AluNews - September 2007

Aluar announces new US$400mn investment plan - Argentina

Business News Americas, Chile Monday, September 3, 2007 17:16 (GMT -0400)

Argentine aluminum maker Aluar (Buenos Aires: ALUA) is planning a new investment of US$400mn in its Puerto Madryn plant, a Chubut province press official confirmed to BNamericas.

"The new expansion, which will be inaugurated toward the end of 2009, will increase production capacity by 30% beyond the 410,000t/y achieved so far," the official explained.

The investment is part of the second phase of expansion planned by the company, said the official, adding that works on phase 2 will begin immediately.

Aluar president Javier Madanes Quintanilla made the announcements Monday during an inauguration ceremony for the first phase of expansion, which cost US$800mn to raise capacity from 280,000t/y.

Madanes also announced that the company is evaluating another investment in a region to the south of Puerto Madryn, which itself sits 1,400km south of Buenos Aires, "but he did not specify where, nor when," said the press official.

Controlled by the Madanes Quintanilla family, Aluar is Argentina's only primary aluminum producer. In 2006, the company exported nearly 55% of its output, or some 155,000t.

Russia's UC RusAl may build plant in Indonesia

RIA Novosti, Russia 03/ 09/ 2007

MOSCOW, September 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russian aluminum giant United Company RusAl said Monday it was considering establishing a bauxite and alumina processing complex in Indonesia.

Media quoted representatives of Indonesian mining company Antam as saying earlier Monday that there were plans for a joint project with UC RusAl to set up a plant in the southeast Asian country at a cost of $220 million, and with capacity of 300,000 metric tons a year.

"Indonesia is interesting for us in terms of rich bauxite reserves, and we are studying opportunities for a project to build a bauxite and alumina producing complex," spokeswoman Olga Sanarova said.

United Company RusAl, established in March 2007 through a merger of Russian aluminum giants RusAl and SUAL and Swiss Glencore's alumina assets, accounts for 12.5% and 16% of the global aluminum and alumina markets, respectively.

Petrocaribe treaty sees closer energy embrace with Caracas

Stabroek News, Guyana - Sep 2, 2007

By Miranda La Rose

The PetroCaribe treaty which Guyana has not yet signed would draw it into a closer energy embrace with Venezuela and this along with the absence of any mention of bio-fuels which Georgetown is keen to develop may cause it to think carefully before adding its signature.

The declared purpose of the PetroCaribe Energy Security Treaty (EST) is to develop among member countries a comprehensive and sustained integration and cooperation process to contribute to energy security in the Caribbean; to complement the primary energy sources available with renewable energy; to develop the industrialization of the "energy chain"; and to foster the rational use of energy to maximize energy saving and efficiency.

The treaty which was presented at the third PetroCaribe summit attended by the heads of government or senior representatives of sixteen states in Caracas, Venezuela last month, also enjoins the parties to promote the consumption of gas, and to create or enhance their oil refining capacity in order to diminish dependence on multinational players. The instrument of implementation for the commitments outlined in the treaty, is the bilateral mixed company.

Under the EST Venezuela will guarantee a secure and steady supply of crude oil, refined products and Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) to signatory countries, while the signatories, among other things, will undertake as much as possible to build, enhance and/or modernize the energy infrastructure necessary for the storage, distribution, etc, of crude oil and its by-products.

The signatories agree as far as possible, to create and enhance their refining capacity with the aim of having a sufficient availability of products to allow them to meet the regional shortage. The objective is to establish a refining pole in the Caribbean which would diminish dependence on multinational players along the energy chain of value.

Russian giant to expand

Courier Mail, Australia - September 06, 2007 12:00am

McCullough

The world's largest aluminium producer is poised to expand its presence in Queensland.

Russia-based Rusal, which already owns a 20 per cent stake in Gladstone's Queensland Alumina (QAL), is actively investigating establishing a refinery and smelter in the state as part of its stated expansion plans.

It comes as Russian companies actively increase their presence in Australia, Russian steel giant Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works notifying the Federal Government this week of plans to take a $1.5 billion stake in Fortescue Metals Group.

The expansion strategy will continue, at least according to Russian Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev. He told delegates in Brisbane at the Russia-Australian business conference that Russia was very keen to forge new horizons with Australia.

"We would say that today, Australia is becoming for us a closer and more familiar region," Mr Gordeyev said.

His comments came as Rusal chairman John Hannagan said his company felt Queensland offered great potential for the expansion of the aluminium group's business and the aluminium industry in general.

"The QAL refinery and smelter in Gladstone is one of the world's largest and we believe has the potential for expansion," Mr Hannagan said.

He said any expansion at Gladstone hinged on a proviso that Rusal could continue to source competitively priced bauxite from the world class deposit at Weipa on Cape York.

Mr Hannagan indicated Rusal's interests in Queensland were not restricted to alumina.

"Queensland also has large reserves of thermal coal which might be used for power generation given a suitable economic structure and competitive pricing," he said.

"Rusal has engaged the Queensland Government in a working group to explore the potential for building a smelter based on competitive electricity and competitive bauxite supply."

Mr Hannagan said the working group had now completed its assessment and Rusal, along with power and coal generation companies, continued to explore the possibilities in detail.

The Rusal chairman said the green issue had also impacted heavily on Rusal's future Australian expansion. Rusal announced this year it aimed to be carbon neutral by 2015 with 80 per cent of the company's aluminium currently produced using hydro power.

Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said Russian investment in Australia totalled about $6 billion but it was set to rise.

He said there was a wide range of opportunities for Russian companies keen to expand in Australia.

Russia's investment in Australia estimated at $5-6 bln

RIA Novosti, Russia -14:46 | 05/ 09/ 2007

SYDNEY, September 5 (RIA Novosti) - Australia's minister of industry, tourism and resources said Wednesday that Russian investment in his country had reached $5-6 billion, and was becoming increasingly important strategically for its economy.

Speaking at the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) in Sydney, which has gathered representatives of 21 Pacific Rim economies, Ian Macfarlane said that Russian companies were primarily interested in mining technologies and services.

He added that there were also good prospects for investment in the production of nickel, steel, oil, natural gas, as well as in environmentally friendly low-emission technologies.

The minister also said that additional opportunities for Russian investment existed in infrastructure projects with both federal and local governments, which would total $100 billion and would be completed by 2013-1024.

The first major Russian investment in Australia dates back to 2005, when Russian aluminum giant RusAl acquired a 25% stake in Queensland Alumina Ltd.

Rusal Set to Build up a Plant in Indonesia

Financial Information Service(Registration), Russia 05.09.07

MOSCOW, September 5. /FIS/. The united company 'Russian Aluminum' is planning to sign a preliminary agreement on cooperation with Indonesia's PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) during the visit of RF President Vladimir Putin to Indonesia. The parties agree to jointly conduct geologic prospecting works and development of bauxite deposits on Western Kalimantan as well as to jointly enrich the produced mineral. Rusal and Antam may build up an aluminum plant in Indonesia of the capacity of 300 thousand tons per annum. The project costs are estimated at USD220 million. The startup of the new plant is scheduled for 2010.

Alcan to build smelters in NW China

Sep. 11, 2007 (China Knowledge) –

Alcan Inc, which has reached a friendly takeover deal with Rio Tinto Group to become the largest aluminum producer in the world, plans to build smelters in northwest China, said Pierre Arseneault, vice president of strategic planning and energy of Alcan Primary Metal.

He told the media that the company is investigating growth in Ningxia and other options, including acquiring plants in northwest China, to benefit from rising demand for the metal in China. He thought that aluminum is preferred material for the urbanization process of China.

Alcan chose the northwestern regions for these areas experience less electricity shortage than coastal areas, since power accounts for more than one third of the production cost for aluminum smelters.

It also intends to raise its investment in building a 250,000-ton smelter with Qingtongxia Aluminum Group, China's second-biggest maker of the metal, in the Ningxia Autnomous Region. In 2004, Alcan bought 50% stake in a 150,000-ton production line in Qingtongxia for US$150 million.

Alcoa Estimates $10Mln Impact From Hurricane Dean At AWAC

RTT News, NY 9/10/2007 4:42:16 PM

After the bell Monday, Alcoa Inc. (AA) announced it has completed its damage and impact assessment at its Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals alumina refinery and port, which were affected by Hurricane Dean in August. Alcoa stated that the total impact from the hurricane is estimated to be $10 million after-tax, the majority being in the third quarter. Following the news, shares of Alcoa were down 18 cents to $33.87 in after-hours trading.

Jamalco is 55% owned by Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals and 45% owned by the Government of Jamaica. Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals is a global alliance between Alcoa and Alumina Ltd., with Alcoa holding 60%.

Alcoa's roots in Jamaica go back to 1959 with the formation of Alcoa Minerals of Jamaica. The operation began with bauxite mining, with the first shipment of bauxite occurring in 1963.

