AluNews - November 2013

Rio Tinto to suspend Gove production

Sky News - November 29th, 2013,

Mining giant Rio Tinto will suspend alumina production at its Gove refinery in the Northern Territory.

Fifteen hundred people are employed at the plant.

Rio Tinto says it will focus on its bauxite operations after determining the refinery is no longer a viable business in the current market environment.

Rio Tinto will now work on the scope and phased timing of the suspension, it said in a statement.

Rio chief executive Sam Walsh said it was a sad day for everyone associated with Gove and an extremely difficult decision that would have a significant impact on workers and the Northern Territory generally.

The refinery has been losing money for years due to long-depressed global aluminium prices and over-supply.

Both the federal and territory governments have offered subsidised gas to Rio and to take on the financial risk of a gas pipeline to prevent Friday's decision.

However Territory chief minister Adam Giles decided earlier this year to cut the amount of gas he was willing to subsidise for the refinery, prompting Rio to again review operations.

Mr Walsh said while all practical scenarios were considered it had not been possible to find a sustainable solution.

'There is nothing more the Northern Territory government could have done to help secure a long-term future for the refinery,' he said.

Key factors influencing the decision were continuing low alumina prices, a high exchange rate and substantial after-tax losses for the refinery despite considerable efforts to improve refinery performance during that time, he said. Rio said it was working to identify initiatives to create new opportunities for the people of Nhulunbuy, where a high number of indigenous people were employed.

He said he was committed to establishing a long-term plan for the remaining operations at Gove, the mine which had provided bauxite to then be refined into alumina.

The bauxite operations employs 350 people.

One Inalum down, a few more to go

The Jakarta Post - November 26th, 2013,

November 2013 marks a milestone in the history of Indonesia’s resources industry as the Indonesian government is finalizing the takeover of Inalum, the only aluminum smelter that exists both in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, from its long-time partner, Nippon Asahan Aluminum (NAA).

Producing hundreds of thousand tons of ready-to-use aluminum metal, Inalum could be the key for Indonesia not only to fulfill its demand for aluminum but also to become an aluminum-exporting country, as all added-value goes back to the national economy.

Although negotiations have been tough, reflecting the unwillingness of NAA to give Indonesia full access to its lucrative investment, soon Inalum will be 100 percent Indonesia’s.

However, there is still a lot of work to be done in other cases. I would say that the next priority will be another “Inalum” in the far east of Indonesia’s archipelago, gold and copper giant PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI).

The challenges to get a larger portion (although not 100 percent) of the ownership in PTFI are far greater as its operation is under the glove of several agreements signed or regulations issued earlier (e.g. Contract of Work (CoW) signed in 1991).

Meanwhile, in the master agreement with NAA, it is clearly stated that at the end of October 2013, the remaining asset/share transfer must be conducted.

Now the opinions about what Indonesia should do with PTFI have been narrowed down to two opposite groups: To allow PTFI to operate as usual until the end of the CoW or renegotiate its contract.

According to the CoW that was signed by Indonesia and PTFI in 1991, PTFI must give 9.36 percent of its full ownership to the Indonesian government by 2001 and 2 percent every year until 51 percent of PTFI ownership is possessed by a combination of Indonesian government and Indonesian-based companies.

The Mining Law stipulates that 51 percent of mine or processing site ownership must be sold to Indonesian interests, something not dissimilar to the CoW signed in 1991. If PTFI argues that it did not fulfill its divestment responsibility because of Government Regulation No. 20/1994, it cannot claim that the Mining Law did not apply to it.

Some people, especially those who benefit from foreign direct investment, complain that changing regulations can scare away foreign investors.

About 30 years ago, history witnessed how Falconbridge accommodated the request of the Dominican Republic to pay more royalties and taxes than their initial agreement had stipulated.

In the case of PTFI, when it claimed to be the biggest taxpayer in Indonesia, we have to understand that unlike royalties, its taxes are calculated from its net profit.

Clearly, asking investors too much when business is bearish is not nice but giving the country that owns the minerals too little is bullish. Asking for a renegotiation is not taboo.

To achieve win-win solutions, renegotiations are a two-way process and require goodwill from both parties. It should be remembered that the CoW signed in 1991 is binding to both parties.

PTFI can ignore any request from the Indonesian government (such as increase in royalties) based on the CoW signed in 1991.

