Odisha CM assures steps to prevent closure of Vedanta’s Lanjigarh refinery

Business Line - September 29th, 2012,

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has promised to initiate efforts to avert the closure of the Lanjigarh plant of Vedanta Aluminium. The company has said it would shut down the plant from December 5 citing the lack of assured supplies of bauxite.
This promise was given to a 30-member delegation comprising representatives of the employees and the local community when they met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. They appealed to him to save the Vedanta alumina refinery at Lanjigarh.
The delegation submitted a memorandum and appealed for regular supplies of bauxite from Odisha to the alumina refinery at Lanjigarh so that the company doesn’t close it down.
The Chief Minister told the delegation, “I will follow it up and take the matter forward in consultation with the Chief Secretary. All necessary steps will be taken.”
A day earlier, the delegation had submitted a memorandum to the Chief Secretary, the Minister of Mines, and the Minister of Labour and Employment. The Chief Secretary assured them that he would take steps to sort out the issue in the interest of the people.
The local community said the company had already sent a temporary closure notice to the Odisha Government due to a lack of raw material (bauxite) and at this juncture, if a regular supply of bauxite was not be maintained, thousands of people would be impacted. “In spite of having large quantities of bauxite in the State, if Vedanta Alumina Refinery closes down, Kalahandi will again become poverty-affected,” the memorandum said.
“I am from Lanjigarh of Kalahandi and I know that if the company closes down, it would affect the lives of more than 20,000 people. We want the Government to take immediate measures for the supply of bauxite to the company so that we and our region prospers,” Srikant Bohidar of Lanjigarh said.
Earlier this month, the company served a formal notice to the Odisha Government through the Labour Commissioner. The company had said, “The unit has already incurred financial losses to the tune of more than Rs 2,500 crore. Further operation of the refinery is not feasible unless supply of Odisha bauxite to the refinery is assured.”
The company’s refinery, located in the backward district of Kalahandi, has a capacity of 1 million tonnes. It has invested over Rs 8,000 crore, out of total investments of Rs 50,000 crore in Odisha. The refinery feeds alumina to its smelters located in Jharsuguda and Korba.

Bahrain's Alba appoints new CEO

arabian - September 28th, 2012,

Aluminium Bahrain, which owns the world's fourth-largest aluminium smelter, has named Tim Murray as its new chief executive officer. Murray, who previously served as Alba's chief finance and supply officer, will succeed Laurent Schmitt from October 1, the company said in a statement.
Schmitt, who took up the CEO position in January 2010, is leaving to take up an advisor role in developing Bahrain's downstream aluminium industry. In July, Aluminium Bahrain posted net profits of $95m for the second quarter of 2012, down from $185m in the same period last year.
The company said its performance had been impacted by lower London Metal Exchange prices and higher gas costs.
Aluminium prices on the London Metal Exchange dipped close to $600 a tonne when compared with the same period last year, according to the company.
Alba’s chairman, Mahmood Hashim Al Kooheji, said in a statement that aluminium demand was still healthy despite global economic uncertainty.

Flsmidth Feeding System for CVG Alcasa Aluminium Smelter, Venezuela

bulk solids handling - September 28th, 2012,

Denmark – Flsmidth has won a contract worth USD 48 million (approx. DKK 280 million) from the Venezuelan, state-owned aluminium company, CVG Alcasa, for engineering, supply and installation of a feeding system for the company's aluminium smelter, which is located approximately 500 km southeast of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas.
The scope of supply includes a self-regulating, continuously working automatic pot feeding system with a capacity of 22 tonnes per hour for each of the two production lines. The lines consist of a total of 400 electrolytic cells.
The feeding systems are completely enclosed and consequently dust free. The automated system will generate operational savings and optimise feeding operations.
The project is part of a USD 400 million refurbishment plan with the purpose of bringing CVG Alcasa's technologies up to state-of-the-art. Earlier this year Flsmidth received an order in Abu Dhabi for the same type of pot feeding system which is now to be delivered to Alcasa.

FLSmidt & Co : h to supply feeding system for aluminium smelter

4-traders - September 27th, 2012,

FLSmidth has won a contract worth USD 48m (approximately DKK 280m) from the Venezuelan, state-owned aluminium company, CVG ALCASA, for engineering, supply and installation of a feeding system for the company's aluminium smelter, which is located approximately 500 km southeast of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas.
The scope of supply includes a self-regulating, continuously working automatic pot feeding system with a capacity of 22 tonnes per hour for each of the two production lines. The lines consist of a total of 400 electrolytic cells. The feeding systems are completely enclosed and consequently dust free. The automated system will generate operational savings and optimise feeding operations.
The project is part of a USD 400m refurbishment plan with the purpose of bringing CVG ALCASA's technologies up to state-of-the-art.
"Earlier this year FLSmidth received an order in Abu Dhabi for the same type of pot feeding system which is now to be delivered to ALCASA. So this order will further strengthen FLSmidth's position in the global aluminium smelter industry," Group CEO Jørgen Huno Rasmussen says.
The order will contribute beneficially to FLSmidth's earnings until mid 2015.

