AluNews - November 2014

Sedgman wins Alcoa Kwinana contract

Australian Mining - November 28th 2014

Sedgman has won the EPC contract for Alcoa's Kwinana filtration plant.

The $59.8 million contract will see Sedgman EPC work as the main integrating contractor for the alumina refinery in WA.

According to Sedgman "when complete the filtration plant will produce lower moisture content bauxite residue from the refinery".

"This will permit ongoing reside storage within the existing storage area, deferring the need to construct new drying areas."

Sedgman's work includes design, procurement, delivery, construction, integration, and commissioning of the plant and its associated process infrastructure.

Peter Watson, Sedgman's CEO, stated it was exciting to be working with Alcoa, following its recent front end engineering design process.

"We have been working closely with Alcoa over the last few months to understand and refine the design and delivery model to meet the requirements of this project," Watson said.

Detailed design has already begun on the project, with completion slated for April 2016.

Altech Chemicals to build high purity alumina plant in Malaysia

Industrial Minerals - November 27th 2014

The construction of Altech's plant in Malaysia for the production of high purity alumina (HPA) from its aluminous clays deposits in Australia will allow the Australian junior to keep costs low and will enable it to become a competitive HPA producer for the Asia Pacific market.

Australian junior, Altech Chemicals, formerly known as Australian Minerals Mining Group (AMMG), has selected Johor Bahru city in Malaysia as the preferred site for its high purity alumina (HPA) plant.

Johor Bahru in Tanjung, Malaysia, has one of the largest concentration of the world's leading manufacturers of electronic products

Aluminum regains hope on the reopening of closed plants

SMM - November 26th 2014

Even with the 23 percent growth rate of zinc production in the Gulf region, the temporary shutdown and closures of aluminum plant all over the world has highly affected the production rate of aluminum, sinking it down lower than the production rate submitted in January.

Since the beginning of the year, 2012, the production of aluminum outside the China has fallen lower by 1.61 million tonnes, which occurred due to the collective closures of western aluminum miners due to the decline in the price of aluminum.

Anyways the further chances of decline in aluminum production are slowly fading out. The motivation to cut back on the production is also declining. There is also news about the reopening of the European based smelter, the Adelel aluminum plant which is located in the Netherlands. Hopes are high that the reopening of plant may boost the overall aluminum production.

Now South America is the only region left behind which is lacking in aluminum production. This decline in production is mainly due to lowering aluminum production in Brazil, the country which had the hardest impact on increase of energy charges and also the decline in the price of aluminum. And the last aluminum0plant which has announced its closure related to the decline in the aluminum price, was the Ouro Preto aluminum smelter which was operated by the Novelis

EGA plans $5 billion capex by 2020

Trade Arabia - November 26th 2014

UAE-based Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) is bullish about the global aluminium market and plans a capital expenditure of $5 billion by 2020, said the chief executive of the company.

"We have to make the investment to be strong and grow as one of the world's top five," said Abdulla Kalban, addressing the Arabal conference in Bahrain where chief executives of other Gulf smelters were also present.

EGA has a five-year strategic plan including consolidating the merger of Dubal and Emal, a process that has made good progress, he said.

"We're expecting demand to come. Demand is coming from construction, electronics, packaging and transportation industries," he said.

Kalban also said he was optimistic over the aluminium market because of expected demand growth in the Middle East, Russia and China.

The official gave a review of the two smelters making up EGA – Dubal and Emal – and said the company was taking care of future requirements in the upstream.

He said the first phase of the bauxite mine development in Guinea would be completed by the end of 2017 while the alumina refinery in the African nation would be operational by 2022.

"We're also excited over the Shaheen Project in Abu Dhabi." said Kalban, referring to the plan to build an alumina refinery near the Emal plant. "The feasibility studies have been completed and approved. Phase 1 capacity will be 2 million tonnes per year with completion by 2017. Phase 2 will have capacity of 2 million tonnes and be completed by 2020.

