AluNews - September 2005

Indonesia Antam, China's Chalco Sign MoU On Smelter Project

Yahoo! News Thursday September 1, 5:10 PM

JAKARTA (Dow Jones)--Indonesia's PT Aneka Tambang (ANTM.JK), or Antam, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. (2600.HK), or Chalco, on a smelter grade alumina project in Indonesia, an Antam official said Thursday.

The MoU doesn't specify the amount of investment nor when the project will start.

"It's (the MoU) is very preliminary. It expresses the intention for both parties to discuss the potential opportunity to develop a project in the future," said Cameron Tough, Antam's investor relations officer.

The MoU between Antam and Chalco was one of the agreements signed between Indonesian and Chinese companies during Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla's visit to Beijing Wednesday. About $20 billion worth of investment contracts were signed during Kalla's visit.

Chinese companies are keen to invest in energy and mining projects around the world, to secure new supplies of raw materials for China's rapidly-expanding industries.

Antam's core products are nickel and gold but the company also produces bauxite.

Smelter grade alumina, the raw material used to make aluminum is processed from bauxite.

In first half of this year ending June 30, the company produced 700,459 wet metric tons of bauxite, up from 628,259 wmt in the same period last year. The company also plans to soon sign an agreement with Japanese investors to jointly operate a chemical grade alumina processing plant in Tayan, West Kalimantan, Tough said.

The plant is expected to start operations either in late 2008 or early 2009.

Chemical grade alumina is used to make industrial and commercial products such as toothpaste, ceramics and sparkplugs.

"The (MoU) with the Chinese counterpart won't have impact on our Tayan project," Tough said, without elaborating.

Alcoa Launches Offer to Purchase Approx. $11 Million Stake Remaining in Russian Facility

Business Wire (press release), CA September 02, 2005 09:00 AM US Eastern Timezone

From Minority Shareholders

PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 2, 2005--Alcoa (NYSE:AA) today announced that it has begun an offer to purchase the remaining 18 percent of the Belaya Kalitva (BKMPO) fabricated aluminum plant in Russia still held by shareholders following its acquisition from Rusal in January 2005.

A subsidiary of Alcoa, ZAO Prime Alum, will offer shareholders 7.50 rubles a share (approximately 26 cents a share) to tender their shares between September 12 and October 12, 2005. There are approximately 43 million shares of BKMPO held by minority shareholders. Alcoa holds an 82 percent supermajority position in the facility. Alcoa purchased the plant, along with the Samara fabricating facility, to support its growth plans in the commercial transportation, aerospace, automotive and packaging markets to better serve customers not only in Russia, but throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Prime-Alum does not intend to make any additional offers for shares from minority shareholders after the conclusion of the Tender Offer. Shareholders seeking additional information may contact Alcoa's agents for this offer:

UFG Polis Invest Polis Invest

10 Povarskaya Stanislavskovo Street 167/25, Zavodskaya Street 1

Street office 603 Belaya Kalitva 347045

Moscow 121069 Rostov-on-Don 344022 +7 (86313) 631 78

+7 (095) 797 2991 +7 (8632) 634 327

Alcoa is the world's leading producer and manager of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina facilities, and is active in all major aspects of the industry. Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa's businesses to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components, Alcoa also markets consumer brands including Reynolds Wrap(R) foils and plastic wraps, Alcoa(R) wheels, and Baco(R) household wraps. Among its other businesses are vinyl siding, closures, fastening systems, precision castings, and electrical distribution systems for cars and trucks. The company has 131,000 employees in 43 countries and has been a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average for 45 years and the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes since 2001. More information can be found at www.alcoa.com

Power Failure Disrupts Wenatchee, WA Production

Business Wire (press release), CA September 06, 2005 11:28 AM US Eastern Timezone

PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 6, 2005--Alcoa (NYSE:AA) today said two separate incidents at a third-party power supply substation over the weekend will partially disrupt production at its Wenatchee, Washington aluminum smelter.

The incidents, the cause of which are under investigation, caused power supply failures impacting both of Wenatchee's operating potlines, the first of which occurred early Sunday morning. The lines were without power for a substantial period of time. Once power was restored, Alcoa employees worked safely and diligently to regain operating stability of the potlines. They were successful with one of the two lines and the other line has been shutdown in an orderly manner, such that a restart can be completed.

At this point a determination has not been made as to a date for restart of the 2nd line, nor costs associated with the incidents. Production at Wenatchee will be impacted by approximately 4,000 metric tons per month. Wenatchee has been operating two potlines since mid-2005, representing approximately 93,000 mtpy. The company does not expect this to have an impact on its premium product customers.

Alcan reaches deal with Ravenswood staff

Forbes - Sep 4, 2005 09.05.2005, 03:08 AM

MONTREAL (AFX) - Alcan Inc said on Saturday that staff represented by United Steelworkers at the Ravenswood, West Virginia, aluminum rolling mill, have ratified a new five-year agreement.

Signed with Pechiney Rolled Products LLC, a wholly- owned subsidiary of Alcan Inc, the terms of the contract were presented for a ratification on Friday.

The new five-year contract is effective as of June 1, 2005 and will expire on May 31, 2010. It covers about 850 unionized employees at the Ravenswood facility.

The Ravenswood plant is one of the largest aluminum rolling mills in the world and produces high quality aluminum plate, coil and sheet products for the aerospace, aeronautical and transportation industries.

newsdesk@afxnews.com jsa

Nalco plans $3bn smelter for AD

AME Info, United Arab Emirates 06-Aug-2005

India-based National Aluminium Company plans to set up a $3bn aluminium smelter in Abu Dhabi, reported Gulf News. Nalco has Asia's largest integrated aluminium complex encompassing bauxite, mining, aluminium smelting and casting.

West Africa: Cheaper Power a Step Nearer As Work Begins On Gas Pipeline

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

AllAfrica.com, Africa September 6, 2005

Accra

Construction has begun on a 700 km pipeline that will transport Nigerian natural gas from the oil fields of the Niger Delta along the West African coast to Ghana, via Benin and Togo and promises cheaper and more reliable power for millions of residents by the end of 2006.

The West Africa Gas Pipeline is part of the West African Power Pool, an ambitious project launched by the regional economic body ECOWAS in 2000, which aims to increase the trade in energy between member states and encourage investment in the power sector.

The pipeline is expected to cost US $617 million, project officials say.

The World Bank, which is backing the project with a US $40 million soft loan, said in a recent report that lack of access to reliable power was a major constraint to development in West Africa.

Power cuts, locally known as "lights off", are a near daily occurrence for residents of the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

Project officials say that the gas pumped into the country from the end of next year will mean power is not so much at the mercy of swirling global energy markets, and more people will have a stable, affordable power source.

Fuel prices went up 50 percent in Ghana earlier this year, pushing up transport and food costs and unsettling many of Ghana's 20 million people.

"This project gives us access to a long-term, reasonably-priced source of energy as an alternative to crude oil, which we have over depended on and whose pricing tends to be very volatile," said Ghanaian President John Kufuor at a sod-cutting ceremony for the pipeline.

Oil prices have surged from around US $40 at the end of 2004 to record levels of US $70 a barrel last month and Ghana spends a huge chunk of its national budget importing crude oil to its energy and transport sectors.

"The rising unstable world crude prices are threatening to erode the country's economic gains," said Trade and Industry Minister Alan Kyerematen at a recent forum in the country's second-largest city, Kumasi.

But that could soon be a thing of the past, the energy ministry says. It reckons that the gas pipeline could save the government up to US $2.5 billion over the next 20 years.

Ghana will be connected to the 678 km pipeline at Tema Port, the main industrialised area on the outskirts of Accra, and Takoradi Port, 350 km west of the capital.

An opportunity to kick-start economic development?

"Tema is the hub of the Ghanaian fishing industry. Its industrial estates and factories would also have the highest point of demand for gas which we estimate will double over the next two decades," Kofi Asante Okai, the pipeline's external affairs manager, told IRIN.

And there have already been other knock-on effects from the pipeline, even though construction is in the early stages.

According to London-based publication, Africa Confidential, the Ghanaian government has taken possession of Volta Aluminium Company in Tema, a move only made viable by the prospect of cheap gas to run the smelter.

A thermal power station at Takoradi will also get a boost from the new gas imports, officials at the energy ministry told IRIN. The power station has been operating below capacity, due to high crude oil prices, but should be able to ramp up production once it has the new gas imports to consume.

Ghana is keen to have a reliable alternative to crude.

Oil reserves found in Ghanaian waters have so far not been large enough to exploit for commercial purposes and although Ghana is carrying out further explorations of its coastline, industry experts say the new gas pipeline will considerably ease the government's energy headaches.

An economic and financial impact assessment of the project, undertaken by IPA Energy Consulting of the UK, calculated that Ghana stands to save some US $223 million from the fuel switch to gas.

The pipeline project has environmental benefits too.

The gas that will eventually be transported along the pipeline is currently flared at source in the Niger Delta. The giant columns of burning gas can be seen for miles around and according to environmental group Friends of the Earth, the perennially burning flares have committed more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than all of the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa combined.

The Nigerian government has promised to end gas flaring completely by 2010, in part by selling gas through the pipeline, but also by processing it into liquefied natural gas with investment from multi-national oil companies.

According to statistics compiled by Ghana's energy ministry, the region's greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by up to 52 percent once the pipeline is operational.

Four main share-holders will own and operate the pipeline company: Chevron-Texaco West African Gas Pipeline Ltd, Nigeria's National Petroleum Corporation, Shell Overseas Holding Ltd and Ghana's Takoradi Power Company Limited.

The pipeline -- which will be laid partly along the sea bed 15 to 20 kilometres off the West African coastline and partly on land -- will supply Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo with an initial daily capacity of 200 million cubic feet of gas but can rise to 470 cubic feet to meet the anticipated growth in demand.

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]

Ormet reorganization approved

Marietta Times, OH 07-Sep-2005

By Justin McIntosh, jmcintosh@mariettatimes.com

Drastic changes meant to keep Ormet Corp. in operation can continue now that a U.S. District Court judge dismissed an appeal from the United Steelworkers Association late last month over the company’s reorganization plan.

A federal bankruptcy judge ruled on March 25 that Ormet can reduce spending on retiree health benefits as part of its corporate reorganization. The changes at the two Hannibal plants began in April as a way for Ormet to emerge from bankruptcy, which it filed for in January 2004.

Under the plan’s guidelines, Ormet could sharply increase retirees’ health insurance costs to save money it says is needed to survive. Also as part of the plan, Ormet could break labor contracts, reorganize its debt and forgo selling two plants.