Minister cancels 7 bauxite mining licences in Visakhapatnam district

Business Line - September 27th, 2012,

VISAKHAPATNAM - Union Tribal Welfare Minister Kishore Chandra Deo has vetoed the move by the AP Government to undertake bauxite mining in the eastern ghats of Visakhapatnam district and brought the curtains down on the controversy raging over the issue for the past few years. He has revoked seven mining licences.
The move was initiated, it may be noted, by the late Rajasekhara Reddy, the former chief minister, a few years ago and two companies, Jindals and Anrak, were given permission to set up alumina refineries in Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts, respectively.
AP Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) was to have undertake bauxite mining in the area and provide the ore to the companies.
It triggered a bitter row, with the environmental groups and others alleging that bauxite mining would ruin the ecological balance of the area and the livelihood of Girijans.
But the State Government went ahead with the public hearings and was bent on undertaking bauxite mining.
In this backdrop, the Union Minister, who represents the Araku parliamentary constituency where the bauxite reserves are located, took the decisive step and he wrote to the Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh to give up the move, stating that all clearances and licences given for the purpose stand revoked and no further steps should be taken in the direction.
The Union Minister had earlier written to the State Governor, urging him to invoke special powers under Section 244 (1) of the Constitution, and revoke all licences given for the purpose. But the Governor did not act.
“Therefore, I am forced to invoke the special powers under the constitutional provision and revoke seven licences given to undertake bauxite mining in the district. It is the responsibility of the Chief Secretary to ensure compliance, as I have written to him,’’ he said.
The Minister, who has been opposing bauxite mining all along, said he had consulted constitutional experts before undertaking the move to cancel the licences.

Orbite able to produce alumina from fly ash

Stockhouse - September 26th, 2012,

MONTREAL - Orbite Aluminae (TSX:ORT / OTCQX:EORBF) (the "Company" or "Orbite") today announced that, based on its patented clean technology for producing alumina, the Company has successfully developed process parameters and a final design for the production of alumina (smelter-grade or high-purity) using fly ash which is created during coal combustion. This is a promising advancement of Orbite's green technology, offering attractive opportunities for thermal power producers worldwide.
Fly ash typically contains alumina concentrations ranging from 5-35% along with significant levels of silica, iron, rare earths and rare metals, depending on the original composition of the coal. According to the International Energy Agency, coal generates approximately 41% of the world's electricity and is a significant fuel source for many industrial thermal processes. According to the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), approximately 43% of alumina produced worldwide in 2011 was manufactured using coal as a fuel source. Until now, fly ash produced by coal-fired thermal power plants were stored in reserves or discharged with few options for recycling outside of cement processes.
"Orbite's unique technology has once again proven to be groundbreaking in its breadth and scope," noted Denis Primeau, Orbite's Chief Engineer. "We have already succeeded in producing alumina samples from source materials including clay, bauxite, and red mud, and we have now successfully expanded our family of feedstocks to include fly ash. It is truly remarkable how quickly we are able to validate the economic advantages of the process in addition to establishing the design criteria."
Richard Boudreault, President and CEO of Orbite, added, "We believe this is a significant breakthrough for Orbite; these results mean that our technology could be used in new ways that were previously unanticipated. Recovery of the elements contained in fly ash would not only solve an environmental liability but also generate revenues for companies using coal-based thermal power in Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas."
This new application of Orbite's technology is anticipated to be economically viable, based on different sources of fly ash, with an alumina content as low as 15%. Orbite's preliminary evaluation projected recovery rates which are expected to reach a minimum of 88% of alumina content and 96% of other metals present (e.g., silica, hematite, magnesium oxide, etc). The chemical analyses of the tests materials were performed by the independent laboratory AGAT Laboratories.

Norsk Hydro sells Taiwan remelter to Ting Sin Metal - September 24th, 2012,

OSLO - Norwegian aluminium firm Norsk Hydro has agreed to sell its aluminium remelt plant in Taiwan to Ting Sin Metal Co. Ltd for an undisclosed sum, the firm said in a statement on Monday.
The deal is expected to close in October.
The remelter has an annual capacity of about 75 000 metric tons of extrusion ingot and mainly serves the Taiwanese market, Hydro said.

GCC to represent 15% of world's aluminium output: F&S

MENAFN - September 24th, 2012,

A recent report released by Frost & Sullivan (F&S) expected GCC aluminium production to account for over 15 percent of the global production until 2020, Saudi Gazette reported.
This might be achieved if the planned aluminium projects were implemented in the region, particularly in Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Frost & Sullivan expected in its "Outlook for 2020 Mega Trends for the Aluminum Industry In Middle East" that Middle East's aluminium output will increase significantly in the short to medium term.
It also expected the region to contribute about 15 percent of the total global production of aluminium by 2015.
The report noted that the Middle East traditionally has been exporting a major portion of their production in primary aluminium form.

RUS - RUSAL owner sees aluminum supply down in 6-9 months - September 19th, 2012,

Reuters quoted Russia's RUSAL as saying that an overhang of Aluminium should be reduced through production cuts and said stocks should be slashed to get rid of loss making supplies.
Mr Oleg Deripaska also the Aluminium giant's CEO said that he expected global Aluminium supply cuts during the next 6 to 9 months. During the next 6 to 9 months we will see rationalization of production programs volumes of production should be decreased to achieve the balance of supply and demand."
Mr Deripaska said that stocks should fall. While the global Aluminium industry is in chronic oversupply, millions of tonnes of the metal are held in warehouses and much of these stocks are used for financing purposes. Stocks in LME warehouses were reported at just fewer than 5 million tonnes. All interim stocks are loss making. We should get rid of these losses. Right now the volume of metal in warehouses is twice the reasonable level.
Mr Vladislav Soloviev first deputy CEO of RUSAL said that “We expect demand recovery. We are especially hopeful for the construction sector.”

