billets in Northern Europe.

Teejan Group to facilitate construct the biggest downstream aluminium olant in ...
AME Info - 02-Oct-2011
Committed to its vision of building quality projects for the future, Teejan Group of Companies will be the sub contractor for the biggest downstream aluminum plant in the country. To ensure excellence and provide expertise for this project Teejan Trading and Contracting Company, the flagship company of the Teejan Group has been chosen by FATA EPC.
The agreement between the two companies was signed recently at a ceremony held at Grand Hyatt, Muscat. On behalf of Teejan Group, Mr. Fawzi Hamad Al Harrasi, Executive Director of the Group, signed the accord with Mr. Anthony Tropeano, CEO of FATA EPC.
Also present on the occasion was Mr. Hamad Al Harrasi Chairman of the Board of Directors, Teejan Group. Addressing the audience on the occasion he said, "We are pleased to be chosen to sign this agreement by FATA EPC, one of the largest Italian companies having expertise in projects relating to aluminum manufacturing."
He briefed about the latest ventures of the Teejan Group and the expansion of the company's work beyond the boundaries of Sultanate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and UAE.
He mentioned of the infrastructure development projects undertaken by Teejan in many areas such as health care, education, commercial and industrial all over the Sultanate. Present also at the ceremony was the Chairman of FATA S.p.A., Mr. Ignazio Moncada.
Mr. Anthony Tropeano, CEO of FATA EPC said, "We are happy to sign the agreement with Teejan as they are one of the most reputed groups in Oman and having notable history of more than three decades. It is a quantum leap forward for us as it is a major project and it will provide significant employment opportunities to the Omani citizens."
FATA EPC is a division of FATA S.p.A. (a Finmeccanica Company), located in Turin - Italy. It is a leading EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) company operating in various industrial sectors, including metals, power and oil & gas. We also have operations in Qatar, and we are working for various projects in North America, Africa and the Far East as well.
Teejan Trading & Contracting Company has diverse strategic business divisions including Civil Engineering, Fire Fighting Safety & Security Engineering, Electro-Mechanical Engineering, Laboratory Engineering, Water & Waste-water Engineering and Environmental Engineering.

S. Arabian bauxite to boost Gulf aluminium production
Oman Tribune - 01-Oct-2011
MUSCAT Aluminium production in the GCC will soon get a shot in the arm, thanks to the availability of bauxite from Saudi Arabia.
At present, GCC producers source the ore from countries such as Australia, a senior official at Sohar Aluminium told Oman Tribune.
“The GCC states currently produce 3.5 million tonnes of aluminium annually and it will soon produce an estimated 25 per cent of the world production,” said Hilal Al Hinai General Manager, commercial and corporate affairs, at Sohar Aluminium.
“The aluminium project by Ma’aden, a Saudi Arabian mining company, is aimed at exploiting the kingdom’s bauxite resources for domestic and world markets,” Hinai said.
Al Hinai was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference announcing the Arab International Aluminium (Arabal) conference to be held in Oman for the first time in November.
Saudi Arabia’s aluminium project involves the development, design, construction and operation of two integrated sites Al Ba’itha in North Eastern Saudi Arabia and Ras Al Khair on the Arabian Gulf coast.
The Al Baitha site, which consists of a bauxite mine and ore handling facilities in north-eastern Saudi Arabia, expects production at a mining rate of 4 million tonnes per annum of bauxite for over 30 years, according to the Ma’aden website.
The Ras Al Khair site is proposed to be used for the construction of the alumina refinery, aluminium smelter, rolling mill and related infrastructure for the Aluminium Complex.
Bauxite ore transported by rail to Ras Al Khair will be refined to produce 1.8 million mtpy of alumina, which will in turn be processed to produce 740,000 million tones per year of aluminium.
The rolling mill with initial hot-mill capacity of between 250,000 and 460,000 million tonnes per year will focus initially on the production of sheet, end and tab stock for the manufacture of cans and other products, the website added.
The aluminium smelters of the Gulf, including Sohar Aluminium are making a major contribution to the GDP of their countries, creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs, providing skilled, well paid careers for individuals, Hinai said.
Most of the aluminium produced in the Gulf goes to industrialised countries of the world where there is high demand, Hinai added, and said that in Oman, around 60 per cent of the aluminium produced goes to downstream industries.
The theme of this year’s Arabal is ‘Global Challenges for sustainable growth and the role of the Gulf smelters.’ It will take place from November 14-16 at Grand Hyatt
The conference will focus on options for power generation in production; future expansions in the GCC; raw material supply chains for the Gulf’s smelters; recycling initiatives and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Around 400 delegates from the GCC are expected to participate.