Balco Returns to Full Production After Two Years

Aluminium Insider - August 30th, 2016

Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO) is now running at full speed, according to remarks made by the firm's CEO to an Indian newspaper. Balco is planning to reach a yearly output of almost six million metric tons of aluminium at its smelter in Chhattisgarh, central India.

"All units – the smelter, power project, sheet rolling shop, and all other units – are now fully operational," explained Balco's CEO Ramesh Nair in an article published online yesterday.

As a result of the fully-operational status of the units, coupled with the fact that the plant's power production capacity has reached 2,010 MW, Balco is on track to return to meeting the smelter's nameplate capacity of six million metric tons. Along with much of the global aluminium industry, Balco was forced to close facilities and ramp down capacity almost a year ago on account of dropping commodity prices.

According to a Balco spokesperson, the firm has undertaken several measures to reduce expenditures and cut production costs to remain competitive in the global market, and to compete with what many consider to be dumping by the People's Republic of China. He went on to explain that the resumption of operations has meant the return to work for over half of the workers laid off due to the ramping down of production last year.

Now that operations are fully underway, Balco accounts for close to 15% of domestic aluminium production, he added.

Earlier this spring, Vedanta Group Chairman Anil Agarwal announced the restart of a program shelved in 2013 to invest US$1.5 billion to boost production to over one million metric tons per annum.

Balco was founded as a state-owned company ("public-sector undertaking") in 1965. It began production of aluminium nine years later. The firm was entirely state owned until 2001, when it divested 51% of its stock to Sterlite Industries India Limited. The Indian government continues to hold a 49% stake in the company.

Vedanta gains after 3rd unit of a power plant in Punjab kicks off operations

Business Standard - August 29th, 2016

Vedanta rose 1.54% to Rs 171.90 at 12:48 IST on BSE after the company said third unit of its Talwandi Sabo power plant in Punjab achieved commercial operation date.

The announcement was made during trading hours today, 29 August 2016.

Meanwhile, the BSE Sensex was up 10.47 points, or 0.04%, to 27,792.72.

On BSE, so far 4.42 lakh shares were traded in the counter, compared with average daily volume of 16.50 lakh shares in the past one quarter. The stock hit a high of Rs 173 and a low of Rs 167.75 so far during the day. The stock hit a 52-week high of Rs 180.50 on 19 August 2016. The stock hit a 52-week low of Rs 58.10 on 12 February 2016. The stock had outperformed the market over the past 30 days till 26 August 2016, rising 0.09% compared with 1.51% slide in the Sensex. The scrip had also outperformed the market in past one quarter, rising 64.69% as against Sensex's 4.23% rise.

The large-cap company has equity capital of Rs 296.47 crore. Face value per share is Re 1.

Vedanta said that the third 660 megawatts (MW) unit of its Talwandi Sabo power plant in Punjab has been put to commercial production on 24 August 2016 and will be capitalized in September 2016.

Further, the company said that commissioning of pots at the first line of the 1.25 mtpa Jharsuguda-ll Aluminium smelter was completed in end July 2016. The first line was impacted by a pot failure incident due to a power shut down in early August, post which 168 pots were taken out of production. The impacted pots are currently being repaired and relined. The commissioning of the second line commenced in July 2016 with 65 pots commissioned till date, and this line will ramp up in the next 3-6 months. The company said it plans to start commissioning of pots at the third line of the smelter in September 2016, well ahead of its earlier schedule of Q4 March 2017.

The 325kt BALCO-II smelter was successfully commissioned with all 336 pots operational in August, and are expected to be capitalized by October 2016. The current run-rate of aluminium production is about 1 mtpa and the overall FY 2017 volume guidance remains unchanged at 1.2 mtpa.

The company further said that the auction of coal linkages for captive power plants was conducted by Coal India in August 2016 and the company has secured 6.09 million tonnes per annum in this auction for its captive power plants, that supplies power to its aluminium smelters at Jharsuguda and Balco. The tenor of the linkage is 5 years with an option to extend this further. The premium paid was Rs 96 per tonne, which is about 10% over the Coal India linkage price for captive power plants. This will contribute to the long-term security of coal requirement at a competitive price.

