AluNews - June 2013

Vedanta awaits Odisha government's report to resume Lanjigarh operations

The Economics Times - June 30th, 2013,

MUMBAI: Vedanta Aluminium is awaiting Odisha government's report on long-term raw material supply to its Lanjigarh alumina refinery in the state before resuming operations at its unit, that has been lying closed for the past seven months, say company sources.
The aluminium firm had closed its 1-million tonne Odisha refinery last December due to shortage of bauxite, the key raw material for aluminium production.
"We are awaiting the ministerial group formed by Odisha government to come up with proposals for long-term supply of raw material to industrial units like ours. The report is slated to be out by anytime now. We plan to resume operations after the report comes," the company source told PTI.
The company had, earlier, said it would resume operations by June-end or early July with alternate arrangements for bauxite supply from other sources.
When asked about the alternate arrangement, the source said the company had taken note of the cancellation of export orders of bauxite from Gujarat in the last few days, and hoped ore prices would come down, which would help it arrange for cheaper raw material from the state.
He, however, added the company will specify its detailed plans of procuring raw material from other states once Odisha government releases its report.

Have Declining Aluminum Prices Foiled Alcoa?

Cheat Street - June 29th, 2013,

As one of the world’s largest aluminum producers, Alcoa’s profitability is largely determined by the price of metal it sells. Aluminum has declined in price for two straight years due to oversupply and a reversal of the decade-long bull market in commodities.
A three-month buyer of aluminum pays around $1764, roughly 30 percent less than what the metal traded at two years ago. As a result, Alcoa has struggled to achieve stable profitability. Still, the company’s-first quarter earnings were impressive and beat estimates in the first quarter.
CEO Klaus Kleinfeld shut down operations at many of the company’s mines and refineries in 2012, hoping that an estimated 12 percent reduction in the company’s output would reduce aluminum supply and bolster prices.
While Alcoa is one of the top three aluminum producers in the world, it is unclear if this strategy will be effective in producing a sustainable impact on its price.
To help hedge itself against depressed aluminum prices, Alcoa has invested in higher-performing operations, such as refining alumina, the oxide that creates aluminum, and Bauxite mining. Specifically, the company has expanded its Bauxite mining operation to Brazil and Russia, where it enjoys higher operating margins due to lower energy costs.

Alcoa to Close Fusina Smelter in Italy

The Wall Street Journal - June 28th, 2013,

New York - Alcoa (NYSE:AA) announced today that it intends to permanently close its Fusina (Venice, Italy) primary aluminum smelter, which has been curtailed since June 2010. The planned closure will reduce Alcoa's global smelting capacity of 4.2 million metric tons per year by 44,000 metric tons.
The intended closure of Fusina's 44,000 metric tons is in addition to the 460,000 metric tons of operating smelting capacity that Alcoa previously announced was under review.
"The underlying conditions that led Alcoa to curtail the Fusina smelter in 2010 have not fundamentally changed," said Alcoa Global Primary Products President Bob Wilt. "Global aluminum prices remain weak and we must take action to maintain Alcoa's competitiveness."
Alcoa will work with affected communities to explore ways to redevelop the closed smelter and will consult with local unions to put appropriate social support in place for the employees impacted by the closure. Alcoa currently employs 14 people at the curtailed smelter.
The Alcoa Fusina rolling mill operates separately from the smelter and is not affected by this announcement.
Total restructuring-related charges for second quarter 2013 as a result of the closure are expected to be between $30 million and $35 million after-tax, or about $0.03 per share, of which approximately 50 percent is non-cash.

Chinese refiners step up search for alternative bauxite supplies

Platts - June 28th, 2013,

Chinese bauxite importers, in particular alumina refiners, are continuing to explore alternative supplies other than Indonesia, due to continuing concerns over a possible export ban from the Southeast Asian country in 2014 as well as high Indonesian bauxite prices.
Indonesia is a major supplier of bauxite to China, accounting for 70-80% of the country's total imports. In May 2012, Indonesia tightened export policies and imposed an export tax of 20% on bauxite, in a move to encourage more foreign investment in its local industry.
The Southeast Asian country had also earlier announced plans to ban exports starting in 2014. Although many are skeptical that the ban would actually be imposed due to economic factors, some Chinese importers have been actively seeking, and stepping up their search, for alternative supplies.
"Rising Indonesian bauxite prices over the year have also been a major issue... they're so high now we've not signed any new contracts for cargoes recently," a Shandong refiner source said. "Instead, we may buy more cargoes from Guinea."
The refiner is currently expecting delivery of three previously signed Indonesian cargoes to arrive in July, as well as one from Guinea.
Indonesian bauxite prices are now pegged at $50-55/mt CIF China basis, up from $43-45/mt in first half of 2012 before the country's export policy changed.
"Prices are quite stable now, but they're high, so costs for the importing refiners are high," a Chinese trader said.
Another Shandong refiner has been trying out supplies from Fiji, while a third has been in talks with Indian suppliers.
Chongqing Bosai, which imports from Indonesia, also has plans to cut bauxite imports from Indonesia, and is trying to use more of its own supply from its Ghana investment, a company source said.
"We're planning to bring in more from Ghana, and trying to evaluate the difference in cost and quality between using that and Indonesian supply ...this is all due to concerns over the possible Indonesian ban on bauxite exports next year," he added.
Bosai in 2011 received approval from the Ghanaian governments to purchase an 80% stake in the Awaso bauxite mine from Rio Tinto Alcan. That venture now has a 3 million mt/year capacity.
Aluminum Corp of China (Chalco) has in recent years tied up with Vietnam Coal and Mining Industry Group to invest in a Vietnam bauxite-alumina project, and have also been working with an Indonesian partner on a planned bauxite-alumina venture.
China's Hongqiao Group also has ties with Indonesian companies on a planned alumina project in the country.