Negotiations between Ormet and two local steelworkers’ unions broke off at the plant in June, when striking workers became concerned with Ormet’s refusal to consider a plan the steelworkers formed. The union plan included reducing jobs and active medical benefits.

Officials with the aluminum maker Tuesday said the recent dismissal of the steelworkers association’s appeal is validation that the changes to the company were necessary for a successful reorganization.

The ruling shows "the union cannot stop this right now because it’s already so far proceeded and if they were to do that it would unravel everything done to this point and force (Ormet) into liquidation," said Linda Regelman, Ormet spokeswoman, who added that the company is ready to resume negotiations when they hear back from the steelworkers on two counterproposals sent to them earlier this year.

A representative for one of the steelworkers associations said the recent court ruling was expected but still disappointing.

"I don’t think it takes us a step back because I don’t think we have a step to go back; we’re at square one with this company," said Ronnie Blatt, vice president and chairman of the grievance committee of USWA Local Union 5724. "We still feel Ormet made a promise to our retirees that they would have so many benefits with their retirements and those guys based their retirements on that fact."

Nearly 2,000 Ormet retirees began losing their current insurance as of June 1 as part of the reorganization plan. The change to the retirees insurance meant retirees can either opt out of the plan or begin paying premiums hundreds of dollars higher each month.

Ormet, with two plants in Hannibal, is one of Monroe County’s largest employers and also supplies jobs to surrounding counties, including Washington.

Thirteen hundred Ormet workers went on strike in November 2004 when the company refused to postpone a federal bankruptcy court hearing to approve their reorganization plan.

In other Ormet news, the company filed a complaint with the Public Utility Commission of Ohio to be able to access electricity directly from American Electric Power’s Ohio Power Company at an existing rate structure reserved for other large industrial users.

The company currently gets its electricity by the wholesale power market, but a press release from Ormet said they are seeking the move "to avoid the volatile nature of wholesale power prices and the various long-term fixed price contracts."

An exact figure on how much this change could save the company was not immediately available Tuesday.

RUSAL Publishes First Social Report in Compliance with UN Global Compact Principles

Russia Newswire (press release), Russia 07-Aug-2005

MOSCOW (RNWire) – RUSAL, a top three global aluminum producer, has published the Social Report for the year 2004. The report is the first document to provide in-depth information about the company’s projects and initiatives undertaken as part of RUSAL’s commitment to embed the principles of corporate social responsibility across its global operations. It is prepared in line with the UN Global Compact – an international agreement between the United Nations and the global business community.

"RUSAL is guided by the social responsibility principles that are shared by the majority of developed countries and we seek to apply them in every sphere of our activity," said Alexander Bulygin, RUSAL Chief Executive Officer, introducing the Social Report. "We believe it is critical for RUSAL to take a proactive role in building a sustainable foundation for economic development in Russia and globally."

The report outlines principles and drivers underpinning RUSAL’s relations with its employees, partners, customers, and the communities where operations are located. These principles are the basis for RUSAL’s development strategy.

Care for employee interests, responsibility for the communities the company operates in, and desire to meet and exceed the expectations of RUSAL’s customers in 39 countries across the world – all these factors place environmental protection and labor safety high on the company’s agenda. Over the past five years RUSAL has spent $173.4 million on environmental protection programs and invested $637 million in the modernization of production facilities in order to improve environmental performance.

Eight RUSAL plants have now had their environmental management systems certified under the international ISO 14001 standard. Over the past four years, the injury rate at production facilities has been reduced by 51 per cent and the number of workdays lost – by 40 per cent. In 2004, RUSAL commenced implementation of the international Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSAS 18001).

RUSAL provides employees with one of the best compensation/benefits packages in the industry and allocates more than $4 million annually to create opportunities for professional growth and career development.

The company is an active participant in the economic development of the communities where operations are located. RUSAL delivers a number of social programs aimed at providing support to socially vulnerable groups and the development of youth initiatives, allocating an annual $10 million on charity.

RUSAL joined the United Nations Global Compact in March 2002 and was one of the first Russian companies to do so. The company’s first Social Report demonstrates RUSAL’s willingness to comply with international best practices in everything the company does and its intention to continue and expand its corporate citizenship programs.

Full text of RUSAL’s first Social Report in compliance with the UN Global Compact principles as available at the company’s corporate website at http://www.rusal.com.

About the United Nations Global Compact

The Global Compact is an international voluntary initiative of the United Nations that has rallied over two thousand major companies and transnational corporations from all over the world. The Compact contains ten key principles for socially responsible business activities in the areas of labor, environment, and human rights. The concept of the Global Compact is based on voluntary cooperation to improve the situation with corporate citizenship. Private sector in partnership with other sectors may, this way, facilitate development of a more sustainable world economy "with a human face".

About RUSAL

RUSAL (www.rusal.com) is a global No. 3 primary aluminum producer, headquartered in Moscow. Established in March 2000 through a merger of several largest aluminium smelters and alumina refineries, RUSAL now accounts for 75% of aluminum production in Russia and 10% internationally. RUSAL is a vertically integrated company with a full production cycle, including upstream and downstream, production of primary aluminum, semi products and value-added casthouse products.

China approves Alcoa, CITIC aluminum rolled products jv

Forbes 09.09.2005, 12:14 AM

BEIJING (AFX) - Alcoa Inc said it has received approval from China's Ministry of Commerce to set up a joint venture with China International Trust & Investment to make aluminum rolled products at its plant in Qinhuangdao, in the northern province of Hebei.

Alcoa said it planned to invest about 200 mln usd to expand the factory.

It will take a 73 pct stake in the venture and act as the managing partner.

The joint venture is expected to finalized by early next month.

(1 usd 8.1 yuan)

bjburo@xinhuafinance.com

Bankruptcy Court Approves Kaiser Aluminum Disclosure Statement

Business Wire (press release), CA September 08, 2005 02:06 PM US Eastern Timezone

Reorganization Expected in Early 2006

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 8, 2005--Kaiser Aluminum Corporation today announced that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware has approved the company's Disclosure Statement that relates to its Second Amended Plan of Reorganization (POR). The court has scheduled a confirmation hearing with respect to the POR for January 9, 2006 and January 10, 2006. Assuming plan confirmation at that time, the company could emerge from Chapter 11 by the end of January or early February 2006.

"Today's ruling completes the first of three final milestones to the company's successful completion of its reorganization," said Jack Hockema, president and chief executive officer, Kaiser Aluminum. "We anticipate that the remaining two -- voting by the creditors and confirmation by the bankruptcy and district courts -- will be completed according to the court's schedule within the next four months. As a result, we now have a definitive, court-approved schedule to emerge early next year as a globally competitive company with a strong balance sheet, best-in-class operations, and the ability to grow in our key transportation and industrial markets."

Hockema continued, "I credit today's achievement to the outstanding support of our employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders who share our commitment of driving Kaiser Aluminum to its full potential in terms of customer service, quality, product development, and financial performance."

The company expects to commence a 60-day solicitation of acceptances of the POR by creditors by September 15, 2005. Because the POR reflects previously disclosed agreements reached with the company's major creditor constituents, the company is optimistic that it will receive the necessary acceptances for plan confirmation. However, no assurance can be given that the plan will ultimately receive the necessary acceptances by creditors, or be confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court or U.S. District Court, or that the transactions contemplated by the plan will ultimately be consummated.

As more fully discussed in the company Quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ended June 30, 2005, the company's restructuring would resolve prepetition claims that are currently subject to compromise. Those claims include, among others, retiree medical, pension, asbestos, and other tort, bond, and note claims. The plan would also result in the cancellation of the equity interests of current stockholders and the distribution of equity in the emerging company to creditors or creditor representatives. The majority of the new equity would be distributed to two voluntary employee benefit associations that were created in 2004 to provide medical benefits or funds to defray the cost of medical benefits for salaried and hourly retirees. Retiree medical plans existing at that time were cancelled. All personal injury claims relating to both prepetition and future claims for asbestos, silica and coal tar pitch volatiles, and existing claims regarding noise-induced hearing loss, would be permanently resolved by the formation of certain trusts funded primarily by the company's rights to proceeds from certain of its insurance policies and the establishment of channeling injunctions that would permanently channel these liabilities away from the company and into the trusts.

Complete details are included in the plan and disclosure statement, which the company has posted in the "Restructuring" section of its web site at www.kaiseraluminum.com.

Kaiser Aluminum Corporation (OTCBB:KLUCQ) is a leading producer of fabricated aluminum products for aerospace and high-strength, general engineering, automotive, and custom industrial applications. The company has more than 2,000 employees and 11 plants in North America having the capacity to produce more than 400 million pounds annually of value-added sheet, plate, extrusions, forgings, rod, bar, and tube. Upon emergence, the company also expects to continue to own its 49 percent interest in Anglesey Aluminium Limited, which operates an aluminum smelter in Wales.

F-1023

Giulio Casello Named Vice President of Bauxite and Alumina Operations for Century Aluminum

Market Wire (press release) 09/09/2005

MONTEREY, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 09/09/2005 -- Century Aluminum Company (NASDAQ: CENX) today announced Giulio Casello has been named Vice President of Bauxite and Alumina Operations. In this position he will have primary responsibility for expanding the company's bauxite mining and alumina refining business segments.

Casello comes to Century from Alcoa, where, since 2002, he served as Director of Western Australian Operations for Alcoa World Alumina in Pinjarra, Australia. Since 1986, he has held a number of positions for Alcoa, including General Manager, North American and European Operations for Alcoa World Chemicals, Kwinana Refinery Location Manager and Pinjarra Refinery Production Manager.

Mr. Casello holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Western Australia, and a Masters of Engineering Management from Curtin University.

"We have had a strategic interest in bauxite and alumina for sometime," said Chairman Craig Davis. "Giulio's leadership will play a central role as we continue to explore upstream opportunities."

Century presently owns 615,000 metric tonnes per year (mtpy) of primary aluminum capacity. The company owns and operates a 244,000 mtpy plant at Hawesville, Kentucky; a 170,000 mtpy plant at Ravenswood, West Virginia; and a 90,000 mtpy plant at Grundartangi, Iceland that is being expanded to 212,000 mtpy. The company also owns a 49.67-percent interest in a 222,000 mtpy reduction plant at Mt. Holly, South Carolina. Alcoa Inc. owns the remainder of the plant and is the operating partner. With the completion of the Grundartangi expansion, Century's total capacity will stand at 737,000 mtpy. Century also holds a 50-percent share of the 1.25 million mtpy Gramercy Alumina refinery in Gramercy, Louisiana and related bauxite assets in Jamaica. Century's corporate offices are located in Monterey, California.

