AluNews - October 2007

TDC: VALCO owns disputed land

Joy Online, Ghana - 1-Oct-2007 Previous Page

The Tema Development Company has confirmed the Volta Aluminum Company, VALCO, as owners of a disputed land at Kpone near Tema which the Sunon Asogli Power Company said it had procured for a power plant.

The parcel of land has been at the centre of litigation for some weeks after the Paramount Chief of the Asogli Traditional Area, Agbogbomefia Togbe Afede XIV alleged that VALCO was frustrating his attempts to build the plant.

Togbe Afede said he was offered the land by the Kpone Traditional Council and had made part-payment, but VALCO maintained that it acquired the land forty years ago for an Alumina refinery.

The Managing Director of TDC, Mansa Banson told Joy News after meeting with both the Kpone Traditional Council and officials of VALCO that the ownership of the disputed land was clear.

Malaysia's MMC to announce 2 bln usd smelter project in Middle East

Trading Markets, CA - Tuesday, October 02, 2007

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 03, 2007 (Thomson Financial via COMTEX)

Malaysian diversified company MMC Corp Bhd and partner Saudi Binladin Group are set to announce a deal with a Chinese aluminum producer to build a smelter and power plant in the Middle East worth some 2 billion US dollars, the Star reported Wednesday.

The newspaper, without identifying its sources, said the smelter will likely get its electricity from the nearby power plant.

Construction of the smelter and power plant is expected to begin in the first-half of next year.

MMC and Saudi Binladin Group are partners in building Jizan Economic City in Saudi Arabia, a self-contained development comprising industrial and non-industrial zones.

Jizan Economic City is projected to cost 30 billion dollars to develop, the newspaper said.

(1 US dollar 3.40 ringgit)

munfoo.hong@thomson.com

Alcoa to Take Charge, Closes in on Sale

The Associated Press - 04-Oct-2007

By DANIEL LOVERING

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. expects to take charges of $845 million as it closes in on the sale of two businesses — packaging and consumer products, and automotive castings — enabling it to focus on new growth opportunities, the company said Thursday.

The Pittsburgh-based company also plans to restructure a third business — electrical and electronic solutions.

The moves come after Alcoa announced last month that it had sold its nearly 7 percent stake in China's largest aluminum maker — Aluminum Corporation of China Ltd., also known as Chalco — for $2 billion. Its 2001 initial investment was less than $200 million.

"These portfolio actions, combined with the sale of Alcoa's stake in Chalco, will significantly enhance the company's capital structure and add flexibility for both growth opportunities and other initiatives to improve shareholder value," Alcoa said in a statement.

Charles Bradford, an industry analyst with Bradford Research/Soleil Securities, said the charges incurred by the planned transactions should not have a negative effect on the company overall. "It's a net plus," he said.

"It improves their returns because the most profitable part of the business is upstream," he said, referring to aluminum production rather than product manufacturing. "These less profitable activities — it's over."

There are plenty of companies making aluminum products and stirring demand for the metal, so there is no need for Alcoa to continue doing it, he said.

Alcoa said in April it was considering the sale of the packaging and consumer division, which accounts for about 10 percent of annual revenue, and was exploring strategic options for the other two units.

The packaging and consumer business includes Alcoa's flexible packaging and consumer products units as well as Closure Systems International and Reynolds Food Packaging.

Alcoa said it had "strong indications" from potential buyers and planned to complete a sale by late 2007 or early 2008.

The company also said it had nearly reached a definitive agreement to sell its automotive castings business and should be able to close that deal by the end of the year.

Alcoa did not disclose terms of the deal.

The company, one of the world's largest producers of aluminum, added that it plans to restructure its electrical and electronic solutions unit in the Americas and Europe to improve return and profitability.

Alcoa plans to record after-tax restructuring and impairment charges in its third quarter of about $195 million related to the electrical and electronic solutions business, $50 million for charges related to the automotive castings business, and $600 million for the planned sale of the packaging and consumer business.

The majority of the $600 million charge is related to income tax, the company said.

The company will release its third quarter financial statement on Tuesday.

The sale of the businesses may also make Alcoa more attractive as a potential takeover target as possible buyers may not be interested in its manufacturing operations, Bradford said.

Alcoa shares rose 25 cents to $37.91 in electronic after-hours trading. During regular trading, the stock rose 2 cents to $37.66.

Aluminum prices may dip only slightly in 2008

Purchasing.com, MA - October 4, 2007

By Tom Stundza

Merrill Lynch & Co. has retained its 2007 aluminum price forecast of $1.20/lb but now projects a slight slide to $1.18 in 2008. Still, analysts Jason Fairclough and Daniel Fairclough describe this as "short- to medium-term price stability" and base it on continued strong demand for the light metal in Europe and Asia (particularly China) which are offsetting purchasing weakness in the U.S.

The August credit crunch in the U.S. has driven aluminum’s price down through the long-standing floor of $1.20/lb down to a new short-term base of $1.10/lb, say the analysts, "although modest demand growth in Europe and strong growth in Asia may see the world price stage a short-term recovery." With the slippage to $1.14 in August and $1.08 in September, the nine-month London Metal Exchange price average for aluminum ingot is $1.22—as compared with $1.16 for all of 2006.

Merrill Lynch’s revised supply-demand models highlight strong 2007 demand growth in China (35% to 11.6 million metric tons) and India (14% to 1.2 million), offsetting declining demand in the U.S. and weakness in Japan.

Merrill Lynch analysts are forecasting strong 10.1% annual expansion in global demand in 2007; 5-6% growth over the medium-term. Global supply is set to expand at 13% in 2007, remaining at around 6% over the medium-term. In a note to clients, the Faircloughs write: "We still see a robust global supply response to high aluminum prices: 4-7% annual growth in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, a massive 33% increase in supply (to 12.5 million metric tons) from China’s booming industry, and 11% year-over-year growth in the U.S. to 2.5 million metric tons."

The analysts point out that "spectacular growth in China’s aluminum demand this year has been matched by a similarly massive lift in supply."

Looking ahead, the previous rampant activity in China’s aluminum industry has the national government now targeting this energy/pollution-intensive industry. A 15% tax on refined exports only promoted the export of semi-products as growth in total exports largely was unaffected. "This is likely to dampen production and exports," write the analysts of the export tax.

RUSAL Creates Aluminum Site

Financial Information Service(Registration), Russia - October 4, 2007

MOSCOW, October 4. /FIS/. The unique feature of www.aluminiumleader.com is that this is the only resource accumulating information about the flying metal: history, production technology, applications. The site aims to promote not a particular service, product or company but the industry as a whole. The site is to become UC RUSAL's first project on the promotion of aluminum, which is celebrating next year its 200th anniversary since the invention of production technology, as a metal of the future. The company also plans to publish an encyclopedia and make a documentary about this unique metal.

Century Aluminum's Subsidiary Nordural Receives Positive Opinion On Environmental Impact Assessment For Its Proposed Greenfield Smelter

Trading Markets (press release), CA -Friday, October 05, 2007

(RTTNews) - Century Aluminum's subsidiary Nordural receives positive opinion on Environmental Impact Assessment for its proposed greenfield smelter - quick facts

Friday, Nordural, a wholly owned subsidiary of Century Aluminum Co. (CENX | charts | news | PowerRating), received a positive opinion from the Icelandic Planning Agency on the Environmental Impact Assessment for its proposed greenfield smelter to be installed near Helguvik, Iceland.

According to the company, the Planning Agency has determined that the construction of the aluminum smelter would not have a significantly negative impact on the environment or communities surrounding the proposed site. Additionally, the Planning Agency has suggested that the municipalities obtain CO2 quotas and the environmental status of related power plant and transmission lines before issuing construction licenses.

The company said that it is addressing these suggestions with the municipalities and appropriate authorities and does not believe that this process will impact the timing of the project.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com Copyright(c) 2007 RealTimeTraders.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved

AAC and DUBAL sign joint pact

PRESS TV, Iran Sun, 07 Oct 2007 00:02:51

Iran's Al-Mahdi Aluminum Company (AAC)

Al-Mahdi Aluminum Company (AAC) and Dubai Aluminum Company Limited (DUBAL) have reached an agreement over the development of PCS.

Dubai Aluminum Company Limited, which is considered to be the most important industrial company in the UAE, has entered into a landmark agreement, related to the deployment of the company's Pot Control System (PCS) in Iran's Al-Mahdi aluminum smelter.

The agreement involves the addition of a second pot line to the existing smelter infrastructure at Bandar Abbas, plus the expansion of the main substation (rectifiers), the construction of one anode-baking kiln, the expansion of the cast house and other auxiliary facilities, ameinfo reports.

"Italy's Fata Group, which has been engaged to construct Al-Mahdi's second pot line, placed the order for the DUBAL Pot Control System through one of its associates in Italy, AIS," Chief Information Officer at DUBAL, Ahmad Almulla, said.

The two-phased project will add 228 pots to the Al-Mahdi smelter, for which Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization, (IMMIDRO), has also secured the use of DUBAL's D20 pot technology.

In terms of the agreement signed with Fata, DUBAL will supply its Pot Control System for the 156 pots added during the first phase of the project, which is currently under construction. The second phase is expected to follow within a few months.

Kaiser offers to help retirees $600 to offset Medicare costs

The Spokesman Review, WA October 6, 2007

John Stucke, Staff writer

Retirees of Kaiser Aluminum may be eligible for a $600 lump sum payment this year to offset about half of the out-of-pocket Medicare Part B costs as the company's post-bankruptcy fortunes rise.

There are about 9,000 former Steelworkers, including surviving spouses, retired from the company that once had mining, refining, smelting and production plants strung around the world. About 3,000 live in Eastern Washington and worked at the company's large Spokane plants, including the Trentwood rolling mill and the now-shuttered Mead smelter.

