AluNews - November 2009

Bauxite Company of Guyana closes
radiojamaica.com - 30-Nov-2009
Operations at the Bauxite Company of Guyana have been halted indefinitely, following a week-long strike by workers.
The union representing the workers, the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union, was demanding a 10% wage increase.
But talks between the parties have been unsuccessful.
The company, which is a subsidiary of the Russian aluminum giant UC RUSAL, had threatened to shut down if the strike continued.
United Rusal attorney Andrew Pollard says the bauxite company's Guyana operation was losing US$100,000 in direct losses each day.
Already a bauxite ship heading to Guyana last week diverted to neighbouring Brazil to buy bauxite from another company on the open market.
The Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union says it has been informed that the company has closed operations.
The company deems the strike illegal pointing out that the collective labour agreement between the management and the union prohibits strikes, lock-outs and other forms of industrial action.
Last week, the company fired 56 workers because of "insubordination, refusal to obey instructions and misconduct".

Rio Tinto sells Alcan Composites to Swiss company for $381m
The Australian - Sarah-Jane Tasker - 30-Nov-2009
RIO Tinto, which is divesting divisions of Alcan, has sold Alcan Composites to Swiss-based machinery maker Schweiter Technologies for $US349 million ($381m).
The mining major has been selling assets to address the debt burden it was saddled with after the ill-timed $US37 billion acquisition of aluminium maker Alcan in 2007.
The global miner said today that since February 2008, it has announced asset sales of $US8.3bn.
During 2008, Rio Tinto completed divestments totalling $US3.1bn. During 2009, Rio Tinto has agreed asset sales of $US5.2bn.
In addition, Rio Tinto received a binding offer from Amcor in August 2009 for $US2bn for Alcan Packaging and its pharmaceuticals, tobacco and European and Asian food divisions.
Separately, the miner said the proposed sale of 56 per cent of the Alcan Engineered Products Cable division for an undisclosed sum to Platinum Equity, announced on September 14, would not be completed as the sale had been terminated

Aluminium fears emissions trading delays
Australian Mining - Paul Hayes - 30-Nov-2009
The industry that is expected to be one of the most affected by the introduction of an emissions trading scheme, the aluminium industry, believes the deal negotiated between the Federal Government and the Opposition is the best the plan is going to get.
“This ETS deal addresses a lot of our concerns,” Australian Aluminium Council executive director Miles Prosser told the ABC yesterday.
Prosser said that more delays and possible alternate plans are becoming an increasing concern.
“We would rather see it go through because we can’t see the circumstances emerging that would deliver a better outcome,” he said.
The Australian Business Council has also given support to the latest version of the proposed scheme, saying last week it would help Australian businesses plan for and make decisions about investments for a low-emissions economy.
Despite such key support, the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) still faces major opposition from key parts of the mining industry, particularly coal.
The Minerals Council of Australia, The NSW Minerals Council and The Queensland Resources Council have all very loudly voiced their concerns about the CPRS.
Each has said that the coal industry will be fundamentally damaged without further concessions if the CPRS goes ahead in its current form, losing both revenue and jobs. They have called the scheme little more than a new tax on coal that will have little to no environmental impact.
Recent amendments to the CPRS saw the coal industry’s compensation double to $1.5 billion over five years.

Alcoa aluminium output in Sardinia normal-sources
Reuters - 30-Nov-2009
MILAN, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Aluminium production at Alcoa Inc's (AA.N) Portovesme plant in Sardinia is continuing at normal rates despite worker protests, union sources said on Monday.
Normal annual production at the plant is 159,000 tonnes of aluminium, they added.
The workforce, which is protesting against the possible closure of the Portovesme plant, is working regularly at the factory even if, since last Tuesday, the aluminium produced there is blocked inside the factory, they said.
In November Alcoa said it would temporarily idle operations at its smelters in Italy after the European Commission ordered it to pay back most of the state aid it had received in Italy since 2006.
An agreement was signed on Nov 26 between Alcoa and the Italian Industry ministry under which the government would try to find ways to lower the cost of energy for Alcoa.
The government will meet again with Alcoa and unions on Dec. 9 to check on progress of the accord.
Alcoa has set a deadline of Dec. 21 to know how much power will cost it in 2010. On the basis of that it will take a decision on whether to stay in Italy. (Reporting by Egidiangela Sechi; editing by James Jukwey) ((stephen.jewkes@thomsonreuters.com; +39 02 6612 9695; Reuters Messaging: stephen.jewkes@reuters.com@reuters.net)

