Smelter talks 'moving forward'

The Southland Times - February 26th, 2013,

State-owned Meridian Energy says it is making some "slow progress" in its talks with New Zealand's biggest single electricity user, the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter, but the outcome is still unclear.
"We are currently still in negotiations with Tiwai, with Rio Tinto, and they are being conducted in good faith, and it is just too difficult to predict any outcome," said Meridian Energy chief executive Mark Binns.
Last year, Rio Tinto said its Tiwai Point smelter could close if it could not get even cheaper power prices from Meridian, even though a long-term electricity contract came into force this year.
The smelter uses about 15 per cent of New Zealand's electricity.
State-owned Meridian Energy yesterday announced operating profit was down 6 per cent to $277.1 million for the December half-year, and the underlying bottom line profit fell 11 per cent, excluding one-offs, to $88m.
The smelter had backed off power use last year but was now using 570 megawatts, taking the full extent of the contract, and had paid up for the first period under the new 18-year contract, on February 19.
Aluminium prices had been volatile and Binns said Meridian recognised the aluminium sector was having difficulties.

Rio Tintos not to shut down its Gove refinery

The Economic Times - February 26th, 2013,

MUMBAI - Rio Tinto recently announced that it would not shut down its 2.75 million tonne (MT) Gove alumina refinery. The company clarified that it will be receiving energy assistance from the government of the country. The move could lead to a slowdown in the recent increase in alumina prices. However, various factors still point towards a higher alumina price in the medium to long term.
Restrictions on bauxite exports by Indonesia- the mineral rich country restricted the exports of bauxite to entice foreign entities to set up facilities in the country. The country was a major supplier of bauxite ore for the aluminium companies throughout the world. This could lead to an increase in demand for alumina from the companies deprived of bauxite ore.
High demand from China- With quality of Chinese alumina deteriorating, demand for high quality alumina has been on the rise in the past few years. Chinese aluminium players are expected to blend domestic low grade alumina with the high quality imported alumina.
Issues in supply- Major alumina-rich countries such as Jamaica and Guinea have been facing labour, energy and other cost problems. Supplies from Australia and Brazil are, however, expected to be freed to a certain extent as the smelting units in the countries are closing down due to cost pressures.
The prices of alumina have already risen by around $20 per tonne since the beginning of the year. Analysts expect prices to move upto $375 per tonne in next 4-5 months. In the medium to long term, prices could move further up to the levels of $400-420 per tonne.

Lam Dong bauxite project will have economic effects: Vinacomin

Saigon - February 25th, 2013,

After the Prime Minister agreed to halt the construction of Ke Ga Port, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has assigned the Ministry of Industry and Trade to request the Coal and Mineral Industry Group Viet Nam (Vinacomin) to research an alternative plan for production mining project of Tan Rai and Nhan Co bauxite.
The research is to find out an immediate and long term plan and will be reported to the Prime Minister in quarter 2 of 2013, Vice PM Hai instructed on Feb 24.
The US$460-million facility, based in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, and operated by state coal and mineral group Vinacomin, has sold its very first batches of alumina at US$340 a ton.
However, since the beginning experts raised doubts about the economic effectiveness of the project saying that the plant will be facing a paradox in which more products mean more losses even after the country's first alumina plant already came into operation.
Experts argued that the US$340 a ton price will surely gain losses for Tan Rai plant, as real capacity is too low.
"The more production, the bigger losses," they said, adding that when the plant could recoup investment remains to be seen.
Some others said the plant has already posed many issues during its initial operational state.
"The biggest issue is the problem of transporting the alumina," they said.
The mineral is currently transported by road, which will result in little effectiveness for Vinacomin as the amount to be transported is as much as millions of tons a year.
At first, Vinacomin planed to transport alumina to the seacoast and build Ke Ga into a big seaport that vessels with more than 10,000 ton capacity can dock.
However, the Ke Ga port building project has been eliminated as uneconomical.
According to Vinacomin, the stop of Ke Ga port project does not affect the two bauxite-alumina project because in the early stages, products can be shipped through the two ports either Go Dau Port or Phu My port.
"But at present the products are only locally consumed as there have yet to be ports for exports," the report assured.
Vinacomin also affirmed that in the future the price is increased and that means the plant has made profit.
Though the plant incurs losses in its first years of operation, in the long run the production price is calculated on the condition that the world economy is recovered and the plant operates at its full capacity of 650,000 tons a year.
"But it's necessary that the plant remains operational as there will be huge demand for alumina in the future, and Vietnam will earn money for export the mineral in coming years", the report writes.
It is not fair to assess the economic efficiency of any project only on the basis of pure economic efficiency without taking into account the socio-economic effects, as well as the significant political results, the security and defense of the project for the local and the Central Highlands.
The bauxite project will create jobs for about 1,500 local workers, contribute to the central and local budgets, facilitate industrial development as well as infrastructure, social and cultural for local people, the report stressed.

Experts blast bauxite plant's effectiveness

Tuoitre News - February 23rd, 2013,

Although Tan Rai, the country's first alumina plant, has already become operational and had its very first batches of products, experts close to the matter say the plant will be facing a paradox in which more products mean more losses.
The US$460-million facility, based in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, and operated by state coal and mineral group Vinacomin, has sold its very first batches of alumina at $340 a ton, according to Nguyen Canh Nam, assistant of the Vinacomin's board of members.
"But the products are only locally consumed as there have yet to be ports for exports," he admitted.
Production price is estimated at some $295 a ton, which means the plant has made profit, he said.
However, he added that the production price is calculated on the condition that the plant operates at its full capacity of 650,000 tons a year, while the current capacity is "only a sixth of the full figure."
Nam said it is inevitable that the plant incurs losses in its first years of operation.
"But it's necessary that the plant remains operational as there will be huge demand for alumina in the future, and Vietnam has had to earmark huge money to import the mineral in previous years," he added.
Production adds losses
Dr Nguyen Thanh Son, director of the management board of the coal projects in the Red Delta, a Vinacomin subsidiary, said the $340 a ton price will surely gain losses for Tan Rai plant, as real capacity is too low.
"The more production, the bigger losses," he said, adding that when the plant could recoup investment remains to be seen.
Nguyen Van Ban, former head of the alumina department of Vinacomin, said the plant has already posed many issues during its initial operational state.
"The biggest issue is the problem of transporting the alumina," he said.
The mineral is currently transported by road, which Ban said will result in little effectiveness for Vinacomin as the amount to be transported is as much as millions of tons a year.
"Moreover, in order for the plant to operate more efficiently, we should choose an adequate partner," he said, referring to the Chinese company Vinacomin is partnering with.
"The Chinese partner has little experience about the ores in Vietnam, while their technology is not really good," he added.

