AluNews - March 2012

Potlines freeze up at BHP's S. Africa aluminium smelter

Aerican Metal Market - Friday, 30 Mar 2012

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Talks continue between Smelter Asia and SEB for supply of power

The Borneo Post, 31st March 2012

Smelter Asia Sdn Bhd’s (Smelter Asia) proposed 370,000-tonne smelter is set to boost the infrastructure sector in the future as news circulated on the company’s negotiations with Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) for the supply of power.
“The negotiation between the two party is for the supply of power in excess of 600 megawatts for the development of an aluminium smelter in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu. We gather that negotiations are still ongoing although it is uncertain at this juncture how long the talks would continue,” AmResearch Sdn Bhd (AmResearch)
The research house explained that Smelter Asia was a joint venture between Gulf International Investment Group Holdings Sdn Bhd (GIIG) and Aluminium Corp of China (Chalco). Both parties inked a pact last April to jointly construct a US$1.6 billion (RM5 billion) aluminium smelting plant with an annual capacity of 370,000 tonnes.
According to the report, the proposed new smelter would be almost of a similar capacity as Press Metal Bhd’s (Press Metal) facilities which was said to be of 240,000-tonne capacity. The latter’s facility was expected to commence operation by the end of the third quarter this year.
“The reported US$1.6 billion valuation for the Smelter Asia facility is higher than our estimate of US$900 million for both of Press Metal’s facilities in Mukah and Samalaju combined,” highlighted AmResearch.
The latest development followed an announcement by Sarawak Aluminium Co to call off its plans to build a RM7 billion smelter after it failed to strike a deal to purchase electricity from SEB. AmResearch understood that the negotiated power tariff was for the supply of 750 megawatt for the project.
“We maintain our view that Press Metal has already stolen a march over its rivals as Phase 2A of its Samalaju smelter is targeted for commissioning by September, followed by Phase 2B in mid 2013,” the research house said.
Press Metal was among four pioneer investors that had already secured long-term power supply agreements with SEB at attractive rates. Its Samalaju smelter was expected to take in 480 megawatt of power, adding to the estimated 200 megawatt it already received in Mukah.
The research house gathered that it would take two to three years for any new start ups, including Smelter Asia, to commence operations.
AmResearch continued to like Press Metal for its strategic transformation into the largest integrated producer of Aluminium products within Asean as the stock was only trading at financial year 2012 to 2014 forecast price earnings of six times to ten times against robust earnings per share compound annual growth rate of 23 per cent.

Study recommends government policy on mining

Vibe Ghana - 30th March 2012

A study into the mining of bauxite in Ghana has recommended government policy that makes it mandatory for foreign companies that want to mine the resource to establish a refinery plant.
This would help maximise the potential in the sector.
It said while most foreign companies that had held equity stake in the past came on the promise of establishing a bauxite refinery plant in the country, they ended up exporting the raw product to their refinery plants abroad to the detriment of the local economy. The one year long study was commissioned by the Third World Network, a civil society organisation to examine the socio-economic as well as environmental impact of bauxite mining in Ghana.
The key objectives of the study were to highlight the debate and draw public attention to the potential contribution of bulk minerals to the socio-economic development of Ghana and determine their economic contribution as well as social and environmental impacts. It examined the environmental impacts of mining activities within the catchment communities of Ghana Bauxite Company (GBC), the real and potential contribution of the bauxite sector to the economy in terms of employment figures, technology transfer, government revenue (royalty payment, taxes and duties over the last 10 years or so), and overall Gross Domestic Product as well as forward and backward linkages (real and potential) to other sectors of the economy. Mr Sampson Atiemo, a research scientist, who presented the findings at a media briefing, said there was general dissatisfaction among the chiefs and people in communities within the catchment area of the company.
The catchment communities of GBC are Awaso, Asempanaye, Atronsu, Subri and Chirano He said although the provision of some social infrastructure had been done on cost sharing basis, the communities had in reality been denied some livelihood opportunities such as water and farm lands.
Majority of sampled population who are about 65 per cent held the view that the mining operation had degraded and deprived them of their farm lands.
Besides, payment of royalties to communities within the catchment area has not been forthright.
Apart from Awaso, none of the communities were aware of payment of mining royalties. Some community members including some current and past workers of GBC opined that people who either knowingly or unknowingly farm on idle lands of the company gets their farms destroyed without prior information.
On the environment, Mr Atiemo said the results revealed extremely high concentration of elements such as silicon, manganese and iron, among others in the sediment.
“An aggregate of all the elements showed that the River Awa contain the most polluted sediment,” he said.
He said River Subri is also suffering mainly from legacy mining since the old Kanayerebo mine was located near the water body.
He said the analysis of water quality also indicated very high pollution of the rivers in the area, saying that River Awa, which is the main source of drinking water is at the brink of complete siltation.
This can be attributed to tapping at the head source to supply drinking water to the staff of the company at Kanayerebo and damming to provide water for bauxite washing thus reducing the volume of water available to the river.
In addition, uncontrolled release of leached water from the bauxite washing plant and the vehicle maintenance workshop had led to piles of bauxite mud in the river Awa as well as flooding of hitherto farm lands leading to agitation among some community members.
Also, dumping of iron-rich rocks and piles of mined bauxite at the edges of Ichiniso mountain during down pour the run-off would enter the river.
Water bodies especially River Awa has been inundated by the activities of GBC.
The management of effluent from the washing plant has led to extreme siltation and contamination of surface waters within the catchment area. Mr Atiemo said the study also revealed poor monitoring of GBC by both the Environment Protection Agency and the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission, adding that a thorough monitoring of the company would have averted the siltation of the Awa river. “In view of the high level of contamination observed in the Awa river, we recommend an immediate clean up of the River and urgent steps to be taken to prevent future occurrence,” he said.
Production of bauxite has fluctuated over the years- from 2000 to 2008 (430,000 tons to approximately 800,000.00 tons while export earnings went from $ 13 million to about $18 million. GNA

Kaiser Aluminum's Trentwood mill gets major upgrades

Spokane Journal of Business - 29th March 2012

As part of an effort to ensure it remains a competitive player in the growing global aerospace industry, Kaiser Aluminum Corp. is making ongoing investments to improve the efficiency and capacity of its Spokane Valley Trentwood Works plant that will total $160 million when completed later this year.
Trentwood plant manager Scott Endres says Kaiser began installing new equipment at the aluminum rolling mill here in 2005 as part of a broader $250 million companywide strategic investm...

Angola bides time in unstable Guinea-Bissau

Business Day - 27th March 2012

Angola Bauxite offices in Guinea-Bissau empty, few signs of activity meant to result in creation of deepwater port at Buba and mine
ANGOLA’s $500m plan to build a bauxite mine and deepwater port in Guinea-Bissau has stalled, with almost no work done since the project was officially inaugurated in July last year, officials said yesterday.
The project, first signalled by Angola in 2008 after it won rights to a mining concession in the southeastern Boe region, would be the single biggest foreign investment in Guinea-Bissau, an impoverished country plagued by turmoil since independence and whose main export is cashew nuts.
Guinea-Bissau’s former prime minister, Carlos Gomes Jr, who stepped down to run for president in continuing elections, said the construction of the port and mine by Angola Bauxite, part-owned by the Angolan state, was being held up by an environmental impact study.
"(Construction) will start soon. Angola Bauxite already has an office in Bissau, the technicians are in place. The only thing missing is the environmental impact study, and I think we’ll have that soon," he said.
But an adviser to Bissau’s Ministry of Industry and Planning said Angola was dragging its feet on the investment because of an uncertain political and security environment in the country, which has had a history of coups.
President Joao Bernardo Vieira was assassinated in 2009, and there have been several outbursts since by the notoriously unruly military, including a coup within the armed forces in 2010 and a shoot-out in the capital in December. "Maybe once security reform makes some headway and the election resolves smoothly, the project will start moving forward," he said, asking not to be named.
Angola Bauxite was not immediately available to comment.
A Reuters reporter visited Angola Bauxite’s offices in Bissau last week, but found them empty. A security guard said the director had been out of the country since before Christmas and local workers were taking half days.
The project, publicised in 2008 and inaugurated with a ceremony in July last year, would create a deepwater port at Buba and a 3-million tons a year mine in Boe. Officials say the Boe deposits are a continuation of bauxite reserves in neighbouring Guinea, the world’s leading exporter of bauxite — the ore from which aluminium is made.
Mr Gomes won 49% of the vote on March 18, well ahead of his closest rival Kumba Yala with 23%, but not enough to avoid a run-off loosely scheduled for next month.

Century enters power talks in bid to restart smelter

Reuters - 23th March 2012

(Reuters) - Century Aluminum Co (CENX.O) said on Friday it has resumed talks for a power deal with Appalachian Power, a unit of American Electric Power Co. Inc. (AEP.N), to supply its Ravenswood, West Virginia aluminum smelter as it moves closer to restarting the idled plant.
The 170,000-tonne-a-year aluminum plant was shut in 2009 due to low demand for the metal and falling aluminum prices.
AS the company moves forward with its plans to resume operations, its next steps are to negotiate an energy agreement and a labor contract with the local steelworkers union.
"So, those are the next two things that we're working toward in order to restart," Century's spokeswoman said on Friday.
On February 29, Monterey, California-based Century announced that it struck a deal with the United Steelworkers union to restore healthcare benefits for retirees of the Ravenswood aluminum smelter as part of its move to restart operations.
The company spokeswoman said striking the deal on retiree healthcare was the first step in the process to restart.
She added that the plant will likely start up at less than full capacity, but the operating rate will depend on terms of the power and labor agreements, as well as the aluminum price.
"It's really those three things. So, we're working towards the two that we can have more impact on," the spokeswoman said.
Restarting Ravenswood would also depend on the aluminum price, "because that's necessary to have a profitably running facility," she added.
Though she declined to put a level on it, she said Century, "Needs a reasonable expectation that aluminum prices will be sufficient to cover costs and be profitable. That will be determined by the energy agreement and the labor contract."
The London Metal Exchange benchmark aluminum price closed Friday around $2,175 per tonne, well up from the near $1,300 a tonne level when the plant was idled.
West Virginia offered Century an inducement to restart the Ravenswood plant by passing a bill to give the company a $20 million annual tax break. The aluminum producer plans to hire about 400 people to run the smelter.
Once progress has been made on the power and labor deals the company will determine a timeline to restart operations.
"We'd love to do it as soon as possible, but this all takes a long time," the spokeswoman said.

Abu Dhabi's Mubadala to Begin Evaluation of Guinea Bauxite Maker

Business Week - 23th March 2012

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co. plans to begin evaluating Guinea’s state-owned bauxite producer Cie des Bauxites de Guinee, according to a government official.
Guinea is seeking a $300 million investment to expand production, Mines Minister Mohamed Lamine Fofana told reporters today in Conakry, the nation’s capital. Fofana didn’t say when the evaluation is expected to begin.
Mubadala, an investment company controlled by Abu Dhabi, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Guinea, which has the world’s largest bauxite reserves. The ore is refined into alumina, a white powder that’s smelted to make aluminum.
Guinea owns 49 percent of Cie des Bauxites de Guinee and Rio Tinto Plc (RIO) and Alcoa Inc. (AA) own the remainder.
Mubadala is an investor in Global Alumina Corp. (GLA/U), which is part of a joint venture planning to construct an alumina refinery in Guinea.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ougna Camara in Conakry at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeran Wittenstein at

Ukraine Court Rules Against Rusal in Zalk Aluminum Plant Dispute

Bloomberg - 23th March 2012

Ukraine’s government won a court hearing as it seeks to regain control over the Zaporizhskyi aluminum smelter from Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s United Co. Rusal.
The Kiev Commercial Court ruled to overturn a sale agreement and return a 68.01 percent stake in the plant, known as Zalk, to Ukraine’s state property fund, the Prosecutor General’s Office, also based in the country’s capital, said today in a statement on its website.
The prosecutors filed the suit, saying Rusal refused to refinance the plant’s $75.5 million of debt, “violating the state’s property rights,” according to the statement.
Rusal, the world’s biggest producer of the light metal, said it has fulfilled all of its obligations as investor.
“The court’s decision has not taken effect yet, and the company will challenge the decision in upper courts,” Rusal said in an e-mailed statement. “Zalk currently generates losses now because of the unprecedented high price for electricity.”

Alumina refinery: Anrak toeing Vedanta line

The Hindu, 29th March 2012

Despite the clouds of uncertainty to mine in scheduled areas, Anrak Aluminium Limited (AAL) appears to be getting ready to launch alumina refining by sourcing part of its bauxite ore requirement from Gujarat.
It is also in talks with Glencore, world's largest commodity supplier and States like Jharkhand, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh to meet its raw material requirement to commence operations at the alumina refinery, which is in advance stage of construction at Rachapalle in Makavarapalem mandal, about 100 km from here.
AAL signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AP Government in 2007 for setting up 1.5-million tonne capacity alumina refinery, 2.50 lakh tonne smelter and a 90 MW captive power plant with an investment of Rs.14,000 crore.
The AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation has allotted 1925.97 acres and subsequently the Ministry of Commerce gave Anrak Project SEZ status through a notification.
Sources have told The Hindu that AAL has bid a contract from Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation to get three lakh tonnes of low grade bauxite ore by choosing the sea route for transport. Vedanta, which is setting up an alumina refinery in Lanjigarh of Odisha, is also getting an equal quantity of ore from Gujarat. The cost of total ore being supplied from Gujarat is worth Rs. 40 crore to Rs. 45 crore.
“They seem to be following the Vedanta way as for its Lanjigarh project. Vedanta has no permission to mine in Niyamgiri hills. Moreover, even if Anrak launches refining, we can't rule out its closure going by Birla Periclase's seawater magnesia project, which was shutdown when it could not source its raw material from Agency areas of the district following Samata judgment,” says Samata's executive director Rebbapragda Ravi.
In its landmark order, the apex court ruled in 1997 that only the State or its instruments or tribals themselves by forming a cooperative should indulge in mining. The judgement was later known as Samata judgment as the NGO had filed the PIL against mining quoting Regulation 1/70 of Land Transfer Act of 1959.
Though AP Mineral Development Corporation has signed bauxite ore supply agreement with AAL, the mining leases have been kept under abeyance in August 2010 by the Ministry of Mines following an appeal by Araku MP V. Kishore Chandra Deo, who is now the Union Minister for Tribal Welfare. The mining issue is under review and a detailed evaluation is being done following fears expressed over threat to the fragile ecology of Eastern Ghats and livelihood of tribal people.

Rusal, Orbite sign MOU over Canadian alumina project

London (Platts), 29th March 2012

Rusal has signed a memorandum of understanding with Canada-based Orbite Aluminae that foresees the possibility of creating a joint venture to develop Orbite's aluminous clay deposit in Grande-Vallee, Quebec, the Russian aluminum producer said Wednesday.
Orbite last year began operating a pilot plant at Cap-Chat, Quebec, to produce smelter-grade alumina extracted from aluminous clay; alumina is usually extracted from bauxite using a chemical process called the Bayer Process.
The company has since ended pilot operations to launch the plant's conversion to commercial-scale production of high-purity alumina, which is used in high-tech and industrial applications. The company plans to produce 1 mt/day high-purity alumina by the end of this year, increasing to up to 5 mt/day in 2013.
The company owns 100% of the mining rights on the site of aluminous clay deposit of Grande-Vallee and also owns the intellectual property rights to a unique Canada- and US-patented process for extracting alumina from various types of aluminous ores, for which patents are also pending in other countries.
"The alternative technology is important for alumina production in Russia and its development will allow the strengthening of Rusal's vertical integration," said Vladislav Soloviev, Rusal's first deputy CEO, in a statement.
"Our technical team visited the Orbite pilot plant in Cap-Chat and we have high regards with respect to the potential of this new technology, which we, as one of the world's largest alumina producers, have all opportunities to realize," he added.
The MOU envisages the possible construction of an smelter-grade alumina refinery in Quebec. Rusal may also get exclusive rights to use the respective alumina production technologies in Russia after its necessary adaptation to Russia-specific ores.
Rusal, the world's largest producer of aluminium, also operates 12 alumina refineries around the world.
"The partnership opens a unique opportunity for a large-scale implementation of our know-how and technologies," said Richard Boudreault, the president of Orbite Aluminae, in a statement. Rusal's raw material has been successfully tested in the pilot plant, he added.
A preliminary economic assessment on a smelter-grade alumina plant in Quebec released last October by Orbite confirmed its potential to produce an estimated 539,700 mt/year of alumina, plus pure hematite, high-purity silica, magnesium oxides and other value-added oxides, and rare metal and rare earth oxides.
Orbite and Rusal plan to cross-license their pre-existing technologies on a non-exclusive basis such that they will be entitled to use the other party's pre-existing alumina extraction technologies in Canada (in the case of Orbite) and in Russia (in the case of Rusal) free of charge. Both Orbite and Rusal will be granted certain licensing rights in connection with the technology that will be developed jointly in the course of the joint-venture.
The two companies will discuss licensing rare earth elements and rare metals extraction technologies at a later time, Orbite added.
Rusal said its possible investment into the first stage of the project may reach C$25 million ($25.1 million) over a number of years. The MOU is a non-binding letter of intent for the time being and is subject to Orbite and Rusal negotiating and entering into definitive agreements.