Retirees will be receiving mail in the coming days outlining the offer, said Steelworkers regional spokesman Steve Powers. The payments will be funded from an unusual trust established during the bankruptcy to help offset health care benefits that were stripped as the company reorganized in federal bankruptcy court.

Many older American eligible for Medicare voluntarily enroll in Part B, which covers the cost of physicians and some medical services, Powers said. The premium for Part B was about $93.50 per month in 2007 and is normally deducted from Social Security checks.

Powers said the $600 lump sum payment from the trust would at least help cover that cost that used to be reimbursed by Kaiser as part of its collective bargaining agreement with the Steelworkers.

As a condition of emerging from bankruptcy, Kaiser's old stock was rendered worthless. In its place, new stock was offered, of which 57 percent was awarded to what is called the Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Association trust.

The arrangement was a risk for Steelworkers that worked.

Though retiree benefits are not what they once were, the company's success – based on soaring demand for aluminum products used in airplanes, automobiles and construction – has eased the sting. With about $350 million in cash and another $350 million worth of stock, for example, the trust has been able to pay to restore prescription drug coverage for eligible retirees.

As the trust pays for retiree benefits, Kaiser's rolling mill now employs about 650 Steelworkers and a couple hundred managers and support staff, Powers said. Several years ago amid slumping prices and the abandonment of its aluminum can line, Trentwood was down to about 250 Steelworkers.

The company is poised to add even more to the mill, investing about $140 million in new equipment.

Employees warn of possible crisis at Bauxilum - Venezuela

Business News Americas, Chile Monday, October 8, 2007

Employees of Venezuela's state-owned bauxite and alumina producer Bauxilum have raised the red flag about an imminent crisis at the company since it has not received a payment of nearly US$140mn from state-controlled aluminum reducer Alcasa for the supply of raw materials.

"Alcasa represents nearly 30% of all of Bauxilum's revenues in terms of raw material supply and [the absence of the payment] is affecting our investments in operating areas," Wilfredo Florez, leader of Bauxilum labor union Suprobaux told BNamericas.

Bauxilum has not been able to carry out maintenance plans or buy the necessary replacement parts on time, according to Florez. "It has not even hired maintenance staff because the cash flow doesn't allow for it," he claimed.

"If the situation continues, we will face a crisis in the midterm," the union leader said, adding that the scenario could affect Venezuela's entire aluminum sector.

"Because if Bauxilum - which produces the raw material to make aluminum - is not able to make the necessary investments, every company that produces primary aluminum will be affected," he said.

However, Florez clarified that the warning is directed at the Venezuelan state so that state heavy industry holding company CVG, which controls both Bauxilum and Alcasa, and the ministry of basic industries and mining (Mibam) will invest in Alcasa.

"That company is in a state of technical breakdown. Its technology is extremely obsolete and it does not have the ability to recover under those conditions," he said.

Bauxilum, owned by CVG, operates the Los Pijiguaos bauxite mine in southeastern Venezuela's Bolívar state and an alumina plant in the Guayana region's Puerto Ordaz city.

By Harvey Beltrán, Business News Americas

Barclays says "strong" outlook for aluminium

Mining Journal Online, UK October 8, 2007

Barclays Capital has forecast the "long-run" aluminium price at US$2,900/t, saying China is on track to be a net importer of primary metal by 2009.

Speaking at the London Metal Exchange Metals seminar in London on Monday, manager Gayle Berry said a small surplus was developing for the second half of this year. "Growth in global production is only just enough to meet demand" the presentation said.

Chinese aluminium exports, which have averaged more than 1Mt since 2002, have helped plug a global supply gap, Berry said. But primary exports have plummeted this year due to a 15% tax imposed by the country`s government.

Barclays said aluminium had the strongest consumption outlook of all metals. Rising labour, energy and raw material costs were also forecast, but at more modest levels. Bauxite supply was becoming more of an issue, Berry said, with the reliability of future supplies also questioned, especially in Indonesia.

Barclays is among a handful of companies presenting at the LME Seminar, the first event for London Metal Exchange week which begins today.

Tribal trouble adds to Vedanta green tension

Economic Times, India Oct. 9, 2007

SUBRAT DAS

Bhubaneswar

Vedanta Alumina’s refinery and bauxite mining project in Kalahandi has hit a further roadblock with an intervenor petition filed in Supreme Court recently, highlighting the stakes of the local Dongria Kondhs, a primitive tribe.

The apex court is already hearing a PIL filed by environmentalists Biswajit Mohanty and Prafulla Samantra, who have apprehended that proposed mining of bauxite ore in Niyamgiri hills will destroy its ecosystem. The case has been adjourned to October 26.

Vedanta had signed an MoU with the Orissa government on June 7, 2003 for setting up a 1million tonne alumina refinery along with a 100 MW power plant at an investment of Rs 4,000 crore. The project, which has commenced "trial production", is yet to be granted mining lease in Kalahandi, pending decision in the Supreme Court.

The interim petition was filed recently seeking protection of tribals in Niyamgiri Hills, a copy of which is in possession of The Telegraph.

"Their habitat and livelihood is threatened by the proposed mining in Niyamgiri Hills by the Orissa Mining Corporation to supply ore to Vedanta," said petitioner Siddharth Nayak, a social activist and advocate from Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi.

He sought a ban on the mining in view of social, cultural, religious and ethnic rights of Dongria Kondhs and their livelihood protected under Article 21 and other provisions of the Constitution, related laws and international conventions to preserve tribal communities.

The petition was admitted on October 6 by a division bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice Arijit Pasayat and K.C. Kapadia.

Dongria Kondhs are a recognised primitive tribe with a population of 7,952 individuals.

Besides, the proposed mining would cause irreparable loss to the ecology (which has rich dense forests), environment (home to elephants, leopards, Sambhars besides other species) and also the water source, which originates from the mountains (includes 36 streams and two rivers — Vanshadhara and Nagabali), added Nayak.

The state-owned Orissa Mining Corporation intends to mine three-million ton bauxite annually to sell the same to Vedanta, its joint venture partner, for its alumina refinery at Lanjigarh and aluminium smelter plant at Jharsuguda.

In September 2004, the ministry of environment and forests had granted environmental clearance for the refinery, but the central empowered committee, appointed by the Supreme Court, noted that the clearance was obtained by concealing material particulars principally that no forest land was involved in the project, whereas about 660 hectares of forest land was involved.

RUSAL TO RETAIN ALUMINIUM LEADERSHIP

Mineweb, South Africa - 09 Oct 2007

UC RUSAL plans $11 billion investment to boost output by 65%

United Company RUSAL is planning to remain leader of the aluminium industry by investing $11 billion to raise metal output by 65% and alumina output by 50% by 2013.

Author: Aleksandras Budrys

MOSCOW (Reuters) -

United Company RUSAL wants to retain its position as the world's largest primary aluminium producer with the help of an $11 billion investment programme that will boost output of the metal 65 percent by 2013.

The Russian company, which will also raise alumina output 50 percent, believes its existing expansion plans will be more than enough to take production beyond the combined capacity of Rio Tinto Plc/Ltd and Alcan Inc.

"After the Rio Tinto-Alcan merger, we are going to outrun them next year and leave them far behind in the near future," Artyom Volynets, UC RUSAL's deputy chief executive for strategy and corporate development, told Reuters in an interview.

Rio Tinto is in the process of acquiring Canada's Alcan, a merger that will create a company with aluminium smelting capacity of about 4.4 million tonnes. UC RUSAL produced 4 million tonnes of the light metal last year.

The deal would also elevate Rio Tinto to the world's largest miner of the raw material bauxite and put it on the way to becoming the top supplier of intermediate product alumina.

UC RUSAL, majority owned by billionaire Oleg Deripaska, was formed in March by a merger of Russian aluminium producers RUSAL and SUAL and assets belonging to commodities trader Glencore.

Volynets said new smelting capacity in Siberia would add 2 million tonnes of aluminium output by 2013.

"In five years, we will have 17 million tonnes of alumina and 6 million tonnes of aluminium, which will keep us in the leading position in the sector," he said.

The company's main aims, said Volynets, were to bring its Khakassia smelter to full capacity this year, to build the Taishet and Boguchany smelters and to raise output at the Irkutsk Aluminium Plant.

"These projects alone will bring our production up to 6 million tonnes," Volynets said.

ADDITIONAL PROJECTS

In addition to these projects, UC RUSAL was examining the possibility of building new smelters both in Russia and abroad, using various energy types -- including nuclear fuel -- as a source of power, Volynets said.

"Different from other types of utilities, nuclear power stations may be built in any part of the world. But access to ports is a critical issue," he said.

He added that building aluminium smelters close to ports and nuclear power stations would eliminate the need to carry imported alumina to Russia's interior and also help exports.

He said UC RUSAL was examining various locations, including Russia's Far East, for implementing such projects. Studies were due to be completed by the end of the year.

UC RUSAL was also looking to build smelters abroad.

"We are very interested in the Middle East and northern Africa. We have concrete ideas of what we can do there and we are now in an active dialogue with potential partners," he said, without giving details.

ALUMINA EXPANSION

Volynets said the company was also expanding alumina assets, building a refinery in Russia's Komi Republic and preparing a feasibility study on the Dian Dian deposit in Guinea.

"We see possibilities for rationalising and increasing capacity at refineries we have inherited from Glencore in Jamaica, where we own three alumina refineries producing practically 75 percent of bauxite and alumina on the wonderful island."

He said UC RUSAL's Mykolaiv refinery in Ukraine and other existing refineries were also expected to raise alumina output.

Volynets said the company was also looking at expanding into other metals, but would not consider major acquisitions in the near future.

"We might be interested in all metals traded on the Londom Metals Exchange. But we are more interested in our current projects, which will require $11 billion in investments."