Guinea Alumina Slowed by Credit Crisis, Investor Says
Bloomberg - Zijing Wu - 30-Nov-2009
Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Development of the $5 billion Guinea Alumina joint venture has slowed because of the credit crisis, said Global Alumina Corp., one of its investors.
“The financial crisis definitely has an impact on our project,” Karim Karjian, chairman of Global Alumina, the Toronto-based owner of 33 percent of the venture, said in a Nov. 27 interview. “It slowed down the pace.”
The “current thinking” on starting production at the project, whose other investors include BHP Billiton Ltd., Dubai Aluminium Co. and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co., is the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015, Karjian said in London. Output won’t commence in mid-2012 as previously scheduled, he said.
Potential investors in Guinea Alumina are concerned about the political situation in the West African country, Karjian said. Security Forces in September opened fire on demonstrators protesting against military leader Moussa Camara, who took power in a coup in December. At least 130 people were killed, according to the United Nations. Guinea has one-third of global reserves of bauxite, an ore used in aluminum production.
“The government’s political standing with the international community is the major concern,” Karjian said. “Many of our lenders are government-related.”
Global Alumina’s refinery is slated to produce 3.3 million metric tons a year of alumina, the raw material used to make aluminum. Capacity is planned to rise to 6 million tons later, Karjian said. The project has one approved loan so far, from the African Development Bank for $300 million, he said.
Arms Ban
“Our approved loan will only be in place when other creditors all agree to lend,” said Hussein Yusuf Iman, chief investment officer at African Development Bank, in an interview in London Nov. 27. “They still worry about the political instability.”
The European Union and the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States banned arms sales to Guinea last month to protest the deaths.
Sovereign-related creditors involved in the Guinea Alumina project include some from the Europe, Middle East, China and Japan, Iman said. “They may only make up their mind when the situation stabilizes after next year’s election,” he said.
Guinea’s Camara seized power on Dec. 23, a day after the death of former President Lansana Conte, who had ruled for two decades. He suspended the constitution, pledging to relinquish control to a civilian government and not to run in national elections. Camara later said he may be a candidate in the vote scheduled for next year, sparking demonstrations.
Support Unchanged
“We’ve had seven mining ministers, two presidents and five prime ministers in Guinea during the nine years since our project started,” Karjian said. “Their support for us has never changed.”
Global Alumina has signed agreements to sell most of its alumina output, based on a discount to London Metal Exchange aluminum prices, Karjian said.
“Up to now, 30 percent of the engineering has been completed, with $700 million invested by shareholders,” he said. Construction of the plant is expected to start in “early 2011,” he said.
BHP, the world’s largest mining company, owns 33 percent of Global Alumina, Dubai Aluminium has 25 percent and Mubadala 8 percent. BHP spokesman in London Ruban Yogarajah declined to comment.
To contact the reporter on this story: Zijing Wu in London zwu17@bloomberg.net

VHE Hall Effect Cathode Current Meters becoming Popular with Aluminium Smelters
Azom.com - 29-Nov-2009
Continuing the trend seen in recent years, more and more smelters are recognising the benefits of using the VHE Hall Effect Cathode Current Meter. Recent orders include Hormozal - Iran, Dubai Aluminium - UAE and Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio - Brazil.
The VHE Cathode Current Meter is a specialised portable ammeter and makes use of the Hall Effect. The instrument is lightweight and easy to operate. The conductor current is instantaneously displayed on the integral backlit screen.
The U-shaped sensor head does not need to go fully around the conductor, making it both easier and quicker to take multiple measurements. A screen icon indicates low power remaining in the standard 9V alkaline dry cell. An over-temperature warning protects against excessively heat.
Every Cathode Current Meter is customised to specific customer requirements - the lance length and angle is configured for easy access, the probe is dimensioned to suit the conductor, and the meter is scaled for the pot current.
VHE also manufactures an Anode Current Meter designed to measure the current flowing in the anode rods using the volt drop principle. The lightweight instrument instantaneously displays the cathode current on the integral meter.
To contact the reporter on this story: Zijing Wu in London zwu17@bloomberg.net