Kalban recalled that the idea of investing in the upstream came some nine years ago when "we were at the control of suppliers." After exploratory visits to places including India, Africa and Brazil, the company was successful in finalising an agreement in Guinea, one of the best bauxite markets in the world.

He observed that most GCC smelters had value-addition to most of their production and noted that the premium was 22 per cent over the price.

Kalban also said Dubal had instituted projects to reduce costs, enhance technology and increase environmental performance. EGA was also pursuing a target to achieve zero harm to people and the environment. Towards this end it is focusing on the best available technology.

Ma'aden president Abdulaziz A Al Harbi said the company's alumina refinery of 1.8 million tonnes would begin production by the end of 2014 and planning is under way for a start-up of a new line for the rolling mill. A caustic soda plant in the joint venture with Sahara would ensure a reliable chemical supply.

He did not think coming to the competition at a late hour was detrimental to its interests. "There's a place in the market for everybody," he said. Additionally, Ma'aden was a unique, integrated project.

Qatalum's chief executive Tom Petter Johansen said a Phase 2 of the Qatar smelter had not yet begun because first there was the global financial downturn and then a situation where aluminium inventories were large – more than 12 million tonnes globally.

He did not think the price increases in recent weeks were sustainable and the fact that there was a large aluminium inventory meant a decision to have an expansion had no urgency.

"We need to see changes in the fundamentals before a decision can be made," he said. Qatalum's capacity has moved up from the installed level of 575,000 tonnes annually to around 600,000 tonnes through bottlenecking in recent years. Forty per cent of its production goes to the automotive sector.

"We're a 100 per cent value-addition business. We're producing billets for foundry; alloys to the automobile industry. We're a high-tech competitor but still we need to see continued improvements in prices. The concern is that it will slide," Johansen said. Qatalum has a cost-cutting programme aimed at slashing costs by $150 per tonne by 2013. The programme started in 2013.

Sohar Aluminium chief executive Said Al Masoudi concentrated on Omanisation and skills building in his company. He said Omanisation goals were being met through a structured competence development programme that would encourage Omanis to join the company.

Expedite work on GIS proposals: Tomar

The Free Press Journal - November 26th 2014

Union minister for steel and mining Narendra Singh Tomar chaired a meeting with heads of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSD) in New Delhi on Tuesday to review progress of proposals given by them at the Global Investors Summit held in Indore last month.

Tomar emphasised on expediting progress of the projects and fixed phase-wise time-limits for them. He directed for another review in the next quarter.

During the meeting the company chiefs informed about the progress of the last six months. The details of CPSE's proposed projects are as follows: GOIL Company made proposal of around Rs 905 crore. Balaghat and Ukwa mines in Balaghat district are proposed to be expanded. The company also plans to establish a solar energy plant in the state.

NDMC is ready to invest Rs 50 crore for diamond mining. The company has proposed for engineering mining of diamonds at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore in Tikamgarh, Panna and Satna districts. The company will establish a pithead power plant of 2 X 250 MW at a cost of Rs 3,000 crore. The company may also develop an iron ore mine of 7 million tonnes capacity at a cost of Rs 2000 crore.

Sail is considering establishment of a one million tonne per annum capacity beneficiation plant and palette plant at an estimated cost of Rs 1,500 crore. NALCO proposes to establish aluminium smelter plant of 5 Million tonne per annum capacity and a captive power plant of 1,050MW at an estimated cost of Rs 19,000 crore. Estimated investment is Rs 6,000 crore for the establishment of an aluminium refinery of 10 lakh tonne per annum capacity.

Hindustan Copper Limited has proposed to develop an underground mine of 50 lakh tonne per annum capacity inside the existing open cast. The proposal worth Rs 1,856 crore has been cleared by CCEA. Clearance from National Wildlife Board is awaited after which work will be commenced.

EU energy costs turn up heat on aluminium sector

The Financial Times Ltd - November 24th 2014

Aluminium workers at the Alunorf plant in the German city of Neuss aptly call one of their production lines "the grill". Nearby, smelters in what is one of Europe's leading industrial clusters are fired up to 960C. To keep all this running, the aluminium industry needs to be a voracious power consumer.