To see a FACTBOX on UC RUSAL's expansion plans, please double-click on http://www.mineweb.net/mineweb/view/mineweb/en/page504?oid38047&snDetail

Rio Tinto and Alcan announce management team for aluminium unit

Mineweb, South Africa - Wednesday , 10 Oct 2007

Montreal, Melbourne and London - (October 10, 2007) - Rio Tinto and Alcan today named the executive management team drawn from leaders of both companies that will form the functional and operating structure of Rio Tinto Alcan and will be instrumental in the integration. The organization is conditional, and will become effective, upon the completion of Rio Tinto's acquisition of Alcan Inc., expected in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Dick Evans, Alcan's president and chief executive offer, will become chief executive of the combined aluminium product group, Rio Tinto Alcan, based in Montreal, and will report directly to Rio Tinto's chief executive, Tom Albanese.

Tom Albanese, Rio Tinto chief executive, stated: "As we approach the closing of the transaction, it's important to hit the ground running with a strong executive team that can begin to capitalize right away on our leadership position in the aluminium industry. I am very pleased to have Dick Evans leading an outstanding team drawn from the leaders of both Rio Tinto and Alcan."

Dick Evans commented, "The new Rio Tinto Alcan executive team will be comprised of industry leaders with proven track records in their respective roles, and they are an experienced, talented, and well-respected group of professionals. I look forward to working with each of them to create a new world leader in the aluminium industry, and also as part of an extremely strong, diversified global organization. "

The leaders of Rio Tinto Alcan's Business Units, responsible for the strategic and operational performance of Rio Tinto Alcan's businesses worldwide and reporting directly to Dick Evans, will be as follows:

Steve Hodgson: President & chief executive officer, Bauxite and Alumina, Rio Tinto Alcan. His responsibilities will include bauxite mines, alumina refineries and specialty alumina businesses worldwide. The Business Unit headquarters will be located in Queensland, Australia.

Jacynthe Cote: President & chief executive officer, Primary Metal, Rio Tinto Alcan. Her responsibilities will include all primary metal facilities and power generation installations worldwide. The Business Unit headquarters will be located in Montreal, Canada.

Christel Bories: President & chief executive officer, Engineered Products, Rio Tinto Alcan. Her responsibilities continue to include Aerospace, Transportation and Industry (ATI), Extruded Products, Alcan International Network, Engineered and Automotive Solutions, Cable, Composites, and Specialty Sheet. The Engineered Products Business Unit headquarters will continue to be located in Paris, France.

Until the completion of its planned divestiture, announced in July 2007, Packaging will report to Dick Evans and be led by:

Ilene Gordon: President & chief executive officer, Packaging, Rio Tinto Alcan. Her responsibilities will continue to include Food packaging, Beauty packaging, Tobacco packaging and Pharmaceutical packaging. The Packaging headquarters will continue to be located in Paris, France.

The Rio Tinto Alcan executive staff functions of Finance, Human Resources and Communications & External Relations, reporting to Dick Evans, will be led by:

Phillip Strachan will lead the Finance function at Rio Tinto Alcan. He will also be responsible for Business Planning and Analysis, Information Systems & Technology, and Business Improvement, as well as co-leader of the Rio Tinto Alcan integration.

Jean-Christophe Deslarzes will lead the Human Resources function at Rio Tinto Alcan. He will also be responsible for Health, Safety and Environment (HSE), as well as co-leader of the Rio Tinto Alcan integration.

Corey Copeland will lead the Communications & External Relations function at Rio Tinto Alcan. He will also be responsible for Government Relations and Sustainable Development. Two additional functional leaders, Legal and Business Development, will be announced at a future date. Until these announcements are made, business will be conducted as usual in these areas.

Alcoa says it wants to build a smelter in Malaysia

Reuters Thu Oct 11, 2007

NEW YORK, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Alcoa Inc (AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research), which is selling its consumer and products businesses to focus on making aluminum, is looking to build a smelter in Malaysia to harness growing Asian demand for the metal, a senior executive said.

Jon Erik Reinhardsen, president of Alcoa Global Primary Growth, said the company is talking with officials about a possible joint venture for a smelter to produce up to one million tonnes of aluminum per year.

The proposed smelter in Sarawak state on the island of Borneo, would use hydro-electric power generated by the Bakun dam project, which is expected to be completed in 2010 or 2011, he said on Thursday in China during a telephone interview with Reuters.

"The decision (on whether to approve the smelter) is with the federal government in Malaysia," Reinhardsen said.

Kuala Lumpur, he said, was considering various options, but he was hopeful a decision would be made this year to approve the plan by Alcoa and a local consortium, Smelter Asia.

The consortium of majority Malaysian-owned interests was a key consideration in winning government approval, he said.

There were several other considerations, including the sensitivity to social and environmental and sustainability issues, he said. But Alcoa was able and willing to dedicate world-class resources to address these considerations.

Malaysia's demand for electricity is increasing significantly and in discussions with Smelter Asia, Alcoa has proposed innovative solutions that would enable both the development of a smelter powered by Bakun, and the accommodation of Malaysia's long term power needs.

"We will have enough electricity to power the smelter," said Reinhardsen. "(But) what we are proposing would be best for Sarawak."

Worldwide, Alcoa operates 26 smelters, producing aluminum metal by smelting alumina, which comes from bauxite. But the company has no other smelters in Asia, Reinhardsen said. Alumina for the proposed Borneo smelter will come from Australia, while Alcoa is also exploring bauxite operations in Vietnam.

"There is growing demand for aluminum in Asia, so this is a good fit," said Reinhardsen, noting that Malaysia's location made it ideal for ocean transport to places like China and India, where industrial growth is calling for more metal.

Announcing Alcoa's third-quarter results on Tuesday, Chief Executive Officer Alain Belda said China's aluminum consumption was expected to grow by 36 percent this year, with overall global demand growing by more than 10 percent. He said Alcoa was exploring smelter opportunities all over the world.

In June, Pittsburgh-based Alcoa opened the Fjardaal smelter in Iceland. The project was Alcoa's first new primary aluminum facility in 20 years. Belda said it is expected to be operating at full capacity by the end of the year or early in 2008.

The Iceland smelter will produce approximately 300,000 tonnes of aluminum annually, while the proposed Borneo smelter would produce three times that, or around one million tonnes.

Reinhardsen said Iceland created 600-700 jobs, in addition to hundreds more indirectly though construction and transport.

Borneo will have "significant employment potential," he said, saying the Malaysian plant would employ at least twice times as many workers.

Alcoa spokesman Kevin Lowery said the company was looking forward to exploring its options in discussions with the Malaysian government.

"We would welcome the proposed smelter being a Malaysian majority-owned facility and we believe that such an ownership structure of itself opens up creative options for addressing the country's long term energy needs."

Alcan to lose CFO

Sky News Australia, Australia - Friday October 12, 2007

Alcan's Chief Financial Officer, Michael Hanley, is expected to leave the company after the takeover by Rio Tinto is complete.

The aluminium producer said that once the integration was done it was fair to assume Mr Hanley would seek employment outside of the combined company structure.

Alcan's head of its primary metals unit Michel Jacques is also expected to leave.

Neither Hanley or Jacques were appointed to the new executive team announced earlier this week.

The new Rio Tinto Alcan unit will be headed up by current Alcan chief Dick Evans.

Wagstaff rides molten wave

Spokane Journal of Business, WA - 12-Oct-2007

Valley manufacturer foresees likely extended growth

By Kim Crompton

As world aluminum prices go, so go the fortunes of Wagstaff Inc., a 61-year-old Spokane Valley company that makes equipment for the aluminum-casting industry. Right now, aluminum prices are hot, and they’re expected to remain so for the foreseeable future.

They were hovering around $1.10 a pound last week, which was down from a spike of more than $1.40 a year and a half ago, but still far above the roughly 60 cents the metal was fetching just four years ago. Similarly, Wagstaff’s sales and the size of its work force here have been climbing.

The company doesn’t disclose its revenues, but sales were up a combined 24 percent over the last two years, says Paul May, its CEO. They’re projected to rise about 6 percent this year, and probably 8 percent to 10 percent next year, May says. As of last week, the company employed 309 workers, 261 of them here, and it expects to add another 18 to 25 employees in 2008.

"Next year is going to be a good, strong year for us," May says.

Perhaps more significantly, he says industry analysts expect the aluminum market to remain strong until 2015, if not longer, due mostly to rising global demand for the versatile metal in some of the world’s larger, developing countries.

Not content, though, to remain captive to the vagaries of a single market, Wagstaff is working through its applied-technologies division to expand steadily into custom machining, particularly for the nuclear industry, May says.

Noting that proposals for more than two dozen nuclear power plants are said to be in the works in the U.S., he says, "I think it has a lot of potential for the future." Although expanding into that sector isn’t a natural extension for Wagstaff, he says, "It’s a diversification that we think will help us."

Wagstaff’s main focus, though, continues to be providing the machinery, technology, and related services that enable aluminum producers to transform the metal from its molten form into solid shapes safely while using what’s called "direct chill" casting.

The company manufactures everything from molds and casting machines to the automation systems—including computer hardware and software—used to operate the machines, then helps oversee installation of the systems.

The "direct chill" casting process uses water to chill the molten aluminum shortly after it has been poured, so it solidifies quickly into the desired shapes—either cylindrical "billets," also called rounds, or "ingots," also called slabs. The water doesn’t contact the metal while it’s still a liquid, but rather cools the molds through which the molten aluminum passes, then coats the solidified hot metal to cool it further. The billets and ingots later are rolled or extruded to create products.

The molds are the heart of Wagstaff’s aluminum-casting systems, but hydraulically operated casting cylinders probably are the most visually striking pieces of equipment the company makes, because of their sheer size. They look somewhat like rockets, with cone-shaped heads at one end but no tail fins at the other end. They’re installed deep in the ground, imbedded securely into pits made of thick concrete, and are used to raise and lower the bed, called a platen, on which the billets or ingots are cast. The cone-shaped head of the machine actually is the fixed housing through which a ram passes.