FIRB approves Bauxite Chinese investment
Trading Markets (press release) - Nov 29, 2009
MELBOURNE, Nov 29, 2009 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- BXRDF | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- Bauxite Resources Ltd. (BAU.AU) said Monday Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board has approved a deal that will see China's Yankuang Corp. subscribe for 19.7 million shares at 50 Australian cents a share.
Bauxite Resources shareholders have already approved the deal, which will see the two companies form a joint venture to carry out exploration in Western Australia and launch a study into the possible development of an alumina refinery.
The Perth-based company currently has 212.9 million share on issue and is trading at 88 cents a share.
-By Alex Wilson, Dow Jones Newswires; 61-3-9292-2094; alex.wilson@dowjones.com

Vulture fund circles over aluminium producer
Zawya - Martin Arnold - 29-Nov-2009
Vulture fund circles over alumina producer
By Martin Arnold in London
Published: November 29 2009 22:09 | Last updated: November 29 2009 22:09
Dubai International Capital faces a tough battle to keep control of Almatis, the world’s biggest alumina producer, as Oaktree Capital, the US vulture fund, prepares to table a proposal to acquire the company by restructuring its $1bn debts.
The move is a blow for DIC, the international investment vehicle controlled by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum. It also comes as Dubai faces questions about its strategy as a result of the emirate’s debt crisis.
Oaktree, one of the world’s biggest distressed-debt investors, is this week expected to present a proposal to Almatis and its creditors that would write off much of its debt and hand control of the German alumina producer to the US vulture fund.
DIC’s $1.2bn (€801m, $727m) buy-out of Almatis in November 2007 was one of the biggest investments by its London-based private equity team. However, the alumina company has been hit hard by the global downturn and defaulted on its debt earlier this year.
The battle brewing between DIC and Oaktree comes after they initially teamed up to restructure Almatis’s debt, but later went their separate ways.
DIC recently joined forces with holders of $600m of junior debt to put forward a joint restructuring plan. This would mean DIC injecting $50m to keep 60 per cent of Almatis, while the junior debt would be swapped for a 40 per cent stake.
However, the plan, which would be implemented through a Chapter 11 process in the US, is being opposed by Oaktree, which says it has bought more than a third of Almatis’s $680m senior debts, enough to block any plan.
Oaktree is expected to argue that DIC’s proposal would leave Almatis over-indebted, as it would not write off any of the senior debt, and this would be rejected by a US bankruptcy court. Oaktree and DIC declined to comment.
Oaktree has become a potent force in Europe’s distressed debt investing in the credit crunch by wresting control of Countrywide, the UK estate agency, from Apollo, and taking over Bavaria Yachtbau, the German yacht maker, from Bain Capital.
One ray of hope for DIC is that Almatis has been recovering in recent weeks. Its managers have raised their forecast for full-year earnings from €15m to €80m. Talbot Hughes McKillop is advising Almatis on its forecasts and its capital structure.
Dubai Holding, the parent company of DIC, suffered a blow this month when its credit rating was downgraded by Moody’s from A3 to Baa1, two notches above junk level. Yet people familiar with DIC said Dubai Holding had ring-fenced enough money to ensure it could see its troubled portfolio through the downturn.
DIC has put more money into many of its buy-out deals to gain more breathing room on their debt. It has injected £35m into Travelodge, the UK hotels operator; £53m into Doncasters, the UK aerospace group; €25m into Mauser, the German packaging company; and £50m into Allied Medical, the UK medical diagnostics group.
The Dubai-owned fund also owns 18 per cent of Merlin Entertainments, the theme park operator behind the London Eye, Madame Tussauds and Legoland, which it could sell in a £2bn initial public offering next year

Chinalco Liancheng aluminum smelter to get power deal
SteelGuru - 29-Nov-2009
Reuters reported that Lanzhou Liancheng Aluminium controlled by Aluminum Corporation of China is about to get a deal to buy electricity directly from a power producer.
Mr He Xiaowen planning director at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said that if approved by the National Development and Reform Commission, Liancheng will be the second aluminum smelter under a central government scheme to allow 15 aluminum smelters to buy power directly from plants. The scheme, monitored by MIIT and launched in the H1 of 2009 is expected to cut aluminum smelters' power costs. But so far the NDRC has only approved Fushun Aluminum.
Mr He told Reuters on the sidelines of an aluminum conference in Kunming in Yunnan province that the power fee to Fushun was expected to fall below CNY 0.40 per KWH and the Fushun case was giving a model to other smelters. He said that Aluminium smelters in China use about 14,000 KWH for the production of one tonne of primary aluminum and the power fees take up around 42% of smelters' production costs. The scheme needed to clarify the relations among grids, power producers and smelters.
(Sourced from Reuters)