Vedanta's consolidated net profit fell 27.03% to Rs 615.02 crore on 15.23% decline in net sales to Rs 14364.01 crore in Q1 June 2016 over Q1 June 2015.

Vedanta is a diversified natural resources company. Its business primarily involves producing oil & gas, zinc - lead - silver, copper, iron ore, aluminium and commercial power. The company has a presence across India, South Africa, Namibia, Australia, Ireland, Liberia and Sri Lanka.

Vedanta's aluminium production rate at 1mtpa

Rtn Asia - August 29th, 2016

RAVedanta Resources said its current aluminium production rate is 1 million tons per annum and that the company's overall production guidance for the current financial year remains unchanged at 1.2 mtpa.

It also said the commissioning of pots at the first line of the 1.25 mtpa Jharsuguda-II Aluminium smelter was completed by end of July 2016.

The first line was impacted by a pot failure incident due to a power shut down in early August, post which 168 pots were taken out of production.The impacted pots are currently being repaired and relined, the company added.

The commissioning of the second line commenced in July 2016 with 65 pots commissioned till date, and this line will ramp up in the next 3-6 months.

Commissioning of pots at the third line of the smelter in September 2016 is well ahead of earlier schedule of Q4 FY2017, the company said.

On its power generation operations, it said that the third, 660MW unit of its Talwandi Sabo Power Plant in Punjab has been put to commercial production on 24th August 2016 and will be capitalized in September 2016.

After two years of slow down, BALCO operations now in full swing

The Times of India City - August 28th, 2016

RAIPUR: After nearly two years of slowdown, Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO) has resumed its operations in full swing aiming to produce nearly six lakh tonnes of Aluminium per annum in Chhattisgarh.

"All units --The smelter, Power Project, Sheet Rolling shop and all other units are now fully operational", Balco CEO Ramesh Nair told TOI.

Incorporated by a Public Sector undertaking in 1965, Balco went to the management control of Vedanta Group after the centre dis-invested 51 per cent equity in 2001. Government of India still holds 49 per cent stake in the company.

With all units being operational, Balco is now in a position to produce nearly six lakh tonnes of Aluminium per annum and its power production capacity has also reached 2010 MW. The Sheet Rolling Shop which was stopped nearly a year back due to a challenging market scenario caused due to drastic call in metal prices has now been restarted.

A Balco spokesman said the company had taken several measures to cut expenditure and reduce cost of production because of the slump in metal prices and competition from cheap imports from China. The closure of Steel rolling mill (SRS) last year had resulted in job cuts and now with the operations resuming more than 50 per cent of the workers have been taken back, he added.

Vedanta Group Chairman Anil Agrawal, during his visit to the Balco Plant at Korba in May this year, had indicated that the company plans to invest about Rs 10,000 crore to enhance the capacity to one million tonnes per annum.

After the disinvestment of Balco in 2001, Vedanta Group has invested nearly Rs. 4500 crores to lay the foundation of the 2.50 lakh tonne Smelter and 540 MW Power Project. This increased the production capacity of Balco from 1 lakh tonnes to 3.5 lakh tonnes per annum. Later it further invested Rs. 9000 crores for putting up a new Smelter of 3.25 lakh tonnes per annum capacity and a Power Project of 1200 MW capacity per annum, Balco spokesman said.

With its operations now in full swing, he said, Balco will now be contributing nearly 15% of the Country's total Aluminium production.

Indigenous-owned Mining Company to Open Mine in Northern Australia

Aluminium Insider - August 18th, 2016

Australia's Northern Land Council has agreed to permitting an Aboriginal-owned mining company to commence a small-scale bauxite operation in northeast Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory. This is believed to be the first time an Aboriginal clan has operated a mine on land it traditionally owned.

Gulkula Mining Ltd is operated by the Gumatj clan, and will be opening a mine on land formerly occupied by Dhumpuma residential college on the Gove Peninsula. A Yonglu training center will be operated nearby at Gulkula.

