AluNews - March 2007

Alcoa to close Kentucky plant

Fort Worth Star Telegram, TX Thu, Mar. 01, 2007 Associated Press

PITTSBURGH - Alcoa Inc. intends to close its Reynolds Food Packaging plastics manufacturing plant in Mount Vernon, Ky., by the middle of this year.

The Pittsburgh producer and manager of aluminum and alumina facilities said the closing will affect 115 people.

Production will continue through April until certain lines are transferred to other packaging facilities, the company said.

Novelis has $275 million loss in 2006

Atlanta Business Chronicle - March 1, 2007

Novelis Inc., which will soon be bought by Hindalco Industries Inc., posted a loss in 2006 due to higher metal prices, energy costs and transportation costs.

The Atlanta-based rolled aluminum company (NYSE: NVL) had a net loss of $275 million and a loss of $3.71a share on $9.8 billion in sales. This compares with net income of $90 million and earnings of $1.21 a share on $8.4 billion in sales in 2005.

Novelis' earnings in 2006 were impacted by higher metal prices, which the company was unable to completely pass through to certain customers as a result of metal price ceilings on a portion of its can sheet sales in North America. In 2006, Novelis was unable to pass through approximately $475 million of metal price increases associated with sales under these contracts. The company also had to deal with higher energy and transportation costs; the adverse effects of currency exchange rates; and expenses related to the company's restatement and review process, delayed financial reporting and continued reliance on third- party consultants to support its financial reporting requirements.

"In the past year we made significant progress in strengthening the company for the future," said Ed Blechschmidt, acting CEO of Novelis. "We have taken steps to streamline the manufacturing operations and to introduce supply chain improvements. We have also improved our financial controls and procedures and our risk management capabilities."

In February, Hindalco reported its $3.6 billion deal to buy Novelis. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter. When the deal is complete, Hindalco will be the world's largest aluminum rolling company, one of the biggest producers of primary aluminum in Asia and India's leading copper producer.

Gilbertson May Quit After RusAl Merger

The Moscow Times, Russia - Friday, March 2, 2007. Issue 3607. Page 6.

By Daan van der Schriek Staff Writer

Brian Gilbertson, president of Viktor Vekselberg-controlled aluminum company SUAL, will leave his post when the merger with RusAl and Swiss trading company Glencore's alumina assets is completed later this month, the Financial Times reported Thursday, citing sources close to the company.

Analysts said his departure was not unexpected and would not have negative consequences for either SUAL or the merger. SUAL and RusAl declined to comment Thursday on Gilbertson's position or the progress of the merger.

In an e-mailed response to Bloomberg, Gilbertson said: "There is nothing I wish to say at this time."

On Feb. 23, Gilbertson said he might not chair the merged company, United Company RusAl, if its initial share sale were delayed. Vekselberg said in October that he expected the company to make an IPO on international markets within 18 months.

Gilbertson also said last week that he would lead a $493 million takeover bid for Consolidated Minerals of Australia, said John Meyer, director of metals and mining research at Numis Securities in London.

"He has been instrumental for the merger but his job is done and he has moved on," Meyer said.

Before joining SUAL as president in 2004 to prepare for the company's listing on the London Stock Exchange, Gilbertson served as president of South African mining firm BHP-Billiton and as chairman of the Indian metals group Vedanta Resources.

The FT also reported that Gilbertson and Vekselberg had clashed in the course of salary negotiations for the chairmanship of the merged company. Oleg Deripaska, who controls RusAl, also agreed that Gilbertson should leave after the merger, the newspaper said.

Although the pay package might have been an issue of contention, it probably was not the main one, said Timothy McCutcheon, fund manager at DBM capital.

RusAl, which will own 66 percent in the new company, will have much more influence in the running of the firm than SUAL and Glencore, which will control 22 percent and 12 percent respectively.

Consequently, it makes little sense for RusAl to accept a chairman from SUAL, "unless they had come up with some very amazing guy," McCutcheon said.

Gilbertson, for all his experience in metals and mining, is not the only suitable candidate, analysts said.

"Gilbertson is a good specialist but not somebody without whom the company will fail," said Sergei Donskoi, metals analyst with Troika Dialog.

Citing a source close to the new company, the FT reported that the chairman would be Russian and a representative of SUAL's shareholders. But McCutcheon and Meyer disagreed, saying RusAl would likely try to place its own man in the position.

United Company RusAl will continue to prepare for its London listing despite Gilbertson's departure, the FT reported.

Three strikes against Gilbertson. Is he out?

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - March 2, 2007

Jamie Freed

FORMER BHP Billiton boss Brian Gilbertson looks to have been ousted by his chairman for the third time in a row - and once again, his salary is believed to have been a sticking point.

Less than a week after announcing grand plans to return to the Australian market through a partial private equity takeover of Perth's Consolidated Minerals, Mr Gilbertson reportedly has been dumped from the top job at Russian aluminium producer Sual.

Mr Gilbertson, who has headed Sual since 2004, had a falling out with the company's chairman, Russian oligarch Victor Vekselberg, over remuneration issues, the Financial Times reported yesterday.

When a three-way merger between Sual, larger Russian aluminium producer Rusal and Glencore's aluminium business was announced last year, Mr Gilbertson was expected to chair the enlarged company, ahead of a listing in London, in return for a reported payment of $US50 million ($63.47 million).

At the time, Mr Gilbertson was believed to have a grand vision of pursuing a commodity diversification strategy which would turn the Russian giant into a company similar to the likes of BHP or Brazil's CVRD.

But speaking to Australian media last week, Mr Gilbertson indicated his future with the enlarged company was in doubt - although he claimed that was due to "timing issues" with the planned London listing.

However, the Financial Times reported Mr Gilbertson was not pleased with the prospect of being the aluminium company's non-executive chairman.

Former BHP and Billiton employees previously have told the Herald he prefers to rule with an iron fist, with the board rubber-stamping his executive decisions.

Before the Sual debacle, Mr Gilbertson was ousted by the boards of BHP and London-listed Vedanta Resources after relatively short stints.

He departed both companies millions of dollars wealthier and, in BHP's case, with a $1.5 million a year pension for life.

Instead of running the $US30 billion aluminium producer, it now looks like Mr Gilbertson will have to settle for chairing private London fund Pallinghurst Resources and possibly taking a 60 per cent stake and a non-executive director role at ConsMin.

Interestingly, Mr Gilbertson last week hinted Pallinghurst might receive financial backing from Mr Vekselberg.

Mr Gilbertson said he was targeting $US1 billion in equity commitments as part of his plan to turn ConsMin into an $8 billion diversified miner.

UAE, Algeria sign 5-billion-dollar deal on aluminum smelter

People's Daily Online, China - March 04, 2007

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Algeria have signed a deal worth 5 billion U.S. dollars to build an aluminum smelter in Algeria, Emirates News Agency reported on Saturday.

According to the deal between UAE's Mubadala Development Company and Algeria's national energy company Sonatrach, the smelter will be built at a 400 hectare site at Beni Saf on Algeria 's western coastline with an production capacity of about 700,000 tons of high grade primary aluminum a year.

The project will also include a 2,000 MW dedicated power plant with a specially constructed deep-water wharf to handle the import of raw materials and export of aluminum.

According to the report, the smelter will feature two potlines, using the modern and energy-efficient DX technology from Dubai Aluminum Company (DUBAL), owner of the Mubadala Development Company together with the government of Abu Dhabi.

"We have developed our own DX technology which will be a feature of the new smelter and DUBAL will provide essential technical support and resources to ensure its success," DUBAL's CEO Abdullah Kalban was quoted as saying.

He said that his company will provide the latest technology and adhere to the highest environmental standards at every stage.

Source: Xinhua

Hydro Aluminum shutdown costing 262 jobs

Kingston Daily Freeman, NY - 03/03/2007

By Kathryn Heidecker, Freeman staff

ELLENVILLE - Hydro Aluminum is closing it aluminum extrusion operation in Ellenville, putting 262 employees out of work, the company announced on Friday.

The casthouse that Hydro operates at the same plant will continue to operate and employ 50 people.

The laid-off workers, who make an average of $15.50 per hour, were told of the impending shutdown during an hourlong meeting Friday morning. They then were given the rest of the day off, with pay, and told to return to work on Monday, said company spokesman Lynn Brown.

Brown said the extrusion employees - who shape aluminum components and produce tubing - will continue to work for six to eight weeks. The layoffs will begin in April, and the operation will shut down by June.

Brown said Hydro hopes to relocate some of the affected workers and will give severance pay and outplacement assistance to the rest.

Brown wouldn't speculate about how many employees may be offered jobs elsewhere in the company. "We're just starting that process," he said.

"Now our energy really needs to be focused on a transition that limits the impact on employees, the community and customers," Brown said.

The local facility, part of Hydro's North American unit, is one of 10 Hydro plants in the United States and Mexico that supply fabricated aluminum components to building, transportation and capital equipment markets throughout the United States. The North American unit, based in Maryland, employs about 3,000 people.

Hydro laid off 24 workers in Ellenville in April 2006 and announced two months later that it was trying to sell the local operation.

The company had talks with "multiple potential buyers," Brown said, but one possible deal fell through in January and another was deemed unlikely last week.

Brown said the company expects some customers to increase their orders before the shutdown of the extrusion operation so they can stock up on what they need.

"We don't think our customers will abandon ship," he said.

This is the second time in recent years that Ellenville has been hit by a plant closing. Imperial Schrade closed its cutlery manufacturing site in the village in July 2004, costing more than 250 people their jobs.

©Daily Freeman 2007

Guinea bauxite/alumina deal moves closer to fruition

The Age, Australia - Mar 2, 2007

Barry FitzGerald

Relative calm has returned to Guinea after seven weeks of bloody civilian unrest against President Lansana Conte's 23-year rule. Which is just as well for BHP Billiton.

This weekend the group is due to sign up for a lead role in a $4 billion bauxite/alumina development in the impoverished west African nation's Boke prefecture.

What's more, the group's aluminium division has just made wholesale changes to its management structure in recognition of the Guinea project's potential to deliver a much-needed growth option.

In an internal memo to staff outlining the management overhaul, BHP's aluminium president, Graeme Hunt, said that the new structure "has been established recognising the critical stage we have reached in establishing Guinea as a key focus area for the customer sector group".

"If we can capture the Guinea project we will have added significant value to BHP's portfolio of alumina and bauxite assets," he said. Guinea is home to one-third of the world's bauxite, the principal ore of aluminium after first being processed into alumina (aluminium oxide).

Mr Hunt's memo was penned just ahead of BHP having to evacuate the 20 employees it has working on the Guinea project because their safety could not be guaranteed.

The taskforce returns this weekend, with the security situation much improved thanks to President Conte relenting to union demands for the appointment of a "consensus" prime minister from a list of their preferred candidates. More than 115 people, mainly civilians, were killed during Guinea's seven weeks of turmoil.

The key management change by BHP's aluminium division has been the appointment of Nelson Silva as president, strategy, business development and South America, based in London.

The multilingual Mr Silva was previously marketing/sales director of Brazilian mining giant CVRD. He was in charge of 120 people based in six international offices, and was responsible for minerals sales of $US12 billion — a role that matches the global spread of BHP's aluminium interests.

Outsiders tip that Mr Silva could be one to watch, saying he has not been brought in to manage the status quo. Despite the success with its Mozal smelting business in Mozambique, the aluminium division has started to look flat-footed compared with its major rivals.

Don Carroll has been leading commercial negotiations for the Guinea project (Sangredi) and is CEO-elect for Sangredi Guinea, in which BHP will hold a one-third interest. The other partners are the original promoter of the project, the Canadian-listed but US-controlled Global Alumina, Dubai's state-owned aluminium producer DUBAL and Abu Dhabi's Mubadala investment arm.

UAE, Algeria sign 5-billion-dollar deal on aluminum smelter

People's Daily Online, China - March 04, 2007

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Algeria have signed a deal worth 5 billion U.S. dollars to build an aluminum smelter in Algeria, Emirates News Agency reported on Saturday.

According to the deal between UAE's Mubadala Development Company and Algeria's national energy company Sonatrach, the smelter will be built at a 400 hectare site at Beni Saf on Algeria 's western coastline with an production capacity of about 700,000 tons of high grade primary aluminum a year.

The project will also include a 2,000 MW dedicated power plant with a specially constructed deep-water wharf to handle the import of raw materials and export of aluminum.

According to the report, the smelter will feature two potlines, using the modern and energy-efficient DX technology from Dubai Aluminum Company (DUBAL), owner of the Mubadala Development Company together with the government of Abu Dhabi.

"We have developed our own DX technology which will be a feature of the new smelter and DUBAL will provide essential technical support and resources to ensure its success," DUBAL's CEO Abdullah Kalban was quoted as saying.

He said that his company will provide the latest technology and adhere to the highest environmental standards at every stage.

Source: Xinhua

Hydro Aluminum shutdown costing 262 jobs

Kingston Daily Freeman, NY - 03/03/2007

By Kathryn Heidecker, Freeman staff

ELLENVILLE - Hydro Aluminum is closing it aluminum extrusion operation in Ellenville, putting 262 employees out of work, the company announced on Friday.

The casthouse that Hydro operates at the same plant will continue to operate and employ 50 people.

The laid-off workers, who make an average of $15.50 per hour, were told of the impending shutdown during an hourlong meeting Friday morning. They then were given the rest of the day off, with pay, and told to return to work on Monday, said company spokesman Lynn Brown.

Brown said the extrusion employees - who shape aluminum components and produce tubing - will continue to work for six to eight weeks. The layoffs will begin in April, and the operation will shut down by June.

Brown said Hydro hopes to relocate some of the affected workers and will give severance pay and outplacement assistance to the rest.

Brown wouldn't speculate about how many employees may be offered jobs elsewhere in the company. "We're just starting that process," he said.

"Now our energy really needs to be focused on a transition that limits the impact on employees, the community and customers," Brown said.

The local facility, part of Hydro's North American unit, is one of 10 Hydro plants in the United States and Mexico that supply fabricated aluminum components to building, transportation and capital equipment markets throughout the United States. The North American unit, based in Maryland, employs about 3,000 people.

Hydro laid off 24 workers in Ellenville in April 2006 and announced two months later that it was trying to sell the local operation.

The company had talks with "multiple potential buyers," Brown said, but one possible deal fell through in January and another was deemed unlikely last week.

Brown said the company expects some customers to increase their orders before the shutdown of the extrusion operation so they can stock up on what they need.

"We don't think our customers will abandon ship," he said.

This is the second time in recent years that Ellenville has been hit by a plant closing. Imperial Schrade closed its cutlery manufacturing site in the village in July 2004, costing more than 250 people their jobs.

©Daily Freeman 2007

Guinea bauxite/alumina deal moves closer to fruition

The Age, Australia - Mar 2, 2007

Barry FitzGerald

Relative calm has returned to Guinea after seven weeks of bloody civilian unrest against President Lansana Conte's 23-year rule. Which is just as well for BHP Billiton.

This weekend the group is due to sign up for a lead role in a $4 billion bauxite/alumina development in the impoverished west African nation's Boke prefecture.