Australian Bauxite Limited (ASX:ABZ) Tasmania Drill Success 6 Metres Bauxite Near Port

MENAFN - September 18th, 2012,

Emerging bauxite development company, Australian Bauxite Limited (ASX:ABZ) is drilling ahead of schedule in Tasmania at Bauxite Deposit DL-130 located 65km south-south-west of Bell Bay deepwater port in a privately owned plantation that is under harvest.
Thicker than expected bauxite has been encountered up to 6 metres thick over a wide area which suggests that with this project could commence production earlier than anticipated with minimal impacts, returning the land to plantation timber after extracting the surface layer of bauxite and replacing the thin soil layer.
Australian Bauxite CEO Ian Levy said; "ABx invested in Tasmania after careful consideration of risks and potential rewards based on expert advice and an understanding of Tasmania's special circumstances.
"We believe that with goodwill and common sense, ABx can develop a sustainable project in Tasmania. Our discovery of thick bauxite in viable locations near deepwater ports augers well for an early commencement of a bauxite extraction and export business from Tasmania."
Based on results to date from 334 drill holes & 1,521 samples, it is estimated that ABx can produce direct shipping bauxite ("DSO") comprising gibbsite which is the premium low-temperature aluminatrihydrate mineral. All of ABx bauxites are free of the refractory, high-temperature monohydrate alumina mineral called boehmite and levels of the deleterious reactive silica are very low. These characteristics makes the DSO bauxite ideal for sweetener bauxite circuits or as feedstock into lowtemperature alumina refineries.
Note that there is often an upper layer of PDM-DSO bauxite comprising about 30% pebble-sized grains of a black, glass-like alumina spinel which is emery-like and called "PDM". It is saleable as bauxite in high temperature alumina refineries or extracted by simple gravity methods and used for higher-priced industrial products such as an abrasive or a source of alumina in nearby cement plants.
Other bauxite targets have been identified in this area using the company's proprietary exploration technology but still require ground-truthing by sampling and drilling.

Hindalco raises Rs 9,900 cr for Odisha project - September 18th, 2012,

New Delhi - Hindalco Industries, An Aditya Birla Group company, has raised Rs 9,896 crore to fund its aluminium project in the State.
The company will set up a 3.59 lakh tonnes a year aluminium smelter along with a 900-MW captive power plant at Lapanga in Odisha.
The company is also setting up an alumina refinery with integrated bauxite mines at Koraput in Odisha, which is expected to be completed by 2014.
The company is also implementing two other greenfield projects – Utkal Alumina at Rayagada in Odisha and Mahan Aluminium in Madhya Pradesh.
The company has achieved financial closure at a time when the Government is reviewing a series of coal block allotments made to various metal companies, including that of Hindalco.

Nalco gets Odisha govt's nod for new smelter facility

Business Standard - September 18th, 2012,

National Aluminium Company (Nalco) has got the approval of Odisha's High Level Clearance Authority to set up 0.5 million tonne per annum (mtpa) aluminium smelter and 1,260 MW captive power plant (CPP) at a cost of Rs 16345.89 crore.
The smelter cum CPP would come up at Kepse in Sundergarh district.
The new smelter facility proposed by the Navratna firm needs 2,500 acres of land.
"Nalco's new smelter project needs 50 cusecs of water and they will draw water from the Hirakud reservoir. The project will generate direct employment for 4,000 people”, said state chief secretary B K Patnaik.
A senior Nalco official said, “There is no official communication yet from the state government regarding the approval of our new smelter project. The company will be applying to the Coal ministry for a coal block for the smelter project.”
Nalco currently runs a 0.46 mtpa smelter plant and 1,200 MW CPP at Angul. It aimed to expand capacity of this smelter plant to 0.57 mtpa and that of CPP to 1,700 MW in the course of its third phase expansion being taken up at a cost of Rs 7,500 crore.
The aluminium major has also planned a one mtpa greenfield alumina refinery based on bauxite from Kutch area in Gujarat at an investment of Rs 4,200 crore. Bauxite sample testing is underway and Nalco expects to zero in on technology for the refinery very soon. The project is expected to be commissioned in four years.

Glencore may be suitable buyer for Alcoa plant in Sardinia - September 17th, 2012,

Cagliari - The president of region Sardinia said Glencore would be a suitable buyer for the Alcoa aluminium plant.
"Glencore, if only because of its presence in the area, is more likely than others to create synergies and economies that would make it a suitable buyer for the Alcoa plant in Portovesme", the president of region Sardinia, Ugo Cappellacci, said at the end of a meeting held this morning between the representatives of Portovesme Srl (a company belonging to Swiss group Glencore), the province of Carbonia-Iglesias, and the municipality of Portoscuso.

EMAL celebrates latest additions to its Phase II expansion - September 17th, 2012,

Employees of Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) celebrated the latest additions to its Phase II expansion: the arrival of the completed first Potshell and the Superstructure.
These are the two main components in the aluminium reduction process and key elements in EMAL's plan to almost double production to 1.3 million tonnes upon completion in 2014. The components were manufactured and delivered by a local UAE supplier.
Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, EMAL's President and CEO and Mr Yousuf Bastaki, Vice President - Projects, were joined by employees to witness the latest EMAL milestone on route to become one of the largest smelters in the world.
Al Mazrooei commented: "Piece by piece EMAL's Phase II expansion is coming together. Today we are another step closer to our goal of making EMAL a global leader in the aluminium industry."
The Potshells are designed to use the new DX+ Reduction technology developed by DUBAL and are longer, wider and lighter than EMAL's existing pots. As a result of their design, the new Potshells are more productive and efficient. 444 new pots will be installed as part of Phase II, each is capable of producing 3.2 tonnes of metal per day, a 10% increase on Phase I Potshells. While the Superstructure provides support for a variety of functions enabling the pots to fully function. Once completed the pot line will be longest in the world at 1.7 km.
Bastaki, added: "Phase I project plan has provided a solid foundation for EMAL's expansion. We are on time, on budget and on course to deliver a prosperous future for the Emirates."