Manning: Smelter is safe
Trinidad News - Clint Chan - 28-Nov-2009
AS COMMONWEALTH leaders reached a historic climate change agreement in Port-of-Spain yesterday, Prime Minister Patrick Manning was once again forced to defend his Government’s industrialisation policies and specifically construction of the controversial Alutrint aluminium complex in La Brea.
Addressing a news conference at the International Financial Centre (IFC) in Port-of-Spain to announce the details of the, “Port-of-Spain Climate Change Consensus: The Commonwealth Climate Change Declaration,” Manning said: “I have always made it clear that in Trinidad and Tobago (TT), the Government subscribes to sustainable development.” Explaining there were certain types of industries which should not be in the industrial mix in any country, the Prime Minister said Government held a number of public consultations about its plans to build an aluminium smelter.
“What has emerged is that it is clear it is possible and it is being done right now where aluminium smelters are operating in a manner which poses no threat to the health of any plant, animal or human life in the country in which they operate,” he declared. Manning added, “There are some people who do not want to hear it but those are the facts of the matter.”
Interestingly on November 19, activist Wayne Kublalsingh staged a sit down protest inside the IFC after he failed to get a satisfactory response from Energy Minister Conrad Enill about the profitability of the smelter. Enill said the Government would respond to Kublalsingh’s concerns once it receives the request through the proper channels.
Manning further stated, “In TT, we have placed emission standards on the smelter that are higher than the standards in the rest of the world. We are on the right side of the law as it were in this particular issue.” The Prime Minister added that “if Almighty God in his wisdom has endowed us with resources of oil and gas,” it would be wrong if these resources were forsaken in the process of national development.
He said it has always been the Government’s policy to “develop and utilise these resources in a manner that minimises or eliminates any threat to the well-being of the citizens in TT and the rest of humanity.”

UAE's 700000-Tonne Aluminium Plant May Start Early: Mubadala
Khaleej Times - Zijing Wu - 28-Nov-2009
DUBAI - Emirates Aluminium Co., the joint venture building the world’s biggest smelter, may start producing the lightweight metal earlier than next April as originally scheduled, investor Mubadala Development Co. said.
“There is opportunity to start production earlier,” Jeremy Nottingham, a senior adviser at Mubadala, said in an interview in London today. “It’s going extremely well and we definitely want it to start as soon as possible.”
Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi state-owned investment company, and Dubai Aluminium Co., the largest aluminum smelter in the Middle East, are partners in Emirates Aluminium, also known as Emal. The venture’s smelter in Abu Dhabi will have an initial capacity of 700,000 metric tonnes a year and will double in size with the completion of a second phase.
Gulf nations such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are seeking to expand into metals, petrochemicals and plastics production to diversify their economies and capitalise on natural-gas reserves, which provide cheaper electricity than in North America and Europe. Production costs will be among the lowest in the world, Nottingham said. Emal is in talks with Abu Dhabi about a 20-year contract for gas supplies, he said.

China may impose tax after imports surge
China Post - 27-Nov-2009
BEIJING -- China, the world's largest aluminum consumer, may impose a tax on the metal after imports surged and pressured domestic producers, the National Development and Reform Commission said.
The rising imports led to “lots of pressure” on the domestic market, Yu Dongming, a director at the industry coordination department of the country's top economic planner said at a conference in Kunming Friday.
The nation doesn't have an import tax on the metal currently.
Chinese purchases of aluminum were 13 times higher this year than in 2008 as traders and manufacturers bought the metal in anticipation of demand from the government's US$586 billion stimulus spending.
A Chinese tax may stall a 31 percent gain in London aluminum futures this year as inventories globally grow.