But across Europe, energy costs are threatening the survival of the industry: 11 out of 24 smelters in the EU have shut since 2007. And industry chiefs have no doubt about what is strangling their business, complaining that the EU's environmental regulations are making electricity prices prohibitive.

The plant closures pose a fundamental question about whether the EU can continue to act as a global leader in the fight against climate change while simultaneously preserving competitiveness in heavy industry.

The EU also faces an ethical challenge about whether its green rules are counterproductive, pushing industries such as chemicals and metallurgy to developing nations where it is easier to pollute.

Europe's aluminium output has slumped nearly 40 per cent since 2007, with Alcoa and Rio Tinto Alcan among the companies shutting large plants.

"We need to meet the environmental targets but we need to do it in a way that does not destroy the industry in Europe," says Roeland Baan, European chief executive of Aleris, which operates in Germany and Belgium.

The European Commission has acknowledged that regulation increased aluminium production costs by 8 per cent in the decade to 2012. Power companies have passed the costs incurred in the EU's cap-and-trade carbon market to customers and imposed surcharges because of a requirement to use renewables. Electricity represents 30 per cent of aluminium's production cost.

With European smelters facing extra costs, Asia and the Middle East are marketing themselves as alternative destinations for investment by offering attractive power deals. This raises the prospect that aluminium producers will relocate to areas with weaker environmental rules.

"As Europe, we are behaving like ostriches, throwing the garbage over the fence and pretending it does not exist any more," Mr Baan said.

EU aluminium producers argue that far from being an environmental problem, the industry helps curb greenhouse gas emissions. Demand for aluminium is surging as it becomes the metal of choice for manufacturing lightweight cars and ships to reduce fuel consumption. It is also favoured by environmentalists because it is easy to recycle. This month, Ford sought to lead the field in the car industry by building the F-150 pick-up truck – the best selling vehicle in North America for the past 32 years – entirely from aluminium.

Oliver Bell, executive vice-president at Norsk Hydro, Europe's biggest aluminium smelter, warned the Gulf could lure away not only the EU's aluminium smelters but also their customers.

Saudi Arabia's smelting facilities, for example, were an important reason why Jaguar Land Rover was considering starting production there, he said.

More broadly, the EU industry was based around logistically efficient production clusters, such as the one around Neuss, which share knowhow in sectors ranging from aerospace to packaging. If the primary smelters left the EU, the downstream companies and expertise would follow. "We have to defend the base industry?.?.?.?to keep the end products in Europe too," he said.

In Europe, the aluminium industry employs 80,000 people. For Greece, recovering from the eurozone crisis, it is a strategic national heavyweight.

In a report last year, the European Commission called pressure on aluminium companies' margins "unsustainable". But there is, as yet, no plan to counterbalance the regulatory costs.

According to the Centre for European Policy Studies, the EU's aluminium industry is efficient, with production costs of $1,600 per tonne when companies are shielded from regulatory costs by long-term electricity contracts or by generating their own power. But long-term contracts are becoming rarer and EU smelters face costs on the open power market as high as $2,230. This compares with about $1,940 in the US and $1,400 in the Middle East. One of the aluminium producers' biggest problems is that traders set the metal's price – currently about $2,000 – on the London Metal Exchange, so factories cannot pass their power costs on to customers.

To date, the EU's response has been to waive objections to countries subsidising affected producers. But aluminium companies say that a broader pan-EU compensation strategy is needed to combat the costs passed on from the carbon market.

This burden is set to increase. Producers are already squeezed by carbon prices of €6 per tonne but the commission is planning measures to pump this up to about €30 in the coming years.

"We are trying to defend our raw material base in Europe?.?.?.?at €30, you can forget about that," said Mr Bell.

BFS Optimisation of High Purity Alumina (HPA) Plant Output

Noodls - November 24th 2014

  • Altech's Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) confirms an optimised annual production rate for its proposed high purity alumina (HPA) plant
  • Proposed HPA plant annual production rate increased to 4,000tpa
  • BFS is on schedule for completion during Q3 2015

Altech Chemicals Limited (Altech/the Company) (ASX: ATC) is pleased to announce that as part of its current

Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS), engineering studies have established an optimised plant production rate of

4,000 tonne per annum (tpa) for the proposed high purity alumina (HPA) processing plant.

