AluNews - May 2015

Guinea bauxite miner CBG plans $1 bln expansion to meet demand

Reuters - May 29th, 2015

May 29 Guinea bauxite miner Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée (CBG) plans a $1 billion expansion to increase its production capacity to 23.5 million tonnes per year by 2018 to respond to increased demand, the firm's director general said on Friday.

CBG is 51 percent owned by Halco Mining consortium, controlled by aluminium producer Alcoa, global miner Rio Tinto and Dadco Investments.

The company signed a contract with Abu Dhabi state-owned investment fund Mubadala and Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) in 2013 to supply 10 million tonnes of bauxite, starting with 5 million tonnes from 2017.

Namory Conde said CBG had signed other supply deals which required it to invest heavily to expand its production capacity to meet the demand.

"We have finalised a roundtable with financial partners. The expansion project will cost around $1 billion," Conde said, but did not give details on how the funds will be secured.

He added that financial advisers selected by the partners will visit the firm in June to conclude the project.

Conde said 2014 output was not adversely affected by the worst outbreak on record of an Ebola epidemic which began in Guinea and spread to several countries in the region, killing over 11,000 people.

Although the outbreak curtailed mining activities in the region, Conde said CBG's operations in Kamsar, north of the capital Conakry, was spared the worst of the epidemic as production hit a record 15.2 million tonnes in 2014 compared with 15 million in 2013.

Conde said the firm took draconian measures to protect workers and continue operations during the outbreak. (Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Bate Felix, editing by David Evans)

Norsk Hydro ups aluminium output by 35,000 tonnes per year

Reuters Africa - May 27th, 2015

Norwegian metals producer Norsk Hydro has decided to go ahead with a previously planned increase of aluminium output at its Sunndal plant by 35,000 tonnes per year, starting in the middle of 2015, the company said on Wednesday.

The increase is due to "recent market developments for aluminium", Hydro added.

Emirates Global Aluminium to spend $5bn boosting capacity

The National - May 25th, 2015

State-owned Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) is spending US$5.2 billion to boost capacity at its smelter in Dubai and build an alumina refinery in Abu Dhabi, a company executive said yesterday.

EGA, the world's fifth-largest aluminium producer, was formed last year with the merger of Abu Dhabi's Emirates Aluminium (Emal) and Dubai Aluminium (Dubal).

EGA is adding about 40,000 tonnes per annum to the 1 million tonnes per annum smelter at Dubal due for start-up in 2017 and it is building a 2.2 million tonnes per annum alumina refinery in Al Taweelah in Abu Dhabi set for start-up in the first quarter of 2018, said Mohammad Abdulrahman, EGA's vice president, Emal Phase II and major projects.

"To secure the raw material the decision was from the management that we need to have our own refinery to support and produce alumina for ourselves," he said.

EGA, which reached a capacity of 2.4 million tonnes per annum last year, would like to become the fourth-largest aluminium producer in the next two to three years, he added.

"Today we are running at the fifth position of producing aluminium. Between us and the fourth one is 200,000 [tonnes per annum]. We are trying our best to catch that position in the next two to three years," said Mr. Abdulrahman.

Aluminium is being increasingly used by car makers, who are favouring the metal in aspects of production over steel because of its lightness, which boosts vehicle fuel efficiency.

EGA, which also owns the bauxite producer Guinea Alumina Corp in Guinea, is also on track to start exporting 12 million tonnes per annum of bauxite mainly to the Al Taweelah alumina refinery in the first quarter of 2018.

In phase two of the Guinea project, EGA plans to build an alumina refinery in the African country to produce 2 million tonnes per annum by 2020, he added.

EGA is a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Development and the Dubai sovereign wealth fund Investment Corporation of Dubai.

Bridgnorth aluminium plant's mill plan approved

Shropshire Star - May 21st, 2015

A rolling mill that should create 65 jobs at an aluminium plant has been given the go-ahead.