Galarrwuy Yunupingu, chairman of the Gulkula Mining Company and Gumatj leader, said that the mine and training center would be "a big part" of the clan's future. According to plans, the mine would produce 15,000 metric tons the first year, and the training center would turn out a class of fifteen workers who would be ready to work in the mine in its first year.

"We are determined to be a part of the economic life of this nation and to use our assets for the betterment of our people's lives," he explained.

Local media has reported that the clan is in negotiations with Rio Tinto for purchase of bauxite produced at the mine. The mine cannot legally be opened until late August, as it is still subject to approval by the Northern Territory Department of Mines and Energy.

"The government supports increasing Indigenous employment opportunities and the development of growth and jobs in the Northern Territory," said a spokesman for the Northern Territory government. He went on to say that the government would have no further comment, pointing out that it would be inappropriate while a mining application was pending.

"This is an historic agreement," the NLC's chairman, Samuel Bush-Blanasi, said. "It's the first for a mining company wholly owned by traditional owners and I congratulate the Gumatj clan for their vision and enterprise".

The agreement includes provisions for royalty payments to the clan, employment of the Aboriginal population, environmentally-responsible practices, and an assurance that Aboriginal culture and traditions would be respected.

"In the transition of the economy that Nhulunbuy continues to go through, to see ownership and operation of this new site is an exciting step," Lynne Walker, the deputy opposition leader and the member for Nhulunbuy, told local media. Nhulunbuy has been hard hit due to the closing of the alumina refinery and the slowdown of the bauxite mine the town was created to service.

"Plus the fact it's owned by a clan group and owned and operated by Yolngu is really quite significant."

Although she doesn't believe the alumina refinery will reopen again, the demand for bauxite remains significant.

"I think it will benefit the region," she said. "I think the benefits are going to be across the Northern Territory, because they are setting up to operate not just for locally based Yolngu but for Aboriginal people around the territory who want to develop skills in the resource sector."

University of Queensland and Rio Tinto to develop new bauxite processing method

Mining Technology - August 18th, 2016

The University of Queensland in Australia has joined forces with Rio Tinto to investigate a new technique for accessing bauxite deposits.

The new process will add value to the ore and reduces the mine's environmental impact.

University of Queensland, School of Chemical Engineering Dr Hong Peng said that the method will convert bauxite ore waste products into usable resources and thus minimise the by-product residue.

Peng said: "Bauxite ore is necessary to produce aluminium, which is in many of the products we use every day.

"Queensland is ideally placed to benefit from this technological improvement as bauxite is abundant in north Queensland and there are already processing facilities and experts established here."

The process can be used to recover most of the minerals to reduce the environmental impact of mining activity and is also expected to make some bauxite deposits feasible to mine.

Bauxite contains between 30% and 54% alumina, which is refined from bauxite ore using the Bayer process.

This process is used to separate alumina from the mixture of various iron oxides, titanium dioxide and aluminosilicate, which is known as the desilication product (DSP).

Peng said that the new method has environmental benefits, as well as financial benefits because the by-products can be sold.

The new technology is expected to be launched in Queensland within the next five to ten years.

Odisha to supply bauxite to Vedanta's Lanjigarh refinery

Business Standard - August 17th, 2016

Odisha government today said it has decided to provide raw material linkage to Vedanta's alumina refinery project at Lanjigarh from the Kodingamali bauxite mines in Koraput district.

State-run Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) owns the mining lease of Kodingamali bauxite mines, and production is expected to start soon.

"We will make arrangements for bauxite supplies to Vedanta plant from OMC's Kodingamali mines. Bauxite supplies can take off once production starts from the mines," Odisha's Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick said.

Mallick said OMC has got the mining lease of Kodingamali mines. The bauxite mines of OMC are spread over an area of 428.31 hectares in tribal dominated Koraput and Rayagada districts.

Vedanta has been running its refinery at Lanjigarh by importing bauxite from states like Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra since its inception. Odisha government has not been able to meet the refinery's raw material requirement, due to which it has not operated at its full capacity.

The company has occasionally imported bauxite from countries like New Guinea, even as Lanjigarh refinery plant is surrounded by bauxite deposits.

Vedanta has been pleading for alternative bauxite mines after the Centre's Environment Ministry rejected mining activities at Niyamgiri hills.