What's more, the group's aluminium division has just made wholesale changes to its management structure in recognition of the Guinea project's potential to deliver a much-needed growth option.

In an internal memo to staff outlining the management overhaul, BHP's aluminium president, Graeme Hunt, said that the new structure "has been established recognising the critical stage we have reached in establishing Guinea as a key focus area for the customer sector group".

"If we can capture the Guinea project we will have added significant value to BHP's portfolio of alumina and bauxite assets," he said. Guinea is home to one-third of the world's bauxite, the principal ore of aluminium after first being processed into alumina (aluminium oxide).

Mr Hunt's memo was penned just ahead of BHP having to evacuate the 20 employees it has working on the Guinea project because their safety could not be guaranteed.

The taskforce returns this weekend, with the security situation much improved thanks to President Conte relenting to union demands for the appointment of a "consensus" prime minister from a list of their preferred candidates. More than 115 people, mainly civilians, were killed during Guinea's seven weeks of turmoil.

The key management change by BHP's aluminium division has been the appointment of Nelson Silva as president, strategy, business development and South America, based in London.

The multilingual Mr Silva was previously marketing/sales director of Brazilian mining giant CVRD. He was in charge of 120 people based in six international offices, and was responsible for minerals sales of $US12 billion — a role that matches the global spread of BHP's aluminium interests.

Outsiders tip that Mr Silva could be one to watch, saying he has not been brought in to manage the status quo. Despite the success with its Mozal smelting business in Mozambique, the aluminium division has started to look flat-footed compared with its major rivals.

Don Carroll has been leading commercial negotiations for the Guinea project (Sangredi) and is CEO-elect for Sangredi Guinea, in which BHP will hold a one-third interest. The other partners are the original promoter of the project, the Canadian-listed but US-controlled Global Alumina, Dubai's state-owned aluminium producer DUBAL and Abu Dhabi's Mubadala investment arm.

Bosnia invites offers for largest aluminum smelter in Balkans

Budapest Business Journal, Hungary - 05 Mar 2007

bbj.hu

Bosnia invited offers for an 88% stake in its sole aluminum smelter, Aluminij Mostar, at a starting price of €76.8 mln ($101 mln).

The government wants to attract investors with international experience in aluminum processing like Alcoa, Alcan Inc., Norway's Norsk Hydro and Swiss-based metals trader Glencore International AG, said Enes Ganic, chairman of the bidding commission. Offers are accepted until April 23, he said. The Aluminij Mostar stake is owned by Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation and smaller shareholders. The remaining 12% is owned by Croatia's TLM Company, Ganic said. Prospective buyers must maintain annual output of some 121,000 tons of metal, keep all 950 employees and pay for the aluminum smelter in cash. The plant, the single largest aluminum smelter in the Balkans, exported products worth €240 million in 2006. Under provisions of the 1995 Dayton peace accord that ended war, Bosnia is divided into a Serb entity, or Republika Srpska, and a Bosnian federation comprised of Muslim and Croatian parts of the country. (Bloomberg)

Aluar completes gas pipeline for Puerto Madryn expansion - Argentina

Business News Americas, Chile Monday, March 5, 2007 17:40 (GMT -0400)

Argentine aluminum producer Aluar (Buenos Aires: ALUA) has completed a gas pipeline that will supply fuel to expand its plant in Puerto Madryn in southern Chubut province.

"This weekend [Aluar] worked on upgrading the gas pipeline that will provide gas to [its] plant," a Chubut government official told BNamericas.

The work focused on pipe-filling and controlling possible leaks, he explained.

An Aluar executive indicated that, according to company estimates, phase one of the project should begin before midyear. "Fortunately, the work is going according to schedule," he added.

The 60km line will link the region's main gas pipeline with the Puerto Madryn plant.

The US$650mn plant expansion is designed to increase Aluar's production capacity to some 400,000t/ from 280,000t/y.

Aluar is the country's only primary aluminum maker and exports 85% of its output, mainly to the US, the EU and Asia. The company is controlled by the Madanez Quintanilla family.

By Harvey Beltrán

Town, Alcoa relations sour

News & Observer, NC

As jobs disappear, residents fear waste will be left behind

Dennis says town is being treated like a 'worker colony.'

Bruce Henderson, The Charlotte Observer

BADIN - The jobs went first. Now the 90-year kinship of a community and its biggest industry is crumbling under a cloud of pollution and competing claims to the river that put this little town on the map.

Alcoa's aluminum works once paid nearly 1,000 people good wages. Stanly County saluted its leading employer with a smelting crucible on its official seal.

Most of the jobs are now gone, and county leaders worry about what's left behind.

Contamination is at the top of the list. Smelting aluminum produces tons of hazardous waste and, before environmental laws were enacted, Alcoa simply dumped it.

Local leaders fear Stanly will be left with sick people and huge cleanup bills.

Alcoa vows it won't walk away from the tainted soil and groundwater in and near the plant. State authorities haven't decided whether it poses health risks.

Then there's the $44 million a year Alcoa earns from its four hydroelectric plants on the Yadkin River, which once helped power the smelters.

The county wants a taste, arguing that the wealth of its most vital natural resource is being exported. Alcoa says no.

Hard feelings have divided the county. Many residents -- "company-store people," county commissioners Chairman Tony Dennis calls them -- spent careers at the aluminum works.

"They've always treated us as a worker colony here," says Dennis, who helped bury Alcoa waste years ago, "and they're still treating us like a worker colony."

In Badin, a lakefront town of 2,000 where many live in old row houses built by Alcoa's French predecessor, the company still gets the benefit of the doubt.

Trouble sets in

The conflict took root in 2002, when the Alcoa Power Generating subsidiary moved to renew its 50-year license to manage the river. That's also the year the parent company largely shut down the Badin works, shedding more than 300 jobs. Seventy-two workers remain for now.

After the usual relicensing debate over lake levels and dam releases, Stanly officials last year began asking hard questions about contamination.

"They're fair questions to ask," says Gene Ellis, an Alcoa official in Badin. "How they get asked is another story. Unfortunately, the method the county commissioners chose was like a disrespectful inquisition."

The county contends that Alcoa has dodged its questions, many of which lie outside the normal scope of hydro licensing.

Alcoa did agree last week to donate about 1,100 acres -- an offer pared down in part because some of the land was contaminated -- to expand nearby Morrow Mountain State Park. It also agreed to sell 4,700 acres to the state.

The company says it will do environmental assessments of any land it divests.

The Badin works produced 2.3 million pounds of hazardous wastes in 1997, when it ran at full tilt, federal documents say.

State records document 13 contaminated sites in and around the plant. The plant and a nearby landfill Alcoa shared appear in the federal Superfund database of hazardous sites but not on its cleanup priority list.

Alcoa has spent $8 million to remove contamination at eight sites, Ellis says, and will spend up to $2 million more at one. Monitoring wells have been installed to detect the movement of contaminated groundwater.

Alcoa's critics say more waste could lie hidden among the company's 15,000 acres. And they're suspicious of the large number of Stanly County wells tainted by arsenic, which occurs naturally but also in Alcoa's wastes.

If the wells were plotted on a map, says county health director Dennis Joyner, an unusually large number of dots would appear near the Alcoa-controlled Yadkin shoreline. He's unable to tell whether arsenic or other aluminum wastes could have sickened people.

"I have no indication, from what I'm aware of, that [Alcoa] is contributing," Joyner says. "But at the same time, I don't know that it's not there."

Alcoa says it's not to blame for the tainted wells.

The county and company continue to spar, meanwhile, over the Yadkin.

Local leaders say they hope to negotiate a return of some of Alcoa's hydroelectric revenue to stimulate local job growth, if not regain control of the river itself. The region has lost 18,000 manufacturing jobs in five years.

Kaiser Aluminum Inks Bombardier Contract

Houston Chronicle, TX March 6, 2007, 9:58AM

© 2007 The Associated Press

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FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif. — Aluminum products manufacturer Kaiser Aluminum Corp. said Tuesday it has a signed a long-term contract with Bombardier Aerospace Corp. to supply aluminum sheets and plates for aircraft components.

Financial terms of the contract, which will run through 2012, were not disclosed.

Kaiser said a $105 million expansion at its Spokane, Wash., plant enabled the company to meet Bombardier's need under the contract.

Bombardier Aerospace is the civil aircraft division of Canadian transport manufacturer Bombardier Inc.

Shares of Kaiser rose $2.21, or 3.3 percent, to $69.23 in morning trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Shares have traded between $36.50 and $77 over the past year.

America's most admired companies

Canada's Alcan No.1 in metals group

Canada.com, Canada Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Carrie Tait, Financial Post

TORONTO -- Fortune magazine named General Electric as America's most admired company, making it the second consecutive year the Fairfield, Conn.-based conglomerate has topped the list.

Meanwhile, Canadian aluminum giant Alcan Inc. was tapped as one of the most admired companies in 2007 by the magazine.

The Montreal-based aluminum firm topped the metals group, beating out rivals Nucor Corp. and Alcoa Inc. for top honours in this year’s competition. This is not the first time Alcan has cracked Fortune’s annual list, which is celebrating its 25th edition. It placed second in the metals group last year, first in 2005, and third in 2004.

The 2007 edition of the list includes three newcomers, Google at No. 8, Target at No. 13 and Nordstrom at No. 15. At the same time, three companies ranked on last year’s list have dropped out of the top 20; Dell (No. 8 in 2006), Home Depot (No. 14 in 2006) and IBM (No. 19 in 2006).

Companies are ranked by their peers and industry analysts based on eight criteria: innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment and quality of product or services.

Alcan, which posted $20.3-billion in revenue in 2005, was the only Canadian company to make the cut in Fortune’s 2007 survey, said Carmine Tiso, a spokesperson for Fortune.

The aluminum producer scored 7.89 out of 8 in the survey, while its closest competitor clocked in at 7.26. Alexander Christen, a spokesperson for Alcan, said that’s a much wider margin than previous years. "We certainly blew them out of the water this year," he said.

A dedication to environmental issues was a common theme among this year’s winners, Fortune said. And Alcan was part of that trend.

"We generate more than 50% of our energy in Canada for our primary business. And that’s all from clean, renewable hydropower," Mr. Christen said.

Alcan was founded in 1902 and has about 70,000 employees. It trades on the Toronto, New York, London, Paris and Swiss stock exchanges.

General Electric Co. was named the top business overall, securing the top spot two years running. Starbucks Corp., Toyota Motor Corp., Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Southwest Airlines Co., FedEx Co., Apple Inc., Google Inc., Johnson & Johnson Co., Proctor & Gamble Co., Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Microsoft Corp., Target Corp., 3M Co., Nordstrom, Inc., United Parcel Service, Inc., American Express Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp. rounded out the top 18. PepsiCo, Inc., and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. tied for the final two spots in the top 20.

Fortune ranked 306 companies in 63 categories. It took the largest 1,000 U.S. companies in terms of revenue, as well as the top foreign ones operating in the U.S. It then sorted them by industry and grabbed the top 10 in each. After that, the magazine asked executives, directors, and analysts to rate the companies in their own industry on the eight criteria.

The overall competition is scored differently. Fortune asked the 3,322 people who responded to the industry-specific survey to pick the top 10 companies they admire, regardless of industry. They chose from the companies that made the top 25% last year, as well as hit the top 20% in their own industry. Because the judges could pick from outside their industry, the survey produced anomalies. Southwest Airlines, for example, ranked fifth overall, but placed second in its respective industry.

Dell Inc., Home Depot, Inc., and IBM Corp. are the three companies that were bumped off this year’s top 20 to make room for newcomers Google, Target and Nordstrom.

California is home to 39 of the companies on Fortune’s list, while New York houses 37 and 34 companies call Texas home.

Carrie Tait, ctait@nationalpost.com, © Financial Post 2007

Rejection of Alcan deal will be costly, BC Hydro says

Vancouver Sun Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Scott Simpson, Vancouver Sun

The B.C. Utilities Commission's decision to reject a controversial power sales deal between BC Hydro and Alcan could backfire and lead to even higher payments for electricity produced at the aluminum maker's Kemano power station, Hydro president-CEO Bob Elton said Monday.

Elton told The Vancouver Sun's editorial board he believes the BCUC made its ruling based on incomplete evidence -- including a lack of detail from Alcan about its opportunities to spurn Hydro in favour of electricity sales directly into the United States.

Rejecting the Alcan deal, which is currently under appeal and also the focus of a B.C. Supreme Court hearing, would put Hydro and the province into the "embarrassing" position of chasing that power at a higher price in a year or two, Elton said. "We understand they were talking to some people about those alternatives.

"Obviously I don't think they would have been able to say precisely what they were because of confidentiality, but I think they can certainly help by explaining what some of the possibilities are.

"There are people south of the border that would love to import into California, for example, from British Columbia."

Those opportunities, Elton believes, need to be considered as part of an appeal of the deal that was shot down on Dec. 30.

Nor did the BC Transmission Corporation explain Alcan's opportunities to route its power through existing transmission lines and into the U.S., Elton said.

The BCUC rejected the deal last December after concluding it was not in the interest of Hydro's ratepayers.

Hydro had proposed to buy electricity from Alcan for the same price it is paying to companies building new power projects in B.C. -- even though Kemano is 50 years old.

The BCUC's underlying assumption was that Alcan, which was promising to use a new deal to finance an upgrade of its Kitimat smelter, had no other buyer for electricity it produces at one of the lowest costs in the hydroelectricity-rich province.

"Our view is that Alcan does have alternatives and that does make a big difference to the way you see the Alcan deal," Elton said. "Our approach to the negotiations was that Alcan has options.

"If they have alternatives, that means they can charge the market price."

He said he does not fault the BCUC for its decision.

"I'm not trying to be critical of the commission. They can only deal with the evidence that was let and I think in this case there wasn't enough evidence let about what Alcan's options were."

One of those options is obtaining an export licence and exporting its power to the U.S.

Another is that Alcan simply wait for BC Hydro to issue an open call for power -- later this year -- and bid in at the same rates other bidders are expecting.

Elton said it's reasonable to assume prices will be higher than those offered to power project developers during the last call in 2006.

"If they did that they would almost certainly get more [money] than the amount we plan to pay them in this deal," Elton said. "I believe that if in the end the BCUC decision stands, we will end up buying that power at a higher price or we will end up replacing it at a higher price.

"I find that possibility embarrassing to contemplate and don't want to contemplate it.

"But I believe it will happen. I believe in one or two or three years time we will [either] be saying, 'We've got the Alcan power secured. It costs more because of the BCUC decision.'

"Or I believe we will be saying Alcan has now found another route for its power and we've had to replace it at a higher price.

"I don't like that because it means I will have to tell you as a customer that your costs have gone up."

ssimpson@png.canwest.com, © The Vancouver Sun 2007

Alcan returns to India with $10-million investment in flexible packaging

domain-B, India - 6 March 2007

Global aluminium major Alcan, will make an initial investment of $10 million in the Indian flexible packaging market. The Canadian company will build and equip a new flexible packaging facility in the BHEL Industrial Park in Haridwar, in Uttarakhand to cater to the rapidly growing food and personal care markets.