The new mill, which is part of a £41 million extension of Bridgnorth Aluminium's factory, was given the go-ahead by Shropshire Council's south planning committee, despite objections from neighbours that the plant's expanding footprint is leading to a "significant blight" on the landscape.

Plans for the rolling mill at the plant in Stourbridge Road include a slightly larger building at the centre of the complex, an oil filter plant and transformer enclosure, two new exhaust stacks that will not rise above the current height of the buildings, plus a new air purification building with its own stack.

The air purification stack has proved most controversial, standing about 26 metres in height.

Bridgnorth Town Council has expressed "reservations" about the height and asked for the stack to be painted "in a colour agreeable with residents".

Bridgnorth Civic Society backed the plans but claimed the exhaust stack was unnecessarily high and would be "visually obtrusive", also calling for adequate sound insulation and more information about traffic movements.

However, principal planning officer Richard Fortune said the chimney would be there to protect the public, stopping rolling oil entering the atmosphere, reducing pollution and making emissions safe.

Councillor John Hurst-Knight, responsible for Bridgnorth West and Tasley, said he found it difficult to understand where the objectors were coming from.

He said Bridgnorth Aluminium, the town's biggest employer, was "a success story not just in Bridgnorth, not just in Shropshire, but in the UK as a whole".

Of the air purification stack, he said: "We've already seen that this stack is smaller than some others already on the same site."

Others agreed with Robert Tindall, councillor for Brown Clee, adding that in his view the stack should be pale grey as the most unobtrusive colour.

But, he pointed out, it depended where the viewer was looking from as to whether the chimney would be set against dark hills or the light sky.

Bridgnorth Aluminium took over the former Novelis mills in 2010 and now employs about 310 people, set to rise to 375 by 2017 now the new plans have been approved.

The £41 million investment, warmly welcomed by MP Philip Dunne for bringing more highly-skilled jobs to the town, will see production increasing by a third, from 90,000 tonnes of aluminium per year to 120,000.

It is hoped the first production off the line will start by the end of the year and then new people will start being employed.

Global Demand for Bauxite to Rise as China's Aluminum Production Boom

Industrial Info Resources, Inc. - May 20th, 2015

Researched by Industrial Info Resources Australia (Perth, Australia)--Global demand for high-grade bauxite continues to rise. The commodity has been trading at record highs since early 2014, when Indonesia imposed an indefinite ban on bauxite exports. The export cutoff, now in its 16th month, has been felt mostly by the world's largest minerals importer, China.

Rio Tinto planning to sell Pacific Aluminium

TCE Today - May 18th, 2015

Recovering market could lead to success this time

MINING giant Rio Tinto is to try again to sell its Pacific Aluminium unit, two years after abandoning previous plans to sell it, according to reports.

Rio Tinto has appointed Credit Suisse to find a buyer for the unit, known as PacAl, says the Financial Times, which cites "people aware of Rio's plans". The process is in its early stages. The unit could be worth US$1bn. In 2014, PacAl had earnings of US$524m, up substantially from US$252m in 2013.

PacAl, includes the Gove bauxite mine and alumina refinery, the Boyne smelters and Gladstone power station, the Tomago and Bell Bay smelters in Australia and all Rio Tinto's New Zealand smelters. It was originally put up for sale in 2011, as Rio Tinto sought to cut costs and grow the value of its higher quality assets. However, the plan was abandoned after little interest.

According to the Financial Times' sources, the PacAl assets are more expensive to run, and Rio Tinto wants to concentrate on lower-cost smelters powered by hydroelectricity, and bauxite mining. The company believes that an upturn in the aluminium market has increased the value of PacAl and will enable it to find a buyer this time.

Rio Tinto did not respond to tce's request for comment.

£41m extension for Bridgnorth aluminium factory set to be approved

Shropshire Star - May 14th, 2015

A £41 million extension of an aluminium factory is set to get the go-ahead from council chiefs.

Bridgnorth Aluminium hopes to build a research and development laboratory, creating 65 new jobs.