Orbite Aluminae Ramps Up Purity Level of Alumina to 99.999% - September 15th, 2012,

Orbite Aluminae, the company that supplies clean technology and alternative techniques for the alumina manufacturing industry, is set to become the first manufacturer in North America to produce extremely high quality alumina of 5N or 99.999% purity.
Orbite is planning to commence production of the high purity alumina (HPA) at its new facility in Cap-Chat in Quebec by the first quarter of 2013.
According to Richard Boudreault, President and CEO of Orbite Aluminae, the worldwide demand for high purity alumina has outstripped the current supply.
He believes Orbite can bridge the supply-demand gap that will benefit a host of industries. He also stated that Orbite is in a strong position to compete with Asian producers who have until now dominated the high purity alumina market.
With more emphasis on metal quality, Orbite is endeavoring to develop 6N or 99.9999% purity level for alumina before the commencement of commercial operations at the company’s HPA facility. The HPA plant of Orbite will also produce rare earth elements.
Orbite’s unique extraction technology from bauxite, argillite and fly ash is not only economical but also produces alumina without the generation of the toxic red mud residue typical of conventional extraction processes.

Smelter to spend big on new transformer

The Southland Times - September 15th, 2012,

The cash-strapped Tiwai Point aluminium smelter is continuing with plans to purchase a new transformer, with management saying yesterday the company was committed to securing a viable future.
The Southland Times understands a specialist power engineer from the smelter will travel to South Korea in the next two weeks to buy the new multimillion-dollar transformer.
NZAS general manager Ryan Cavanagh declined to comment. However, his spokeswoman, community relations officer Andrea Carson, said in a statement:
“NZAS is losing money . . . We are working very hard on this front, but we also need to ensure that the plant can maintain reliability and sustainability for the future. This includes replacing the final of our three original 1971 potline transformers.”
In February a 165-tonne multimillion-dollar power transformer was delivered to the smelter and installed during a six- week period.
When asked by The Southland Times if the latest transformer would be the same size as the one installed in February, Ms Carson said it was, but it would be sourced from a different supplier.
The transformer had not yet been paid for but she declined to say how much it would cost, citing commercial confidence.
When asked to comment on suggestions the smelter would not close because it was investing money on equipment, the smelter responded with an emailed statement that says:
"At this stage, there are no plans for closure. Tough times will continue in aluminium in the short term and the business will continue to focus on innovation, flexibility and adaptability to try and remain viable."

Russian Firms Set to Invest in Indonesia

Jakarta Globe - September 15th, 2012,

Russian companies UC Rusal, the world’s biggest aluminium producer, and Norilsk Nickel, a global mining and metallurgical company, plan to build smelters in Indonesia, a government minister says.
“The commitments were delivered in a meeting between President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and CEOs of the two Russian companies on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Russia last week,” Industry Minister M.S. Hidayat said in Jakarta on Wednesday.
He added that Rusal, which controls 10 percent of the world aluminium market, has surveyed parts of Indonesia and is considering investing in a $1.5 billion aluminium smelter next year.
“The manager that met ... Yudhoyono was Rusal CEO Oleg Deiripaska. It was said that they will invite a local partner, which could be a state-controlled company,” Hidayat said.
The chairman of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), Chatib Basri, confirmed the news.
He said the two Russian companies were keen to invest in the smelter, heavy machinery, mining and refinery businesses. “The size [of the investments] has not yet been discussed, but it will be huge,” he said.
Chief Economics Minister Hatta Rajasa said Russian investors had committed to invest more than $5 billion in Indonesia. Yudhoyono’s meeting with the business leaders confirmed the commitment, he said.

RUSAL woos Chinese investment in Siberia

Reuters - September 14th, 2012,

Russia's RUSAL (0486.HK), the world's largest aluminum producer, wants Chinese companies to consider investing in new smelting projects in Siberia, a senior executive of the metal company said.
China, which accounts for 44 percent of global aluminum consumption, needs to invest in new production projects to meet increasing demand over the next 5 to 10 years, Oleg Mukhamedshin, head of RUSAL's equity and strategic development, told a Metal Bulletin aluminum conference in Moscow on Friday.
"RUSAL proposes that China considers Siberia as an alternative (to domestic projects)," Mukhamedshin said.
Siberia has the benefit of access to hydro energy as well as proximity to China, while RUSAL, controlled by businessman Oleg Deripaska, has bauxite resources and alumina capacity, Mukhamedshin said. Delivery from Russia's Far East ports to Shanghai takes from four to eight days.
A number of Chinese firms are already planning smelters or processing projects in Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest economy, with a total anticipated spending in excess of $9 billion agreed to in August.
China is the world's largest consumer and producer of aluminum, with Indonesia supplying about 80 percent of the 25 million tonnes of bauxite it bought in the first half of 2012.
In 2007, RUSAL signed a memorandum of intent with Indonesian Antam with a plan to create a complex, which would produce about 3.6 million tonnes of bauxite per year and about 1.2 million tonnes of alumina, but the plan was postponed due to the global economic crisis.
RUSAL has now dropped the plan to build the complex in Indonesia, its press office said by email on Friday.
But Indonesia's industry minister said earlier on Friday he was still expecting RUSAL to push ahead with this long-delayed $1.5 billion alumina smelter project.
"(RUSAL) are going to realize their project in 2013 with total investment of $1.5 billion," Mohamad Hidayat told Reuters following a news conference in Jakarta.
"RUSAL is now looking for other local partners. They are also selecting several local bauxite mining companies as partners for raw material supplies."
Mukhamedshin also said on Friday RUSAL had delayed its Taishet aluminum project in Siberia for at least a year. On Thursday RUSAL said its Boguchany project, also in Siberia, would produce its first aluminum this spring, but expanding it further would depend on the market.
Three-month aluminum prices touched a three-year low at $1,827.25 a tonne in mid-August, after falling more than 10 percent in the second quarter.
RUSAL's Taishet project, which was expected to start producing aluminum in 2013 and eventually reach an annual capacity of 750,000 tonnes, can start production no earlier than in 2014, head of RUSAL's equity told reporters on Friday.