Ilene Gordon, president and chief executive officer, Alcan Packaging, said, "This investment, the first for Alcan Packaging in India, demonstrates the company's continuous commitment to investing and growing in emerging markets by anticipating its customers' expanding needs in the region"

"Alcan Packaging is building a strong regional manufacturing position together with its customers," said Jean-Paul Meausoone, President, Alcan Packaging Food Asia at a ceremony at the future packaging facility's site in India. "By creating a local manufacturing presence in India, Alcan Packaging Food Asia will enrich its Asian portfolio, to better serve customer needs and deliver reliable, innovative and high quality packaging materials and solutions," he added.

Alcan had a substantial presence in India till 2000 through its subsidiary Indian Aluminium, the largest downstream fabricator of primary aluminium in India, with vertically integrated operations that include bauxite mining, alumina refining, power generation, primary aluminium smelting, semi-fabrication and recycling facilities.

After fending off a hostile take-over attempt for Indian Aluminium by Sterlite Industries in 1998, the Canadian company hiked its shareholding in the Indian company from 36.4 per cent to 56.4 per cent. In 2000 it exited India and sold its entire stake to the Aditya Birla Group flagship, Hindalco for Rs 738 crore.

In Asia, Alcan is present in 10 countries with 27 sites, employing 6,500 people. The new site in Haridwar is expected to be operational in the Q4, 2007.

Kaiser Aluminum Goes From Huge Loss to Q4 Profit

Orange County Business Journal, CA 3/7/2007

By Sarah Tolkoff

Orange County Business Journal Staff

Foothill Ranch-based aluminum parts maker Kaiser Aluminum Corp., which emerged from four years under bankruptcy organization in July, posted big gains for the fourth quarter.

Net income for the quarter was $12 million, versus a $1.14 billion loss a year earlier. At that time, Kaiser saw more than $1 billion in charges related to its reorganization.

Sales for the quarter rose 23% from a year earlier to $336 million.

The company said it had better results this year because it was able to raise prices and pass on higher costs for metal. Kaiser also ramped up its shipments.

"The company continues to deliver strong results, led by robust demand for aerospace and defense applications in our fabricated products segment," said Jack A. Hockema, chief executive of Kaiser Aluminum.

Decades-old Kaiser shapes aluminum into sheet, rods, pipes and custom pieces for customers, which include aerospace companies, automakers and appliance companies.

They use Kaiser’s parts in antilock brakes, water heaters and airplane wings.

For the military, Kaiser makes aluminum armor for Humvees.

Earlier this week, the company said it won a five-year contract to supply aluminum plate and sheet to Canada’s Bombardier Inc.

Oxbow Carbon bids $820M for Great Lakes Carbon fund, topping Rain offer

CBC News, Canada - : Wednesday, March 7, 2007 | 2:09 PM ET

Canadian Press: JOHN VALORZI

TORONTO (CP) - Florida-based Oxbow Carbon & Minerals Holdings Inc. is offering C$820 million for coke producer Great Lakes Carbon Income Fund (TSX:GLC.UN) of Toronto in a bid aimed at topping a competing suitor.

Privately owned Oxbow said early Wednesday it plans to bid $13 a unit for Great Lakes, a Toronto Stock-Exchange-traded company that supplies global aluminum customers such as Alcan Inc. (TSX:AL), BHP Billiton Ltd. and DuPont.

In early February, Rain Commodities Ltd. bid $437 million, or $11.60 a unit, to acquire the remaining 80 per cent of the Great Lakes Carbon fund it doesn't already own in the largest takeover bid yet for a Canadian-based company by an investor from India.

Oxbow's CEO William Koch said his company's offer would be superior to Rain's. However, investors expected an even higher offer and a likely bidding war between the U.S. and Indian companies.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Great Lakes Carbon units jumped $1.55 to $13.25, a gain of 13.25 per cent, to a level above the Oxbow bid price. The securities were heavily traded at more than 6.2 million units.

"Our proposal is clearly a superior proposal to the transaction proposed by Rain Commodities, and we are confident that the board of trustees of the fund and the Fund's unitholders will find our all-cash proposal of $13 per unit to be a compelling one," Koch said in a release.

TORONTO (CP) - Florida-based Oxbow Carbon & Minerals Holdings Inc. is offering C$820 million for coke producer Great Lakes Carbon Income Fund (TSX:GLC.UN) of Toronto in a bid aimed at topping a competing suitor.

Privately owned Oxbow said early Wednesday it plans to bid $13 a unit for Great Lakes, a Toronto Stock-Exchange-traded company that supplies global aluminum customers such as Alcan Inc. (TSX:AL), BHP Billiton Ltd. and DuPont.

In early February, Rain Commodities Ltd. bid $437 million, or $11.60 a unit, to acquire the remaining 80 per cent of the Great Lakes Carbon fund it doesn't already own in the largest takeover bid yet for a Canadian-based company by an investor from India.

Oxbow's CEO William Koch said his company's offer would be superior to Rain's. However, investors expected an even higher offer and a likely bidding war between the U.S. and Indian companies.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Great Lakes Carbon units jumped $1.55 to $13.25, a gain of 13.25 per cent, to a level above the Oxbow bid price. The securities were heavily traded at more than 6.2 million units.

"Our proposal is clearly a superior proposal to the transaction proposed by Rain Commodities, and we are confident that the board of trustees of the fund and the Fund's unitholders will find our all-cash proposal of $13 per unit to be a compelling one," Koch said in a release.

"We have advised the trustees of the fund that Oxbow is ready, willing and able to purchase the assets of the Fund on identical terms as Rain Commodities has proposed - except we are willing to pay a significantly higher price."

Oxbow's proposal expires March 14 and is contingent on the fund signing an acquisition deal with Oxbow similar to a friendly agreement the industrial company struck with Rain Commodities last month.

The latest bid does not depend on financing or Rain selling its 20 per cent stake in Great Lakes Carbon USA Inc., the operating subsidiary of the fund, to Oxbow.

Oxbow said its proposed acquisition could be completed by mid-April.

Great Lakes, a fund whose head office is in Toronto but whose executives are in New York, said its board is reviewing the Oxbow proposal with its legal and financial advisers "and there can be no assurance that the proposal will result in an offer from Oxbow to unitholders."

Oxbow Carbon & Minerals Holdings is part of the Oxbow Group, a private energy company based in West Palm Beach. It is owned and operated by Koch, an America's Cup sailing champion.

The Great Lakes Carbon fund is a trust set up to indirectly hold 73.56 per cent of GLC Carbon USA and subsidiaries, the world's largest producers of anode and industrial grade calcined petroleum coke.

Anode grade coke is used to produce aluminum while industrial grade coke is used in production of other industrial materials, including titanium dioxide, a material widely used in paints, paper and plastics.

GLC operates plants in Port Arthur, Tex.; Enid, Okla.; Baton Rouge, La.; and La Plata, Argentina and employed about 316 people at the end of 2005.

For that year, the company earned a profit of US$20 million on sales of US$445 million.

© The Canadian Press, 2007

Alcoa's Jamalco expansion likely to be cut short - Jamaica

Business News Americas, Chile - Thursday, March 8, 2007 18:13 (GMT -0400)

Pittsburgh-based Alcoa's (NYSE: AA) Jamalco alumina expansion project in Jamaica will likely stop short, only completing phase one of its planned two-phase project, a company official confirmed.

The second part of the project was dependent on agreements to bring liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Jamaica and the refinery, in order to have cleaner and less expensive power available, an Alcoa statement said.

Trinidad & Tobago's state-owned National Gas Company says it will still supply Jamaica with LNG but only after 2009, local news sources reported. But this may be too late for aluminum producer Alcoa to consider completing the two-phase, US$1.2bn Jamalco expansion.

"We have two expansions. One is being completing and coming on stream. The other was contingent upon the securing of an LNG deal. That has not transpired," Alcoa spokesperson Kevin Lowery told BNamericas. "We have many different projects in the pipeline and it's beholden upon us to move forward with those that have the biggest opportunity and make the most sense."

The first phase of the expansion program, called Early Works, is scheduled to add 150,000t/y to the refinery's production capacity. Phase two was due to add a further 1.35Mt/y to capacity, as well as the construction of a gas-fired cogeneration plant to supply power to the refinery and enable sale of excess power to the Jamaican market, a company statement said.

"The first one [Early Works] is in the process of being completed and will be coming on stream very shortly, in the first quarter [of 2007]," said Lowery.

The official would not comment on how much of the proposed US$1.2bn had already been invested in Jamalco, and how much would be withheld if the latter half of the expansion project did not go through.

Jamalco, owned in equal parts by Alcoa and the Jamaican government, mines bauxite and refines it into alumina. If the full expansion proceeds, Alcoa's stake would rise to about 80%.

By Anthony Esposito

Caribbean aluminium and LNG

Jamaica Gleaner, Jamaica Friday | March 9, 2007

Wilberne Persaud, Financial Gleaner Columnist

Surviving regional operations of the colonial enterprise known as the British West Indies and the sabotaged West Indies Federation include cricket, meteorological services, University of the West Indies - morphed by UWI Alumni-led governments and compliant former administrations into a besieged dependent, struggling hybrid - and not much else.

Let me immediately avoid misinterpretation: Jamaica's referendum was no act of sabotage.

I refer to manoeuvrings of the former British Colonial Office which in a sense were calculated to end in that referendum. The British knew political expedience, poverty, uninformed opinion, conflict over Chaguaramas as United States Military Base vs. Federal Capital and political rivalry would take us there. Eric Williams aptly concluded: 'One from 10 leaves zero'.

Recently, P.J. Patterson checked with Patrick Manning, trying to make one plus zero ten again.

They too failed causing The Gleaner to replace 'one from ten leaves zero' with "Myopic economic nationalism" - the title of its February 25 editorial - its description of Prime Minister Manning's reneging on an "undertaking to supply Jamaica with liquefied natural gas (LNG) for an energy conversion project critical to Alcoa's proposed US$1.6 billion investment to double the capacity of its Jamalco alumina refinery here."

Sluggish growth

The Gleaner opines: "Jamaica, with its troubled economy with sluggish growth, is Trinidad and Tobago's largest and most lucrative market. Port-of-Spain enjoys a US$500 million trade balance with Kingston."

Discussing Trinidad's non-supply of LNG, The Guardian had resorted, according to The Gleaner, to jingoism in making an "inconsequential case [seeking] to claim it was an attempt by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to divert attention from corruption and criminality in Jamaica ahead of a general election".

Stranger things have happened. Yet, The Guardian's views on supply of LNG, Jamalco expansion and the rationale for subsidy rested on solid foundation.

The case relies on the fact that subsidised LNG would facilitate the "profitable operation of a three million-tonne alumina refinery in Jamaica that would be 80 per cent owned by Alcoa. Alcoa would then transfer the alumina, which is being produced at a lower price because of subsidised LNG, to T&T, where it would be smelted into aluminium in the 100 per cent Alcoa-owned facility in T & T."

Subsidies

The question for Manning was how to justify subsidies to Alcoa in face of Trinidad and Tobago's other pressing needs.

But this question raises so many others in the saga of bauxite in Jamaica and West Indian economic cooperation. The idea of Jamaican bauxite with Trinidad and Tobago power generation is not new.

The LNG idea may be. Because Jamaica has no money to invest with Alcoa in expanding the plant, our ownership stake is diluted.

Of greater interest is why Jamalco becomes only 20 per cent Jamaica owned after significant contributions to capital potential in the form of the bauxite levy? And why have we seemingly moved away from a bauxite ore basis of payment back to an income tax basis after the long hard struggle to change it?

Bauxite is a wasting asset. Mining and processing create huge environmental and other problems.

In the deals colonial administrations brokered with mining companies it would not be uncommon for US$0.20 cents or thereabouts to be the norm a country realised per ton of ore extracted.

Bauxite has no known market price since really, no market exists. Our formula, the core of which was developed by Alfred Francis, now retired, Emeritus Professor of Applied Economics at UWI, used the revealed price of aluminium ingot, a commodity for which there is a ruling price on the London Metal Exchange.

Obviously, if bauxite becomes aluminium there is a conversion ratio for bauxite input to aluminium output - elementary really, and equitable too, it seems to me.

Bauxite levy

That formula was instituted around 1974 and the payment termed the bauxite levy. It provided Jamaica payments ranging from US$12-16 per ton of ore extracted.

Mylate friend Ronald Manderson-Jones, brilliant historian, foreign affairs practitioner and lawyer, always insisted that a different name should have been found for it and that Prime Minister Michael Manley should have refrained from discussing it as a triumph over the multinationals.

This,he suggested, created problems Jamaica did not need.

That aside, the question remains: Would Trinidad and Tobago have provided LNG if Jamaica owned 50 per cent of both Jamalco and the smelting operation in Trinidad and Tobago? Interesting questions, answers to which I could not provide.

wilbe65@yahoo.com

Kaiser Aluminum Details Exec Bonuses

Houston Chronicle, TX March 9, 2007, 4:18PM

NEW YORK — Kaiser Aluminum Corp. said Friday that Chief Executive Jack A. Hockema received $825,490 as a bonus under the company's 2006 short-term incentive plan.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Kaiser Aluminum said it also approved $288,892 for Chief Financial Officer Joseph P. Bellino, $288,003 for Chief Administrative Officer John Barneson, $193,145 for General Counsel John M. Donnan and $123,811 for Controller Daniel D. Maddox under the plan.

Shares rose 10 cents to close at $70.50 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

© 2007 The Associated Press

Chalco profit surges 67% to RMB 11.75bln

China Knowledge Online, Singapore Mar. 12, 2007 (China Knowledge) –

Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. <2600> (Chalco) the world's second-largest alumina maker, recorded a 67% rise in profit to RMB 11.75 billion for 2006.

For the year ended Dec. 31, Chalco reported turnover of nearly RMB 62 billion, up 64% from the year before.

The company, through expansion, renovation and mergers and acquisitions, increased production of primary aluminum by 84% to 1.93 million metric tons in 2006, compared with 2005, it said. It also said it added 1 million tons of capacity through the acquisition of domestic aluminum plants last year.

Following changes in production and capital operations since 2001, the company's total assets have grown to RMB 78 billion, sales revenue increased by 289%, profit grew by 6.8 times and the gearing ratio was reduced by 14 percentage points, the company said.

Demand for aluminum in China, the world's biggest producer and user of the metal, may double by 2010, according to the company.

The company said that it will declare a final dividend on 2006 income after it sells shares to acquire Lanzhou Aluminum Co. and Shandong Aluminum Industry Co., its two China-listed units.

Copyright © 2007 http://www.chinaknowledge.com

Jamaica Invited to Join ALBA

Prensa Latina, Cuba - March 12, 2007

Montego Bay, Jamaica, Mar 12 (Prensa Latina) Venezuela s President Hugo Chavez invited Jamaica to join the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) on Monday, as a way to get the peoples out of crippling poverty.

"We have come to invite you to go beyond existing integration mechanisms, so as to shape and continue strengthening a new space of union," said Chavez at the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding.

Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela are the member countries of ALBA.

At the end of a meeting with Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson, Chavez asserted that Caracas is to cooperate in every field suggested by Kingston.