However, a condition that develops to a dispute that can only be settled in international arbitration must be avoided. Because if international arbitration court is chosen to determine who is right and who is wrong, day-to-day operations can be disrupted amid years of waiting and millions or even billions of dollars can be lost as a consequence. It is clear that the Indonesian government and PTFI must cooperate to avoid this.

Rozik Boedioro Soetjipto was appointed president director of PTFI in early 2012. Under him, PTFI looks more cooperative than ever before. He agreed to raise the royalties that must be paid for every unit mass of gold PTFI produced from 1 percent to 3.75 percent, obeying Government Regulation No. 45/2003.

This also applied for silver and copper and corresponds to the significant increase of non-tax revenue when taking into account the massive amount of gold, silver and copper produced by its mines. Soetjipto’s compliance with Indonesian government regulations is hardly surprising as he once served as director general of mines — a testament to his dedication to the country.

It would be much better if he was able to produce several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) between PTFI and the government on necessary amendments to the contract because no one knows how long he will be the leader of PTFI. Those involved in the PTFI renegotiation process must remember that (hungry) people cannot wait!

Mubadala, Guinea Agree on Alumina Refinery to Lure $5 Billions

Bloomberg - November 25th, 2013,

Guinea signed an accord with a unit of Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co. to build an alumina refinery expected to attract an estimated $5 billion in foreign investment into the West African nation over eight years.

Guinea, the world’s largest exporter of bauxite which makes aluminum, signed an agreement with Guinea Alumina Corp. Ltd., a joint venture owned by Mubadala and Dubai Aluminium Co. Ltd, Mubadala said in an e-mailed statement.

“This agreement will deliver an estimated $5 billion of foreign investment into Guinea over the next eight years,” Lamine Fofana, Guinea minister of mines and geology, said in the statement. “The development plan will create at peak 14,000 direct and indirect jobs and contribute substantially to Guinea’s gross domestic product.”

The agreement provides for the construction of a bauxite export mine in Sangaredi that will be operational and the development of a port in Kamsar by 2017, according to the statement. It also stipulates the construction of an alumina refinery with an initial capacity of 2 million tons a year, with works due to begin in 2018 and commercial production expected to begin in 2022, it said.

Mubadala is owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, the largest sheikhdom of the United Arab Emirates. State-owned Dubai Aluminium, known as Dubal, operates a one million metric ton a year aluminum smelter at Jebel Ali in Dubai - the world’s largest single-site primary aluminum smelter using pre-bake anode technology, the statement said.

Guinea announced plans to more than triple bauxite production capacity by 2020 as Chinese demand for the metal is forecast to rise, according to a March 15 statement from Guinean President Alpha Conde’s office.

Guinea strikes $5bn mine deal with Abu Dhabi, Dubai - November 25th, 2013,

Guinea reached Monday a $5 billion deal with the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai to develop a bauxite mine and alumina refinery in a fresh attempt to revitalize the West African nation’s natural resources sector.

The agreement, reports Reuters, includes $1 billion for extraction and exports of bauxite to the United Arab Emirates' aluminum plants. It also involves a $4 billion aluminum refinery and a port.

The pact modifies a previously planned project and highlights a need in the Gulf to obtain raw materials to feed the recently created Emirates Global Aluminum, a national champion for the UAE company, set to become the world’s fifth-largest producer of the metal.

Under the deal, Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC) —an Abu Dhabi-Dubai joint venture— will develop a bauxite export mine and a port, to be operational by 2017, and an alumina refinery with an initial capacity of 2 million tonnes a year. Commercial production from the refinery is estimated to begin in 2022.

Guinea is one of the main producers of bauxite, the raw material used in aluminum production, and mining has long been seen by the country as having potential to deliver much needed income. However some of the country's resources that are considered among the world’s largest, such as the Simandou iron ore deposit, have not been touched yet because of both financial and political reasons.

Glencore, Rusal to build nickel, bauxite smelters

Jakarta Post - November 20th, 2013,

Two of the world’s leading commodities players plan to set up ore refineries in Indonesia to take advantage of the country’s policy banning unprocessed ore exports, beginning next year.

Senior executives of the two companies, the world’s fourth-biggest diversified miner, Glencore Xstrata, and the world’s biggest aluminum producer, United Company RUSAL, expressed their interest, respectively, to Industry Minister MS Hidayat and Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa during separate meetings on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Glencore’s CEO Ivan Glasenberg, Hidayat said that the firm had already carried out a feasibility study on building facilities to process bauxite and nickel ore locally.