Aluminum Drops for Fifth Day as China Output Adds to Supplies

Bloomberg - February 22nd, 2013,

Aluminum fell for a fifth straight day, the longest slump in two months, on signs that increasing output in China will add to a global glut.
Global output increased 5.7 percent in January from a year earlier to 3.917 million metric tons, the International Aluminium Institute said Feb. 20. Chinese production surged 16 percent, the IAI figures showed.
Production exceeded demand by 419,400 tons last year, figures from the World Bureau of Metal Statistics showed this week.
"The high production is not helping reduce the supply surpluses on the global aluminum market, which are still reflected in high inventory levels," Commerzbank AG analysts including Frankfurt-based Daniel Briesemann said today in a report.
"The high supply is likely to block any significant increase in aluminum prices."

China back on Cape York bauxite shortlist

The Australian - February 22nd, 2013,

CHINA'S biggest aluminium-maker will revive its controversial bid for rich bauxite deposits on Cape York Peninsula, pitching it against mining giant Rio Tinto and five other contenders.
Chalco has moved after Queensland's Liberal National Party government dropped a condition the successful developer of the Aurukun bauxite lode also build a refinery to process the ore in Australia.
The latest figures on foreign land purchases in Queensland -- the only state to collect and publish comprehensive data -- reveal Chinese investors snapped up $234 million worth of country last financial year, more than double its nearest rival, Britain. Government-owned Chalco, the world's second biggest alumina producer, said it was confident its existing bond with the Aurukun community would put it ahead of its competitors.
"Chalco should have an advantage in this project because in the past seven years Chalco has made a lot of effort . . . (and) has already built a very strong relationship with the local community and government," Daniel Zhou, chief representative of Chalco Australia, told The Weekend Australian.

Anglesey Aluminium: 60 jobs to go as metals site closes

BBC - February 22nd, 2013,

Sixty jobs are to go after it was announced that the Anglesey Aluminium factory will close.
Local politicians warned of a jobs crisis on the island with confirmation that the Penhros plant will stop operations within two months, with 20 workers kept on until the site is sold.
The Holyhead smelting operation shut in 2009 with the loss of nearly 400 jobs.
The remaining 80 staff have been at the plant as part of a decommissioning process and its re-melt business.
The company said it had made "extensive effort" over the past few months to identify ways to make and save money to offset the "substantial losses" facing the business.
It said it had been struggling because of more competition, material cost increases and a drop in demand for its products.
Anglesey Aluminium - which started production in 1971 and was once one of the largest employers on Anglesey - started consulting with the workforce in December.
It warned last week that there was a "strong likelihood" of it closing.
Klaus Stingl, chairman of the Anglesey Aluminium Metal (AAM) board, said the priority now was to ensure workers were helped to find new jobs.
"The health and safety of AAM's employees will remain of paramount importance in this difficult time with additional workplace support being given to employees to help them seek alternative employment," he said.
"This will be similar to the efforts made by AAM in 2009 when 400 people were made redundant due to the company not being able to gain a commercially viable power contract."

HPA Plant Commissioning

Orbite - February 19th, 2013,

QUEBEC - Commissioning and optimization of Orbite's first high-purity alumina plant in Cap-Chat, Quebec is progressing according to plan. All material processed at the plant has been sourced from Orbite's 100%-owned aluminous clay deposit in Grande-Vallée, Quebec. The production of multiple customer samples according to their individual order and purity specifications is expected soon. HPA samples for customers in Europe, America and Asia will be shipped as the material becomes available during the first quarter of 2013.
As previously stated on January 22, 2013, further commissioning activities - and optimization of the purity towards 5N and greater - are expected to take up to two months to complete and are proceeding according to schedule. Orbite announced the independently verified production of 4N purity (99.99%) alumina and, subsequent to further optimization, is currently testing for higher purities.
Following the installation of additional alumina calcination equipment in Q2 2013, the HPA production capacity is expected to gradually increase from less than one tonne per day to three tonnes per day by mid-2013, and to five tonnes per day by the end of 2013.
Orbite anticipates that it will start commercial production in Q2 2013, with plans to offer HPA powder and HPA granules ranging from 4N (99.99%) to an eventual 6N (99.9999%) purity. Orbite also anticipates the production of gallium and scandium oxides once a rare-metal recovery circuit is completed in mid-2013.
The process used by Orbite to produce HPA is unique and patented. It differs significantly from the rest of the HPA industry and is expected to produce higher purities at lower production costs than existing producers. The HPA plant is also a showcase for the SGA technology that will be used at the Company's first SGA plant, currently at the Feasibility Study stage.

Rio to keep alumina refinery open, Alumina gets Citic investment

The Australian - February 16th, 2013,

On Wednesday, Rio Tinto said it would keep open the Gove alumina refinery, having secured a 10-year supply of relatively cheap natural gas to run the plant. The future of money-losing Gove had been in doubt due to low prices for the metal, rising fuel costs and the strength of the Australian dollar.
The refinery is a prominent asset in Rio's Pacific Aluminium unit, which is slated for divestiture by sale, initial public offering or breakup.
On Thursday, Alumina said it would receive a $452 million investment from Citic Group, China's largest state-owned investor. The move boosted Alumina, whose primary asset is a 40 per cent stake in the Alcoa World Alumina & Chemicals venture controlled by Alcoa. Alumina shares rose 7.5 per cent.
For Citic, the price of a 13 per cent stake isn't huge. The premium isn't a big one either, with the deal priced at about 3 per cent above the previous day's closing stock price. But Alumina's future certainly looks brighter thanks to Citic's investment.
Importantly, the cash allows Alumina to cut its bank debt by about 68 per cent to $216m.
That should mean the Melbourne company resumes dividend payouts suspended at half year to bolster its balance sheet after it swung to a loss.
Still, fundamental issues remain for the sector, especially high costs and oversupply, with Chinese and Middle Eastern producers benefiting from cheaper energy. Aluminium inventories are high and rising and, though the price of the metal has picked up recently, at about $US2150 a tonne, it is still far below the mid-2011 levels of almost $US2800.
Citic's investment, which comes with a seat on the board, could also make it tougher for one of the industry's bigger players to launch a takeover.
Also, Alumina's share price has about doubled since last July and the stock is starting to look expensive. The shares trade at 1.2 times book value, compared with 0.7 times for Alcoa, FactSet says.