The rolling mill installation will be discussed by Shropshire Council's south planning committee, on Tuesday and has been recommended for approval.

It includes an air purification building and exhaust stack, oil filter plant and transformer enclosure.

Planning permission will be sought for the stacks during the meeting in Shirehall.

The tallest will stand at about 26 metres in height and will be used to stop rolling oil entering the atmosphere.

James Gittins, chairman of Bridgnorth Town Council planning committee, said: "The plans were brought before full council and recommended for approval.

"But there were reservations about the height of the stack and we have asked for an examination about whether the height is necessary.

"The council has also asked for appropriate consultation with a public protection specialist with a view to minimising noise pollution and consultation with residents."

The investment has also been warmly welcomed by MP Philip Dunne.

UPDATE 1-Saudi, Alcoa aluminium smelter production to top initial target this year

Thomson Reuters - May 12th, 2015

Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma'aden) said a massive smelter run jointly with U.S. group Alcoa, which had experienced few technical glitches on start-up, will produce above its initial capacity target this year.

The smelter started commercial operations last year after facing problems during the start-up phase.

Ma'aden, the Gulf's largest miner, is currently exporting around 70 to 80 percent of the smelter's production, Thomas Walpole, senior vice president, Aluminium, Ma'aden said at a conference in Dubai.

The smelter had an initial annual capacity of 740,000 tonnes per year, but this year it is expected to achieve a slightly higher production of 760,000 tonnes, Walpole said.

"Yes it is slightly above target. Our smelter this year will roughly do 760,000 tonnes," he said.

"We have seen consistent performance in the last six months."

The $10.8 billion aluminium project is split into different parts, which include a bauxite mine, a refinery, a smelter and a rolling mill.

Walpole said the aluminium refinery was operating at 60 percent of its capacity and was expected to reach full output of 1.8 million tonnes by the end of 2015.

"We are in the commissioning phase now of the refinery so it's operating at around 60 percent. It should reach full capacity by year-end."

The bauxite mine is also operational, he added.

The project, in Ras Al Khair on the Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia, is important to Alcoa, both because of its size and the fact it should be the facility with the lowest production costs in the world -- important at a time of price volatility.

Alcoa owns 25 percent of the venture, with Ma'aden holding the balance. (Reporting by Maha El Dahan; Writing by Rania El Gamal and Reem Shamseddine

Aluminium Bahrain CEO Optimistic About $2.5bn Expansion Approval In 2015

Gulf Business - May 12th, 2015

The plan will make Alba the largest single-site aluminium smelter in the world.

The chief executive of Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), owner of one of the world's largest aluminium smelters, said on Tuesday he was optimistic the company would receive the needed approvals for its $2.5 billion Line 6 expansion project this year.

"I am optimistic that we will get approvals in 2015," CEO Tim Murray told an industry conference in Dubai.

"We are pushing as a management very hard for this move forward," he said.

The plan will make Alba the largest single-site aluminium smelter in the world by boosting per-annum production by 400,000 metric tonnes at a time when demand for the metal is growing.

World's top aluminium company will expand production in Thailand

Thai visa - May 5th, 2015

World's top aluminium company will expand production in Thailand

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) – Industry Minister Chakkamon Phasukwanit has said after meeting with the president of Diaki Aluminium Industry (Thailand) Co., Ltd. that the company promised to maintain and expand its production site in Thailand to accommodate future growth of the Thai automotive industry.

Diaki Aluminium Industry (Thailand) Co., Ltd. is one of the world's top five biggest aluminium manufacturers. Its factory at the Amata Nakhon Industrial Estate has received permission from the Department of Industrial Works to recycle aluminium dross as raw material for the green steel industry.

The Office of Industrial Economics has forecast that the Thai industrial GDP in 2015 would expand by 2-3% and the manufacturing production index 3-4%. The automotive industry's production was expected to grow by 10% or 2.15 million cars due to an economic recovery in Thailand and its major export markets.

Columbia Falls Aluminum signs deal for facility demolition

Bozeman Daily Chronicle - May 1st, 2015

Work will soon be underway at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company facility.