Alcoa plant cleared of high cancer rate

Australian, Australia September 10, 2005

Nigel Wilson

WORKERS at an alumina plant near Perth are no more likely to develop cancer than members of the wider community.

Alcoa, the world's largest aluminium company, has been under siege for more than a decade after allegations surfaced that workers and residents close to some of its operations were suffering adverse health effects.

But a study by academics at Monash University and the University of Western Australia yesterday found cancer rates at the Kwinana refinery below those in the rest of the state.

The study was called to investigate concerns that there were "possible excess cancers" at the refinery, specifically at three sections of the site.

The study investigated cancers diagnosed from the beginning of 1983 to the end of 2002. Its report, released yesterday, said 136 incidents of cancer were observed in 2257 male employees, compared with an expected 159. It said the cancer incidence ratio "indicated that fewer cancers were observed in the Kwinana cohort compared with the overall Western Australian population".

"From these results, we conclude that for cancers occurring up until the end of 2002, service at Kwinana ... is not associated with any excess cancer risk of any types," the report's authors said.

They acknowledged some Kwinana workers did not take part in the study but concluded their absence was unlikely to have resulted in an excess cancer rate at the refinery.

The $1billion Kwinana refinery, which began operating 40 years ago, is the smallest of Alcoa's Australian alumina operations with capacity of 2million tonnes a year.

It has been constantly upgraded with much recent investment being devoted to measures to reduce emissions.

The independent report requested by the Health Department of Western Australia is part of a continuing study of current and former Alcoa Australia employees.

The department's divisional director of health protection, Andy Robertson, said that when all cancers were considered, fewer cases of cancer were observed in all the Kwinana workers compared with the overall West Australian population but the difference was not significant.

He said the report also showed that when specific types of cancer, such as stomach, lung and kidney cancers, were analysed, levels in Alcoa workers were generally lower than might have been expected in the general population.

"This latest report provides reassurance to the Department of Health, to the community and particularly to Alcoa employees, that cancer rates are not elevated through occupational exposure at the Kwinana refinery," Dr Robertson said.

Alcoa said later the report had been requested by the Health Department to address "repeated allegations by a small group of community activists about the health of Alcoa workers". The company's occupational physician, Michael Donoghue, said the findings confirmed there was no basis to the allegations.

Nalco keen on setting up alumina plant

Sify, India Sunday, 11 September , 2005, 09:33

Hyderabad: The state-owned National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco) has evinced interest in establishing an alumina project in Andhra Pradesh subject to the State completing certain demands put forth by the company. Today in Sify Finance

These demands include laying a railway line near the project and extending power subsidy. And interestingly, Nalco prefers to operate mines themselves instead of the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation.

Reviewing the performance of the State mining sector, the Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajashekhara Reddy, called upon the mining corporation to send in the necessary proposals for purchase of equipment useful for prospecting and procuring satellite imageries.

The Chief Minister was informed about Nalco and the Union Mining Ministry's official visit to Hyderabad earlier this week with a proposal for the Nalco project, subject to certain demands.

According to APMDC, the production of barytes during the first fine months this year was 5.52 lakh tonnes (lt). Due to the growing international demand for barytes, the corporation plans to step up baryte production to 7.5 lt.

During the year so far, the corporation has sold 4.5 lt against 3.9 lt during the previous year. During the first five months ended August 2005, the corporation achieved a turnover of Rs 38.23 crore. Provisional profit was estimated at Rs 20.32 crore, against Rs 19.29 crore last year. During the next three years, it plans to save Rs 13 crore in excavation cost.

After Gimpex Ltd acquired the rights for mining low-grade iron ore in Prakasam district, the corporation has called for expression of interest for the development of 25 areas, which can be taken up through private sector participation. These cover iron ore deposits in Anantapur, Kurnool and Khammam districts, beach sands deposits in Srikakulam, laterite in East Godavari, Blue Granite in Srikakulam, slate in Guntur, lead and dolamite in Guntur district, marble in Khammam and calcite in Visakhapatnam. As part of the corporation drive to enter new areas, APMDC plans to enter into a joint venture to tap the oil and natural gas potential off the State coast. The corporation was advised to study the Gujarat model.

Heat's on for QAL to expand

Brisbane Courier Mail, Australia 12sep05

By Nigel Wilson

PRESSURE is increasing on Comalco to approve a $US1 billion ($1.3 billion) expansion program for the world's largest alumina refinery at Gladstone in central Queensland.

The plan involves boosting the plant's nominal capacity from about 3.85 million tonnes a year to almost 5 million tonnes.

Fuel for the expansion is expected to be provided by the $US3.5 billion PNG Gas project, which with a contract volume estimated around 45 petajoules would provide the final deal to ensure the project goes ahead.

The Queensland Alumina refinery is operated by a consortium of companies that take their equity share of QAL production to supply their own aluminium smelters.

The QAL consortium includes Alcan South Pacific with 41.4 per cent, Rio offshoot Comalco with 38.6 per cent and the emerging world giant, Rusal, with 20 per cent.

Comalco has indicated previously it opposes QAL expansion and would prefer to expand operations in which it is a majority owner.

But a range of commercial and political pressures are emerging that industry insiders believe will force it to accept expansion of QAL as a means of ensuring the Gladstone refinery retains its place in the world alumina production order.

Comalco officials could not be contacted yesterday but industry insiders said that both the federal and Queensland governments had stepped up their pressure for a decision on the expansion.

According to the International Aluminium Institute, Australia's alumina production is expected to increase from 18 million tonnes this year to more than 21 million tonnes in 2008.

Rusal, the world's third-largest aluminium company, with plans to become No1 by 2013, bought into QAL last year through acquiring for $US461 million the stake auctioned by US group Kaiser Aluminium, which is attempting to emerge from bankruptcy administration.

Alcan is understood to have backed the expansion plan while Rusal chief Alexander Bulygin has made no secret of his company's desire to boost its share of QAL output from 770,000 tonnes a year to more than 1million tonnes through an expansion of the Gladstone plant.

Alcan's Richard Yank, president of the group's Pacific operations, indicated privately at the opening of the company's new research and development facility in Brisbane last month that QAL expansion was favoured by the Montreal-based group.

In June, Alcan announced it had reached an agreement with the PNG Gas project on commercial terms for the sale of 43.5 PJs of gas a year for 20 years to its Gove alumina refinery in the Northern Territory from 2009.

Rusal was established in March 2000 through the merger of several large aluminium smelters and alumina refineries in Russia. It now accounts for 75 per cent of aluminium production in Russia and 10 per cent worldwide but is short of alumina and bauxite reserves.

Reports last month said Rusal was seeking to acquire a number of secondary aluminium production assets in Russia as part of a government plan to consolidate the sector. The talks involve scrap companies in southern Russia, near St Petersburg, and in the Russian Far East.

Rusal said QAL had "significant expansion potential" to over 5 million tonnes a year.

Before last year's federal election, Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane said a re-elected Howard Government would commit $10 million towards the conversion of QAL's refinery from coal to natural gas.

He said this would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 2.5 million tonnes.

At the time, the announcement was seen as a major boost to the PNG Gas project.

Mr Macfarlane said studies had shown construction and connection of the pipeline would create 1500 new jobs in Queensland, deliver wages and profits of more than $275 million to central Queensland and boost national economic output by $16 billion a year.

The Queensland Government has also backed the use of gas at QAL, though its support is conditional on the level of federal government funding and the go-ahead of the PNG Gas project.

The PNG Gas partners, which include ExxonMobil, Oil Search and the PNG Government, plan to spend about $US1.6 billion on developing infrastructure in Papua New Guinea.

The ambitious gas development also includes plans by AGL and Malaysia's Petronas to construct a $2.5 billion pipeline to Australia through Cape York, probably to Moomba in South Australia.

Australia's Queensland State Invites Bids for Bauxite Lease

Sept. 15 (Bloomberg)

Australia's Queensland state government invited bids from miners to develop the Aurukun bauxite deposit in northeastern Australia for processing into alumina.

Alcan Inc., BHP Billiton, Aluminum Corp. of China, Rio Tinto Group's Comalco Ltd., Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, Hindalco Industries Ltd., Hydro Aluminium AS, Mitsubishi Corp., OAO Russian Aluminium and Xstrata Plc are among companies that have already expressed ``strong interest,'' Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said in a statement released late yesterday.

Aurukun, in Western Cape York, holds more than 650 million tons of bauxite, which is refined to make alumina, the material turned into aluminum metal. The deposits were previously held by Pechiney SA, which was acquired by Montreal-based Alcan in December 2003. The Queensland government revoked the lease after Pechiney didn't build a plant to refine the bauxite.

``The bid process will lead to the selection of a preferred developer for the massive Aurukun bauxite project on Western Cape York,'' Beattie said in the statement. ``Our goal with the Aurukun bauxite deposits is to pursue a Smart State strategy of not only developing a new bauxite mine but also the downstream processing.''

Expressions of interest to participate in the bid process close on Oct. 14. Bidders then have until Feb. 1 to submit an initial proposal on which they will be short-listed, Beattie said. Final bids are due by May 31, and the preferred developer will be selected in July, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story:

Angela Macdonald-Smith in Sydney at amacdonaldsm@Bloomberg.net.

Proposed Alcan Spent Pot Lining Project Environmental Assessment to Continue as a Comprehensive Study

Canada NewsWire (press release), Canada

OTTAWA, Sept. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of

the Environment, has determined that a comprehensive study is the most

appropriate level of environmental assessment for the proposed Alcan Spent Pot

Lining (SPL) Project in Jonquière, Quebec.

The Minister based his decision on the conclusions and recommendations of

a report submitted by the responsible authority, Industry Canada. The report

contains information on the scope of the proposed Alcan SPL Project, the

factors to be considered by the environmental assessment, public comments

submitted to the authority, the potential of the project to cause adverse

environmental effects and the ability of the comprehensive study to address

issues relating to the project. A copy of the report can be consulted on the

Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry, reference number 05-03-9911.

Industry Canada will now continue the environmental assessment of the

project by means of a comprehensive study as prescribed by the Canadian

Environmental Assessment Act. Once the study process is complete, Industry

Canada will submit its final report to the Minister of the Environment. At

that time, the public will have an opportunity to comment on the findings and

recommendations of the report before the Minister issues an environmental

assessment decision statement.