Locals demand bauxite for Vedanta plant

Deccan Chronicle - September 12th, 2012

Amid the fear of losing their jobs and getting deprived of the healthcare and other basic facilities they are enjoying now, — hundreds of people of Lanjigarh in Odisha’s Kalahandi district on Tuesday stepped up pressure on the Orissa government to provide bauxite to the one-million-tonne Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) plant.
The local people, who were also joined by the employees of VAL refinery, submitted a memorandum to the Kalahandi collector seeking immediate steps to ensure uninterrupted bauxite ore supply for the refinery located at Lanjigarh.
The `4,500-crore refinery project at Lanjigarh is facing an imminent shutdown due to non-availability of bauxite, the key raw material to produce alumina.
Unable to run the refinery to its full capacity since inception due to scarcity of bauxite, Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) on September 6 informed the Orissa government about its plan to shutdown the plant from December 5.
Closure of Vedanta Aluminium Limited will leave thousands jobless, it was apprehended in the memorandum handed over to the collector D.S. Satpathy. The company also stated that it could not run the plant to its full capacity during the last five years.

Rusal CEO says aluminium producers need output caps-FT

Reuters - September 12th, 2012

LONDON - UC RUSAL Chief Executive Oleg Deripaska said aluminium producers need to cap their output as downward pressure on prices is likely to continue for the rest of this year and into 2013.
"The heavy burden of overcapacity and high stock levels exert huge pressure on the sector," Deripaska wrote in an article published in the Financial Times.
"To remain competitive, the industry needs discipline and proper caps in terms of output. In the short term, further curtailments of unprofitable and inefficient production capacity in all regions will be a step in the right direction as the industry looks to create a healthier market structure," Deripaska wrote.
Deripaska's comments come against the backdrop of a global industry in oversupply, but millions of tonnes of the metal are held in warehouses, and much of these stocks are used for financing purposes.

Aluminium smelters hit by power costs

Deccan Herald - September 12th, 2012

Hindalco Industries Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla on Tuesday told shareholders at the company’s AGM that the power cost pressure is hitting aluminum smelters hard, though aluminium business in the country has recorded highest production.
While highlighting challenges confronting the nation, the aluminium and copper businesses and the company’s scorecard in the context of these factors, Birla said that domestic affairs have been affecting the economy and several producers have curtailed production in recent months. He also said that treatment refined charges in 2011 is better than 2010.
Giving a macro picture, Birla stated, “The world aluminium consumption in 2011 was 45 million tonnes, compared to 41 million tonnes in 2010, an increase of around 10 per cent.
Production in 2011 was marginally higher, at 45.6 million tonnes, against 42 million tonnes in the previous year.”
Further, Birla said the company has entered China to expand its automotive leadership position. Economic growth in China, he continued, the major driver of commodity demand, accounting for over 40 per cent of global demand for aluminium and copper, slowed considerably.
On Hindalco’s operations, Birla stated that its “model of a balanced portfolio, with strong value-added businesses, supported by operational excellence, have been the key factors behind the commendable performance. The aluminium business in India recorded the highest ever metal production.

China August metals output up, aluminium at record

Business Recorder - September 11th, 2012

HONG KONG - China's production of most base metals rose in August, reversing declines in the previous month, with primary aluminium hitting an all-time monthly high, official data showed on Tuesday, as smelters expect demand to improve in the next 3 or 4 months.
Production of primary aluminium rose 4.7 percent from the previous month to a record 1.75 million tonnes in August. The output increased 12.7 percent from a year earlier.
Some factories that used primary aluminium to make semi-finished products such as profiles have been receiving more orders this month after a fall in orders in July and August, Yang said.
Primary aluminium smelters have continued to open new facilities in the second half after slowing construction in the first half due to weak demand and low prices, industry sources said.

Alcoa says has no new potential buyers for Italian smelter

Reuters - September 7th, 2012

Aluminium maker Alcoa Inc. (AA.N) said on Friday it had received no new expressions of interest for its Sardinian smelter, denying Italian government claims that two different groups were looking at saving the plant from closure.
"Since August 1 we have not received any new and concrete expressions of interest by potential buyers," Alcoa said in a written statement.
Italy's industry ministry said on August 31 that Swiss-based commodities and mining group Glencore (GLEN.L) was mulling taking over the smelter, and this week a government official said a U.S. multinational had sent a letter of interest.
Prime Minister Mario Monti's government is under intense pressure from labour unions to save the unprofitable factory. The Alcoa factory on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia employs some 500 workers with a further 1,000 directly depending on the plant.
Three of the smelter's workers spent a third night camped on top of a 60-metre (197-fooot) water tower at the factory to protest against its gradual shutdown.
Closure of the plant, a major employer on Sardinia, would be a heavy blow for the island, already beset by 15 percent unemployment.
Alcoa said the shutdown, which started on September 1, would continue, but that the smelter would be maintained for another year "ready to be restarted by another operator, if one comes forward," according to the statement on Friday.
Italian officials, labour unions and Alcoa are scheduled to meet in Rome on Monday to discuss the plant's closure, and any possible offers.