The company has made the casting cylinders in sizes ranging from 12 to 32 inches in diameter and with strokes, or total movement range, of 15 to 38 feet. The largest one it has produced—for a customer in Russia—weighed 52 tons.

The casting cylinders are just part of a larger system that includes tilting mold tables into which molten aluminum is poured, as well as the molds themselves and other components. As the molten aluminum is poured into the molds and solidifies, the cylinder gradually lowers the platen, on which the billets or ingots rest, into the pit, away from the mold table, which is anchored to the edge of the pit. Once the cylinder reaches the bottom of its stroke, and the billets or ingots have fully hardened, the mold table is tilted back out of the way to allow them to be removed.

May says the equipment that Wagstaff manufactures has become more sophisticated in recent years, but otherwise hasn’t changed much.

"What has changed the most is where our customers are," he says.

Export customers now account for about 80 percent of Wagstaff’s revenues, up from 20 percent in the early 1980s, and the company now serves customers in 54 countries, he says. Its customers include Alcoa Inc., Alcan Inc., Novelis Inc., and Kaiser Aluminum Corp.

About 30 percent of Wagstaff’s new orders this year are coming from China, but a couple of years ago the company was getting more orders from Russia and the Persian Gulf, and in the near future it might be India that rises to the front of the pack, May says.

"India is kind of coming up to speed like China has been," he says.

China’s rising industrialization has captured considerable attention as it impacts markets around the world. May says China currently is exporting aluminum because it is producing more than it needs, but he expects that situation to reverse in coming years as internal demand for the metal soars.

He says the weakened U.S. dollar, which has made Wagstaff’s products more affordable overseas, has contributed to the company’s stronger sales over the last couple of years.

"That definitely has been an advantage to us," May says.

Along with its efforts to diversify, May says, one of Wagstaff’s biggest challenges is finding qualified machinists and other skilled laborers as it expands. The company’s difficulty in filling some of those job openings is due partly to the current low unemployment rate, but May contends there also isn’t enough emphasis in high schools now on educating students about, or steering them towards, possible careers in skilled-labor fields.

"It’s very disappointing," he says.

That labor shortage is a long-term, national concern, and likely will worsen as current skilled laborers begin to retire in greater numbers, he says. He notes that about 30 percent of Wagstaff’s employees are over 50 years of age.

The company has a good wage-and-benefit package that includes a bonus program tied to profits, May says, adding that as part of an effort to minimize turnover.

He is a member of a manufacturing roundtable group at Greater Spokane Incorporated that is evaluating what’s being offered at Spokane-area schools to prepare students for possible skilled-labor jobs and how to raise awareness of the need for more skilled laborers.

Wagstaff hires graduates of machine-technology programs at community colleges, but, "The problem is, they can’t get new students in" who want to prepare for careers in those fields, May says.

Wagstaff’s main complex is located on a 14-acre site at 3910 N. Flora, just east of the Spokane Business & Industrial Park. Its facility there includes about 102,000 square feet of manufacturing space in three buildings, about 10,000 square feet of office space adjoining its largest building there, and a 14,400-square-foot research-and-development building. It recently expanded into a newly constructed building there that gave it about 30,000 square feet of additional space.

Wagstaff also operates a 57,000-square-foot plant in Hebron, Ky., that employs 34 people and feeds the Spokane plant with rough machine parts and some smaller finished parts, May says.

Bill Wagstaff, president and chairman, and four of his children own the company. May and Mike Wagstaff, Bill Wagstaff’s son, were named to newly created CEO posts for the Spokane and Hebron operations, respectively, in January after Bill, now 71, decided to give them more day-to-day control of the company.

Three of Bill Wagstaff’s children and two of his sons-in-law work in the business, May says. In addition to Mike Wagstaff, the other one who is in management is son-in-law Ken Parkes, who is the company’s chief financial officer, he says.

Bill Wagstaff’s father, George, a skilled machinist, founded the company here in 1946, trading machine work for his first lathe. The business focused initially on general parts repair and limited manufacturing. Bill Wagstaff joined the company in 1958 after earning a degree in mechanical engineering at Utah State University. At around that same time, the company took its first steps toward development of aluminum-casting systems by making components for Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp.’s Mead smelter.

Bill Wagstaff and his brother, Frank, bought the company from their parents in 1970, and Frank sold his interest in the company about six years ago and now is retired, May says.

May joined Wagstaff right out of college in 1969, starting out there as a mechanical engineer. He worked there for 21 years, rising to plant manager, and left for 12 years to work for another company here. He returned to Wagstaff five years ago, becoming vice president of manufacturing operations, and was promoted from that position to CEO.

Contact Kim Crompton at (509) 344-1263 or via e-mail at kimc@spokanejournal.com.

Norsk Hydro eyes aluminium growth on Qatar smelter

Gulf Times, Qatar - Tuesday, 16 October, 2007, 02:04 AM Doha Time

LONDON: The expansion of Norsk Hydro’s aluminium smelting capacity is on the cards once its greenfield project in Qatar is up and running, and this might include further smelter projects in the region, the company told Dow Jones Newswires.

"We’re looking now for expansions (of our aluminium capacity)," said Torstein Dale Sjotveit, Norsk Hydro’s head of primary upstream operations.

"Qatar is a well located, stable political location. Our position is positive in that we’re already in Qatar, and have a long-term relationship with Qatar Petroleum," the joint venture partner in the smelter project.

Norsk Hydro has been active in Qatar in agricultural products since 1972, and in petrochemical products since the late 1990s. Noting the potential for gas-fuelled projects in the Middle East, Sjotveit said plans for expansion are based on gas coming from Qatar.

"There’s lot of gas potential in the Middle East, in countries such as Qatar, Iran, Saudi Arabia, but there’s a lot of distance between Qatar and Iran, great differences," he said.

The company is about to start building its Qatalum smelter, which has a planned initial annual capacity of 585,000 metric tons of primary aluminium and will be the largest aluminium plant ever built in one phase.

The plant is located in the Mesaieed Industrial Area, south of Doha, with the site catering for a future expansion to 1.2mn tons a year.

But Africa too represents a potential treasure-trove of opportunities, Sjotveit said, with the continent host to some of the world’s best bauxite reserves and also a possible location for future smelting capacity.

Bauxite is the key ingredient used to make alumina: Four tons of bauxite makes two tons of alumina, which in turn produces one ton of aluminium metal. Hydro has covered all of its alumina in a 10-year perspective, and some of its projects are covered as far out as 30 years.

But it is "looking into integrating more in bauxite and securing alumina supplies more than 10 years forward," Sjotveit said. This would give the company the potential to develop new smelting capacity.

"Angola is a medium-term possibility (for a smelter), out to 2015," Sjotveit said. "The country’s potential for hydropower is significant - just 3% has been exploited so far."

The company has been looking at possibilities in Mozambique, where "hydropower potential is scattered," as well as in South Africa and Namibia, Sjotveit said.

And Congo is a "long-term possibility, out to 2020-2025." "It has huge energy resources with its waterfalls, and various agencies are studying the country’s hydropower potential," Sjotveit said. "But political risk is a problem, and prevents us from investigating further near-term potential."

Norsk Hydro has 1.2mn tons of annual primary aluminium production in Europe, though it has closed around 50,000 tons of annual production for environmental and cost reasons.

"We see the value of metal production in Europe is increasing, so we’re trying to reestablish output there," Sjotveit said. "Expansions in Norway are underway." Technology will help, with the company increasing amperage to boost output at its Ardal smelter.

Diversified mining companies often have access to bauxite mines, but don’t have the smelting capacity to make the aluminium. Sjotveit said this is what is driving some of the recent industry mergers and acquisitions, most recently with Rio Tinto buying Alcan (AL).

"Rio-Alcan is not a merger of aluminium companies, but the integration of an upstream aluminium producer into a mining company," Sjotveit said.

"Miners have bauxite and want to secure smelting. Aluminium is a fairly small market, so there is a limit to how much mergers and acquisition activity we’ll see."

But on the downstream side, mergers and acquisitions by large miners or private equity groups are less likely.

"Downstream activities are scattered and are often family businesses, as in the extrusions industry - it’s hard for private equity to buy hundreds of small extrusion plants and manage them going forward," Sjotveit said.

For the market as a whole, there’s been a "significant increase in costs in all parts of the business," ranging from energy to labor and raw material.

Sjotveit noted that analysts predict production costs have risen by $400/ton from the $1,500/ton model. "If London Metal Exchange prices fall, the market could be in for tough times," Sjotveit said.

Much depends on whether the Chinese maintain aluminium production growth of 20% or fail to do so due to a lack of access to power and bauxite, he said, with the latter likely to keep prices firm going forward. – Dow Jones Newswires

Falling prices worry aluminum industry

NDTV.com, India - Tuesday, October 16, 2007 (Mumbai):

The aluminum industry may not be shining too bright this quarter. After a robust FY07 due to high aluminum prices across the globe things for Hindalco, Nalco and Balco are looking lacklustre at present.

For example Nalco, which registered profit growth of more than 50 per cent last year says this fiscal will not be the same.

"Will not be as good as last fiscal. There are three factors, realisations from alumina, realisations from aluminum, and strengthening rupee," said CR Pradhan, CMD, Nalco. Aluminum biggies Hindalco, Nalco suffered seven price cuts this year with LME prices on downtrend from $2,800 per tonne levels last year to $2,250 currently.

Hindalco, which exports 65 per cent of alumina in the world market has seen prices come down from $400 per tonne levels last year to $350 per tonne now. Nalco is losing Rs 100 crore per month due to steep appreciation in rupee.