He declined to elaborate on the size of the investments or the locations of the refineries, but estimated that one refinery might cost US$1 billion and suggested that they might be located in the eastern part of the archipelago.

“Glencore asked about our commitment to consistently implement our mineral-export ban. If we are committed to the ban, it will invest in Indonesia to build processing facilities for bauxite and nickel,” he said at his office.

Glencore, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and headquartered in Switzerland, would be likely to build and operate its smelter in cooperation with a local firm, Hidayat said.

With the ban, slated for early January next year, Indonesia, one of the world’s biggest exporters of natural commodities, including nickel and coal, hopes to increase the added value of the country’s mineral output.

Hidayat did not explain when Glencore would start the construction of the refinery, but said that if it went ahead with its plant, it would need about 2.5 years to build the smelter, which would export most of its production. The firm might immediately submit its proposal to the government, he added.

At the other meeting, RUSAL CEO Oleg Deripaska met with the coordinating economic minister, to convey its plan to construct refineries and smelters costing $6 billion in West Kalimantan.

Earlier, industry officials revealed that RUSAL would produce about 1.8 million tons of alumina each year and the output would be sold on the domestic market.

The Russian company would team up with local partners to build and operate the refineries.

Despite its abundant bauxite deposits, Indonesia now imports alumina from Australia to supply Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum), which operates the only aluminum smelter in Southeast Asia.

Late in October, Antam, with its Japanese partner Showa Denko K.K., officially commenced operations at its chemical-grade alumina (CGA) plant located in Tayan, West Kalimantan, three months earlier than scheduled. The plant will produce 300,000 tons of alumina per year, with 200 types of products, of which about 200,000 tons will be exported to Japan and the remaining 100,000 tons will be sold on the domestic market and other markets outside Japan.

Construction of the CGA plant, at a cost of $490 million, began in 2011 and is the first smelter completed after the country issued the 2009 Mining Law banning ore exports.

INDONESIA PRESS-Rusal, Glencore eye smelter investments- Investor Daily

Reuters - November 19th, 2013,

Russia's United Company Rusal Plc plans to build a bauxite smelter in Kalimantan with a total investment of up to $6 billion, pending certainty over Indonesia's mineral export regulations, said Chief Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa.

The minister added that the firm has invited PT Aneka Tambang as a local partner to work on the project. Rajasa also said Glencore Xstrata Plc has also expressed an interest to build bauxite and nickel smelters in eastern Indonesia with a total investment of up to $1 billion, with a similar caveat. (Investor Daily)

Note: Reuters has not verified this story and does not vouch for its accuracy. (Compiled by Jakarta Newsroom; Editing by Anand Basu)

Vedanta commissions first ever red mud powder plant

Business Standard Ltd. - November 18th, 2013,

Red mud slurry is obtained after alumina processing and is rich in iron, titanium, caustic soda. It can be used in various ways including production of building construction material

Vedanta Aluminium (VAL) has commissioned a red mud powder plant at its Lanjigarh alumina refinery in Kalahandi district. The plant is designed to separate water from red mud slurry and is the first ever such initiative by any alumina maker in the world, claimed the company.

“Vedanta alumina refinery has commissioned a project for producing red mud powder in a fully mechanised and automatic plant. This is the first of its kind project in the world which has been set up with an investment of approximately Rs 50 crore,” said Dr Mukesh Kumar, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of VAL.

Red mud slurry is obtained after alumina processing and is rich in iron, titanium, caustic soda. It can be used in various ways including production of building construction material such as bricks and cement after conversion into powder.

Although the alumina technology is more than 100 years old, no plant has ever attempted to use the waste product anywhere in the world. The waste material is simply dumped near the plant site, requiring a lot of land for storage.

Vedanta said the new plant will result in less consumption of caustic soda and also require less land for disposal of the red mud.

“Besides numerous advantages, the system will reduce caustic consumption by 10-15 Kg per tonne of alumina, bring down land requirement by 50-60 per cent, eliminate wet red mud storage, thus reduce pollution threats,” the company said in a statement.

As the slurry is alkaline in nature and its generation is nearly one and a half time of alumina, world over several billion tonnes of red mud is lying in various red mud ponds. Such ponds are vulnerable to earth movement and can create serious environmental threat. In India, most of the new projects were opposed mainly on this ground. Kumar said, the company has signed pacts with several institutions including CSIR laboratories in the country as well as State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), Odisha to develop more such technologies so that the refinery can be a zero waste refinery.