He ratified his country s readiness to supply gas needed for Jamaica to expand its bauxite business, "going further to develop the process towards aluminum, aluminum oxide and several alloys." "Whenever Jamaica decides on it, we would look for resources and technology within ALBA to develop that chain, as we are currently doing in Cuba with steel, for instance," said Chavez.

Meanwhile, in a press conference, Simpson said that her country "absolutely backs these principles and that s why we promise to consider this ALBA proposal and discuss it further in the future." "Only on this path of unity will we gradually get our peoples back on their feet," said Chavez.

"Only by joining efforts will we be really free, sovereign and independent, with our own political, economic, social model of development," he stressed.

Icelanders give cold shoulder to giant Alcan smelter

Vancouver Sun (subscription), Canada - Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Margaret Munro, CanWest News Service

KEFLAVIK, Iceland - The Earth's inner heat is so close to the surface on this windswept island that tourists bask in outdoor thermal pools even as the snow flies in late winter.

The heat attracts multinational companies, too, including Canadian-based Alcan. But they're getting an increasingly chilly reception from the locals as they try to expand their business operations to take advantage of the abundant stores of inexpensive energy here.

"We don't want to be the town with the biggest aluminum plant in all of Europe," says Throstur Sverrisson, a longtime resident of the seaside community of Hafnarfjordur where Alcan has run up against serious opposition.

The company plans to more that double the size of its existing smelter just outside Hafnarfjordur, one of four huge and controversial aluminum smelter projects. But a growing coalition of Icelanders is trying to halt the smelters, saying the government is sacrificing the island's pristine environment to foreign companies.

They're gearing up to make the smelters a major issue in the national election in May. And they're taking aim at Alcan in a referendum March 31.

Alcan needs the community of Hafnarfjordur's approval to move the highway and rezone land to make way for the expansion, which is expected to cost at least $1 billion.

"I think we can win," says Sverrisson, pointing to recent polls suggesting more than 60 per cent of the community's residents are opposed to Alcan's expansion plans.

Iceland has huge stores of geothermal energy percolating through the volcanic rocks that blanket most of its treeless landscape. It also has enormous and largely untapped hydroelectric potential in the rivers that spill off Iceland's glaciers and highlands.

Heat and hydroelectricity aren't easily exported, so the Iceland government has encouraged companies to come and make use of its cheap power, ports and access to European markets. The aluminum industry took up the offer and four major smelter projects are now in the works.

The most contentious has been a smelter in eastern Iceland, built by U.S-based Alcoa, the world's largest producer of aluminum.

The Alcoa smelter, called Fjardaal for "aluminum of the fjords", is due to open later this year. It's powered by the $3-billion Karahnjukar Hydropower project, a series of dams and tunnels that've flooded and transformed a huge tract of volcanic wilderness north of the massive Vatnajokull Glacier, which covers eight per cent of Iceland.

The protests grew with the power-and-smelter project. There have been angry marches, protest camps and banners hoisted up St. Paul's Cathedral and the Tate Modern in London as part of a campaign to stop what protesters describe as the "destruction of the Icelandic highlands."

The activists lost the battle over the Alcoa smelter and power project but say they are not about to give up. Plans call for as many as eight new dams and geothermal plants for the other smelter projects, which the environmentalists have vowed to bring to a halt.

"A summer of international dissent against heavy industry" starts in Iceland July 6 sponsored by Saving Iceland, a coalition of groups "who do not intend to stand by passively and watch the Icelandic government in league with foreign corporations slowly kill the natural beauty of Iceland."

Much attention - and protest - is now focused on the proposed Alcan expansion near Hafnarfjordur, a community of 24,000 about a 15-minute drive southwest of the capital Reykjavik. The highway to the international airport runs right past the Alcan plant.

"Since we are in the suburbs of Reykjavik, it is much easier to attract the media and discuss and talk about the aluminum industry or other players in the aluminum industry and do it at our doorstep," says Erik Ryan, vice-president stakeholder relations and communications for Alcan's primary metals group at the company headquarters in Montreal.

He notes how protesters have waved placards denouncing other companies outside the smelter. There have also been plenty of placards with Alcan's name on them.

Ryan stresses Alcan has operated in Iceland for years and has a good and long-standing relationship with the government and Icelanders.

The existing smelter near Hafnarfjordur is the oldest in Iceland, dating back to 1969. It produces 180,000 tonnes of aluminum a year, which is used in Europe to produce everything from Audi and Rover car parts to foil wrap.

Low-cost energy and a deep port makes the Iceland smelter ideal for expansion, says Ryan, noting 30 per cent of the cost of producing aluminum is for energy. Alcan plans to expand its Iceland operation to 460,000 tonnes a year, which would make it the largest smelter in Europe and Alcan's third biggest. (Alcan's new $1.4-billion smelter in Quebec produces 554,000 tonnes a year and a smelter planned for South Africa will produce 720,000 tonnes a year.)

Alcan has signed an agreement for geothermal energy to provide 40 per cent of the power for the expanded Iceland plant and is negotiating with Iceland's national power company for the other 60 per cent, much of which is expected to be hydroelectric.

Winning the approval of the local community is essential and company officials say they're confident despite recent polls indicating more than 60 per cent of people oppose the expansion.

"I don't comment on polls," says Ryan.

The company has opened a walk-in office in Hafnarfjordur to showcase the new technology to be used in the expanded smelter. It also sent a CD of famous pop singer and Hafnarfjordur native, Bjorgvin Halldorsson, to every home in town at Christmas.

"I went to their office and returned it," says Sverrisson, who lined up with many members of the protest group Sol i Straumi to hand back the CD.

The broad-based group of local residents and business people is concerned about pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and power lines that will come with the smelter expansion on the outskirts of town. They say tourism and high-tech industries promise a better future for their growing community, built around Iceland's oldest and most protected harbours.

Alcan says technology at the new plant will be less polluting and more efficient, though Ryan does concede that total greenhouse gas emissions will likely increase because the expanded smelter will be so big.

"Clearly we are working to make sure people understand how good the project is, how we will respect the environment and how we will continue respecting the community," says Ryan. "That's what I'm geared towards."

If Alcan doesn't win more than 50 per cent support on this month's referendum, he says company officials will have to sit down and decide how to proceed.

Company officials are already musing about closing the existing plant, known as ISAL, if the expansion is not allowed to go ahead. ISAL employs almost 500 people.

"Clearly this expansion is essential to the future of ISAL," says Ryan. He says the technology at the existing smelter is out of date.

Among those directly impacted will be Sverrisson's uncle, who does contract work for ISAL and supports the expansion.

"It's sad, the way this multinational company is dividing the people of this town," says Sverrisson, a 39-year-old historian who spent his childhood in Hafnarfjordur and returned to raise his family.

© CanWest News Service 2007

Oxbow Carbon & Minerals Increases Offer Price to Purchase Business of Great Lakes Carbon Income Fund to C$13.50 per Unit

Business Wire (press release), CA - Mar 12, 2007

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oxbow Carbon & Minerals Holdings, Inc. (Oxbow) announced today that it has informed the Board of Trustees of Great Lakes Carbon Income Fund (the Fund) (TSX:GLC.UN) that it has modified its offer to purchase all assets of the Fund to increase the effective cash price per unit of the Fund from C$13.00 to C$13.50. Oxbow's increased offer price is C$.0.25 higher than the amount of C$13.25 per unit that would be received by unitholders in the amended transaction proposed by Rain Commodities.

"Our increased offer price of $13.50 is clearly superior to the price of $13.25 proposed by Rain Commodities, and we are confident that the Board of Trustees of the Fund and the Fund's unitholders will find our proposal to be a compelling one," said William I. Koch, Chief Executive Officer of Oxbow.

Apart from improving the price offered, the proposal is substantially identical to the proposal announced by Oxbow on March 7, 2007. The proposal is not contingent upon due diligence, financing or upon Rain Commodities selling its 20 percent interest in GLC Carbon USA Inc., a subsidiary of Fund, to Oxbow. Oxbow's acquisition of the assets of the Fund would require the approval of the Fund's unitholders and could be completed in mid-April 2007.

Oxbow's proposal expires at 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on March 13, 2007. If prior to such expiry, the Fund has publicly announced that Oxbow's proposal is a superior proposal and that, but for Rain Commodities' right to match, the Fund is prepared to enter into an acquisition agreement with Oxbow, and the Fund has given notice to Rain Commodities to that effect, then the expiry of the proposal will be extended until 12:01 a.m. (EDT) on March 21, 2007.

Oxbow Carbon & Minerals Holdings, Inc. is part of the Oxbow Group, a private energy company based in West Palm Beach, Florida. It is owned and operated by William I. Koch, the last American to successfully defend the America's Cup. The company was founded by Koch in 1984. Under his leadership, the company has become the world's largest marketer of petroleum coke, a by product of the oil refinery process. Petroleum coke is used in power generation; concrete kilns, sugar mills and aluminium manufacturing. The company trades in other carbon and industrial products such as coal, gypsum, bauxite, and clinker. Oxbow also owns one of the most productive underground coal mines in the nation, producing 6.5 million tons of super-compliant coal annually, and is developing an extensive natural gas reserve.

Contacts

Oxbow Corporation, West Palm Beach

Corporate Communications:

Brad Goldstein, 561-697-4300 (Ext. 822) or

561-310-4642 (mobile)

Maintenance - The Alcoa Way

The emphasis by many manufacturers on lean production has spurred a more serious approach to maintenance today than in the past. Malfunctioning equipment obviously does little to promote quality product, reduce waste and meet customers' expectations. For Alcoa Inc., a producer of aluminum and aluminum products, maintenance and reliability are part and parcel of the Alcoa Business System (ABS), which is modeled after the Toyota Production System.

"If we don't have well-run and well-maintained equipment, we are never going to be able to reach the higher levels of the Alcoa Business System that we want to get to," explains John Marushin, director of the Alcoa Operations Management Consulting group, which directs implementation of the ABS.

Alcoa strongly emphasizes the role Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) plays in driving maintenance reliability throughout the organization. TPM is a comprehensive program to maximize equipment availability in which -- among other components -- production operators are trained to perform routine maintenance tasks on a regular basis, while technicians handle more specialized tasks. (About three-quarters of IndustryWeek's Best Plants winners and finalists have machine operators perform preventative and routine maintenance of their equipment.)

Alcoa's TPM program, explains Marushin, is a seven-step method to help employees gain a deep understanding of their equipment. And it isn't simply operators who are involved, but also maintenance, supervisors, even office personnel. Cleaning is step one. "It gets people to start seeing what can break on a piece of equipment," he says.

See the whole article at:

http://www.industryweek.com/ReadArticle.aspx?ArticleID13755&SectionID1

VALCO to suspend operations

Posted on: 15-Mar-2007

The Volta Aluminum Company Limited will effect from Friday, March 16 suspend its operations due to inadequate power supply from the Akosombo Dam.

The shut down, the 11th in the history of VALCO since its establishment in 1967 will result in declaring majority of the 700 labour force redundant.

Dr Charles Mensa, Chief Executive officer of the smelting plant which the state has 90 percent shares with 10 percent for ALCOA, described the latest action as regrettable and a disappointment to those who looked up to VALCO to realize the late President Nkrumah’s dream of industrialization.

He explained that the decision to shut down was voluntary when the company realised the declining level of water in the Akosombo Dam.

He said about 200 staff members would be retained too secure and maintain the plant.

Dr Mensa said the skeleton staff would build an extrusion and rod-mill plants in readiness for power to provide the environment for the country’s industrialization and the creation of jobs.

He said the shut down would offer the management of VALCO the challenge to develop alternative sources of power.

According to Dr Mensa, in the interim the extrusion and rod-mill would help to produce aluminum doors and windows and transmission lines for electricity.

He said the long term objective of VALCO was to develop a coal fired power plant to take the smelter plant off the national grid.

Dr Mensa explained that it was expected that it would take VALCO a minimum of 24 months to develop the plant, adding that VALCO was working with an independent power provider to start the construction as early as possible.

He said the plant, which will cost about $400 million to construct, would generate about 500 megawatts of power.

Dr Mensa said to enable VALCO to produce full capacity, the company required about 350 megawatts of power.

He said when VALCO achieved that objective; it would be in a position to give the surplus power to the state to improve the capacity of the national grid by about 150 megawatts.

Asked whether the use of coal to power a big smelter like VALCO was outdated, Dr Mensa discounted that claim and explained that coal was readily available in Enugu, Nigeria and Southern African countries.

He said VALCO could no longer rely on electricity to run the plant, adding that an investment whose raw material was electricity could no longer be predicted.

Dr Mensa said VALCO was better off generating its own power and taking control of its operations.

Source: Daily Graphic

Nuclear power plant and aluminum smelter planned in Suriname

Caribbean Net News, Cayman Islands Friday, March 16, 2007

By Ivan Cairo, Caribbean Net News Suriname Correspondent, Email: ivan@caribbeannetnews.com

PARAMARIBO, Suriname: Embarking on an ambitious plan, investors are discussing construction of a nuclear power plant and an aluminum smelter in Suriname, officials here have confirmed. Meanwhile, the authorities have started consultations with stakeholders in several sectors of society to determine whether the country is ready to become member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the United Nations.

In an invited comment, Foreign Affairs Minister Lygia Kraag-Keteldijk noted that the consultation is necessary. "I started discussions with several stakeholders including the different ministries, the business community and others to sound out whether Suriname is ready to become member of the IAEA," said the minister. "I don’t want to take the decision all by myself," she added.

According to Suriname’s ambassador, Jules Ramlakhan, the authorities have to look into different aspects, including defence, health and environmental issues in order to formulate a policy regarding nuclear energy and technology in Suriname.

According to Bisram Chanderbosh, president of Surinam Industrial Engineering and Vehicle Services, which developed the project, the ground breaking ceremony for the smelter and power plant in Groot-Chatillon is scheduled for August this year. Construction of the facilities will take three years, with an investment of US$3 million from investors in Suriname, the Netherlands, Great Brittain and Germany.

"The energy that we will produce is exclusively for industrial purposes and not for common households," said the businessman. Nuclear fuel for the so-called Simplified Gas Cooled Reactor (SGR) will be supplied by companies in Italy, Japan, South Africa, France and China.

Concerns over possible environmental risk are also dealt with, he disclosed. Suppliers will collect the waste every three years, while there would be an advanced monitoring system in place to track delivery of the fuel and collection of the waste.

At the power plant, 1,000 to 1,500 people will be employed, while at the aluminum smelter and other industries, including a ceramics factory and wood processing companies connected to the project, a work force of up to 3,000 will be necessary, said the investor.

The projected aluminum smelter consisting of two units with a capacity of each 250,000 tons per year will produce high voltage cables, ingots and aluminum foil. "If necessary we will import alumina," said Chanderbosch, but his company has already held talks with bauxite mining companies in Suriname to supply alumina.

Currently Belize and Jamaica are the only CARICOM nations that are members of the IAEA. If Suriname join the organisation it will become the 144st member.