The revised annual production rate will result in further positive economies of scale and it is anticipated that operating costs per kilogram of final product (99.99% 4N HPA) will be significantly reduced.

The revised 4,000tpa production rate provides an opportunity for the Company to position itself as a significant global producer of HPA. The global HPA market was estimated at 19,040tpa in 2014, with the HPA market, driven by growing demand for sapphire glass in the LED lighting and electronics industries, expected to more than double in size to 48,230tpa by 2018, an annual growth rate of ~28% according to Technavio Research.

Altech believes that based on the forecast growth in global HPA demand, there will be sufficient HPA required for the development of a 4,000tpa HPA production plant by 2018. With annual global HPA demand estimated at

~48,000tpa in 2018, a 4,000tpa plant will represent approximately 8% of the forecast supply requirement.

Altech managing director, Iggy Tan said that the BFS work is progressing well.

"The HPA plant design output optimisation was an indisputable conclusion that supported a number of significant cost benefits through further economies of scale. We are pleased with the adjusted annual tonnage and progress of our BFS remains on schedule for targeted completion during Q3, 2015".

Iran signs contract with German company for producing Alumina Powder

Zawya - November 22nd 2014

Tehran - Iranian Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade on Saturday signed a 9.3 million euro worth contract with a German company for implementation of a project to produce Alumina Powder near the city of Sarab in northwestern Iran.

Deputy Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Mahdi Karbasian told the signing ceremony in Tehran that the project could serve economic development of East Azarbaijan province.

Karbasian said the implementation of the project in the country would lead to producing an additional 200,000 tons of Alumina Powder, as raw material for producing Aluminum bars.

He said the project is projected to be completed within eight months and once completed it is expected to lead to direct employment of 2,000 persons and indirect employment of 10,000 others.

The city of Sarab is located 140 kilometers east of Tabriz, the capital city of East Azarbaijan province.

Altech Chemicals : Selects Johor Bahru for High Purity Alumina (HPA) Plant Site

4-Traders - November 19th 2014

  • Altech selects Johor Bahru (Malaysia) as the preferred site for its proposed high purity alumina (HPA)plant
  • Aluminous clay feedstock will be shipped from Altech's Meckering deposit to Johor Bahru
  • Operating costs for a Johor Bahru HPA plant are estimated to be in the region of ~40% lower than an equivalent plant operated in Australia
  • Capital costs for the proposed HPA plant are expected to be in the region of 50-60% lower
  • Altech anticipates operating costs for a Johor Bahru HPA plant to be in the bottom quartile of the cost curve for international HPA producers
  • Letter of Intent (LOI) submitted to reserve land in the Tanjung Langsat Industrial Park, Johor Bahru
  • Appointment of experience Johor Bahru based environmental consultant to assist with project approvals

Altech Chemicals Limited (Altech/the Company) (ASX: ATC) is pleased to announce that it has selected the Tanjung Langsat Industrial Park in Johor Bahru (JB), the capital city of Johor state, Malaysia, as the preferred location for its proposed high purity alumina (HPA) processing plant.

The Company recently concluded an evaluation of the south-east Asia Pacific region, with a number of possible site locations for the construction of a HPA processing plant identified and considered, including Kwinana, Western Australia.

The final selection of a preferred site in Malaysia was based on significant economic and developmental benefits of the construction and operation of a HPA plant in the Tanjung Langsat Industrial Park, including the ready availability of required consumables such as hydrochloric acid, sulphuric acid, power and natural gas - all at highly competitive prices. The availability of skilled labour, proximity to an international container sea-port and an international airport (Singapore), and various investment incentives are also on offer.