Job fears for NT mine operation

NT News - September 7th, 2012

REPORTS of Nhulunbuy's bauxite mine being on brink of closure have been dismissed as "alarmist".
The alumina operation is the sole reason for the town's existence. It employs 1500 workers and the whole community of 3800 people relies on the mine, directly or indirectly, for income.
Owner Pacific Aluminium would not comment on reports that the mine would shut after losing more than $100 million in the first six months of this year.
Investec analyst Tim Gerrard said: "All the signals point to the closure of this operation."
He said an alternative was for the refinery to close and the mine to continue exporting bauxite. This scaled-down operation would still entail the lose of hundreds of jobs.

Italy minister says cannot guarantee Alcoa jobs

Reuters - September 6th, 2012

The Italian government cannot give assurances that it will protect jobs at Alcoa Inc's loss-making aluminium plant in Sardinia, Welfare Minister Elsa Fornero said on Thursday.
Speaking at the margins of a conference in Brussels, Fornero said the government was "close to the workers" who risked losing their jobs if the plant is shut down but she added: "it would be mistaken to say that we will guarantee jobs."
Around 1,500 jobs are at risk at the plant, located in an area with one of the highest unemployment rates in Italy. Discussions are underway to try to find a buyer but ministers have said prospects of a successful deal are remote.

Vedanta says plant closure won't hit aluminium output

IBN Live Wire - September 6th, 2012

MUMBAI - Vedanta Aluminium's plan to shut its alumina refinery in Odisha will not hit its aluminium output because it aims to treble imports of the raw material, a company official said on Thursday.
The company, part of billionaire Anil Agarwal's Vedanta Group , intends to implement a temporary shutdown of its Lanjigarh refinery from December 5 because of bauxite shortages, its president Mukesh Kumar said on Thursday.
India, the world's fifth-biggest bauxite producer, has been limiting the issue of bauxite leases mainly because of local protests over land acquisition.
Vedanta has asked the government for help in obtaining bauxite supplies because mining plans have become mired in litigation and protests by residents. It has even called for a ban on bauxite exports.
"After shutdown of Lanjigarh plant we will be left with no option other than to meet full requirement through imports," Kumar said, adding that it will need to buy an additional one million tonnes a year.
Kumar said that the softening of global alumina prices would help the company to step up imports. Aluminium prices have been under pressure because of the slowing global economy.
Vedanta needs 10,000 tonnes of bauxite a day to operate the Lanjigarh plant at its full capacity of one million tonnes a year. The refinery is currently operating at 70 percent capacity and supplies alumina to Vedanta's Jharsuguda smelter in Odisha, which can produce 500,000 tonnes of aluminium a year.
India produces about 1.6 million tonnes of aluminium a year and consumes about 1.3 million tonnes. Aluminium demand in Asia's third-largest economy is expected to grow by 7 to 8 percent a year, led by its power transmission, construction and automobile sectors.
The country' aluminium exports are expected to rise by 5 percent to 325,000 tonnes in the year to March 31, 2013.

Vedanta plans to shut down Odisha refinery from Dec due to bauxite shortage

Business Today - September 6th, 2012

Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) on Thursday informed the Odisha government its intention to shut down temporarily its alumina refinery from Dec 5 due to lack of bauxite , a senior company official said.
"We have been left with no other option but to take this drastic decision as there is no bauxite available," VAL president Mukesh Kumar said.
He said the company on Thursday sent a formal letter to the state labour department in this regard.
The one-million-tonne per annum alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district, about 500 kms, has been operating at reduced capacity since it was commissioned in August 2007.
Kumar said the company has been running the plant despite incurring heavy losses by sourcing bauxite from different states.
Set up on an investment of $800 million, VAL requires three lakh tonnes of bauxite per month to run the refinery at full capacity. Vedanta wants to mine bauxite from Niyamgiri Hills located near its refinery but its clearances are mired in litigations and protests by residents.
It has also applied for several other bauxite reserves in the state, but none of them have been materialised so far.
VAL is an associate company of the London listed Vedanta Resources Plc.will be held

Job cuts raise fears for smelter's future

ONE News - September 5th, 2012

There are fears the announcement of 100 job losses by November could be the tip of the iceberg at the troubled Tiwai Point aluminium smelter.
Located at the entrance to Bluff Harbour, Tiwai is one of the largest industrial facilities in New Zealand and its downsizing has implications far beyond Southland.
Feeling the effects of depressed global metal prices, the smelter is accelerating its downsizing as it navigates what it calls tough economic headwinds.
But New Zealand Aluminium Smelters general manager Ryan Cavanagh says he does not think it is the beginning of the end for the Tiwai smelter.
"The aluminium industry is in a very tough situation at the moment. We're not immune from that. We are looking at every option to bring the smelter back into viability," Cavanagh said.
That means 100 jobs will be gone by November, and Southland residents fear worse to come.
"I think this is the first stage of a shutdown if you look at it properly. I think everyone's concerned," said one man.
Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt shares the concern.
"The community here will be shocked. The smelter plays a major role in this city, not just in economic terms and employment but they're a good corporate citizen," Shadbolt said.
Tiwai employs 750 people. But according to the company it supports more than 3200 jobs directly and indirectly in Southland and contributes $525 million annually to the local economy.
The smelter is also the biggest electricity user in New Zealand, using about 15% of all power generated.
It gets most of its electricity from the Manapouri hydro station, run by state-owned Meridian Energy which is due to be partially sold. One worker ONE News spoke to off camera said no one was surprised by the news. The affected workers are being consulted on their options which include voluntary redundancy or transferring to other roles.
"We're here for the long term but things are tough at this moment," Cavanagh said.
With speculation rife that majority owners Rio Tinto could eventually close the plant altogether, things could still get a lot tougher.