In 1972, Alcoa Minerals began refining bauxite into alumina at a new 500,000 mtpy refinery, which was upgraded to 1 million mtpy in 1999 and then 1.25 million mtpy in 2003. Due to operational efficiencies, the refinery reached 1.3 million mtpy in 2004.

Between 1976 and 1988, Alcoa Minerals sold 50% of the operations to the government of Jamaica, with Alcoa as the managing partner.

Today, Jamalco mines bauxite in the hills of Manchester with a mining contractor, refines it into alumina at the refinery in Clarendon, and ships the alumina from the port facility at Rocky Point. The alumina is shipped primarily to Alcoa's Canadian operations and, to a lesser extent, other North American facilities within the company.

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Alcoa stated that the refinery operations were halted on August 18th in advance of the hurricane. The refinery remained curtailed until power could be restored and production has begun, the company revealed.

The majority of the impact for Jamalco occurred at the port in Rocky Point, Clarendon, which will require significant repairs and temporary logistical support for shipping alumina while repair work is completed.

This work, Alcoa said, includes preparing storage for alumina that is currently limiting production to 50% of capacity, with full operation anticipated by early November.

In addition, Alcoa noted that it continues to make good progress addressing outages and curtailment costs at its Alcoa, Tennessee and Rockdale, Texas smelters, which are expected to be consistent with those in the second quarter of 2007.

Alcoa is the world's third largest producer of aluminum, behind Rio Tinto plc (RTP) and Rusal. Alcoa leads the world in alumina production and capacity.

It is followed closely by a former subsidiary, Alcan Inc. (AL), a Canadian-based company in Montreal, which was the third-leading producer behind Alcoa, but in terms of sales Alcan is ahead of Alcoa.

Alcoa made a hostile $27 billion bid for Alcan on May 7th, 2007, aiming to reunite the two companies and form the largest aluminum producer in the world. The takeover bid was withdrawn after Alcan announced a friendly takeover by Rio Tinto on July 12, 2007.

AA closed Monday's regular trading session at $34.05, down 82 cents or 2.35%, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Brazil BNDES OKs BRL500 Million In Financing For Alcoa Bauxite Mine

CNNMoney.com - September 10, 2007: 02:20 PM EST

SAO PAULO -(Dow Jones)- The Brazilian National Development Bank, or BNDES, said Monday that it had approved 500 million Brazilian reals ($255 million) in financing for Alcoa Aluminio to develop a bauxite mine.

Alcoa Aluminio, the local unit of aluminum giant Alcoa (AA), will use the funds to develop the mine infrastructure and logistics for the complex near Juruti, in northern Brazil's Para state, BNDES said. The financing represents 22% of the projects total investment, according to the bank.

The mine is expected to produce 2.6 million metric tons of bauxite per year at startup, with potential expansion to output of 12 million tons of bauxite per year. The mine is expected to start operating in mid-2008.

In addition, 55 kilometers of roads and rail lines will be built to connect the mine to new port facilities on the Amazonas river.

The bauxite from Juruti will be used to supply the Alumar smelter and refinery at Sao Luis, in neighboring Maranhao state. Alcoa Aluminio holds a 35% stake in Alumar.

Alcoa currently has annual installed production capacity of about 300,000 metric tons of primary aluminum, 800,000 tons of alumina and 2.5 million tons of bauxite in Brazil.

-By Jeff Fick, Dow Jones Newswires; 55-21-3288-5011; jeff.fick@dowjones.com

Rusal Talks in Venezuela Yield Document

Kommersant, Russia -Tuesday , 11 Sep 2007

After five years of negotiations between Russian aluminum company Rusal and Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana, the Venezuelan state company has written a letter of intention. According to a statement issued by Rusal yesterday, the parties will determine bauxite deposits for development, perform audits, estimate investment requirements and define a format for cooperation.

Rusal deputy public relations director Vera Kurochkina noted that Venezuela has significant bauxite deposits and high energy potential. She also noted that Rusal had broad interests in foreign markets, and is studying the potential of such countries as Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Congo and Papua New Guinea as well as Venezuela.

The Venezuelan letter is the first official declaration from that side. It appeared Sunday evening immediately after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the beginning of "socialist industrialization" in the country on national television. The letter concerns the construction of a metallurgical facility with the cooperation of Russia, Belarus and Iran. Chavez has stated that the metals industry in Venezuela will be worth $3.5 billion in 2007, and investment in it will amount to $26 billion through 2013.

Kurochkina said that Rusal is not only looking at bauxite production in Venezuela, but is also in creating an electrometallurgical complex for the production of primary aluminum and alloys. The company's subsidiary Bauxite Company of Guyana may have up to 100 million tons of bauxite reserves, which would supply a plant with a capacity of 1.4 million tons of alumina for 25 years. Construction on the new project will cost between $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion, once the final agreement is worked out. Analysts say that there are major hurdles to be overcome before an agreement can be reached.

Defying mining's global warming skeptics, Rio Tinto joins U.S. climate change coalition

Mineweb, South Africa Tuesday , 11 Sep 2007

While a hefty percentage of the U.S. mining industry still debates whether global warming exists, Rio Tinto has joined a powerful business/NGO coalition aimed at reducing greenhouse gases.

Author: Dorothy Kosich

RENO, NV -

Über-miner Rio Tinto has joined the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), an alliance of major businesses and environmental groups urging the federal government address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Tom Albanese, Rio Tinto's CEO, called climate change "a critical issue for our business. Not only do we produce energy resources, such as coal, but our mining and mineral processing operations use large quantities of energy."

Preston Chiaro, Chief Executive of Rio Tinto's energy division, said the "key to unlocking an environmentally friendly future for all fossil fuels is carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS). The ultimate success of CCS will depend on its widespread application, public acceptance and rapid commercialization of the technology."

"USCAP recognizes that government and industry cooperative to advance CCS technology is a critical path toward slowing, stopping, and reducing the growth of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," Chiaro said. "Market-based approaches can provide long-term incentives for low carbon power generation, but government support will also be required to help overcome the high initial cost of first-of-a-kind technology development and deployment."

Other mining companies who are members of USCAP are North American aluminum producers Alcan and Alcoa, along with U.S.-based über-mining equipment manufacturer Caterpillar.

Rio Tinto is working on a number of technology solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy usage. The Kennecott Land Company has committed to support renewable wind energy production through Rocky Mountain Power's Blue Sky program, and may be the first develop to purchase enough renewable energy through Blue Sky to offset the entire electricity now consumed in Kennecott Land operations.

Kennecott Utah Copper has a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 16% by 2008 through the use of fuel additives at the Bingham Canyon Mine to installation of pebble crushers and advanced flotation cells at the concentrator.

Meanwhile, Rio Tinto and BP have formed a joint venture to focus on hydrogen-fueled power generation, utilizing fossil fuels and carbon capture and storage technology to produce new large-scale supplies of clean electricity.

MAJOR MILESTONE FOR $3 BILLION CHALCO INVESTMENT

Media Newswire (press release), NY 11 Sep 2007

(Media-Newswire.com) - A $3 billion bauxite project on Cape York Peninsula, regarded as the largest single foreign investment in Queensland s history, reached a major milestone today, Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Infrastructure Anna Bligh and Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said this afternoon.

The Deputy Premier said a mineral development licence was granted to Chalco, the Aluminium Corporation of China Limited.

Ms Bligh said the licence, granted over a 40,000 hectare site on the west of the Cape, would give Chalco the green light to go ahead with a $40 million feasibility study.

This is a major milestone for one of our most exciting projects which is expected to create thousands of skilled jobs during construction, Ms Bligh said.

The project includes a mine and a plant at Aurukun and a mineral processing facility on Queensland s east coast.

Chalco and the State Government will work with the Wik and Wik Way people to preserve their cultural heritage and at the same time, secure a prosperous future for the local community, Ms Bligh said.

The study will be conducted over the next two years and includes a $2 million a year commitment by Chaco to the Traditional Owners of the Aurukun community.

Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said the feasibility study included mining-related investigations, geotechnical and engineering studies, and other evaluations.

The study will also determine the preferred location for a $2.2 billion alumina refinery at Gladstone, Bowen or Townsville, Mr Wilson said.

Teams of leading local advisers including resource contractors, suppliers, engineers and technicians will be required for the feasibility study. It will also create job opportunities for the Aurous Community, he said.

Mr Wilson said the granting of a licence was one of the milestones that allowed benefits to flow from the Indigenous Land Use Agreement made between the State of Queensland, Chaco, the Wik and Wik Way peoples, and the Aurukun Shire Council.

Mr Wilson said Chalco s decision to proceed with development of the bauxite mine and alumina refinery would be based on the results of the feasibility study.

Before any mining can occur, Chalco has to be granted a mining lease over the bauxite deposits. This also requires consent from the Wik and Wik Way people and the Aurukun Shire Council, he said.