The proponent, Alcan Primary Metal Group, has developed a chemical

process known as "Low Concentration Caustic Leaching and Liming," which

converts SPL (a by-product of aluminum production) into non-hazardous waste

and recyclable materials. Alcan has sought funding from the responsible

authority to support the construction and operation of a pilot plant for this

process in Jonquière, Quebec. The plant would have a capacity of 80 000 t / a,

and would process SPL from Alcan's stockpiles in Quebec, as well as from

sources around the world.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency administers the federal

environmental assessment process, which identifies the environmental effects

of proposed projects and measures to address those effects, in support of

sustainable development.

For more information on this project and others in your area, please

consult the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry.

For further information: Media may contact: Robert Deslauriers, Senior

Communications Advisor, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency,

(613) 957-0396, Fax: (613) 948-1354, robert.deslauriers@ceaa-acee.gc.ca ;

For more information about the environmental assessment process, please

contact: Sean LeRoy, Project Analyst, Canadian Environmental Assessment

Agency, (613) 957-0596, Fax: (613) 957-0941, sean.leroy@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

Dedication of Phase II of Aluminerie Alouette in Sept-Iles

Canada NewsWire (press release), Canada

- A world class success

SEPT-ILES, Sept. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - President and CEO of Aluminerie

Alouette Joe Lombard hereby invites media representatives to the dedication of

Phase II of the Alouette aluminum plant. This ceremony will be attended by

Quebec Premier Jean Charest, Sept-Iles mayor Ghislain Lévesque, as well as a

number of members of the international business community.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005, 11 a.m.

Atelier MSE, Aluminerie Alouette

400 Chemin de la Pointe Noire

Sept-îles

Mr. Lombard and Mr. Charest will hold a press briefing after the

dedication ceremony at 12:35 p.m. After investing over $1.45 billion in the

construction of Phase II, Aluminerie Alouette is now the largest aluminum

plant in North America, with an annual aluminum production of 550,000 tons,

and the largest employer in Sept-îles, with 900 employees.

For further information: Marie-José Bégin, CASACOM, (450) 628-0006,

Cell: (514) 994-0802

Comalco pens NGA with government

Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand 15 September 2005

Comalco, the operator of Bluff's Tiwai Pt aluminium smelter, has penned a Negotiated Greenhouse Agreement (NGA) with the Government that will exempt it from carbon tax until 2012.

In return, the company will spend millions of dollars to reach "world's best practice" in energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.

Tom Campbell, chairman of New Zealand Aluminium Smelters, the 79-per cent-owned Comalco subsidiary which operates the Tiwai Pt smelter, said the carbon tax would have cost the company between $60 million and $70 million a year, putting its future in jeopardy.

The aluminium smelting process produces carbon dioxide. The company reduced its emissions substantially from 1990 levels in the course of a major upgrade in the late 1990s.

It is now just a few per cent away from world's best practice.

While the NGA will ease the carbon tax burden, Comalco still faces pressure from its massive demand for electricity.

Comalco consumes about 15 per cent of the electricity produced in New Zealand each year and electricity is its biggest operating cost.

AdvertisementAdvertisementAlthough most of the power the smelter consumes comes from Meridian Energy's Manapouri hydro-station and involves no greenhouse gas emissions, the price it pays under its take-or-pay contract is linked to the average price on the spot electricity market over the previous year.

The spot price in any half-hour period is set by the most expensive power needed to satisfy demand in that period.

That is increasingly likely to be a gas-fired or coal-fired power station and, from April 2007, the costs of that generation will include the carbon tax.

The NGA concluded with Comalco includes a calculation to offset the windfall effect on Meridian and the corresponding rise in Comalco's costs.

The Government is introducing a carbon tax to meet its Kyoto Protocol commitments. Businesses can avoid the tax by proving they are complying with world's best practice for greenhouse emissions. They also need to prove that their international competitiveness would be at risk if subject to the carbon tax.

The Government has already signed NGAs with gold mining company Oceana Gold and the New Zealand Refining Company.

It is negotiating with ACI Glass Packaging, Carter Holt Harvey, Fletcher Building, New Zealand Steel, Newmont Waihi and Norske Skog Tasman.

Romania: ALRO Slatina Aluminum Producer Acquires ALUM Tulcea

Reporter.gr (subscription), Greece 17:09 - 15 September 2005 -

The aluminum producer ALRO in Slatina (southern Romania) took over the alumina producing company ALUM in Tulcea (eastern Romania),with the total value of the transaction reaching 9$ mln, ACT Media news agency reports.

The ALUM Tulcea takeover is part of the strategy of vertical integration applied by Marco Industries, the owner of the aluminum producer.

Initially, the group included an aluminum producer, ALRO Slatina, a company producing materials derived from aluminum, ALPROM, and now it buys ALUM, the raw material supplier. "The ALRO-ALUM transaction was carried out in keeping with the regulations of the capital market and considered the market value of the alumina producer, it was even higher than it," said Marian Nastase, vice-president of the ALRO Board of Directors.

"The higher price paid for ALUM will make the minority shareholders interests be better protected," Nastase added.

The development strategy applied by Marco Industries to ALRO Slatina will also extend to ALUM Tulcea.

Thus, ALRO already fulfils all obligations referring to the protection of the environment, established by the European Union.

The investments made by the company in the environment programmes amounted to over 70 million dollars and ALRO poisonous gas emission is under the limits accepted by the European Union. The same holds for ALPROM, whose emissions are under the limits imposed by the EU.

In the last three years, they invested 145 million dollars in ALRO, especially in modernizing the production lines and in environment protection.

In 2005, the technological investments will go up to 25 million dollars.

The aluminium output grew with every passing year.

They estimate 260,000 tonnes a year in 2006.

ALRO turnover was about 500 million dollars in 2004.

ALRO gross operational revenues reached 401 million euros and the operational profit was 41.9 million euros.

The net profit was 31.5 million euros.

ALRO is a joint stock company, listed with the Bucharest Stock Exchange.

The main markets where the aluminum produced by ALRO is sold are the European Union (Italy, Greece, Germany, France, Great Britain, Hungary, etc), Turkey, and the Balkan countries.

ALRO also exports to the USA, Israel, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. ALRO has the ISO 9001 certification for quality management.

Its products observe the quality standards for primary aluminum of the London Metals Exchange.

Source: ACT Media News Agency

Earthlife Africa slams cheap power for foreign investors

Green Clippings, South Africa Thu 15 September 2005

Environmental group Earthlife Africa, in a letter to Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin and Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, has raised concerns about the impact of providing cheap electricity to foreign investors.

Earthlife expressed concern after reports that Eskom is negotiating with aluminium giant Alcan to provide cheap electricity for a new smelter at Coega, which would use more power than a large city. The watchdog group said that it was a "foolish strategy" to attract power-heavy industries to South Africa for the sake of short-term gains in foreign direct investment.

According to Earthlife's Richard Worthington, "With current electricity pricing, industry is not given any incentives to reduce its energy consumption and thus contribute to a sustainable energy environment."

Australia's Queensland Seeks Bids for Bauxite Lease (Update1)

Sept. 15 (Bloomberg)

Australia's Queensland state government invited bids from miners to develop the Aurukun bauxite deposit in northeastern Australia, after last year revoking Pechiney SA's right to mine the area.

Alcan Inc., BHP Billiton, Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., Rio Tinto Group's Comalco Ltd., Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, Hindalco Industries Ltd., Hydro Aluminium AS, Mitsubishi Corp., OAO Russian Aluminium and Xstrata Plc are among companies that have already expressed ``strong interest,'' Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said in a statement released late yesterday.

Aurukun, in Western Cape York, holds more than 650 million tons of bauxite, which is refined to make alumina, the material turned into aluminum metal. In May last year, the Queensland government revoked the Aurukun lease from Pechiney, which was acquired by Montreal-based Alcan in December 2003, after Pechiney didn't build a plant to refine the bauxite.

``The bid process will lead to the selection of a preferred developer for the massive Aurukun bauxite project on Western Cape York,'' Beattie said in the statement. ``Our goal with the Aurukun bauxite deposits is to pursue a Smart State strategy of not only developing a new bauxite mine but also the downstream processing.''

Expressions of interest to participate in the bid process close on Oct. 14. Bidders then have until Feb. 1 to submit an initial proposal on which they will be short-listed, Beattie said. Final bids are due by May 31, and the preferred developer will be selected in July, he said.

Aluminum Corp. of China, the country's largest maker of the lightweight metal, said in March that the project to mine bauxite at Aurukun and build an alumina refinery may be worth between $800 million and $900 million based on market prices.

The company, known as Chalco, is confident of winning the lease, Chairman Xiao Yaqing said in an interview in Hong Kong on March 29.

To contact the reporter on this story:

Angela Macdonald-Smith in Sydney at amacdonaldsm@bloomberg.net

China's loss-making aluminium factories unlikely to lower output

Metals Place, UK - Source: Asia Pulse 16-Sep-2005

China's loss-making aluminium factories are unlikely to limit their production as they anticipate a fall in the price of alumina next year.

But such anticipation will encourage large aluminium factories to increase production capacity, thus pushing up alumina demand and consequently the rise in the price of alumina in a short period of time.

The import price of alumina is US$500 per ton, up 13.6 per cent over that at the end of July. The price is likely to rise again due to strong demand and tight supply.

High cost of restarting production lines is another reason for their unwillingness to stop production, said a manager of an aluminium enterprise.

In the Jan-Jul period this year, China imported 4.24 million tons of alumina, up 25.7 per cent year on year, and produced 4.7 million tons, increasing by 17.5 per cent.

Dubai Plans $3.6 Billion Indian Alumina Plant, Mine and Smelter in Orissa

Sept. 17 (Bloomberg)

Dubai Aluminium Co., operator of the largest aluminum smelter in the Middle East, signed a contract to jointly develop in India a $3.6 billion an alumina ore plant, a bauxite mine and a smelter as it seeks to meet rising Asian demand.

Dubal, as the Dubai government-owned company is also known, and its partner India's Larsen & Toubro Ltd. agreed to develop bauxite mineral mine and refinery in two phases in India's eastern state of Orissa, the companies said at the contract signing in Dubai today.

``India's energy dependence rests with the Gulf countries, and this project in Orissa will act as a bridge to bring us closer together,'' Larsen & Toubro's Chairman A.M. Naik said at the contract signing. India's demand for aluminum will grow 8 percent this year, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. forecast in a March 22 report.