Aluminum CEOs Can Take Actions at the Industry and Company Levels to Reignite Value Creation

Financial - June 27th, 2013,

The aluminum industry has experienced an abundance of severe challenges in recent years, resulting in a sharp decline in company valuations and profits. To reignite the value creation engine and restore investor confidence, CEOs and their management teams can pursue aggressive action plans that will turn around the industry, according to a new report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
“Our analyses show that the industry’s crisis can’t be traced back to an unexpected drop in demand caused by the global economic downturn or sudden changes in the value chain’s upstream or downstream segments,” said Thomas Bradtke, a BCG partner and coauthor of the report. “The crisis arose from the supply side, driven by China’s strategy to increase its capacity for producing primary aluminum. Producers in the rest of the world misinterpreted China’s moves and didn’t adjust their own strategies fast enough in response,” he added.
“Global aluminum consumption has been driven almost entirely by China since 2000, and we expect this trend to continue,” said Kai Gruner, a BCG senior partner and coauthor of the report. “China’s capacity for producing primary aluminum has also grown dramatically, and its imports have declined significantly. Western aluminum companies weren’t expecting this, and they expanded their capacity in anticipation of increased Chinese imports. The resulting overcapacity and high inventory have caused the aluminum price to remain at low levels,” Gruner added.
Developments in the value chain’s upstream and downstream segments are adding to Western companies’ challenges, finds the report. China will likely have sufficient bauxite and alumina to meet its demand for feedstock. And Chinese manufacturers have become leading players in the global market for semifabricated and fabricated aluminum products.
The report advises individual companies to explore upstream opportunities in bauxite and alumina and focus on high-value or lowest-cost downstream businesses. It also recommends that companies substantially raise their game in three critical dimensions of business performance: operating and overhead costs, management of large-capex projects, and commercial activities.

Clear Skies

Recycling Today - June 27th, 2013,

Amsterdam-based Constellium is a global company with nearly 8,800 employees involved in a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive and packaging.
The common thread weaving the company’s divisions together is aluminium, which Constellium produces in a variety of what the company calls “aluminium solutions” using several different metallurgical processes.
As a producer of more than 1 million tonnes of aluminium annually at production sites around the world, Constellium pays close attention to how it sources raw materials and how products containing its metals are produced and then recycled.
In the aerospace sector, where metallurgical chemistry is critical, Constellium has developed a closed-loop recycling process that it says benefits the environment while also offering the company a competitive edge.

China plan to shut outdated smelters to lift TC/RC fees: Jiangxi Copper

The Business Times - June 25th, 2013,

China's move to close outdated copper smelting capacity will help lift global processing fees, Jiangxi Copper Co Ltd, the country's top refined copper producer, said on Tuesday.

China now has more than 310 copper smelters. The government has seen this number as too high and is trying to restrict growth, Li Baomin, Jiangxi Copper's Chairman, told a conference in Hong Kong.

"This will benefit the industry in China as a whole," he said.

China has vowed to tackle overcapacity in various industries and is about to about to publish new measures aimed at tackling overcapacity in several bloated industrial sectors, including steel and aluminium.

Vedanta awaits go-ahead for Balco’s major expansion plan

Hindustan Times Raipur - June 24th, 2013,

London-based Vedanta Resources is awaiting the green signal from the Chhattisgarh government to expand the capacity of Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd (Balco), which it acquired in 2001 amid controversy.

Vedanta chairman Anil Agarwal had talks with chief minister Raman Singh and senior officials in Raipur to seek the go-ahead for its 325,000-tonne alumina smelter unit, which is ready for operation, along with a 1,200-MW thermal power plant.

“We are hopeful with the outcome of the meeting,” the chairman said.

Balco produced 247,000 tonnes of aluminium, its current capacity, in 2012-13. The company generates 810 MW. “The power produced will be for captive use and the local facilities of the company,” Agarwal said.

Agarwal said since Balco was matter of strong sentiment for him, its expansion and upgrade were his priorities. The revenue generated from Balco is utilised by the company here.

“Despite investing thousands of crores, we have not taken a single rupee from the company. Balco plans to enhance its combined capacity to one million tonne per annum production of aluminium,” said the Vedanta chairman.

Research and Markets: Global Aluminium Industry Forecast To Reach an Estimated US$160billion in 2017 Says Latest Study

Fort Mill Times - June 24th, 2013,

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The global aluminium industry is forecast to reach an estimated US$160billion in 2017 with a CAGR of 5.3% over the next five years (2012-2017).

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This study provides an overview of the global aluminium industry, tracking one market segment of that industry across four geographic regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC), and the Rest of the World (ROW). Thus, four segments of the global aluminium industry are tracked.

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Research and Markets is the world's leading source for international market research reports and market data. We provide you with the latest data on international and regional markets, key industries, the top companies, new products and the latest trends.

Emal builds longest potline

The National - June 21st, 2013,

Emirates Aluminium has finished work on the world's longest potline, a row of electrolytic cells for reducing certain metals, as the company is on course to complete its latest expansion by the end of next year.

• 8,000 jobs to be forged by the UAE's Dh55 billion mega merger of Emal and Dubal
• Emal keen to expand further at Kizad
• Emal said to secure funds for Kizad plant expansion

The construction of the 1.7 kilometre potline is part of Emal's Phase 2 expansion, which will add 500,000 tonnes per year to boost total capacity to 1.3 million tonnes. Emal this month merged with Dubai Aluminium to create Emirates Global Aluminium, a company owned in equal parts by Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Once Emal's expansion is completed, Emirates Global Aluminium will be the world's fifth largest producer with annual capacity of 2.4 million tonnes.

The market value of the combined entity stands at US$15 billion, according to Mubadala and the Investment Corporation Dubai, which own Emirates Global Aluminium. Construction on the $4.5bn Emal expansion began in 2011. Emal is the first anchor tenant of the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) in Taweelah and has the key function of attracting downstream industry to its cluster. The 120 steel structures used for the new potline were supplied by Abu Dhabi's Emirates Steel.

The steelmaker will in time also become an anchor tenant at Kizad, where its next expansion will be built once the company has been allocated a supply of natural gas by the Government.

Daily average aluminium output falls to 68,100 tonnes

Reuters (LONDON) - June 20th, 2013,

Daily average primary aluminium output excluding China fell to 68,100 tonnes in May, against a revised 68,400 tonnes in April, data from the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) showed today. Global production for May was 2.112 million tonnes against a revised 2.052 million in April.