The Chalco Bauxite Project mine and plant at Aurukun could produce over 6 million tonnes a year of bauxite, and the alumina refinery could produce more than 2 million tonnes of alumina a year.

Media contacts: Minister Wilson's Office 3225 1819

Alcoa to take US$10 million hit from Hurricane Dean

Bloomberg, September 11, 2007

Alcoa`s Jamalco refinery is operating at 50%

The world’s second largest aluminium company Alcoa Inc will take an after-tax charge of US$10 million after Hurrican Dean damaged and disrupted production at its Jamalco alumina refinery in Jamaica.

The company said operations at the 1.4Mt/y facility were halted on August 18 in advance of the hurricane and remained suspended until power could be restored. The refinery is currently operating at 50% capacity and will not be restored to full capacity until November.

Alcoa invoked force majeure on any delayed shipments.

Alcoa was the worst hit of the major bauxite and alumina producers in Jamaica after Hurricane Dean hit the Caribbean island causing flooding and power outages.

The majority of the impact for Jamalco occurred at the port in Rocky Point, Clarendon, which will require significant repairs and temporary logistical support for shipping alumina while repair work is completed.

Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC) owns 55% of Jamalco with the remaining 45% held by the Jamaican government. AWAC is a joint venture between Alcoa (60%) and Alumina Ltd (40%).

China's Chalco cuts alumina spot price by 10 pct to 3,500 yuan per ton

Forbes, NY 09.13.07, 1:27 AM ET

BEIJING (XFN-ASIA) - Aluminum Corp of China Ltd (Chalco) said it has cut it spot price for alumina, the chief precursor to finished aluminum, by 10 pct to 3,500 yuan per ton to reflect anticipated demand conditions, a spokesperson from the Chinese firm told XFN-Asia.

'It's purely a market-based decision. Demand expectations drove our move,' said Zhang Qing.

China's largest aluminum and alumina producer said in August that it expects the price of aluminum and alumina to hold steady for the rest of the year after a price drop in the first half.

Chairman and chief executive Xiao Yaqing told reporters at the time that alumina will stabilize at between 3,500-4,000 yuan a ton in the second half, with the price of aluminum seen at between 19,000-22,000 yuan a ton.

Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Inc (nyse: AA - news - people ) announced yesterday it has has sold its nearly 7 pct stake in Chalco for about 2 bln usd, leading to sharp drops in the Chinese firm's Hong Kong-listed shares.

At 11.57 am, Chalco's shares in Hong Kong were down 2.12 hkd or 10.39 pct at 18.28, off a low of 17.9.

(1 usd 7.8 hkd; 7.53 yuan)

andrew.pasek@xinhuafinance.com

Alcoa nets $1B in Chalco sale

Bloomberg News Thursday, September 13, 2007

Alcoa Inc. sold a stake in Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. for about $1.96 billion -- making a profit of about $1 billion -- after the value of its investment rose 15-fold since 2001.

Alcoa said Wednesday it sold a 7 percent stake, or about 882 million shares, in the company known as Chalco for $2.23 each.

"Alcoa is taking profit from Chalco shares,'' said Liu Yang, who helps manage $3 billion as managing director of Atlantis Investment Management Ltd., Hong Kong. "The sale indicates that it is concerned about the commodities cycle, after the credit crunch in the U.S.''

Aluminum has plunged 13 percent in the past two months as global inventories rose and subprime mortgage defaults in the United States threatened demand for metals. Beijing-based Chalco, China's largest aluminum producer, gained 40 percent in the same period in Hong Kong.

"Over the past seven years Chalco has become firmly established in the equity market, so our role as a financial investor is no longer needed,'' Alcoa Chief Executive Officer Alain Belda said in the statement. "We can redeploy our capital into other value-adding options, including projects in China.''

Alcoa may use the proceeds from the sale for projects in China and elsewhere, spokesman Kevin Lowery said. He declined to disclose more information on the sale. The company, which has 17 operating locations in China, will continue to pursue investments there, he said.

Alcoa, which bought an 8 percent stake in Chalco in its initial public offering in December 2001, will earn more than $1 billion from the investment. The price of aluminum in London almost doubled since 2001 as demand from the automobile and construction industries soared in China, the world's biggest producer and user of the lightweight metal.

Alcoa shares fell 55 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $33.65 yesterday. The shares have risen 12 percent this year.

Alcoa had held 884.2 million Hong Kong-listed shares in Chalco, equal to 22.4 percent of the company's stock.

New Technology Helps Alcoa Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Waste

US Department of State, DC - 11 September 2007

Aluminum giant cut its greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent in three years

By Edmund F. Scherr USINFO Special Correspondent

Washington -- Alcoa, a world leader in aluminum manufacturing, is also leading private-sector efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and use renewable energy resources. With operations in 44 countries, the U.S.-based company's policies and innovations have a global effect.

The company has been named by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as one of the top companies in sustainable use of natural resources. Alcoa is also a founding member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a collection of businesses and environmental groups lobbying the U.S. government for legislation limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2000, the company laid out its goals for reducing its impact on the global environment through innovation and new technology. The goals included deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and waste product discharges. Alcoa reached its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent (from 1990 levels) in 2003, seven years ahead of schedule, even though aluminum production increased during that period.

The company believes that the aluminum industry can be "greenhouse gas neutral" by 2020.

Renewable energy is a key to Alcoa’s efforts to reduce its environmental impact. It has used hydroelectric power as a major energy source for its smelting operations around the world since 1916 and now is evaluating the feasibility of building in Iceland the world’s first geothermal-powered aluminum production plant.

NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GASES FURTHER

In May, Alcoa launched "carbon capture" technology at its Kwinana alumina refinery in Western Australia. The process for capturing carbon dioxide mixes bauxite residue, a byproduct of the aluminum-making process, with carbon dioxide. This locks up large amounts of the greenhouse gas that otherwise would be released into the atmosphere.

By mixing carbon dioxide into the bauxite residue, the compound’s pH level (a measure of acidity and alkalinity) is reduced to levels normally found in alkaline soil. This new mixture can be used as road foundation, building material or an additive to improve soil. This technology, which the company plans to share with the entire aluminum industry, will be used in Alcoa’s alumina refineries worldwide. Alumina, also known as aluminum oxide, is the main component of bauxite, the principle ore used in aluminum production.

Alcoa also is researching innovative new "inert anode" technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions even further. In the final stage of smelting, aluminum oxide, processed from bauxite ore, is placed in an electrolytic cell. A carbon rod, called an anode, is fed into the cell and charged with an electric current, converting the aluminum oxide into carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and aluminum. The aluminum sinks to the bottom of the tank, where it is collected for additional processing, while the greenhouse gases escape through the opening where the anode is inserted.

Alcoa is working to develop technology that would allow it to replace carbon anodes with ones that would not react with the oxygen released in the electrolytic process to create greenhouse gases. The only byproduct of the "inert anode" process would be oxygen.

An industry study, the "Inert Anode Roadmap," says worldwide use of inert anodes could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 40 million metric tons. It also could reduce the amount of electricity needed to smelt aluminum oxide into aluminum by 25 percent.

WASTE TREATMENT

Alcoa is working to reduce hazardous waste from its operations as well. The spent pot lining (SPL) that remains after the smelting process contains significant amounts of absorbed fluorides and some cyanide. In the past, this waste has been deposited in landfills.

However, the new Alcoa Portland SPL process converts SPL to aluminum fluoride (an important additive in aluminum production) and a harmless granulated glassy material called synthetic sand. This synthetic sand can be used to make roads and concrete.

Additional information about Alcoa’s environmental, greenhouse gas reduction and recycling efforts, is available on the company’s Web site.

For more information about efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, see Climate Change and Clean Energy.

(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

UPDATE: Alcoa Sells Chalco Stake For $2 Bln, Vows To Invest More In China

CNNMoney.com - September 12, 2007: 04:47 PM EST

SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones) -- Alcoa Inc. said Wednesday it has sold its holdings in the Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. for $2 billion but vowed to keep expanding production in China, the world's biggest consumer of aluminum.

The New York-based aluminum producer (AA) said it sold its 7% stake in the company known as Chalco (ACH) for HK$15.3 billion, or HK$17.34 a share, or less than Chalco's closing price of HK$20.40 on the Hong Kong exchange Wednesday.

Alcoa had been an investor in the company, mainland China's biggest aluminum producer, since Chalco made its initial public offering in Hong Kong in 2001 at HK$1.38 a share.

"Our role as a financial investor is no longer needed, and we can redeploy our capital into other value-adding options, including projects in China," where Alcoa's commitment to China "has never been stronger," said Alcoa Chairman and Chief Executive Alain Belda in a statement.

"We will continue to pursue opportunities with Chalco for mutual investment and growth, both within China and overseas," he said.

Alcoa shares fell 1.6% on Monday to $33.65. U.S-listed shares of Chalco dropped 9.3% to $60.01.