SMELTER SUPPORT
Trinidad & Tobago Express - 27-Nov-2009
French President Nicolas Sarkozy says the establishment of an aluminium smelter, such as that now under construction in Trinidad and Tobago, and other forms of industrial development are not in conflict with the goal of combating climate change.
In doing so, during the current Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM), Sarkozy became an ally of Prime Minister Patrick Manning, who has expressed his intention to continue his development plans for this country, inclusive of the Alutrint smelter.
Sarkozy’s apparent support has also come even as both men have been participating in talks on reducing the pollution-like activity that smelting causes, ahead of a crucial meeting on the climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark, that begins in just nine days.
He had specifically attended CHOGM to hold talks with Commonwealth leaders on the issue of climate change on the invitation of Manning.
’Copenhagen doesn’t mean the opposite of growth, it doesn’t mean capping growth, it doesn’t mean refusing access to growth for countries that so need it even though Trinidad and Tobago has important resources, a high standard of living but nobody should have to choose between growth and protecting the environment. Nobody,’ Sarkozy, speaking through an interpreter, said.
He made his position clear on the matter during a news conference at the Trinidad and Tobago International Financial Centre (TTIFC), which is serving as the media centre for the Commonwealth meeting.
During the CHOGM business forum earlier this week, bp group chief executive officer Anthony Hayward also said he does not ’think there is a conflict’ between establishing a smelter and combating climate change.
Yesterday, asked specifically if the development of a smelter in this country and other forms of industrial development go against the very idea of saving the environment, Sarkozy said, ’Of course not. The whole point of Copenhagen is that we are not asking countries to choose between growth, on the one hand, and protecting the environment on the other.’
In a large briefing room filled with journalists, photographers and cameramen from all over the world, the charismatic French president said any such rationale suggesting that the two are in conflict with each other ’is rationale that belongs to the 20th century’.
’What we are suggesting is via and thanks to financial aid and assistance to modernise and upgrade your industry, and through technological transfer to be able to subscribe to the principle of sustainable development,’ Sarkozy said.
He suggested that the real objective for all developing countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, should be to have ’carbon-free’ growth, and added that to achieve this ’we need figures, goals and means to help you and, of course, technological transfer’.
Sarkozy had announced that France had recommended what he called a ’fairness climate plan’ that would see the earmarking of 20 per cent of ’innovative financing’ from 2010 to 2012 to combat deforestation.
In addition, Sarkozy is calling for the establishment of a world environment organisation to monitor any agreement arrived at in Copenhagen.
Sarkozy also indicated that his trip to Trinidad and Tobago was fruitful, given discussions he held with India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the climate change issue over lunch in Port of Spain yesterday. He called the outcome of their talks ’very positive’, since a commitment was made that will ensure India will attend the Copenhagen meeting.

Russian bauxite company in Guyana threatens to close if industrial actions ...
Caribbean Net News - 27-Nov-2009
GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Management of the Russian Aluminum (RUSAL) Aroaima Bauxite Company in Guyana has threatened to close down its operations if an industrial action by several hundred of its workers continues. The problem is over pay increases for 2009.
RUSAL officials in Georgetown said on Thursday that the industrial action is crippling the already “financially-strapped” company which has closed down its operation in Jamaica due to economic constraints posed by the global financial crisis and the drop in the global demand for bauxite.
The workers took this action after the company proposed a 10% wages and salaries increase in exchange for a lay off of 70 employees during negotiations with their union, The Guyana Bauxite and General Workers’ Union (GBGWU) last week.
Meanwhile, the government has stepped into the ongoing saga between RUSAL and the workers and minister of Labour Manzoor Nadir told reporters on Thursday that the Chief Labour Officer met with the workers and the company officials to thrash out the matter.
Nadir has committed himself to support the Chief Labour Officer to ensure that the dispute is settled as the Bauxite company has indicated its interest to return to the bargaining table, but only after workers return to the job.
“The Chief Labour officer, has been very adamant that workers need to return to work before negotiations can continue, because we can’t negotiate under duress” Nadir said.
Nadir said he is concerned that if the company closes its operations here hundreds may be left with out a job.
“This will affect hundreds of workers not 75, hundreds and so the irresponsible behavior of the union can cause all workers to suffer.
Meanwhile, government spokesman and head of the Presidential Secretariat, Roger Luncheon at a media conference on Thursday said government has spoken to both sides and explained that mature decision making at the industrial relations level is needed and that job retention, particularly at this critical point in the world economy is important.
Luncheon said both the bauxite company and the workers union should continue negotiating for a solution that would be a benefit to both the company and the workers.