Dubai Aluminium is competing with the world's biggest producers of aluminum, Alcoa Inc. and Alcan Inc., and other rivals to secure market share in Asia, especially in India and China. Global aluminum production expanded in 2004 faster than the output growth of alumina, the raw material needed to make the soft metal.

The first phase of the Dubal-India project, scheduled to be completed by 2009 at a cost of $1.1 billion, will produce 1.5 million tons a year of alumina ore, the companies said. A second phase that will double capacity, and also include the construction of a smelter plant, will push the total investment to $3.6 billion.

Larsen & Toubro, India's biggest engineering company, will take a 26 percent interest in the Orissa venture alongside Dubal, the companies said.

To contact the reporter on this story:

Andy Critchlow in Dubai on at acritchlow1@bloomberg.net

Aluminium Corp of China shelves plans for majority stake in Nanshan - report

Forbes 09.18.2005, 09:37 PM

BEIJING (AFX) - State-owned Aluminum Corp of China (Chalco) has shelved plans to take a majority stake in the aluminium operations of Shandong Nanshan Industrial Co Ltd, the China Daily reported, citing senior officials from both companies.

The newspaper said the companies would not provide a reason.

However, Chalco is expected to sign an agreement soon to buy a stake in a new smelter owned by Shanxi Guanlu Co Ltd, the paper said, citing unidentified industry officials.

The paper said both companies would not comment on the stake sale.

The industry officicials said Shanxi Guanlu is planning to set up a new firm to hold 200,000 tons of new aluminium capacity and would sell a 50 pct stake to Chalco for an unspecified price.

Guanlu and a power operator in the northern province of Shanxi are to share the remaining 50 pct stake.

Chalco has a Hong Kong-listed unit Aluminum Corp of China Ltd (HK 2600).

bjburo@xinhuafinance.com

Duff Norton mechanical actuators

Ferret, Australia 19 September 2005

SINCE 1883 Duff Norton Company from the US has led the international market supply of mechanical actuators (often called screw jacks in former years) with a vast range of models, capacities and application solutions.

Manufactured up to a capacity of 250t.

Duff Norton mechanical actuators are available from their Australian factory representative, DN Sales Australia based in NSW.

The basic models of standard construction machine screw mechanical actuators are manufactured up to a capacity of 250t and where corrosion is a problem up to 100t capacity in stainless steel material is available.

For extremely fine adjustment microminiature mechanical actuators offer adjustments as low as .001" in corrosion resistant materials.

In the event of unacceptable backlash in an application, a range of antibacklash mechanical actuators up to 150t capacity are available.

Where high speed low friction linear motion is required, Duff Norton's standard ball screw mechanical actuators allow precise positioning and long service life in a range up to 50t capacity.

High thermal efficiency is a feature of the high duty cycle mechanical actuators (ball screw) range. These high speed models have special heat treated materials to maximise input power through to linear capacity.

Duff Norton was the originator of the Anode Jack, which was developed in partnership with the aluminium industry. Their Anode Jacks were used in the first commercial aluminium making plant in the US and continue to be used in aluminium plants throughout the world.

A complete range of accessories are available for all Duff Norton mechanical actuators including mitre gear boxes, reducers, bellows boots, limit switches, transducers, position indicators and encoders.

DN Sales Australia offers a comprehensive repair/rebuild service as well as an assembly capability using locally sourced electric motors, brake motors and geared motors to customers.

Spare parts and sub assemblies are available for customers’ in-house repairs to all Duff Norton mechanical actuators.

http://www.ferret.com.au/articles/e0/0c036be0.asp

Rusal keen on India, but wants sops

Business Standard, India / New Delhi September 19, 2005

Russian aluminium major Rusal is keen to invest in India but wants the government to give it some flexibility with regard to bauxite mining.

"We want to invest but the legislation on mining of bauxite in states like Orissa and Jharkhand makes setting up of a smelter compulsory with the lease prohibitive," Andrey Gribkov, head of Asia and Africa department, Rusal, said.

Gribkov said the smelter can only be set up if there is a regular supply of power. But with power costs being high and the supply situation not being very good, a captive power plant would have to be envisaged as part of th e project, making it unviable.

He said even if the company looked at setting up a captive power plant, the raw material supply to the power plant was also not assured.

He added that there should be a comprehensive uniform policy on mining.Gribkov said he had met Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik regarding the legislation but the government had not taken a view on it.

Rusal had earlier this year said it would invest up to one billion dollar in new acquisitions and was considering a number of sites, including India.

The company is interested in any project which involves alumina surplus as it imports about 50 per cent of its requirement.

It had earlier also expressed interest in picking up stake in the National Aluminium Company Ltd before the government decided not to proceed with the disinvestment of the public sector unit.

Comalco lines up for gas from PNG

Sydney Morning Herald (subscription), Australia September 20, 2005

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Participants in the $US3 billion-plus Papua New Guinea-Australia gas pipeline project have struck an agreement with Comalco to purchase gas for use at its facilities at Gladstone and Weipa in Queensland.

A conditional agreement reached with the aluminium producer covers the direct sale of 14 to 50.5 petajoules a year over a 20-year period. It supersedes a deal with Energex announced in July 2003, under which gas was on-sold to Comalco.

ExxonMobil Corp, whose subsidiary Esso Highlands operates the PNG gas project's facilities and infrastructure in PNG and markets the gas in Australia, said the agreement did not involve any new volumes of gas.

But ExxonMobil said the PNG gas project was pleased that Comalco had committed to taking a substantial quantity of gas.

"Comalco's continued commitment reconfirms that Gladstone is in the PNG gas project's base case supply," said Rob Franklin, vice-president, new business development, ExxonMobil gas and power marketing.

Advertisement

AdvertisementMr Franklin said it was hoped the conditional arrangements would convert to binding sales contracts capable of supporting a sanctioning decision for the project in early 2006.

PNG gas project manager Peter Graham said the reconfirmation of the sale of PNG gas to Comalco was another important step towards commercialisation.

"This builds on recent milestone events such as the recent sales of PNG gas to AGL and to the Alcan Gove alumina refinery, and the decision by the project participants in October 2004 to enter into front-end engineering and design (FEED)," Mr Graham said.

He said the FEED program for the project was proceeding well.

The PNG gas project participants are ExxonMobil, with a 39.4 per cent stake; Oil Search, with 54.2 per cent; MRDC, which represents landowner interests, with 3 per cent; and Nippon Oil Exploration, with 3.4 per cent.

APC - a consortium led by AGL and Petronas - is undertaking the FEED program for the Australian component of the pipeline.

Guinea presses Halco for decision on bauxite deal

Reuters South Africa, South Africa Tue Sep 20, 2005 8:32 AM GMT

By Saliou Samb

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea has given the world's top two aluminium producers, Alcoa and Alcan, 10 days to decide whether to supply bauxite for an alumina refinery planned by rival Global Alumina, a government official said on Monday.

President Lansana Conte and Guinea's parliament have formally approved Global Alumina's plans for a 2.8 million tonne refinery in the country, which holds a third of the world's known reserves of bauxite.

Halco Mining Inc., a joint venture between Alcoa and Alcan, has in the past challenged the deal but said in March it would hold talks on supplying bauxite for Global Alumina's refinery in the northern Guinean region of Kamsar.

No decision has been announced.

Halco is the 51 percent owner of Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG), which has exclusive rights to bauxite reserves and resources in a 10,000 square mile area in northwestern Guinea. CBG is minority-owned by the state.

"The government has given Halco until the end of this month to definitively resolve the question of the mining concession given to Global Alumina," a senior official at the Mines Ministry told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

"Guinea remains firm in its desire to have Global Alumina operating on its territory. If Halco does not react in time, the authorities will take the necessary measures," the official said, without giving further details.

Halco officials in Guinea declined to comment.

Global Alumina, Alcoa and Alcan are among several firms aiming to build alumina plants in Guinea, which is estimated to have 7.4 billion tonnes of economically recoverable bauxite.

China's biggest aluminium producer, Chinalco, is also eyeing projects to exploit the reserves. Russian Aluminium (RUSAL), the world's No.3 primary aluminium company, is financing 60 percent of a project including another planned refinery in the country, expected to have an annual capacity of 2.8 million tonnes.

The world's biggest miner, BHP Billiton, and Japanese trading house Itochu Corp. have expressed interest in taking a stake in the Russian-led project, its government-appointed director said on Friday.

Expansion of Alouette smelter in Quebec to create 2,365 direct, indirect jobs

CJAD, Canada September 20, 2005, EST.

SEPT-ILES, Que. (CP) - A $1.4-billion expansion of the Aluminerie Alouette refinery officially opened Tuesday will create 2,365 direct and indirect jobs, officials said at a ceremony at this northeastern Quebec city.

The expansion makes the smelter the largest in North America and the fifth largest in the world, said Joe Lombard, president of Alouette smelter, at a ceremony attended by Premier Jean Charest and other dignitaries.

The annual production of aluminum is expected to be 555,000 tonnes, once it is at maximum production, compared with 245,000 previously.

Work on the expansion and replacement of 330 smelting pots began in the spring of 2003 and ended last June, three months ahead of schedule.

The expansion required Alouette to hire an additional 340 fulltime workers, to bring the workforce to 900 employees. This makes the smelter the largest employer in Sept-Iles, about 900 kilometres northeast of Montreal, with an annual payroll of more than $80 million.

The expansion will also bring this small city about $4 million annually in tax revenues.

Alouette is owned by a consortium, with Alcan Inc. (TSX:AL) owning 40 per cent, the largest shareholder.

The expansion almost did not happen. The previous Parti Quebecois government had agreed to supply the smelter with a block of low-cost electricity to secure the project, but following a provincial election the new Liberal government insisted on changing the terms.

Lombard said the expansion proves that "the transformation of electricity to produce aluminum is a powerful lever for regional development."

First opened in 1992, Alouette is currently a partnership of Alcan, Austria Metall with 20 per cent, Norsk Hydro, 20 per cent, the provincial investment agency SGF, 13.33 per cent, and Marubeni of Japan with 6.67 per cent.

The project was managed by an engineering joint venture of SNC-Lavalin and Group Hatch Ltd.

Most of the slabs of aluminum are shipped by barge on the St. Lawrence River from the deepwater port in Sept-Iles to Trois-Rivieres, Que., to be transferred to railcars and trucks for delivery to rolling mills in North America. The rest of the smelter's production is shipped to Europe and Japan.

The Canadian Press, 2005

Aluminium reforms to be revealed

China Daily, China : 2005-09-22 09:00

By Gong Zhengzheng (China Daily)

China will launch a national policy next month to reorganize its fragmented and loss-ridden aluminium sector, the largest in the world, an industry official said yesterday.