Belda had launched a foiled $27 billion bid for rival Alcan Inc. (AL) in May, partly as a response to the rapid growth of low-cost aluminum production in Russia and China. Montreal-based Alcan, which later agreed to a higher offer from Rio Tinto PLC (RTP) , has access to cheap hydropower to run its smelters.

Alcoa has been under pressure from Wall Street to sell less profitable or ancillary business lines, particularly after withdrawing its hostile bid for Alcan.

J.P. Morgan analyst Mike Gambardella said the asset sale is a good move on Alcoa's part, because it is "consistent with our view that asset sales and divestitures will serve as a positive catalyst for Alcoa's stock."

Plus, the sale of the Chalco stake could pave the way to create other joint ventures in China, Gambardella added in a note to investors.

Alcoa in July raised its forecast for Chinese aluminum demand to increasing 37% this year, while North American demand drops 2.5%.

It said it is expanding in Qinghuangdao, China, where the company is investing about $300 million in a hot rolling mill and related equipment. It said it expects to have the mill commissioned in 2008, with output growing to more than 220,000 metric tons per year.

RUSAL Set to Boost Aluminum Production at New Plants to 500 Thousand Tons

Financial Information Service(Registration), Russia - 12.09.07

MOSCOW, September 12. /FIS/. This announcement was made by Director General of Russian Engineering Company Valery Matvienko. He said that Khakassia plant, which was put into operation in December 2006, is equipped with the most advanced electrolyzers - RA 300. Recently the company developed RA 400, whose implementation is underway. The next step will be the development of a powerful RA 500 electrolyzer.

Ghana President off to Canada, USA

Joy Online, Ghana - 15-Sep-2007 Previous Page

The President, John Agyekum Kufuor has travelled to Canada.

The President left Accra Friday night for a two-day visit to Ottawa, Canada, where he will engage in bilateral talks with the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper and the Governor-General, Michaelle Jean.

According to a statement issued by the President’s Press Secretary, Mr. Andrew Awuni, the President would also meet with officials of ALCAN, the multi-national aluminium company which has proposed to build a bauxite refinery in Ghana to refine the mineral.

The statement said, the President will continue to New York to participate in the 62nd General Assembly of the United Nations.

The President is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on September 25, 2007.

He is expected back home in Accra on Friday, September 28.

Alcoa team wins magazine award for new alloy

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, PA - Sep 15, 2007

By Melissa Capone, for THE VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH

A team of research scientists and engineers from the Alcoa Technical Center have received an R&D 100 Award for the development of an aluminum-lithium alloy now being used by the aerospace industry.

The awards are given out annually by R&D magazine to recognize the 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace during the past year.

The awards are the only industrywide competition for practical applications of science. The winning technologies and products are selected by the magazine's editors and a panel of outside experts.

Past winners of the award have been the automated teller machine (ATM), the fax machine, the Nicoderm anti-smoking patch, and HDTV.

On Oct. 18, a team of about 10 Alcoa employees will attend the R&D Awards presentation in Chicago.

Ralph Sawtell, division manager of the alloy technology materials research department at Alcoa, said about 40 people in his department worked together to develop the product, called aluminum alloy 2099.

He said the main distinction between the new product and other aluminum alloys is that it contains lithium. The advantages of the new product, Sawtell said, are that it is more lightweight and durable than other aluminum alloys.

"It is 6 percent lighter than the alloys that it replaces, and that's important because all aircraft structures are based on weight and durability," he said. "That drop in weight is very important because then there's more ability to carry passengers and less fuel is used."

In addition, aircraft structures utilizing aluminum alloy 2099 don't need to be inspected as often and are more corrosive-resistant than those made of other alloys, Sawtell said.

Aluminum alloy 2099 is used to make extrusion and plate products, which are manufactured in Alcoa plants in Indiana and Iowa.

Extrusion products are used in the fuselage and the floor of an aircraft, Sawtell said.

"Extrusions run from one side of the aircraft to the other to hold up the floor and support it," he said. "Aluminum alloy 2099 is more resistant to bending, so if you put a load like passengers on top of it, it won't bend like older aluminum alloys would have."

Plate products, which are rectangular slabs of aluminum alloy between a half-inch and 6 inches thick, are used on the lower and upper curved surfaces of an airplane's wings.

Sawtell said the new product is being used in the Boeing A380 Airbus jumbo jet, which will be the biggest commercial airplane in the sky when it starts taking passengers next month.

Alcoa Technical Center has won the R&D 100 award more than a dozen times in the past, many times for alloy products, Sawtell said.

A full list of the award winners can be found in the September issue of R&D magazine.

RUSAL to Pursue Projects in Venezuela

18/09/2007 | Moscow News, №??36 2007

MOSCOW (MN) - RUSAL United Co. and Venezuela's state-owned Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana firm have signed a letter of intent, paving way for joint development of Venezuela's bauxite fields, RUSAL said in a statement.

The two firms agreed to conduct preliminary assessment of project feasibility, which should be completed by the end of this year. In case of positive results, they will proceed to project implementation stage.

Ultimately, RUSAL would seek to establish full-cycle aluminum production in Venezuela, the statement adds.

Former Boeing Engineer says 787 may be unsafe

KSNW, KS WICHITA, Kansas, September 19, 2007

Explosive allegations are being made against Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

A former senior engineer with the company is saying the plastic composites used to make the plane may be unsafe and lead to passenger deaths.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was rolled out last July and heralded as the most technologically advanced, most environmentally friendly commercial jetliner in the world.

"Composites are going to be used more and more. Their costs will come down, and the technology will continue to develop," Spirit Aerosystem’s John Pilla said at the time.

But a former senior Boeing engineer, who spoke to Dan Rather on HDNet, is now coming forward with a number of concerns about the new hi-tech plastic material.

"The biggest problem with composites, of the type Boeing is using on the 787, is the lack of toughness," Former Boeing engineer Vince Weldon said on the program.

In a memo to the FAA Vincent Weldon says the composite material breaks, whereas aluminum, which planes are currently made out of, crumple, protecting passengers in a crash.

Weldon goes on to say the composites are combustible, and in a crash would emit toxic smoke and tiny inhalable carbon slivers.

Finally Weldon is worried about lightning, since the plastic composites do little to conduct direct electricity away from the fuel tank, as an aluminum plane would do.

A significant portion of the aircraft is produced in Wichita. Spirit aerosystems makes both the cockpit and the nose section of the jet. A spokesperson for Spirit was not available to comment on the latest allegations.

In a written statement, Boeing however, said their "commitment to the safety of the passengers who fly on board its commercial jetliners is at the very core of all that we do."

Boeing also told Dan Rather Investigates, they are doing tests to make sure the 787 has the same or better survivability as an aluminum airplane.

The company also said they have no indications of toxicity associated with the 787. And are embedding copper alloy mesh inside the airplane's surface to disperse lightning.

The first Dreamliner is scheduled for delivery May 2008 and Boeing says it is the future of the company, while Waldon worries it could mean the end.

Airbus confirms switch to composite frame on A350 XWB

ATWOnline, MD Thursday September 20, 2007

In a major about-face, Airbus confirmed to ATWOnline that it has ditched the aluminum frame for a composite frame on the A350 XWB.

The move comes after key customers ILFC and Emirates expressed concerns about maintenance on an aluminum structure. At the Paris Air Show in June, ILFC Chairman Steven Udvar-Hazy told this website that he would try to convince Airbus to change to the all-composite structure. "There is still time for Airbus to go for composite panels on a composite frame," he said. At the time, Airbus was adamant that it would not change from the aluminum frame.

An Airbus spokesperson said yesterday that the decision was taken for "simplification of maintenance." The company expects to complete design refinement by year end with first delivery in late 2013. As part of its Power8 restructuring program, it is seeking "risk sharing partners" to take over metallic material production facilities and transform them into plants developing and producing composites.

With this significant design change, the A350 XWB emerges as potent threat to Boeing's 787-9, 777-200ER and the lower end of the 777-300ER market. The move also applies pressure on the US manufacturer to fast-track its replacement plans for the 777-300ER and -200LR. Boeing insiders have told ATWOnline that an "all-composite new aircraft response" is likely.

by Geoffrey Thomas

Texas, Louisiana alumina plants weather Humberto

Abrasivesonline, China - 2007-9-20 7:27:38

NEW YORK, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Four alumina facilities close to Hurricane Humberto's path were all spared damage from the storm on Thursday, their owners said.

Ormet Corp's alumina refinery in Burnside, Louisiana, suffered no damage, a company spokeswoman told Reuters.

Century Aluminum Co. spokesman Michael Dildine said the aluminum producer's Gramercy, Louisiana, alumina refinery sustained no major damage and operations were not hampered.

The Sherwin Alumina refinery, owned by Swiss commodities trader Glencore International AG and located in Corpus Christi, Texas, was far enough south of the hurricane to avoid any damage, its plant manager said.