Orissa to discuss alumina refinery issue with VAL tomorrow

Zee News - February 14th, 2013,

New Delhi - Odisha government has called Vedanta Aluminium for a meeting tomorrow on supply of bauxite to the company's closed alumina refinery in the state amid several representations by local people to reopen the plant.
The meeting has been called by a high-level ministerial committee, which was set up some time back for formulation of a policy for supply of ore to state-based industries, official sources said.
"Vedanta Aluminium has been asked to give a presentation and discuss other options for ensuring bauxite supplies for the plant so that the operations can be resumed at the earliest," they added.
The inter-ministerial committee is headed by state finance minister Prasanna Acharya and has two other members -- Steel and Mines Minister R K Singh and Industries Minister Niranjan Pujari.
On December 5 last year, Vedanta Aluminium (VAL) had shut its one million tonnes alumina refinery at Odisha's Lanjigarh on December 5 due to severe shortage of bauxite -- the necessary mineral to produce alumina, the intermediate product of aluminium.
The closure of the refinery had impacted about 7,000 jobs, directly or indirectly in the Eastern state, leading to several agitations by the local population.
The state government had received several representations recently when Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had visited the area for reopening the alumina refinery.
Earlier, in its closure notice to Odisha's labour and industries department, served on September 5, 2012, VAL had said that running the alumina refinery is no longer sustainable "unless Odisha government finds a solution for supply of bauxite".
The company has invested Rs 50,000 crore in the refinery along with an aluminium smelter of 1.5 mtpa and a captive power plant. According to Vedanta, the refinery was meant to operate through the grade of bauxite, which are available in Odisha only.
Alumina is the intermediate product to produce aluminium. Three tonnes of bauxite is required to produce one tonne of alumina and half a tonne of aluminium can be extracted from one tonne of alumina.
At about 1.7 billion tonnes, Odisha has nearly two-third of India's total bauxite reserves. They are considered to be of high grade due to its low silica content.

Aluminium Bahrain BSCC : Alba Reports Full Year 2012 Results

4-traders - February 13th, 2013,

Aluminium demand still healthy with world consumption up by 3.9% year-on-year (YoY). Demand in North America continues to grow with 5.6% YoY driven by automotive and construction sectors; Asian consumption propelled by China (8% YoY) and India (6% YoY). MENA demand up by 5.5% YoY while demand in Europe down by 4.8% due to a decline in automotive production.
World production growing at 3.3% and is expected to rise with greenfield projects ramp-up in the Middle East, Russia and India. Aluminium cash prices at the London Metals Exchange dropped by 16% in 2012 with an average cash price of US$ 2,019 mt versus US$ 2,398 mt in 2011.
2012 Alba Highlights:
Alba achieved recurrent savings of US$ 40 million in 2012 ahead of the $30 million target
Alba increased production by 8,907 metric tonnes despite tough LME market conditions
Sales of Value-Added products reached 65% of total shipments in 2012 versus 62% in 2011
Pot Line 5 upgraded from AP30 to AP36 technology allowing an increase of current to 360 kA
Bechtel Canada was selected to perform the Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) for Line 6 expansion with Dubal DX+ technology as the base for BFS.

Vedanta struggles for Bauxite linkages

The Economic Times - February 13th, 2013,

BHUBANESWAR - Vedanta Aluminium, a unit of Anil Agarwal-owned London-listed Vedanta Resources, is still struggling for bauxite linkage even after it was forced to close down its one million tonne refinery two months ago due to non-availability of bauxite - the key raw material used to produce alumina.
The Naveen Patnaik government, which assured bauxite supply, is yet to identify a mine to rerun the refinery even as the locals cry foul, demanding chief minister's intervention.

Norsk Hydro fourth quarter 2012: Improved result on lower input costs

Market Wire - February 12th, 2013,

OSLO - "On the back of continuing challenging markets, our focus remains on improving performance across our value chain. The ambitious USD 300 program is expected to be completed at the end of 2013, strengthening Hydro's industry position. Our improvement efforts will continue, including plans to optimize production and performance in our bauxite and alumina operations in Brazil," Hydro's President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg said. Bauxite & Alumina's underlying EBIT improved compared to the third quarter, due to higher alumina prices and lower energy costs for Alunorte, together with higher results from commercial operations.
Underlying EBIT for Primary Metal improved compared to the third quarter, mainly due to better results in Qatalum. Lower realized aluminium prices negatively affected underlying EBIT, partly offset by lower operating costs. Savings targeted for Hydro's cost improvement program were achieved for the year.
Excluding inventory and currency effects, underlying results for Hydro's Metal Markets operations declined, mainly due to lower volumes and margins together with lower results from sourcing and trading operations.
Underlying EBIT for Rolled Products declined compared with the third quarter, impacted by lower margins and seasonally higher maintenance costs. Underlying EBIT for Energy increased in the quarter due to seasonally higher production and prices.
Other and eliminations includes a significant negative charge related to elimination of unrealized gains and losses on internal inventories. Operating cash flow was NOK 2.8 billion for the quarter. Net cash used for investment activities amounted to NOK 1.0 billion. Hydro's net cash position was around NOK 1.7 billion at the end of the fourth quarter.
For the full year 2012, underlying EBIT declined substantially to NOK 1,158 million from NOK 5,982 million in 2011. Lower aluminium prices and alumina prices had a significant effect on underlying results for the year. Ongoing efforts to reduce costs and improve operations partly offset the negative market effects.
On October 15 Hydro announced an agreement with Orkla ASA to combine their respective extrusion profile, building systems and tubing businesses in a new joint venture company to be named Sapa. Completion of the transaction is expected to take place in the first half of 2013, following approval by the relevant competition authorities. Following the agreement, operating results for Hydro's Extruded Products are presented net of financial items and tax as Income (loss) from discontinued operations and excluded from reported EBIT and underlying EBIT.