UC RUSAL to invest EUR 4 mln in SUAL-Powder Metallurgy modernization

Basic Element. - November 14th, 2013,

UC RUSAL (SEHK: 486, Euronext: RUSAL/RUAL, Moscow Exchange: RUALR/RUALRS), a leading, global aluminium producer, announces a plan to modernize the SUAL-Powder Metallurgy (Shelekhov, Russia) plant. The total project investment is estimated to be EUR 4 mln.

The plant is acquiring a classifier mill HOSOKAWA Alpine (Germany). The installation of the new equipment will result in an increase in production capacity by 30% as well as launching a new range of ultra-high quality aluminium powders. This material is used in construction, in particular in the production of autoclave aerocrete.

The installation of the new Alpine equipment at SUAL-Powder Metallurgy is part of a broader modernization of the aluminium powder production project. As of today, assembly works are being carried out at the plant, scheduled to complete in January 2014. The new equipment will run at full capacity in August 2014.

Russia and CIS aerocrete industry, the world’s fastest growing aerocrete market, is the key consumer of new aluminium powder to be produced by SUAL-Power Metallurgy. The consumption of aluminium-based gassing agents has been growing by 8-12% annually with an increasing demand for high-quality agents. With consumption volumes up to 12,000 tonnes, RUSAL’s market share will reach 60%.

‘The introduction of a wide range of water-retention powders and pastes will enhance our position within the market. The new classifier mill will not only improve the quality of our products and process safety significantly, but also increase the plant’s monthly production capacity of new, different in terms of particle composition aluminium powders used in aerocrete productioby up to 120 tonnes,’ said Alexey Arnautov, Director of Aluminium Division West.

RUSAL also exports aluminium powder to Europe. According to data from the European Association of Autoclaved Aerated Concrete Manufacturers, the production of aerocrete blocks with aluminium-based gassing agents used in housing construction has been increasing. Turkey, Denmark and the UK are market leaders.

Company opens tunnel kiln and new facility

The Aluminium International Today - November 14th, 2013,

Gouda Refractories has officially brought its third tunnel kiln and production facility into service.

With the accomplishment of this step, the production capacity will be increased by 60%.

This expansion, with a 125-metre long tunnel kiln, is the equivalent to building a new factory. The third tunnel kiln has an impact on the production process, necessitating the expansion and up scaling of the entire manufacturing process.

The project was kicked off early 2011, supported by the parent company Andus Group BV, with the purchase and development of an adjacent 2.3 hectare lot on the Kromme Gouwe industrial estate in Gouda. Bringing the third tunnel kiln into service marks the end of a three-year countercyclical and intensive investment project.

Hydro to sell its aluminium mill

Business Times - November 14th, 2013,

Norwegian aluminium producer, Hydro has agreed to sell its aluminium rolling mill in Malaysia, one of the largest alumninium foil producers in Asia Pacific, to Japan's Nippon Foil Mfg Co Ltd for US$20 million.

The company last week has entered into a binding agreement with Nippon Foil Mfg, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UACJ Corp, which is based in Japan.

Hydro's rolled products business area executive vice president Oliver Bell said the rolling mill in Asia has a good platform for further development under new ownership.

"Hydro will continue our efforts in strengthening our position as the number one aluminium foil producer in Europe," he said in a statement.

The transaction of the deal is expected to close by end of this year and subject to approval from Ministry of International Trade and Industry Malaysia.

According to the statement, the aluminium foil plant in Pasir Gudang, Johor started commercial production in 1985 and was taken over by Hydro in 2002, through the acquisition of VAW aluminium AG, and since then, it was thoroughly revamped.

The rolling mill has around 170 employees and produces around 12,000 tonnes of aluminium products annually.

Rusal takes it to the wire

Barents Observer. Publisher - November 14th, 2013,

KANDALAKSHA: The world’s biggest aluminium producer is cutting production and closing plants in Russia. But the company still has high hopes for its unit in Murmansk Oblast. For the Kandalaksha Aluminium Plant, the future lies in the production of aluminium wires.

The industrial enterprises at the Kola Peninsula are not known for their efficiency, nor for their tidiness and environmental standards. However, the Rusal smelter in Kandalaksha might be an exception. The more than 60 year old industrial plant located in the southern part of the Murmansk Oblast shines bright in the Arctic landscape. The plant buildings look nicely renovated and the lawn separating the production facilities is as well kept as in the finest city park.