Rio in talks with H.I.G Capital on European specialty alumina business

The Australian, 29th March 2012

RIO Tinto said overnight that it entered into exclusive talks with US-based private-investment firm H.I.G Capital regarding its offer for Rio's European specialty alumina business.
The talks are in line with Rio's strategy to restructure its aluminium business by selling non-core assets and pursuing cost savings.

Alcan Lynemouth smelter: Landmark day as closure starts

BBC News, 29th March 2012

The end of four decades of aluminium smelting in Northumberland will begin later, when the power is turned off at Alcan.
Rio Tinto Alcan, which owns the plant at Lynemouth, announced plans to close the site in November.
At 14:00 BST the power will be turned off in a "low key" fashion, marking the end of smelting at the site.
Worker Paul Scott said it "puts the final nail in the coffin" for those losing their jobs.
John McCabe, the company's regional economic development director, said: "Today is obviously a sad day for all of us concerned, we're bringing 40 years of aluminium smelting to an end at Lynemouth.
"Later on today we'll turn off the power to the smelter in a very low key, controlled and above all else, safe fashion.
"Then we will focus our efforts on mitigating the impact of closure on our colleagues and the community at large."
'The end'
The plant will be decommissioned and cleaned with the aim of bringing new investment and jobs to the site.
Leader of Northumberland County Council Jeff Reid, said: "We just need to gather up all of this bad news and try and turn it into something more positive... we have got to try and concentrate on the people who are there at the moment and try and move them onto further good jobs."
The Lynemouth smelter, which opened in 1972, is estimated to contribute £60m to Northumberland's economy.
A total of 515 staff will lose their jobs when it closes, with 323 being made redundant in May.
Mr Scott said: "I think it puts the final nail in the coffin, I think everybody will now realise that it is the end."

Future of Geelong smelter remains in doubt

Herald Sun, 29th March 2012

THE future of Alumina loss-making aluminium smelter in Victoria remains uncertain as the company continues to contemplate its closure.
Alumina's joint-venture partner, Alcoa, last month announced that their AWAC business could close Point Henry, near Geelong, one of its two Australian aluminium smelters, in the face of continuing difficult conditions for the industry around the world.
Alumina said in its annual report that its goal was for a profitable operation of the Geelong facility but that curtailment remained a possible outcome. AWAC's review of Point Henry is expected to be completed by about mid-year.
Alumina said the smelter was unprofitable because of low prices for its products, higher costs for inputs, and the strength of the Australian dollar.
Those factors prompted ratings agency Standard & Poor's to place Alumina's BBB long-term corporate credit and issue ratings on CreditWatch with negative implications.
"The supply side of the industry is being seriously affected by negative economics and disruptions, not demand contraction,'' Alumina said in its annual report.
"Pricing for aluminium has recovered marginally from its low point, however remains subdued."
Alumina said the medium-term outlook for aluminium was positive, with global demand expected to continue to grow by between five per cent to seven per cent this year.
Alumina shares inched one cent lower to $1.20 - almost half the price they were this time last year.

China blamed for Rio aluminium decision

The Australian, 29th March 2012

RESOURCES giant Rio Tinto's decision to scrap plans for a $US2 billion ($A1.92 billion) aluminium smelter in Malaysia has been blamed in part on China over-supplying the market.
While Rio blamed the move on problems with agreeing on power supply terms, analysts also cited China's policy of over-producing aluminium to drive down the alumina price and get cheaper input costs.
Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS), which owns 40 per cent of the Sarawak Aluminium Company (SALCO) smelter development in Sarawak state, announced the termination to the Malaysian stock exchange.
Morningstar Equities Research analyst Mark Taylor said it suited China's centrally controlled economy to control the price as the government was not concerned about the profitability of individual companies.
Aluminium has been a thorn in the side of Rio since its disastrous 2007 $US38.1 billion purchase of Alcan and it wrote down the division by $US8.9 billion ($A8.54 billion) last month.
"If Rio said it was going to go ahead and build that smelter in Sarawak I would have just about thrown my hands up in the air in utter exasperation,'' he said.
"It's the last thing they would do in light of the fact they are looking at shutting down and hiving off their Australian and British smelters.''
He said there was still decent earnings to be made upstream mining bauxite and refining alumina but not in smelting.
That would occur as alumina pricing changed over the next few years away from being linked to long term aluminium contracts to a short term or spot price system, as had occurred with iron ore.
"Producers have finally woken up and said: enough's enough, we're not going to renew these contracts,'' Mr Taylor said.
Citigroup said non-Chinese producers were cutting output but Chinese smelters were more than making up for that.
Alcoa has cut its smelting capacity, Rio Tinto will close its Lynemouth smelter in England this month, costing 300 jobs, and is believed to be considering the future of its Tasmanian smelter where 600 people work.
Rio and Cahya Mata "agreed that they would cease to pursue plans to jointly develop an aluminium smelter at Samalaju in Sarawak but remain open to other future possible collaborations''.
He said they were "unable to finalise commercial power supply terms with SEB (power supplier Sarawak Energy Bhd) which would meet the parties' current respective financial considerations and economic imperatives''.
The smelter was expected to have an initial production capacity of 550,000 tonnes of aluminium a year, with the potential to expand to 1.5 million tonnes.
Rio shares closed up 43 cents at $64.53.

HIG to buy Rio Tinto's French alumina plants

Reuters, 28th March 2012

* HIG in exclusive talks to buy three French alumina plants
* Sale is part of $8 bln aluminium disposals planned by Rio
* No financial details given
PARIS/LONDON, March 28 (Reuters) - Rio Tinto has received a binding offer from private equity group HIG for three French alumina plants that are part of an estimated $8 billion of aluminium assets put up for sale last year by the global miner to try to boost margins.
Rio Tinto said on Wednesday it had agreed a period of exclusivity with HIG and would respond to the offer after consulting unions.
Both Rio Tinto and Olivier Boyadjian, managing director of the private equity firm's French unit, declined to provide financial details.
Rio Tinto is selling the three plants - located in Gardanne, La Bathie and Beyrede in southern France - as part of a worldwide plan to scale back its activities in aluminium.
Rio Tinto, the world's third-largest diversified miner, signalled the retreat last October when it unveiled plans to sell 13 assets, only four years after buying aluminium giant Alcan in one of the sector's biggest ever deals.
Rio Tinto had told Reuters on Tuesday that it had seen "quite a lot" of trade and private equity interest in the aluminium assets. This marks a shift for the private equity industry, which has typically shied away from the capital intensive, long-dated mining sector.
Rio Tinto's speciality alumina business is the largest integrated supplier of non-metallurgical grade alumina, with the three plants in France and one at Teutschenthal in Germany. It employs 730 people.
Alumina, extracted from bauxite ore, is an ingredient in making aluminium but can also be used separately as an abrasive, due to its hardness.
Rio Tinto also operates two aluminium production plants in France, one in Dunkirk on the north coast and one at St Jean de Maurienne in the Alps, the historic heartland of the French aluminium industry.
Rio Tinto's aluminium business, Rio Tinto Alcan, told unions this month it was considering a sale of the St Jean de Maurienne plant as it faces a rise in energy costs when a 30-year-old electricity supply agreement with EDF expires in 2014.
The aluminium producer said it was continuing negotiations with EDF over a new contract.
Like the steel sector, aluminium production in Europe has come under threat from cheaper output elsewhere, notably in China, as well as its relatively small margins compared with other commodities like iron ore.

Alcoa to keep Italian smelters open, looking for buyers

Mineweb, 28th March 2012

Alcoa has agreed to keep its Italian smelter running past the planned closure date while it looks for new buyers, the U.S. aluminium company, the Italian Industry Ministry and labour unions said on Tuesday after hours of meetings.
Alcoa had planned to close its Portovesme smelter on the island of Sardinia by mid-year as part of efforts to cut global output and costs. The plan has run into fierce opposition from Italy's government, Sardinia's authorities and unions.
Under the deal, Alcoa will start the process to shut the smelter on Sept. 1 if there was no letter of intent agreed between Alcoa and an interested party before Aug. 31.
If the letter of intent arrives but the sale is not closed by Oct. 31, Alcoa will start shutting the plant from Nov. 1, it said. Shutting the smelter would take a few days.
Alcoa said it would continue to pay the employees for the month of curtailment and the following month.
Alcoa said in a statement the parties have reached a framework agreement "that provides responsible and appropriate solutions for our employees and the community, including switching from mobilità to CIGS (two layoff schemes under Italian law), and facilitates an orderly curtailment of the smelter."
"The agreement as well provides the process to sell the Portovesme plant to another party, an opportunity to succeed if the essential conditions to operate the smelter will be addressed in the coming months," it said in a comment to Reuters.
Italy's FIM-CISL metal workers' union said in a separate statement earlier on Tuesday the temporary layoff procedure - a widely used Italian scheme to keep workers on company payrolls even though they are sent home on reduced pay - would last for one year and could be extended for another year.
"The FIM-CISL expresses its great satisfaction with reaching an agreement which has been unthinkable even a few hours ago," the union said after the talks in Rome which lasted well into the night while Portovesme workers protested in front of the ministry headquarters.
"The agreement ensures industrial continuity and saves jobs in a particularly critical area of Sardinia," the union said.
The Ministry said in a separate statement the deal would allow the smelter to keep running until the end of 2012.
Unions and Sardinian authorities say a shutdown of the plant, a major employer on the island, would cost about 500 jobs at Alcoa and about 1,000 held by people linked to the smelter.
The Italian government and unions wanted to win time to find new investors for the smelter and keep jobs.
Alcoa has granted access to information about the plant to three potential investors - commodities group Glencore, investment company Klesch and Austria's Hammerer Aluminium Industries.

China supply adds to aluminium glut

Business Day, 28th March 2012

OUTPUT cuts by aluminium companies such as Alcoa, the third-biggest producer, amid tumbling prices will fail to end a world supply glut as their efforts are undone by record levels of Chinese smelting, Citigroup said.
Average daily Chinese production is at record levels, while output in the rest of the world is falling. World shipments rose to an average 122,300 tonnes a day in February, the highest since September, the International Aluminium Institute said. Supply will outpace demand for a sixth consecutive year, Citigroup said.
''Daily production rates in the non-Chinese world have been falling but China is more than making up for that,'' said David Wilson, an analyst at Citigroup in London. ''Chinese production will continue to grow. The actual cuts in production haven't significantly impacted yet in terms of the actual volume.'' Advertisement: Story continues below
Alcoa said in January it was cutting smelting capacity by 12 per cent, including 240,000 tonnes from Portovesme, Italy, and La Coruna and Aviles in Spain in the first half. In November, Rio Tinto said it would close the Lynemouth smelter in Britain due to rising energy costs. A month earlier, the company said it would sell 13 aluminium assets to improve its performance.
Industry output will outpace demand by 444,000 tonnes this year as Chinese capacity expands by about 15 per cent, Citigroup said.
China's producers are ''somewhat cushioned'' from falling prices on the London Metal Exchange because of a value-added tax on aluminium imported to the country, the bank said. China makes up 42 per cent of the world's aluminium supply.
Aluminium for three-month delivery was trading at about $US2186 ($2076) a tonne yesterday, down 17 per cent from a year earlier.

Vedanta Aluminium Limited Wins 'British Safety Award 2012' Under Distinction Category

Odisha Diary, 27th March 2012

Report by bureau; Lanjigarh: The alumina refinery of Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) at Lanjigarh, Odisha has been conferred with the prestigious ‘International Safety Award’ by one of the world's leading Health and Safety organisations - British Safety Council, London. Vedanta has won this award with Distinction by securing highest marks in the category.
Vedanta’s alumina refinery strictly follows the OHSAS-18001 standards for its operations. With zero Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR), the company boasts of having 19.8 million accident free man hours till March 2012.
According to Dr. Mukesh Kumar, President & Chief Operating Officer, VAL-Lanjigarh, “Environmental protection and safety is an integral part of Vedanta’s business practices. We are consistently working towards achieving our goal of zero harm at the plant site.”
Every year, the British Safety Council runs prestigious award schemes which allow organisations to benchmark their performance and gain external endorsement of their health, safety and environmental management. This year 550 applicants were judged by a panel of independent health and safety professionals under three categories - Distinction, Merit and Pass. The award ceremony would be held at London's Grosvenor House on 18th May 2012.

Betting big on Gujarat, Odisha for refinery & smelter: BL Bagra, NALCO CMD

The Economic Times, 27th March 2012

State-run National Aluminium Co (Nalco) plans to expand operations both in the country and overseas. Acting chairman and managing director BL Bagra tells ET that the country's third-largest aluminium maker will also invest in thermal, nuclear and wind power plants as part of its move into the energy sector. Excerpts:
What is your expansion plan within the country?
We are talking to the Gujarat government for setting up an alumina refinery. The state government has already identified land for the project, in which we will be investing about Rs 4,500 crore.
Gujarat Mineral Development Corp will supply bauxite at pre-determined rates linked to the benchmark London Metal Exchange. We hope to sign a draft agreement with the state government by April.
What will be the refinery's capacity?
The refinery will be of 1 MT capacity. Our engineers have appraised the project site, which is close to the Mundra port. The bauxite mines are 40-50 km away.

Coal-fired power is the only way for Australia

The Daily Advertiser, 27th March 2012

When I visited the Mitsubishi factory in Adelaide in 2001, exports of the left-hand drive “Diamonte” (a luxury version of the Magna), were growing.
The engine plant was not only producing Magna engines, but aluminium heads for export to Japan for a wide range of Mitsubishi models.
Our guide proudly explained that Australia produced the cheapest aluminium in the world because we mined the bauxite and had cheap electricity.
When I returned to the factory in 2004 to do a report on the new Mitsubishi 380, I asked a senior engineer why the engine plant had been closed.
“Electricity supply,” was his answer.
“South Australia has always depended on importing electricity, but growing energy demands in Victoria were using all their own power plus most of the power from the submarine cable linked to Tasmania’s hydro plants.
"With future supplies of cheap power from the grid in doubt, the Mitsubishi engine plant faced the possibility of having to generate its own power, thereby removing its export advantage, so the decision was made to close the plant.”
Within the next couple of years the rising Australian dollar choked exports and killed local sales, so the whole Mitsubishi factory was closed. The rest of Australian industry could soon go the same way.
Can anybody explain to me how closing Australia’s aluminium production and sending our bauxite to China for processing with cheap electricity produced from Australian coal can help reduce global warming?
Why aren’t we opening brand new, efficient, coal-fired power stations in Australia, just like they’re doing in China, and smelting our aluminium here, without the emissions created by shipping large quantities of raw materials thousands of kilometres?
Doesn’t shipping contribute to greenhouse gases?
It’s not just your electricity bill that is suffering from the Green tail wagging the Australian dog.
Japan has pulled out of Kyoto, and any future greenhouse plans, and is reverting to fossil fuels now that its aged nuclear plants have fallen into disfavour.
Canada has led the way in saying that it will not introduce carbon taxes or an ETS. America will never enter agreements that nobble its industries.
China needs cheap coal-fired electricity, so its token $1.50 carbon tax is merely to placate the Eurozone while they build their nuclear plants.
As John Pizzey, chairman of aluminium smelting company Alumina said last week, the development of the Australian industry in the 1960s was due to the plentiful supply of cheap coal-fired power, just as is happening in China right now.
Your electricity bill, and the future of Australian industry, depends on cheap power. Coal is still the way to go.
Solar and wind are neither cheap nor available 24 hours a day.
New generation coal-fired power stations are needed now, to save Australian jobs, and reduce our electricity bills.