India's aluminium use growth will be next only to China's

Business Standard - February 12th, 2013,

Why does Alcoa of the US, the world's third largest aluminium producer after United Co Rusal and Rio Tinto (takeover of Canadian Alcan gave it the volume) get so much attention in India this time of the year? Alcoa neither smelts the metal here nor has it got plans to build a smelter in India anytime in future. It, however, has a service centre here for customers using its offerings of high value products. Our industry officials from SK Roongta of Vedanta Aluminium to Ansuman Das of National Aluminium Company (Nalco) will eagerly await Alcoa announcement of fourth quarterly results because of the global demand and supply guidance the company provides. Why only our industry officials, Alcoa, the first S&P 500 company off the block with annual results, is seen as the bellwether of the US industry in general for the white metal's wide application in swathes of areas from aerospace to automobile to packaging.
The world aluminium industry struggled through 2012, except for the final quarter with some good macro stories finally emerging from China and the US, and the European recession appearing to be less severe than before. It managed to negotiate volatile metal prices and global economic instability, including whether China would be able to escape a hard landing, as aluminium consumption rose six per cent last year. Alcoa chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) Klaus Kleinfeld has forecast that demand for the metal will accelerate to seven per cent in 2013, once again principally on the back of China and to a lesser extent India. In the forecast of nine per cent Indian aluminium demand rise to 3.8 million tonnes (mt), Roongta and Das will find vindication of their earlier assessments. Aluminium use in China is to advance 11 per cent to 23 mt.
On the grounds that Alcoa, which went about the task of weeding out its high cost smelting capacity with vengeance, posted a net profit of $242 million in 2012 fourth quarter against a loss of $191 a year earlier, we have reasons to hope that our aluminium industry too, will show better working in the quarter ended December. Realisation of average aluminium price of $2,325 a tonne in the quarter when also there was a 12 per cent trimming of costs helped Alcoa to earn profits. Das told this paper earlier that huge tonnage tied up in financing deals and also stable inventories are driving premiums on aluminium. Making price predictions is like playing a game of roulette. Even then, according to a poll of 20 analysts by a leading agency, median price forecast is $2,150 a tonne for 2013, $2,292 for 2014 and $2,400 for 2015 plus premiums.
India is in the midst of creating large smelting capacity, largely through greenfield projects heralded by Hindalco and Vedanta. In this context, Indian investment in new capacity will find justification in the Alcoa forecast that global aluminium demand will rise from 39.5 mt, including 16.5 mt in China and 23 mt in the rest of the world in 2010, to 73.4 mt in 2020 at a CAGR of 6.5 per cent with Chinese requirements racing to 37.7 mt. In retrospect, Alcoa is found conservative in its assessment, as the CAGR run rate of eight per cent in the first three years will bear it out. So, at 2012 end, the world aluminium demand was 46.1 mt, including 20.7 mt for China where CAGR was 12 per cent.
The part of Kleinfeld presentation on China shows the country will remain relentless in building new smelter feedstock alumina capacity as also aluminium capacity. While China produced 36.55 mt of alumina in 2012, this year it will have an incremental local supply of 4.15 mt also to be reinforced by imports of 3.9 mt. China buying alumina in the world market is always good news for Nalco with large exportable surplus. More impressively than rapidly expanding alumina capacity, China this year will have an additional aluminium production of 2.8 mt over 20.8 mt in 2012. Since simultaneously there will be a high cost capacity cut of 250,000 tonnes, a continuing exercise, the country will have metal supply of 23.5 mt against likely demand of 23 mt. Chinese demand may turn out to be better than is forecast as the country is to launch several recently sanctioned infrastructure projects. The North American demand will be up four per cent to 6.2 mt while the negative demand growth in Europe will lessen from two per cent to one per cent to leave a use volume of 6.5 mt.
Stacked against a somewhat Alcoa bullish view of prospects, Reuters has reported Hydro CEO Richard Brandtzaeg saying, "It is too soon to say whether 2013 will be better or worse than 2012." At the same time, "as growth (economic) continues and there is less capacity (aluminium) coming on stream, I'm cautiously optimistic about medium term," says Brandtzaeg. In difficult times, companies like Alcoa engage in slimming exercise to make the best of good times. Besides delivering $1.3 billion in productivity and overhead improvement, Alcoa achieved an all-time low working capital employment. This year too, it hopes to achieve productivity gains of $750 million. Here, then, are a few lessons for our aluminium makers.

Australia Commits Gas Supply for Rio Unit's Alumina Refinery

Bloomberg - February 11th, 2013,

Australia's Northern Territory government committed to supply gas to Rio Tinto Group's Gove alumina refinery after the world's second-biggest mining company said it may shut the plant due to high fuel oil costs.
"The Northern Territory government has now guaranteed a gas supply for the Gove refinery, and it is now up to Rio Tinto to make a commitment to keep the operation open," Chief Minister Terry Mills said today in an e-mailed statement.
Gove needed a clear and unconditional commitment to supply gas in order to remain operational, Sandeep Biswas, the chief executive officer of Rio unit Pacific Aluminium said last month before the London-based company completed a review of the refinery. Rio started a review of the operation in October because of higher fuel oil costs and low alumina prices.
"Rio Tinto will give full consideration to the Northern Territory government's important gas supply proposal," Biswas said today in an e-mailed statement. "Due to the rising cost of heavy fuel oil, coupled with a high exchange rate and low alumina price, the refinery has sustained heavy losses for some time," according to the statement.
The government has agreed to release enough gas to keep the refinery open for the next 10 years, according to the government's statement. The commitment is subject to gas supplier Eni SpA confirming details of their guarantee to supply the fuel to the Northern Territory's Power & Water Corp. until 2026, it said.
Rio Tinto announced plans in October 2011 to sell 13 aluminum assets, including Gove, to improve the group's financial performance and transferred smelters, mines and alumina plants to the new unit. Gove in 2012 produced 2.7 million metric tons of alumina and 7.9 million tons of bauxite, according to its website. Both alumina and bauxite are raw materials in the production of aluminum metal.

Chinese Workers-in Greenland?

Bloomberg Businessweek - February 11th, 2013,

At remote encampments near the Arctic Circle on the island of Greenland, thousands of Chinese laborers toil to build a vast iron ore mine. It sounds farfetched. But climate change, Greenland's thirst for economic development, and China's appetite for minerals could soon make it possible.
Greenland's semiautonomous government supports the project. The island's parliament last year passed a law to set up legal mechanisms for developing large mining projects, including the granting of labor permits to an estimated 2,300 migrant Chinese workers who would build the mine.
Along with the proposed iron mine, the government has granted exploration licenses to companies interested in scores of other projects, including proposed mines for uranium and rare-earth minerals. Alcoa has voiced the idea of building an aluminium smelter in Greenland, although the company has not decided whether to proceed with the plan.
Rare-earth elements, used in manufacturing computers and other high-tech items, could make Greenland a flashpoint for tensions between China and Europe. The European Union has urged Greenland to restrict Chinese development of rare-earth projects there, as China already accounts for 95 percent of the world's rare-earth mineral supply. The Greenland government, however, has said that it has no plans to give preference to Europeans over Chinese in developing rare-earth resources.
In a recent paper entitled "Greenland-China's Foothold in Europe," analyst Paula Briscoe of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York warned that increased Chinese influence in Greenland "could help buy Beijing a proxy vote in Arctic matters." China's Arctic ambitions include not only natural resources but also fishing rights and shipping routes, she wrote. "If Greenland, lured by the promise of investments and earlier autonomy from Denmark, allows itself to be overwhelmed by foreign companies, then China in particular could use its economic influence to Beijing's advantage."