The National Development and Reform Commission, the main industrial regulator, is finalizing the policy that will be released after the National Day holiday (from October 1-7), said Pan Jiazhu, vice-chairman of the China Non-ferrous Metal Industry Association.

"The policy will encourage domestic aluminium producers to form bigger groups through mergers and acquisitions," Pan told China Daily.

There are nearly 100 aluminium companies in China with a total production capacity of more than 9 million tons a year, according to statistics from the metal association.

Of those, only five have an annual output of more than 200,000 tons while 20 are only able to produce more than 100,000 tons of aluminium a year.

Zhu Yan, an analyst with Antaike Information Development Co Ltd, the Beijing-based metal industry consultancy, said, "Most aluminium producers in China are too small to have international competitiveness. We will see a lot of mergers and acquisitions in the sector in the short term."

Aluminium Corporation of China Ltd (Chalco), the nation's No 1 aluminium maker, will pursue acquisitions of domestic plants to expand its aluminium production capacity, the company said on its website (www.chalco.com.cn).

Chalco now has a total aluminium production capacity of more than 1 million tons annually through acquisitions in recent years.

Pan said the policy will also urge aluminium producers in China build plants in regions which are rich in electricity and alumina, the raw material used to make aluminium.

"The policy will enhance the sector's threshold to eliminate low-technology players and prevent over production," Pan said.

"We suggest that all new aluminium projects in China, no matter whether they are owned by domestic or foreign investors, should have an annual capacity of more than 100,000 tons and stable material and power supplies."

The policy will require capital investment in all new aluminium projects in China to account for at least 35 per cent of their total investment, he said.

The policy will curb China's aluminium exports and call on domestic producers to mainly target the home market, he said.

"Exports of aluminium mean exports of our power as the sector is highly power-consuming," he added.

China has been suffering power shortages since 2002 as a result of faster-than-expected growth in demand.

The nation has taken a slew of measures to control aluminium exports this year.

Last month, China banned the so-called tolling and processing trade of alumina, which allowed domestic producers to import alumina free of tariffs as long as they export aluminium.

In January, the nation abolished an 8 per cent tax rebate and resumed a 5 per cent tariff on exports of aluminium, as well as copper and nickel.

"With these measures, China's aluminium exports will surely decline next year, putting an end to the rapid growth of recent years," Zhu said.

Statistics show China exported 890,000 tons of aluminium in the first seven months of this year, up almost 20 per cent from a year earlier.

These measures will add pressures to most aluminium producers in China, which have been making losses since last year due largely to growing cost of alumina and electricity.

"The whole aluminium sector, excluding the alumina business, will be in the red this year," said Wang Huajun, another official from the metal association.

So far this year, over 65 per cent of all aluminium companies in China have made losses, Wang said.

More than 40 small aluminium plants in China have been shut down because of heavy losses since last year.

China's aluminium output will reach 7.5 million tons this year, up from 6.67 million tons in 2004, he said.

Prices of alumina in China have been on the bullish side in recent years, boosted by strong demand.

The prices hover at around 5,400 yuan (US$665.8) per ton, more than double compared with two years ago.

(China Daily 09/22/2005 page9)

Alcan invests US$4.7 million to increase extrusion billet capacity at ABI joint venture

Canada NewsWire (press release), Canada MONTREAL, Sept. 21 /CNW Telbec/ -

Alcan Inc. (NYSE, TSX: AL) announced today that it has invested US$4.7 million to increase its share of extrusion billet capacity by approximately 28kt per year at the Aluminerie de Bécancour Inc. (ABI) smelter, of which the Company holds a 25.05 percent ownership.

"The expansion is strategic to the Alcan Primary Metal Group in North

America, to meet the growing demand of its customer base and to enhance

service levels throughout Alcan's multiple domestic billet casting centers,"

said Cynthia Carroll, President and Chief Executive Officer, Alcan Primary

Metal Group. "This investment further demonstrates Alcan's drive to maximize

value and our commitment to meet customers' needs," she added.

This project consists of increasing billet production by adding a

continuous homogenization furnace and ancillary casting equipment. ABI billet

production will increase from 120kt to 234kt while Alcan's share will increase

from 34kt to 63kt, approximately. The increased capacity is due to come on

stream in 2007.

Australian mining giant set to invest $1.6 bln in Vietnam

Thanh Nien Daily, Vietnam Wednesday, September 21, 2005 11:12:04 Vietnam (GMT+07)

BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, is poised to invest US$1.6 billion in Vietnam to mine for bauxite and process aluminum in the Central Highlands.

The Australian company applied for a license to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to set up a plant in Dak Nong province and submitted a preliminary plan to the ministry and provincial authorities.

A company official said the project would be divided into two stages. In the first stage, the plant would be capable of processing 1.5 million to 2 million tons of bauxite. In the second, the figure would rise to 6 million tons.

Melbourne-based BHP Billiton opened an office in the province in November 2004. A spokeswoman said the company was also searching in Vietnam for other minerals as well, but without being more specific.

About four tons of bauxite is needed to make two tons of powdery alumina, which is smelted to about one ton of aluminum for use in cars, planes, window frames and beverage cans.

N.Hydro rejects Canadian bid for aluminium smelter

Reuters Wed Sep 21, 2005 7:54 AM ET

OSLO, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Norwegian energy and aluminium group Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL: Quote, Profile, Research) has rejected an offer from Canada's Timminco (TIM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) to take over its aluminium smelter at Hoyanger in western Norway, Hydro said on Wednesday.

Norsk Hydro said that the conditions set by Timminco for a purchase of the smelter, which has annual capacity of 75,000 tonnes of aluminium, were unfavourable. It did not say how much the Canadian company had offered for the unit.

"Hydro wants to operate the metal smelter at Hoyanger as part of its long-term supply to the European metal markets," Norsk Hydro said in a statement.

It said the European aluminium market depended largely on imports from Norway and Iceland.

"It is strategically advantageous to have metal production within the European market," Hydro said.

"Although production of primary metal in Norway will come under pressure when existing power contracts expire in 2010, it is Hydro's goal to maintain production at Hoyanger as long as the operation makes a positive contribution," it said.

An energy cost squeeze led Norsk Hydro in June to announce it would close two of its three German aluminium smelters, cutting its primary capacity by around a tenth.

Hydro plans to close some outdated production capacity at Hoyanger to meet environmental norms.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

Alcoa confirms $1.6 billion Brazil expansion plans

Reuters Fri Sep 23, 2005 7:09 PM ET

By Andrew Hay

BRASILIA, Brazil (Reuters) - The board of directors of Alcoa Inc. (AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research), the world's largest aluminum producer, approved investment plans totaling $1.6 billion to expand operations in Brazil, company executives said Friday.

"This should result an extra $400 million in sales abroad and an extra $200 million from sales in Brazil," Franklin Feder, Alcoa's head of Latin American operations, said after a meeting with Brazil's President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.

The company said its plans include a 2.1 million metric ton per year expansion of the Alumar alumina refinery, the creation of a bauxite mine in Juruti and the modernization of a smelter in Minas Gerais state.

Feder said the bauxite reserves officially estimated at nearly 700 million tonnes "could actually be as high as 1 billion tonnes."

The expansion at Alumar is expected to start in November and be finished by the first half of 2008. The modernization of the Minas Gerais smelter is expected to begin immediately. Alcoa did not lay out a timetable for the Juruti mine, but said it received a full installation permit last month.

Alcoa executives have been discussing these expansion plans for some time with Brazilian authorities and said in August they expected a decision one way or another by the end of the year. Brazil exports nearly 70 percent of its aluminum output, which totaled 1.46 million tonnes in 2004.

Feder said 6,500 new jobs would be created from the construction and operation of the company's expansion projects.

ENERGY COSTS

Alcoa's Chief Executive Alan Belda said on Friday after meeting with President Lula that he expects higher energy costs to have a similar impact on total company fourth-quarter profits as on third quarter.

Alcoa issued a third-quarter profit warning on Thursday based in part on high energy costs, particularly natural gas. It said profits may fall as much as 39 percent below Wall Street expectations.

"The average cost of gas, oil, et cetera will be more or less the same in the fourth quarter as in the third quarter," the executive said.

"If the price of (natural) gas stays above $7, it's going to have an impact on the whole chain of energy consumption and will affect the price of (aluminum) products," Belda said.

When ask about how much of the company's natural gas costs for the fourth quarter had been hedged, the executive responded: "An important amount has been hedged, but I can't say how much."

He went on to say the hedge price for gas was based on "the average price over the last three years."

After falling sharply in aftermarket trade on Thursday after the third quarter profit warning, the stock fell again on Friday by 5.7 percent to $24.42 a share, its lowest closing in over a year.

(Additional reporting by Ben Berkowitz in New York)

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

Analysts: Alcoa may have to shift production out of North America

San Luis Obispo Tribune, CA Fri, Sep. 23, 2005

SEAN D. HAMILL

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH - Alcoa Inc. may have to shift production from expensive North American plants to ones in cheaper countries if the high cost of energy and raw materials is more than a short-term problem, analysts said Friday.

"They would have to look at higher cost operations, and that comes down to the North American region," said analyst Bill Selesky of New York-based Argus Research Corp. "They'll have to look for ways to cut costs."

The world's largest aluminum maker announced late Thursday that third-quarter earnings would fall far short of Wall Street's expectations, dropping its projections of earnings into a range of 27 cents to 31 cents per share. That's a one-third drop from the 43 cents per share that analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had been expecting.

The company's stock plummeted $1.48 per share on the announcement, hitting $24.42 at the close of trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock had previously traded in a 52-week range between $25.55 and $34.99.

Analysts' reactions were mixed, with some, like those at Goldman Sachs and Prudential, downgrading their ratings for Alcoa, but others, including Selesky, holding firm with a "buy" recommendation.

"It is trading at a 52-week low," Selesky said. "But we think most of the bad news is out there now."

Analysts said this is the third straight quarter the company has cited higher energy and raw materials costs, and it may be time to start viewing the increase as a long-term problem for Alcoa and all manufacturing companies.

"If this is a long-term shift in gas and energy prices, you've simply got to pay the costs," said Lloyd O'Carroll of BB&T Capital Markets in Richmond, Va. "But then you start asking: Should we build plants one place versus another place?"

Alcoa Spokesman Kevin Lowery on Friday said he couldn't give any detailed projections about what the company may do to make up for those rising costs.