And Alcoa's Point Comfort alumina refinery about 125 miles southwest of Houston also escaped the storm.

"I'm glad to report that Hurricane Humberto actually made landfall more than 130 miles north of here. It's a beautiful, calm, sunny day, so Alcoa Point Comfort operations is operating at full production and we don't have any disruption at all from the hurricane," a spokeswoman at the plant said.

Hurricane Humberto spared Houston but shot across the Texas-Louisiana border region overnight, killing one person, shutting down three oil refineries and cutting power to 100,000 customers.

Humberto grew to hurricane status more quickly than forecasters expected, but weakened after a few hours on land and was reclassified as a tropical storm.

At the end of August, Ormet said it delayed the restart of the sixth potline at its Hannibal, Ohio, aluminum smelter because of curtailed alumina deliveries after Hurricane Dean damaged Alcoa Inc.'s Jamalco alumina operations in Jamaica.

CEO Mike Tanchuk said Thursday Ormet was still working on alumina supplies and on rescheduling a restart of its sixth potline, but he had no firm details.

UC RUSAL Launches Social Investment Program in Nigeria

Financial Information Service(Registration), Russia 19.09.07

MOSCOW, September 19. /FIS/. UC Rusal is launching a long-term program of social investments aiming to develop local communities and infrastructure projects in the territory of Ikot Abasi of Aqua-Ibom state in Nigeria, where Alscon aluminum plant is located. UC Rusal purchased this plant in February 2007. Memorandum of understanding was signed today by representatives of UC Rusal Alscon, the government of Aqua-Ibom state and the groups of local communities.

New Alcoa power plant moves ahead

Business Gazette, MD - 20-Sep-2007

Electricity from Charles County generator would reopen Adamstown smelter

by Alan Brody | Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS – Officials from Alcoa’s shuttered Eastalco aluminum smelter in Adamstown are inching closer to deciding whether to build a 950-megawatt, coal-fired power plant on leased property at Naval Support Facility Indian Head.

Company engineers are scheduled to tour the naval base the first week of October, which will be the basis of a feasibility study that determines whether the company moves forward.

Alcoa representatives were buoyed about the project’s prospects following a February tour of the installation, but engineers have yet to study whether building a generating station there is viable.

There is no timetable to complete the feasibility study and to decide whether to submit a proposal, said Earl H. Robbins Jr., Alcoa’s government affairs manager.

‘‘It’s something we’re trying to move on as fast as we can," he said. ‘‘... We’ve got a lot of people ... who are anxious to move on this if it’s feasible."

Engineers will examine accessibility and how materials would be transported to the site, Robbins said. One delivery method that Robbins said has been ruled out is the existing but defunct rail line that leads to the base. The county announced plans last week to turn the tracks into a hiker-biker trail after Alcoa said it wouldn’t need the line.

The Pittsburgh company has eyed the undeveloped site at the southeastern corner of the base for months to construct a facility that would supply electricity to its Adamstown smelter, which closed in December 2005 after the company failed to secure what it considered to be an affordable contract for electricity. About 600 jobs were lost.

The approximately $1 billion plant could bring up to 200 permanent jobs, along with a stable energy supply and additional corporate tax revenues to Charles County. Officials said it could also trigger economic investment on the western side of the county and shield the Indian Head base from future military downsizing.

The Navy is providing whatever information Alcoa requests, but is not engaged in project planning, said Gary Wagner, public affairs officer for Naval Support Activity South Potomac, which manages the Indian Head and Dahlgren installations. Base officials accompanied Alcoa representatives on a follow-up visit in July, he said.

‘‘We’re in a response mode," he said. ‘‘We’re willing to look at the idea, but that’s really where it stands."

If Alcoa decides to submit a proposal, the plant wouldn’t be operational for at least six years. Of the 950 megawatts generated, 350 would be dedicated to power the Eastalco plant, with the rest put on the market. That extra energy source could help relieve congestion on the power grid and reduce electricity rates for Southern Marylanders.

Plans to build a 600-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant in St. Charles will not affect Alcoa’s decision to build, Robbins said. Competitive Power Ventures of Silver Spring announced in July that it would build the $400 million plant on a 77-acre industrial tract that was formerly slated for the abandoned Kelson Ridge power plant project.

‘‘There may be some things that we can do together to support one another, but it will not affect what we’re trying to do," he said. ‘‘Theirs is natural gas, which is something we can’t afford."

Construction on the natural gas plant is scheduled to begin in 2009, with completion set for 2011.

Ghana: Chinese Experts Stranded

AllAfrica.com, Washington - 21 September 2007

Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)

About 11 Chinese energy experts, mainly engineers, who are in the country to continue work on the 84.0-acre land released to the Sunon Asogli Power Ghana Limited by the Kpone Traditional Council (KTC) for the production of electric energy are stranded. The land has been hijacked by the Volta Aluminum Company Limited (VALCO).

Twenty of the energy experts who were already in the country before VALCO started erecting a concrete fence wall around the parcel of land thereby debarring them from having access to the land to continue their work on the over U.S.$ 550 million project have returned to China. The amount of money involved is not a government guaranteed loan but a true foreign direct investment

Sources close to the stranded Chinese energy experts told The Chronicle that the experts were presently putting up in hotels in Tema and Accra and were disappointed with what was going on. They are practically unable to understand why a major project as this could suffer such a hitch.

According to our source, the experts do not believe the country actually needs the energy, perhaps we are just talking otherwise this would not be happening.

Our source said they also disclosed that they were motivated to come and establish the power plant in the country as a result of the acute energy problem that has confronted the country in recent times.

The source said before they decided to come to Ghana, they had received all the assurances of government's support for the project. They said they were aware of land problems in the country and therefore when they arrived they had thorough discussions on several occasions with the Kpone Traditional Council and each time, they were reassured that the land was a problem free one.

The experts said the Chinese government had wanted them to set up the power plant in their own country but being convinced by the assurances they had received from top political figures in Ghana, they decided to come down and establish here.

We learnt that the Chinese experts were moving up and down the country in frustration trying to attract the sympathy of powers that be, to help release that portion of land in which over U.S.$50 million had already been sunk in the preparation of the project.

Geological surveys and other activities including the digging of holes for the installation of project equipment as well as the final design of the plant, based on the results of the various studies conducted hane been completed over the last three months. Therefore, the possibility of the project managers abandoning the site to look for a fresh piece of land and starting the process all over again would mean a huge financial loss and time to them.

The project which was expected to come in two phases with phase one establishing a combined cycle power plant capable of generating 200MW of power by February next year and the phase two, expanding the generating capacity of the plant by 360MW within the next twelve months from the date of completion of phase one, have all grounded to a halt.

A detailed design of the entire project has already been completed, while the dismantling and the rehabilitating of the gas turbine generators for the smooth take-off of the project is nearing completion.

A contractual agreement, which has already been signed with a civil engineering company to start the civil works and which was expected to complete by the end of this month has been thrown overboard by the refusal of VALCO to allow them access to the land.

We also learnt that the manufacture of boilers, main transformers and the GIS switchboard were almost complete in faraway China while the equipment for the first phase of the project were sitting in a warehouse in China ready to be shipped into the country in November and December this year, well in time for the completion of the project and for its take-off in February next year.

The arrival of the Chinese experts in the country would be a benefit to the nation because as The Chronicle learnt, plans were already afoot for the experts to help the Volta River Authority (VRA) to set up some facilities including surveying and building of transmission lines for VRA, after the Kpone project, but from the look of things, this would slip through our fingers.

Meanwhile, the man who managed to woo the Chinese into the country to invest in the multi-million dollar project, Togbe Afede XIV, President of the Asogli State council has expressed frustration over the stance of the Executive Chairman of the smelter company, Dr. Charles Mensah.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Togbe Afede XIV, he confirmed his frustration over the turn of events in the whole transaction and expressed shock on how this kind of attitude could help the country reach the middle income status by 2015 as envisaged by the government.

He pointed out that knowing how important the project meant to Ghanaians, he had thrown over À1 billion into it as travelling expenses and in the provision of accommodation for the Chinese experts.

The Chief expressed astonishment over how an individual could take the whole country to ransom by preventing a project of this size and magnitude, which apart from bringing relief to the country in terms of the supply of energy could also create employment for people in the area and beyond, from being carried out.

Togbe Afede pointed out that such attitude stifles investment and is likely to discourage local people from bringing down investors to sink their capital in the country's investment drive, especially at this time in the history of the country where a sitting President is touring the whole world trying to get investors to come and invest in the country.

Ghanaians across the length and breadth of the country have expressed disappointment in the way the whole issue has played out, especially in a period when the country very much needs energy to keep its quest for development on course.

Port of Tacoma has actually made money dismantling the former Kaiser Aluminum facility

TheNewsTribune.com (subscription), WA - 21-Sep-2007

Other items from last night's commission meeting to note:

The commission approved a whopping $4 million, four-year contract to Auburn-based Parametrix to survey the Blair Peninsula for future development.