Africa's Major Aluminum Producer Closes Amid Ghana Energy Crisis

Voice of America - 16 March 2007

By Efam Dovi Accra

One of Africa's largest aluminum companies is due to shut down Friday in Ghana. The West African nation is facing a worsening energy crisis due to chronic power shortages caused by diminished rainfall. Reporter Efam Dovi has more from the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

Executives at Ghana's Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO) say they are not sure how long the luminum producer will remain closed. But the closure is expected to send a majority of the company's 700 employees home.

The problem is rainfall. Poor rains have led to diminished water levels in the Akomsombo Hydro-electric dam, Ghana's main source of electric power. It has also caused chronic power outages in Ghana since September last year.

Ghana relies on hydro-generation for about 60 percent of its electricity, with the balance provided by thermal power and imports from neighboring Ivory Coast.

Chronic power shortages and a nation-wide power rationing program started last June has forced VALCO to operate at less than a quarter of its capacity. Many other industries, including the hugely important gold mining industry, have also been forced to make drastic cuts in production.

VALCO chief executive Charles Mensa says the decision to close down was voluntary, but has described the situation as "regrettable." He says Ghana needs to make use of modern science and move away from it's over reliance on nature for development.

"When you look at the country as a whole, to travel 40 years and still be bedeviled by rainfall and no rainfall, rainfall and no rainfall, our agriculture is rain fed, same with our industry no rain, no industry, yes rain, then industry, we've gone so far with science that we should be able to solve this kind of problem, it shouldn't bedevil as again as we look down to the next 50 years," he said.

VALCO, which is partly owned by the world's largest aluminum producer, Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Incorporated, is a major source of primary aluminum for the world market. The company's shutdown, the 11th since its establishment 40 years ago, is also expected to affect several local companies that depend on it for the raw material.

The energy crisis also threatens to spread in the sub-region. Ghana supplies electric power to neighboring Togo and Benin.

Analysts say the persistent energy crises will affect the country's export earnings. Ghana's president, John Kufuor, in his state of the nation address last month, announced a number of long term measures aimed at solving the energy problem.

A West African Gas Pipeline which will bring natural gas from Nigeria through Benin and Togo to Ghana is due to be ready this year after some delays. Industry watchers are hopeful, that the pipeline will help ease the energy shortages in the sub-region.

Chinese Alumina Producer Completes Purchase of 10% of Cape Alumina From Metallica Minerals For A$4.6M

Asia Corporate News Network (press release), Australia - Mar 16, 2007

Adelaide, Mar 16, 2007 (ACN Newswire) - A $4.125 million payment today by China's largest independent alumina-aluminium producer - Chiping Xinfa Huayu Alumina Co Ltd (Xinfa) - has completed the total payment of $4.625M to Metallica Minerals Limited to acquire a 10% stake in Queensland bauxite company, Cape Alumina Pty Ltd. As advised on 7 February 2007, Metallica Minerals (ASX: MLM) will remain the largest shareholder in Cape Alumina with a 40% holding.

Cape Alumina recently published a maiden JORC-compliant bauxite ore resource for its Wenlock project, located approximately 60 kilometres north-east of Weipa in Cape York, Queensland. CEO, Dr Paul Messenger, said today that Xinfa's investment in the Company followed phenomenal growth in imports of bauxite by Chinese refineries over the past two years, with average annual growth of over 300% to a record 10 million tones in 2006 and 1.6 million tones for the month of January 2007. "Chinese imported bauxite demand forecasts have also been revised upwards to in excess of 20Mt in 2008," he said.

Dr Messenger said off-take negotiations between Cape Alumina and Xinfa will commence next month, and be subject to delineation of sufficient resources to justify the development costs and an agreed off-take bauxite sale price formula.

"A scoping study into development of the Wenlock bauxite deposit is well advanced and due to be completed in April," he said. "Traditional Landowner negotiations are also progressing well and it is envisaged that further drilling on new granted tenements aimed at substantially increasing the resources at Wenlock, which currently stand at 54 million tonnes of insitu bauxite (for details, see ASX release dated 22 January 2006), will be completed during the coming dry season."

Metallica Minerals Managing Director Mr Andrew Gillies said proceeds of the sale of 10% of Cape Alumina to Xinfa, would be applied to Metallica's flagship NORNICO nickel project in North Queensland as well as ongoing funding of Cape Alumina. Mr Gillies said that with approximately $7.5 million in the bank -including the balance of the funds now received from XINFA - Metallica was in a strong position to continue to progress detailed NORNICO evaluations and feasibility studies.

Contact

Peter Gill

Senior Consultant

FIELD PUBLIC RELATIONS

231 South Road

MILE END SA 5031

Tel: 08 8234 9555

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peter@fieldpr.com.au

EU to Abolish Gulf Aluminum Tariffs, Shrink Protection for Producers

PressZoom (press release), Netherlands 19 Mar 2007

Continuing negotiation between GCC and EU over the free-trade agreement are likely to end this year resulting in the elimination of tariff on aluminum imports to EU. A trade agreement between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and European Union (EU) would lead to the abolition of tariffs on basic petrochemicals and aluminum imports to Europe, according to the Deputy Director for trade in EC, Karl Friedrich Falkenberg.

(PressZoom) - A trade agreement between Gulf Cooperation Council ( GCC ) and European Union ( EU ) would lead to the abolition of tariffs on basic petrochemicals and aluminum imports to Europe, according to the Deputy Director for trade in EC, Karl Friedrich Falkenberg.

The 6% duty on the aluminum import to EU will be removed when a proposed free-trade agreement with the 6-nation GCC bring in this year.

A reduction in the tariffs would contract the protection for aluminum manufacturers within EU, including Alcan Inc., Alcoa Inc., Glencore International AG, Rio Tinto Plc., and Norsk Hydro ASA.

The world’s largest aluminum makers are shutting down their units in US and Europe to shift to the Middle East, a region with cheap energy and labor. Around one-third of the aluminum making cost is accounted by power only.

Falkenberg says European companies "are interested in producing aluminum here", reported Bloomberg. Emirates Aluminum is making plans to construct the largest aluminum smelter of the world in UAE that would produce 1.4 million tons of aluminum annually.

A free-trade deal between the GCC and 27-nation EU has been in negotiations for over 15 years. Last year’s heated energy prices and increased trade between the two blocks has given the much-needed momentum to the negotiations.

The Gulf Times, on February 20, 2007, reported Falkenberg in Dubai on the sidelines of an aluminum conference saying, "I hope we will be able to conclude the negotiations in the first half of the year. ( But ) it is fairly clear to everyone that we need to see a little bit of movement by the GCC in the areas of services and investments."

According to RNCOS report, "European Aluminum Market ( 2007 )", Europe saw a slump in the production capacity of primary aluminum due to strengthening power prices. This resulted in certain smelters having to shut down their operation facilities when contracts terminate, as the operations stop churning out profits. Considering such heightened prices, coupled with stringent legislation in Europe, Aluminum makers opt to shift their production facilities to other regions of the world.

The research report also discusses the current and past performance of the industry, country-wise industry analysis of the European aluminum market, and demand and supply analysis with statistical data.

About RNCOS:

RNCOS, incorporated in the year 2002, is an industry research firm. It has a team of industry experts who analyze data collected from credible sources. They provide industry insights and analysis that helps corporations to take timely and accurate business decision in today's globally competitive environment.

For more information visit: http://www.rncos.com/Report/IM090.htm

Current Industry News: http://www.rncos.com/blog

Alcoa Joins Business, Investment Leaders in Climate Call to Action

NEW YORK-(Business Wire)-March 19, 2007 -

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) announced today that it has joined with a group of businesses and institutional investors in a call to action for the U.S. government to establish a national policy on climate change.

The group, organized by Ceres and its Investor Network of Climate Risk, represents dozens of institutional investors managing $4.4 trillion in assets and a number of leading U.S. companies, including Alcoa.

Ceres, whose goal is to advance corporate responsibility among its coalition members, worked with the businesses and institutional investors to formulate the call to action and announced its intentions today in Washington, D.C. Organizers point out that the Ceres-sponsored network complements recent climate change statements by the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) and the Global Roundtable on Climate Change (GROCC). Alcoa is a founding member of USCAP and an active participant in the GROCC. These groups unite corporations, NGOs and other stakeholders in the fight against global warming.

EDITORIAL: VALCO’S Forced Closure

Daily Graphic, Ghana - Mar 16, 2007

The news that the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) is to suspend its operations because of a power problem is disheartening indeed.

All over the world, aluminium plants guzzle a lot of energy and that is why the situation which has prompted the load shedding of power is unfortunate.

It was because of the availability of power that Kaiser took advantage of hydro power from Akosombo to set up VALCO. Kaiser was not using local bauxite but chose to import alumina from Jamaica and Australia.

The reason the Aluminium Company of Canada (ALCAN) and the Ghana government teamed up to revamp VALCO was to offer employment to many people, both at the plant and downstream.

However, with the power problem, VALCO has been compelled to send many of the 700 employees home until it completes plans to generate its own energy.

The anticipation that the VALCO project could move with vim to enable the aluminium industry to thrive as the founding fathers, especially Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, had wished has to wait for a while.

It was Nkrumah’s desire that the aluminium complex would "act as a catalyst for the development of other light and heavy industries".

We take consolation from the fact that despite this initial problem of power, the impediment will be removed through a combination of factors, including the use of coal, which could be imported from some African countries, as a source of power.

Happily, VALCO will take steps to ensure that environmental guides are scrupulously complied with.

It would have been beautiful to see VALCO in full swing next year to begin the next 50 years, producing enough alumina to feed local industries to keep them running.

We have maintained that the problem of energy must be tackled head on, otherwise our effort to develop may be derailed.

It is said that the critical issue facing the energy sector is the non-payment of economic rates for power by customers.

But that has been a very big problem facing politicians. They are scared of incurring the displeasure of the electorate.

Consequently, it is common, sometimes, to hear contradictory pronouncements on the energy sector.

Independent power providers (IPP) may be willing to come and provide service but the question is whether we are ready to pay economic tariffs.

We appreciate the efforts being made by the government but it is important that as a nation we take bold and critical steps on our energy.

It will take the zeal with which the crude oil supply crisis was resolved to find an answer to the shortage in power supply

Alcan, Rusal seeking S. African aluminum smelters

Reuters Tuesday, March 20, 2007

JOHANNESBURG -- Canada's Alcan Inc. is likely to start construction in early 2008 of an aluminum smelter in South Africa, where Russia's Rusal is also keen on building a facility, the South African government said on Tuesday.

"Alcan will be proceeding with the smelter... construction will start during the first quarter of 2008," the Department of Trade and Industry said in an e-mailed response to a query.

© Reuters 2007

Talks underway for nuclear power plant, aluminium smelter in Suriname

Stabroek News, Guyana - Mar 18, 2007

Talks are underway for the construction of a nuclear power plant and an aluminium smelter in Suriname.

Although a report in the de Ware Tijd (dWT) English Bulletin said construction of the nuclear powered aluminium smelter would begin in the second half of the year, Suriname's Foreign Affairs Minister Lygia Kraag-Keteldijk explained yesterday that consultations were necessary. As a result, discussions were already underway with key stakeholders to determine whether the country was ready to become member of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). "I started discussions with several stakeholders, including the different ministries, the business community and others to sound out whether Suriname is ready to become member of the IAEA," she is quoted as saying in a Caribbean Net News (CNetNews) report. "I don't want to take the decision all by myself," she added.

Suriname's ambassador Jules Ramlakhan also said that the authorities had to look into different aspects, including defence, health and environmental issues in order to formulate a policy regarding nuclear energy and technology in Suriname.

According to Bisram Chanderbosh, President of Surinam Industrial Engineer-ing and Vehicle Services, which developed the project, the groundbreaking ceremony for the smelter and power plant in Groot Chatillon is scheduled for August this year. Construction of the facilities will take three years, with an investment of US$3M from investors in Suriname, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Germany. "The energy that we will produce is exclusively for industrial purposes and not for common households," Chanderbosh said in the CNetNews report. Nuclear fuel for the Simplified Gas Cooled Reactor (SGR) would be supplied by companies in Italy, Japan, South Africa, France and China.

Chanderbosh also said concerns over possible environmental risk would also be dealt with. He noted that suppliers would collect the waste every three years, while there would be an advanced monitoring system in place to track delivery of the fuel and collection of the waste.

dWT said the factory would be built at Groot Chatillon opposite Paranam, some 20 miles south of Paramaribo, where the Suriname Alumina Company (Suralco) has a refinery.

dWT explained that the financing of the multi-million dollar project was assured but Suriname's membership in the IAEA was required. Currently Belize and Jamaica are the only Caricom nations that are members of the IAEA.

Once in operation, the factory is expected to produce especially ingots (aluminium blocks), aluminium foil and high voltage wires. The smelter will consist of several production units, each with a capacity of 250,000 tonnes a year. The project is expected to create about 1,000 to 1,500 jobs.

Additionally, with a ceramics factory and wood processing companies connected to the project, a work force of up to 3,000 will be necessary.

Chanderbosh said alumina would be imported if necessary, but talks had already been held with Suralco and BHP Billiton to supply the alumina to the factory. Suralco, which is owned by Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (a global alliance between Alcoa and Alumina Ltd) and Billiton are the two largest bauxite mining companies in Suriname. Alcoa has had its presence in Suriname since 1916. Suralco announced in February 2005 that it had completed the expansion of its aluminium refinery at Paranam. Suralco and an affiliate of BHP Billiton own 55% and 45% respectively of the Paranam facility.

Alcoa Selects ESS Essential Suite(TM) for Global EH&S Management System...

PR Newswire Mar. 21, 2007 10:19 PM

..to Facilitate Company's Initiative to Improve EH&S Performance With Increased Efficiency

TEMPE, Ariz., March 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Robert Johnson, President/CEO of ESS, the leading global provider of Environmental, Health & Safety (EH&S) and Crisis Management software and services, today announced that Alcoa, the world's leading producer and manager of primary aluminum, will deploy an enterprise-wide EH&S platform powered by ESS Essential Suite(TM) that will integrate EH&S management systems to enhance productivity, reduce operational risks and costs, and support the company's efforts to maintain its leadership in EH&S as the Company continues its global growth.

When fully implemented, this deployment would span across Alcoa facilities in more than 40 countries.

"EH&S is a core operating value for Alcoa and we enjoy a strong reputation for leadership in this area", said Jake Siewert, Alcoa Vice President for EH&S and Public Strategy. "We accordingly conducted an extensive analysis of EH&S system solutions that would effectively support our short and long-term objectives. The ESS Essential Suite(TM) was a clear choice for our integrated management system."

"Alcoa is the latest global manufacturer to affirm the value using enterprise EH&S data management systems to help reduce operational risks and drive business excellence," Johnson said. "We are pleased to support Alcoa in its global leadership role to develop positive solutions to combat the effects of greenhouse gases on the global climate change."

Essential Suite is one of the most cost-effective and full-featured sets of information management applications available for environmental recordkeeping and meeting EH&S reporting requirements. The fully integrated suite is designed to help organizations meet their government regulatory requirements, and also use compliance data to develop business-enhancing performance metrics that reduce operational expenses and risk.