Governance deficit delays NALCO's expansion proj:CAG

Money Control - September 4th, 2012

Aluminium giant NALCO has invited criticism from CAG for possible "governance deficit" which the government auditor says has resulted in many inadequacies, including delays in its Rs 4,091.51 crore second phase capacity expansion project.
"Gaps and inadequacies in project formulation and execution points towards a governance deficit in the company which needs to be addressed appropriately," Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in its report tabled in Parliament today.
It said the "system weaknesses" contributed significantly in delaying the project and due to delay in completion of civil and electrical works, the mining equipment procured in 2008 at a cost of Rs 103 crore could not be commissioned. The equipment pertained to saving cost for bauxite transportation. The government had approved the company's second phase capacity expansion plan in 2005 to take its bauxite mining capacity to 6.3 million tonne per year (MTPY) from 4.8 MTPY, alumina refinery capacity to 2.1 MTPY from 1.5 MTPY and smelter capacity to 0.46 MTPY from 0.3 MTPY.
Also, it planned taking the capacity of captive power plant (CPP) to 1,200 MW from 960 MW. However, the expansion plan which was scheduled to be completed by December 2008 got delayed "due to various gaps and inadequacies in planning and execution," the CAG report said.
It added, "the completion of expansion of smelter, CPP and refinery was delayed by 12 months, 23 months and 36 months respectively."
Noting that the second capacity expansion plan was very vital for the growth of the company and the country, it said that the company did not explore the availability of improved technology while formulating the plan.
"As a result, the DPR (detailed project report) had to be revised which led to delayed commencement of project which had a cascading effect on the completion of the project," it said.
Also, it expressed unhappiness over roping contractors with poor track record for the project. "While awarding the contracts, the company did not learn from its past experience and awarded the critical contracts to the contractors with poor track record in executing earlier contracts," it said.
The company also awarded contracts or another critical activity to an inexperienced contractor by accepting its abnormally low offer, it added.
NALCO is Asia's largest integrated aluminium complex, encompassing bauxite mining, alumina refining, aluminium smelting and casting, power generation, rail and port operations.

Avoidable brakes on India's aluminium capacity growth

Business Standard - September 4th, 2012

At over three billion tonnes (bt), India has the world’s fifth largest deposits of bauxite, the mineral which on refining becomes alumina for highly energy intensive smelting into aluminium. As it would happen, as much as 55 per cent of this national resource is found in Orissa. What further distinguishes the eastern state is that bauxite found there has high alumina content of 44 per cent and more with low traces of silica. Physical properties of Orissa bauxite allow its digestion in refineries at low temperature and also restricted use of caustic soda for silica removal. This mineral endowment besides, Orissa for other reasons too is seen as the ideal centre to host integrated operations from mining of bauxite to its refining into alumina and finally its smelting into metal.
Smelters are ideally located at centres where energy – it could be either non-coking coal, gas or hydel resources – is plentifully available and at cheap rates. This is because power and fuel with a share of around 40 per cent of aluminium production cost impact smelter operations the most. No wonder then, following the footsteps of National Aluminium Co, the country’s other two non-ferrous leaders Vedanta and Hindalco rooted for Orissa to give shape to their big aluminium ambition. Hindalco is building a 1.5 million tonne, (mt) standalone refinery in an act of salvaging a virtually moribund project and also a 359,000-tonne smelter as it expands the capacity of an operating smelter to 213,000 tonnes from 155,000 tonnes. But the group that has caused commotion in the world aluminium community for its audacious alumina refinery and smelter capacity building programme in Orissa is Vedanta. The group is also building with much rapidity coal-fired power capacity of 3,600 Mw, both for captive smelter consumption and also as an independent power producer.
As aluminium prices are moving towards $1,800 a tonne, nearly 30 per cent of world capacity stands unviable. No wonder some smelters owned by industry leaders are either shut or working at stepped down capacity. You have smelters abroad where production cost could be as high as $2,700 a tonne. So even with a premium of $220-230 a tonne available in spot deals over LME quotations, whichever smelter is making aluminium at over $2,000 a tonne is consigned to red. The Indian aluminium industry, which finds itself in the lowest cost quartile globally, is finding its margins squeezed in a falling market.
The predicament of Vedanta is understandable. Its one-mt refinery at Lanjigarh and another five-mt capacity in the pipeline are geared to process Orissa grade bauxite. Denied supplies from Orissa, it is scouring around the country for bauxite. Besides logistical challenges and extra costs involved in the exercise, the Vedanta refinery, custom built to process Orissa grade mineral, is compelled to use a cocktail of bauxite procured from many centres. In any case, such supplies are also drying up. No wonder, Vedanta Aluminium Managing Director Sushil Roongta, who has to make sense of an investment of Rs 50,000 crore is sporting furrowed brows. Roongta will not disagree to the proposition that in case responsible mining, including proper rehabilitation of locals, gets repeatedly thwarted then India could face the irony of becoming an aluminium deficit country.