Refinery's 50 million milestone - February 11th, 2013,

Wagerup refinery brought some extra shine to Alcoa of Australia's 50th anniversary celebrations last week.
The refinery has produced 50 million tonnes of alumina since it opened along with the Willowdale bauxite mine on April 11, 1984.
This is equivalent to the alumi-nium components in more than 400,000 Boeing 747s or more than 1.7 trillion aluminium cans.
Alcoa's Mining Operations, Kwinana Alumina Refinery and Point Henry Smelter started the process of mining bauxite and then adding value in Australia by producing alumina and smelting it into aluminium ingots in 1963.
The opening of Wagerup refinery symbolised the expansion of the business and it has contributed positively to Alcoa's strength.
New Wagerup Refinery manager Scott Thompson said he was proud to lead the Wagerup team at a significant time in the organisation's history.
"This is a remarkable achievement and a testament to the many talented and dedicated people that have worked at the refinery throughout our history, " he said.
"It is a milestone we have reached together, including our current and past employees.
"We feel privileged to work in and be part of these communities and have the opportunity to give back via our community partnership programs."
The Wagerup refinery currently employed more than 680 people and contributed more than $400 million to the regional economy last year, Mr Thompson said.

NT gas plan to be considered on Monday

Big Pond News - February 8th, 2013,

The Northern Territory cabinet will decide on Monday whether the government should release gas to Rio Tinto Ltd in a bid to save an outback town.
In a statement from London on Thursday, NT Chief Minister Terry Mills said he was continuing negotiations with Rio Tinto managing director Sam Walsh as he tries to convince the mining giant to keep open its Gove alumina refinery in east Arnhem Land.
'Information gained through these and other negotiations and analysis will be presented to cabinet on Monday,' Mr Mills said.
'It is expected a decision will be made concerning the Territory's energy security and gas availability for the Gove operation,' he said.
He said the cabinet discussions would include options for securing the future of Nhulunbuy and releasing 300 petajoules of gas to the refinery over ten years.
The refinery has been making losses of about $US30 million ($A29.2 million) each month, and an internal review indicated it should be closed temporarily, a move likely to devastate the satellite town of Nhulunbuy.
Rio Tinto subsidiary Pacific Aluminium has hinted that if the plant were converted to gas, and the NT unconditionally guaranteed 10 years' supply, it would keep the refinery open.
The 300 petajoules to be discussed by cabinet on Monday should satisfy those demands.
About 3500 people live in Nhulunbuy, 1200 of whom are employed at the refinery, and another 16,000 indigenous people in nearby communities use services the town provides.
On Friday, Dave Suter from the Nhulunbuy Chamber of Commerce and Industry said his group had been very pleased with the tone coming from Mr Mills.
'We are hoping that the issue can be resolved once and for all, and we commend him for the effort he is putting in,' Mr Suter said.
Klaus Helms from the East Arnhem Regional Futures Alliance and a leader at a local Aboriginal corporation said rumours were rife in Nhulunbuy ahead of Monday's cabinet meeting.
'We are all hoping it is good news,' Mr Helms said.
Last month Mr Mills said he would not put the NT's energy security at risk in any deal with Rio Tinto.
'We are taking this very seriously. We are not blinking; we are serious about it,' he said in January.

GDS (S) RUSAL : United Company RUSAL Plc: Production Results for the Year Ended 31 December 2012

4-traders - February 8th, 2013,

This announcement is made by United Company RUSAL Plc ("UC RUSAL" or the "Company" and together with its subsidiaries the "Group") pursuant to Rule 13.09 of the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, Inside Information Provisions under Part XIVA of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571, Laws of Hong Kong) and applicable French laws and regulations.
UC RUSAL announces its key production data for the year ended 31 December 2012
Key highlights
Total aluminium output reached 4,173 thousand tonnes in 2012, an increase of 1% compared to 2011 mainly due to restart of production at Sayanogorsk aluminium smelter partially interrupted in 2011 following railway bridge collapse. Total aluminium output in the fourth quarter of 2012 decreased by 2% to 1,038 thousand tonnes compared to 1,060 thousand tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Alumina output totaled 7,477 thousand tonnes in 2012, a decrease of 8% compared to 2011. Alumina output in the fourth quarter of 2012 decreased by 13% to 1,806 thousand tonnes compared to 2,082 thousand tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Bauxite production totaled 12,365 thousand tonnes in 2012, a decrease of 8% compared to 2011. Bauxite output in the fourth quarter of 2012 decreased by 15% to 2,788 thousand tonnes compared to 3,288 thousand tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Rusal's Guinea refinery to restart soon

Eye Witness News - February 7th, 2013,

CAPE TOWN - Guinea expects production at aluminium producer Rusal's Fria refinery to restart "within months", thanks to conditions set as part of a deal signed with the Russian group late last year, a senior official said. The 630,000 tonne per year plant has been shut since last April following a labour dispute.
The 2006 deal in which the refinery was sold to Rusal has also been under review, as the current government has said the price was too low.
The restart of work at the refinery in Fria was a condition of the December deal with Rusal that agreed a schedule for the development of its separate giant Dian-Dian bauxite deposit, said Ibrahima Camara, vice president of the technical committee reviewing Guinea's mining contracts, on the sidelines of a mining conference.
"They committed to restarting Fria as soon as possible," Camara said, adding the restart could take several months, given the lengthy stoppage.
A Rusal spokesperson in Moscow said the company was currently "examining the option" of a restart, but declined to comment further.
Camara's committee is also reviewing mining contracts that include BSG Resources' contract to mine half of the Simandou iron ore deposit, one of the largest in the world. Work has stopped since BSG's partner Vale put the project on hold last year, citing uncertainties.
Camara confirmed the government had received responses to questions it had sent to BSG and would deliver its verdict by March, within the timetable set last year.
BSG, part of Israeli diamond billionaire Beny Steinmetz's business empire, said last week that it would consider "all available legal options" including international arbitration, in order to avoid expropriation.