It is envisaged that the beneficiated aluminous clay feedstock for the HPA processing plant (approximately 21,000tpa), will be shipped in "bulka bags" from the Company's Meckering deposit in Western Australia via Fremantle port to the Tanjung Landsat international sea container port, which is adjacent to the Tanjung Landsat Industrial Park. Also, the Tanjung Langsat Industrial Park is approximately 40 minutes by road from Singapore.

Operating costs for a HPA plant located in Malaysia were estimated to be in the region of 40% lower compared to an equivalent plant operated in Western Australia. In addition, the shipping of the Company's final HPA product from the Tanjung Langsat international sea container port to nearby Asian markets will provide both cost and delivery time advantages.

ASA plans US$1.2bn automotive aluminium plant Anticipates climbing demand in hunt for fuel savings

Tce Today - November 18th 2014

AMERICAN SPECIALTY ALLOYS (ASA) is investing US$1.2bn in a plant expected to be the largest supplier of automobile-grade aluminium in the US.

The plant will produce more than 600,000 t/y of flat-rolled aluminium to the US automobile industry. ASA has not yet revealed where the plant will be built, but says that it should be operational in 2016 and employ up to 850 staff.

The company says that it is taking advantage of climbing demand for aluminium from the US automobile industry. New emissions and fuel economy standards are pushing manufacturers to produce more efficient vehicles, with ASA pointing to a law requiring all new vehicles to average 54.5 mpg (23 km/l) by 2025. It a bit to cut weight, companies are looking to use more lightweight aluminium in their vehicle's bodywork.

"The move to use less steel, substituting lighter aluminium by automakers will create unprecedented demand on current manufacturers of these grades of aluminium," says ASA CEO Roger Boggs. "A shortage of modern, efficient, clean manufacturing facilities to keep up with the new demand is what led us to the decision to build our new mill."

He adds that more than US$200m of the plant's price tag will go towards pollution control systems, claiming that the plant "will be the world's first green […] mill."

Innovations in Pot Tending at the Qatalum Smelter

Qatalum - November 17th 2014

Qatalum's vision to install and operate the world's most advanced Pot Tending Machines (PTM's) has resulted in the 14 units functioning with over 95% efficiency, directly contributing to increased safety and productivity.

In the early 2000's, when Qatalum was still in its planning stage, equipment specified to operate the smelter would be cutting edge and capable of operating with minimal human contact. That vision has stood the test of time as Qatalum's investment in such advanced machinery is contributing to create one of the most advanced and efficient aluminium smelters in the world.

Of particular note are the Pot Tending Machines (PTM's) that operate within the 2 pot-lines at Qatalum in which liquid aluminium is produced. Their purpose is to take care of the critical anode changing process for all the 704 pots in an efficient and relentless manner. That accounts for 12 cranes operating in shifts for 24 hours.

Historically, the genesis of the PTM was initiated as part of a feasibility study conducted within Hydro, one of Qatalum's owners, to increase overall potline efficiency and therefore requiring a fully automated PTM solution. Called Su4, the project began on the 16 August, 2000.

The design basis for the Su4 project was based upon meeting several ambitious operational criteria. Several of the requirements were never before automated, such as anode changing; setting anodes according to their burn off method, without manual help, using laser guided alignment and finally vacuuming and cleaning the deck plate, added after successfully manipulating the side covers from the crane without support from floor operator.

A requirement tender with the new specifications was distributed to potential crane suppliers and NKM Noell submitted an offer that was accepted.

Early variants of the Su4 crane were delivered first to the Εrdal smelter and then further modified variants were supplied to Sunndal, one of Hydro's five smelters in Norway. Both variants underwent testing and modifications during the testing and operational periods.

By the time Qatalum was to receive the cranes, collaboration between NKM Noell and Hydro contained lessons learned and improvements made during stages of the Su4 project timeline. Several tangible improvements included improved visibility from the crane cabin, a cover handler arm for lifting, off and on, the side covers and later the brush and vacuum solution for the deck plate minimising residual dust from the entire anode changing procedure.