Alumasc wins £10m contract

Stock Market Wire, 26th March 2012 | 14:37pm

Premium building and engineering products group Alumasc has won a £10m contract to supply an Alumasc Armaseam standing seam roof as part of the modernisation of a large aluminium smelter in Canada.
Alumasc says this work builds on its expertise in this market niche which began when the group supplied a £4m roof to the Fjardaal smelter in Iceland in 2006, and further projects thereafter.
The majority of the revenue and profit arising from this contract is expected to accrue in Alumasc's financial years ending 30 June 2013 and 30 June 2014.
At 2:37pm: (LON:ALU) Alumasc Group share price was +4p at 81.5p

Alcoa SOS: we want cheaper power

The Age, 25th March 2012

VICTORIA'S biggest electricity user, Alcoa, is pushing for a cheaper power deal as part of a bid to avoid closure of its Geelong aluminium smelter and the shedding of 600 jobs. Environmentalists attacked the push by Alcoa, which uses up to a fifth of the state's electricity and is a major emitter of greenhouse gases. The ageing Point Henry smelter in Geelong needs tens of millions of dollars of new investment, and a politically influential union is working on a plan that would see Alcoa provide most of that investment. Advertisement: Story continues below The rest would come from state and federal governments. Australian Workers Union state secretary Cesar Melhem said he reckoned the Point Henry smelter needed up to $100 million in new money to reach a similar standard to Alcoa's other Victorian smelter, at Portland. ''We can make the case for smelting to continue at Point Henry,'' he said. ''We've got a classic example of Portland doing very similar things in very similar circumstances, the only difference is it's a much younger plant.'' In February, Alcoa, Victoria's biggest exporter, announced that the 49-year-old Point Henry smelter was under review, as it was losing money due to the high Australian dollar, rising input prices and low metal prices. Well-placed sources said Alcoa executives had been talking to electricity suppliers about changes to contracts in a bid to cut costs. It was expected any deal with electricity suppliers would require subsidies or assistance from the state government. Alcoa said yesterday it was ''looking at all major input costs'', but would not comment on discussions with suppliers, as they were confidential. Alcoa has also been meeting senior government ministers over the future of the smelter, while workplace delegates have been recently briefed on the major challenges in keeping Point Henry open, which include electricity, raw material costs and labour. Any government assistance for Alcoa would be controversial, with federal and state governments unveiling a $275 million package for Holden last week, which attracted criticism. Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said he had ''deep, deep reservations'' about it. But a spate of job losses in manufacturing at firms such as Toyota and BlueScope Steel have made jobs an important political issue. Mr Melhem said aluminium was a ''strategic'' industry that justified government assistance. The AWU estimates that about 2000 jobs in total would be lost if Point Henry was shut, because of the flow-on effect to other businesses. Environment Victoria campaigns director Mark Wakeham said any support for Alcoa should be linked to a shift from brown coal. ''They appear to have no appetite to shift towards cleaner energy sources,'' he said. ''Every decision they've made has left them more exposed to rising fossil fuel prices.'' Alcoa signed new electricity supply contracts in 2010, which were due to take effect from 2014 for Point Henry and 2016 for Portland. Mr Wakeham said a cheaper power deal would conflict with the introduction of the carbon tax, which was meant to discourage the use of coal. Alcoa's review of Point Henry is expected to be completed by midyear. When it was announced in February, the federal Coalition claimed that the federal government's carbon tax was an important reason for Alcoa's decision. At the time, Alcoa chief executive Alan Cransberg said Point Henry was losing money now, without a carbon tax, but added that carbon pricing would be an ''additional cost burden that we will have to overcome''.

NALCO's smelter plant may be closed down

The Hindu - BHUBANESWAR, March 25th 2012

The manufacturing unit of the state-run National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) now faces a serious threat of being closed down on account of its inability to manage massive amounts of fly ash.

In a letter addressed to B.L. Bagra, NALCO's chairman-cum-MD, the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) said it will be forced to close down its 1,200 MW-capacity Captive Power Plant, critical for running a smelter unit at Angul in Odisha, unless the company takes up the disposal of fly ash on a war-footing.

A company official said the letter contained a strong warning from the pollution regulatory agency.

“Over the past three years, we have been expressing our grave concerns on the problem of ash management in your Captive Power Plant (CPP) at Angul. With the present options available with you, I apprehend it would not be possible to find space for ash disposal beyond May 2012,” Siddhanta Das, SPCB member-secretary, wrote.

“Your lean slurry disposal system is not likely to be operational before mid-2013, the high concentration slurry disposal system is also not likely to be put in place in the near future and going by the report of the Ash pond safety committee, we are not inclined to allow any further raising of dykes of the existing ash ponds,” Mr. Das said.

He said “unless you come up with some mechanism for large-scale evacuation of ash from the existing ponds immediately, you will be left with no option but to close down the Captive Power Plant in a matter of three to four months.”

The SPCB advised the company to pursue the matter with the National Highway Authority of India and the Works Department of the Odisha government for utilising ash for construction of new roads, which as such is a mandatory requirement as per the Fly Ash Notification issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests under The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.


However, evacuation of fly ash would seem to be an impracticable solution since NALCO generates about 700 truckloads on a daily basis. Company sources said unless there was a prior demand from the infrastructure sector, it would be difficult to remove the fly ash.

The warning has been served after a continuous monitoring of NALCO's efforts to dispose of the ash.

It is to be noted that NALCO had made a presentation at the SPCB's office here on March 25, 2010, on the steps taken by the company for safe and proper management of the existing ash pond system and an action plan for the future.

The company promised to complete the strengthening work in the dyke of ash pond II by December 2010, setting up a high-concentration slurry disposal system on allocated 46 acres by May 15, 2010, and a tendering process for the disposal of fly ash in lean slurry form in the mine void of the Bharatpur open cast mine by the end of March 2010.

However, during the SPCB's inspection of the ash pond system on September 19, 2011, none of the promises was fully kept.

Vietnam may sell alumina from Q2: Vinacomin chairman

Tuoitre News - March 23rd, 2012

Vietnam's state coal and mineral group Vinacomin may start selling alumina product next month during its test-run of the country's first alumina plant, a senior executive said on Thursday.
"We will strive to keep the test-run period as short as possible and bring the plant to full capacity," Chairman Tran Xuan Hoa of the National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) said on the sidelines of an energy conference.
Hoa said Hanoi-based Vinacomin would operate at 70-80 percent of the Tan Rai plant's capacity during the test-run. The US$460-million facility has a designed capacity of 600,000 tonnes a year, he said.
Up to 99 percent of the Tan Rai plant has been completed, state media has reported, but construction has been delayed because of rain and incomplete administrative procedures, which in turn slowed the funding process, Hoa said.
Production at the plant in the central highland province of Lam Dong had initially been scheduled to start in the last quarter of 2011.
"Prolonged rains made it difficult for building the red mud reservoir, while procedures that our Chinese contractor failed to complete on time has delayed our disbursement, which finally delayed the construction," he said.
The Tan Rai plant is built by China Aluminum International Engineering Co (Chalieco), a subsidiary of state-owned Aluminum Corp of China, or Chinalco, the country's top aluminium producer.
Vinacomin plans to raise 3 trillion dong ($143.8 million) via domestic dong-denominated bonds this year to finance projects, including the alumina plant, while keeping an overseas bond issue on hold, Hoa said.
He did not give a date for the dong bond issue.
The group, which is also Vietnam's top coal producer, has been developing the Nhan Co alumina project in the province of Dak Nong, with projected initial output of 300,000 tonnes in 2014, which could be raised to 650,000 tonnes by 2016.
Vinacomin has forecast Tan Rai's alumina output at 300,000 tonnes this year, rising to 500,000 tonnes in 2013 and 650,000 tonnes in 2014.
Vinacomin and China's Yunnan Metallurgical Group have a memorandum of understanding under which the Vietnamese firm has agreed to sell 600,000-900,000 tonnes of alumina a year to Yunnan Metallurgical, which plans to supply the alumina to its smelter, Yunnan Aluminium Industry Co Ltd.
Hoa said the group had not fixed any contract with foreign partners, although China would be its largest market.
"We are just in negotiations with partners and we have received much interest from them," he said.
Alumina is a white powder made from bauxite ore that is used to produce aluminium. ($1=20,860 dong)

Vedanta ups the ante for Balco, Hindustan Zinc

Business Standard - March 22nd, 2012

Billionaire Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Group has offered Rs 17,000 crore ($3.4 billion) to buy the government’s remaining stakes in Hindustan Zinc Ltd and Bharat Aluminium Co, a ministry official said.
A panel of bureaucrats from ministries, including law, corporate affairs, finance and mining, met yesterday and decided to seek the advice of a group of ministers on the proposal, Vishwapati Trivedi, secretary at the ministry of mines, told reporters in New Delhi.
Buying the stakes will give Vedanta’s Mumbai-based unit Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd. control over a combined 964,000 tonnes of annual zinc and lead-producing capacity and full ownership of a two million tonne-a-year bauxite mine. The government is seeking to narrow fiscal deficit through steps including asset sales and capping of expenses. “This will be positive for Sterlite,” Rakesh Arora, head of research at Macquarie Capital Securities (India) Pvt, said in Mumbai. He has an outperform recommendation on Sterlite and expects the shares to rally 59 percent in 12 months. “The cash that Sterlite will spend will come back in the form of surplus from Hindustan Zinc.”
The zinc maker has cash and equivalents of $3.35 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Pavan Kaushik, spokesman at Hindustan Zinc, declined to comment. Senjam Raj Sekhar, a spokesman at Vedanta Resources Plc, didn’t respond to two calls made to his mobile phone and a text message seeking comments.
Government stake
Vedanta offered Rs 15,000 crore for one company and Rs 2,000 crore for the other, Trivedi said, without identifying them. The government’s 29.5 per cent stake in Hindustan Zinc is valued at Rs 16,200 crore at the current share price. Hindustan Zinc fell 0.2 per cent to Rs 130 at 9.19 am in Mumbai trading, giving it a market value of $10.8 billion. Sterlite gained 0.3 per cent to Rs 115.80.
Sterlite, the nation’s biggest copper producer, owns 64.9 per cent of Hindustan Zinc. The company may complete the transaction this year, Agarwal said on February 25. It bought 51 per cent of Bharat Aluminium, which owns the bauxite mine, in 2001 and a majority stake in Hindustan Zinc a year later.
Lack of full control at Hindustan Zinc has undermined decision-making at Vedanta. In 2010, Vedanta’s plan to buy Anglo American Plc’s Skorpion zinc mine in Namibia through Hindustan Zinc failed after the Indian government didn’t ratify the deal. Vedanta completed the purchase through Sterlite.
Combining Units
Agarwal is combining the group’s publicly traded Indian units into a new company after an $8.67 billion purchase of oil producer Cairn India Ltd, Vedanta said February 25. Sesa Goa Ltd, India’s largest iron-ore exporter, will absorb Sterlite in an all-share deal.
Vedanta Aluminium Ltd and Madras Aluminium Co will also be merged into the new company, Sesa Sterlite.
Vedanta plans to transfer debt of $5.9 billion to Sesa Sterlite, reducing outstanding loans by 61 percent to $3.8 billion and cutting debt-service costs by $300 million for the year ending March 31, 2013, the company said.
India’s budget deficit may widen to 5.9 per cent of gross domestic product in the year ending March, compared with a target of 4.6 per cent. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee aims to cut the shortfall to 5.1 per cent of GDP in the next financial year.

Power supplier still talking with CFAC

Daily Inter Lake - March 20th, 2012

Bonneville Power Administration is having weekly discussions with Columbia Falls Aluminum Co. to negotiate an energy contract that would restart the shuttered plant, BPA Administrator Stephen Wright said last week.
“We’re actively engaged,” Wright said. “It’s an important issue for us. We’re willing to enter into a contract but we want to make sure of the other party’s credit-worthiness.”
Columbia Falls Aluminum shut down in October 2009 as high energy prices and sagging market conditions made operations unprofitable.
Since then, lawmakers have been pushing Bonneville to seal a power sales agreement with Glencore, CFAC’s parent company. Last month U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., pressed Bonneville to finalize the energy contract.
Wright acknowledged that Columbia Falls Aluminum is “in a difficult commodity market,” but added that aluminum prices currently “are not terrible.”
Last month Baucus met with Wright and asked for a timeline that will lead to a long-term energy agreement. The senator cited the potential for up to 350 good-paying jobs.
Wright acknowledged how important those jobs are.
“We’re a public-sector organization and creating jobs is a critical part of the public sector,” he said.
Last year Bonneville proposed a power deal that would provide 140 average megawatts to CFAC, enough for two of the aluminum plant’s potlines to restart.
An equivalent benefits test done last December to assess the economics of providing power to CFAC indicated a 4 1/2-year contract was feasible, but Bonneville would need a second such test to gauge current market conditions.
“If we take a loss,” it’s spread throughout the region, ultimately affecting all of Bonneville’s power users, Wright said.

Rio Tinto in talks to end lockout at Quebec smelter

The Vancouver Sun - March 20th, 2012

Talks are under way to end a three-month lockout of workers at Rio Tinto Alcan’s giant Alma aluminum smelter in northern Quebec as the two sides have been summoned to the negotiating table.
“The government-appointed mediator called both sides back to the table for a meeting yesterday afternoon,” Rio Tinto Alcan spokesman Bryan Tucker said in an email to Reuters on Tuesday.
“The discussions between the parties will continue today.”
Rio Tinto Alcan locked unionized workers out at the 438,000-tonnes-per-year smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean on Jan. 1, after talks on a new contract failed. The old contract expired on Dec. 31 and the two sides had been talking since October.
Rio has been operating the plant with non-unionized workers at about one-third of capacity since early January.
This is the first time Rio and the workers have come together since talks broke off a day before the last contract ended.
“We are not commenting on the nature of the discussions at this time as our priority is to allow the process with the mediator (to) continue its course,” Tucker said.

Aluminium Market is Expected to Experience Bright Future According to Merchant Research & Consulting Ltd

Market Watch - March 20th, 2012

LONDON, Mar 20, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The global aluminium market is developing in new directions -- new products and production technologies are on their way. New growth opportunities are being empowered by recent technological advancements, output reformations, and vivid regional shifts.
Aluminium is expected to retain its high-scale demand levels on the global industrial arena thanks to the metal unique properties. Moreover, due to the upscale of industrialization of China and India and the economical boom in both countries the aluminium capacities will increase largely here along with the future relaxation of the operating costs.
Comprehensive aluminium industry analysis and overall information is presented in the new market report “Aluminium Market Review”. The report offers insights into the developments at the global, regional and country levels and covers detailed data on the past market conditions and statistics, present landscape and future projections through 2017.
The report features a close-up analysis of aluminium production and consumption, demand and supply, pricing and trade dynamics. It includes profiles of the major market players and information on key events within the industry. Future forecasts show the expected aluminium volumes and prices, market opportunities and challenges, trends and developments.
Report Details:
Aluminium Market Review Published: January, 2012 Pages: 65
Monthly market monitoring service for aluminium is also available.
The study on aluminium market has been worked out by Merchant Research & Consulting Ltd, an internationally recognized market research agency, specializing in chemical industry. “Aluminium Market Review” is incorporated into the catalogue "Metals", which also covers studies on Arsenic, Beryllium, Copper, Iron and Steel, Iron Ore, Lead, Mercury, Nickel, Silver, Titanium markets.
SOURCE: Merchant Research & Consulting Ltd

UPDATE 1-Feb daily aluminium output 68,900 T - IAI

Reuters - March 20th, 2012

(Reuters) - Daily average primary aluminium output in February dropped to 68,900 tonnes compared with a revised 69,000 in January and 69,600 in February 2011, provisional figures from the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) showed.
Total production in February (29 days) was 1.998 million tonnes, compared with 2.139 million tonnes in January (31 days) and 1.950 million in February 2011.
Figures from the IAI also showed daily average primary aluminium output in China rose to 53,400 tonnes in February, up from 48,900 tonnes in January.
Total primary aluminium production in the country rose to 1.548 million tonnes in February from 1.517 million tonnes in January. Production was up compared to February last year, when the average daily output was 46,600 tonnes and total primary aluminium production for the month was 1.304 million tonnes.
In January to February this year, China has produced 3.065 million tonnes of aluminium, compared to 2.588 million tonnes in the first two months of 2011.
Benchmark three-month aluminium was trading at $2,249.75 a tonne on the London Metals Exchange at 1115 GMT.
To see the full breakdown of primary aluminium production please click on and . Figures are in thousands of tonnes.