Fourth quarter aluminium performance down at Eurasian Natural Resources

Share Cast - February 6th, 2013,

LONDON - FTSE 100-listed metal mining company Eurasian Natural Resources has acknowledged that its aluminium division operated below capacity in the fourth quarter of the year, whilst production of saleable copper declined against the corresponding period in the previous year.
In the three months ended December 31st, the group reported that bauxite extraction had decreased 17.5% and alumina production had contracted 12.4% against the fourth quarter of 2011 results.
Aluminium marginally decreased by 1.6% compared to quarter four 2011 results while maintaining annual production volume at the 2011 levels.
Production of saleable copper in the fourth quarter was 7,756 tonnes, representing a 4.0% decrease when compared to the corresponding period in 2011.
Saleable cobalt production also fell 28.4% to 2,042 tonnes versus the fourth quarter in 2011. The company stated that this had been caused by an increase of internal consumption at Chambishi and a decrease in the availability of oxide ore.
But while the production of copper and aluminium declined, the majority of Eurasian Natural Resources' business areas saw growth in production and operating performance.
The ferroalloys and iron ore divisions operated at full available capacity for the quarter while the company reported that its energy division operated at full available capacity for electricity, coal and special coke production.
Overall gross ferrochrome production increased by 6.8% compared to the fourth quarter in 2011, with an 8.7% increase in high-carbon ferrochrome.
Total saleable ferroalloys production for the quarter increased 8.9% on the fourth quarter of 2011. Saleable high-carbon ferrochrome production increased 9.3%.
Felix Vulis, Chief Executive Officer of Eurasian Natural Resources, said: "In 2012, we achieved the highest annual production volumes since the IPO for saleable ferroalloys, electricity and coal, even before the addition of 5.6m tonnes of coal from Shubarkol.
"Our iron ore division overcame recent technological issues to deliver its best quarter in 2.5 years in terms of saleable product. Elsewhere, alumina experienced lower output due to production problems that have now been rectified.
In the fourth quarter of 2012, copper volumes suffered from disruption in power supply, however, achieved significant production increase on 2011 full year level. We anticipate delivering a strong operational performance across the group in 2013."

Orbite partners to build red-mud treatment plant

The Gazette - February 5th, 2013,

Montreal's Orbite Aluminae Inc. is stepping into the international scene via an exclusive partnership with European-based waste management giant Veolia Environmental Services to build plants to treat and recycle the toxic red mud generated by the Bayer alumina production process.
They plan to get their first red mud treatment plant, possibly in Europe or Asia, operating within two years, with Orbite providing its patented technology now in final development at Cap Chat in the Gaspé and Veolia contributing the operating know-how, marketing and capital, Orbite CEO Richard Boudreault said.
"We can help the aluminum smelting industry deal with its most urgent environmental challenge just as demand is growing again," he said in an interview. "The treatment plants will be located near existing alumina facilities and could cost from $50 million to $200 million each, depending on capacity."
The Orbite technology has been under development over the past four years. The Cap Chat pilot plant is producing small tonnages of high-purity alumina for the pharmaceutical industry and will later make lower-grade alumina designed for aluminum smelting. No red mud is created, as in the traditional Bayer process. Existing pools of red mud can be treated and purified.
Aluminum production starts with mining the bauxite mineral. This is processed into a fine white powder (as in the Alcan alumina refinery in the Saguenay) which becomes the intermediate material fed into the electrolytic cells in the smelters.
The red mud waste from the widely-used Bayer alumina process often remains stored near existing alumina plants because it is costly to treat and existing technology is weak. Orbite and Veolia want to treat the red mud stockpile with Orbite's commercially viable and eco-friendly technology.
After treatment, valuable residues will remain and can be recovered and sold, Orbite said. The cleantech process can extend the life of existing smelters using the Bayer process.
Demand for alumina and aluminum continues to grow globally and untreated stocks of red mud stored in tailings ponds are already nearing 3 billion tonnes, threatening a repeat of a recent leakage in Hungary that caused several deaths.
Rusal, the leading Russian aluminum producer, is working on a different tack. It is developing processes to convert the red mud from its smelters into construction materials.
"Our partnership will enable Orbite and Veolia to become world leaders in treating and recycling red mud," Boudreault said.
The Veolia group, including its environmental business in 30 countries and transportation affiliates, has annual volume of well over $12 billion U.S. It owns an environmental services unit and a bus line in Quebec.

United Company Rusal Plc : UC RUSAL starts rig testing of the industrial inert anode pot

4-traders - February 5th, 2013,

Moscow - UC RUSAL (SEHK: 486, Euronext: RUSAL/RUAL, Moscow Exchange: RUALR/RUALRS), world's largest aluminium producer, is pleased to announce the start of rig testing on the industrial smelting pot, based on the revolutionary and unique inert anode technology.
Rig tests are being held on a 3kA amperage in Krasnoyarsk. For inert anode technology the Company has developed a completely new pod scheme.
Upon success of the rig tests, RUSAL plans to begin production tests on its inert anode pots in 2015 at the Krasnoyarsk aluminium smelter (KrAZ). From 2017 the Company may start shifting its existing smelting capacities to inert anode technology, starting at KrAZ.
The current electrolysis process generates CO, CO2 and poly-aromatics emissions to the atmosphere whereas the new generation pots produce a tonne of oxygen for every 900 kg of aluminium produced. Scaled to KrAZ this figure will reach 900,000 tonnes of oxygen per year. The burning speed of an inert anode is 300 to 400 times slower than that of a traditional carbon anode and discharges only 1-2 cm per year, compared to 1-2 cm per day by the carbon anode.
The project joined Skolkovo foundation in June 2011. Planned co-financing of the inert anode-based aluminium production research from the foundation amounts to RUR750 million till 2015. To date, RUR130 million has already been provided by Skolkovo.
Viktor Mann, UC RUSAL Technical Director said: "Inert anode technology may have a revolutionary impact on the global aluminium industry. Each stage of development brings us closer to a technological breakthrough and we hope to begin switching our smelters, working on the Soederberg technology, to inert anode technology in the next five years, as we build on our leading position in the industry.