In China, daily production in May rose to 57,000 tonnes, up from 56,900 tonnes in April. Total production in May was 1.766 million tonnes, up from 1.707 million tonnes in the previous month, the IAI said.

Manufacturers feel pinch as more LME aluminium is stuck in Detroit

Reuters (LONDON) - June 19th, 2013,

Makers of products such as cans and packaging foils face record high aluminium surcharges in the U.S. Midwest as more of the metal gets sucked into backlogged warehouses in Detroit that are registered by the London Metal Exchange (LME).

According to data from the exchange, stocks in Detroit have risen by 183,000 tonnes in the last three days to total 1.477 million tonnes, their highest since December 2012. The leap has pushed global LME stocks to a record 5.414 million tonnes.

While aluminium supplies are plentiful on paper, two separate sources told Reuters surcharges or 'premiums' paid over the LME cash price to cover physical delivery costs are at a record of around 12 cents per lb in the U.S. Midwest.

This is because the lion's share of spare metal supplies have been sucked into LME warehouses in Detroit, where anyone wishing to withdraw them faces a long and costly wait of more than a year.

"The queues in Detroit are set to rise and premia will remain high. On the basis of history - why take these stocks in if they aren't going to be booked for delivery and form the queue," said Macquarie analyst Colin Hamilton.

The LME has come under strong criticism over the past year for not doing more to tackle warehouse companies who, industry sources say, pay incentives to attract metal to their backlogged sheds in a bid to bump up rental revenues.

The exchange was sold to Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing last year for $2.2 billion, though HKEx chief executive Charles Li said shortly after that the issue of warehouse backlogs almost derailed the deal.

The backlogged warehouses in the LME network are typically run by companies owned by big banks and trade houses like Goldman Sachs and Glencore Xstrata.

In April, sources with knowledge of the matter said Goldman had explored the sale of its metals warehousing business Metro International - which owns nearly all the sheds in Detroit - though no final decision had yet been made.

Alcoa completes capacity upgrades for 3rd gen aluminium/lithium alloys

Mining Weekly - June 18th, 2013,

TORONTO ( – US-based aluminium refiner Alcoa has completed the second-phase expansion of aluminium/lithium alloy capacity at its Kitts Green facility, in the UK, to better serve the growing demand for the company’s third-generation aluminium/lithium alloys.

The company on Tuesday said it expected aluminium/lithium revenues to quadruple over the next six years to nearly $200-million.

The Kitts Green expansion is the second phase of a three-part expansion programme to satisfy customer demand for advanced aerospace products and patented alloys, which allows airframers to build more fuel efficient and lower-cost aeroplanes than was possible if composite alternatives were used.

Alcoa upgraded and expanded the casting capacity at the Kitts Green plant and also expanded capacity at its technology centre at Alcoa Centre, in Pennsylvania, by 30%.

The third phase of the expansion entailed the construction of a new $90-million facility next to the company’s Lafayette, Indiana, plant that would provide an additional 20 000 t of aluminium/lithium alloys. The new facility would supply round and rectangular ingots for rolled, extruded and forged applications, in sizes compatible with the largest aluminium aerospace components in service today.

The Lafayette expansion was scheduled to be completed and on line by the end of 2014.

Alcoa’s new aluminium/lithium alloys provided it the best strength-to-weight performance in its aerospace-alloy portfolio, combined with better stiffness, damage tolerance and corrosion resistance. The alloys were used in extrusions, forgings, sheet and plate applications across aircraft structures, including aeroplane wings and fuselage components.

The expansions followed discussions with airframers following the launch of the next-generation alloys.

“We introduced our third-generation aluminium/lithium alloys at the last Paris Air Show and demonstrated their potential to increase fuel efficiency, reduce inspection intervals, improve passenger comfort and lower capital costs for aerospace manufacturers,” Alcoa aerospace, transportation and industrial rolled products president Mark Vrablec said.

“The response was phenomenal. In fact, the response indicated demand that exceeded our production capacity at the time, so we launched initiatives to expand our aluminium/lithium operations at three locations around the world. The initiative also provided us with the opportunity to increase our aerospace recycling capability for customers to benchmark status in the industry,” he added.

UAE revives bourse merger proposal after huge aluminium deal

Albawaba Business - June 18th, 2013,

The United Arab Emirates has revived a proposal to merge its two main stock exchanges in a state-backed deal that could boost trade in the local market and attract more foreign investment to the Gulf state, sources familiar with the plan said.

Talks on a potential merger between the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) have occurred on and off since at least 2010.

There are no common listings on the exchanges; a merger could deepen the equity market of the Arab world's second biggest economy, encouraging more companies to list their shares and international institutions to buy them.

But progress toward the proposed tie-up halted because of differences over how to value the exchanges, and because the two emirates were preoccupied by other issues such as the aftermath of Dubai's 2009-2010 corporate debt crisis.

In recent weeks, however, officials in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have focused on the idea again, with the two emirates showing willingess to consolidate some of their business interests to compete in the global economy, the sources said.

"The entire valuation, structuring of the deal is done. It's been an ongoing process and the decision is now pending at the highest authorities in the two emirates," one source said. "It's not a question of whether they would do it now. It's a question of when," added the source, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter has not been made public.

Spokesmen for ADX, DFM and the Abu Dhabi government declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Dubai government's media office was not immediately available for comment. UAE market regulator Securities and Commodities Authority said it had no information on the matter.

The sources did not provide any valuation for the deal. DFM, which is the only listed Gulf stock exchange, has a market value of $4.4 billion; its stock price has nearly doubled this year and risen 51 percent in the past month, as Dubai's recovery from its debt crisis has accelerated.

DFM is 80 percent owned by Borse Dubai, a holding company which also owns a 33 percent stake in the Nasdaq Dubai bourse, as well as nearly 21 percent of the London Stock Exchange , according to its website. Nasdaq Dubai is unlikely to be part of any merger, one source said.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai compete in many ways; they have rival airlines, and Abu Dhabi this year announced plans to develop an international financial centre that could eventually take business from Dubai in some areas.