Massive bauxite deposits spark fear of open cut mining

Crook Well Gazette - March 20th, 2012

THE POSSIBILITY of open cut mining of bauxite in the north-eastern parts of Upper Lachlan Shire could pose problems for landholders in the area, and Council should prepare for such a situation.
At last week’s Council meeting Council Cr. Malcolm Barlow gave notice of motion that a development control plan for open cut mining be prepared.
This will be debated at the April meeting.
Cr. Barlow told last week’s meeting that the prospecting company had claimed to have discovered possibly the third or fourth richest bauxite deposit in the world in a line stretching from Taralga to beyond Binda.
“This mining project could be a great economic boost to the Shire through its potential to create many long-term and well-paid jobs and through its potential to pay income to participating landholders,” Cr. Barlow said.
“However,” he added, “it also poses long-term agricultural viability of some lands in the shire, and unless properly controlled could negatively impact upon some of our infrastructure such as roads and water systems.
“It could be great, it could be disastrous.
“It is up to us to show some leadership and set some parameters which we think are in the best interests of our Shire and our people.”
Cr. Barlow said the company had estimated there is 25 to 30 million tonnes of the highest grade ore available to be transported to Goulburn and then railed on to Port Kembla for export.
General Manager Mr. John Bell said the company was considering either road transport of the ore, or piping as “slurry” to Goulburn rail head.
Cr. Barlow said high grade deposits 30 metres deep had been located under only a metre or so of top soil.
Mining on properties with the owner’s consent presented no problems, but Council should have a policy in the case of non-consensual landowners.
Another problem was the rehabilitation of such open cut mining area.
“Digging 30 metres or more over areas of 30 to 50 acres or more will create giant pits that cannot then be merely refilled and expected to re-develop into productive and scenic farmlands is another matter entirely,” Cr. Barlow said.

Alcasa plans to recover its output thanks to a Chinese loan

El Universal - March 19th, 2012

The president of Alcasa estimates that a USD 403 million financing facility from China is to be good to process more than 70,000 tons of aluminum in 2012
Venezuelan state-run aluminum reduction company Alcasa expects to recover its operational capacity in 2012 thanks to a Chinese loan, reported Ángel Marcano, the corporate president.
The action is set to resume core exports to several countries in the Latin American region.
Following an acute electricity crisis that hammered Venezuela's metal industries, Alcasa, one of the largest reduction companies in the world, also hit by crawling aluminum prices, would cut to the minimum level its shipments to several countries, including Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador.
"The government order is favoring the domestic market, but based on the rising output, international commitments can be honored," Marcano told Reuters in a telephone interview.
A Chinese consortium is injecting USD 403 million into the plant for purchase of raw materials and commissioning of two production lines that were discontinued due to the electricity stalemate that battered Venezuelan industries in 2010-2011.

Wanfang Aluminum, Chalco To Inject Capital Into Related Party

Capital Vue - March 19th, 2012

March 19 -- Jiaozuo Wanfang Aluminum Manufacturing (000612), together with Aluminum Corporation of China (Chalco) (601600,2600.HK), will jointly inject 2.85 billion yuan into Chalco Xinjiang for the latter's coal-fired electricity aluminum integrated project, reports Oriental Morning Post, citing a company filing.
Based on its 35 percent stake in Chalco Xinjiang, Wanfang Aluminum will contribute 1.01 billion yuan, with the remainder to be invested by Chalco.
Chalco Xinjiang, founded in 2011 with a registered capital of 50 million yuan, is engaged in the production of bauxite, other minerals, metallurgical products, carbon products, and is involved in the power generation businesses.
The capital injection will boost Chalco Xinjiang's registered capital to about 2.9 billion yuan.
Chalco Xinjiang generated a loss of 51,7000 yuan in 2011. It did not record any sales, and had total assets of 49.95 million yuan through the end of 2011.
The proposed project was reported to be able to help Wanfang Aluminum improve its profitability as energy costs stayed at elevated levels.

Dubal co-hosts metal quality forum

Trade Arabia - March 19th, 2012

Dubai Aluminium (Dubal), a major single-site aluminium smelter, will co-host a major global metal quality workshop with Pyrotek, an international metals and technical services company.
The fifth international Metal Quality Workshop (MQW5) is set to open today (March 19) at the Meydan Hotel in Dubai, and will run up to March 22.
The forum will target improving performance in the production and processing of aluminium: topics which also reflect Dubal’s commitment to absolute quality and continuous improvement.
A not-for-profit, invitation-only event, MQW5 will focus on improving metal quality, operating performance and productivity in primary aluminium smelters, secondary re-melters, casthouses and foundries.
The agenda includes technical papers and case studies on improving performance, workshops featuring panels of industry specialists in specific areas of aluminium production and processing, and a technology fair that includes informal round-table discussions on selected topics.
“By installing leading-edge technologies, whether in-house developed or outsourced, Dubal ensures that the highest quality metal is produced by our smelter complex at all times, thereby meeting our customers’ exacting specifications; while simultaneously maximizing the operating efficiency and productivity of all our facilities,” said Dr Feras Allan, vice president: Product and Casting Services, Dubal.
“To this end, we nurture long-term, value-adding partnerships with leading vendors of technology, equipment and services; and continually seek to broaden our knowledge and expertise through participation in industry forums where best practices are shared.” – TradeArabia News Service

Seven more companies ready to build smelters

The Jakarta Post - March 19th, 2012

The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry announced over the weekend that seven more companies have expressed interest in building mineral smelting plants in Indonesia.
These additions bring the total number of smelters queuing up to be built to 26, up from the ministry’s previously reported number of 19 companies that have submitted plans to build mineral and coal processing facilities across the country.
“There are seven more companies which have proposed plans to build smelters in Indonesia, including investors from China and Korea. Thus, now, we have 26 companies in total which have committed to building smelters,” said the ministry’s director general for minerals and coal, Thamrin Sihite, in Jakarta.
However, he declined to disclose the names of the companies.
Thamrin continued that as of today, the government had no plan to provide more incentives for companies planning to build smelters. He claimed the current incentives, such as tax holidays, were stipulated in the 2011 government regulation on tax facilities for investments in certain fields and regions.
The director general emphasized that the government never obliged all mineral and coal mining companies to build their own processing and refining facilities, but they could join forces to build a smelter to be used together.
“Processing and refining raw materials will benefit the companies. For instance, if bauxite is processed and refined into alumina, the value will jump by seven times compared to selling it in the form of ore,” he said.
The construction of new smelters has been motivated by with the 2009 Minerals and Coal Law, which bans exports of unprocessed metal starting 2014. The government has also issued a ministerial regulation to affirm the law on Feb. 6.
The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has given three months for all mining companies to submit comprehensive plans to comply with the export ban, otherwise their export permits would be temporarily frozen.
According to the ministry’s data, the 19 new smelters will begin commercial operation between 2012 and 2017. Of the 19 facilities, seven are now in the construction phase, six under examination for feasibility and the remaining six have just obtained construction permits. The chairman of the Indonesian Mining Association (Perhapi), Irwandi Arif, urged the government to accelerate smelter construction projects to meet the 2014 deadline.
“In addition to accelerating the construction of the smelters, the permit issuance and incentive provision should also be accelerated. Related government institutions must strengthen coordination to do that,” he told reporters over the phone.
Separately, Deputy Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Widjajono Partowidagdo suggested that the government cut mining companies’ export quota to the level prior to the implementation of the 2009 law.
“Since the law bans metal ore exports in 2014, many companies have boosted their exports and some of them have even recorded a 900-percent increase in exports. That is dangerous,” he said at his office on Friday.
“The government has the responsibility to control exports, or our natural resources will run out earlier than we estimate,” he added.
The ministry’s data shows that in 2011, Indonesia’s bauxite exports reached nearly 40 million tons, jumping from 27 million tons in 2010, 16 million tons in 2009 and 13.5 million tons in 2008.
For iron ore, exports hit 13 million tons in 2011, up significantly from 8 million tons in 2010, 7 million tons in 2009 and 2 million tons in 2008. Nickel exports touched 33 million tons last year, rising steeply from only 17 million tons a year earlier. Nickel export levels were at 11 million tons in 2009 and 4 million tons in 2008.

Norsk Hydro - CAP alumina project postponed

Steelguru - March 17th, 2012

Companhia de Alumina do Para's Board of Directors has decided to postpone the construction of a new alumina refinery in Barcarena, Brazil.
The main reasons for the postponement of the CAP project are the uncertainty related to short and medium term aluminium supply and demand balance and the development in the world economy. The new alumina refinery, supplying raw material for aluminium production was scheduled to start production in 2015 based on bauxite supply from an expansion of Hydro's mining operations in Paragominas of Brazil.
Mr Johnny Undeli executive VP head of Hydro's bauxite and alumina operations said that "The decision to postpone the CAP project does not reflect any changes in our long term faith in the market for alumina and aluminium or the CAP project. Economic developments in a number of countries not least in Europe have led to lower production volumes than expected at our customers."

RUSAL shareholder Vekselberg opposes new chairman

Reuters - March 17th, 2012

RUSAL elected Hong Kong's Cheung as chairman on Friday
(Reuters) - Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg's Sual Partners, holder of a 15.8 percent stake in aluminium giant UC RUSAL, said the appointment on Friday of Barry Cheung as RUSAL's chairman was not in the long-term interests of the firm.
Vekselberg quit as RUSAL chairman earlier this week, blaming the current management for creating a "deep crisis" at the company, which has seen its shares fall more than 65 percent from their 52-week high.
In a statement late on Friday, Sual Partners accused RUSAL of failing to carry out a thorough candidate search before it settled on Cheung, who also chairs the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange (HKME).
Sual is an investment vehicle representing the interests of the former owners - including billionaire Leonard Blavatnik among other investors - of the Siberian-Urals Aluminium Company, now part of RUSAL.
"The company should have completed a full-fledged examination of the candidates for the post of Chairman of the Board of Directors with the assistance of international consultants," Sual said.
"Moreover, our stated position remains that the Board of Directors of the company, 80 percent of the assets of which are located in Russia, should be chaired by a Russian citizen, whose independence from any of the major shareholders of UC RUSAL is beyond any doubt."
RUSAL chief executive and controlling shareholder Oleg Deripaska acquired 10 percent of the HKME in June 2010 through his En+ Group.
A company spokeswoman contacted by Reuters referred to Deripaska's published remarks on Friday, when he stated the company was "thrilled to have someone of Barry's caliber" as chairman.
RUSAL, the world's largest aluminium producer, is the subject of a strategic tug-of-war between Deripaska and other billionaires including Vekselberg and recent presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov. He holds 17 percent of RUSAL through his Onexim investment company.
RUSAL is a leading low-cost producer thanks to its Siberian aluminum smelters that run on cheap hydro power from Soviet-era projects.
However, it is saddled with $11 billion of debt, much of which was accumulated via the purchase of a 25 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel for about $14 billion in 2008.
The stake in the highly-profitable Arctic nickel and palladium miner is worth $9.47 billion, accounting for most of RUSAL's $11.06 billion market capitalisation.
Selling the stake would allow RUSAL to largely wipe out its debt, but Deripaska has resisted calls to do so.
He rejected Norilsk's $13 billion offer for the stake in December, 2010, as well as two lower bids in 2011.

Vietnam to test-run first alumina plant in early Q2-report

Reuters - March 16th, 2012

(Reuters) - Vietnam will test-run the country's first alumina plant early in the second quarter starting in April, before moving to full production, a state-run newspaper said on Friday, indicating a slight delay in the project.
Up to 99 percent of work has now been completed at the Tan Rai plant owned by the National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin), the ruling Vietnam Communist Party-run Nhan Dan (People) daily said, quoting Vinacomin.
Industry and Trade Minister Vu Huy Hoang, who visited the site in the central highland province of Lam Dong in early March, had asked the alumina plant operator to test-run the facility in April, Vinacomin said on its website.
Alumina is a white powder made from bauxite ore that is used to produce aluminium.
In early December, Vinacomin said alumina production had been delayed until the first quarter of 2012 from an earlier target for the end of 2011 after rain held up construction.
Vinacomin has forecast alumina output at the $460 million Tan Rai plant at 300,000 tonnes this year, around half its projected annual capacity, ramping up to 500,000 tonnes in 2013 and 650,000 tonnes in 2014.
Vinacomin and China's Yunnan Metallurgical Group (YMG) have a 30-year deal for the Vietnamese firm to sell 600,000 to 900,000 tonnes of alumina to Yunnan Metallurgical each year to feed its smelter, Yunnan Aluminium Industry Co Ltd.
Vinacomin, which is also Vietnam's top coal producer, has also been developing the Nhan Co alumina project in the neighbouring province of Dak Nong, with projected initial output of 300,000 tonnes in 2014, which could be raised to 650,000 tonnes by 2016. (Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Richard Pullin)

Rio Tinto baffled as Government sidelines mining expansion

ABC Online - March 16th, 2012

MARK COLVIN: Rio Tinto claims that a Federal Government decision halting its expansion plans in North Queensland is ill-informed and has put thousands of jobs at risk.
The Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, has intervened and sidelined the miner's plans to develop one of its mines on Queensland's Cape York Peninsula.
It's the $1.5 billion expansion of Rio Tinto's bauxite mine near Weipa. It's been in the investment pipeline for four-and-a-half years.
The Environment Department originally approved the expansion of the South Embley mine and port development project last year.
But Mr Burke says the company failed to mention that the plan would lead to increased shipping activity through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
David Taylor reports.
DAVID TAYLOR: Rio Tinto spent years convincing the Government its expansion plans in Far North Queensland are as environmentally safe as they could be.
The Government was convinced and gave the miner the green light to develop its bauxite operations near Weipa.
The situation's now changed. The Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke.
TONY BURKE: As more information emerged during the process it became clear that there were very substantial shipping movements that were going to go through the World Heritage area of the Great Barrier Reef if the approval ended up being given.
DAVID TAYLOR: It seems the original application failed to account for this so now the Minister's stepped in.
TONY BURKE: And I decided that even though the delegate had originally, within the department had made the decision based on the information that was in front of them, once this extra information emerged I decided to take control of it personally.
PAT FIORE: Well we are concerned that the Federal Government took such a profound decision based on what we consider are unsustained claims.
DAVID TAYLOR: Pat Fiore is the chief executive of Rio Tinto's bauxite and alumina operations.
Rio Tinto's now been asked to table the impact of its shipping movements on the Great Barrier Reef as a result of the expansion. But the miner claims there's been a costly misunderstanding.
PAT FIORE: Well we've been clear and transparent from the very beginning. All of our EIS documents are very clear about the number of ships and all of the rest of the activities on the project.
And again I want to make it very clear, the number of ships going through the Barrier Reef will not change compared to today.
The increased shipping is going north as export bauxite and they are not going through the Great Barrier Reef so hence why we're surprised.
DAVID TAYLOR: The Government though claims that's not consistent with information it has.
TONY BURKE: I don't know why it wasn't there from the beginning because I've got to say while it might have been new information to be provided to the Department, it certainly wasn't new information for the company.
They always knew the pathway that the shipping movements would go.
DAVID TAYLOR: It's left Rio Tinto quite flummoxed.
PAT FIORE: Somebody has misread our EIS documents although we've been transparent. We've gone through public consultations. For the last four and a half years we've had open books and we've showed exactly what the numbers are.
DAVID TAYLOR: The decision by the Minister comes just days after investigators from the UN's environment agency UNESCO travelled to the reef to look at the risks posed by shipping and development.
Tony Burke claims that had nothing to do with his decision.
TONY BURKE: Once it was presented to me I worked through it and made the decision that day.
DAVID TAYLOR: But the Government is still concerned about what it describes as the "cumulative impacts of shipping" in the World Heritage area of the Great Barrier Reef.
Gavan McFadzean is from the Wilderness Society.
GAVAN MCFADZEAN: That's why Minister Burke shares our concerns and has asked Rio to come back with assurances about impacts of shipping movements through the Great Barrier Reef.
DAVID TAYLOR: But that has little to do with Rio Tinto's current expansion plans and more to do with the overall impact of its existing shipping activity.
Rio Tinto claims the decision by the Government will costs jobs.
PAT FIORE: We're talking about you know 4,000 employees. We want to make sure that the decision is made on the right basis.
DAVID TAYLOR: What's the economic impact on Australia from this decision by the Government?
PAT FIORE: Well let me just say that each year we contribute $2 billion, $2 billion in salaries and wages.
We're just about to commission the expansion of Yarwun too. We invested $2.5 billion and that refinery relies on the supply from Weipa.
So you know those are the kind of numbers we're talking about. These are huge numbers.
DAVID TAYLOR: Environmental lobbyists say that's too bad and have called for patience until a new environmental impact study has been done.
Gavan McFadzean again.
GAVAN MCFADZEAN: Our message to them is that Rio needs to demonstrate that the impacts, the environmental impacts of their proposed mine is acceptable.
DAVID TAYLOR: The review is expected to delay Rio's expansion plans for more than 12 months.
MARK COLVIN: David Taylor.