Meanwhile, Mallick said the state has been preparing for auction of five new mines, which included four limestone mines and one manganese mine located in Malkangiri, Nuapada and Bargargh.

"We will be able to go for public auction by first week of September,"

Portland smelter owner wants new power contract to stay open

The Sydney Morning Herald - August 12th, 2016

The future of the Portland aluminium smelter in Victoria – and the jobs of hundreds of workers –– is up in the air as the owners seek to renegotiate power supply contracts in a bid to keep the plant afloat.

Power company AGL, the owner of the giant Loy Yang A power station, said on Friday the owners of the smelter have begun to issue notices to terminate a long term electricity supply contract which was due to commence later in the year.

Alcoa and the other shareholders in the smelter, which include China's CITIC and Japan's Marubeni Corp, are seeking to negotiate new contracts in a bid to ensure the smelter remains competitive.

"We are currently working on a new agreement," a spokesman for Alcoa said.

The cost of electricity is the main factor influencing the viability of aluminium smelters. The plans for new contracts come as the price of electricity is rising following sustained declines in recent years which may complicate hopes of keeping the plant open.

Additionally, the long term electricity supply agreements with the Victorian government which sheltered the smelter's owners during periods of low prices of aluminium, expire in November. The contracts reduced the cost of electricity when the metal's price was low but when the aluminium price rose, so did the price charged for the electricity.

Ben Davis, the State Secretary for the AWU in Victoria said that for the electricity supply contract to be renegotiated, they had to scrap the current ones. "AGL's announcement is an inevitable part of the process of renegotiating the power contracts between Alcoa and AGL, and, as such, is not a cause for alarm. The situation at the smelter hasn't changed in the past six months.

"They have some challenges to work through, they need a new power contract, a new transmission contract, and probable assistance from the state and/or federal governments – that's been known for sometime, and today's announcement is merely the latest step.

"I am concerned for the future of the smelter, of course, but I am confident that with some common sense and goodwill that Alcoa will continue into the future in Portland."

In 2014, Alcoa closed the Point Henry smelter which led to the closure last year of the Anglesea power plant, with the loss of hundreds of jobs throughout the region

There has been concern about the future of the Portland plant for several years now, initially in the wake of the strong Australian dollar and more recently due to the low price for aluminium.

?AGL, which supplies the big aluminium smelter with electricity from its Loy Yang A power plant in the Latrobe Valley, disclosed it has lost $187 million with the decision to axe the contracts.

"AGL expects the Portland facility to continue to operate, meaning physical demand for electricity from the smelter will continue," it said in a statement.

Henan Xiangjiang Wanji Aluminium Refinery Shut Down Due to Danger of Red Mud Landslide

Aluminium Insider - August 11th, 2016

The People's Republic of China's Henan Xiangjiang Wanji Aluminum Co., Ltd. has shut down its alumina refinery in Wanji on account of the potential of a dangerous red mud landslide. According to CRU, the timetable for reopening the facility is not known at this time.

A source from within the country indicates that the southwest corner of its red-mud dam body is unsound, threatening a red-mud slide. The Xinan town government, which oversees the town within which the refinery is located, received a report of same and dispatched a working group to the area shortly thereafter. The government required the refinery to cease discharging red mud at once for safety reasons. At the time of the report, over three hundred residents had been evacuated to a safe location, and ten dozen police officers have been stationed nearby.

CRU consultant Jackie Wang opines that the 1.4 million-metric-ton-per-annum refinery will require between three and six months to resume operations. On a macro level, many aluminium refineries in the province have been affected recently by government environmental inspections. For instance, the 2-million-metric-ton-per-annum Sanmenxia Kaiman alumina refinery is running at half capacity at present until it takes mandated action on converting its coal-fired power plant to natural gas.

Wang goes on to explain that other raw materials (like lime and caustic soda) may become scarce in the province for similar reasons. In addition, some of Henan's bauxite mines have been administratively closed as well due to lack of permits or failure to complete proper paperwork with the government, which may cause other refineries in Henan to curtail production partially or even entirely.