The final cover handler and brush solution that was delivered to Qatalum was tested over a long period on one PTM at Sunndal. It was later dismantled, modified for Qatalum in the workshop at NKM Noell in France and delivered to Qatalum as PTM7 and is identical to the other 13 PTM's operating at Qatalum today.

During the start-up of Qatalum, several challenges were experienced by the PTM team. For example, instrumentation malfunctioned due to high temperatures and therefore further modifications needed to be done on site. NKM Noell in their redesign moved and mounted cooling systems for the instrumentation control cabinets.

Further challenges lay within crane maintenance. Hans Petter Lange, Reduction Manager laid down the gauntlet to the maintenance team when joining in 2012. He let them know that the cranes were the most technically advanced cranes working under the most challenging conditions, therefore all elements of the PTM's functionality needed to be inspected, modified where required and systematically maintained in order to achieve optimal operational excellence. The challenge was met head on and today the cranes set an industry wide benchmark in efficiency despite operating conditions over 50 degrees centigrade.

For the two pot-lines, there are a total of 48 dedicated PTM operators distributed in 8 shift teams of 6 elements each, who conduct their work in a climate controlled cabin of the PTM.

The PTM's are tasked with changing 900 anodes per day. The list of automated tasks performed by the cranes involves the removal and fixing of anodes at their correct laser measured position; the bath grab carries out cavity cleaning; cover handlers remove and fix cover hoods; the crust breaker breaks the cryolite crust that forms over the molten bath; the deck plate brush carries out deck plate cleaning; and the bath pipe does the covering of anodes with anode cover material (ACM).

A PTM can also be used by remote control in order to reallocate its position in the potroom and also to troubleshoot from the floor for safety reasons and to access the cockpit through a man lift.

Today, established as the most efficient method to tend aluminium pots, the PTM's role at Qatalum contribute to several real world safety, efficiency and cost advantages. Firstly there is the minimisation of human intervention on the potroom floor. Unlike other contemporary smelters, Qatalum, does without floor operators as there is automated pot side hood handling by the PTM cover handler device preceded by deck plate cleaning. This prevents unnecessary human traffic on the floor amongst several large potroom vehicles and exposure to potential atmospheric emissions within hot prevailing conditions.

Hans Petter Lange is satisfied that the overall PTM activity contributes to a safer and manning efficient anode changing routine with minimal human interaction.

The maintenance team, have over the last 3 years developed, using the Qatalum Production System, a more effective methodology for planned off line maintenance, increasing uptime of each PTM to over 95% and reducing planned maintenance costs. Between 2012 and today, Qatalum's business cash cost has reduced from number 12 to become the 4th most efficient smelter globally.

Inalum to speed up power plant project

The Jakarta Post - November 12th 2014

State-owned aluminum producer PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) plans to accelerate the development of its power plant project, an Inalum executive says.

Inalum president commissioner Agus Tjahajana said the company was inching closer to completing the feasibility study for the planned 1,000 megawatt (MW), steam-driven power plant.

Initial plans to break ground in the middle of next year have been moved up to early next year.

"After the study is finished, we will carry out a bidding process and seek funds to finance construction," Agus said Tuesday.

The construction of the power plant, which will require US$750 million in investment, is the first in a series of projects totaling $1.5 billion that Inalum plans to carry out through 2019. Other projects include a seaport and a new smelter to double the company's production capacity of aluminum ingot to 500,000 tons.

The expansion has been enabled by the company's acquisition last year of the operator of Southeast Asia's lone aluminium smelter from Nippon Asahan Aluminium following the termination of a 30-year partnership.

Agus said that Inalum would seek external funding, but that it would also use internal coffers to finance the project.

The firm currently has internal cash holdings of around $450 million that is expected to rise to $500 million by the end of this year.

In addition, Inalum plans to team with a local partner, especially to secure coal. In the partnership Inalum would retain a minority stake, added Agus, who is also the Industry Ministry's director general for international industry cooperation.

At present, Inalum relies on hydro power plants Asahan I and Asahan II, which have a combined capacity of 604 MW, for main supply of energy. The company currently provides 90 MW of power to North Sumatra.