Aluminum imports could exceed exports by 2016, Abal says
Business News Americas - çClaudio Mendona - 27-Nov-2009
Brazilian
aluminum imports could exceed exports by 2016 if investments in power plants are not made, ... No Longer available free

Why China can't make bold carbon pledges: Rogue provinces
Daily Finance (blog) - 27-Nov-2009
During his recent visit to China, U.S. President Barack Obama pushed hard for a firm target for cutting carbon emissions from the Chinese government. He had hoped to secure a concrete, detailed proposal from the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases ahead of the pending Copenhagen Climate Summit in December. But China has delivered a watered-down guarantee that the Obama team publicly praised but privately trashed.
According to The New York Times, the Chinese proposed to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of economic output by 40% to 45% by 2020. That would slow the growth rate of carbon emissions for China, for sure. But due to the country's rapid economic growth rate, aggregate carbon emissions would continue to increase.
The Times argues that China has made such a conservative pledge in part because it was well on its way to achieving the state's goals. However, another factor may be at play. Namely, China is loath to make such a pledge because the central government has less control over the Chinese economy than the West may like to think.
The Obama team must negotiate with China's central government, of course, because it's the only sovereign Chinese entity. But the Chinese government itself has often struggled to control behavior of provincial and local officials and, by extension, the behavior of commercial entities in distant provinces. Why is this important?
Because a significant portion of China's carbon-emitting economy remains more or less beyond Beijing's control. In a country this big, poorly designed coal-fired power plants that belch carbon can be built at the behest of local officials before Beijing can step in to stop construction. Many such plants already operate in China and will be particularly difficult to shutter due to fears closures could hamper regional growth. The local leaders are too often hellbent on growth at any cost. Carbon emissions are the least of their worries as they strive to meet aggressive growth targets and keep their population employed and happy.
Walking a Complicated Tightrope
Likewise, other carbon-intensive operations in sectors such as illegal aluminum smelters and illegal steel mills exist or are built with Beijing getting little or no notification. Of course, the central government would like nothing more than to bring some of these rogue operations to heel. The mandarins in Beijing now recognize that environmental health issues associated with low-grade power generation and lightly regulated smokestack sectors cause hundreds of thousands of premature deaths per year in China. They also make executing a coherent economic and industrial policy far more difficult.
Plus, China is walking a tightrope with job growth. Its economy must grow at rates north of 5% for the country to absorb the millions of peasants moving from rural to urban regions. Enacting carbon emissions mandates could force China, in the government's mind, to choose between meeting laudable environmental goals and expanding the economy fast enough to head off serious social unrest. While the validity of this perception can be debated, it's clearly a concern in China, which has suffered from weak central governments throughout its history.
China is already moving quickly to get a better read on where its carbon emissions are coming from. The Chinese government is the largest customer of Picarro, a Sunnyvale, Calif., company that makes compact laser instruments that can be used to measure carbon emissions across large swaths of territory. But a sufficiently detailed map of China's emissions zones remains too far away to act as an effective environmental policy tool. So the West should be realistic in its expectations about what Beijing will be willing to deliver in Copenhagen.
In China, government control isn't as total as outsiders might perceive.This makes concrete goals of emissions reductions a tricky matter that understandably gives Beijing the jitters.
Alex Salkever is Senior Writer at AOL Daily Finance covering technology and greentech. Follow him on twitter @alexsalkever, read his articles, or email him at alex@dailyfinance.com.

New Aluminum Smelters Unlikely Soon In S Africa -Eskom
EasyBourse.com - 27-Nov-2009
A hike in South African energy tariffs is "unavoidable" and this contributes to making new aluminum smelter projects unlikely right now, an executive at the country's utility Eskom said Friday.
"There's very little opportunity to structure an attractive package for an aluminum smelter [in South Africa] right now," Eskom corporate specialist Charles Mahony told a conference organized by Metal Events in London.
"New smelting investments are therefore unlikely in the current climate," he said.
Rio Tinto PLC (RTP.LN) recently postponed a project to build a new aluminum smelter in Coega that had been slated for some years, citing the difficulty of securing a guaranteed supply of electricity as one of the reasons.
South Africa has two aluminum smelters that take energy from Eskom--Bayside and Hillside. Eskom also supplies the Mozal smelter in Mozambique. An energy rationing program, after years of under-investment in South Africa's energy sector, also hit these smelters, which are extremely energy-intensive.
"Right now we're [South Africa] not electricity rich and we won't be for the next few years or so," Mahony said.
Mahony said his personal view is that unless the structure of South Africa's industrial or regulatory model changes, it would likely be difficult to foresee new smelting projects "even beyond the immediate crisis."
Eskom has come under pressure to reduce the burden on the domestic consumer and plans a step-change in industrial tariffs that has attracted criticism from some key consumers, especially in the gold and platinum mining sector.
The country has been plagued with energy problems since years of under-investment in energy finally took their toll.
-By Andrea Hotter, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 (0)20 7842 9413; andrea.hotter@dowjones.com

Greenland, Alcoa To Seek Partner In Smelter Project Executive
CNNMoney.com - 27-Nov-2009
LONDON -(Dow Jones)- A third party is expected to be sought to partner the government of Greenland and US
aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. (AA) in a new smelter ...