CRU forecasts the price per metric ton of alumina to remain in a range between US$257 and US$261, but the 2.4 million-metric-ton-per-annum drop in supply described above may lead to a corresponding rise in local prices.

Vedanta revives second stream operations at Lanjigarh refinery

Business Standard - August 8th, 2016

London listed metals and mining titan Vedanta has revived the second stream operations at its alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Odisha.

Vedanta had idled this stream of the refinery as local bauxite sources had dried up. But, as the company looks to expand aluminium output, it has gone for a commensurate ramp up in alumina production.

Alumina production by Vedanta went up two per cent in the April-June quarter to 0.27 million tonne (mnt). The company has targeted an alumina production of 1.4 mnt. It has approvals to operate the alumina refinery at 1.4 mnt and will consider ramp up to that level on further visibility of bauxite sources. Presently, Vedanta is meeting its entire bauxite requirement on externally sourced material. While 70 per cent of the bauxite is sourced from states like Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, the rest 30 per cent is imported from countries like New Guinea.

Pursuing its plans to expand aluminium production, Vedanta has completed the ramp up of the first potline of the second smelter at Jharsuguda. The second smelter lying within the SEZ (Special Economic Zone) was lying largely idle on account of power unavailability.

However, Vedanta has got a favourable order from the state power regulator — Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) to use up to 1,800 Mw power from its 2,400 Mw coal-fired station in the vicinity of its smelter, from April 1 this year. Vedanta has also initiated work on the second production line of this SEZ smelter which has a nameplate capacity of 1.25 mnt per annum. The ramp up of its Balco smelter at Korba is nearing completion.

Vedanta's average cost of aluminium production was $1,476 a tonne in the April-June quarter, significantly lower than $1,689 per tonne in the comparable period of last financial year.

"The decrease was primarily due to lower alumina and coal prices, rupee depreciation, and the implementation of various cost saving initiatives which were partially offset by regulatory headwinds of clean energy cess and electricity duty", said Vedanta's production in a statement.

However, the cost has increased compared to $1,431 per tonne in the last quarter of 2015-16 due to one-off power purchases from the grid during a power outage at our power plants, increased clean energy cess and electricity duty. This was partially offset by continued cost saving initiatives. Vedanta hopes to contain its hot metal cost within $1,400 per tonne in the rest of the financial year.

Australian Bauxite Ltd (ASX:ABX) 2nd Shipment Completed and Mine Reopens

ABN Newswire - August 8th, 2016

Australian Bauxite Limited (ASX:ABX) (ABx) second shipment, comprising 35,913 tonnes of cement-grade bauxite has been loaded and the ship has departed Bell Bay Port in northern Tasmania, thus concluding the second and largest sale of bauxite from ABx's Bald Hill mine - the first new bauxite project in Australia for more than 35 years which has reopened ahead of schedule on 3rd August to commence assembling the 3rd cargo for sale in Spring. The sale price is satisfactorily profitable but commercial-in-confidence.

The ship was loaded in record time totalling 45 hours from hatches opened to closed, achieving rates exceeding 900 tonnes per hour using all 4 ship's cranes, each with 12 tonne clamshell grabs.

ABx's Chief Operating Officer, Leon Hawker commented; "We have now demonstrated to all our customers that we can load and ship large tonnage cargos of bauxite very efficiently from Bell Bay Port - an all-weather, 24/7 port that can operate to high standards in all seasons, all year round. It also demonstrates that our stockpiles of bauxite performs very well, having withstood the recent major floods in northern Tasmania, without degrading. This is another landmark step for the company."

ABx's Logistics Manager, Paul Glover commented; "The bauxite is in perfect condition for the cementgrade bauxite customer and is very clean due to rigorous processing by Stornoway contractors at Bald Hill mine and careful transport pit-to-port by TasRail. The exceptional ship loading performance was a result of tight coordination between the many parties involved: namely the ships crew, QUBE stevedores, TasPorts, ship's agents Monsons Shipping, Independent Inspection Company Briar Maritime and the ABx sampling team."