Swill commodities firm Glencore, which owns the site, hired Portland, Oregon-based private salvage and repurposing firm Calbag Resources to demolish the shuttered plant site along the Flathead River. The plant permanently closed in March, years after it last produced aluminum.

After opening in 1955 the plant was initially owned by the Anaconda Copper Mining Co. Atlantic Richfield Co. purchased Anaconda in 1977, becoming the plant's second owner. Montana Aluminum Investors Corp. bought CFAC in 1985 and Glencore bought the plant in 1999.

The plant has been proposed for listing by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the federal Superfund program's National Priorities List, but may be repurposed for redevelopment.

Time Running Short On Restarting Ravenswood Century Aluminum Plant

WCHS-TV8 - May 1st, 2015

Time seems to be running out on restarting Century Aluminum's Ravenswood plant.

Appalachian Power said it can't approve the rate plan Century wants without Public Service Commission's approval, but Century said it doesn't have time to wait.

Century president Michael Bless said he has another tough decision to make soon. The aluminum maker said it must reach a conclusion one way or another on power costs for its closed Ravenswood plant.

The Ravenswood smelter closed more than six years ago when 650 people lost their jobs.

The company has gotten $20 million in tax credits to help reopen, but its past plans that could transfer costs from Century to other customers if aluminum prices plunge have been rejected by the Public Service Commission.

Appalachian Power said it lacks the authority to move ahead on Century's not too different, latest cheap power deal.

Jason Miller is one of the eight Steelworkers Union members still working at the Century plant. The power company is rejecting Century's latest offer.

Century said going back to the PSC is a possible option, but seems out of other ideas on how to restart the plant.

Call to turn off smelters

news 24 - May 1st, 2015

AN agreement must be reached with BHP Billiton to switch off its aluminium ­smelters near Richards Bay and Maputo for three years to help Eskom.

The two smelters together consume some 1 300 megawatts of Eskom's current possible power supply and if BHP Billiton agrees to mothball these smelters, it will remove the need for phase 1 load shedding.

The DA shadow minister of energy Pieter van Dalen made this proposal yesterday in a letter to the chair of the portfolio committee for energy, Fikile Majola.

Van Dalen said he had discussed the proposal with all the other members of the portfolio committee, including Majola and the ANC. "Everyone wants to discuss the matter," he said yesterday.

Apart from being paid to stop, three years could be added to the current duration of the contracts.

Economists reckon load shedding is costing South Africa between R20 billion to R60 billion a month, a substantial part of this cost spent on diesel to drive ­Eskom's open cycle gas turbines at Mossel Bay and Atlantis.

According to a report for the SA Institute for Race Relations by engineer and energy expert Andrew Kenny, the diesel costs of running the diesel-driven turbines increased from R5 billion in 2013 to R10,9 billion in 2014.

"This is a very large amount of money for a relatively small amount of electricity," wrote Kenny.

Each time the diesel supply runs short, Eskom has to announce load shedding.

Van Dalen said switching off the ­smelters can free up 1 300 megwatts for South Africa and save billions in diesel, which could be used to recompense BHP Billiton.

In 2012, Eskom had applied to Nersa to reconsider the validity of the ­contracts for the aluminium smelters on the grounds that the low price paid for electricity by the smelters discriminate against other users.

Nersa has not done anything on the ­application, possibly because there are doubts on the validity of any legal ­arguments to cancel the contracts.

The new CEO of Eskom, Brian Molefe, said he views the aluminium smelters as a priority in his mandate to bring load shedding under control.

Van Dalen said Eskom can build gas ­generators in Maputo and Richards Bay during this time to supply the two ­aluminium smelters with power when they are switched on after three years.

This would be more efficient than ­current plans by ­Eskom and Sasol to buy and pipe Mozambique's gas to Atlantis and Mossel Bay in the Western Cape, said Van Dalen. Mozambique has enormous gas fields which are yet to be tapped