DJ Cameroon Aluminum Smelter To Restart Expansion - Official
Trading Markets (press release) - 27-Nov-2009
... manager of the Societe Camerounaise d'Aluminium, or Alucam, Cameroon's lone primary alumina smelter, has said the firm will soon restart a shelved plan, ...

Siempelkamp modernizes one of the world?s largest closed-die forging presses
Pressezeiger (Pressemitteilung) - 27-Nov-2009
Engineering and cast parts are made in Krefeld, Germany.
Siempelkamp was commissioned by Alcoa Forging & Extrusions to engineer and produce the cast parts of one of the world"s largest closed-die forging presses located in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Siempelkamp was contracted by Alcoa to help rebuild and modernize its 50,000-ton (450 MN) press to become the most advanced, productive forging press in the world.
As part of the order, Siempelkamp will cast ten structural parts for the press with weights between 200 and 250 t each (220 and 270 US tons) in the company-owned foundry in Krefeld.
The 50,000 t (450 MN) closed-die forging press produces structural parts made of aluminum for the aircraft industry. Because of its large press force and its central meaning for the American aircraft industry, the giant press has become a "National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark" in the United States of America.
As the world"s only manufacturer with the knowledge to design presses of this magnitude and the ability to produce castings of this size made of cast iron with nodular graphite in its own foundry, Siempelkamp received the order to produce the structural parts. In May of 2009 Siempelkamp made a casting of cast iron with nodular graphite (nodular cast iron) in its Krefeld foundry with a weight of 270 t (298 US tons) - to date the heaviest nodular graphite iron casting in the world.
The scope of supply consists of 14 large cast parts for the upper, moving and lower beams as well as the foundation stools. Ten of these castings weigh between 200 and 250 t (220 and 275 US tons).
Within the framework of the order, Siempelkamp has analyzed the design from the 1950s, carried out calculations according to the Finite-Element-Method and has optimized the construction according to the latest technology and a given maximum component part weight. The result is parts that are fatigue endurable. The special challenge for the designing engineers was that the new parts, which incorporate 50 years of technological development, had to be exactly in accordance with the old parts by eye because they simply replace the old parts.
Alcoa will carry out the installation of the cast parts on site. This means for Siempelkamp that all parts have to fit into the existing press upon arrival.
Siempelkamp casted the first foundation stool on August 20, 2009. The beams and stools are machined on large-scale machines, capable of processing components with a clamping length of 22 m (72 ft) at the Krefeld factory. The combination of engineering, casting, and machining from one source puts Siempelkamp in the position to directly influence the design, due dates, and quality of the components.
About Siempelkamp
For decades Siempelkamp has gained vast experience in engineering, design and manufacturing of metal forming presses and supply among others plate bending presses for manufacturing large-diameter pipes and half shells, straightening presses, side-member presses, heat exchanger plate presses, hydroforming presses, rear axle housing presses as well as the complete range of closed-die and open-die forging presses.
Customized presses with high pressing forces are Siempelkamp’s core competence.
The Siempelkamp Group is an internationally active technology supplier with three business branches – machinery and plant manufacturing, foundry and nuclear technology. As system supplier of presses and press lines for the metal industry as well as turn-key plants for the wood-working industry Siempelkamp enjoys international standing.
The Group employs worldwide almost 2,750 people

CAPEX cuts - Norsk Hydro drops Kimberley bauxite plans
SteelGuru - Nov 25, 2009
Wabusiness reported that Norwegian aluminum company Norsk Hydro has abandoned its bauxite mining plans in the Mitchell Plateau region to the north Kimberley, giving back its mining leases to the state government.
The mining leases were held in JV with Perth Company United Minerals Corporation which is currently being taken over by BHP Billiton, mainly for its iron ore assets.
(Sourced from Wabusinessnews.com)

Uncertainty over global aluminum production
Commodity Online - Nov 25, 2009
Smelters have pushed through substantial production cuts, helping to rebalance the market. Smelter surplus capacity persists.
Smelters will need to show production restraint in the coming years to restore a degree of normality on the aluminum market.
With demand accelerating, the spot market may tighten in 2H2009 as aluminum is tied up in financing deals.
Financing deals are broken and more metal becomes available.
There is considerable uncertainty over global aluminum production volumes in the medium term.