The port plans on a building a container terminal on the east side of the Blair Waterway for NYK Line. That project requires additional road and rail infrastructure and moving an existing terminal.

Parametrix will be on-call for the survey work.

Also Bill Evans, the port's environmental project manager for Kaiser site demolition, asked for and received a change order on some of the Kaiser work.

More interesting, however, is the fact that the Port of Tacoma has actually made money dismantling the former Kaiser Aluminum facility due to the high price of recycled metals.

The port estimated the work would cost about $7 million. It's made $650,000, according to Evans.

The project has yielded the recovery and sale of 3,000 tons of aluminum, 700 tons of copper, 25 tons of lead and 11,000 tons of steel.

Supersonic spray opens doors

Windsor Star, Canada Friday, September 21, 2007

Russian innovation brings diversity to Centerline offshoot

Dave Hall, Windsor Star

Armed with Russian technology, a Windsor company is making inroads into the manufacture, repair and restoration of military vehicles, spacecraft, refrigerator doors, lighting systems and classic automobiles.

Established in 2003, Supersonic Spray Technologies, which is a division of Centerline Ltd., is using technology which propels fine metal particles such as copper, aluminum or zinc at a metal surface. The process coats, repairs or restores the metal finish.

Cold-spray technology fires the particles at more than 1,770 km/h, which causes them to mechanically bond to a surface which can then be machined, drilled or tapped with no drying time required.

CUTTING EDGE FOR SURE: Alex Cameron, project manager at Centerline division Supersonic Spray Technologies, uses a unique high-speed spraying technology based on Russian engineering.

Michael Beneteau, CEO of Centerline, said the company is finding more applications for the technology every day -- including the repair of moulds, dies, cylinder heads, driveline components and metal castings.

"This has the potential to be huge in non-automotive areas which have traditionally been our company's main emphasis over the years," said Beneteau, whose father Don established the company with Fred Wigle 50 years ago.

"We can no longer survive on our traditional business and this new technology is critical," said Beneteau. "That's why we committed to it and made a sizeable investment four years ago.

"We are now getting some traction and getting known throughout a number of industries for having this expertise."

Paul Kovosi, senior account manager for the company's SST division, said the technology was introduced to Centerline by Roman Maev, a University of Windsor physics professor whose Tessonics ultrasonic welding company shares space at SST's west-side factory.

Kovosi said Maev helped put Centerline together with the patent-holders in Russia. "They were looking for a company which could commercialize the technology and take it to market across North America," he said.

Last year, Centerline signed a 10-year exclusive licensing agreement for North America. It will provide equipment, training and raw materials to a variety of clients across the continent.

"We're taking this technology to market in as many different industries as possible, which is critical to the success of our company as we attempt to diversify our customer base," Kosovi said.

Beneteau said the U.S. military is using the technology to repair dents in the leading edge of aircraft wings and nicks in landing gear components and NASA is using it to repair blast shields on space shuttles.

It's also being used to repair antenna towers damaged by salt spray and to apply heat bars to the outer edges of refrigerator doors in grocery stores which allows them to be heated.

An agreement with Detroit Diesel uses the technology to repair and restore aluminum and cast-iron turbocharger housings and cylinder blocks.

A typical job takes two applications -- the first one of sand or grit to clean out debris and the second of metal particles to complete the repair.

"Our technology is faster and cheaper for any number of applications and that makes it extremely attractive," Beneteau said.

"In today's economy, companies such as ours have lost our financial competitive advantage, largely because of the strength of the dollar. We compete today through technology such as this which makes what we do cheaper and faster," said Beneteau, who runs the company with brothers David and Chris.

In addition to manufacturing the machinery, SST also operates a job shop at its Ambassador Drive plant for customers to bring in parts which need restoring, repairing or coating.

Once the shop is fully operational, manufacturing of the SST machinery will be moved back to Centerline's Morton Drive plant, which has 350 employees.

© The Windsor Star 2007

Could rail change everything?

Gulf News, United Arab Emirates - September 21, 2007, 23:15

By Jason J. Nash, Special to Gulf News

Saudi Arabia's plans to build a high-speed railway network from the east to the west of the country, as well as lines to cities in the interior, could change the economic picture of the Gulf in ways many have not considered.

The so-called landbridge will extend from Jeddah in the west across to the Dammam region, with spurs connecting other industrial and population centres across the kingdom. However, one particular spur off the landbridge may have a more interesting impact on heavy industries beyond Saudi Arabia.

The proposed link from the north-western region to Riyadh could open up mining possibilities for bauxite and phosphates. Bauxite production from the Al Zubaira mines connected to the proposed aluminium smelters at Ras Al Zawr, could complete the vertical linkage between raw materials and finished product long sought after by local aluminium producers.

The Al Zubaira region is estimated to contain some 90 million tonnes of reserves, and would provide 30 years of operations for the 720,000 tonne per year aluminium smelter on the books. The facility would be located in the yet to be constructed Minerals Industrial City at Ras Al Zawr, north of the hydrocarbon and petrochemical hub of Al Jubayl. Initial indicators show that marketable quantities of alumina would be available for sale in the first quarter of 2011.

Competitive advantage

The end-April agreement signed between aluminium giant Alcan and Saudi Arabia's Ma'aden sought to create a "mine to metals" operation that would put it at a competitive advantage over its aluminium producing regional rivals in Bahrain, Oman and the UAE.

In essence, by vertically streamlining operations, the new Alcan-Ma'aden operation would be better able to regulate its raw material inputs. Regional aluminium producers are at the mercy of variable market prices for core inputs such as bauxite. The only key input under their control is that of energy and - to an extent - a low-cost workforce. Forwards contracts for both the supply of raw materials and the sale of smelted alumina have in the past put some producers in the Gulf in a difficult position. The Saudis clearly want to avoid this predicament in the future.

This project helps to demonstrate Saudi Arabia's increasing desire to maximise its heavy industrial sector. It also is one of the first large-scale mineral projects to not directly involve the oil and gas sector. Mining has traditionally been the forgotten industry in the Gulf. Other states with strong minerals potential, such as Oman and Yemen, have so far not developed possibilities in mining.

While many still see the landbridge primarily from the aspect of shipping and freight forwarding, the impact it could have on the economic make-up of the GCC could be more far reaching. Should increased raw materials become cheaper for Saudi industrialists to access, whether through domestic production or imports, the level of industrialisation in other parts of the GCC not related to the oil and gas sector could come under serious competitive pressure.

- The writer is head of research, Oxford Business Group.

Airbus Spokesman Comes To Boeing's Defense Against 787 Accusations

Aero-News Network, FL - Sat, 22 Sep '07

European Rival Says Composites Are Safe... And It Would Know

Has anyone checked the temperature in Hell lately? (We speak, of course, of the town in Michigan -- Ed.) European planemaker Airbus came to the defense of its rival, Boeing, against accusations made regarding the safety of the American manufacturer's upcoming 787 Dreamliner.

The Leeham Company reports Clay McConnell, VP for corporate communications at Airbus North America, said this week Boeing is correct in saying a composite-bodied airliner is just as safe as an aluminum-bodied one, when it comes to absorbing crash forces.

As ANN reported, former Boeing engineer Vincent Weldon -- who was fired from the planemaker last year -- asserted this week composite materials aren't as resilient as aluminum in a crash scenario, and Boeing knows it. The composites engineer says the material can splinter into shards small enough for escaping passengers to breath in... and, that composite materials emit toxic smoke when burned.

Weldon made his case to the FAA in an 11-page letter. The engineer also appeared on Dan Rather's HDNet news stream this week, an interview picked up by a multitude of news outlets.

Boeing vehemently denied the accusations. McConnell also told Leeham those charges, essentially, are false... and Boeing has likely taken the appropriate measures to ensure safety. "Nobody has more experience working with composites than Airbus," McConnell said. "We know this stuff well.

"The properties of composite structures vary greatly according to their design purpose," he continued. "Any suggestion that 'composites behave in a certain way' doesn’t give the whole story. The orientation of the carbon fibers in the various layers in a composite structure is design-engineered to give the desired strength across various axes. The carbon fiber structure is going to vary according to the unique purpose for that structure and the certification requirement in each area of the airplane."

Airbus has a vested interest in the dispute. As McConnell said, Airbus has worked with composites for years... starting with the vertical stabilizer assemblies on its inaugural A300 and later A310 widebody airliners. Airbus also announced this week it plans to follow Boeing's lead into utilizing the new technology, and will assemble its upcoming A350 XWB using composite panels and framing.

The planemaker has learned some harsh lessons with the new technology -- including delamination issues, caused by moisture working its way into the composite sandwich structure -- but Airbus, like Boeing, says there are ways to prevent such problems.