"But I think it's safe to say that our company is going to be willing to do whatever it takes to address the costs that affect it in the long-term," he said.

Lowery conceded that many of the company's 250 North American facilities have higher costs than others around the world, "but many are also very competitive."

Earlier this year, Alcoa announced two rounds of layoffs that would cut a total of 8,300 jobs worldwide out of its 131,000-person work force. The company said the cuts are expected to save $195 million annually.

The United Steelworkers Union, which represents 13,000 Alcoa plant workers in the United States, has long feared that the company would look to shift more jobs out of North America.

"We've got completely out-of-control health-care costs ... environmental controls other countries don't have to deal with, and wages in other countries you couldn't survive on here in the U.S.," said Jim Robinson, the union's chief negotiator with Alcoa. "It's all putting American workers at a disadvantage."

Smelter makes milestone

Tasmania Examiner, Australia Saturday, 24 September 2005

COMALCO 50TH ANNIVERSARY

New technologies being trialled at Comalco's Bell Bay aluminium smelter could eventually be applied across the entire industry, Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Oscar Groeneveld said yesterday.

Mr Groeneveld told more than 150 guests at a ceremony marking the smelter's 50th anniversary that $17.5 million was being invested in technologies to improve energy efficiency.

"Bell Bay's workforce is highly regarded for its skills, experience and innovation - workforce productivity has more than doubled since the early `90s," Mr Groeneveld said.

"Rio Tinto has demonstrated its confidence in the Bell Bay smelter with significant capital investment - more than $200 million since 1998."

Mr Groeneveld, who was manager at Bell Bay in the early 1990s when there were concerns the ageing plant might be closed, said that as one of four smelters managed by Comalco it held a special place in the Rio Tinto stable.

"It has earned that right not because it's where aluminium smelting began, but because it is an example of how an older asset can continue to create value for its stakeholders," he said.

The first aluminium ingot in the southern hemisphere was poured at the joint Federal-State smelter on September 23, 1955, by then Federal Supply Minister Sir Howard Beale. The smelter was taken over by Comalco in 1960.

Yesterday, history was repeated with Premier Paul Lennon pouring a commemorative ingot at a plant that, in its earliest years, produced 12,000 tonnes of aluminium a year and last year lifted output to more than 170,000 tonnes.

Parliamentary secretary to the Trade Minister Sandy McDonald said Australian aluminium exports now topped $4 billion, or 12 per cent of all export earnings.

Mr Lennon said the smelter had provided an impetus for the development of Tasmania's hydro energy and played a large role in the State's multicultural development.

"For three generations, Comalco has been the lifeblood of George Town and a huge contributor to the Tasmanian economy," he said.

Bell Bay's new general manager, Niels Kristensen, said the planning of Australia's first smelter had been a bold move.

Mr Kristensen said Bell Bay was a special place, largely because of the people - present and past employees, contractors and the community.

The smelter employs 550 people directly, a further 100 full-time contractors and last year spent more than $124 million on goods and services from more than 450 Tasmanian suppliers.

Ghana to detail $2 bln Alcoa bauxite, alumina deal

Reuters South Africa, South Africa Fri Sep 23, 2005 1:34 PM GMT

By Orla Ryan

ACCRA (Reuters) - Ghana's state-owned Valco aluminium smelter and U.S.-based Alcoa Inc. plan to announce details of a $2 billion integrated bauxite mining and alumina refinery venture either later this year or early next year, a Valco executive said.

Seth Adjei, Valco's managing director, told Reuters on Thursday Alcoa, the world's No. 1 aluminium producer, was assessing the quality and quantity of Ghana's bauxite for the project. Bauxite is the raw material for producing aluminium.

The projected alumina refinery is part of plans for an integrated aluminium industry project in the West African nation outlined in a memorandum of understanding signed by Alcoa and Valco in January.

Once Alcoa had completed the bauxite testing, negotiations would take place on the company's role as a technical and equity partner in the project, whose cost Adjei estimated at $2 billion.

Asked when details of the project would be announced, he said: "It will be late this year or early next year".

"They are doing due diligence, we will figure out the role of Alcoa and the role of everybody. Ghana wants to develop an integrated industry, the missing piece is the refinery...that is where Alcoa is useful to us," Adjei added.

Alcoa has said it will participate in Ghana's bauxite and alumina operations through its Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC) global enterprise, which is 60 percent owned by Alcoa and 40 percent owned by Alumina Ltd. of Australia.

Alcoa is also a partner in Halco Mining Inc., a joint venture which controls the biggest bauxite mining firm in Guinea.

The Valco smelter -- which is 10 percent owned by Alcoa and 90 percent by the Ghanaian government -- is expected to restart partial production by the first quarter of next year, producing 120,000 tonnes on three of its five potlines.

It is expected to be operating at full capacity - estimated at 200,000 tonnes - by early 2007.

The smelter had been shut because of problems with electricity supply since May 2003.

But Adjei said the $560 million West African Gas Pipeline, which will extend Nigeria's existing Escravos-Lagos pipeline to Takoradi in Ghana by the end of 2006, should ensure a steady power supply.

"With the West African Gas pipeline coming in, there will be more than enough power," he said.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

Alcoa announces it will invest US$ 1.6 billion in Brazil

Agencia Brasil, Brazil 26-Sep-2005 16:13

Ana Paula Marra Reporter - Agência Brasil

Brasília - The president of Alcoa for Latin America, Franklin Feder, announced that the company, one of the world's largest aluminum producers, will invest US$ 1.6 billion in its Brazilian operations over the next three years.

The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was apprised of the amount of the investments at a meeting on Friday (23), in Brasília. According to Feder, Lula emphasized the importance of the new investments for reinforcing the growth of the Brazilian economy and creating jobs.

The investments will serve to expand the production of the Alumar Consortium's aluminum oxide refinery in São Luis, Maranhão, by more than 2.1 million tons; to implant a bauxite mine in Juriti, Pará, with an initial annual production of 2.6 tons; and to modernize the aluminum plant in Poços de Caldas, Minas Gerais, the first Alcoa factory in Brazil, functioning since 1970.

These investments will generate 6.5 thousand direct jobs and contribute US$ 400 million per year to the Brazilian trade balance.

The global president of Alcoa, Alain Belda, who also participated in the meeting, praised the current Brazilian administration's macroeconomic management.

Alcoa is active in 43 countries. In Brazil it has seven operating units, which are responsible for approximately 6 thousand jobs.

Translation: David Silberstein

Alcan to decide in October on Lannemezan smelter

Reuters Canada, Canada Mon Sep 26, 2005 11:30 AM EDT

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Alcan Inc. (AL.TO: Quote) said on Monday it expects to makes a decision next month on the future of its 50,000-ton aluminum smelter at Lannemezan, France, as it negotiates with electricity suppliers.

Chrystele Ivins, a spokeswoman for Alcan in France, said the company is seeking a new power contract for the plant, whose current electricity supply pact ends in the first quarter of 2006.

"Our electricity contracts are at very advantageous rates. In 2006, at current rates, the site would lose money," Ivins said.

An article in French newspaper Les Echos said Alcan top management told French politicians and local union officials that the facility would be closed, largely due to high power rates and because the plant, which employs 300 people, needs to be modernized.

Alcan acquired the plant in the Hautes-Pyrenees region, near the border with Spain, during its takeover of French rival Pechiney.

Global Alumina Agrees with UNDP to Advance Millennium Goals in Guinea

allAfrica.com September 26, 2005

Sebastian Satigui Conakry

In the first agreement of its kind in the Republic of Guinea, a public/private partnership pact has been signed between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Alumina. The New York-based company is making the largest foreign direct investment to date in the West African nation to build a refinery for processing bauxite into alumina for export to the world market.

A memorandum of understanding was initialed in Conakry on Thursday by Mbaranga Gasarabwe, the UNDP resident representative, and Global Alumina Senior Vice President Haskell Ward. The UN agency and the company plan to cooperate on economic projects that will contribute to the achievement in Guinea of the UN's Millennium Development Goals to halve extreme poverty in the world by 2015.

Guinea's people are among the world's poorest. The country ranks 156 out of 177 nations on UNDP's Human Development Index 2005, which incorporates life expectancy and educational attainment as well as standard of living. Ruled for more than two decades by former general Lansana Conte, who was elected president in 1993 and reelected in 1998 and 2003, Guinea has suffered from surrounding turmoil. Conflicts in neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone have spilled fighting, refugees and humanitarian emergencies into Guinea, which also borders Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and Mali.

Yet Guinea has vast and largely unexploited mineral resources, including gold, diamonds, uranium and high-grade iron ore. The country is the world's second largest bauxite producer after Australia, with estimated reserves of 25 billion metric tons, accounting for a third of known world reserves. Guinea's bauxite supplies nearly 50 percent of the U.S. and Canadian import markets.

Since independence from France in 1958, the country has seen most of its bauxite output exported to foreign refineries. Near its mine at Fria, in the bauxite-rich northwest, Alumina Compagnie de Guinée operates a refinery with an output of one million metric tons per year, processing about 15 percent of the bauxite mined annually in the country. Refining bauxite increases the earnings of the producing country as much as ten fold, as does smelting alumina into finished aluminum products, a process done almost exclusively in developed countries.

The country's biggest bauxite mining operation is Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinea (CBG), owned 49 percent by the Guinea government and 51 percent by Halco, controlled by the world's two largest aluminum producers, Alcoa and Alcan. CBG accounts for some 80 percent of the country's foreign earnings. Last year, Halco announced plans to study the feasibility of building a 1.5 million metric-ton-per-year refinery in the country. The report is expected to be completed by the end of 2005. A joint venture between the government and Russki Alumina produces bauxite mainly for the Russian and Eastern European market.

Global Alumina's operational agreement was ratified unanimously by Guinea's National Assembly in May and endorsed by President Conté in July. The agreement grants the company a bauxite mining concession, the right to construct and operate the planned refinery, and access to existing road, rail and port facilities, as well as investment protections and other financial incentives. Construction of the 2.8 million metric-ton-per-annum refinery in Kamsar, about 200 miles north of Conakry, is expected to take three years for the first phase and another year for completion of a second processing line.

Global Alumina, which is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange, is a signatory to the Global Compact, a United Nations effort initiated by Secretary General Kofi Annan "to challenge businesses around the world to take greater responsibility in society and act upon a set of universally recognized principles in the areas of human rights, labor rights and the environment."

The company's mission statement says the Global Alumina refinery "will assist Guinea to improve its citizens' quality of life by unlocking the country's most abundant and valuable natural resource" and will "enhance Guinea's transportation, communications, and other infrastructure while adhering to the highest world standards of environmental responsibility."