Bell Bay smelter's future

ABC News - March 16th, 2012

The general manager of Bell Bay Aluminium in northern Tasmania has told a mining forum in Launceston the struggling smelter has a future.
Ray Mostogl has outlined the challenges facing Bell Bay Aluminium.
He says the business is trying to survive in the same conditions it faced during the global financial crisis.
Aluminium prices are down by 30 percent because of the high Australian dollar and a global surplus of aluminium.
Mr Mostogl says input costs are up and it is likely to be at least five years before freight volumes at Bell Bay are high enough to attract an international shipping service.
The general manager says it is a steep hill to climb but Bell Bay is well positioned in the market to recover.
The smelter directly employs 520 people.

Century Aluminum retirees approve benefits package

Parkersburg News - March 16th, 2012

RAVENSWOOD - The retirees of Century Aluminum have accepted the deal that will restore some of their lost health benefits.
The retirees' approval Thursday is expected to open the way for the state to aid the company in restarting operations at the Ravenswood plant.
Around 400 retirees attended a meeting Thursday evening at Ravenswood Middle School where the vote was taken to accept a deal negotiated by the company and representatives of the union.
Karen Gorrell has helped fight for the lost benefits.
Gorrell said Century has agreed to pay at least $44 million over the next decade toward coverage. Retirees not yet eligible for Medicaid would pay premiums. Gorrell said benefits for older retirees are still being discussed.
Lindsey Berryhill, spokesman for Century Aluminum, said Thursday the company had no comment at this time.
Century closed its smelter in Ravenswood in 2009, laying off around 650 workers, and stopped health care coverage for retirees in 2010.
Retiree representatives have said the agreement will provide significant relief for each person affected by the termination of benefits. Many are now uninsured and financially burdened due to the loss of benefits, they said.
Company officials recently announced their intentions to reopen the site and said an agreement needed to be worked out with the retirees to help secure certain state aid.
The state might offer a tax break worth up to $20 million annually to help Century Aluminum restart its Jackson County smelter, but officials said any such aid depends on retirees approving the proposed deal over their health benefits.
The proposed aid could offset the Ravenswood plant's electricity costs. The credits would benefit the utility in exchange for it setting special, reduced rates for the plant that would be triggered by weak aluminum prices.
With the retirees approval of the proposal, state lawmakers are now expected to consider a tax break for Century today.
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said the deal restores some of the retiree health care benefits and paves the way to restart plant operations and provide hundreds of jobs for the Mid-Ohio Valley.
"Since day one, I have stood with the people of Jackson County, and I will tell you there are few issues that have had as much of an impact on me as the collective effort to restore retiree health care and bring Century Aluminum back on line following the plant being idled in 2009," Rockefeller said. "Today's ratification means that retirees have finally received what they've long sought: to be treated fairly and with respect. That's what this fight was about. Today we are one step closer to a positive resolution."
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he was proud to represent a state with so much resilience where the people work together, stick together and we truly fight for every job.
''What happened (Thursday) is a real story of success not only for Ravenswood, but for our entire state,'' Manchin said. ''We have shown the rest of the country and the world that West Virginia has the best workforce and we can compete with anyone.
"Today, the people of Ravenswood are smiling and West Virginia is a brighter place. People have hope for the future, and they are enthusiastic. This means so much. Our people don't ask for too much only the opportunity to take care of themselves and their families," Manchin said.
"That is the hope that this agreement has brought. I hope the Century Aluminum story will continue to show people around the country what we can achieve if we are willing to come together and fight for what we believe in."

RUSAL to pick chairman under oligarch crossfire

Reuters - March 15th, 2012

* Independent director to replace Vekselberg
* Vekselberg quit, citing "deep crisis", may sue
* Deripaska to secure control over board
MOSCOW, March 16 (Reuters) - RUSAL Plc, the world's largest aluminium company, is expected to pick a new chairman on Friday to steady a ship still rocking from the parting shot fired by Viktor Vekselberg, who said it was in "deep crisis".
Vekselberg quit as chairman on Tuesday, blaming management for overburdening the Russian company with debt.
RUSAL, whose chief executive and main owner is rival Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, said Vekselberg had jumped before he was pushed for not attending board meetings.
Deripaska, who owns 47.4 percent of RUSAL but enjoys effective control, should be able to secure the election of his preferred candidate from a slate of independent directors.
That is, however, unlikely to shore up the confidence of investors after this week's broadside by Vekselberg, who together with partner Len Blavatnkik owns 15.8 percent. Vekselberg plans unspecified legal action, his spokesman said.
The company's market capitalisation has nearly halved since it floated in Hong Kong in early 2010, and its equity value barely exceeds its $11 billion debt burden.
RUSAL might delay any formal announcement until Monday, when the company publishes its 2011 results.
Whoever wins the job will face a struggle to help RUSAL recover after aluminium prices slumped last year amid signs that growth in the Chinese export market is slowing.
Deripaska's debt-financed purchase, through RUSAL, of a quarter stake in Arctic nickel and palladium miner Norilsk Nickel for an estimated $14 billion four years ago quickly turned sour when the global crisis hit.
RUSAL was forced into a debt restructuring that killed Deripaska's dream of merging the two, but he blocked calls by Vekselberg to sell the stake back to Norilsk for as much as $13 billion.
The Norilsk stake is now worth $9.4 billion, or four-fifths of RUSAL's equity market value of $11.5 billion, with its core aluminium business accounting for the rest.
The next chairman could be one of five independent directors, who include Anatoly Tikhonov, first deputy chairman at Russian state development bank VEB, WPP chairman and former U.S. ambassador to Britain, Philip Lader, and Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange chairman Barry Cheung.
Cheung said on Wednesday that the chairman should be "someone strong" with independence, especially as the current chief executive is the largest shareholder. This, he said, would improve RUSAL's corporate governance.
"The company is not in deep crisis. Its operations are normal, but it faces challenges because of falling aluminium prices," Cheung said in Hong Kong. "However, the debt level is much lower than when it was listed."
Cheung declined to say whether he wanted to be chairman. A spokeswoman for VEB said Tikhonov had not received any official proposal to chair the RUSAL board.
Russia's Kommersant daily reported earlier this week that Max Goldman, an executive of Vekselberg's Renova Group investment arm and a lawyer who used to work for RUSAL, would take Vekselberg's board seat.
RUSAL's shares fell 3 percent in Hong Kong to HK$5.68 on Thursday, after falling 4 percent on Wednesday, a long way short of its HK$10.80 IPO price. (Additional reporting by Katya Golubkova and Hong Kong bureau, editing by Douglas Busvine and Will Waterman)

Ess Dee Aluminium arm to set up new unit at Daman

Equity Bulls - March 14th, 2012

Flex Art Foil Private Limited, the wholly owned subsidiary of Ess Dee Aluminium Ltd will be starting an additional manufacturing unit at Daman to carry out the activities of printing aluminium foils based packaging products.
The Ess Dee Aluminium Ltd stock was trading at Rs.170.40, up by Rs.15.30 or 9.86%. The stock hit an intraday high of Rs.182.80 and low of Rs.156.
The total traded quantity was 1.91 lakhs compared to 2 week average of 1.43 lakhs.

Norsk Hydro : CAP alumina project postponed

Market Watch - March 14th, 2012

OSLO, NORWAY, Mar 14, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Companhia de Alumina do Para's (CAP) Board of Directors has decided to postpone the construction of a new alumina refinery in Barcarena, Brazil.
The main reasons for the postponement of the CAP project are the uncertainty related to short- and medium-term aluminium supply/demand balance and the development in the world economy. The new alumina refinery, supplying raw material for aluminium production was scheduled to start production in 2015 based on bauxite supply from an expansion of Hydro's mining operations in Paragominas, Brazil.
Companhia de Alumina do Para is owned by Hydro (81 percent) and Dubal (19 percent).
"The decision to postpone the CAP project does not reflect any changes in our long-term faith in the market for alumina and aluminium or the CAP project. Economic developments in a number of countries, not least in Europe, have led to lower production volumes than expected at our customers," says Executive Vice President Johnny Undeli, head of Hydro's bauxite and alumina operations.
Certain statements included within this announcement contain forward- looking information, including, without limitation, those relating to (a) forecasts, projections and estimates, (b) statements of management's plans, objectives and strategies for Hydro, such as planned expansions, investments or other projects, (c) targeted production volumes and costs, capacities or rates, start-up costs, cost reductions and profit objectives, (d) various expectations about future developments in Hydro's markets, particularly prices, supply and demand and competition, (e) results of operations, (f) margins, (g) growth rates, (h) risk management, as well as (i) statements preceded by "expected", "scheduled", "targeted", "planned", "proposed", "intended" or similar statements.
Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, these forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions and forecasts that, by their nature, involve risk and uncertainty. Various factors could cause our actual results to differ materially from those projected in a forward-looking statement or affect the extent to which a particular projection is realized. Factors that could cause these differences include, but are not limited to: our continued ability to reposition and restructure our upstream and downstream aluminium business; changes in availability and cost of energy and raw materials; global supply and demand for aluminium and aluminium products; world economic growth, including rates of inflation and industrial production; changes in the relative value of currencies and the value of commodity contracts; trends in Hydro's key markets and competition; and legislative, regulatory and political factors.
No assurance can be given that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Hydro disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward- looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
This announcement is distributed by Thomson Reuters on behalf of Thomson Reuters clients. The owner of this announcement warrants that:
(i) the releases contained herein are protected by copyright and other applicable laws; and
(ii) they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein.
Source: Norsk Hydro via Thomson Reuters ONE

Emal backs World Aluminium Conference

Trade Arebia - March 13th, 2012

Emirates Aluminium (Emal) is the host sponsor of the World Aluminium Conference set to be held in Abu Dhabi from April 30 to May 2.
Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, president and CEO, Emal, said: “The region is now a serious player in the global aluminium market. With the world coming to Abu Dhabi, it is the perfect opportunity to showcase the advanced facilities we have which enable us to provide a reliable source of quality products to customers around the world.”
Al Mazrooei will deliver a key note speech at the event, a statement from Emal said.
The issues for discussion include strategic threats facing producers, the impact on demand of the economic climate, and downstream opportunities in the Middle East, the statement said.
Conference organisers, CRU, will also hold a number of workshops during the three day event, covering topics such as, cast house mix – maximising value in the cast house; value in using bauxite; and rolled products, going for value of volume. – TradeArabia News Service

Norsk Hydro : Undeli: Challenging year ahead for bauxite and alumina

4-Traders - March 13th, 2012

"Today and for the next few years there is a risk of oversupply of both aluminium and alumina. We are suffering from market prices that are not sustainable. Therefore the fundamentals must become more important for the pricing of our products in the future," Undeli said.
Undeli was a keynote speaker in the conference. In the opening remarks editor Raju Daswani of Metal Bulletin stated that "production reductions in alumina refining appear to be imminent." He asked when the first alumina refineries will have to cut back production. Possible CAP postponement
Undeli said in the keynote speech that Hydro presently is reviewing a postponement of the huge CAP refinery project in Barcarena, Brazil. The project is seen as one of the most attractive in the industry and until now has been scheduled to start production in 2015.
"It is our responsibility to review the timeline of the project," he said, referring to Hydro as one of the large players in the market. Hydro is number four globally when it comes to bauxite mining, number five in alumina and number five in primary metal production.
He said that Hydro's first year as operator and majority owner of the bauxite mine in Paragominas and the Alunorte alumina refinery has been a tremendous achievement. Production has been stabilized, and production volumes in Paragominas were up 23 percent in the second half of 2011 compared to first half of the year. Rapidly increasing costs
His views were supported by Commercial Director Demian Reed of Rio Tinto Alcan, who stated that the industry's costs are increasing rapidly and that more of the pricing mechanisms should be delinked from the aluminium price on the London Metal Exchange (LME) and instead reflect the fundamentals in the bauxite and alumina industry. Longer term, he expected strong growth and that the world consumption of aluminium will double in the coming 15 years. 2012 will be a challenging year
Hydro's Senior Vice President Simon Storesund said in a presentation that 5.7 million metric tons of new alumina capacity is expected to come onto the market in 2012 and 2013.
"2012 will be a very challenging year for the bauxite and alumina industry. Several refineries are losing money already," he said. On the positive side, index pricing delinked from LME is gaining ground.
"In the short term, this development has been better for the smelters than for the alumina refineries. Index pricing has become widely accepted among our customers. We have seen a big shift the last 6-12 months. And a possible restriction in bauxite export from Indonesia to China could potentially be very bullish for the coming years," he said.

Aluminum giant RUSAL's chairman quits, cites "deep crisis"

The Baltimore Sun - March 13th, 2012

HONG KONG/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg quit on Tuesday as chairman of the world's largest aluminum producer, UC RUSAL , saying the heavily indebted company was in deep crisis after a long battle with fellow oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
The resignation tightens Deripaska's grip on RUSAL but the company faces a struggle to recover because of a fall in global aluminum prices and its large debt, acquired when it purchased a stake in Norilsk Nickel , the world's largest nickel and palladium miner.
"I regret to say at this time that Rusal is in a deep crisis, caused by the actions of the management," said Vekselberg, listed by Forbes magazine as Russia's eighth-richest man with a fortune of $12.4 billion.
Shares in Rusal were suspended in Hong Kong after falling 1.3 percent to HK$6.12 on Tuesday morning, lagging a 0.8 percent gain in the benchmark Hong Kong index .
RUSAL called for the temporary halt to share trade and issued its own statement, accusing Vekselberg of failing to fulfill the role of chairman and indicating that he would have been removed in any case.
"Vekselberg had failed to perform his functions as a public company board chairman over the past 12 months," it said, adding that he had not attended a board meeting since February 2011.
"In this respect, the decision of Mr. Vekselberg to resign as chairman of the board preempted the anticipated consideration of this matter by the Board," RUSAL added in its statement to the Hong Kong exchange.
Vekselberg, who has a 15.8 percent stake in the company along with his partners, had disagreed with billionaire and RUSAL chief executive Oleg Deripaska over selling the company's 25 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel.
Vekselberg, along with billionaire and fellow minority shareholder Mikhail Prokhorov, had supported the sale to help service the firm's multi-billion dollar debt.
"We think that with concerns over its ability to service its debt load and meet its debt covenants given the currently weak aluminum prices, its shares will continue to face pressure in the near term," BOC International said in a research note in January.
"RUSAL could fail to meet debt covenants in 2012 if the current aluminum price weakness persists. We estimate that for RUSAL to avoid breaking debt covenants, the aluminum spot needs to stay above US$2,400/t in 2012."
RUSAL agreed covenant changes with creditors in January.
Aluminum prices now stand at around US$2,240 per tonne, some 25 percent lower than a high in May 2011. Lower aluminum prices have forced other major producers such as Alcoa to cut capacity.
RUSAL's stock, at HK$6.12, is now 43 percent below its IPO price of HK$10.80.
RUSAL said the board would meet on Friday to appoint an independent director to replace Vekselberg, who had posted his announcement dated March 12 on the website of Renova Group, his investment holding group and a strategic investor in RUSAL.
Due to report its latest earnings report on March 19, RUSAL posted a net profit of $432 million for the three months ending September, beating an average forecast of $409 million from 10 analysts polled by Reuters, on lower costs.
RUSAL completed its US$9.33 billion debt refinancing in September 2011 with Russian and international banks. It said that at the end of September its net debt stood at US$10.91 billion.