But the emirates have also cooperated, and Abu Dhabi bailed out Dubai with a $10 billion loan during its crisis. Early this month, Dubai and Abu Dhabi decided to merge their state aluminium producers to create an entity with a combined enterprise value of $15 billion. A second source said the merged exchange was likely to be owned 45 percent each by the Abu Dhabi and Dubai governments, and would most likely be called Emirates Bourse, with trading floors in both cities.

The remaining 10 percent would be owned by minority shareholders, the source said, adding that the merger would involve the transfer of an undisclosed sum from Abu Dhabi to Dubai.


Companies listed on DFM, which include developer Emaar Properties and lender Emirates NBD, have a combined market capitalisation of about $47 billion. Stocks on the Abu Dhabi exchange, home to companies such as regional telecommunications giant Etisalat and National Bank of Abu Dhabi, have a market value of $94 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.

DFM's main stock index has gained 46 percent so far in 2013 while Abu Dhabi is up 38 percent, making these bourses among the best-performing globally. First-half trading volume on DFM more than doubled to 31 billion shares from 14.7 billion a year earlier.

Last week equity index compiler Morgan Stanley Capital International decided to upgrade the UAE to emerging market from frontier market status, which is expected to attract hundreds of millions of dollars of institutional portfolio investment to the UAE.

"A potential merger would be a major move for regional markets. Consolidation calls have been looming for years, and it's high time it's implemented now," said a Dubai-based fund manager.

Goldman Sachs Inc was hired by both Dubai and Abu Dhabi to advise on the possible merger in 2010. The U.S. bank has retained the mandate and has been involved in the valuation process, two of the sources said.

Orbite Announces Offtake Agreement with Glencore

MENAFN - June 17th, 2013,

MONTREAL - Orbite Aluminae Inc. (otcqx:EORBF) ("Orbite" or the"Corporation") today announced an offtake agreement with GlencoreInternational AG ("Glencore"), a subsidiary of Glencore Xstrata plc("Glencore Xstrata"), for the purchase of smelter-grade alumina fromthe Corporation's proposed smelter-grade alumina (SGA) plant inQuebec, Canada.
The Agreement provides for the purchase by Glencore of 100% of thesmelter-grade alumina, from the Corporation's first proposed SGAplant in Quebec, Canada, for an initial term of 10 years from thecommencement of commercial production. The Agreement also foreseesthat Orbite and Glencore will undertake negotiations relating toGlencore's potential financial participation in the ownership andoperation of the Corporation's proposed SGA plant in Quebec. TheParties have not set any timetable for the commencement or conclusionof these negotiations. All other terms of the Agreement, includingpricing and renewal rights, are confidential for competitive reasons.
"We are definitely pleased to be executing our first offtakeagreement with a company of Glencore's stature and experience in thealumina industry," said Glenn Kelly, Orbite's Chief OperatingOfficer.
Glencore Xstrata is one of the world's largest global diversifiednatural resource companies with pro forma revenues of 236 billion in2012. Glencore Xstrata's industrial and marketing activities aresupported by a global network of more than 90 offices located in morethan 50 countries, with diversified operations comprised of more than150 mining and metallurgical sites, offshore oil production assets,farms and agricultural facilities.
The Metals and Minerals division is focused on alumina/aluminum,copper, nickel, zinc/lead, alloys, and iron ore, with interests inboth controlled and non-controlled industrial assets that includemining, smelting, refining and warehousing operations.

Seam of hope as mining boom cash flows to Far North Queensland

The Cairns Post - June 15th, 2013,

Historically, of greatest immediate importance to Cairns, has been the Cairns' Hinterland area. Fortunes have been up and down over the years but any map of mineral prospects in Queensland will identify it as the next most important area for mineralisation in Queensland outside the central Queensland coal fields and the northwest.
Mr Cummings said Rio Tinto's impending South of Embley bauxite project would see mine production grow from $500m to $1.3 billion a year.
He said there were about 3000 FIFO workers based in Cairns bringing more than $200 million a year in wages and salaries into the region's economy with mines in the region spending $200m on goods and services.
Cargo shipping from Cairns to Cape Flattery, Weipa and Freeport in Papua Indonesia involved 100 containers a week worth $300 million a year, Mr Cummings said. He said Cairns had an advantage of not being reliant on one area or one resource for its mining income.

Tan Rai bauxite plant to officially run this September

VietNamNet Bridge - June 14th, 2013,

Chairman of the Lam Dong Aluminum Company – Mr. Le Viet Quang - has said that the construction of the Tan Rai bauxite project in Lam Dong Province has been completed, with 1.6 million tons of bauxite ore mined. The first phase of this project is designed with a capacity of 650,000 tons of alumina a year. The investor has spent over VND11.6 trillion ($580 million) in this project.
Mr. Tran Van Cang, an official of Bao Lam District, Lam Dong Province, where the project is located, said the Tan Rai bauxite project covers approximately 2,000 hectares. About 900 households had to hand over their land to this project. Twenty households have not received compensation for land.
Cang also said that since the implementation of the project, the water and air environment in this area has been affected. "The impact of the project on the environment is not measured specifically. However, the red sludge discharged from this plant containing chemicals so the chemicals may be dispersed in the air. The contractors and the investor committed that these impacts are within the permissible limits,” he said.
Regards to Chinese labor in this project, Cang said there was a time that this project employed up to 1,500 Chinese workers but at present, most of them have returned home.
According to the representative from the Tan Rai project management board, the project currently uses 1,397 workers, including 1,018 local people. The representative also said that during the trial period, the project did not have any incident.

China to rein in aluminium expansion to curb glut

The Business Times - June 14th, 2013,

HONG KONG - China is getting more serious about tackling a glut of aluminium production capacity and is likely to block plans to build more than 10 million tonnes of new capacity in the far western region of Xinjiang, industry sources said.
Curbing expansion in Xinjiang, which had driven growth in China's aluminium industry, should mean China can absorb some of the millions of tonnes of the metal piling up in warehouses and prevent it becoming a large exporter to the world market.
Beijing last month ordered local governments to stop "blind expansion" in bloated industries such as aluminium, steel, cement, glass and shipbuilding.
New guidelines on reining in production capacity are also set to be released this month or in July. Vice-premier Zhang Gaoli said in May that China needed to "strictly prohibit"further expansion of these sectors to clean up its environment and rejuvenate the economy.