"We take prestige in our tidiness", company representative Vladimir Ilyusha says to BarentsObserver during a visit this September. "Colleagues from other Rusal units are envious at us, and even think that we exaggerate", he adds.

Still, behind the good-looking facade lures a difficult economic reality for the industrial plant. Since the financial crisis in 2008 shook up Russian economy, production has dropped sharply and job cuts have been massive. While the plant before 2008 employed 1500 it today has a staff of 900. Production has dropped from 77,000 tons to 69,000 tons, about 60 percent of which is exported and shipped out from the Murmansk Sea Port.

The future for the aluminum industry is uncertain, Ilyusha admits. While the company earlier bought good-quality anode material from Norwegian Hydro, it today acquires cheaper, but far worse-quality material from China. Similarly, the company is increasingly struggling with getting its needed electricity. Earlier it got abundant cheap power from a nearby hydropower plant and the Kola NPP.

Following a major company restructuring plan, the Kandalaksha plant will be the only Rusal unit left in Northwest Russia. As previously reported, the Nadvoitsky plant in neighboring Karelia is about to be closed leaving several hundred people without jobs. Several more plants all over the country are are on the verge of closure.

Financial results from Rusal illustrate the situation. In the first nine months of 2013, the company had a year-on-year net deficit of $611 million. Production in the same period fell 5,8 percent to a total of 2953 tons, reports.

For the Kandalaksha plant the situation is however not all bleak. As a matter of fact, company representative Ilyusha is optimistic about the future. "We have a new project", he says to BarentsObserver. The company is now investing in new technology enabling the plant to transform into a major producer or electrical wire rods. German and Italian equipment is being installed and the company will soon be able to offer the Russian market top-quality wires of nine different sizes. By 2015, the whole plant output will be transformed to the new production, which ultimately will reach 50,400 tons per year.

"With this new production, we will make profits", Ilyusha says confidently.

Rusal is the world's biggest producer of aluminum. The company accounts for about nine percent of the global primary aluminium output. It has company units in 19 countries and employs about 72,000 people. The company is based on a merger of SUAL, the former owner of the Kandalaksha plant, and the alumina assets of Glencore in 2007.

Vedanta Aluminium to cale up its refinery capacity at Lanjigarh

Orissa Diary - November 13th, 2013,

The Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL), now part of Sesa Sterlite, would scale up its refinery capacity at Lanjigarh to its rated capacity from December despite the continuing raw material supply crisis.

In the month of October, the capacity utilisation had gone up to 65 per cent and the full capacity production would be effected from December, VAL Managing Director SK Roongta is reported to have said in Kolkata. The installed capacity of refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district is one million tonnes. The plant was closed for about seven months from December 5 last due to lack of bauxite, the main raw material. With an increase in production, the bauxite requirement would increase to three million tonnes, Roongta said.

The company now meets its bauxite requirement equally from its group company Balco, buying from merchant mines of other States and imports. VAL had earlier said it would increase its smelter production capacity at Jharsugda to 2.3 million tonnes over the next three years. Due to resistance from local tribals, the proposed bauxite sourcing is yet to commence from Niyamgiri mines, depending on which the group had invested in the aluminium sector in the State.The company was also trying to convince Nalco to supply alumina meant for export to its plant, to which the PSU has not agreed so far.

Vedanta to ramp up alumina production to full capacity from Dec

Business Standard Ltd - November 11th, 2013,

Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) today said its one-mtpa (million tonnes per annum) refinery plant at Lanjigarh in Odisha would run on full capacity from coming December onwards.

The capacity utilisation in the refinery is currently about 65-70 per cent. "We are trying to get additional bauxite for this from different sources. From December onwards, the production would reach one mtpa level," S K Roongta, managing director of the company said here, on the sideline of a seminar organised by MCC Chamber of Commerce.

"This increase in refinery production would be done even with costly imports.Currently, our bauxite sourcing is one third each from Balco, other domestic sources and import. All will proportionately go up to reach the full capacity level," he added.

The firm operates a one-mtpa greenfield alumina refinery and an associated 75 Mw captive power plant at Lanjigarh in Odisha.

The plant was even closed for six-seven months from December 5, 2012 due to lack of baxuite, the key raw material for alumina making.

Because of opposition from locals, its proposed baxuite sourcing is yet to commence from Niamgiri mines, on which the company was banking on heavily to source bauxite.