Rio gets OK for $3bn expansion in Pilbara

The Australian - February 4th, 2013,

RIO Tinto has received the backing of Western Australia's government to expand its iron ore operations in the Pilbara region, involving a near-tripling of production at the Nammuldi mine and construction of a new power plant.
In a statement, Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett said Rio Tinto would invest $3 billion to grow annual production at the Nammuldi mine from 8 million metric tonnes of iron ore to 23 million tonnes as well as build a 130 megawatt power plant at Cape Lambert.

GCC aluminium production to hit 5m tonnes by 2014

Construction Week - February 4th, 2013,

The GCC's aluminium production is expected to reach five million tonness by 2014 in order to cater for the increasing global demand.
Demand globally is estimated to increase and reach 70 million metric tonnes per year by 2020 and GCC countries are expected to boost aluminium production capacity by up to 40 per cent .
The Gulf Aluminium Council (GAC) reported that the current GCC operating smelters Alba, Dubal, Emal, Qatalum & Sohar have collectively produced 3,739,290 tonnes of primary aluminium in 2012 compared to 3,488,357 in 2011.
The GCC region has been a key aluminium producer as it is expected to account for 13% of the world's total production by the end of 2013, driven mainly by aggressive investments in the region's aluminium industry. This will include construction of new smelters and the expansion of the pipeline network that has further reinforced the region's position in the global market.
GAC secretary-general Mahmood Daylami said: "Aluminium industry is now one of the main economic drivers for the Gulf contributing to jobs creation, establishment of small and medium size industries and contribution to the community development."
Future developments includes Ma'aden operations with an annual capacity of 750,000 tonnes per annum. Ma'aden is an integrated operation that includes Bauxite mining and aluminium refinery as a raw material to produce aluminium in the smelter along with the rolling mill. The project construction is completed and is in the start-up phase.
Emal which started its operations in 2010 has also embarked an expansion project to increase its production capacity from 800,000 in 2012 to 1.3 million tonnes by 2014.
Gulf producers tend to take their aluminium production capacity even further to address the strong demand, particularly within the GCC region, leveraging its strategic advantages including its easy access to low-cost raw materials and proximity to major aluminium markets in Europe, USA and the Far East.
As estimated by the Gulf Aluminium Council, around 80% of produced aluminium in the Gulf is exported to different parts of the world, reaffirming the GCC's vital role to meet local, regional and global demand.
In 2011, a number of new aluminium smelters and manufacturing companies were established in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to drive further growth and establish the Gulf as a major player in the world aluminium industry.
On the other hand, the Gulf's aluminium investments are seeing significant movement and could hit $55bn by 2022, with $22bn in the UAE, $7bn in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and $5.7bn in Qatar.
As part of the efforts to increase the Gulf's global market share and create lucrative investment opportunities across the aluminium industry in the region, a select group of local, regional and international investors, experts and businessmen are set to discuss some of the prominent industry concerns, trends and investment opportunities during the 'Aluminium Middle East 2013' exhibition, which will take place from April 23 to 25 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC).
Show director Mohammed Bader-Eddin said: "The Gulf region has all the right components to truly become a key player in the global aluminium production business.
"GCC countries are currently working hard to achieve their future aspirations and consolidate their leading position in the region and the world by primarily increasing their annual productivity and adding new capacity, while adopting the latest advanced technologies and the highest standards in sustainability and environmental conservation."

Guinea says Rusal's Fria refinery to restart within months

Reuters - February 4th, 2013,

Guinea expects production at aluminium producer Rusal's Fria refinery to restart "within months", thanks to conditions set as part of a deal signed with the Russian group late last year, a senior official said.
The 630,000 tonne per year plant has been shut since last April following a labour dispute. The 2006 deal in which the refinery was sold to Rusal has also been under review, as the current government has said the price was too low.
The restart of work at the refinery in Fria was a condition of the December deal with Rusal that agreed a schedule for the development of its separate, giant Dian-Dian bauxite deposit, said Ibrahima Camara, vice president of the technical committee reviewing Guinea's mining contracts, on the sidelines of a mining conference.
"They committed to restarting Fria as soon as possible," Camara said, adding the restart could take several months, given the lengthy stoppage.
A Rusal spokesperson in Moscow said the company was currently "examining the option" of a restart, but declined to comment further.
Camara's committee is also reviewing mining contracts that include BSG Resources's contract to mine half of the Simandou iron ore deposit, one of the largest in the world. Work has stopped since BSG's partner Vale put the project on hold last year, citing uncertainties.
Camara confirmed the government had received responses to questions it had sent to BSG and would deliver its verdict by March, within the timetable set last year.
BSG, part of Israeli diamond billionaire Beny Steinmetz's business empire, said last week that it would consider "all available legal options" including international arbitration, in order to avoid expropriation.

Fear Rio refinery closure would strip $400m from NT economy

The Australian - February 3rd, 2013,

RIO Tinto's loss-making aluminium refinery in Arnhem Land should be shuttered, according to an internal review, with the expected loss of up to 1500 jobs and devastating effects on the regional economy.
An investment review committee recommended Rio immediately move to mothball the refinery on the Gove Peninsula, which together with a bauxite mine is the NT's largest private enterprise.

Rio extends gas deadline

The Australian - February 1st, 2013,

MINING giant Rio Tinto has extended its deadline for the Northern Territory government to find a supply of gas to power the company's loss-making aluminium refinery in Arnhem Land, the NT's largest private enterprise.
Chief Minister Terry Mills will now make a last-minute dash to Europe in a bid to stop the miner closing the refinery on the Gove Peninsula, with the loss of 1000 direct jobs.
Mr Mills yesterday continued to hold out against Rio's demands the government unconditionally give up almost half its remaining contracted gas supply from a field east of Darwin to power the mining giant's plant.
He declared to do so could expose taxpayers to 75 per cent utility price hikes in the future.
"This government is doing all it can to secure the Northern Territory's electricity supply and find the additional gas needed to reach an agreement," Mr Mills said. "An aggregated gas supply must be found . . . But I cannot and will not risk taking actions that result in upward pressure on Territory power prices."
Rio's refinery and bauxite mine at Gove, which supports the East Arnhem region and nearby town of Nhulunbuy, is believed to be losing about $30 million per month.
The company had issued an effective ultimatum that if the NT government did not agree to release about 10 years' worth of gas supply by the end of last month the refinery would almost certainly close. It is understood Rio's new chief executive, Sam Walsh, has extended that deadline by about 10 days.
Closure of the refinery is predicted to halve the size of Nhulunbuy, which is home to about 4000 people and the NT's fourth-largest settlement.
East Arnhem Regional Futures Alliance chairman Klaus Helms said if that happened the region's economy would wither.
"There's no other business or industry in the whole region, so what's going to happen to those people?" Mr Helms said.
Mr Mills said he understood the town's plight.
"It's a very difficult situation for the people of Gove," he said. "This dreadful uncertainty cannot be resolved until this whole exercise is concluded, and that won't be too far off."
Rio subsidiary Pacific Aluminium, which operates the plant at Gove, has already rejected an NT government proposal to supply the 300 petajoules of gas over 10 years the refinery needs, so long as a replacement supply to power government-owned generators can be found. The company sought an unconditional commitment to supply the gas.
Some years ago, Pacific Aluminium declined the opportunity to buy the very same gas it is now seeking to force the government to release.