Pavlodar Plant Signs 300 Million Euro Deal for Aluminium Supply

The Astana Times - August 6th, 2016

ASTANA – The Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), a leading diversified natural resources company, and VTB Group have entered into a strategically important deal in the amount of 300 million euros to finance a six-year aluminium supply.

According to the ERG Communications Department, VTB Capital has issued an advance payment for aluminium supply totalling 660,000 tonnes over the life of the loan to the Kazakhstan Electrolysis Plant (KEP) located in Pavlodar. VTB Capital has already signed long-term contracts for the implementation of this metal with end users, reported

The partners have developed a hedge strategy against falling aluminium prices and the KEP will set the selling price of aluminium in a particular corridor, fixing it at the level not lower than the boundaries of the corridor to stabilise cash flows.

"This deal is the first long-term financing of the Kazakhstan Electrolysis Plant ensuring the stability of the enterprise and guaranteed markets products throughout the term of the agreement. We are the only aluminium producer producing the metal of the highest grade in Kazakhstan," said CEO of Eurasian Resources Group Benedict Sobotka.

According to head of the bank's Credit Department, Senior Vice President of VTB Bank Vitaly Buzoverya, operations in the commodities market is one of the priorities of the company.

"The deal will further strengthen our position in the commodities segment. Our work strategy in this market involves expanding the range of goods and services provided by VTB customers," she said.

KEP's production capacity accounts to 250,000 tonnes of aluminium per year. The company is listed on the London Mercantile Exchange brand. Its production technology is characterised by high innovation and an environmentally friendly approach. With these indicators, the plant is included in the world's top ten aluminium giants among 200 companies.

A reduction in specific consumption of electricity for electrolytic aluminium by 1.4 percent below the standard value and 2.7 percent less than the project value was achieved at the KEP since the energy management system ISO 50001 series was launched in 2014 and due to the work of energy saving from the Aksu power station. This indicator is one of the best in the world.

Overall, the energy consumption for production of one tonne of primary aluminium for the first nine years of the company's work was reduced threefold. The plant also produces its own anodes used in aluminium production, which gives an additional opportunity to reduce the cost of metal.

Rio Tinto's First-Half Aluminium Production at Record Levels

Aluminium Insider - August 4th, 2016

Anglo-Australian mining titan Rio Tinto reported financial results for the first half of 2016 yesterday. The firm credits strong performances in bauxite and aluminium as contributing to their strong performance in the half.

Rio's aluminium division turned in higher production numbers overall, but lower prices meant that the higher output still did not put earnings into the black (note: numbers do not include impact of curtailment of the Gove alumina refinery). On the whole, production was at exceptionally high levels, as several of Rio's sites achieved production records – namely Yarwun, Gove, CBG, and Kitimat. For the first half of the year, the firm turned out 23,160 thousand metric tons of bauxite ore, up 9% year-on-year from 21,179 thousand metric tons in 2015. Rio produced 4,065 thousand metric tons of alumina in the half, up 6% year-on-year from 3,821 thousand metric tons. The firm churned out 1,797 thousand metric tons of aluminium in the just-ended half, up 10% year-on-year from 1,627 thousand metric tons last year.

The firm expects that it will end the year producing 45 million metric tons of bauxite, 7.8 million tons of alumina, and 3.6 million metric tons of aluminium.

Nalco to Commence Construction at Damanjodi in February

Aluminium Insider - August 4th, 2016

India's National Aluminium Company (Nalco) expects to begin construction to expand its alumina refinery in Damanjodi next February, according to reports. The expansion will boost the plant's output by one million tons per annum.

The firm's expansion would see a fifth stream added to the plant, which would raise its total output to 2.275 million metric tons per annum.

"We expect to get environment clearance for the refinery expansion by December this year. Hopefully, by February next year, we would be able to start work on the planned expansion," explained Nalco's chairman and managing director (CMD) Tapan Kumar Chand.

The new capacity will be fed by the firm's mines at Panchpatmalli in Koraput district. Nalco's rights to the site were recently extended by the government through 2020 under the amended Mines and Minerals- Development & Regulation (MMDR) Act. The mines in question have a capacity of 6.8 million metric tons of bauxite per annum, and are estimated to have 300 million metric tons of bauxite ore awaiting extraction.