"We will be hit more than competition, we export both alumina and aluminum, while competitors export only the metal. So the degree of impact of rupee appreciation will be more compared to peers," said B L Bagra, Director-Finance, Nalco.

Even though this year does not seem to be robust for the aluminum companies there is some solace that this quarter is expected to be as bad as the last one.

But analysts say that a look at LME prices suggest another round of price cuts soon squeezing realisations of aluminum companies further. The only way out of this is to lower the cost of production.

RusAl Considers Smelter

The Moscow Times, Russia - Friday, October 19, 2007

United Company RusAl and the government of the Sakhalin region have signed a memorandum of understanding on the possible construction of a 750,000-ton aluminum smelter, Interfax reported Thursday.

Interfax quoted Sakhalin Governor Alexander Khoroshavin as telling reporters the project, which would also require construction of a power station, would require investment of $7 billion. (Reuters)

RusAl Sees 50% Boost By 2013

The Moscow Times, Russia - Friday, October 19, 2007. Issue 3768. Page 7.

United Company RusAl, the world's largest aluminum producer, plans to enlarge its capacity by about 50 percent in six years as it expands worldwide and develops an energy business, the company said in a statement Thursday.

Production capacity will rise to as much as 6 million metric tons by 2013, from about 4 million tons now, the company said. New plants will be built in Asia and South America, RusAl said.

Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg, the billionaire owners of RusAl, want the company to become mostly self-sufficient in electricity generation by 2013. Power accounts for one-third of aluminum production costs. The company this month announced a $7 billion aluminum and nuclear power project in Russia.

"The new projects we have initiated open the next stage of the company's development as an energy and metals corporation," chief executive officer Alexander Bulygin said in the statement. RusAl invested $2.2 billion in the first nine months of the year.

The company on Thursday posted a 5 percent gain in aluminum production in the first nine months, to 3.1 million tons. It opened two electrolytic cell complexes at its Khakas smelter and a fourth one is being started now, RusAl said. Annual capacity will be 300,000 tons and that should be reached by November.

Its Irkutsk smelter is also being expanded, with two new production lines scheduled to be ready by November. They will add 170,000 tons of capacity.

Bloomberg

UPDATE 1-Global Alumina in sale talks, shares jump

Reuters Thu Oct 18, 2007

TORONTO, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Shares in Global Alumina Corp (GLAu.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) rose sharply on high volume on Thursday morning after the mining company said it was in talks with a third party over a possible sale.

The shares were up 31 cents, or 13.54 percent, at $2.60, just shy of the $2.65 price that Global Alumina said was the basis for the talks.

Shares had earlier risen to a new 52-week high of $2.85 and easily outpaced an advance of 0.21 percent by the Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark S&P/TSX composite index (.GSPTSE: Quote, Profile, Research).

Share volume of 720,000 outstripped a daily average of 470,000 for the past five sessions.

Global Alumina stressed the offer price, terms and structure of any potential transaction have not been agreed to by the parties.

The company said it had retained GMP Securities L.P. as financial adviser to assist in evaluating a possible sale.

Global Alumina and partners are developing a refinery for alumina -- from which aluminum is made -- with a capacity of 3.2 million tonnes per year in bauxite-rich Guinea, in west Africa.

Opposition to power deal could kill Kitimat smelter, Alcan says

Globe and Mail, Canada -October 18, 2007

DON WHITELEY

VANCOUVER -- The District of Kitimat has again thrown down the gauntlet with aluminum giant Alcan Inc., and a company spokesperson says the dispute jeopardizes a proposed $2-billion aluminum smelter upgrade in the northwestern B.C. community.

The opponents have been sparring for years over Alcan's desire to sell electric power from its operation in the region and Kitimat's fear that those sales will overshadow the company's aluminum production and plans for an upgrade to the smelter.

Kitimat recently filed a brief with the British Columbia Utilities Commission opposing a proposed electric power sales agreement between Alcan and B.C. Hydro. The agreement would allow Alcan to sell surplus electric power from its Kemano hydroelectric facility to B.C. Hydro.

The power agreement, cited as one of three essential ingredients for board approval of the smelter upgrade, is the second negotiated by B.C. Hydro and

BCUC rejected the first proposal nearly a year ago, concluding that B.C. Hydro was paying too much for the power and it was therefore not in the public interest. The new agreement will go before BCUC at a public hearing that starts Nov. 19.

Alcan is warning that a second rejection of a proposed power sales agreement would likely kill the upgrade.

"We certainly won't have our three conditions met," Alcan spokesperson Colleen Nyce said.

"It jeopardizes the project big time. Does Alcan have the appetite to go back for another power agreement and a third time at the BCUC? I don't think so."

In conjunction with its opposition to the new power sales agreement, Kitimat has also filed an appeal of a Supreme Court of B.C. decision that essentially ruled that Alcan has an unfettered right to use or sell its electric power however it sees fit.

Kitimat took Alcan to court more than a year ago, arguing that the original 1950s agreement granting Alcan the right to generate power from the Kemano hydroelectric dam stipulated that the power must be used to make aluminum. The court ruled otherwise, and the B.C. Court of Appeal will hear Kitimat's appeal of that ruling in late January, 2008.

Kitimat questions the Montreal-based company's commitment, or lack thereof, to maximize aluminum production from the aging smelter at Kitimat. Its work force is now 1,500 people, down from nearly 2,000 at one point.

The proposed upgrade would further reduce employment to about 1,000, but would create an economically viable, state-of-the-art smelter that would use about 700 megawatts of power. Kitimat argues that Alcan can make much more money selling power and that unless it is required to make an ironclad commitment, the company will never upgrade the smelter.

The company and Kitimat held several negotiating sessions over the summer to try and reach an agreement, but the talks broke down at the end of August. Trafford Hall, Kitimat's city manager, said in an interview that he didn't think the two sides were that far apart.

"They were asking us to abandon the appeal, which is an irrevocable move, and they were asking us not to oppose the power contract at the BCUC," Mr. Hall said. "They wanted us to do that before they would commit on the smelter deal. We asked them to dedicate the 700 megawatts [from Kemano to the smelter]. They refused."

Ms. Nyce said after two weeks of discussions the talks were going nowhere. "We kept coming back to the insistence that Alcan sign documents that restricted its management rights and tied our hands in how we run our business."

Ms. Nyce said with the talks going nowhere, and with Kitimat refusing to forgo its legal options, Alcan decided to force the issue by seeking a motion to dismiss Kitimat's pending appeal. Kitimat filed its appeal, heading off the Alcan motion.

A brief filed before BCUC on Kitimat's behalf by energy consultant Dr. Marvin Shaffer indicates there are still serious flaws in the agreement, and it still requires B.C. Hydro to pay a higher price for the power than it should.

"It is critically important to recognize that Alcan is an existing source of supply," Dr. Shaffer's brief states. "Unlike new sources of supply, which need prices sufficient to recover the costs of the development risk and new investment involved, Alcan needs only a price that is attractive relative to its opportunity costs."

While Kitimat appears determined to stop the deal, it's sister city to the north, Terrace, is dismayed that the war is on again. Terrace has filed a brief recommending approval of the power agreement.

"If you really want to see that modernization, stop holding up the process and get it done," said Sam Harling, head of the Terrace Economic Development Authority. Terrace is pinning its hopes of developing secondary aluminum manufacturing - such as auto parts - on the smelter upgrade and the opening of the new container port at Prince Rupert.

BHP most likely bidder for Global Alumina: analyst

National Post, Canada - 19 Oct 2007

Global Alumina Corp. (GLAu/TSX) revealed yesterday that it is in talks with a potential buyer, and Jennings Capital analyst Ron Coll thinks one name clearly tops the list: BHP Billiton PLC.

BHP is in a joint venture with Global Alumina to develop a refinery in the Republic of Guinea. The other partners are Dubai Aluminum Company Ltd. and Mubadala Development Company PJSC. Both of them are potential bidders as well, but BHP is the most obvious, since it would be the operator of the refinery under the joint venture terms.

"BHP would be the ones that have the most to gain," Mr. Coll said in an interview, noting that Dubai Aluminum is a strong possibility as well.

Another possible bidder is China Aluminum Group, which has an off-take agreement with Global Alumina.There is also an outside chance that a player who is not currently involved, such as Rio Tinto PLC, could be making a run at Global Alumina. But Mr. Coll considers that less likely because of the right of refusal options of the other joint venture partners.

"It would be difficult for third parties or outsiders to come in. But it's always possible," he said.

The proposed takeout price is $2.65 a share. Global Alumina traded below that level yesterday, suggesting that investors think a bidding war is unlikely.

Global Alumina is in exclusive talks to sell company

Mining Journal Online, UK - 19 Oct 2007

Global Alumina Corp, the developer of an alumina refinery in Guinea with BHP Billiton Ltd, said it`s in talks to sell the company to an unidentified suitor. The

shares jumped 14%.

The exclusive talks are based on a price of US$2.65 a share, Global Alumina said today in a statement, valuing the company at about US$540 million. A final price would be determined only after a potential buyer reviews its finances and operations, said Global Alumina, which has offices in New York.

Global Alumina is one of five companies planning refineries in Guinea, the world`s largest producer of bauxite ore. The ore is refined into alumina, which is smelted to make aluminum. Alumina prices have more than doubled in the past five years on rising demand from China, the world`s largest aluminum producer.

Global Alumina rose 32 cents to US$2.61 on October 19 in Toronto Stock Exchange trading. The shares have more than doubled this year.

BHP Billiton, the world`s largest mining company, and Global Alumina will each own a one-third stake in a refinery in Guinea that may produce 3Mt a year of alumina, along with an accompanying bauxite mine. Dubai Aluminum will own a 25% stake and the remainder will be held by Mubadala Development Co.

GMP Securities LP is Global Alumina`s financial adviser on the possible transaction.