Bauxite sector sees 41.9% growth in first half of 2012 - Dr. Singh

NCN - September 2nd, 2012

Attracting investors to the mining town of Linden is key to government’s developmental agenda for the people and the region.
As such, Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh explained that investors continue to express interest in the mining sector that has contributed significantly to the Gross Domestic Product for the first half of 2012.
The bauxite sector has grown significantly for the first half of 2012 to 41.9 percent and the export earnings amounted to US79.4M.
Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh said the figure shows a 21.8 percent increase. Turning his attention to linden, he believes that continued normalcy in the region is vital.
“I will continue to make the point that normalcy in Linden was and continues to be in the best interest of Lindeners and it’s extremely important that Linden continues to be a place that investors want to do business” Dr. Singh said.
“Linden has good natural resources and it has talented people and we need to attract investors like we have been attracting we need to continue to attract investors to linden so that economic activity in that town can continue to grow.”
Guyana has been able to attract two major bauxite companies that have invested significantly in the sector, despite the challenges the sector faces worldwide. The minister explained that the growth locally is an extremely positive and encouraging development.
“We have worked hard to attract overseas investors in the bauxite sector we now have two international investors”…… who we have been able to attract because of the work we have done to make that guyana is a place where international investors want to do business“ the Minister said.
Dr. Singh is hopeful that normalcy will continue in the mining town, bauxite operations will resume at the level it was at during the first half of the year for continued strong performance in the sector.

Vedanta may shut Lanjigarh refinery

Business Standard - September 2nd, 2012

Faced with acute shortage of bauxite to run its one-million-tonne alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Odisha, Vedanta Aluminum Ltd (VAL), an arm of London-listed Vedanta Resources, may issue a notice to the state government on Monday or Tuesday to shut down the unit.
The three-month notice would be sent to the state labour commission for legal formalities, said a top official of the company. After the notice period, the firm could shut the plant and lay off workers without any legal hurdle. The plant directly employs 5,000-6,000 people. A shutdown could affect 30,000 people dependent on the plant.
The official said the company had “zero stock” of bauxite and was running the plant intermittently recording only 55 per cent capacity utilisation. Against a daily requirement of 10,000 tonnes of bauxite, the firm is currently able to procure only 5,000 tonnes from the open market. “This cannot go on for long. Due to absence of any secured supply of raw material, we are losing heavily,” he said.

Energy cost reduction can boost aluminium sector, says Qatalum

Gulf Times - September 2nd, 2012

The GCC region’s aluminium industry can make significant gains if production costs can be reduced by containing energy expense, Qatalum says. This will help the industry maintain the highest quality standards in production, meet the requirements of improved competitiveness and enter new markets, it said.
The aluminium industry requires intensive investment and high technical and technological levels, Qatalum said. The industry can never be separated from modern technology for all phases of manufacturing and production, as the acquisition and constant update of high-tech methods of production are key to the possession of advanced production capacity and better ability to produce high quality products that are highly competitive in overseas markets.
Qatalum said: “The aluminium industry in the GCC countries are depending on transfer of advanced technology to reach targeted production capacity in the shortest possible time, meet the local and regional demand, and enter international markets. “Aluminium companies and smelters are adopting expansion policies in their production lines in line with the extensive urban expansion that is currently taking place in the region.
“This requires the adaptation of numerous new technologies to help achieve their production and expansion targets, especially in view of the soaring competition in terms of quality and prices from the traditional industrial powers.” The managements of the aluminium companies and smelters in the region and the world are seeking to build permanent partnerships and co-operative relationships, and their attention, has in recent years, been devoted to developing and implementing the “most innovative and advanced cost effective and energy efficient technologies”.
These technologies are evidence of the “high level of efficiency, reliability and environmental friendliness” of these smelters in all phases of production. These elements have become the cornerstone of competitiveness in international markets. The goals of technology manufacturers meet the objectives of aluminium producers as both are working together to achieve a number of goals, foremost of which is to improve actual production capacity, reduce emissions and reach cost effective and energy efficient solutions to ensure constant and non-stop operations.
The success in developing the region’s aluminium industry is dependent on the ability to continue government support to maintain the competitive advantage in terms of cost, and to develop long term financing instruments that fund the expected output expansion and development plans. These must be taken into consideration if aluminium industry officials want to maintain the current achievements and increase gains.
Qatalum, which is the organiser of the Arab International Aluminium Conference (Arabal 2012), in Doha from November 20 to 22, also said the aluminium industry in the GCC region is increasingly attracting high levels of official interest, as well as acquiring a large portion of the region’s industrial expansion plans and dominating a large part of the investment that is being injected to achieve economic diversification. Among other sessions Arabal 2012 will include a panel discussion on aluminium industry technology, in view of the importance of this issue.

Alcoa begins shutdown of Italy plant

France 24 - September 1st, 2012

Aluminium maker Alcoa said Saturday it had began to close down its plant on the island of Sardinia in a move that will see hundreds of job losses.
Alcoa blamed "factors beyond our control" including "the economic situation and the burdens imposed by the European regulatory system" for the shutdown of the factory, which it said would take several weeks.
"Alcoa should be ashamed of not leaving the necessary time to find a solution, particularly as there is now an offer from a Swiss society," the CGIL trade union said, after a week of protests over the factory's fate.
Swiss multinational Glencore is considering buying the plant and Alcoa said it was shutting down the foundry on the Italian island in a manner which would ensure "the concrete possibility to reboot it" should an offer be made soon.
The protests over the factory's future follow a series of other industrial actions in recession-hit Italy, particularly in the impoverished south.
The re-opening of the Eurallumina metallurgical plant in Sardinia is in doubt and media attention has been focused on a heated protest by miners in a coal mine on the island, where workers had barricaded themselves underground.
The Carbosulcis mine appeared to have won a reprieve Friday, as officials said it would not close at the end of the year.