Bosnia seeks to avert closure of top exporter Aluminij

Reuters - June 13th, 2013,

SARAJEVO - Authorities in Bosnia sought to avert the closure of the country's top exporter, aluminium smelter Aluminij Mostar, on Thursday with a deal to settle its ownership structure and redundancy issues.
Officials said the agreement could be inked on Monday, although negotiations appeared to be ongoing.
The smelter in the southern town of Mostar announced last week it would begin shutting down due to high power costs and low metal prices, leading to thousands of job losses and dealing a blow to Bosnia's moribund economy.
Aluminij is the mainstay of Bosnia's metals sector, which accounts for more than half of national output.
Under the deal, the government of Bosnia's autonomous Muslim-Croat Federation and Aluminij's small shareholders will each take a 44-percent stake in the plant.
The remainder will stay with Croatian TLM, which injected $9 million in 1997 to restart production after Aluminij was destroyed in Bosnia's 1992-95 war.
The agreement would also set principles to resolve the issue of severance for around 3,500 former employees, mainly Bosnian Muslims, who were laid off after the war.
"Things are moving in a positive direction and I hope that we shall reach a reasonable, smart and good solution," said Aluminij general manager Ivo Bradvica.
Energy Minister Erdal Trhulj said the government had no sway over the price of electricity supplied to the plant, but that it would consider providing subsidies.
"After the signing of the agreement on Monday, the conditions will be in place for the government to register the ownership structure in the securities registrar over the next 10 days," Trhulj said.
After the Bosnian war, the previously state-owned smelter distributed 64 percent of its shares to its mainly Bosnian Croat employees as compensation for unpaid wages.
It then sold a 12 percent stake to TLM.
The Muslim-Croat Federation disputed the privatisation but Aluminij has resisted returning the state's stake.

Aziana Limited acquires further bauxite acreage in Madagascar

Proactive Investors Australia - June 11th, 2013,

Aziana Limited (ASX: AZK) has extended the scale and scope its bauxite exploration project at Manantenina in Madagascar with the acquisition of additional exploration permits.
The Soanomeiny blocks total 18.75 square kilometres and cover most of the area between the company’s Ampasimena and Esama Blocks, increasing its total holdings in the area to 237.5 square kilometres.
These new blocks are highly prospective for the discovery of bauxite in a style and nature contiguous with the already defined gibbsiferous bauxite at Esama.
Aziana had previously defined a maiden Inferred Resource of 10.09 million tonnes at 34.1% available alumina and 2.3% reactive silica at Esama.
Test pitting and auger drilling has also confirmed high quality bauxite, similar to the Esama resource, across 25 square kilometres of the Ampasimena license.
Aziana added that its previously announced target to define 100-140 million tonnes of screened (2mm) bauxite product at 33% - 38% AvAl2O3 with an AvAl2O3 to RxSiO2 ratio of 13-16 is realistic, achievable and further enhanced by this acquisition.
The company is continuing its work on the commercial and exploitation options for the project.

Alba Pot Line 5 achieves another milestone

AME Info - June 9th, 2013,

Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba)'s production process achieved a significant milestone with the announcement that Pot Line 5 has been upgraded to AP37 technology following an increase in the line current to 370 kA.
The upgrade will increase production by approximately 1,000 metric tonnes on an annual basis.
Alba is currently focused on enhancing performance levels at the plant and remains on track in achieving these goals through the joint efforts of members from the Power, Carbon Operations & Maintenance, Process Control & Development, Reduction Operation & maintenance departments.
Commenting on Pot Line 5's upgrade to AP37 technology, Alba's Chief Operations Officer, Isa Al Ansari said: "Pot Line 5's upgrade to AP37 is another milestone for the company. In early 2011 the team outlined a roadmap on how to achieve 370 kA which was done with Alba internal resources and without significant capital expenditure. I would like to congratulate the team responsible for this achievement and am confident that this level of success will be reflected in future upgrades and bring pride to everyone in Alba."
For two consecutive years, Alba has achieved record output through deployment of lean management techniques and operational efficiency initiatives.
In January, the company announced that the 2012 production was 890,217 metric tonnes registering an increase of 8,907 metric tonnes from the 881,310 metric tonnes produced in 2011.

Iceland Renews Push for Aluminium Plant

Independent European Daily Express - June 9th, 2013,

REYKJAVIK - The new Icelandic government was only a day old when it announced in mid-May that it would do all it could to push ahead with the Helguvik aluminium smelter. Construction for the smelter began in in 2008 but since then has met with a variety of problems, mostly energy-related.
Critics of the project say that too many aspects of the project still remain unresolved and allege that the rush to build the smelter is a corporate tactic to draw Iceland's government into developing infrastructure that it will be forced to continue supporting, to the detriment of the country's protected areas.
Environmental concerns, meanwhile, were nearly inconspicuous during election campaigns, and on May 1, a few days after election results were announced, a Green March tagged along behind the trade unions' march to remind political parties that the election had been won on a platform of cutting taxes and slashing home loans rather than on building new aluminium smelters.
The Green March focused on environmental issues and specifically the fact that the new government had no mandate to build more aluminium plants – which consume large quantities of energy and produce pollutants such as carbon dioxide and perfluorocarbons – or power plants.
Yet the day before the April 27 elections, Michael Bless, the head of Century Aluminium, which owns the plant, said he was optimistic a new government would ensure that development of the Helguvik plant could continue in earnest.
The governmental agreement issued two weeks ago by the winning Independence Party (IP) and Progressive Party (PP) emphasised that conservation and utilisation could proceed hand-in-hand.
The environment section began, "Clean renewable energy…offers great marketing opportunities that could lay the base for increased exports and a stronger image of the country."
As Iceland's geothermal and hydro energy is seen as renewable, a previous environment minister, Siv Fridleiksdottir, justified building the Karahnjukar dam and Fjardaal aluminium plant by saying that building energy-sucking aluminium plants in Iceland, where the energy is clean and renewable, was preferable to building them where they would run on dirty energy.