(Bloomberg, October 19)

Take Down

Dalles Chronicle, WA - October 21, 2007

Bit by bit, Northwest Aluminum’s smelter is coming down and making for

future development

Recycling turns demolition to salvage

By KATHY GRAY of The Chronicle

For half a century, the smelter stood as a sentinel of industry at the east end of the Columbia Gorge.

Today, Northwest Aluminum — formerly Harvey and Martin Marietta — is being cut, crunched, unbolted and generally taken apart piece by piece, reduced from a mighty monolith to scrap metal and spare parts.

Eighteen months or so from now, the aluminum plant will be a memory and the land underneath it ready for something new.

For 33 years, Galen May has worked at that aluminum plant. He served as environmental manager until the plant’s closure and has stayed on for what’s happened next as the plant’s project manager.

Initially, May struggled with emotion as he started to see the plant taken apart.

"It was sad because, before, the plant was always ready to run," he said.

Eventually, though, May let the demolition project engross him.

The project started in June. Northwest hired Pro Se Services of Modesto, Calif., to demolish the smelter and associated buildings. The company has hired about 30 local workers for the project.

"Their task is to take the buildings down and recover the materials," May said. "When they’re down, we’ll restore the land and have it ready for economic development."

Those recovered materials are paying for the project. Aluminum. Steel. Copper. Old motors. Transformer oil. Carbon. Equipment. All are being resold or recycled. "We’ve turned what was going to be a million-dollar landfill disposal cost into a slight profit," May said. "Really, this has become a salvage operation."

The rectifier yard marks the most visible outward sign of demolition. It has already been disassembled. The smaller transformers were hauled off by low-boy to Salem, where a factory will dismantle them. The larger ones were dismantled on site.

"Our biggest challenge is to make sure everything that’s coming down is clean," May said.

Before the transformers were taken down, workers took photographs of each transformer and the ground around it, so when the work was done, they could test the ground and make sure it was clean and free of toxic PCBs.

Northwest Aluminum had done PCB abatement in the 1990s, so the oil removed from the transformers was clean and could be shipped out for use elsewhere.

"That made it go easier," May said. "We’d already done a major clean-up."

Steel and aluminum, in bars and scraps, sits in huge piles at the northwest end of the smelter building.

"There’s a lot of steel," May said. "Everything was made out of steel. There are a lot of pieces lying around to be reused."

Huge mechanical shears easily slice through large pieces of metal to ready them for shipping. Stud cranes pull all the bus bar from the basement beneath each pot. The aluminum and steel joined together in the bus bar are cut apart using mag lamps and are another large source of metal for resale.

"One thing, we’re really trying to emphasize housekeeping as we go, to minimize dirt and dust," May said.

As they begin to remove the pots, for example, they have reactivated the scrubbers atop the building.

The pots themselves will come apart piece by mammoth piece.

Thirty-ton carbon anodes, for example, are being removed and broken up for resale. Another company will use the material in the steel-making process.

"Prior to the start, we thought that would all go to the landfill, but now 9,000 tons of material will be recycled," May said.

Each pot’s superstructure will also be removed, the steel cut up and sold for scrap. Brass motors will be resold.

The cathode is the main source of hazardous waste. A pair of 55-ton cranes will remove each cathode — which weighs about 85 to 90 tons, and take it to "A" Room, where it will have the bath material removed and shipped to the Goldendale aluminum plant. The plant’s sieve unit will separate bath and metals to be used by the aluminum industry.

The hazardous waste that remains — about 80 tons of material containing carbon, alumina, fluoride and other regulated chemicals- will be broken up and sent to the hazardous waste landfill at Arlington. May expects to remove about 18,000 tons of hazardous material from the plant.

"A" Room at the plant has been prepared to receive all this hazardous material. Steel plate on the floor prevents toxins from seeping into the concrete, curtains surround the area to contain dust, while fans and sprayers finish the job.

"When everything is out of the [pot] shell and the shell is clean — no materials remaining — it can be cut up and used as scrap," May said.

They’ll remove about one shell per day, he estimates. There are 260 pots remaining to be removed. Of the remaining 40 pots, 25 are empty sleeves and others are brand new and have already been dismantled.

Another big challenge will be to demolish the paste plant, where petroleum coke and coal tar pitch were blended to make carbon for the anodes.

"To me, of all the buildings, this is the most challenging because of the carbon dust," May said.

That dust can be explosive and must be thoroughly removed before demolition. A crew will arrive in November to vacuum the walls and perform other cleaning duties.

"When we’re done cleaning, we’ll pull the machinery out and sell that," May said. "Sometime in early December, we hope to bring that down."

Demolition of all the buildings will be by mechanical, rather than explosive, means, May said.

"Finally, we’ll bring the cell room buildings down," May said.

That, too, will require some meticulous cleaning, including removing dust from the scrubbers. May estimates about 90 tons of carbon will be removed from the buildings.

Caustic tanks will also be a source of income for Northwest. The sodium hydroxide they store will be sold to Weyerhauser, then the tanks will be washed and sold for scrap.

The eight large ore silos will also be taken down.

"We’re talking about bringing in a crane with a cruncher, but not until next spring," May said.

Some of the former workers, including May, had expressed a desire to blast the ore silos down, simply for dramatic effect, but they will also be demolished mechanically.

Throughout the process, workers have been busily removing power tools, office equipment and other fixtures from the buildings — and there has been a lot to find in the estimated 800,000 square feet of building space: drill presses, welders, desks, shelves, file cabinets, etc. Much of the office furniture and other fixtures were fabricated at the plant.

The equipment is all stored in the former shops and will be sold in a big, two-day garage sale in November.

"We’re going to open it up to the public," May said. "There are things I think farmers would love to have. This will give everybody a chance."

As the demolition process continues, May is working with the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department to begin the lengthy application process to turn the 95-acre site into a certified industrial site. Among other things, the detailed process involves working with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to ensure the site is not contaminated.

When the demolition and application process is complete, May says the site will be the largest industrial property in Oregon’s certified site program.

Northwest Aluminum has already sold a number of other parcels in the large surrounding land area owned by the corporation. They have gone to a variety of local buyers.

Although no agreement has as yet been formalized, Northwest administrators expect the Port of The Dalles will also help market the land in conjunction with Oregon Economic and Community Development.

"We want input from the port and the city on what kind of development they want out here," May said.

For its part, the port is extremely interested in seeing additions to the available industrial land base within its district.

"The port really is looking at Northwest Aluminum to continue the success we’ve had attracting new business to the community," said Andrea Klaas, port executive director. "We still are receiving a number of leads from the state. The leads from the state actually stepped up a bit when the Legislature passed increased energy tax credits. There are a fair number of energy-related businesses looking at coming to Oregon."

Available land is a critical port concern.

"The challenge the port has right now, is that we don’t own anymore land," Klaas said. "No matter what happens, for us to actually have land we can sell, we need to go purchase land or have somebody donate it to us, which seems unlikely."

Klaas expects the port’s primary role in future economic development to be one of facilitating deals between landowners and developers.

RusAl mulling aluminium plant project

New Europe, Belgium - 20 October 2007 - Issue : 752

RusAl is developing a project to build an aluminium plant in Kyrgyzstan, Rosatom's head Sergei Kiriyenko said at a briefing following a session of the Russian-Kyrgyz Intergovernmental Cooperation Commission, Interfax reported.

The new plant will use "imported bauxite," said Kiriyenko, the Russian co-chairman of the commission. The project is currently at the stage of technical and economic feasibility studies.

Other such projects are being considered for implementation in Kyrgyzstan, Kiriyenko said. The largest project can be realised with the participation of Rinko-Holding. This project provides for the creation of not only an aluminium plant, but also the production of bauxite and alumina.

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev, who is the Kyrgyz co-chairman of the commission, said that plans are to build five plants in various regions.

"The investment planned is very significant," it will exceed five billion Euro, he said. A protocol was signed after the session of the intergovernmental commission by the Kyrgyz prime minister and Rosatom's head.

The document includes 14 paragraphs addressing a number of sectors, such as electric power engineering, metallurgy, the textile industry, customs and tourism.

Areva Wins $130M Deal

The Moscow Times, Russia - Tuesday, October 23, 2007 / Updated Moscow Time

France's Areva has won a $130 million contract to produce and supply electrical equipment for a 600,000-ton aluminum smelter being built in Siberia, the project owners said Monday.

United Company RusAl, the world's top producer of primary aluminum, and hydroelectric power company HydroOGK said in a joint statement that Areva would supply two silicon rectifier substations and a gas-insulated dispenser system for the Boguchany smelter. (Reuters)

Alcan's Sixth Corporate Sustainability Report Now On Line

SocialFunds.com -(CSRwire) October 22, 2007 -

Alcan has released its 2007 web-based Corporate Sustainability Report. This is the sixth report since 2002 that provides an ongoing look at the challenges, opportunities and performance related to integrating sustainability into the everyday decision-making process at Alcan.

Available at www.alcan.com/SR07, this report builds on the 2006 report with updated 2007 content, data and examples of business sustainability in action. Discussion of strategies and performance continues to be based on key areas identified as the "Alcan 8": Energy, Climate Change, Natural Resource Stewardship, Community Development, Well-Being, Environmental Releases, Innovation and Industry Shifts, and Product Stewardship. New and updated case studies provide details on projects that support the business case for sustainability.

This report draws on the guidelines set out by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 Guidelines, to the extent that we have felt it possible to do so.

As a leading global materials company Alcan reported 2006 revenues of US$23.6 billion in bauxite mining, alumina processing, primary metal smelting, power generation, aluminum fabrication, engineered solutions as well as flexible and specialty packaging. Dynamic, multicultural and value-driven, Alcan has 68,000 employees, including its joint ventures, in 430 facilities, offices and R&D centres in 61 countries and regions.