Great Lakes Carbon gets higher $528M bid from Oxbow hours after a competing offer

News1130, Canada March 21, 2007 - 3:41 pm

By: DAVID FRIEND

TORONTO (CP) - The takeover battle for petroleum coke firm Great Lakes Carbon Income Fund (TSX:GLC.UN) has intensified as Oxbow Carbon & Minerals Holdings Inc. boosted its offer to $14 a unit, overshadowing a rival bid made only hours before by Rain Commodities of India.

Oxbow's offer, worth $528 million, tops the revised $13.50 bid from Rain announced late Tuesday.

"The board of trustees has determined that the Oxbow proposal constitutes a superior proposal for the purposes of the Rain agreement," Great Lakes Carbon said in a release.

"Under the terms of that agreement, Rain has a right to match any offer made by another acquirer before the fund can enter into an agreement with the competing acquirer."

Great Lakes Carbon rose 4.5 per cent, or 62 cents, to close at $14.28 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The latest bids highlight a price war between privately owned Oxbow and Rain that has reached a fever pitch this week, after Rain launched a legal challenge against Great Lakes over the preliminary acceptance of a competing bid from Oxbow - and then yanked the litigation.

Great Lakes and Rain had been talking since at least last October about a possible friendly takeover for the 80 per cent of the coke producer that Rain doesn't already own.

Last March, Rain bought a nearly 20 per cent interest in the company from American Industrial Partners Capital Fund II for about $11.99 per unit.

But Rain's first bid of $437 million, or $11.60 per unit, in early February sparked criticism from some investors who said it undervalued Great Lakes and didn't even match its then 52-week high of $11.83 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

More than a month later, Oxbow - part of the Oxbow Group of West Palm Beach, Fla. - owned by William Koch, stepped in with an offer of $13 a unit, sparking back-and-forth bids.

On March 14, Rain said it was seeking to overturn the finding by Great Lakes' board that a bid from Oxbow was a superior proposal as defined in Rain's previous agreement.

The challenge was pulled less than a week later, just a day before Rain submitted its $13.50 bid Tuesday. Within five hours of making the announcement, Rain's offer was trumped by the $14 offer from Oxbow.

Rain has until March 27 to exercise its right to match the Oxbow proposal. If it doesn't, Rain will be entitled to a termination fee of $17 million.

"If one group has the inside track on this, it's Rain because they have the break fee and the ability to match the offer," suggested RBC Capial Markets analyst Dirk Lever, adding that it was initially difficult to predict whether a bidding war would break out.

"Pretty much everybody was unclear whether Rain had the financial capacity, and it appears that they do."

But Lever said that they're facing tough competition from Oxbow because the company's quick counter bid responses seem to prove that they have a mapped-out plan.

"They're ready and when they come back (with a bid) they've already got in their mind what their next step is."

Lever declined to predict where he thinks the bids for Great Lakes would top out, though he said that $15 was on the higher end of his current valuation. Anything above that amount, he said, would involve synergies that weren't readily apparent.

The Toronto-based Great Lakes fund holds a 74 per cent interest in Great Lakes Carbon USA Inc., the world's largest producer of anode-grade and industrial-grade calcined petroleum coke used to make aluminum and industrial materials.

Great Lakes serves primary aluminum customers such as Alcan Inc. (TSX:AL), BHP Billiton Ltd. and DuPont and produces coke at its sites in Port Arthur, Tex.; Enid, Okla.; Baton Rouge, La.; and La Plata, Argentina.

Rain Commodities, a holding company listed on the Mumbai stock market, has a publicly listed affiliate, Rain Calcining Ltd., described as Asia's largest producer of anode-and industrial-grade calcined petroleum coke.

Aluminum Industry Gets Pinched

Joshua Lipton, 03.21.07, 5:05 PM ET

China is in need of many industrial commodities, but one that it can produce for itself is aluminum, and that is bad news for companies that provide the silvery metal.

On Tuesday, the International Aluminum Institute restated its report of Chinese smelter output for January to a rise of 39% rather than its previously stated 35%, and it reported February output was up 40.3%.

This is twice as much output growth as Prudential Equity Group analyst John Tumazos estimated. China's demand is growing, he noted, but the output is expanding even more quickly.

Tumazos wrote in a client note that he wasn't sure why China needed so much of the metal, although one theory is that building and construction markets might use more aluminum in China. "Maybe they have some sort of affinity to aluminum construction materials," the analyst suggested.

Whatever the reason, Tumazos has soured on the industry. He reduced his rating to "unfavorable" from "favorable" based on the increasing Chinese production. Furthermore, he reduced his estimate of U.S. aluminum use in 2007 "as most manufacturing activity measures in the U.S. are falling fast." Full article can be read at:

http://www.forbes.com/business/2007/03/21/aluminum-alcoa-updatetwo-markets-equity-cx_jl_0321markets37.html

Sector Wrap: Aluminum Producers

Houston Chronicle, TX March 21, 2007, 3:38PM

NEW YORK — Prudential Equity Group said Wednesday increased Chinese output and a high cost structure for aluminum producers Alcoa Inc. and Alcan Inc. could hurt the companies' stock performance in 2007.

Shares of Alcoa gave up 22 cents to close at $33.85 on the New York Stock Exchange, while Canadian rival Alcan rose 8 cents to finish at $53.20. Century Aluminum Co. added 46 cents to end at $45.97 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Analyst John C. Tumazos cut his rating on the industry to "Unfavorable" from "Favorable." On Tuesday, the International Aluminum Institute said China output rose 39 percent in January, up from 35 percent as previously thought, and February output grew more than 40 percent.

Tumazos slashed his rating on Alcan to "Underweight" from "Overweight" and trimmed his target price to $48 from $50. He also cut Alcoa to "Neutral Weight" from "Overweight" and lowered his target price to $38 from 441.

The analyst lifted his 2007 output expectations for China by 1.4 million metric tons to a total of 12.4 metric tons. That's up from 9.35 million metric tons produced in the country in 2006, he noted.

Manufacturing in China is still rising, while U.S. manufacturing _ which has in the past used a lot of aluminum _ is declining.

In addition, both Alcan and Alcoa are expected to see higher costs ahead due to the euro's appreciation and high raw material and transportation costs, Tumazos wrote in a note to clients. Meanwhile, aluminum output in other areas of the world, including the Congo region, Middle East and Venezuela, is on the rise.

© 2007 The Associated Press

World’s first crane simulator in Reydarfjördur

IcelandReview, Iceland - 03/22/2007

The first crane simulator of its kind has been taken into use in the defunct fish factory in Reydarfjördur, east Iceland. The simulator is designed to train crane drivers for working in the Alcoa-Fjardarál smelter in Reydarfjördur.

The crane simulator was designed by the French company ECL, which provides solutions for aluminum smelters, and cost about ISK 30 million (USD 447,000, EUR 336,000). The company also designed seven cranes which will be used in the smelter. RÚV reports.

Drivers will not be allowed to operate the cranes until after they’ve completed ten training sessions in the crane simulator with the average mark of seven out of ten. The simulator is designed to evaluate speed and precision.

"People can practice without damaging anything. It is expensive when something is damaged, […] so this is totally worth it," said crane driving instructor Haraldur Thorlacius. Alcan-Fjardarál plans to train 80 of its employees with the simulator.

New deal on Cape York bauxite

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - March 23, 2007 - 1:34PM

The Aluminium Corporation of China (Chalco) will sign a final agreement on a $2.8 billion bauxite mine and alumina refinery project in Queensland.

Chinese Vice-Premier Zen Peiyan and Queensland Acting Premier Anna Bligh will attend the signing in Brisbane.

The company - the world's second-biggest aluminium producer - has acquired preferred developer status for the Aurukun bauxite deposit on Cape York.

The agreement will give the company the rights to develop the bauxite resource.

It is also expected to include a land use agreement with the Aborigines in the area.

The project will create thousands of jobs on Cape York.

© 2007 AAP

TT could still supply LNG to Jamaica

RJR, Jamaica - Thu Mar 22, 2007

Trinidad and Tobago is still making provisions to supply Jamaica with Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) despite reports that it has reneged on a promise to provide the commodity by 2009.

A report in Thursday's issue of Trinidad's Guardian newspaper quotes Prime Minister Patrick Manning as saying that reserves from the country's Loran Manatee field will provide an opportunity for Jamaica to receive LNG.

Mr. Manning made the statement in Venezuela where he is on an official visit.

His pronouncement comes a week after Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez signed an agreement for Venezuela to supply 160 million cubic feet of LNG per day to Jamaica.

This will facilitate the expansion of power generation and the bauxite alumina sector.

Mr. Manning said the gas that will be produced from the Loran Manatee field will ensure that Jamaica is able to get supplies needed for the expansion of its aluminium manufacturing facility.

World’s first crane simulator in Reydarfjördur

IcelandReview, Iceland - 03/22/2007

The first crane simulator of its kind has been taken into use in the defunct fish factory in Reydarfjördur, east Iceland. The simulator is designed to train crane drivers for working in the Alcoa-Fjardarál smelter in Reydarfjördur.

The crane simulator was designed by the French company ECL, which provides solutions for aluminum smelters, and cost about ISK 30 million (USD 447,000, EUR 336,000). The company also designed seven cranes which will be used in the smelter. RÚV reports.

Drivers will not be allowed to operate the cranes until after they’ve completed ten training sessions in the crane simulator with the average mark of seven out of ten. The simulator is designed to evaluate speed and precision.

"People can practice without damaging anything. It is expensive when something is damaged, […] so this is totally worth it," said crane driving instructor Haraldur Thorlacius. Alcan-Fjardarál plans to train 80 of its employees with the simulator.

New deal on Cape York bauxite

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - March 23, 2007 - 1:34PM

The Aluminium Corporation of China (Chalco) will sign a final agreement on a $2.8 billion bauxite mine and alumina refinery project in Queensland.

Chinese Vice-Premier Zen Peiyan and Queensland Acting Premier Anna Bligh will attend the signing in Brisbane.

The company - the world's second-biggest aluminium producer - has acquired preferred developer status for the Aurukun bauxite deposit on Cape York.

The agreement will give the company the rights to develop the bauxite resource.

It is also expected to include a land use agreement with the Aborigines in the area.

The project will create thousands of jobs on Cape York.

© 2007 AAP

TT could still supply LNG to Jamaica

RJR, Jamaica - Thu Mar 22, 2007

Trinidad and Tobago is still making provisions to supply Jamaica with Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) despite reports that it has reneged on a promise to provide the commodity by 2009.

A report in Thursday's issue of Trinidad's Guardian newspaper quotes Prime Minister Patrick Manning as saying that reserves from the country's Loran Manatee field will provide an opportunity for Jamaica to receive LNG.

Mr. Manning made the statement in Venezuela where he is on an official visit.

His pronouncement comes a week after Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez signed an agreement for Venezuela to supply 160 million cubic feet of LNG per day to Jamaica.

This will facilitate the expansion of power generation and the bauxite alumina sector.

Mr. Manning said the gas that will be produced from the Loran Manatee field will ensure that Jamaica is able to get supplies needed for the expansion of its aluminium manufacturing facility.

Consultant Position:

Anyone out there with zinc smelter experience, particularly in 60s and 70s? Knowledge--work practices, EH&S practices and issues, etc.?

Just checking,

Chris Laszcz-Davis

If interested, send an email to claszczdavis@aol.com

Aluminum Industry States Position on Climate - Change U.S. Legislative Policy

American Digital Networks (press release), MD, March 23, 2007

WASHINGTON-(Business Wire)-March 23, 2007 - The Aluminum Industry today has made public its "Position on Climate Change Policies." This action follows Aluminum Association member meetings in Washington and a ballot vote of its board.

"We believe that it is important for the U.S. aluminum industry to assume a leadership position in this cause for environmental sustainability of our industry and products, on a market-wide and global basis," said Patrick Franc, chairman of The Aluminum Association and president of ARCO Aluminum/BP.

The position statement recognizes that scientists have determined that the earth is gradually warming due, in part, to increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases due to human activities, and that the aluminum industry recognizes that climate change presents a challenge that requires cooperative action on a global basis, and promotes international participation.

Should the U.S. adopt legislation that would regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), the industry seeks recognition of the benefits of recycling toward GHG emissions reduction. After the initial energy investment in primary aluminum production, the recycling of aluminum saves 95% of energy and greenhouse gas emissions.

"The aluminum industry in the U.S. has made considerable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, offering both experience and a positive track record in this cause. Our contributions through recycling and downstream emissions reductions through better, less emitting automobiles, will help the United States and other countries protect the environment," said Steve Larkin, president of The Aluminum Association.

The industry's fully-developed complementary primary and reclamation system thereby currently reduces the overall energy consumption in total U.S. aluminum production by approximately 46 percent, and reduces GHG by approximately 38 percent. The industry sees opportunity for further reduction and supports policy that provides incentives for recycling.

The position demonstrates that life-cycle studies of aluminum's use in North American automotive applications show that replacing two pounds of traditional material with one pound of aluminum to lightweight a vehicle can save on a typical mid-size sedan 20 pounds of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of that vehicle. The use of automotive aluminum has doubled since 1991 and is expected to double again in the next decade. This light-weighting savings occurs also for truck, buses, trains, boats and ships for all transportation means. Any climate change policy should recognize and provide incentives for additional transportation light-weighting applications that reduce transportation-related GHG emissions.

The aluminum industry's Voluntary Aluminum Industrial Partnership has met or exceeded goals since 1990. From 1990 to 2000 the program reduced by about 45% PFC emissions, resulting in annual emissions reductions of over 2.2 MMTCE. Since the industry has taken the initiative to voluntarily reduce its process greenhouse gas emissions, it strongly supports policies and programs that give credit for early action taken since 1990.

The Industry supports efficient and economically sound emissions trading programs and registries that recognize early emissions reductions. It supports an economy-wide, fair market-driven approach that may include a cap and trade program that limits GHG emissions. The approach should result in market incentives that stimulate investment and innovation in technologies necessary to grow while achieving environmental reduction targets.

To reduce potential negative impacts on the U.S. manufacturing sector, which by 2005 had already reduced total GHG emissions below 1990 levels, provision should be made in any GHG program to reduce the expected negative impacts of energy cost increases such as through corporate tax credits. The industry participates in and recommends public/private partnerships to spur pre-competitive research to reduce greenhouse gas process emissions and to promote energy saving aluminum product applications.

The industry supports a responsible approach to growth in demand for its products and the consequent growth in activity and related emissions, noting that solutions to the climate change issue involve both reducing emissions at the source, and also over the full lifecycle of the material or products.

Policy Position on Climate Change of The Aluminum Association

Industry Overview

The Aluminum industry operates about 200 plants in 30 U.S. states, employs about 100,000 people with approximately $3.5 billion total payroll. While Association member companies conduct business worldwide, the U.S aluminum industry ranks fourth in the world in annual primary aluminum production, accounting for about 16 percent of world supply or over 8 billion pounds of metal. The Association represents U.S. primary producers of aluminum, recyclers, producers of semi-fabricated products, and suppliers.

Americans consume aluminum primarily in transportation (32 percent), containers and packaging (21 percent), and building and construction (13 percent). The advances in the automotive aluminum market are helping Americans drive better-performing cars that in turn reduce CO2 emissions and save fuel consumption.