Nalco to add 1 MTPA capacity at Odisha alumina plant by 2016

The Economics Times - June 9th, 2013,

NEW DELHI - State-owned National Aluminium Company (Nalco) will add an additional one million tonnes per annum (MTPA) capacity by 2016 to its existing 2.1 MTPA alumina refinery in Odisha for about Rs 4,570 crore, a senior company official said.
A draft of detailed project report (DPR) for the expansion of the alumina refinery has been prepared and it is being scrutinised currently, the official said.
He added that "after the completion of the expansion, we hope to generate additional revenue of about Rs 2,000 crore and additional profit after tax of about Rs 450 crore."
According to him, the 1 MTPA expansion of Nalco's existing alumina refinery will get bauxite from Pottangi mines in Odisha, which has a reserve of about 65 million tonnes (MT).
The company has already received in-principle approval for mining lease from the state government for the mine and has plans to begin production simultaneously with the new capacity at the alumina refinery. The mine, at its existing reserve levels, can produce bauxite till 2036.
When asked about other expansion projects, the Nalco official said it is progressing well but declined to comment further.
Other expansion projects of the company include Nalco's plans to set up a 1 MTPA alumina refinery in Gujarat for about Rs 4,065 crore and 0.5 MTPA aluminium smelter and 1,260 MW captive power plant in Sundargarh district of Odisha for about Rs 16,345 crore.
Nalco is Asia's largest integrated aluminium maker, having captive bauxite mines, alumina refinery, aluminium smelter and casting, power generation, rail and port operations.
It currently has alumina production capacity of 2.1 MTPA at Damanjodi and 0.46 MTPA aluminium production capacity at Angul in Odisha. By this fiscal, Nalco would be adding some small capacities at both -- alumina refinery and aluminium smelter.
The company feeds the alumina refinery from its captive bauxite mine at Panchpatmali hills of Koraput district, having 6.3 MTPA production capacity. It is also in the process of expanding the capacity of the mine to 6.8 MTPA by this year.
According to vision 2020 document of Nalco, the company has plans to have 4.40 MTPA alumina making and 1.730 MTPA aluminium producing capacities in India by then at an investment of over Rs 40,000 crore. Besides, it is also aiming for 5,000 MW captive power generation capacity by 2020.
Alumina is the intermediate product of aluminium and is produced from bauxite.

Utkal Alumina refinery goes on stream after 21-year delay

Business Standard - June 7th, 2013,

After struggling hard for over two decades, Utkal Alumina International Limited (UAIL), a subsidiary of Hindalco Industries, has finally started trial production from its 1.5 million tonne alumina refinery at Doragurah, near Kasipur in Odisha's Rayagada district.
During trial production, the plant is operating at only 10 to 15 percent of its capacity and after the stabilisation process, it will attain full capacity over next six months, said a senior officer of the company.
The Rs 7,000 crore refinery project has a 90 Mw co-generation thermal power plant and a captive mine with capacity to produce 4.2 million tonne of bauxite per annum at Baphilimali-spreading over Rayagada and Kalahandi districts, about 17-km from the plant site.
As the company is yet to start the mining operation, it has procured some raw material from its mines in Madhya Pradesh to meet the requirement during trial operation. "Raw material is not a problem for us. We have stocked around 20,000 metric tonnes of bauxite," he said.
The starting of trial production by UAIL is an important milestone for this Aditya Birla Group company, which has been hanging fire for last 21 years due to protracted protests by the environmentalists and project affected people.
Utkal Alumina refinery was conceived in 1992 to tap the huge deposit of bauxite in the area and produce alumina.
Worried over the delay in implementation of the project, the two original joint venture partners; Tata and Norsk Hydro, had pulled out of the project earlier, while another foreign partner, Alcan, had sold its stake in 2007.
The company proposed to send the alumina produced at this refinery to two of its sister units- a smelter plant at Lapanga in Odisha and Mahana Aluminium Project in Madhya Pradesh, being put up by Hindalco Industries.
The alumina is now being stocked up near the plant site. This will be transported to the Lapanga plant after completion of the railway track, he said. The railway work is going on in full swing and it would take about one more month to complete the work, he added.
Meanwhile, the people of around 20 villages near the plant have opposed the utilization of water from river Gada by the plant. They said, at least 200 villages in the downstream of the river would face water scarcity for irrigation and other purpose, if the plant draws excess water from the river. They have submitted a memorandum to Rayagada collector, Sashi Bhusan Padhi for the intervention of district administration.
Company officials, however, refuted the allegation. "We require only 1,000 cubic meter of water per hour. The quantity is very negligible and we are not drawing excess water from the river," the company official said.

Russia Wants to Construct Aluminum Plant in Kalimantan

The Jakarta Globe - June 6th, 2013,

Russia has communicated its desire to construct an aluminum processing plant in Kalimantan and further its investments in Indonesia.
A delegation of Russian officials and businesses are expected to visit the archipelago on June 11-12 to look into the plant as well as other investment opportunities, according to Rizal Affandi Lukman, the deputy minister for economic and international financing cooperation.
Indonesia, which is set to ban raw mineral exports in January of next year to encourage the construction of refineries and smelters, is welcoming the move, he added.
“The Russian delegation will come to meet us, as they’ve expressed interest in investing in [Indonesia’s] mining sector,” Rizal told Indonesian news portal “If they want to build a processing plant, that would be recommended. They would be given an incentive, as specified in the Mineral and Coal Law.”
He added that if Russia agreed to build a processing plant, the products could be channeled to aluminum producer Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum), which the Indonesian government is seeking to fully acquire from Japan.
Rizal said the Russian delegation was also seeking to explore opportunities in other sectors.
Indonesia last year asked all miners to submit plans to build refineries or smelters ahead of the January 2014 ban on raw mineral exports. A 20 percent tax on ore exports was levied as a result.
In April, however, Indonesia softened its policy amid industry criticism and legal challenges to rules whose implementation would have cost Southeast Asia’s largest economy up to $10 billion a year in lost exports.
Deputy Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Susilo Siswo Utomo said the focus is to add value to exports, and for that smelters need not necessarily be built.
“The word process does not mean you have to build a smelter. Sometimes you need to wash, to separate the soil and mud. This is also processing,” Deputy Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Susilo Siswo Utomo said in April. “We also realize that not all minerals can be processed.”
The government hopes construction will have started on at least 10 smelters by the end of the year when a more concrete processing policy will be in place, he added.