Bosai announces US$100M expansion plans

Demerara Waves - March 12th, 2012

Bosai Minerals Group Guyana Inc. (BMMG) on Monday announced that it will be investing some US$100M to expand its operations at Linden, creating more than 500 jobs in the process while moving closer to resolving dust pollution issues from its operations.
Company officials met Natural Resources and the Environment Minister Robert Persaud on Monday following which the media was briefed on the new investments which will be spread across the next two years.
“The first phase of the investment is in excess of US$57M and that is certainly a significant amount,” Persaud said. The money will go towards the set up of a third kiln at the Linden plant and is expected to create between 200 and 300 jobs, according to the company.
Company Secretary Norman McLean added that they will also be introducing new value-added products.
“They’re looking to introduce a third kiln and to produce two products, proppants and mullites which will expand their market share in this area and increase their revenue so they’re very committed to that,” he said.
Proppants are used in the petroleum industry to hold fractures in the earth open after hydraulic fracturing or fracking treatment while mullite is used a lot in the glass and steel industries.
McLean said that in addition to the third kiln they will also be completing a dust collector and installing two new generators which also create jobs.
“We’re looking at probably over 500 jobs being created here and we’re not mentioning construction,” Mclean said.
Dust pollution from the mining operations has been a major issue in the Linden for years and Persaud said the company has given him assurance that they are near completion on a collector for one of the kilns.
“The company has assured me that it’s more than 90 percent completed and in fact it has given a timeframe of two weeks to have two other components brought in and to have that dust trapping mechanism in place.
“The Environmental Protection Agency will be finalizing an agreement with the company and the two sides are meeting on Wednesday whereby we can have some concrete and specific commitment because yes development comes with a cost but at the same time we have to ensure that from the environmental standpoint we take care of those needs,” Persaud stated.
McLean said the collector should be completed by June.
“We have had community members visit the location and they have seen the massive nature of the work which has been going on there, we’ve had over 40 expatriates coming from China to ensure that that is being done and so there is a very strong commitment and maybe for the first time in maybe 40 years we will have a dust collector which will trap the dust.
However, he noted that there is another reason to have the collector in place since “the finest quality of bauxite’ is going up through the smoke stack.
Meanwhile, the minister said they are also in talks on the company acquiring properties to establish a permanent base.
“It shows the long term interest of the company in Guyana, in Linden and in bauxite which is certainly a very good thing. We know the bauxite industry has taken a very positive turn, we see what RUSAL is doing in terms of the Berbice River, what Bosai is doing in Linden and I think that it augers well and the fact that the company is thinking in the long term is also good.

Hyundai wins $1.5bn Ma'aden refinery contract

Construction Week Online - March 10th, 2012

Seoul-based Hyundai Engineering & Construction has secured the $1.5bn construction contract for an alumina refinery, part of the second phase of the $10.8bn project to develop a fully-integrated aluminium complex in Ras Al Khair in Saudi Arabia.
The complex is being built by Ma'aden Bauxite and Alumina Company, a joint venture between Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden) and US-based Alcoa Incorporated, which holds a 25.1% stake. The fully integrated industrial complex, consisting of a bauxite mine at Ba'aitha and an alumina refinery, aluminum smelter and rolling mill at Ras Al Khair.
The refinery is to be built over a 29 month period.

We retain our outlook on Sterlite and Hindalco: Emkay

Myiris - March 10th, 2012

Globally the annual aluminium production currently is ~44 mt. This is 0.8 mt more than demand. Of this, about 18 mt (~40%) is produced by China. Going forward globally the growth is expected to be driven by China and India.
India produces about 2 million ton per annum. Going forward aluminium production and consumption to grow well over 10%. The per capita aluminium consumption in India currently at 1.3 kg is poised to grow at 12-13% over the next few years. The Government estimate is 4.0kg by 2020.
Currently Indian producers are facing challenges with respect to ``natural resource sourcing``. VAL is facing challenges with bauxite & coal sourcing, Hindalco awaits Mahan coal block clearance for starting their Mahan smelter which is largely``mechanically complete`` and Nalco gets only 70% of its coal requirement from linkage (balance through a mix of e-auctions and imports). With energy sources getting costlier it is quite possible that Indian Aluminium producers produce alumina, export it to a place where they have access to cheap power and produce Aluminium at competitive rates. NALCO had drafted such a proposal of taking alumina to Indonesia and producing Aluminium there by setting up a captive power plant- however the proposal is to receive final clearance from the Govt. machinery.
The quality of Indian Bauxite is good. However, all Bauxite mines are located in tribal areas and all companies are facing problems in exploiting the same. Our Forest Conservation Act and presence of vested interests in these regions are hindrance to development of mining activity.
Several companies are not likely to meet their project expansion schedule announced by them. Hindalco had been stating that their 359kt aluminium will go on-stream by Dec 2011 (now rescheduled to Q4FY12) and ramp up by Jan 2013.
> Nalco, Monnet Ispat, Jindal Aluiminium and Tatas (Sponge) have got coal block in Talcher (Andhra pradesh), however are not to able to exploit them because of ``ultra leftist people`` in the region and the Govt. choosing not to intervene in the matter.
> Regulatory changes could have a big impact on regional production and expansion projects. Nalco`s expansion plan in Orissa is stuck up because of environmental issues. It is in the process of finalizing a JV with GMDC for setting up an Alumina plant in Gujarat.
Both the production and consumption of aluminium in India is expected to grow significantly better (around 10-12%) as compared to global growth rate (about 3.5%) over next few years. The consumption growth in India is likely to be driven by growth in the automobile, packaging and power sectors. This would be a big advantage for a company which gets both bauxite & coal captive sourcing tied up at the earliest as it would take about 12-18 months for the asset to be developed.
Indian players are also closely watching LME movements and focusing more on firming up raw-material sourcing (bauxite & coal) before commissioning their expanded facilities which are largely complete. In our Hindalco report released during Dec 2011, we have estimated incremental aluminium production from Mahan at only 90kt in FY13. Even if the Hindalco & VAL expansion projects are commissioned, their capacity utilization is likely to be low. The possibility of Indian cos. exploring tie ups with oversees cos. for their raw material sourcing cannot be ruled out. Understand Vedanta & Nalco are seriously exploring options in this front.

Alcoa aims for union deal to close Italy smelter

Reuters - March 10th, 2012

Next meeting with unions, government is due on March 26
* Alcoa confirms plans to close the smelter by mid-year
* Unions say Alcoa's plan not acceptable
MILAN, March 9 (Reuters) - Alcoa aims to reach a deal with Italian labour unions this month March to clear the way for a planned shutdown of its aluminium smelter on the island of Sardinia by mid-year, the U.S. aluminium firm said on Friday.
Its decision to close its Portovesme smelter, part of its efforts to cut global output and costs, has run into opposition from Italy's government, Sardinia's authorities and trade unions.
"At the next meeting on March 26, Alcoa hopes to reach an agreement with unions to identify the best solutions for employees and the involved community and at the same time to carry out an orderly closing of the plant," Alcoa said in a comment to Reuters.
Under Italian law, if a large company closing its business fails to reach an agreement with unions on a layoff procedure, the government would intervene to help soften job cuts.
That would prolong the smelter closure process for Alcoa which has said it would not accept a delay.
Alcoa reiterated on Friday its intention to shut the Portovesme smelter by mid-2012.
Industry Ministry Undersecretary Claudio De Vincenti, who is overseeing efforts to rescue the plant, has asked Alcoa to review the timing, the ministry said after a meeting with Alcoa executives and unions on Thursday.
The FIM-CISL metal workers' union called Alcoa's decision to cut jobs and stop the smelter unacceptable and said after Thursday's meeting that more time was needed for negotiations aimed at keeping "industrial continuity of the plant".
Extended talks would help Rome win time to find new buyers for the smelter and keep jobs.
Labour unions and Sardinian authorities say a shutdown of the plant, which is one of the main employers on the island, would cost about 500 jobs at Alcoa and about 1,000 held by people linked to the smelter and deal a heavy blow to the local economy.
Alcoa has granted access to information about the plant to three potential investors - commodities group Glencore, investment company Klesch and Austria's Hammerer Aluminium Industries.

Klesch Considers Building Smelter in North Iceland, Visir Says

Bloomberg - March 9th, 2012

Commodity investment firm Klesch Group (0031923D) is interested in building an aluminum smelter near Husavik, north Iceland, to be completed within two years, Visir reported without saying where it got the information.
Klesch has asked to be allowed to use an environmental- impact assessment conducted for Alcoa Inc. (AA), which canceled its plans to build a smelter in the area after concluding that Iceland wouldn’t be able to supply enough power at competitive prices, the Reykjavik-based news service said.

To Construct a New Facility for High-end Aluminium Flat Rolled Product Manufacturing

Virtual Press Office - March 9th, 2012

The world's second largest industrial aluminium extrusion product developer and manufacturer and the largest in Asia and China, China Zhongwang Holdings Limited, ("China Zhongwang" or "the Company", together with its subsidiaries "the Group"; Stock code: 01333) today announced Tianjin Zhongwang Aluminium Co., Ltd. ("Tianjin Zhongwang"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, has won the bid for land use rights for industrial purposes in Wuqing District, Tianjin City, PRC, at a consideration of approximately RMB1.4 billion. The land will be used for the construction of a new facility for the manufacturing of high-end aluminium flat rolled products.
Lu Changqing, Executive Director and Vice President of China Zhongwang, said, "The aluminium flat rolled business has been earmarked as an important venture of the Group in the coming years. The Group has been searching for suitable locations for new production facilities according to its plan ever since it announced its plan to enter the high-end aluminium flat rolled product market segment. The successful bid for the land use rights in Tianjin symbolizes the initial completion of this search. Facility construction will now be in full gear to meet the target of completing phase I development which will have an annual production capacity of 1.8 million tonnes and commence production in the second half of 2014. The ultimate goal is to realize the total designed production capacity of 3 million tonnes in 2018."
The land acquired, with a 50-year term for the land use rights, is situated on the north side of Wuning Road, Auto Parts Industrial Park, Wuqing District, Tianjin City, PRC. It has a total area of approximately 5.5 million sqm.
China Zhongwang has made thorough planning for entering the aluminium flat rolled business. Orders for advanced imported equipment from Germany and the U.S. were placed last October. Such equipment includes hot continuous rolling mills and cold rolling mills for the production of medium-to-high thickness plate and sheet products, smelting and casting lines, quenching furnaces and heat treatment furnaces for the ancillary production of medium-to-high thickness plate and sheet products, and aluminium foil rolling mills, amongst others. In addition, the Group has embarked on an overseas recruitment programme to hire seasoned industry professionals in order to speed up the development of the research & development team and to strengthen its technology pool.
"The Group has its focus squarely placed on the aluminium processing industry. On the solid foundation of our industrial aluminium extrusion business, we have extended our foothold to the deep-processing business and the aluminium flat-rolled business to establish an integrated business model with three resources-sharing and synergistic core businesses. Building from strength to strength based on our technology advantage in the aluminium processing industry, a wealth of talents, extensive customer base and business network as well as our solid financial position, the aluminium flat rolled business will help consolidate the Group’s leading position in the industry. This three-pronged business model will drive the Group’s long term growth, creating sustainable investment returns to our shareholders," Lu concluded.
About China Zhongwang Holdings Limited
China Zhongwang is the world’s second largest and Asia’s and China’s largest industrial aluminium extrusion product developer and manufacturer, with a particular focus on the transportation, machinery equipment and electric power engineering sectors. It currently operates 79 extrusion production lines, including a 125MN oil-driven dual action extrusion press which is currently the largest of its kind in China and one of the most advanced in the world. These facilities enable the Company to produce large-section and high-precision industrial aluminium extrusion products tailored to its customers’ needs. These products are widely used in the transportation sector such as cargo and passenger compartments, metropolitan railway, aviation, vessels, automobiles, as well as machinery equipment and electric power engineering sectors etc. In addition, the Group plans to extend its business into the high value-added aluminium flat rolled product segment. This new business venture will not only enable the Group to further capitalize on its leading edge in aluminium alloy smelting and casting and product research and development, but also achieve synergies with its existing business by taking full advantage of its customer and market resources in related downstream application sectors.

South Port highlights the importance of Tiwai Point smelter

NZ Resources - March 9th, 2012

The deep south port that sees the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter as a major breadwinner will be watching developments of key owner Rio Tinto which plans to place this operation and six aluminium-production businesses in Australia in a major float or a sales deal.

Mayor meets with Alcoa in NYC

Geelong Advertiser - March 9th, 2012

GEELONG Mayor John Mitchell believes Alcoa is genuinely undecided on the future of its Point Henry smelter after holding talks with key management in New York.
Cr Mitchell interrupted his own private holiday in the United States to meet Alcoa senior executives in the Big Apple and express the city's desire to see the aluminium giant's Geelong smelter remain open.
Alcoa announced a review of the viability of the smelter last month, claiming factors such as metal prices, input costs and a high Australian dollar had made it unprofitable.
It remains committed to making a decision on the Point Henry facility's future by the end of June.
Cr Mitchell met with Alcoa's Global Primary Products president Chris Ayers and chief operating officer Bill Oplinger in the company's Park Avenue headquarters on Wednesday.
"At no time did they say a decision had been made. At no time did they say they wanted to leave (Geelong)," Cr Mitchell said.
"The most important thing is that, through my meetings with them in Australia and now here, I believe they haven't made their decision yet.
"They are trying to make the plant profitable and efficient. All of them continue to say if they can, they would like to stay."
Alcoa, the world's largest alumina producer, has confirmed cuts to global production by 12 per cent as the industry deals with low metal prices.
Rio Tinto is also reviewing the viability of its Bell Bay smelter in Tasmania and is closing a smelter in Northumberland, England later this month.
Cr Mitchell said the Alcoa pair stated they enjoyed a good relationship with the Geelong community and the state and federal governments.
"But it's tough times. Some of those decisions are going to be tough decisions," Cr Mitchell said.
City Hall approved an expenses bill of $1100 for Cr Mitchell to fly from Los Angeles to New York for the meeting.
It follows his $5800 trip to the US in June and July last year, where part of his itinerary was a meeting with various Alcoa vice-presidents and group presidents in New York.