The company has also has 0.5 mtpa aluminium smelter at Jharsuguda in Odisha. Construction of 1.1 mtpa aluminium smelter expansion project in underway there. But, here too the plant is having issues to source alumina.

"We have proposed to Nalco to sell surplus alumina to us, which they are exporting now. Nalco could earn $ 60 -70 more per tonne of alumina by supplying to us. It will be win-win for both of us," Roongta noted.

Reportedly, Nalco is opposed to the idea as it was against saying it was against the PSU firm's policy to supply in domestic market. "We have made the proposal. There has been no understanding yet. But, hopefully they will agree to this proposal," he added.

Brazilian Alloys & Metals to save costs at Al operations

Metal Bulletin Ltd. - November 7th, 2013,

Brazilian aluminium producer Alloys & Metals Reciclagem de Metais intends to save costs at its future operations in Pará state, in the north of Brazil, by processing liquid metal, Metal Bulletin understands.

"By building a plant next to a primary aluminium producer, it is possible to save costs by reprocessing liquid metal, which, in this case, is generated by [Hydro's] Albras, [plant," Alloys' director Marcel Popovici told MB.

Alloys, Hydro subsidiary Albras and Pará state government recently signed a commitment to make future investments in the local aluminium production chain.

"There are lots of business opportunities in the Northern region of Brazil," added Popovici.

Alloys intends to build a billet operation in the state, as well as an extruded products plant and an aluminium recycling facility, and Albras will be its primary aluminium supplier.

The project will be developed over the next three years and initial investments are estimated at $100 million.

Other investments will focus on the production of aluminium for steel de-oxidation, secondary alloys and aluminium powder from scrap, as well as possibly the manufacture of alloys for the automotive industry.

AMCOL International Corporation Awarded Major Lining Supply Contract

The Wall Street Journal. - November 6th, 2013,

AMCOL International Corporation (NYSE: ACO) announced today that it is furnishing more than 1.5 million square meters (16 million+ square feet) of its Resistex(R) geosynthetic clay liner (GCL) product to a new aluminum processing facility in Saudi Arabia. The $25.3 million contract includes supply of the GCL and all other components of the multi-layer lining system.

The lining materials will be used in the construction of an on-site disposal facility at a new alumina refinery being constructed by Ma'aden Bauxite and Alumina Company, a joint venture between ALCOA Inc. and Saudi Ma'aden Mining Company. The contract is with Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co., based in Seoul, Korea.

"This project provides an example of the value CETCO provides to our customers via customer-focused research and development. Resistex is part of a family of proprietary GCL products developed through years of research and development, designed to perform in conditions presenting challenges for standard GCLs," said Patrick Carpenter, President of the AMCOL Construction Technologies segment. "With a global production platform, in-house logistics expertise, and direct access to state of the art technology in minerals performance enhancement, we are uniquely positioned to supply large projects in the mining and minerals processing industries."

A wholly owned subsidiary of AMCOL International (NYSE: ACO), Colloid Environmental Technologies Company, LLC (CETCO) is a global construction technologies company with a range of products and services including geosynthetic clay liners (GCLs), drilling products, building materials, engineering support, technical assistance, custom solutions, and research and development.

Founded in 1927, AMCOL International Corporation is a leading producer and marketer of diverse specialty materials with a core expertise in minerals and polymer science. Through four business segments: Performance Materials, Construction Technologies, Energy Services, and Transportation and Logistics, AMCOL creates solutions that enhance the quality, efficiency and sustainability of its customers' products and services in a growing global marketplace. Headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, AMCOL International Corporation is a publicly owned company traded under the symbol ACO (NYSE). The AMCOL web address is

This release contains certain forward-looking statements regarding the expected performance of AMCOL for future periods where actual results for such periods might materially differ. Such forward-looking statements are subject to uncertainties, which include, but are not limited to, actual growth in various markets AMCOL serves, utilization of the AMCOL plants, currency exchange rates, currency devaluation, delays in development, production and marketing of new products, integration of acquired businesses, and other factors detailed from time to time in the AMCOL annual reports and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AMCOL undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statement to conform the statement to actual results or changes in its expectations.

Saudi mine to start producing bauxite in Q2 2014

Arabian Business Publishing Ltd. - November 6th, 2013,

Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma'aden) expects to start producing bauxite from a new mine in the second quarter of 2014, a company executive said on Wednesday.