Inalum needs a higher-capacity power plant following an instruction from the central government to help tackle the power crisis in North Sumatra, where the company provides approximately 210 MW to state-owned electricity company PT PLN.

North Sumatra residents are currently experiencing highly disruptive, daily and rotating blackouts as a result of the power shortfall.

The Inalum Workers Union (SP Inalum) expressed its opposition to the central government's instruction, citing fears that the increased contribution of electricity to the state would cut into company profits and trigger layoffs. Separately, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini M. Soemarno said that Inalum would remain relatively unaffected by the increase in commitments to the PLN.

"We have to look after this industry and we hope no workers will be laid layoff," she said.

Rini added that from the additional power supply to PLN, Inalum might cash in a potential gain of up to Rp 2 trillion ($163.64 million) from 8 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) margin of profit.

According to Rini, Inalum can sell electricity at 9 cents per kWh, the same rate that the PLN gets from a power supplier in Serawak, Malaysia.

Land lease approved for new bauxite minning site in Bua - November 7th 2014

Another 20 year land lease has been approved to XINFA Aurum Explorations Fiji Limited for a new bauxite mining site at Votua, Lekutu in Bua.

Mine Manager Basilio Vanuaca said 400,000 tonnes of bauxite is expected to be extracted from that piece of land which is 500 metres away from the current site at Nawailevu.

Vanuaca said the government has also extended their bauxite mining license.

Director Land Use Unit, Samuela Naicegucegu said $232,000 as premium money has been paid to the Mataqali Naita of Votua village in Lekutu, Bua.

Naicegucegu said $7,000 is the land rent for a year and will be paid in the first five years subject to the review of the lease.

He added the landowners will also receive royalty money after the completion of the mining project.

Lands and Mineral Resources Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa visited the North earlier this week and handed over the lease documents to XINFA Aurum Explorations Fiji Limited.

Meanwhile Managing Director of XINFA Aurum Explorations Fiji Limited, Sireli Dagaga said the mining operations at the Nawaileu site will be completed by the end of this month.

He said the mining project has been more successful than predicted with 1.2 million tonnes of bauxite shipped to China over the past three years.

He added they are planting pine trees and cash crops to rehabilitate the land in Nawailevu.

Alcoa to Spend $190M on Iowa Plant Expansion

Zacks Investment Research - November 4th 2014

is investing $190 million at its Davenport Works, IA, plant which will enable it to beef up its product range for aerospace and industrial markets. The investment will be made to install new manufacturing technology, enabling the plant to make the biggest high-strength monolithic wing ribs in the industry.

Alcoa is installing manufacturing technology to boost the performance of thick aluminum and aluminum-lithium plate in a number of applications including wing ribs. The company will install a very thick plate stretcher at the Davenport facility. Construction is expected to start in 2015 with first production expected in 2017.

Aluminum plates from the stretcher will allow Alcoa to produce thicker wing ribs for installation inside airplane wings. The stretching process minimizes stress introduced into the plates, leading to production of parts that can be more easily machined and processed.

The expansion project will allow Alcoa to cater the existing aerospace plate market while helping airframe makers to produce large wing ribs and fuselage frames utilizing the company's thick aluminum plates. These plates also have applications in other industries including electronics and semiconductor.

The investment is in sync with Alcoa's strategy to profitably grow its aerospace business. The company is witnessing healthy airline fundamentals. It has backed its global growth expectations of 8%–9% in the aerospace sector for 2014 on the back of strong demand for both large commercial aircraft and regional jets.

Alcoa has been actively focused on expanding its aerospace business lately. The move to buy U.K.-based leading jet engine components maker Firth Rixson represents a significant milestone in Alcoa's portfolio transformation strategy. The $2.85 billion acquisition will further strengthen Alcoa's robust aerospace portfolio, enabling it to achieve additional aerospace growth with a broader range of multi-material, value-added jet engine components.

Alcoa also announced two multi-year contracts worth more than $2 billion with Boeing (BA - Analyst Report) and Pratt & Whitney in the third quarter of 2014. The deal with Boeing makes Alcoa the sole supplier of wing skins on all of the former's metallic structure airplanes.