Nalco will also source bauxite for the expansion from the firm's mines at Pottangi. The firm secured mining rights there over an area of about 4,295 acres for a period of 50 years.

The firm submitted a US$44.8 million CSR initiative to the Odisha government in relation to the Pottangi bauxite reserves last year. The initiative would be implemented at Damanjodi, Angul, and other areas around the state.

Nalco was established in 1981 as a public sector company administered by the Ministry of Mines. It is the largest integrated aluminium complex in Asia, and the sixth largest in the world. The complex conducts bauxite mining, alumina refining, aluminium smelting and casting, power generation, rail and port operations. Nalco received ISO 9001:2000 for excellence in production technology and OHSAS 140001 for its occupational health and safety systems.

Alumina refinery in Texas will close

Recycling Today - August 3nd, 2016

Sherwin Alumina had refined bauxite ore for 60 years.

Gregory, Texas-based Sherwin Alumina, which operates an alumina refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, has announced it is winding down its operations in 2016.

"This was an extremely difficult decision to make, and one we arrived at only after exhausting all other options," says Thomas Russell, president and CEO of Sherwin. "We made—and will continue to make—every effort to sustain Sherwin as a viable business. Unfortunately, at this time, the best available option for our stakeholders is an orderly wind-down of Sherwin's operations."

Russell cited the chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of Franklin, Tennessee-based Noranda Aluminum as a key factor, and "Noranda's decision to reject its bauxite supply contract with Sherwin."

As part of its wind-down plan, Sherwin will sell substantially all of its assets to Corpus Christi Alumina LLC ("CCA"), an affiliate of its senior secured lender Commodity Funding LLC, under a chapter 11 plan of liquidation to be reviewed by the bankruptcy court overseeing Sherwin's chapter 11 cases.

The alumina refining and primary aluminum sectors in North America have been shedding production capacity for much of the past two decades as production moves closer either to where demand has grown the fastest, in China, or to the parts of the world closer to where bauxite is mined.

In its April 2016 report on aluminum production in the United States, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) writes, "Following recent smelter shutdowns, only two companies [are reporting] domestic production of primary aluminum" in the United States.

Secondary aluminum production in North America has been comparatively stable. In the same April 2016 USGS report, the agency writes, "Total aluminum recovered from scrap in April 2016 was 292,000 metric tons, 3 percent less than that recovered in March but the same as that in April 2015."

Nalco aims to commence expansion work at Damanjodi refinery by February 2017: Report

Live Mint Markets - August 3nd, 2016

National Aluminium Company (Nalco) is reportedly aiming to commence work on expansion of its alumina refinery at Damanjodi by February 2017. The company expects to get environment clearance for the refinery expansion by December this year. The aluminium major is adding a fifth stream to of one million tonne (mnt) incremental capacity to the refinery whose present nameplate capacity is 2.275 mnt a year.

Nalco is sourcing bauxite from its captive Panchpatmalli mines in Koraput district to feed the refinery installed at the foothills. The state government has extended the validity of the mining lease till 2020 as per the provisions of the amended Mines and Minerals- Development & Regulation (MMDR) Act.

Nalco has the largest integrated alumina-aluminium complex of Asia. Its integrated operations cover the entire aluminium production value chain from mining bauxite, refining alumina, smelting aluminium, captive power generation to a strong logistic network in terms of rail & port facilities, coal mining and handling plant to support its operations and to become one of the most cost-efficient aluminium companies across the globe.

Aluminium company repurposes site for £4m factory extension

The Business Desk - August 3nd, 2016

THE completion of a new £4m factory facility on the Seven Seas site sees the end of an era for a Hull aluminium supplier.

The Eltherington Group Ltd has completed its Hedon Road development as part of expansion plans, and will be selling its home of 55 years on Dansom Lane South as a result.

Contractors Hobson & Porter are set to hand over the project, having started on site in February this year. One of the largest independent aluminium suppliers, Eltherington Group, invested in expansion of the 11-acre site. A 7,000 sq ft extension was added to the factory, creating space for 20 new jobs.