REFILE-Alcoa courted by three suitors for Italian plant

Reuters - March 8th, 2012

* Alcoa opens access to smelter data
* Letters of intent expected in April
* Alcoa confirms plans to shut smelter
MILAN, March 8 (Reuters) - Three potential investors want to assess data for an aluminium smelter in Italy which the U.S. group Alcoa has decided to close, paving the way to a sale of the plant, a senior Alcoa official said on Thursday.
Alcoa said in January it would close its Portovesme smelter on the island of Sardinia, and slash output at two Spanish smelters, as it cuts global output and costs.
It has given access to information about the plant to commodities group Glencore, investment company Klesch and Austria's Hammerer Aluminium Industries, Alessandro Profili, in charge of European affairs at Alcoa, told Reuters.
Profili said any other interested parties would be allowed access to the data.
Potential suitors would then have to file a letter of intent to express their interest in taking over the smelter, he said.
Glencore declined to comment, as did Geneva-based Klesch, whose activity is focused on acquiring businesses in areas including metals and mining, oil and gas, power generation and chemicals.
There was no immediate comment from Hammerer Aluminium Industries.
Alcoa's decision to shut the Portovesme smelter has run into fierce opposition from unions and local authorities who say it would cost about 1,500 jobs and deal a heavy blow to Sardinia's economy.
Italy's Industry Ministry, which has been trying to keep the smelter running and save jobs, held a meeting with Alcoa executives and unions on Thursday.
Alcoa would keep the data room, which contains 200 documents, open throughout March and expected potential buyers to send their letters of intent in April, the FIM-CISL metal workers' union said in a statement after the meeting.
"That sounds like a reasonable timeframe," Alcoa's Profili said, declining to provide more details.
He reiterated Alcoa's intention to close the smelter by the end of this year.

Maaden Alcoa joint venture to add production line in Saudi Arabia

Business Intelligence Middle East - March 8th, 2012

SAUDI ARABIA. According to Frost & Sullivan, Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) had originally planned to have the sheet mill for can sheets only. The announcement of a Joint Venture with US firm Alcoa to add a new aluminium production line is expected to meet the local demand in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which is currently met by local rolling mill Garmco, Bahrain.
There is a big gap between the supply and market demand in the GCC for Paint, Foil stock, etc and the new mill planned will help to rectify the gap. Further, the new line will instigate the development of various down stream industries from the envisaged products of Maaden’s new mill line.
Notable products that have good market in Saudi are Foil, sheet coating, sign boards, slugs, chequered plate, boat and auto sheet body, electronic items and capacitors.
Hence, the new plan of products will increase value addition to Aluminium sheet through foil products which have great demand of around 100,000 tonnes and most of it is catered by imports.
More downstream industries are expected to create additional local employment opportunities ensuring utilisation of the local natural abundant energy to value addition to the base metal and bring in new technologies to Saudi Arabia.
Note: Perspective by S Venkatesan, Director, Metals and Minerals Practice, Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, Frost & Sullivan.

Fluor and SMS Siemag ink Ma'aden-Alcoa plant deals

Construction Week Online - March 8th, 2012

Alcoa and Ma’aden today announced commencement of work to extend the product mix of their aluminum complex currently under construction at Ras Al Khair, Saudi Arabia.
This latest milestone will enable the two companies to include capability for producing about 100,000 metric tons of a wide range of products suitable for further downstream manufacturing in the complex’s product lines. They include automotive heat-treated and non-heat-treated sheet, building and construction sheet and foil stock sheet. The range of products will be suitable for further downstream manufacturing in the complex's product lines.
Two contracts covering the work were signed in Jubail this week. They include the contract for Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Management has been awarded to Fluor, while a second award was made to SMS Siemag for supply of the mill equipment and heat treatment line equipment.
Depending on demand, the line will start production at the end of 2014.
"These new capabilities will help establish downstream industries in Saudi Arabia using aluminium that has been mined, refined, smelted and rolled in the Kingdom. It is also fully compatible with the national strategy of developing national resources to create sustainable wealth and employment for Saudis, as well as enabling the replacement of a wide range of imports with cost effective high quality domestic products, and encouraging the expansion of the national industrial base," said Khalid Mudaifer, Ma'aden's President and CEO.
Ken Wisnoski, Alcoa vice president, and president of Alcoa's Primary Products Growth group said: "Throughout this complex, we are bringing in the best technologies in their class and developing the local skills and operational routines to extract the most efficient, high quality production from them. This was already the first and only facility in the Middle East capable of producing food grade can sheet. Extending its capabilities significantly increases that advantage."
The complex’s smelter and rolling mill are expected to begin production in 2013. The aluminum smelter is expected to have an initial capacity of 740,000 metric tons per year while the rolling mill will be within the initial capacity of 380,000 metric tons per year. In addition to the smelter and rolling mill, the joint venture will include a bauxite mine with an initial capacity of 4 million metric tons per year and an alumina refinery with an initial capacity of 1.8 million metric tons per year. The first production of the mine and refinery is scheduled for early 2014. Alcoa will provide alumina feedstock for the smelter in the interim.

The final countdown

Morpeth Herald - March 8th, 2012

URGENT work is under way to help 515 staff at Rio Tinto Alcan following news that main operations will close at the end of the month.
The final blow for the troubled Lynemouth aluminium smelter came on Tuesday when workers were told that consultation on its future had ended with no sign of a buyer or any hope of saving it from the axe.
Hot metal production will end on Thursday, March 29, and, as revealed in the Herald last week, the majority of the staff, 323 workers, will leave at the end of May.
Others will remain in the carbon and casting plants until later in the year when only 60 workers will be kept on in decommissioning, remediation and regional economic development roles.
The company’s ship unloading facility at the Port of Blyth will continue to operate for around 18 months and will be used to store and transport raw materials for the Lochaber smelter in the Scottish Highlands.
Rio Tinto also owns around 4,500 acres of farmland in the area, which it is looking to sell.
Talks on the sale of Lynemouth Power Station, which employs 120 people, are ongoing with potential buyers, the Government and electricity regulators to determine how it could be used in the future.
Alcan Aluminium Corporate Affairs Director John McCabe said: “Although we have been preparing for the worst, we have been hoping for the best, but the consultation has ended and this is the outcome. While it wasn’t unexpected, it is still a very sad day.
“We are trying where we can to mitigate the impact on the people affected as much as we possibly can.
“We are providing employment support, re-training and trying to help with things like CV preparation and interview techniques. We are also working with Jobcentre Plus to try to find them employment elsewhere.
“The focus right now is on the employees directly affected by this, then we will start to look at the decommissioning of the plant, the remediation of the land and the regional economic development work.
“With local enterprise partners, we will try to reinvigorate the economy of south east Northumberland, particularly on this site.
“We will try to attract some new investment from elsewhere to the site to hopefully bring some more jobs.
“There have been some initial inquiries about the land, but we need to have a look at those in due course. The immediate focus is on the people directly involved in this now.”
Mr McCabe added that staff have many skills that could transfer to other industries.
“The guys have really transferable skills. Some have experience of driving different plant vehicles, operating all kinds of machinery or working at heights and they have all got experience of working to really stringent safety standards. They would be of interest to a whole range of different sectors.
“They are a great bunch of guys, they work hard and they have a lot to offer other employers,” he said.
The director put the reasons for the plant’s closure down to the high operating costs of the business and the impact of future environmental taxes.
Rio Tinto Alcan Chief Executive Jacynthe Cote said: “I am saddened by the closure of Lynemouth smelter, but we have reached this decision only after a thorough strategic review of the plant and a fair and transparent consultation process.
“I have met with Lynemouth unions and staff members and I have great respect for the manner in which they have represented their colleagues during consultation.
“We will now focus on safely decommissioning the plant, working with our employees to mitigate the impact of redundancy on them and their families and partnering with all interested stakeholders on the future regional economic development of the Lynemouth site.
“We are in close contact with our customers to limit the impact on their businesses under the scope of our contractual agreements.”
The company, which took over the site in 2007, is still willing to consider credible interest in its carbon and casting plants.
And the GMB union will continue to push to find a buyer for the site throughout workers’ notice period.
Regional Organiser Keir Howe said: “After a difficult consultation process, no long-term plans have emerged to save jobs at Alcan. Hundreds of GMB members will be faced with losing their job by the end of May and with the economy in the present state our members are worried there won’t be enough jobs out there for them all.
“Alcan has a hard-working and dedicated workforce, which any potential buyer could benefit from.
“The loss of the smelter will be devastating for our members, their local communities and the region as a whole and it is time the Government stepped in to assist in saving this site.
“This is the largest private sector employer in Northumberland and will be the first of many companies in the energy-intensive industry that may be lost if the Government does not act.”
Northumberland County Council has set up a Response Group, including Rio Tinto Alcan, Jobcentre Plus, the Skills Funding Agency, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, North East Chamber of Commerce and Connect for Change, to co-ordinate support for Alcan workers and those in the supply chain whose positions may be at risk.
Chairman Paul Moffat said: “Over the last few months RTA and the response group have been working together on preparing support packages to be rolled out quickly if a final decision was taken to close the smelter.
“Part of the council’s role is to help mitigate the negative social impact on our communities and we are working with local schools, colleges, voluntary and community groups to co-ordinate support.
“A number of specialist advice sessions have already taken place and we will continue to provide support as long as it is needed during the phased closure.”
A careers advice centre was set up at Alcan in February and an open day was held at Lynemouth Resource Centre for those in the supply chain at risk of redundancy.
Further events are planned this month, covering issues such as money management, health, housing, enterprise start-up and job vacancies. In April there will be a session on employability and skills advice.

Aluminium sector sees robust growth in GCC

Times of Oman - March 7th, 2012

Muscat: Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) aluminium growth story is just getting unfolded as significant developments and achievements marked the industry in the Gulf in 2011.
During the year, Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Aluminium (Emal) announced Phase II expansion while Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) began construction of the bauxite mine and the Alumina refinery. Qatalum, an equal joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and Hydro Aluminium of Norway, completed its rump up programme while Dubai Aluminium Company (Dubal) production exceeded one million tonnes for the second year running.
The growth continued with Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) having reached its highest level of production and the newest addition to the Middle East’s metals circuit and Oman’s first foray into the Aluminium industry, Sohar Aluminium reached the benchmark of producing one million tonnes of Aluminium since commencement in June 2008.
Together, the five (Alba, Dubal, Emal, Sohar and Qatalum) Gulf smelters produced more than 3.6 million tonnes of aluminium to reach around five million tonnes by year 2014 when both Ma’aden and Emal Phase II will be completed.
In 2011, a number of aluminium downstreams were established in Oman, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Above all, the Gulf region has truly become a major hub for the world aluminium business and a significant contributor to the regional economy. This is evident by its continuous growth and the increasing number of organisations with aluminium related business establishing their facilities in the Gulf, a trend that is being encouraged by the Gulf Aluminium Council.
With an increase in world demand for aluminium at an average of six per cent annually, the demand from the Gulf is expected to grow and will drive the Gulf producers to expand their production capacity even further.
The world demand for aluminium is estimated to reach over 70 million tonnes by the year 2020 from 40 million tonnes a year currently which would require an additional 30 million tonnes of aluminium compared to current annual production.
Almost 80 per cent of the Aluminium produced in the Gulf is exported to different parts of the world firmly placing the Gulf in a prominent position to meet both local and world demand.

Relief for hundreds of Rio Tinto workers at Bell Bay

ABC Online - March 7th, 2012

Rio Tinto has told the Australian Workers Union its Tasmanian aluminium smelter can survive the current manufacturing downturn.
AWU delegates met Rio Tinto management in Launceston over concerns about the impact on 500 permanent workers and 100 contractors at the Bell Bay smelter.
The union sought assurances from the company about measures to combat the high Australian dollar and low metal prices.
The AWU's Robert Flanagan says Rio Tinto representatives assured the meeting it has no plans to close the smelter, reduce production or make any workers redundant.
He says the company is developing a business plan to ensure the plant's long term viability.
"The facility over the long term is very profitable," he said.
"We're confident that at the end of the day they'll be able to deliver a plan which protects the employment of those employees and their presence at that establishment."
The AWU wants all levels of government to form a taskforce that would offer the industry help in the short term.
Mr Flanagan says a government taskforce could provide short-term help.
"There might be opportunities that are available to get Tasmanian exporters through these challenging times."
Michael Bailey from the Launceston Chamber of Commerce says Bell Bay is in financial turmoil.
"I think this is a bigger problem that any one party can possibly face."
The Tasmanian Economic Development Minister, David O'Byrne, says he will meet union delegates before he goes to Canberra for talks on the troubled manufacturing industry.
There are also calls to expand the national freight equalisation scheme for exporters without a direct link to international markets.

Rio's UK shutdown underscores industry shift

The Sydney Morning Herald - March 7th, 2012

Rio Tinto has reminded Australia it's not the only developed economy suffering from global shifts in the aluminium industry, as it moves to close down a smelter in Britain.
Rio announced last night the Lynemouth aluminium smelter in Northumberland would close on March 29, leaving at least 323 people redundant and the future of a nearby power station unclear.
The Lynemouth move follows a multiple-billion dollar write-down of Rio's aluminium assets in February and warnings from BHP Billiton that the sector is facing "structural not cyclical" changes as the industry adjusts to cheaper expansion of the sector in China. Advertisement: Story continues below
The high Australian dollar has been principally blamed for imminent closures of some Australian aluminium operations, with Alcoa expected to close Victoria's Point Henry Smelter in coming months once a review is completed.
Rio has earmarked several Australian aluminium assets for divestment, including the Bell Bay smelter in Tasmania which is struggling to be profitable.
The Lynemouth closure shows that many developed nations are struggling to compete with the cheap construction, operation and electricity supply that smelters typically enjoy in China.

Dubal unveils technological advances at TMS 2012

AME Info - March 5th, 2012

Further demonstrating its corporate commitment to excellence through innovation, Dubai Aluminium 'Dubal' — the entirely state-owned enterprise whose Jebel Ali operation ranks among the world's largest single-site primary aluminium smelters — will again participate in the industry platform offered by the TMS Annual Meeting and Exhibition 'TMS 2012'.
Held this year at the Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida, USA from 11 to 15 March, the focus of TMS 2012 is again on providing materials science and engineering professionals the opportunity to network, present research, share industrial applications and introduce innovation — the aim being to leverage synergies that will progress research and development activities towards applications that offer global solutions.
With this in mind, two senior executives from Dubal will present technical papers at TMS 2012, both of which will also be published in Light Metals 2012. The titles and topics of the presentations are as follows:
- "The successful implementation of Dubal DX Technology at EMAL" — Michel Reverdy (Technology Transfer Manager) will present this paper, which outlines the fast-track, in-house development of the technology plus the relatively rapid installation and commissioning of 756 Dubal DX Technology cells at EMAL Phase I, the normalisation of which was achieved without incident.
- "DX+, an optimized version of DX Technology" — Abdulla Al Zarouni (Technology Development Manager) will present this paper, which describes the continued self-development of proprietary aluminium reduction technologies at Dubal, specifically the evolution of DX+ Technology and its selection for implementation at EMAL Phase II.
Commenting on Dubal's involvement in TMS 2012, Abdulla Kalban (President & CEO of Dubal) says, "In our opinion, the annual TMS meetings offer a strong and credible forum for sharing technology-related information with a broad audience representing diverse stakeholder groups," says "As in prior years, our primary objective as a participant at TMS 2012 is to raise awareness in the industry that Dubal is much more than a producer of primary aluminium. To the contrary, Dubal is also a developer of superior technologies based on thorough and ongoing research into process and system improvements."

Saudi Maaden-Alcoa aluminium JV to add production line

Reuters - March 5th, 2012

Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Maaden) plans to add a new production line at its aluminium joint venture with U.S firm Alcoa to produce sheets used in the automotive and construction industries, the firm said on Monday.
The new line will have a capacity of 100,000 tonnes per year and also produce foil stock sheets when it comes online by the end of 2014, Maaden said in a statement on the Saudi bourse website.