Ma'aden and US partner Alcoa are developing a mine with the capacity to produce 4 million tonnes per year of raw material for their new aluminium complex in Saudi Arabia.

"We are going to get first bauxite from the mine in the second quarter of 2014," Khalid Abdullah Al-luhaidan, a senior Ma'aden aluminium executive, told a conference in Abu Dhabi.

The bauxite will be transported by rail from the Al Ba'itha mine in north-eastern Saudi Arabia to the $10.8 billion complex at Ras Al Khair on the Gulf coast.

One of the two potlines at the new smelter shut due to problems during a ramp up in production in mid October . A potline is a series of containers used to smelt aluminium.

"We are currently making a huge effort to bring it back," Luhaidan said. "We hope to bring it back in the first quarter of 2014."

The rolling mill at the complex should also start producing sheet aluminium in the first half of next year, he added.

BASF completes expansion project in Vidalia, Louisiana

BASF - November 5th, 2013,

BASF Corporation representatives joined local community leaders at the BASF Vidalia site to celebrate the completion of an expansion with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony. The project increases production capacity of activated alumina adsorbents and consolidates regional manufacturing activities for activated alumina adsorbents into a single, world-class site.

“BASF is excited about the completion of this project and our continued growth and commitment in Louisiana,” said Mark Wolverton, Site Manager for BASF in Vidalia. “We appreciate the support of local and state leaders who continue to play key roles in helping our industry expand in this region, resulting in a stronger economy and community.”

The Vidalia site is part of BASF’s Catalysts division and manufactures activated alumina adsorbents that are used in a variety of chemical, petrochemical and oil and gas applications, including the purification of natural gas. BASF is committed to expanding its position in the global catalysts market as a long-term and sustainable supplier to our customers in North America and globally.

In addition to the Vidalia site, BASF’s manufacturing presence in Louisiana includes operations in Geismar and Zachary. These BASF sites employ nearly 2,000 people and invest nearly $300 million in the state through annual payroll, purchases, taxes and charitable contributions. BASF has announced more than $350 million in project investment at Louisiana sites since 2009.

BASF employees at the Vidalia site support a number of nonprofit community service organizations through fundraising campaigns and volunteerism. The site was recognized earlier this year by Louisiana Economic Development with the 2013 Lantern Award for the company’s excellence in manufacturing and community involvement.

WIKA Consortium Build Alumina Plant

4-Traders - October 31st, 2013,

Recently, WIKA Consortium with Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Jero Wacik and Minister of State Owned Enterprises Dahlan Iskan had inaugurated the largest Alumina Processing Plant in South East Asia located in Tayan Sub-district, Sanggau District, Monday (28/10). Capacity Production of plant is 300,000 MTY and equipped with a power plant 2 x 12 MW and a boiler whose capacity 2 x 75 MW.

The ICA- Chemical Grade Alumina project has a total contract of USD 328.9 million with a portion of WIKA is USD 174.9 million (include BTG / Energy Site). In this project WIKA build Water Site, Jetty Site, Administration Building Site, and partly Alumina Site.

Alumina refinery by AWAC & Ma’aden to start production in Q1 2014

Metal Bulletin Ltd. - October 31st, 2013,

Australia’s Alumina Ltd expects Saudi Arabia’s 1.8 million alumina refinery to start production in the fourth quarter of 2014, manager corporate strategy and development Andrew Wood told delegates at Metal Bulletin’s 3rd Asian bauxite and alumina conference.

"Our joint venture with Ma’aden – 4 million bauxite mine and 1.8-million tonnes alumina refinery is progressing well and is going to deliver first alumina in the fourth quarter of 2014,” he said.

Alumina’s strategy is to invest worldwide in bauxite mining, alumina refining and selected aluminium-smelting operations through its 40% ownership of Alcoa World Alumina & Chemicals (AWAC), the world’s largest alumina business. Alcoa owns the remaining 60% stake in Awac.

AWAC has a 25.1% stake in the mine and refinery jv project in Saudi Arabia with Ma’aden.

"We are watching the Indonesia situation carefully,” Wood told Metal Bulletin on the sidelines of the conference, adding that the company was interested in investing in Indonesia but was looking for more clarity as to how the Indonesian ban on export of minerals from 2014 plays out.

The West Kalimantan region of Indonesia will need infrastructure including, road, ports, energy plants to be able to attract more investment from the downstream industry, he added.