On July 12, 2007, Alcan's Board of Directors recommended that the Company's shareholders accept an offer by Rio Tinto Group to acquire all outstanding Alcan common shares for US$101 per share in an all cash transaction. To be named Rio Tinto Alcan, the combined aluminum group will be a new global leader in the industry with an attractive cost position bolstered by a strong technology portfolio, complementary refining and smelting assets, and a strong growth pipeline.

IrkAZ to Increase Production 1.5 Times Starting November 2007

Financial Information Service(Registration), Russia -22.10.07

IRKUTSK, October 22. /FIS/. Irkutsk Aluminum Plant is soon to complete works on the construction of two electrolysis buildings of the capacity of about 170 thousand tons using the OA-300 technology. The startup of the new series of electrolyzers is scheduled for November 2007. The new equipment will enable the plant to increase production approximately by 1.5 times to 450 thousand tons per annum.

Rusal Sees Progress in Kazakhstan

Kommersant, Russia - Oct. 22, 2007

The danger of Kazakh authorities taking the major Bogatyr Access Komir coal asset away from Rusal shareholders has passed after the Russian company reached an agreement with the state-owned Kazakh Samruk Corp. on its joint ownership. It may now be combined with the Ekibastuz-2 hydroelectric plant. Rusal wants to use them as the base for a holding with aluminum and alumina plants, which would require investments of about $3.5 billion. A Samruk source said that it was decided to split Bogatyr, one of Kazakhstan's largest coal mines, equally. The mine had been managed by Access Industries on the behalf of Viktor Vekselberg and Leonard Blavatnik.

Kazakh law requires government approval for any change of ownership of mineral production assets, with the state receiving the right of first refusal. Amendments to national mineral law allowing contracts for mineral production to be terminated without a court decision are awaiting the signature of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Last month, Samruk head Kanat Buzumbaev stated that Bogatyr is part of the country's strategic interests. At the same time, Access lost control over the Ekibastuz-2 hydroelectric plant to Samruk. It had managed the Kazakh government's 50-percent share. The other shareholder in the power generator is Inter RAO UES.

A Samruk source said that the company's share in the Ekibastuz electric plant is being considered as payment for the share in Bogatyr, but no decision has been made yet. If a cash payment is made, it is expected to be at least $1 billion.

Using the resources of Bogatyr and the Ekibastuz-2 plant, Rusal wants to build an aluminum plant in Pavlodar Region in Kazakhstan with a capacity of 500,000 tons per year at a cost of about $2 billion. In the second phase of that project, an alumina plant would be built for $1.5 billion using bauxite from the state-owned Central Turgai deposit in Kustanai Region. Kazakh businessman Alexander Mashkevich's Eurasian Group may be a partner in that undertaking, which would require the approval of Nazarbayev.

Rio Tinto Alcan warns Ottawa

ReportonBusiness.com, Canada -October 25, 2007 at 10:45 PM EDT

ANDY HOFFMAN, Globe and Mail Update

Rio Tinto Alcan, the world's largest aluminum producer, warned Thursday it would consider moving production offshore if Ottawa opts to impose absolute reductions on greenhouse gas emissions.

At an event marking the birth of the new company created by Rio Tinto PLC's $38.1-billion (U.S.) takeover of Montreal's Alcan Inc., Dick Evans said regulations mandating overall emissions could have a devastating impact on its Canadian operations.

"If you look at absolute reductions as a solution, the likely consequence is that you will drive the growth of aluminum production offshore potentially to other jurisdictions that do not have the same environmental standards and do not have the same commitments to greenhouse gas reduction. Therefore the unintended consequences of ill-conceived legislation or controls could very well be to worsen the situation rather than improve," said Mr. Evans, the former Alcan chief executive officer who has been tapped to run the new unit of the British mining heavyweight.

The current Conservative minority government favours a so-called intensity-based carbon regime, whereby companies are allowed to increase emissions as production rises. Opposition parties, however, have recommended moving to an "absolute" regime, with harder emission limits.

The executive favours reducing emissions on an "intensity" basis – measured by carbon emissions per unit of aluminum produced – rather than a cut in the overall amount of greenhouse gases produced.

In 2006, Alcan's worldwide operations emitted 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gases directly from its smelters and a further 11.6 million tonnes from other sources. A total of 4.3 million tonnes of the emissions came from its wholly-owned Canadian operations. The company has committed to a 10-per-cent overall reduction in the intensity of its emissions on a per unit basis by 2010.

Demand for aluminum used in vehicles, electricity transmission and building supplies is on the rise, said Mr. Evans, the Rio Tinto Alcan CEO. Alcan's new smelting technology dubbed "AP" is currently the most environmentally friendly way to produce the metal.

Last year, the company committed almost $600-million towards a pilot project using state-of-the-art AP50 smelting technology in the Saguenay Lac Saint-Jean region in Quebec. Run on hydroelectric power operations owned by Alcan, the new smelter promises to produce more aluminum with less electricity than traditional smelters. The company also wants to modernize its Kitimat operations in Northern B.C. with AP technology that would reduce emissions from 1.3 million tonnes to 800,000 tonnes, but the plan has been stymied so far by regulatory delays and local opposition.

"Our track record in reducing green house emissions on an intensity basis is outstanding … So having the most efficient greenhouse-gas-emitting smelters worldwide is the best impact for the world," he said.

Some leaders, including many provincial premiers such as Ontario's Dalton McGuinty and Quebec's Jean Charest, have called for a so-called "cap-and-trade" system. If adopted, the measure would see hard limits placed on the amount of greenhouse gas individual polluters could emit. Companies that exceed the limits would pay a fee to those that come in under their limits – essentially trading cash for credits earned by their competitors.

Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese said he strongly supports Mr. Evans's call for intensity reductions rather than hard caps on emissions.

"The fact of the matter is you have two billion people between China, India and the rest of the world that want to live just like you do. They want to have an urbanized middle-class life. They want to have access to broadband, they want to have access to cellular phones, they want to have access to things that use aluminum. That demand is going to be met by supply.

"We are better positioned to try and match that supply with leading practices as opposed to someone who may not be so sensitized to that carbon envelope," he said.

US business development mission to visit Vietnam

VietNamNet Bridge, Vietnam - 23/10/2007 (GMT+7)

US Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez will lead a 23 company delegation to Viet Nam early next month, the US Embassy in Ha Noi said in an October 23 press release.

This will be the US’s first-ever Cabinet Business Development Mission to Viet Nam that aims to expand bilateral trade ties and boost US export opportunities, the press release said.

" Viet Nam is a growing economy with excellent opportunities for our American manufacturers, businesses and workers," Gutierrez was quoted as saying.

"These companies make vital contacts and acquire information to allow them to prosper in the Vietnamese market, increasing exports and creating higher paying jobs for our workers at home," Gutierrez said.

Mission participants include representatives from American giants such as 3M Company; Abaxis Inc.; ALCOA Inc.; Altec, Inc.; Baxter International Inc.; Carus Corporation; Century Aluminum Company; Crown Equipment Corporation; Cummins Inc.; Eaton Corporation; GANNON International; Marriott International, Inc.; the Dow Chemical Company; and the Ford Motor Company.

During their stay in Viet Nam scheduled from November 4-8, the US business mission will visit Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City to seek ways to expand the market share of US companies doing business in the country.

Chinese demand drove Alcan takeover

Financial Post: Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sean Silcoff, Financial Post

MONTREAL -- Rio Tinto PLC's pricey US$38-billion takeover of aluminum maker Alcan Inc. is based on the belief that China's rapid growth in smelting capacity won't keep up with its soaring demand for the metal, leading to higher prices, Rio chief executive Tom Albanese said yesterday.

China's consumption of aluminum has grown rapidly in recent years and now represents close to one-third of global demand, which is due to rise by 10% in 2007. But production has also risen to the point where China is a net exporter. That has held back prices compared with other metals, which have skyrocketed during the recent commodities upswing.

However, "we think that increasingly it's going to be difficult for [China] to continue to grow their supply at the same rate, which is what creates for us a business opportunity, and [is] one of the reasons that attracted us to Alcan," Mr. Albanese said in an interview.

The U.S.-born head of UK-based Rio, one of the world's top mining firms, said "China will become increasingly restricted in terms of its excess energy available" to make aluminum and is "increasingly running short of mineral product, so it's increasingly relying on imports" of minerals, which are getting more expensive.

Meanwhile, with Chinese GDP growth forecast to rise annually by 9% through 2015, "you're marching down a path where, in a few years, you could see China consuming half of the world's aluminum" but relying on imports.

Chuck Bradford, an analyst with Soleil Securities in New York, said the Chinese government has been trying to curtail aluminum production increases due to the massive energy needed, in a country where brownouts are common.

In addition, the quality of raw materials in China "are not the best," he said.

"Electricity is expensive and relatively scarce. These are the things you want in abundance and cheap if you want to make aluminum," he said. "It doesn't make sense for the Chinese to be the large aluminum producers they are."

He forecast production in China, up 20% in 2006 and forecast to rise by 36% this year, will decline steadily after that. But as demand grows, "that's a distinct positive" for the price of the metal.

Mr. Albanese was in Montreal following the closing of the takeover. The deal - signed in July, after Alcoa put Alcan in play with a hostile bid - establishes Rio Tinto Alcan as the world's largest aluminum company. The division, based in Montreal, will continue to be led by Alcan CEO Dick Evans through 2009.

Rio Tinto worried about power for Coega smelter

Reuters -Thu Oct 25, 2007 3:21pm EDT

MONTREAL, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Rio Tinto Plc (RIO.L: Quote, Profile, Research) (RIO.AX: Quote, Profile, Research) is seeking assurances from South African utility Eskom [ESCJ.UL] that it can supply the power needed for the proposed $2.7 billion Coega aluminum smelter project.