McConnell also said if there are problems with the 787 -- or, for that matter, the A350 XWB -- the FAA and EASA will not certify the plane.

"Both US and European airworthiness authorities are charged with assuring all airplanes, regardless of the materials from which they are constructed, are going to meet or exceed regulations for crash- and fire-worthiness," he said. "We expect the certification process for aircraft for composite fuselages will assure that all concerns along those lines are addressed. That's what the certification process is for."

Alcoa Launch New Website for Designers

Azom.com September 23rd, 2007

Alcoa announced today that it has launched a new technology web with rich, detailed scientific information on aluminum and other light metal technology that will help design engineers develop new products.

The Web site, www.alcoa.com/innovation, taps Alcoa’s 121-year leadership in light metal technology and features a growing database of Alcoa’s patents and scientific research papers. For the first time, scientists, engineers and product development specialists will be able to search the Alcoa technology library for solutions in metal coating, casting forming, alloys, structure and design to develop new applications. For instance, an aerospace engineer could locate new breakthroughs in aluminum-lithium alloy technology to support a lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft design. A consumer electronics designer could discover new solutions in finish and color to add style to a new personal computer or cell phone product. Or an automotive engineer could find data on Alcoa innovations in fuel cell, crash management and sustainable automotive design.

The site also highlights Alcoa’s global innovation network of collaboration with universities and external partners. This network helps Alcoa deliver the solutions that customers demand faster, more efficiently and more in line with customer needs

Century Aluminum marks anniversary of processing facility

Daily Mail - Charleston, WV - Monday September 24, 2007

http://www.dailymail.com/story/Business/2007092433/Century-Aluminum-marks-anniversary-of-processing-facility/

George Hohmann, Daily Mail business editor

Wayne Hale, Century Aluminum’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, briefs state legislators, local leaders and representatives of the media on the benefits of aluminum. He said that 73 percent of all of the aluminum ever produced is still in use today.

Chris Viers, president of Local 5668-4 of the United Steelworkers of America, prepares to hammer protest signs into the ground near the entrance to Century’s Ravenswood plant. Viers smiled when asked what the sign with "biscuits" and an arrow means. "That takes some explaining," he said. Century offered workers free food — sometimes a breakfast including biscuits — if the workers participated in the company’s safety program and reported no accidents.RAVENSWOOD -- Century Aluminum marked the 50th anniversary of its smelter here with tours of the plant, monetary gifts to the communities of Ripley and Ravenswood, carnival rides, concerts and visits by several of the company's top executives.

Blue balloons festooned the main entrance to the plant and the entrance to the Century Employees Recreation Area off W.Va. 2 as hundreds of the plant's employees, their family members and retirees marked the occasion Saturday.

Wayne Hale, Century's executive vice president and chief operating officer, said at a briefing for state legislators, local leaders and representatives of the media that the plant's success is a testament to its employees' hard work. He said Century is "bound and determined" to see the plant remain successful and "I'm sure we can keep it so for another 50 years."

The Ravenswood plant has 660 employees. The average salary is $50,700. The plant has a $34 million annual payroll. It is the third-largest employer in Jackson County, after Alcan Rolled Products and the Board of Education.

Hale worked here from 1986 to 1989. "It's a place where I learned about people," he said. Hale most recently worked in Moscow, where he oversaw operations at 11 aluminum plants in Russia and Ukraine for Sual-Holding.

High energy costs have decimated the smelter industry in the United States, Hale said. In 1974, there were 34 smelters in the United States and they accounted for 34 percent of global aluminum production. Today there are only 13 smelters in the United States and they represent just 7 percent of global production, he said.

The Ravenswood plant is the oldest aluminum smelter operating in the United States. The plant has hundreds of steel pots -- electrolytic cells shaped like giant bathtubs. Anodes manufactured elsewhere in the plant are placed in the pots and the pots are filled with a bath of molten cryolite, which consists of sodium aluminum fluoride. When an electric current is

passed through the bath, it generates the heat to keep the bath molten and causes alumina -- the powdery white oxide of aluminum -- to separate into aluminum and oxygen. The aluminum is then siphoned off.

Hale said alumina accounts for 37 percent of the plant's costs, while electricity accounts for 26 percent, labor accounts for 16 percent, carbon accounts for 8 percent and other raw materials account for 12 percent.

Because aluminum is a worldwide commodity, Century can't control the price it receives for its product, Hale said. Therefore, the company focuses on costs in order to keep the plant competitive.

Although the price of aluminum is now high -- around $1.10 a pound -- the price is cyclical and the company has to plan for the long term, knowing that the price can drop, Hale said.

The plant is Appalachian Power Co.'s largest customer in West Virginia. Century has a unique contract with the utility that runs through July 2009. Hale said that when the price of aluminum is high, Century pays Appalachian Power more than the utility's posted tariff for industrial customers. But when the price of aluminum is low, Century pays the utility less than the posted tariff.

Ric Love, acting plant manager, said, "This contract changed this plant," because it gave the company an opportunity to plan for the long-term.

Hale said Century and Appalachian Power are already evaluating the existing contract and working on renewing it. He said the electricity rates here are among the most competitive in the United States.

Most of the aluminum produced at Ravenswood is used next door at Alcan Rolled Products' rolling mill. The businesses were established as one unit in 1957, but split into two in 1999. Hale said Century just signed a new contract to supply Alcan through 2009.

Century, like others in the aluminum smelter business, is expanding in locations where power costs are low. Century owns a giant smelter in Iceland powered with electricity generated using hydro and geothermal power. Century plans to have another in plant in operation in Iceland by 2013. Hale said it will be the only aluminum smelter in the world completely powered with electricity generated using geothermal power.

Even though so much is being invested in lower-cost locations, "I am confident this plant will continue to survive," Hale said. "New investment in Iceland does not mean we will not re-invest here."

Hale praised state and local political leaders. "In no other state where we operate do we get as much support as we get here," he said.

State Sen. Mike Hall, R-Putnam, and State Del. Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, who attended the briefing, offered their support to the company.

Love said Century has invested $32 million at Ravenswood since 1999, mostly on trying to find ways to more safely produce aluminum. He said the company is proud that the plant's recordable injury rate has been cut in half since 2002.

Century has spent $6.8 million on environmental projects at the plant since 2002, Love said. He said that since 1990, the company has been a member of a voluntary group that focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Century executives on hand for the anniversary celebration, in addition to Hale and Love, were Steve Schneider, senior vice president, chief accounting officer and controller; Bob Bodycombe, director of operations, accounting and analysis; David Kjos, vice president of Century's operations in Iceland; and Mike Dildine, director of corporate communications.

Local leaders on hand, in addition to Hall and Carmichael, were Sen. Karen Facemyer, R-Jackson, who also is president of the Polymer Alliance Zone; Ripley Mayor Carolyn Rader; Ravenswood Mayor Lucy Harbert; and Rolland Phillips, a senior manager in the West Virginia Development Office's Business and Industrial Development Division.

The Ravenswood plant's history includes a lot of labor strife. In August 2006, the United Steelworkers of America, which represents the plant's hourly workers, ratified a three-year contract after stormy negotiations. A strike was barely averted.

Several union members set up an informational picket near the plant entrance on Saturday.

Chris Viers, president of Local 5668-4, had signs protesting the company's sick days policy; the lack of a cost-of-living increase in the current contract; what he said was the company's lack of emphasis on safety; what he said was the company's attempt to put a preferred provider organization in the employee's health care plan; and the company's policy on shift work.

Elijah Morris, chairman of the union's Grievance Committee, said he was on hand as an individual to protest the company's treatment of co-worker Sonny Hinzman. Morris said Hinzman is 62 years old, has heart trouble, and Century cut off his sick pay.

Contact writer George Hohmann at business@dailymail.com or 348-4836.

Vinacomin to build aluminium plant

Viet Nam News, Vietnam - (24-09-2007)

BINH PHUOC — The Vinacomin Group will invest US$1.6 billion in an aluminium plant in the central province of Binh Phuoc.

The facility will use regional bauxite and limestone reserves as raw materials, producing alumina for export.

Binh Phuoc Province’s limestone reserves currently sit at 380 million tonnes in Ta Thiet and some 87 million tonnes in Loc Ninh district’s Thanh Luong area. The province also has an additional bauxite mine with estimated reserves of 350 million tonnes.

Vinacomin also plans to build a railway route connecting raw material areas in the neighbouring provinces of Dak Nong and Binh Thuan to the new plant.

Garmco plans Oman unit

Gulf Daily News, Bahrain - 26th September 2007

MANAMA: Garmco yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to conduct a feasibility study for setting up a state-of-the-art Gulf Aluminum Rolling Mill Company in Oman.

The 160,000-tonne project is to be set up in Sahar in two phases.

It aims to feed regional, Middle Eastern, European, the American and the Australian markets with aluminum products. The project is expected to provide 450 jobs, which would later be augmented with the second development phase of the synthetic industries.