Recycled aluminum—from beverage cans to all other uses—requires only about 5 percent of energy as compared to ore-to-primary production. Americans' recycling efforts and the industry's aluminum reclamation system thereby reduce the overall energy consumption in total U.S. aluminum production by 46 percent.

Industry Background on Voluntary GHG Emissions Reduction

The aluminum industry's Voluntary Aluminum Industrial Partnership has reduced two potent PFCs, tetrafluoromethane (CF4) and hexafluoroethane (C2F6). Twelve companies in this aluminum industry program were recognized by President George W. Bush's 2002 Climate Change Report and the EPA 2002 Climate Protection Award for meeting their 2000 goal. This action reduced PFC emissions from U.S. primary aluminum smelting by 45%—equivalent to 2.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

In 2003 the primary aluminum sector joined the U.S. Climate Vision program to further reduce PFC emissions. This goal of 53% reduction on direct CO2 emissions (a combined direct carbon emission from 1990 to 2010 based on PFC reductions and reduced anode carbon consumption) equates to an additional reduction of 25 percent since 2000. This goal was surpassed in 2005 with a 56% reduction from 1990.

2007 Aluminum Industry Position on Climate Change Policies

1. Scientists have determined that the earth is gradually warming due, in part, to increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases due to human activities.

2. The aluminum industry recognizes that climate change presents a challenge that requires cooperative action on a global basis, and promotes international participation.

3. Climate policies should recognize the benefits of recycling toward GHG emissions reduction. After the initial energy investment in primary aluminum production, the recycling of aluminum saves 95% of energy and greenhouse gas emissions. The industry's complementary primary and reclamation system thereby reduces the overall energy consumption in total U.S. aluminum production by approximately 46 percent, and reduces GHG by approximately 38 percent. The industry sees opportunity for further reduction and supports policy that provides incentives for recycling.

4. Life-cycle studies of aluminum's use in North American automotive applications show that replacing two pounds of traditional material with one pound of aluminum to lightweight a vehicle can save on a typical mid-size sedan 20 pounds of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of that vehicle. The use of automotive aluminum has doubled since 1991 and is expected to double again in the next decade. This light-weighting savings occurs also for truck, buses, trains, boats and ships for all transportation means. Any climate change policy should recognize and provide incentives for additional transportation light-weighting applications that reduce transportation-related GHG emissions.

5. The aluminum industry's Voluntary Aluminum Industrial Partnership has met or exceeded goals since 1990. From 1990 to 2000 the program reduced by about 45% PFC (CF4 and C2F6) emissions, resulting in annual emissions reductions of over 2.2 MMTCE. Since the industry has taken the initiative to voluntarily reduce its process greenhouse gas emissions, it strongly supports policies and programs that give credit for early action taken since 1990.

6. The Industry supports efficient and economically sound emissions trading programs and registries that recognize early emissions reductions. It supports an economy-wide, fair market-driven approach that may include a cap and trade program that limits GHG emissions. The approach should result in market incentives that stimulate investment and innovation in technologies necessary to grow while achieving environmental reduction targets.

7. To reduce potential negative impacts on the U.S. manufacturing sector, which by 2005 had already reduced total GHG emissions below 1990 levels, provision should be made in any GHG program to reduce the expected negative impacts of energy cost increases such as through corporate tax credits.

8. The industry participates in and recommends public/private partnerships to spur pre-competitive research to reduce greenhouse gas process emissions and to promote energy saving aluminum product applications.

9. The industry supports a responsible approach to growth in demand for its products and the consequent growth in activity and related emissions, noting that solutions to the climate change issue involve both reducing emissions at the source, and also over the full lifecycle of the material or products.

China, Qld to sign $2.8b aluminium deal

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia March 23, 2007 - 1:34PM

A $2.8 billion deal with China to mine bauxite and build an aluminium smelter in Queensland was the largest foreign investment in the state's history, Acting Premier Anna Bligh says.

Ms Bligh and the Chinese Vice-Premier, Zen Peiyan, are set to sign the agreement with the Aluminium Corporation of China (Chalco) on the rights to mine the Aurukun bauxite resource on Cape York Peninsula.

The company is the world's second biggest aluminium producer and has won an 18-month bidding process.

"This is a multi-billion dollar milestone in the relationship between Queensland and China," Ms Bligh said.

"China is an economic powerhouse that is shaping the world economy and this agreement is an enormous vote of confidence in our ability to meet their booming demand for resources."

Ms Bligh said Queensland was providing $300 million in funding for common infrastructure, including a bauxite loading facility and road and airstrip upgrades.

The upgrades were expected to benefit existing miners such as Rio Tinto Aluminium and future mining operations in the region.

Chalco is now in the final stages of reaching an agreement with the Wik Aboriginal people of the Aurukun region.

When that agreement has been reached, the company will embark on a two-year, $40 million feasibility study and environmental impact study for the mine and a $2.1 billion refinery.

Annual output from the mine was expected to be 6.4 million tonnes of bauxite and 2.1 million tonnes of aluminium from the refinery.

Chalco is looking at three sites for the refinery in Bowen, Townsville and Gladstone.

A decision on the site was expected some time this year.

Ms Bligh said the mine will create 700 construction jobs and more than 100 full time positions.

The refinery was expected to provide 1,600 jobs during construction and 500 workers when operational.

UAE's Mubadala to buy Guinea alumina

Reuters - Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:19AM EDT

DUBAI (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development Co. is to buy an alumina refinery company in the West African nation of Guinea to secure supplies for its aluminum projects which include the world's largest smelter, a top executive said.

The acquisition of the company, which also mines for the raw material bauxite, will be finalized in a week, Mubadala's chief operating officer, Waleed al-Mokarrab al-Muhairi, told the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit in Dubai on Monday.

He declined to give further details.

Mubadala is owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, which controls more than 90 percent of the United Arab Emirates' oil reserves.

Mubadala and state-owned Dubai Aluminum are building an $8 billion smelter in Abu Dhabi that will eventually have capacity of 1.4 million metric tons a year, making it the world's largest.

"Our comparative advantage is energy," Muhairi said. "Plants are shutting down in the West."

Mubadala has had discussions with the world's largest aluminum producers such as Alcoa Inc. (AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Alcan Inc. (AL.TO: Quote, Profile, Research), Muhairi said, without being more specific.

Energy typically accounts for between 30 percent and 50 percent of the cost of aluminum production. Four of the five biggest holders of natural gas are in the Gulf, including Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Mubadala is also a partner with Canada's SNC-Lavalin (SNC.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) in a $5 billion venture building a 700,000-metric-tons-a-year smelter in oil and gas producer, Algeria.

The investment agency, which partners companies such as Total (TOTF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) and Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY.N: Quote, Profile, Research), is also considering a third aluminum project to be located in the Gulf, as well as buying more producers of alumina, Muhairi said, declining to be more specific.

"Australia is a very large source of alumina. Africa is a major source," Muhairi said.

The Guinea purchase would supply around 30 percent of the Abu Dhabi aluminum smelter's initial capacity of 750,000 metric tons a year, Mohairi said.

With two tons of alumina needed to produce one ton of aluminum that would put the mining operation's capacity at around 450,000 tonnes a year.

Muhairi said Mubadala is in talks with makers of automotive components about setting up in Abu Dhabi to produce parts such as engine blocks and benefit from aluminum production from the planned smelter.

Great Lakes set to accept Oxbow Carbon's offer

Reuters Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:12PM EDT

Great Lakes Carbon Income Fund (GLC_u.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Tuesday it will enter an agreement with Oxbow Carbon & Minerals Holdings, Inc., which has offered to buy the fund's assets at C$14.00 per unit in cash.

The move comes after Rain Commodities Inc. (RACL.BO: Quote, Profile, Research), which had been in a bidding war with Oxbow Carbon for the assets of Canada's Great Lakes, failed to exercise its right to match the sweetened C$14.00-a-unit proposal by Oxbow.

Based on Great Lakes' last quarterly results filing, the company had 51.2 million units outstanding, valuing Oxbow's offer at C$717 million.

Rain Commodities, which had offered C$13.50 per unit for the fund, had had until Tuesday to match Oxbow's bid.

Under terms of the Rain agreement, a subsidiary of Rain USA will be entitled to a termination fee of C$17 million, the fund said. After payment of the termination fee and other requirements have been met, Great Lakes will enter a definitive agreement with Oxbow.

Great Lakes has a majority interest in GLC Carbon USA Inc., the world's largest producer of anode and industrial grade calcined petroleum coke, a pure form of carbon used in the aluminum and steel industries.

Units of Great Lakes were down 34 Canadian cents, or 2.4 percent, at C$13.91, in midmorning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

($1$1.16 Canadian)

Foreign Minister wants smelter in Húsavík

IcelandReview, Iceland 03/27/2007 | 12:10

Foreign Minister Valgerdur Sverrisdóttir spoke in Húsavík, northeast Iceland, yesterday and said she supports the construction of an aluminum smelter to be powered by geothermal energy near the town.

Sverrisdóttir said it is logical to use the energy in the area for an industry that requires a lot of energy. She claimed the construction of a smelter would not harm the environment and that its operations would be sustainable development, Fréttabladid reports.

The minister spoke at a congress organized by the Employment Development Association of Thingeyjarsýsla Community (ATh) and Markthing, the Marketing Council of Thingeygjarsýsla Community.

Managing director of ATh, Tryggvi Finnsson, said: "The community here is not sustainable as it is. Inhabitants are decreasing and the average age is increasing. To reverse that development it is best to harness the natural resources the region has to offer."

Finnsson said people are optimistic a smelter will be constructed in the area. "The only thing people worry about is the political debate in society."

The local representative of the Left-Green Movement, Ásbjörn Th. Björgvinsson, said the Left-Greens are totally opposed to the idea of an aluminum smelter in the region. "We worry a smelter might harm other development in the area, which is significant."

Thorsteinn Hilmarsson, the information officer at Landsvirkjun, the national power company, said the extent of geothermal energy in the region is currently being researched in accordance with an agreement with aluminum company Alcoa.

Nalco plans greenfield smelter in Orissa

Financial Express, India Wednesday, March 28, 2007 at 0225 hours IST

DILIP BISOI

BHUBANESWAR, MAR 27 : Cntral sector National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco) is planning to set up a greenfield aluminium smelter plant in Orissa as it failed to find out a suitable environment for such a venture in a Gulf country. The plant may come up in the Ib Valley coal belt of Jharsuguda district in Orissa.

"We are looking for a site which will be closer to coal deposits," a senior official of Nalco told FE.

Nalco chairman CR Pradhan and state chief secretary Ajit Tripathy reportedly had an aerial survey of the area last week to select a site. The survey also covered Gadhamardan buxite mines.

Nalco was exploring the possibility of setting up a smelter plant of 2,50,000 to 3,00,000 tonne in a Gulf country by 2009-10 because of the availability of cheap power there. It was in talks with Qatar, Oman and Abu Dhabi.

Nalco, which now produces about 1.57 million tonne of alumina, is one of the major alumina exporters of the world. After completion of the second phase expansion, alumina production capacity will go up to 2.10 mt per annum and aluminium smelter production capacity to 4.60 lakh tonne from 3.45 lakh tonne at present.

Nalco will set up a greenfield alumina refinery as part of the backward integration at a later stage, said the official. According to him, the company is keen to get mining lease of Gandhamardhan bauxite deposit along with the Pottangi deposit, and discussion with the state government is on in this regard.

Global Alumina strikes US$260 million joint venture deal in Guinea

Mineweb, South Africa - Tuesday , 27 Mar 2007

Global Alumina will sell a two-thirds stake in its alumina refinery project, in the Republic of Guinea, to BHP Billiton, DUBAL Aluminium and Mubadala Development for US$260 million.

Author: Rodrick Mukumbira

WINDHOEK -

Global Alumina Corporation's (TSX: GLA.U) subsidiary, Global Alumina International Ltd (GAI), will receive US$260 million for a two-thirds stake in its alumina refinery project under development in the Republic of Guinea after sealing a joint venture deal with three international companies, according to an announcement late Monday that came as the company reported widened net losses for 2006.

Global Alumina is trying to develop the bauxite resources in a country with a third of the world's supply of the mineral, to produce alumina for sale to aluminium producers.

In a release after stock markets closed Monday, the company said it had approved agreements to form a joint venture to develop and operate the proposed refinery and it will sell the two thirds to global mining giant BHP Billiton, Dubai government-owned DUBAL Aluminium Co. Ltd. and Mubadala Development Co., an investment firm owned by the Abu Dhabi government.

Earlier Monday, Global Alumina had reported net losses of US$19.5 million or 10 cents a share for fiscal 2006, up from US$17.3 million or 14 cents in 2005, as its board noted the company's dire financial needs.

Its earnings report did not reflect any product revenues as the company moved to develop one of the world's biggest green-field alumina refinery.

Significant financial highlights reported included:

-Construction-in-progress that rose US$116.5 million to US$192.3 million at December 31 from US$75.8 million at the same period in 2005.

-An aggregate of US$37.2 million received through warrants exercised in 2006 bringing the total gross equity raised to date to approximately US$248 million;

The joint venture transaction would enable the Company to continue implementation of the Project in accordance with the investment and concession agreement with the government of Guinea signed in 2004, said the company.

The US$260 million will be paid in four instalments and the joint venture will be effected through a share subscription agreement whereby each of BHP Billiton, DUBAL and Mubadala will subscribe to shares in Guinea Alumina Corporation Ltd., presently a wholly-owned subsidiary of GAI.

Following closing of the subscription, the ownership structure of Guinea Alumina will be 33.3 percent GAI, 33.3 BHP Billiton, 25 percent DUBAL and 8.3 percent Mubadala.

"The joint venture to be established by these agreements is one of Global Alumina's most exciting developments in its quest to construct the world's largest green-field alumina refinery in Guinea," said Bruce Wrobel, CEO of Global Alumina.

He added, "Adding the financial and management resources of BHP Billiton, DUBAL and Mubadala, as well as DUBAL and Mubadala's significant need for alumina driven by their aggressive aluminium smelter growth plans and BHP Billiton's strong technical and operational expertise to Global Alumina's highly qualified project development team and the extensive work the team already completed creates a win-win for the success of the prospective joint venture, the refinery project and Global Alumina's shareholders."

BHP Billiton, one of the world's largest non-integrated producers of primary aluminium, is also the world's sixth largest producer of primary aluminium, with a total operating capacity in excess of one million tons of aluminium, approximately 14 million tons of bauxite and four million tons of alumina per annum.

DUBAL, the owner of one of the largest single site aluminium smelters in the western world produces and exports primary aluminium products to more than 40 countries world-wide.

Mubadala controls more than 90 percent of the United Arab Emirates' oil reserves. It invests in a wide range of strategic sectors that also include utilities, health, real estate, public-private partnerships, basic industries and services.

On Monday, Mubadala's chief operating officer, Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi confirmed the deal to Reuters on the sidelines of the Middle East Investment Summit in Dubai saying the company wanted to secure supplies for its US$8 billion smelter it was building with DUBAL in Abu Dhabi that will have a capacity of 1.4 million tons a year, making it the world's largest.