Hull-based Alan Woods and Partners were also involved in the project, keeping the 1930s factory design of the Seven Seas site in tact.

Eltherington Group bought the site in late 2015. It was announced in 2012 that Seven Seas would cease production at the site with the loss of 250 jobs. The closure was completed by 2015, marking the end of Seven Seas' 80-year history in Hull.

Eltherington Group Ltd supplies architectural aluminium and bespoke manufacturing services to the architectural, construction, caravan, portable and modular building sectors, and stockholding.

The business was originally founded in 1960 in Hull, and has developed and grown to employ over 200 staff and achieve a £26 million turnover.

Managing director, Antony Eltherington said: "Moving to the Seven Seas Factory and significantly extending the property gives us huge scope for growth for the next period of our business.

"We are continually developing new systems and solutions which, combined with our exceptional team of staff, means we have outgrown our existing premises."

Mark Smee, director at Hobson & Porter, said: "The completion of Eltherington's new site marks the start of an exciting new era for its business, which will be a boost for the local economy. On top of this, it is fantastic that the construction of this new facility has been completed locally using our locally-based skilled labourers. Our relationship with Eltherington Group continues to be strong and we are delighted to be the chosen contractor of choice again.

"At Hobson & Porter, we are pleased to play such a significant role in providing infrastructure that will help companies expand and flourish, resulting in the creation of new jobs and further business in the region."

Locked out workers get bad news: Sherwin Alumina plant closing

KRISTV - August 2nd, 2016

GREGORY - Things went from bad to worse for hundreds of locked out Sherwin Alumina workers today. The company announced its Gregory plant is closing.

Sherwin filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, and is in the process of being bought by Corpus Christi Alumina. The plant is scheduled to close sometime between late September and early October, when its supply of needed bauxite will run out. It's unclear if it will re-open under the new management.

Rudy Moncivais, one of the over 400 locked out employees, hopes it does.

"I see a lot of the people that are struggling. I mean I'm struggling too. We're all struggling," he says.

Many of the locked out employees attribute Sherwin's bankruptcy to decreased plant efficiency, saying temporary workers can't do what they do. Many of the locked out workers have decades of experience at that plant.

Luis Rodriguez is a 21 year employee.

"They (locked out workers) know the plant. They know how it runs. It's an old plant. I mean, and these people, they got them off the street and they don't know what they're doing," he says.

In a release today, Sherwin attributed the bankruptcy to the aforementioned bauxite issue. The company that used to sell Sherwin bauxite ended that contract earlier this year, after filing for bankruptcy itself.

The lockout started in 2014, when Sherwin's contract with the United Steel Workers Union ended. Both parties have been unable to reach terms, but will continue to talk until the sale is complete.

In fact, they're scheduled to meet in the next couple weeks. Union representatives tell us they hope to know more about the fate of the workers after that meeting.

"They (Sherwin) took so many things away from us. We're just waiting for a good contract," Rodriguez says.

At the very least, the workers want their pensions.

Fluor Awarded Bauxite Expansion Project in Guinea

Business Wire - August 1st, 2016

IRVING, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR) announced today that Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée (CBG) awarded Fluor an engineering, procurement and construction management contract for the Bauxite Production Expansion Project in Kamsar, Guinea. Fluor booked the $501 million contract value into backlog in the second quarter of 2016.

The project will expand bauxite production from 14.5 million to 18.5 million tons per year and is the company's first of a planned three-phase expansion. The scope includes expansion of the mine infrastructure, rail system, port facility and processing plant infrastructure and utilities. Fluor has been involved since the project's early stages executing the feasibility study and early engineering.

"Fluor has worked with CBG to develop a capital-efficient solution that combines delivery predictability and flexibility for maintenance and future expansions," said Rick Koumouris, president of Fluor's Mining & Metals business. "Given the project's location and unique logistical challenges, Fluor will bring unmatched technical and execution expertise, as well as the requisite Guinea experience, to deliver this project safely, on schedule and on budget."

The expansion is expected to complete in 2018. CBG is jointly owned by the Government of Guinea and the Halco Mining consortium, which includes Alcoa, Rio Tinto and Dadco Investments.