Alcoa is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Other mining companies worth a look include Solitario Exploration & Royalty Corp. (XPL) and Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc. While Solitario holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Thompson Creek retains a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Inalum to Build $2b Aluminum Smelter

Indonesia Today - October 29th 2014

Jakarta. State-run aluminum maker Indonesia Asahan Aluminium, or Inalum, is planning to build an aluminum smelter valued at $2 billion and a calcined petroleum coke plant worth $30 million, in a move that will help it to produced value-added products.

The smelter will turn bauxite into aluminum, which the company needs to produce aluminum ingots. The move is expected to bring added value to the company, which is now under the state's control. The government took over Inalum after buying shares it didn't own from its Japanese partner last year. Inalum is also planning to diversify its business by producing aluminum alloy.

"We're conducting a feasibility study on the projects. Hopefully it can be completed soon so that the two plants can start operation by 2019-2020," Agus Tjahajana, chief commissioner of Inalum, said on Tuesday.

Agus said the company gets its raw materials for calcined petroleum coke from Dumai and bauxite from state-run miner Aneka Tambang. Inalum's need for aluminum reaches 500,000 metric tons per year and growing demand suggests the need for a smelter.

"Around 80 to 90 percent of Inalum's production is sold domestically. We only export it through tender if the supplies are unabsorbed here," said Agus. "We're still reviewing all possibilities, including the investment funding."

Anrak Aluminium says may get government approval for bauxite project

The Economic Times - October 29th 2014

SINGAPORE: India's Anrak Aluminium is optimistic of securing government approval to mine bauxite in three to four months, a company official said on Wednesday, possibly ending a three-year wait.

"We are hopeful of getting approval in three to four months," Hariharan Mahadevan, president of projects at Anrak, told an industry conference in Singapore.

The mine, located in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, will have an annual capacity to produce 1.5 million tonnes of bauxite, used to make alumina which then goes into producing aluminium.

Its alumina refinery should be in place by April 2015, while the second phase will include a smelter, Mahadevan said. Amrak is a joint venture between Penna group of industries and Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority, according to the company's Facebook page.

Vedanta Aluminium, which has been struggling to source sufficient bauxite to feed its 1 million tonnes per year alumina refinery in Odisha state, is also hopeful of an improvement in the supply of bauxite.

Billionaire Anil Agarwal, the founder of London-listed Vedanta Resources that controls Vedanta Aluminium, told reporters on Tuesday that the government of Odisha has assured him of adequate supplies in the next three to four months.

Bauxite Gap Seen by Alumina Ltd. as Indonesia Says Ban Stays

Bloomberg - October 29th 2014

China may face a shortage of bauxite should Indonesia's ban on ore exports last into next year, according to Melbourne-based Alumina Ltd., highlighting risks to raw-material supplies for the world's largest aluminum industry. There's potential for a so-called bauxite gap of 10 million to 15 million metric tons as stockpiles in the country run out, and prices may rise, Andrew Wood, group executive of strategy and development, said at a conference in Singapore. Bauxite is used to make alumina, which is processed into aluminum.

Indonesia banned raw ore exports in January, seeking to spur investment in processing facilities in Southeast Asia's largest economy, and R. Sukhyar, director-general of minerals and coal, said today that the curb will be kept in place. Before the restriction was imposed, the Asian country accounted for about 18 percent of global bauxite production in 2013 and was the largest supplier to China, according to Citigroup Inc.

"The Indonesian ban, and the extent it holds, is obviously a key uncertainty for Chinese refiners," said Wood. While there's a number of potential outcomes that will take a while to play out, all reasonable scenarios are likely to increase bauxite and alumina costs, he said.

The global bauxite market will swing to a deficit of about 6.3 million tons this year from a surplus of 49.3 million tons in 2013 as production tumbles, according to Citigroup. A gap of 15 million tons is equivalent to 5.1 percent of next year's estimated mined output, according to Bloomberg calculations based on figures in an Oct. 2 report from Citigroup.