The September 22 memorandum signed by Global Alumina and UNDP designates four areas of cooperation - vocational training, support for business incubation facilities, small business development services and financing for micro and small enterprises. Global Alumina committed $75,000 for the first six months, "to be followed by other contributions as deemed necessary and feasible for the period 2006 - 2011". UNDP has agreed to provide at least $50,000 initially and to seek additional funding "as commensurable to its own resources and to the commitments made by Global Alumina".

Global Alumina's involvement in Guinea has been challenged by Alcan and Alcoa, who control most of the country's bauxite output through Halco's majority ownership of CBG. In March, however, Halco agreed to hold talks about supplying bauxite to Global Alumina's refinery. Last week, the government set an end-of-September deadline for a decision.

"Guinea remains firm in its desire to have Global Alumina operating on its territory," a senior official at the Ministry of Mines told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "If Halco does not react in time, the authorities will take the necessary measures," said the official, who provided no details on what actions were being considered.

3 Proposals For Sarawak Aluminum Smelter

Yahoo! News - Sep 25, 2005

KUALA LUMPUR (Dow Jones)--Malaysia's federal government has received three proposals for an aluminum smelter to be built in East Malaysia's Sarawak state, the Edge weekly newspaper says.

The three proposals are from Smelter Asia Sdn. Bhd., controlled by publicity-shy businessman Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, Australia mining company Rio Tinto Ltd. (RIO.AU), and Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd. (2852.KU), the report says, quoting unnamed sources.

Cahya Mata is controlled by the family of the Sarawak chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

The federal government will take into account the power price that smelter bidders are prepared to pay, before deciding which party to award the contract to, the report says.

The smelter will use power from the 2,400-megawatt Bakun hydroelectric dam that the government is building in Sarawak.

The dam's completion will likely be in early 2009, and not mid-2007 as previously agreed.

"The government is looking at offering an extension of somewhere between 10 months and one year," the report quotes a source as saying.

Analysts have said the Bakun dam project isn't viable if a power-hungry industry such as aluminum smelting isn't started nearby. Sarawak is still largely covered by rainforest and lacks industries and a population that can consume the electricity Bakun will generate, they say.

Newspaper Web site: http://www.theedgedaily.com

-Kuala Lumpur bureau, Dow Jones Newswires; 603-2692-5254; djnews.kl@dowjones.com

-Edited by Tracy Gan

Russian Aluminium Producer Invests $1Bln in Construction of Tajik Hydropower Plant

MOSNEWS, Russia 27.09.2005 11:59 MSK (GMT +3)

Russian aluminum giant RusAl is investing more than $1 billion in the construction of the Rogunskaya hydroelectric power plant in Tajikistan, the Industry and Energy Minister said on Monday, Sept. 26.

"This project is a step in the joint exploration of water resources and RusAl is investing more than a billion dollars in the construction of the plant," Viktor Khristenko said, quoted by RIA Novosti.

According to Khristenko, the construction of the Rogunskaya plant and Sangtuda 1 and 2 plants would allow Tajikistan to increase its annual electric power output from 16 to 34 billion kilowatts and to export surplus energy to South Kazakhstan, Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. The construction of the Sangtuda hydropower plants is being financed jointly by the Russian power grid monopoly Unified Energy System and the Tajik government.

The Rogunskaya plant is being constructed 110 kilometers east of the Tajik capital of Dushanbe. When the plant hits full operatinal capacity, it will have a 13.3 billion-kWh per year output. The launch of the first stage is planned for December 2009.

Rusal predicts China and India to drive aluminum demand

Engineering News, South Africa 28-Sep-2005

Speaking this week at Metal Bulletin's 20th International Aluminium Conference at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta, MD of sales and marketing at the world's third-largest aluminum producer Rusal Peter Finnimore highlighted the major drivers behind global demand for aluminum and provided an update on its product strategy.

In a presentation to executives representing all segments of the global aluminium industry, Finnimore delivered a region-by-region assessment of the production dynamics in each geographic market and the demand factors that Rusal expects to sustain market growth through 2009.

"We see global aluminum demand continuing to grow at an average annual rate of 4,3% between 2005 and 2009," said Finnimore.

"Our expectations are based on sustained and rising demand driven by strength in the construction, transportation and manufacturing industries in China and the emergence of the consumer market in India, offsetting weaker demand growth in Europe and North America.

"To address this demand, Rusal anticipates that the most significant production growth will come from China, Russia and the Middle East."

"However, over the longer term we anticipate that production in Brazil and Russia will outpace growth on the supply side in India and China, due to higher energy costs in those countries," Finnimore added.

"In addition, we expect that producers in traditional markets will need to address the changing market dynamics by carefully managing energy consumption and increasing secondary processing and value-added for primary aluminum.

"At Rusal, as a result of our investments in smelting capacity and new technology, we expect to increase output of value-added products to 50% of total sales over the long-term."

Aluminum Consumption Will Lag Production in 2006, Alcan Says

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg)

Aluminum consumption will lag production next year for the first time since 2003 as higher energy prices slow economic expansion, said Alcan Inc., the world's No. 2 producer of the metal used in cars and cans.

There will be a ``slight surplus'' of aluminum in 2006, said Carmine Nappi, director of industry analysis for the Montreal- based company. Demand will grow as much as 4.6 percent next year to 33.5 million metric tons, compared with a 5 percent increase in 2005, Nappi said, speaking at Metal Bulletin's International Aluminium conference in Atlanta yesterday.

``That surplus will become much more significant if demand drops sooner than expected because of high power costs,'' Nappi said.

Aluminum prices traded at an eight-year high in March as consumers were forced to use metal from inventory to make up for a shortfall in production. The metal rose 22 percent on the London Metal Exchange last year.

Aluminum for delivery in three months on the LME closed $20, or 1.1 percent, lower at $1,860 a ton yesterday. It traded on March 11 at $2,016.

To contact the reporter on this story:

Simon Casey in London scasey4@bloomberg.net

CVG, Australian company to build Al plant - Venezuela

Business News Americas, Chile Thursday, September 29, 2005 18:22 (GMT -0400)

Venezuela's state heavy industry holding company CVG and Australia's Inalco have signed a letter of intent to build a primary aluminum reduction pilot plant, Venezuela's basic industry and mining ministry (Mibam) said in a statement.

The plant will be in Puerto Ordaz city in Bolívar state and have production capacity of 70,000t/y of aluminum. In a second phase, capacity will increase to 140,000t/y, the statement said.

This strategic alliance will use Venezuelan V-350 direct aluminum reduction technology, minister Víctor Álvarez said.

Parties to the agreement will work jointly on aspects related to shareholder stakes, capital contribution, plant construction and operation plus the commercialization of the new technology, the statement said without mentioning the project investment levels.

President Hugo Chávez's government a few months ago started a revision of the contract process with foreign companies, aiming to increase benefits to the state from the country's natural resources.

Ormet, labor union agree on contract extension

Gonzales Ascension Citizen, LA 29 Sep 2005

Citizen staff report

BURNSIDE - Ormet Primary Aluminum Corporation has agreed to extend its labor agreement with the United States Steelworkers that was set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Sept. 25, according to a press release from the company.

Members of the United Steelworkers Local 14465 will continue to work under the same terms and conditions of employment, pending continuing efforts to negotiate a new labor agreement, the release reads.

As part of the interim agreement, the union has agreed to provide Ormet with 72 hours notice if it should decide to strike.

Evergreen Aluminum plant awaits new uses

OregonLive.com, OR Thursday, September 29, 2005

Development - The 111-acre industrial site in west Vancouver may pose environmental questions

VANCOUVER -- With its vacant, weedy lot and darkened exterior walls, the World War II-era Evergreen Aluminum smelter looks like it has been closed for decades instead of a few years.

An Evergreen spokesman says the plant may one day be restarted, a prospect that could add hundreds of jobs to the local economy. But, as Northwest smelters are idled or dismantled because of high electricity prices, a revitalized aluminum plant in Vancouver appears unlikely.

So, the long-term prospects for the land may be other heavy industrial uses, local officials say.

For now, discussions are quiet about the sale of Evergreen's 111 acres or an adjoining 100 acres owned by Alcoa, with only the Port of Vancouver as a known interested buyer. Purchasers would want to resolve questions of environmental contamination of the Evergreen land because the adjacent Alcoa property was once a federal Superfund cleanup site.

Development officials no doubt remember that just five years ago Boise Cascade officials said their 27 acres on the Columbia River were not for sale. At the time, officials expressed concern that the property, once the site of a pulp mill, might be contaminated. Today, the Boise property is for sale, environmental concerns are virtually nonexistent and the site is viewed as prime for residential development.

The smelter-area property, just 3.5 miles from downtown, may be less glamorous. But it's still valuable.

"We're watching with some interest," said Larry Paulson, Port of Vancouver executive director.

Paulson said the port is not actively seeking to purchase any portion of the Evergreen or Alcoa acreage. The property sits near approximately 500 acres of farmland the Port wants to develop in its Columbia Gateway project.

Vancouver officials see the industrial development value of the Evergreen and Alcoa properties, said Gerald Baugh, manager of business development for the city. But the city is not a potential buyer. "It is a far better opportunity for the Port," he said.

When Alcoa operated the smelter, now named Evergreen Aluminum, it owned more than 1,000 acres on the Columbia River.

Alumina prices tipped to fall in 2006

Bloomberg, Metals Place, UK, 30-Sep-2005

Global production of alumina would expand to 71 million tonnes next year, from 66 million tonnes in 2005, AME economist Rob Bishop told the Metal Bulletin's International Aluminium Conference in Atlanta.

Output next year would exceed demand by about 500,000 tonnes after a 150,000-tonne shortfall in 2005.

Alumina refiners are expanding after spot prices rose to their highest in at least 11 years.

Mr Bishop said the raw material accounted for half of all costs in China's aluminium industry, the world's largest. About two tonnes of the white powder, which is refined from bauxite, is needed to make each tonne of aluminium.

Spot alumina prices are at $US485 a tonne, the highest in at least 11 years, according to Metal Bulletin data. Spot alumina has gained 20 per cent this year.

Rio began operations in November at its Comalco plant in Queensland, the first new alumina refinery to be built since the 1980s. The company raised its alumina output 45 per cent to 1.49 million tonnes in the first half.

Vedanta Resources and Dubai Aluminium are among other metal companies planning additional production capacity.

By the end of 2007 there would be "a large surplus" of alumina relative to demand, MrBishop said.