"Our comparative advantage is energy [which typically accounts for between 30 percent and 50 percent of the costs in aluminium production],"Muhairi was quoted by Reuters as saying. "Plants are shutting down in the West."

Muhairi also told Reuters that Mubadala was also a partner with Canada's SNC-Lavalin in a US$5 billion venture building a 700,000 tons-a-year smelter in oil and gas producer, Algeria.

Reuters quoted Muhairi saying that the Guinea purchase would supply around 30 percent of the Abu Dhabi aluminium smelter's initial capacity of 750,000 tons a year and this would put the mining operation's capacity at around 450,000 tons a year.

KRAZ Aluminum Ingot May Be Included in Guinness Book of Records

Financial Information Service(Registration), Russia March 27, 2007

KRASNOYARSK,Journalists were shown the production of Russia's largest aluminum ingots. The length of one ingot may be as large as 11 meters 30 cm and the weight - from 25 to 28 tons. According to Director on Casting Yuri Astakhov, the heaviest ingot weighed 34 tons. KRAZ filed the application to Russian Book of Records and Guinness Book of Records as the producer of the world's largest aluminum ingot.

One such square ingot may be used to roll up to 600 thousand sq. m of food-grade foil.

Major customers buying aluminum ingots from the plant are German, S. Korean, Norwegian and US enterprises. KRAZ started to cast such ingots this year.

World's strongest aluminum alloy born in Japan

People's Daily Online, China 29-Mar-2007

Japan's major steel maker Kobe Steel Ltd. said on Thursday in a statement that it has developed the world's strongest aluminum alloy which could be used in a variety of fields.

The company said it is now seeking a patent for its new aluminum alloy, whose tensile strength is 10 percent higher than the U.S. Lockheed Martin Corp.'s aluminum-lithium alloy, which is currently known as the world's strongest.

Officials of the company said the new material could be used on racing cars and space shuttles. Commercialization of the alloy is expected for 2008.

Source: Xinhua

Alcan praises Canada court ruling on power sales

Reuters Canada, Canada - Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:37 PM EDT

By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - A court has dismissed a lawsuit over power sales by Alcan Inc. (AL.TO: Quote) on Canada's Pacific Coast in a ruling the big aluminum firm said on Thursday will aid plans to upgrade its Kitimat, British Columbia, smelter.

A 1950 deal between Alcan and the province British Columbia did not restrict it from selling power from the massive Kemano hydro-electric facility, or specify production levels for the related smelter, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled Wednesday.

The judge tossed out a lawsuit by the District of Kitimat that sought to force the province to curb power sales from Kemano. District officials argued the outside sales were allowing Alcan to cut jobs at the smelter.

The provincial court had earlier rejected a lawsuit by Kitimat against Alcan over the power sales.

The world's second largest aluminum producer said it was encouraged by the ruling and called on district leaders to work with it to improve the area's economy.

Kitimat, a city of about 12,000 on British Columbia's northwest coast, is about 1,400 km (880 miles) from Vancouver and was founded because of the Alcan smelter.

City officials were not immediately available for comment on whether they would appeal the ruling.

Alcan announced in August it planned to spend $1.8 billion to expand the Kitimat aluminum plant's production capacity by more than 60 percent to 400,000 tonnes, although the new technology will require fewer workers at the smelter.

"We must still meet the conditions required for final approval of the $1.8 billion project, but the court's decision is a step forward in ensuring the sustainability of our operations in British Columbia," Alcan said in a statement.

The expansion plan suffered a setback in December when provincial utility regulators rejected a new power sale agreement between Alcan and BC Hydro, the provincially owned utility, saying it was too expensive for consumers.

BC Hydro considering appealing the ruling, but will not make a formal decision until next month, a spokeswoman said.

The Kemano powerhouse, built into a mountain about 75 km southeast of Kitimat, can generate 896,000 kilowatts of electricity. The water powering the generators plunges more than 800 metres (2,600 feet) -- nearly 16 times the height of Niagara Falls.

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Wise Metals Group LLC Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results

Earthtimes.org Thu, 29 Mar 2007 12:48:00 GMT | Author : Wise Metals Group LLC

BALTIMORE, Md., March 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Wise Metals Group has completed the next step in a program to further diversify industry product offerings by adding increased width to its aluminum can stock capabilities, company officials announced.

The results of this phase will extend the width of Wise Alloys can stock from 60 inches to 72 inches by the end of 2008. Company officials said widening the rolling surface of the cold rolling equipment will produce a 72- inch aluminum sheet that will allow Wise Alloys' can sheet product to become also available to beverage-can producers that use "14 and 15 out" extended- width cupping presses in their manufacturing process.

"We are very excited to enter this next significant stage of our project to further diversify our product offerings and begin offering increased-width can sheet," said Michael Stumpe, Wise Alloys vice president of manufacturing technology. "The engineering requirements of this project are now complete and the key equipment and services have already been sourced. The next step will be to move into the construction phases of this project."

"Recent years have brought impressive improvements in the diversification and quality of our product offerings," said Wise Metals Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David F. D'Addario. "This phase of the project will give the company certain capabilities that will allow both Wise Metals Group and our customers to achieve higher levels of productivity and cost efficiency."

2006 Financial Results

Shipments of Wise Metals Group's aluminum beverage can stock, other rolled aluminum products and scrap in the fourth quarter of 2006 totaled 176.2 million pounds compared to 195.5 million for the same period in 2005.

For 2006, shipments totaled 757.3 million pounds compared to 764.7 million pounds for 2005. Total shipments reflect an overall decrease in can sheet shipments at Wise Alloys offset by increased shipments of commercial products and increased scrap shipments at Wise Recycling.

Shipments of scrap at Wise Recycling increased approximately 24 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006 versus the fourth quarter of 2005 and increased approximately 15 percent for the full year. Commercial products shipments at Wise Alloys increased approximately 120 percent for the fourth quarter of 2006 compared to the same period in 2005, and increased approximately 67 percent for the year.

Net loss for the fourth quarter of 2006 was $13.3 million, which includes a $3.4 million unfavorable impact for SFAS 133 (Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities) and a $12.0 million impact of metal price caps offset by a decrease in the LIFO reserve of approximately $5.1 million. This compares to a net loss of $10.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2005, which includes a $2.3 million expense for LIFO and a $4.7 million impact of metal price caps offset by a $10.2 million favorable impact for SFAS 133.

For the year, Wise Metals Group reported a net loss of $80.2 million including a $19.9 million expense for LIFO, a $24.1 million unfavorable impact under SFAS 133 and a $46.3 million impact of metal price caps. These results compared to a net loss of $21.6 million in 2005 including a $2.3 million expense for LIFO and an $8.7 million impact of metal price caps offset by an $11.7 million favorable mark-to-market gain under SFAS 133.

After adjusting for LIFO, SFAS 133 and metal ceiling caps, net loss for the fourth quarter of 2006 was $3.0 million, compared to a loss of $13.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2005, adjusting for similar items. The difference of approximately $10.5 million, after adjusting for decreased volumes, includes the results of various cost reduction initiatives and improved operating performance. Reduced prices for natural gas contributed approximately $4.8 million.

Earnings before interest and fees, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), adjusted for the effects of LIFO and SFAS 133 (Adjusted EBITDA) for the fourth quarter of 2006, was ($3.3) million compared to ($8.5) million for the fourth quarter of 2005.

The fourth quarter Adjusted EBITDA of ($3.3) million included an approximate $12.0 million impact from the effects of metal ceilings as compared to the fourth quarter 2005 Adjusted EBITDA of ($8.5) million which included an approximate $4.7 million impact for metal ceilings.

For the full year 2006 Adjusted EBITDA was $9.1 million which includes an approximate $46.3 million impact for metal ceilings compared to full year 2005 Adjusted EBITDA of $7.5 million which included an approximate $8.7 million impact from metal ceilings.

Adjusted EBITDA, absent the effects of metal price caps, in 2006 was approximately $55.4 million as compared to $16.2 million in 2005, similarly adjusted. Contributing to the increase were the results of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 as well as the effects of an unexpected curtailment of shipments by a major customer in 2005. Further contributing to the overall increase were various cost savings initiatives and process improvements implemented at Wise and an approximate $10.5 million increase in Adjusted EBITDA at Wise Recycling due to continued growth in scrap margins and volumes of non-ferrous metals processed through the Wise Recycling national network of scrap yards.

The significant increase in metal ceiling impacts of $37.6 million from $8.7 million in 2005 to $46.3 million in 2006 was primarily due to a significant increase in aluminum prices which averaged $.92 per pound in 2005 and averaged $1.22 per pound in 2006.

While current aluminum prices in 2007 are approximately $1.30 per pound, even should metal prices continue to rise, Wise does not anticipate there to be any dollar impact from ceilings on its beverage can sheet sales; however, Wise is seeking declaratory binding judgment in Colbert county, Alabama on a major food container can sheet contract representing less than 10 percent of Wise Alloys product sales.

"This declaratory judgment, if successful, would result in the enforcement of a certain provision within this food container contract that effectively removes any ceiling. The Company is seeking to have this ceiling impact reimbursed and removed retroactively effective November 11, 2006, the date the relevant contract provision became effective," said Wise Metals Group Executive Vice President Danny Mendelson.

Subsequent to year-end, Wise Metals Group completed an amendment to its revolving credit facility. The amendment was to reset certain covenant levels based on the company's most recent financial projections and results.

"This was an important step for Wise as we prepare for many of the initiatives and programs that we have planned for 2007," said Wise Metals Group Chief Financial Officer Ken Stastny.

"While it's nice to report that for the first time, Wise's sales exceeded one billion dollars for the year; obviously, from the results reported, we did not realize the profitability from that volume of sales. This is a direct result of what we have referred to as the state of an aluminum rolling sheet industry that is undergoing significant change," D'Addario added.

Kobe Steel Achieves World's Strongest Aluminum Alloy

Asia Corporate News Network (press release), Australia 30-Mar-2007

(via ACN Newswire) - Tokyo, Japan, Mar 31, 2007 - (JCN Newswire) - Kobe Steel, Ltd. announces that it has created the world's strongest aluminum alloy, with a tensile strength of 780 MPa, using a spray forming process that it has developed.

Kobe Steel is seeking applications that can make use of the new alloy's light weight, high strength and excellent processing features. Kobe Steel is currently making sample bars of 10 mm in diameter and 100 mm in length. It is also working to establish the technology to mass-produce bars, wire rods, shapes and plates made of the alloy.

"This value-added aluminum is suitable in applications where high performance is required," said Senior Researcher Hideo Hata at Kobe Steel's Materials Research Laboratory. "By 2008, we're aiming to commercialize the new material for use in special purpose vehicles - such as race cars - and aircraft and aerospace parts," he said.

The new aluminum alloy, under patent application, has a tensile strength of 780MPa, 10% higher than the 710 MPa of Weldalite(R), an aluminum-lithium alloy developed by Lockheed Martin Corporation and used in the External Fuel Tank of the Space Shuttle. The ductility of Kobe Steel's new alloy is also high. Generally speaking, as strength increases, material workability goes down. However, with a breaking elongation of 14%, Kobe Steel's new material has nearly three times the ductility of Weldalite's 5%. Ductility is 1.4 times that of titanium alloy and maraging steel. In addition, the new alloy has one of the highest specific strengths (the tensile strength divided by the density of the new material). The higher the specific strength, the lighter and stronger the material is.

Spray forming Process

In spray forming, molten metal is "sprayed" into droplets and is quickly quenched as it turns from a liquid to solid state. Molten metal in an induction furnace flows out of a small hole in the bottom of the furnace. Nitrogen gas is blown as the molten metal exits the hole, atomizing the material into a fine mist of droplets. The droplets accumulate and solidify into a preform on a table. Spray forming prevents the segregation of high-density alloy elements and enables melting with a uniform, fine microstructure. This is impossible to achieve using conventional melting and casting processes.

Utilizing these characteristics of the process, Kobe Steel succeeded in creating an alloy with a uniform and fine microstructure. Zinc, magnesium and copper are added to strengthen the material. In conventional melting and casting processes, when the amount of the alloy elements is increased, segregation during solidification and a coarsening of the material structure occurs. This limits the amount of the alloy elements. However, Kobe Steel's spray forming process clears these problems.

Kobe Steel originally began using a spray-forming process developed by Sandvik Osprey Ltd. in the United Kingdom. It later developed its own spray-forming process for the manufacture of aluminum alloys. Kobe Steel's spray-forming technology is currently used by subsidiary Kobelco Research Institute, Inc. to produce aluminum alloy target material used in the thin-film wiring of liquid crystal display panels. As the sample pieces of the new aluminum alloy are made by the same spray-forming equipment used to produce target material, Kobe Steel will be able to achieve volume production of the new alloy in a relatively short time. Metal ingots of up to 240 kg in weight can be produced to make large parts.

Merged Rusal to list within three years

Jamaica Gleaner, Jamaica - Mar 27, 2007

Russia's aluminium billionaires yesterday said they would float the merged Rusal firm within three years as the country enhances its presence on global resources markets.

The new United Company RUSAL will produce one eighth of the world's aluminium, surpassing Alcoa Inc and Alcan Inc, by combining RUSAL, smaller Russian rival SUAL and assets of Swiss-based commodities trader Glencore.

Annual sales will be around US$12 billion.

"The deal is a proactive response to several significant industry trends: dynamic growth, competition to secure access to energy and raw material resources and active consolidation," said Alexander Bulygin, chief executive of the new company.

The new group's production capacity will be about four million tonnes of aluminium and 11 million tonnes of alumina, the firms said in a statement.

The former world aluminium leader Alcoa produced 3.55 million tonnes of the metal last year. Alcan produced 3.4 million tonnes.

The companies did not say where they intended to list United Company RUSAL. The firm's executives have said the listing could take place in London within 18 months of the merger.

RUSAL will own 66 per cent of the new company, SUAL 22 per cent and Glencore 12 per cent.

SUAL's main owner Viktor Vekselberg has been appointed non-executive chairman of the new company. Board members will include RUSAL owner Oleg Deripaska, SUAL shareholder Len Blavatnik and Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg.

Compete for global capital

U.S. citizen Blavatnik, whose Access Industries company owns 30.13 per cent of SUAL, said in a separate statement the merger would ensure "the ability to compete successfully for global capital, customers and assets".

SUAL President Brian Gilbertson, once tipped to be chairman of the new company, was not named among the board members in the statement. Russian media have reported that he would leave the company after the merger.

"There is nothing out of the ordinary in Gilbertson leaving, as he was appointed to head an independent SUAL, which had planned its own IPO," Alfa-Bank's analyst Vladimir Zhukov said.

"And there is also nothing extraordinary in the company's board chaired by one of the company's owners, who is a very well-known figure."

The board will include two independent non-executive directors. A third independent non-executive director will be appointed by July 1.

United Company RUSAL combines four bauxite mines, 10 alumina refineries, 14 aluminium smelters and three foil mills. The company's assets and over 100,000 employees are located in 17 countries.

The company also owns bauxite reserves and has access to a significant energy base, the statement said.