UPDATE 1-Bosnia loses biggest exporter in aluminium plant closure

Reuters - June 6th, 2013,

Bosnia's sole aluminium smelter, Aluminij Mostar, will close on June 17 to the loss of some 900 jobs at the plant, a major employer in the south of the former Yugoslav state and its biggest exporter.
About 2 million tonnes of aluminium production have been shut down in Europe since the 2008 financial crisis, while global production has grown by about 10 million tonnes, mostly in Asia and the Middle East, according to Reuters data.
The Bosnian company's supervisory board said lower metal prices and high power costs for its energy intensive production meant the plant was condemned to generate losses after it showed a 65.8 million marka deficit last year.
"The decision was passed unanimously after the financial results in the first four months showed the smelter has been posting a monthly loss of 9.7 million Bosnian marka ($6.5 million," its General Manager Ivo Bradvica said in a statement.
Alumnij Mostar sells most of its aluminium into the depressed European construction and auto industries.
It has repeatedly urged the government to subsidise the price of power, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the cost to produce a tonne of aluminium.
"This is the only reasonable decision. I could not allow the plant to end up in bankruptcy," said Bradvica, adding that the management will draft a lay-off plan by June 20.
The plant produces around 160,000 tonnes of aluminium a year and has a 2012-14 deal with trading and mining giant Glencore International for deliveries of alumina to Aluminij and of aluminium to Glencore.
Metal sector exports account for more than a half of overall output in Bosnia and a number of small domestic processors were reliant on Mostar as a supplier. The Bosnian economy has struggled to develop since the end of the 1992-95 war and unemployment last year was an estimated 28 percent.

Aluminium rallies on signs of output cuts

Financial Times - June 5th, 2013,

Aluminium rallied to the highest level in more than two months amid signs that smelters were finally beginning to respond to low prices by shuttering production capacity in scale.
On Wednesday, Chalco, the Chinese state aluminium giant that is one of the world’s top producers of the metal, announced that it planned to close down temporarily 380,000 tonnes of production capacity – or a tenth of its total output.
In a filing, the company said it had decided “to exercise flexible production on part of its aluminium production line” as a result of “current market conditions”.
Aluminium prices have been hovering at three-year lows for most of the past 12 months as the market struggles with plentiful supplies and high inventories. At the average price so far this year of just under $2,000 a tonne, analysts believe that a large proportion of the global aluminium industry is struggling to make money.
Aluminium traders and analysts said Chalco’s move appeared to be part of a more concerted push by the Chinese aluminium industry, which has the highest cost of production in the world, to close down unprofitable plants in the hope of propping up prices.
According to one trader, the China Non-Ferrous Metals Industry Association last week organised a meeting of major smelters in Beijing with the objective of reaching a collective agreement to curtail production, leading Chinese traders to expect higher prices.
The move higher has been supported by expectations of other capacity shutdowns around the world. Alcoa, the US aluminium group, saw its credit rating downgraded last week to “junk” status by Moody’s, triggering speculation in the industry that the company may be forced to shut down additional production capacity.
There have already been several production closures in China in recent months, but so far analysts have expressed scepticism that they have been of significant enough scale to alter the direction of the market. AZ China estimated in April that some 700,000-800,000 tonnes of production had been shut down so far this year, but that that had largely been offset by increases in capacity in other parts of the country.
Moreover, analysts and traders are sceptical of the commitment of Chinese smelters to shut down production, particularly if prices continue to rise. Mr Adkins noted that Chalco’s previous announcements of capacity closures had only been partially carried out.

Vedanta's Lanjigarh refinery might reopen this month

Business Standard - June 4th, 2013,

After lying idle for over six months, Vedanta’s one million tonne alumina refinery at Lanjigarh is gearing up to resume operations by the end of this month on hopes of bauxite supplies from private miners in Gujarat and also opening of group firm Bharat Aluminum Company (Balco’s) Kawardah mines in Chhattisgarh.
Vedanta Aluminium Ltd’s (VAL) refinery has been shut since December 5 last year on bauxite unavailability, putting at stake livelihood of thousands of families dependent on the plant. The company has been making frenzied efforts to source the raw material from alternative sources.
“In the next three weeks, we are hopeful of restarting the refinery plant. We will operate the refinery at maximum capacity of 60 per cent. Some private miners in Gujarat have assured us around 70,000 tonne of bauxite supplies for this month. Moreover, Balco’s Kawardah bauxite mine is going to reopen in 10 days. The mine will ensure continuous supply of bauxite to the tune of 120,000 tonne every month. We are making best efforts to bring bauxite in next 10-15 days. We are also in talks with Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) but nothing has fructified as of now,” said a company source.
To operate at full capacity, VAL needed 300,000 tonnes of bauxite every month.
More than 1,000 locals today gathered at the main gate of VAL refinery, demanding restart of the plant. They also submitted a memorandum to Mukesh Kumar, president and chief operating officer of VAL-Lanjigarh.
Assuring to restart the refinery soon, Kumar said, “I am aware that after closure of the refinery, the economy of Lanjigarh and its nearby area has been adversely impacted. Lots of people have lost their livelihood. However, we are trying all possible steps to restart the plant at partial capacity by sourcing bauxite from neighbouring states and Gujarat.”
“Many people have developed economically after the plant was set up. People have taken loans to buy vehicles and to do other business. The state government and the Centre must take immediate measures to restart the plant,” said Chandra Behera, president of Lanjigarh Truck Owners’ Association.
Hundreds of people including womenfolk under the banner of Lanjigarh Anchalika Bikash Parishad staged demonstration in front of the plant gate.
“We want the plant should operate for the development of the area as well as for the benefit of the local people,” said its president Sridhara Pesnia.
Local agitation assumes significance as the state government has already written to collectors of Rayagada and Kalahandi to initiate the process for holding gram sabha meetings in 12 villages on Niyamgiri hill slopes as per the April 18 direction of the Supreme Court. The gram sabhas would decide the fate of bauxite excavation there. Extraction of bauxite from Niyamgiri hills was crucial for VAL’s alumina refinery.
“We have asked the villagers to file their objections before the forest committees before holding the gram sabha. We have distributed the format to the villagers,” said Rayagada collector Sashi Bhusana Padhy.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai to merge aluminium assets