More bauxite discovered

Fiji News - February 1st, 2013,

Aurum Exploration Company has discovered more bauxite in other parts of Vanua Levu.
This was confirmed to FBC News by the company's managing director - Isireli Dagaga.
i-Taukei news editor Apisalome Coka is in Labasa and filed this report:
"Dagaga says they at other areas in Vanua Levu but they will need to convince the government to be given the contract to carry out mining in other areas.
Dagaga says they will need to step up with their rehabilitation program and show government how well they can rehabilitate damaged areas due to mining works."

Oleg Deripaska's African delight

Rus Business News - February 1st, 2013,

UC RUSAL has outlined a plan to develop the world's largest bauxite deposit, the Dian-Dian, in four stages. During the first phase, a mine will be built with a capacity of three million tons per year, during the second - bauxite production will be increased to nine million tons, then during the third and fourth stages there are plans to construct an alumina refinery and expand its production capacity. If those plans are realized, by 2019 UC RUSAL will be mining 12 million tons of bauxite and producing 2.4 million tons of alumina per year.
The agreement the company has signed with the African country has drawn a mixed response from experts. UC RUSAL's managers have repeatedly claimed that because of the economic crisis, it is cheaper to buy alumina on the market than to produce it at the company's own plants. The global oversupply of raw materials is keeping the company from reopening the Friquia alumina refinery that was shut down in April 2012 after a strike by the workers. New agreements with the Guinean authorities regarding an increase in the production of alumina were established at almost the same time that the Anglo-Australian firm BHP Billiton pulled out of an alumina project in Guinea, selling its stake in the venture for just one dollar. In addition to their economic woes, mining and metallurgical companies face huge political risks in Guinea, as the government there quite often replaces the owners of mining firms. For example, Guinea dissolved a concession agreement for the production of iron ore with the British company Rio Tinto and resold the assets to a different organization.
The Russian firm might run into trouble as well: with their threats to nationalize the mines, the Guineans are keeping Oleg Deripaska's company hanging by a thread. Despite this, as well as a tightening of the mining regulations, UC RUSAL's management has faith in the common sense of the Guinean authorities.
The deputy prime minister of the Sverdlovsk region, Aleksandr Petrov advises the company to think twice before it expands its production of African bauxite: "There's a good Russian proverb that says, 'A cow costs a quarter of copeck across the sea, but it takes a ruble to get it home.' Of course bauxite is less expensive in Guinea, but you could lose everything in that volatile country. I hope the company's managers understand that." This new agreement with Guinea seems somewhat at odds with the recent announcement by UC RUSAL's first deputy general director, Vladislav Solovyov, claiming that the development of Russian deposits was a top priority.
In the spring of 2012, the aluminum manufacturers signed a memorandum with Canada's Orbite Aluminae, which is currently finalizing the testing of its technology to produce alumina by acid leaching kaolin clay deposits and other low-grade ores. Deripaska decided to purchase that technology and build a plant in Eastern Siberia where there are enough raw materials to produce alumina. Vladislav Solovyov promised that this project would make it possible to avoid the use of imported bauxite.
Paradoxically, however, the Russian National Aluminum-Magnesium Institute (VAMI), which is currently owned by UC RUSAL, was already acid leaching kaolin clay back in the Soviet era and claimed the technique had a bleak outlook. Employees of the institute told this columnist from RusBusinessNews that Orbite hasn't invented a new method at all, but merely reproduced the old Soviet process. The scientists claim that this agenda is being pushed by those with insufficient expertise, because it is not possible to extract millions of tons of metallurgical alumina from kaolin clay - only a small output of high-purity alumina is feasible, which would be suitable for the manufacture of synthetic semiprecious stones. It is no coincidence that the Canadian aluminum company Alcan (purchased by Rio Tinto in 2007) is not interested in the technology.
Nowadays, preference is given to bauxite with a higher aluminum-oxide content. But alumina can also be made from coal ash, alunite, nepheline concentrates, and ores, deposits of which are found in Russia. VAMI's experiments have shown that if you approach the processing of nepheline concentrates in a comprehensive manner and produce cement, gallium, and soda by-products, then alumina can be manufactured using the waste from chemical fertilizer production more cheaply than from bauxite.
A zero-waste production facility was built on the basis of the successful tests of this technique in Pikalevo. But in 2004, the production chain was broken there, and independent facilities manufacturing alumina, cement, and soda-potash were erected at the site of the unified complex. Four years later, all three of those businesses shut down, which, in the opinion of Vladimir Putin who was then prime minister, could be blamed on the owners' greed. Eurocement Group, CJSC, which owns Pikalevsky Cement, decided to replace its technology, and instead of alumina, Oleg Deripaska began manufacturing cement and forbade his "competitors" to use the access roads. After the closure of the alumina refinery, the production of soda obviously disappeared as well.
Experts deeply regret that this elegant, promising technology has been spoiled by reckless privatization - Russia has vast reserves of phosphate fertilizers and nepheline ores. But the resurrection of this zero-waste production is unlikely - entrepreneurs today have no need for so much cement, and nepheline concentrate produces ten times as much of that as alumina. Plus, no one wants to roll back the price for cement, or for alumina for that matter. And Oleg Deripaska's organizations have even less desire to pay taxes, which is how the projects to mine bauxite in Guinea originated.
In 2012, on the eve of the Chernoy vs. Deripaska trial in a British court, Western analysts told the media that the judges considered the tolling contracts being used by UC RUSAL to be illegal under Russian law. Those contracts were signed in order to avoid VAT taxes on the conversion of alumina to aluminum in Russia. Experts assume that Oleg Deripaska maintained alumina refineries overseas so that prices could be set for intra-corporate transactions that would allow profits from the production facilities to be sunk into offshore companies he owned personally.