UNISCO wins Canadian smelter contract

Oman Daily Observer - March 5th, 2012

United Industrial Services Company LLC (UNISCO), a unit of Towell Engineering, has won a contract to supply 386 superstructures (approximately 6,000 metric tonnes of steel) for the modernisation of Kitimat Aluminium Smelter in Kitimat, Canada. The client is Rio Tinto Alcan Primary Metal British Columbia Operations, Canada.
“Winning such an order for a high-tech engineered product used for critical application in aluminium smelting, against stiff global completion from well-known and large- sized North American and European engineering corporations, is certainly a landmark achievement for UNISCO and a source of pride for any Omani company,” said UNISCO in a statement.
Announcing the contract award, which is the second major order won by UNISCO during the last 18 months, Balaji Srinivasan, CEO and Managing Director of Towell Engineering, commented: “This contract attests to the global standards of UNISCO’s facilities and ability to compete with major global companies and win orders even from far away countries like Canada who have easy access to larger engineering facilities in North America. Further the EPCM Contractor for this project, Bechtel, has reposed confidence in UNISCO once again due to our proven capabilities in producing such critical equipment with high accuracy, quality, safety and of course delivering them ahead of schedule which has become the hallmark of Towell Engineering.”
Since the launch of operations in 2006, UNISCO has executed a number of prestigious projects and also expanded its facilities. A second facility was added in 2008, while a third facility, currently under construction, will be inaugurated in May this year.
Some of the important projects completed by UNISCO are: Superstructures for Sohar Aluminium with Bechtel as EPCM; Diagrid nodes for Capital Gate project in Abu Dhabi; Dock gates for Oman Drydock Company and MoTC; All steel structures and plate works for Vale Iron ore pelletising plant in Sohar amounting to 23,000 tonnes of steel; Aisle Removable Slabs for Emirates Aluminium, Abu Dhabi; Pipe racks, Pressure Vessels, Filtration equipment and other project equipment for PDO; and Steel structures for Occidental Mukhaizna.
Currently, UNISCO is executing the Superstructure Project for the world’s largest single line aluminium smelter being built at Ma’aden, Saudi Arabia. Srinivasan pointed to UNISCO’s strong HSE and QA/QC programmes that have earned the company, in a short span of time, a number of accreditations including ISO 9001, American Society of Mechanical Engineers stamps (ASME-U/U2/R/S & PP), American Petroleum Institute (API) Monograms- 6A, 6D, 5CT & 7.1, and PDO approval in category of Process Equipment, Pressure Vessels and Structural Steel.
UNISCO is also targeting ISO 14001 certification shortly, while safety and environment awareness continue to be one of the company’s major priorities. On the Omanisation front, UNISCO is conducting several training programmes for the Omani workforce while recruiting from local technical institutions in order to add value to its localisation goals.
UNISCO is part of Towell Engineering, which is the flagship company of WJ Towell Group.

Rio Tinto may cut output at Tasmania aluminium smelter

Reuters Africa - March 5th, 2012

Rio Tinto may cut output at one of its Australian aluminium smelters which is losing money due to the strong Australian dollar, high production costs and weak aluminium prices, the global miner said.
Workers at the Bell Bay aluminium smelter, part of the Pacific Aluminium business that Rio Tinto is looking to sell, are worried 600 jobs could be lost, however the company said no decision had been made to axe jobs or shut the smelter.
"The aluminium sector in Australia is facing tough market conditions in the form of a high exchange rate, higher costs of production and low aluminium prices," the general manager of the Bell Bay Aluminium smelter, Ray Mostogl, said.
Some potlines could be closed while conditions remain tough, but the company declined to confirm a report in the Australian Financial Review that workers had been told shutting the plant in two years was an option.
"We are leaving no stone unturned as we try to make Bell Bay resilient in any market conditions," Mostogl said.
Aluminium producers worldwide have been slashing output to help support the market.
In Australia, Norsk Hydro has cut a third of the output at its 180,000 tonnes-a-year Kurri Kurri aluminium plant and has warned it may have to cut more, while Alcoa is reviewing the future of its 190,000 tonnes-a-year Point Henry aluminium smelter.
Rio Tinto is negotiating a new power supply contract with Hydro Tasmania for Bell Bay from May 1 that would be key to helping cut costs at the plant, which produced 181,000 tonnes of aluminium last year.
The plant has been the focus of a loud campaign over the past year by the Australian Workers Union, which claims Bell Bay workers are paid less than workers at other aluminium smelters in Australia. The company has said the smelter pays competitive rates.
Alarm at Bell Bay rose over the past week after BHP Billiton announced it was suspending production and conducting a review at its TEMCO manganese alloy smelter, near the Bell Bay plant, as the strong currency and rising operating costs have made the business uncompetitive.

DJ Rio Tinto Looks At Options For Tasmania Aluminum Smelter

Mena FN - March 4th, 2012

Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) said Monday that it was reviewing its aluminum operation on the island of Tasmania, which is struggling against high production costs and weak aluminum prices, casting the future of another in a string of Australian aluminum smelters into doubt.
"We are leaving no stone unturned as we try to make Bell Bay resilient in any market conditions," said Ray Mostogl, general manager of the operation, located at the mouth of Tasmania's Tamar river.
Managers at the business last week told employees that the company was considering further cost-saving measures, although a spokesman for Rio declined Monday to comment on the roughly 550 jobs at the smelter, which was put up for sale last year.
"The aluminum sector in Australia is facing tough market conditions in the form of a high exchange rate, higher costs of production and low aluminum prices," Mostogl told Dow Jones Newswires.
Australian businesses are also bracing for the introduction of a carbon tax later this year that will impose a levy of A$23 per metric ton of carbon emitted.
The Bell Bay smelter began operations in 1955, producing about 12,000 tons of aluminum a year. It was bought by Rio in 1960 and has been expanded to an annual capacity of more than 177,000 tons; it pays roughly A$50 million in salaries and buys local goods and services worth some A$180 million a year.
Rio, as part of a wider streamlining of its global aluminum division, in mid-October bundled smelters, a mine and refinery in Australia and New Zealand into a new company, Pacific Aluminum, ahead of their sale. A month later the company said it would close its Lynemouth smelter in England.
Tasmanian workers are wary after BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) last month said it would suspend its loss-making Tasmanian Electro Metallurgical Co. manganese alloy production facility on the island while it conducts a three-month review. BHP said at the time that despite measures to make the operation cost-effective, it hasn't been able to counter shifts in the market and increased production costs.
Higher prices for electricity, wages and other costs as well as the "Dutch disease"--a term used to describe the phenomenon of a booming commodity market undercutting manufacturers by driving up the value of a nation's currency--has led a number of companies to consider cutting capacity.
Norsk Hydro ASA (NHY.OS) in January said it was cutting 150 jobs and one-third of output at its 180,000-ton-a-year Kurri Kurri aluminum plant, while Alcoa Inc. (AA) last month said it was reviewing the future of its Point Henry aluminum smelter.

Alcoa in talks with Indian companies to sell surplus alumina

Steel Guru - March 4th, 2012

ET reported that US based Alcoa has opened talks with some Indian companies to sell surplus alumina, signaling the intention of the world's third largest aluminum producer to increase presence in India.
With an output of 16 million tonnes a year, Alcoa is the world's largest alumina producer. The company entered India in 2001 when it teamed up with Hindalco to bid for Balco which was eventually acquired by Sterlite Industries. It has since been building its presence in the high value, high quality aluminum segments.
Mr Vishal Seth MD of Alcoa India said that "There is a renewed focus on India. We sell about half of our production to various companies on annual contracts. We plan to bring some of our Australian alumina production here. Alcoa is in talks with Vedanta Aluminum and Hindalco Industries among other Indian companies.”
Alumina is an intermediate compound that is smelted to make aluminum metal. Alloys of aluminum are used in aircraft bodies, rail wagons, cars, beverage cans and consumer goods.
Nalco which is Asia's largest alumina producer sells part of its produce to Indian producers. Nalco produces 1.5 million tonnes of alumina a year. Since Vedanta Aluminum and Balco do not have complete captive bauxite mines, they buy alumina from the domestic and international markets to feed Balco's smelting operations.
Alcoa is not keen on building Greenfield smelter and refinery in India because of the delays in getting government approvals and clearances. But it wants to expand its presence in the country's mid to downstream markets, which make products for construction, food processing and car wheels.
Mr Seth who took charge of the Indian operations in January said that "We are open to joint venture arrangements or even for outright acquisitions as the company currently has a healthy appetite for such transactions in India."
Alcoa, which has shut down about 12% of its smelting capacity worldwide due to high energy costs, is building USD 10.6 billion refinery cum smelter through JV with Maaden Aluminum in Saudi Arabia. The plant is scheduled for completion by 2014. Mining majors are planning to build presence in the Middle East to cash in on the abundant gas supplies which reduces their energy costs.

Govt to take over Inalum for $700m, Hatta says

The Jakarta Post - March 3rd, 2012

The government will take over aluminum producer PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) in a transaction deal, which will be worth up to US$700 million, when the company’s contract ends in 2013.
Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa said in Jakarta on Friday that the acquisition value was based on audits conducted by three independent auditing companies on Inalum.
“All three auditing companies gave a value of between $600 million and $700 million,” Hatta said.
Hatta added that the funds would be taken from reserve funding allocated in the state budget (APBN).
Hatta also said that once the takeover of Inalum was completed, the company would be managed under a related state-owned company in cooperation with a private company.
“The most important thing to do now is to bring Inalum back to Indonesia,” Hatta said.
“We are planning to increase Inalum’s production capacity,” he added.
Inalum was set up in 1976 through an agreement between the government and its Japanese counterpart. The company runs the only aluminum smelter in Southeast Asia, in Asahan, North Sumatra, and utilizes hydropower plants Asahan I and Asahan II as its prime energy source.
The agreement stipulated that the Indonesian government had the option of taking over Inalum when the contract expired in 2013.
The smelter commenced operations in 1983 and produces 250,000 tons of aluminum ingots per annum. Inalum allocates only 40 percent of production for the domestic market, while exporting the rest to Japan.
The Indonesian government has a 41.12 percent stake in Inalum, while NAA, a consortium of 12 Japanese companies including Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd., Sumitomo Shoji Kaisha Ltd., Mitsui Aluminium Co. Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corporation, holds 58.88 percent.
The government expects to receive larger royalty shares and tax revenue from Inalum’s operational profit by having full ownership of the smelting company.
The Japanese consortium had previously expressed its wish for a contract extension by offering a commitment to increase its yearly production capacity to 317,000 tons. The consortium planned to invest $367 million to extend the contract.
Hatta said that despite Indonesia’s commitment to take over Inalum, the government was still open to negotiations on a possible contract extension, renewal or termination.
Previously, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan had said that the government, represented by the Finance Ministry, would conduct a tender via the Government Investment Center (PIP) to determine which state-owned company would manage Inalum once it was taken over.
Dahlan suggested that the State Electric Company (PLN) should establish a consortium with PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) and PT Timah to manage Inalum.

Aluminium industry presents own road map - March 2nd, 2012

The aluminium industry is mobilising in the run-up to the European Parliament’s vote, on 15 March, on the European Commission’s ‘Road map to a low-carbon economy by 2050’. The European Aluminium Association (EAA) says it is ready to continue its efforts to cut CO 2emissions, but sets limits in its own road map to 2050, ‘Lightening the load’ (1), which it presented on 1 March. The EAA’s road map describes the major difficulties the industry is experiencing – the high price of energy, crucial to the manufacturing process, the loss of competitiveness and resulting carbon leakage – and asks for compensation.
According to the EAA, despite shutdowns announced recently by foundries in Europe, the sector remains committed to further reducing its overall emissions, a reduction that could reach 79% by 2050. ?This industry has already achieved a record 50% reduction of CO 2 emissions since 1990 in Europe, but we are determined to do more,” commented Patrick Schrynmakers, EAA secretary-general. But European primary metal production is “severely affected” by carbon leakage, he added. “Only if it is granted the right operating conditions will the industry be competitive and continue its strategic role in providing innovative materials for climate protection and the European downstream industry.” COMPENSATING FOR COST OF ETS
The number one problem is the cost of electricity, which puts the industry at a competitive disadvantage compared to other global players that do not produce in Europe and do not bear CO 2 costs in electricity that trigger carbon leakage. So it is essential for the sector, continues the EEA, to obtain compensation for these high costs that cannot be passed on to its customers because prices are determined globally on the London Metals Exchange.
The EAA therefore calls on the EU to assess existing and future proposals on energy and climate change policies and measures to ensure international competitiveness. It is “urgent,” notes the association, for the industry to obtain full compensation for the indirect effects of application of the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) on electricity prices to ensure its short-term survival and to continue to be compensated until the rest of the world has adopted equivalent measures. It also calls for full compensation for the costs of renewable energy. The EAA also urges the EU to adopt an ambitious industrial policy that can ensure 25-year visibility to potential investors and notes that the sector should have the possibility at European level to conclude long-term baseload electricity contracts.
Since aluminium is a material that can be completely recycled, the EAA asks the EU to help the industry develop this activity, so that Europe can become the best recycling society in the world. Europe should also adopt measures to avoid aluminium scrap exports to regions that are less emissions-efficient. The association also calls for the promotion and development of an innovation policy enabling the industry to retain its technological advantage; measures to encourage the use of weight-reducing technologies in transport to maximise emissions reductions; implementation of a life-cycle approach in all environmental assessments; and measures to maximise the use of aluminium in packaging and to increase the use of aluminium in building (for improved energy efficiency). “Only if it is granted the right operating conditions will the industry be competitive and continue its strategic role in providing innovative materials”

Ess Dee Aluminium arm commences operations at Bangalore unit

Myiris News - March 2nd, 2012

Ess Dee Aluminium has announced that Flex Art Foil, the wholly owned subsidiary of the company has commenced the operations at its new manufacturing unit at Bangalore.
The unit is to carry out the activities of printing aluminium foils based packaging products.
The stock had underperformed the market over the past one month till Mar. 01, 2012, falling 19.63% compared with the Sensex`s 1.64% rise. It outperformed the market in past one quarter, gaining 12.68% as against 6.68% rise in the Sensex.
Shares of the company declined Rs 1.4, or 0.9%, to trade at Rs 155.00. The total volume of shares traded was 4,039 at the BSE (12.04 p.m., Friday).
ESS DEE Aluminium Limited (Q,N,C,F)*

The future of industry in Bahrain

Al Bawaba - March 1st, 2012

The performance of Bahrain’s traditional export-orientated heavy industries is less sensitive to local issues. According to official statistics, manufacturing currently accounts for approximately 17 percent of national GDP, a figure which should rise as major expansions come online. Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), the world’s fourth largest aluminium smelter last month confirmed it would build a sixth production line, adding 400,000 tonnes per year (t/y) to its 881,000 t/y capacity by early 2015. The kingdom’s manufacturers are, however, at the mercy of global market dynamics. Alba fared well in this environment last year, reporting a net income of $564 million, which was 53 percent higher than 2010 as global aluminium consumption rose almost 10 percent, even though aluminium prices fell 13 percent in the year. “The global industrial sector has been under a lot of pressure in the last three years,” says Dr Adel Hamad, chief executive of Gulf Aluminium Rolling Mill Company (GARMCO), which buys aluminium raw material from Alba. “Industries have had to restructure to improve efficiencies and streamline performance. GARMCO is no exception. But we incurred no losses during the downturn, which suggests our systems are sound,” he notes. Going forward, Bahrain’s manufacturers will have to factor in the possibility of energy shortages which could thwart their expansion plans, and are looking to the government for answers. Alba admit clarifying pricing and long-term availability of gas is a top priority this year.

Baucus presses BPA for timeline to reopen CFAC

KAJ18 Kalispell Montana News - March 1st, 2012

COLUMBIA FALLS- Senator Max Baucus is redoubling his call to re-open Columbia Falls Aluminum Company (CFAC) and bring hundreds of jobs to the Flathead Valley.
The Democrat met with the administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)on Wednesday, pressing him for a timeline to re-open CFAC.
Baucus specifically asked BPA Administrator Stephen Wright to finalize a power contract with the company.
BPA completed an environmental review but has not closed a power sales agreement with Glencore, CFAC's parent company.
The deal is expected to pave the way to re-opening CFAC, which shut down in 2009, by providing power to the facility.
Reopening CFAC is expected to create as many as 350 jobs in the Columbia Falls community.

W.Va. factory restart possible after retiree deal

WOWK - March 1st, 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Century Aluminum has taken a major step toward restarting its shuttered West Virginia plant.
The company announced an agreement in principle late Wednesday with retired workers from the Ravenswood factory regarding their health benefits.
Century dropped the health coverage in December 2010. The Ravenswood smelter closed in 2009, costing more than 600 workers their jobs.
Retirees must approve the deal. But resolving this impasse would remove a major hurdle in the quest to restart the plant.
Century says remaining factors include the aluminum market, a competitive labor agreement and an energy contract.
The Legislature appears ready to consider a tax credit meant to help the Ravenswood plant offset initial losses after restarting.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin were among those heralding Wednesday's announcement.