Financial News - June 4th, 2013,

The combination of Dubai Aluminium and Emirates Aluminium will create Emirates Global Aluminium, a company that will be able to produce more than 2.3 million tons of the metal annually starting in the first half of next year, the companies said. That would make it the world's fifth largest producer--depending on how much new production capacity is commissioned in China--behind United Co. Rusal, Rio Tinto, Alcoa. and Aluminium Corp. of China. The top four producers accounted for 31% of the nearly 48 million tons of aluminium produced in 2012, according to Macquarie Research.
The business will have an expected enterprise value of more than $15bn, the companies said.
Aluminium production requires large and steady supplies of electricity, which has made it a major area for investment in the Arab Gulf, even as smelters in China, North and South America and Europe cut output and capacity amid falling prices and rising costs.
Aluminum prices have fallen by around a third since 2011 due to a market slump, and around a quarter of total global production capacity is now operating at a loss due to high costs, according to estimates from London-based Commodities Research Unit, an independent research company.
Rusal, Alcoa and Norsk Hydro have said they plan to cut smelter-production capacity and concentrate on expansion in aluminium-product processing, which gives higher margins than primary aluminium production. Moody's Investors Service recently downgraded Alcoa and Rio Tinto took writedowns on its aluminium assets earlier this year due to market oversupply and weak pricing prospects.
The low cost of production in the Middle East "plays a major role in making the industry a good business case," said Yousuf Bastaki, a vice president at Emirates Aluminium, or Emal, at an aluminium industry conference in late May in London. Energy typically accounts for about 35% to 40% of an aluminium smelter's cost depending on the source of energy, according to Macquarie Research.
"The UAE has a clear vision with their smelters," said Mahmood Daylami, the general secretary of the Gulf Aluminium Council, an industry trade body. "They are the biggest producers in the Gulf and combined together they will have a lot of synergies in sharing technologies, purchasing materials, marketing finished products and in [administrative] work."
Emal is expected to boost its production from 800,000 tons currently to about 1.3 million tons in the first half of next year, when it finishes a $4.5bn second-phase development project which is already in train. Dubai Aluminium, or Dubal, produced just over one million tons of aluminium last year, according to its website.
The companies said they already had combined sales facilities and will achieve cost-savings with the merger. The combined company is expected to reach $6.6bn in sales from 2.4 million tons of aluminium output in 2015, up from $4.3bn in sales from 1.8m tons of aluminium output in 2012, based on estimates given by the companies.
Still, analysts said the new entity would have little impact on the global aluminium market. "This [merger] is not going to substantially decrease the fragmented nature of the aluminum industry," said Duncan Hobbs, metals analyst at Macquarie Research.
Emirates Global Aluminium will be equally owned by Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi government-owned investment vehicle, and the Investment Corporation of Dubai, the emirate's main sovereign fund. Dubal is wholly owned by ICD. Emal is a 50-50 joint venture between Dubal and Mubadala.

Aluminium production down 16.5 per cent against target in FY'13

The Economic Times - June 3rd, 2013,

HYDERABAD - India's aluminium production was lower by 16.5 per cent at 1.72 million tonne in 2012-13 fiscal as against the target of 2.06 million tonne, a senior official of the Department of Mines said.
However, it was 3 per cent up compared to 1.67 million tonne produced in 2011-12, he said.
"There are various reasons for not achieving target. Non-availability of bauxite on time for some of the units has crippled production and falling global prices also contributed to non-achieving targets," the official said.
"Aluminium prices at London Metal Exchange have fallen by 15 to 20 per cent. We expect the prices to go up by the latter half of the year. It is common for the countries. The more they produce now, the higher the losses they incur," he said.
Major producers of the metal in the country include state -owned National Aluminium Company Ltd (NALCO) and private sector units - Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO), Hindustan Aluminium Company Ltd (HINDALCO) and Vedanta Aluminium Company Ltd (VAL).
A senior NALCO official had earlier said the aluminium maker may operate its sole smelter at 75 per cent capacity until global prices of the metal recover or availability of cheap domestic coal increases.
The 4.6 lakh tonne per annum capacity of the NALCO plant at Angul in eastern Odisha has been operating at a reduced capacity since May 12 after its coal supplier Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd shut a mine following an accident on April 21.

NALCO awaits rise in global prices to start full operations

Money Control - June 1st, 2013,

National Aluminium Co Ltd ( NALCO ), India's third-largest aluminium maker, may operate its sole smelter at 75 percent capacity until global prices of the metal recover or availability of cheap domestic coal increases, a company director said on Friday.
The 460,000 tonne per annum capacity plant at Angul in eastern Odisha state has been operating at reduced capacity since May 12 after its coal supplier Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd shut a mine following an accident on April 21.
The smelter has been receiving 12,000 tonnes of coal daily on an average since April 24, about three-fourths of its requirement, said S.S. Mohapatra, production director at NALCO.
NALCO does not want to operate the plant on expensive imported coal at a time when global aluminium prices at the London Metal Exchange are at their lowest level in three years, at about USD 1,800 a tonne, he said.
"We would have purchased imported expensive coal to resume full production but if we do that we would incur a loss of Rs 20,000 (conversion) for every tonne of aluminium," he pointed out.
NALCO has also been cutting local prices of its aluminium products in recent months in line with global trends.
"The company may review the situation and consider using imported coal to increase the output if the LME prices are up beyond USD 2,200 per tonne," Mohapatra added.
He said Mahanadi Coalfields may resume full coal supplies in the next 4-5 months if it meets conditions of the regulatory authority.
A.K. Tiwari, director of operations at Mahanadi Coalfields, said 94 percent of its supply commitment to NALCO during April and May had been met.