"We are seeing rolling energy brownouts through South Africa, with Eskom basically not keeping up with demand," Rio Tinto Chief Executive Tom Albanese told Reuters on Thursday.

"I have already met with the senior management of Eskom about the importance of not only getting contractual assurance -- I want to see some physical assurance, lots of power plants being built, lot of transmission towers being built," he said in an interview.

Eskom's big utility customers have had to cut back on their electricity use as the utility struggles to meet domestic residential demand.

Rio Tinto inherited the 720,000-tonne a year aluminum smelter project in the Port Elizabeth area from Alcan Inc. (AL.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) (AL.N: Quote, Profile, Research), which it has just acquired in a $38.1 billion takeover. Alcan signed a long-term energy agreement in November 2006 for Eskom to supply electricity for the smelter.

© Reuters2007All rights reserved

Siemens wins new bar mill orders in U.A.E.

Prdomain Business Register (press release), India -24 Oct 2007 ,

Linz : Siemens Metals Technologies will supply mechanical equipment, electrical equipment and automation systems for two bar mills in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and in Russia. The order for the installation of a new bar mill near Abu Dhabi was received from Abu Dhabi National Company for Building Materials (BILDCO). In Russia, Siemens will modernize the existing bar mill of Izhstal OAO in Izhevsk. The total order value of both projects is approximately 47 million euros.

A complete 300,000 t/a bar mill will be supplied by Siemens to Abu Dhabi National Company for Building Materials (BILDCO) at a site located approximately 25 km southeast of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The scope of supply includes a billet reheating furnace, mill mechanical equipment (including cooling bed), electrics and automation. The rolling mill features the installation of 16 of the latest generation of Red Ring stands which are arranged to enable no-twist rolling. Bars will be rolled at a maximum speed of 14.5 meters per second and the line is equipped with magnetic braking. The cooling facility includes a 66-meter-long cooling bed with automated cutting, counting and bundling systems. Erection supervision and training services round off the supply scope. Start-up is scheduled for the first quarter of 2009.

The existing bar mill of Izhstal OAO, located in Izhevsk, Udmurt Republic, Russia, will be substantially upgraded by Siemens Metals Technologies. Izhstal is a subsidiary company of Mechel, a leading Russian mining and metals company which produces coal, iron ore, nickel, steel and rolled products. At the Izhstal mill site approximately 300,000 tons of bars, wire rod and light sections are produced per year, comprising constructional, tool, high-speed and stainless steel grades. The Siemens scope of supply for this upgrading project includes a new billet reheating furnace, mill equipment, the cooling line, electrics and automation in addition to supervision and training services. Twelve new stands of the Red Ring type, arranged to enable no-twist rolling, as well as a thermomechanical line will be installed. The cooling facilities include a 66-meter-long cooling bed equipped with automated cutting, counting and bundling systems. The mill is scheduled to start up in the fourth quarter of 2008

Additional information on solutions for steel works, rolling mills and processing lines is available at http://www.siemens.com/metals.

Metals Technologies (MT), a Division of the Siemens Industrial Solutions and Services (I&S) Group, is one of the world's leading engineering and plant-building companies for the iron and steel industry as well as for the flat-rolling sector of the aluminum industry and for open-cast mining. MT, which was created from the integration of Voest-Alpine Industrieanlagenbau, Linz/Austria, plus the electrical engineering product business and automation solutions of Siemens, provides a comprehensive range of supplies and services for all related technological processes and integrated automation solutions for the entire life-cycle of metallurgical plants.

The Siemens Industrial Solutions and Services Group (I&S) is the integrator of systems and solutions for industrial and infrastructure facilities and global service provider for the plant and projects business covering planning, installation, operation and the entire life cycle. I&S uses its own products and systems and process technologies in order to enhance productivity and improve competitiveness of companies in the sectors of metallurgy, water treatment, pulp and paper, oil and gas, marine engineering, open-cast mining, airport logistics, postal automation, intelligent traffic systems and industrial services. In fiscal 2006 (to September 30) I&S employed a total of 36,200 people worldwide and achieved total sales of EUR 8.819 billion, according to U.S. GAAP.

Further information and downloads at: http://www.industry.siemens.com

Supply and Demand to Balance Out in China's Alumina Industry From 2010

Business Wire (press release), CA - October 28, 2007

DUBLIN, Ireland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c72888) has announced the addition of China Alumina Industry Report, 2007-2010 to their offering.

Domestic total output of alumina reached 8.51 million tons in 2005, while the demand was about 13 million, so 7.02 million tons were imported. Domestic output of alumina was 13.70 million tons in 2006. According to the expectation of Ministry of Commerce, the demand would be 18.15 million tons. Gap between supply and demand of 4.45 million tons and then 6.91 million tons of alumina was imported.

It's predicated that in 2007, China's alumina production capability will reach 26 million tons, up by 42% year on year; and the output will be about 20 million tons, increasing by 46% over the same period last year. By the year 2008, China's annual production capacity of alumina will approach 33 million tons; along with the release of alumina production capacity in 2007, the global alumina market will enter an overplus cycle. And the anaphase pressure in price reduction of alumina still exists. After 2010, the alumina market will be basically balanced between supply and demand instead of severely short supply.

The production capacity expansion caused by the high alumina price of the past years led to a long-term surplus supply in the world's alumina industry. High price of alumina in the past few years led to the expansion of production capability, resulting in a long-term surplus in global alumina market. We insist that influenced by the restriction from raw material supply and cost support, the global alumina price will keep low in 2007; while in the future, the alumina price will be around RMB 2400 Yuan per ton, which may differ from other consultancies. Meanwhile, the increased market fluctuation will urge China's alumina enterprises to merge and reorganize. The industry concentration degree will be further improved. And the merger and reorganization centralizing in China's alumina industry will become the focus in improving the concentration degree of China's electrolysis aluminum industry.

For more information visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c72888.

Green light for Russian companies in Venezuela

RussiaToday, Russia -October 29, 2007, 18:41

Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister, Aleksandr Zhukov, has said the world's largest aluminium producer Rusal has got the go-ahead for major expansion in Venezuela. Zhukov confirmed he has reached an agreement with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to set up a joint-venture in the country. However, Rusal isn’t alone on the list.

"Many of our companies willing to work Venezuela need governmental support. Within the framework of a high-level inter-governmental commission, we intend to solve all issues associated with the bureaucratic obstacles our companies often face," Mr Zhukov stated.

The First Deputy Prime Minister also said Gazprom had asked to take part in three gas projects in the country. The applications for Gas delta Caribe Oriental, Mariscal sucre and Platforma del Tana are to be considered within the next six months.

Meanwhile, Russia's largest pipe maker, TMK, has closed a deal to supply Venezuela with about 25,000 tonnes of pipe. There's bound to be plenty more to come, as the Venezuelan authorities have said they plan to buy up to 750,000 tonnes.

Also, Russian oil giant Lukoil and Venezuelan Petroleum are to sign an agreement in December on the exploration and development of a field together. Aleksandr Zhukov added that Lukoil's share will comprise some 40 per cent and that talks about the deals are in progress.

Former Alcan CEO Blames Regulatory Approval For Hold Up On New Smelter

Opinion250 News, Canada - Monday, October 29, 2007 03:59 AM

Prince George, B.C. - Dick Evans, the former CEO of Alcan (which has now been taken over by Rio Tinto in an acquisition of its shares) says there is a reason why Kitimat hasn’t seen any construction of a new smelter "Regulatory delays and local opposition are to blame for the company not going ahead with the construction of a new smelter in that community ."

Evans says the smelter would produce 800,000 tons of emissions down from 1.3 million that the company now produces.

Alcan and now Rio Tinto were turned aside by the British Columbia Utilities Commission last year when they tried to enter into a new agreement with BC Hydro for their excess power . At the time, the BCUC turned the agreement aside saying BC Hydro was offering too much for Alcan’s power generated at the Kemano station.

BC Hydro has now returned to the Commission with a new offer, but they have been asked to provide specific details of why Hydro is offering more money in some cases for spot power rather than firm power.

The new plant would employ fewer workers and the District of Kitimat has been locked in a battle with the company saying the new smelter should be built to use the bulk of the power produced by the diversion of the Nechako river rather than entering into an agreement with BC hydro which the District says will result in Alcan (Rio Tinto) being paid in excess of $1 billion dollars for power the community says was supposed to be produced solely for the use "in the vicinity".

At a recent get together of Rio Tinto to introduce the company heads to the people of Canada, Tom Albanese, the CEO of Rio Tinto headquartered in the UK said if Canada opts to place strict emission controls, the company could consider moving operations off shore.

Rio Tinto ( which has acquired Alcan) is involved in Mining, aluminum production, copper, diamonds, energy coal and uranium, gold and iron ore.

Rio Tinto has interests in Canada’s Northern diamond fields and has a 58.7% of the shares and a controlling interest in Iron Ore Canada

Alcan expands alumina supply contract

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - October 31, 2007 - 10:29AM

Rio Tinto Ltd's aluminium business has reached an agreement with Norway's Norsk Hydro ASA to expand its alumina supply.

Rio Tinto Alcan's agreement with the aluminium arm of Norsk Hydro will expand to 900,000 tonnes, from 500,000 tonnes, from 2011 to the end of the contract.

"The expansion of our supply contract with Norsk Hydro underpins our decision to invest in an expansion of the Yarwun alumina refinery," Rio Tinto Alcan president and chief executive officer of Bauxite and Alumina Steve Hodgson said.

"It is consistent with our strategy to maximise the value of Rio Tinto Alcans world class bauxite deposits at Weipa in north Queensland, Australia."

Under a 20-year contract signed with Norsk Hydro in 2003, Rio Tinto Alcan is committed to supplying Hydro Aluminium with 500,000 tonnes of alumina per year from 2006 until 2030.

This contract also gave Norsk Hydro an option to increase its purchases of alumina.