The Oman Oil Company and Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority are Garmco's partners in the project. A team of executive directors representing all partners was formed to conduct the feasibility study.

RUSAL announces investment in alumina operations

RosBusinessConsulting, Russia - 25.09.2007,

United Company RUSAL plans to invest $5bn in development of its Alumina Division by 2013, the head of the division, Pavel Ovchinnikov, announced. With this, the company's alumina output is expected to increase from 11.3m tonnes to 13.25 tonnes per year.

According to Ovchinnikov, the company is moving towards self-supply for alumina refineries. As of today, UC RUSAL is able to supply 70 percent of its own raw materials. He also noted that three of the Russian aluminum giant's refineries are partially self-supplied.

CVRD eyes US$6bn investment in Antioquia - Colombia

Business News Americas, Chile - Tuesday, September 25, 2007 12:04 (GMT -0400)

Brazilian mining group CVRD (NYSE: RIO) has expressed interest in investing US$6bn in Colombia's Antioquia department, local newspaper El Colombiano quoted transport minister Andrés Uriel Gallego as saying.

CVRD officials have visited the department on five different occasions and are interested in building an aluminum plant, a port terminal and a hydroelectric plant, he said.

The port investment includes the construction of a container-handling terminal in Urabá, on the Atlantic coast, which would manage the area's exports, boosting Colombian trade, an official from Colombia's transport ministry told BNamericas.

Authorities have long spoken of a need to build a port terminal in Urabá and, according to previous studies, it could cost about US$450mn, although the amount today is likely to be bigger, the official said.

The port's development would also involve the construction of a highway to transport products from the rest of the region to the coast, Gallego was quoted as saying, adding that this would include improving the Río Cauca corridor, connecting town La Manuela to Santa Fe de Antioquia.

Antioquia department is currently working on upgrading its transport infrastructure to meet current and future demand with the local export market, as well as to contribute to local trade, an Antioquia government official said.

Gallego has met with investors over the last year in an effort to attract investment in Colombia, where he is heading a large infrastructure development plan that includes expanding the country's road and highway network and building and improving airports and port terminals.

All investment in Colombian ports is made by private companies through concessions. Currently there are 204 ports and docks concessioned in the country, said the minister.

RusAl to Invest in Bauxite

The Moscow Times, Russia 26 Sep 2007

United Company RusAl, the world's biggest aluminum producer, will spend $5 billion in the next five years to upgrade its bauxite operations, which already hold enough reserves for a half-century, Pavel Ovchinnikov, director of the company's alumina division, said Tuesday.

The metals maker will spend the cash on refining equipment that will boost alumina output by 55 percent to 17.5 million tons a year, Ovchinnikov said. (Bloomberg)

A half century of wealth creation

Daily Mail - Charleston, WV -26 Sep 2007

In 1957, one of America's most diverse industrialists, Henry J. Kaiser, opened an aluminum plant in Ravenswood, W.Va., of all places. Good labor and cheap energy made the plant viable.

The plant was split in two in 1999. Now part of Century Aluminum, the smelter side of the plant marked its 50th anniversary this month. The other side, the Alcan Rolled Products' mill, is its largest customer.

The two are the No. 1 and No. 3 employers in Jackson County, and the wages are good.

Century is the largest customer of Appalachian Power in West Virginia. The two have a good relationship in which the electric rates are based on the price

of aluminum. When the price falls, so do the rates charged by the power company.

The twin plants have survived major changes in the industry and in their ownership over the years.

For example, in 1974, the U.S. produced 34 percent of the world's aluminum. Today, the figure is down to 7 percent. Where once the nation had 34 smelters, today it has 13.

The Ravenswood plant is now the oldest aluminum smelter in the United States. Century's other smelter is in Iceland, where it is powered by hydro and geothermal power. Century hopes to open a second plant in Iceland by 2013.

But officials point out that Century is still investing in the Ravenswood plant. It has put $32 million in the plant since acquiring it in 1999. Safety is a top concern, and the company has cut its injury rate in half over the past five years.

In its first 50 years, the Ravenswood plant has been a blessing for Jackson County and the state.

It is a valuable asset that has continuously adapted to new challenges. Here is wishing it another powerful 50 years -- at least.

VALCO Parries Land Acquisition Attempts

Modern Ghana, Ghana 26 Sep 2007

Armed with relevant documents in respect of its ownership of an over 570 acre land at Tema, the Valco Aluminium Company, VALCO appears poised to secure its property which is being sought by ASOGLI Power, a power generating entity.

The Tema land, acquired in 1962 to support the late President Kwame Nkrumah’s industrialization dream for the country, available documents at VALCO indicate, is about to witness a mammoth alumina refinery project.

VALCO has these past few weeks battled the manouvres of ASOGLI Power, which seeks the land to, as they put it, establish a 500-megawatt power generating facility.

The Business Development Manager of VALCO, Mr. Paul Nana Asmah expressed worry, while speaking to DAILY GUIDE, that such a move to acquire land belonging to an entity like theirs should be made at all.

"We have waited for 35 years for the alumina refinery project to take off and just as the dream is about to be realized, such spanners would be thrown into the works," he said.

Describing the manouvres by ASOGLI Power to take over VALCO’s land as arbitrary, he contended that "Togbe Afede XIV, the Agbobomefia of the Asogli State wants our land confiscated.

This would be the rule of man and not law in the unlikelihood possibility of the chief achieving his dream," he noted.

VALCO’s facility, Mr Asmah indicated, would be generating 1,000 megawatts of power as opposed to ASOGLI’s 500 and the smelter itself when completed would offer employment to thousands of Ghanaians.

Information reaching DAILY GUIDE indicates that the Togbe has already expended copious energy at the corridors of power with a view to getting government to support him to acquire the land, but to no avail, as the rule of law drowns arbitrariness.

One of the documents giving VALCO the edge over ASOGLI and spotted by DAILY GUIDE is an indenture titled "The Smelter Site Lease" whose preamble reads:

"This Indenture made as of the 8th day of February one thousand nine hundred and sixty-two between The President of the Republic of Ghana (hereinafter called "the Government" which expression shall ...and Volta Aluminium Company Limited a Company incorporated in Ghana...

The government has agreed with the lease in consideration of the rent covenants and conditions hereinafter appearing to demise the said premises for the purposes of the Smelter."

The smelter, which is only one-and-half years ago from fruition, would cost $2 billion in investment and would use bauxite from Kyebi in the Eastern Region.

The Togbe is reported to have said that his company has already pumped millions of dollars in the project and described VALCO’S position as not helpful to ensuring more power for the country.

The Chief added that VALCO has been unable to provide documents to the Kpone Traditional Council to prove its ownership of the land.

Alcan named as a global leader in carbon disclosure

CNNMoney.com September 28, 2007: 04:46 PM EST

COMPANY LISTED ON PROMINENT CLIMATE CHANGE LEADERSHIP INDEX

MONTREAL, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Alcan Inc. announced today that it has been selected to the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index in recognition of its transparency and its work in addressing global climate change. Comprised of 68 Financial Times 500 companies, the Index is part of a Carbon Disclosure Project report that outlines the key features that make climate change a critical shareholder value issue for both investors and global corporations.

"Alcan recognizes that climate change is an issue that has an impact on the long-term sustainability of our business," said Dick Evans, President and CEO, Alcan Inc. "Being listed on the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index recognizes Alcan's ongoing commitment to addressing the issue of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) through leading-edge technology and clean, renewable energy solutions," he added.

The principal vehicle for Alcan's commitment to addressing climate change is the Company's GHG emissions reduction program, TARGET, which was implemented in 2001 and is a key component of its Environment, Health and Safety (EHS FIRST) management system. Alcan began to systematically monitor and measure its air emissions in 1990, and has since then significantly reduced its specific perfluorocarbon (PFCs - a greenhouse gas) emissions by 80 percent. Alcan has also committed to an additional 10% reduction in the intensity of direct greenhouse gas emissions by 2010.

Alcan has also proactively addressed the challenges of climate change in the public discourse by participating in organizations like the United States Climate Action Partnership and by recently signing the UN Global Compact's "Caring for Climate: The Business Leadership Platform" statement.

The Carbon Disclosure Project, a coalition of global investors with more than US$41 trillion in assets, now has 315 signatories and is working to encourage the development of strategies to reduce GHGs.

Alcan Inc. is a leading global materials company, delivering high quality products and services worldwide. With world-class technology and operations in bauxite mining, alumina processing, primary metal smelting, power generation, aluminum fabrication, engineered solutions as well as flexible and specialty packaging, today's Alcan is well positioned to meet and exceed its customers' needs. Alcan is represented by 68,000 employees, including its joint-ventures, in 61 countries and regions, and posted revenues of US$23.6 billion in 2006. The Company has featured on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes consecutively since 2002. For more information, please visit: www.alcan.com.