China Overcapacity Wreaks Global Harm, EU Group Says
Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) -- China’s excess industrial capacity is “wreaking far-reaching damage on the global economy,” stoking trade tensions and raising the risk of bad loans, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said.
A 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package is worsening overcapacity, especially in the steel, aluminum, cement, chemical, refining and wind-power equipment industries, according to a study by the chamber and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, released in Beijing today.
The world’s third-biggest economy has rebounded this year on stimulus spending and a $1.3 trillion credit boom. China is adding capacity when global demand is yet to recover from the financial crisis, increasing the risk of trade frictions undermining commerce and making the threat of non-performing loans within the nation “ever larger,” the EU Chamber said.
“The Chinese stimulus package has poured credit into increasingly questionable projects,” the business group said, without identifying specific ventures. “The global impact already can be felt in the form of growing trade tensions.”
U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged this month to work to ease frictions, exacerbated by U.S. duties on Chinese tires.
The chamber recommended 30 measures to cut overcapacity, including letting an undervalued yuan gradually appreciate, reducing a “subsidy” for Chinese manufacturers.
Energy Prices
It also proposed lowering energy-price subsidies, raising interest rates to reduce easy credit, increasing dividend payments by state-owned enterprises, and spending more on health care and social security to encourage consumption and cut precautionary savings.
No comment was immediately available today from China’s commerce ministry.
In September, China’s State Council approved plans to curb expansion in industries including steel, cement, glass, coke, wind turbines and shipbuilding. The government has also introduced measures to limit land supply to sectors with excess capacity. So far, the government’s efforts have been ineffective, the chamber said.
China’s excess capacity is an “international concern” as goods that can’t be sold locally may be sent to markets that shrank because of the global slump, European Union Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton said in Beijing Sept. 9. Ashton has since been named the EU’s top diplomat.
‘Unfounded’ Criticism
Yu Yongding, a former adviser to the Chinese central bank, said yesterday in Melbourne that that the “worrying” long-term effects of China’s expansionary policies include overcapacity, bad loans, and inefficient investment.
Not everyone agrees with the EU Chamber’s assessment. Isaac Meng, a senior economist at BNP Paribas SA in Beijing, said industries including steel and cement are not big exporters and claims of damage to the global economy are “unfounded.”
“In sectors where China is a massive exporter, like electronics, there’s no overcapacity because when exports collapse factories just close,” he added.
Increasing trade tensions between China and the U.S. are the result of high unemployment in the U.S., which is creating “political pressure to reduce China’s exports,” Meng said
China as ‘Victim’
China’s own economy is the main “victim” of excess capacity, the chamber said. Lower profits mean companies lack cash to invest in research and development and develop more valued-added goods, it said. Businesses are also forced to cut costs, contributing to slower wage growth and less consumption, the report added.
“This is a major obstacle on the government’s path to become both an innovative and sustainable economy,” the report said.
China’s lending surge this year focused mainly on expanding production at state-owned enterprises, the report said. This led growth in fixed-asset investment by manufacturing companies to jump to 50 percent by mid-year from 25 percent in January and February, the chamber said.
Companies in industries with overcapacity will struggle to repay credit, increasing the risk of a repeat of the 1990s surge in non-performing loans, the chamber said.
China’s five largest banks have submitted plans to regulators for raising money after unprecedented lending eroded their capital, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.
It’s “particularly troubling” that more than 140 billion yuan was invested in the steel industry in the first half of this year and that 58 million tons of capacity are under construction when global demand may decline 14.9 percent in 2009, the report said. The chamber also warned of “a looming deluge” of extra cement capacity in the nation.
To contact the Bloomberg News staff on this story: Kevin Hamlin in Beijing at khamlin@bloomberg.net

Alcoa taking more time on modernization plan
WatertownDailyTimes.com - Laura Bomyea - November 24, 2009
MASSENA — Alcoa will not present the $600 million Massena East Plant modernization plan to the board of directors this year as once promised.
Project managers said Monday that taking the extra time to put together a proposal for a vote once market conditions improve may increase the project's chances of being approved.
When Alcoa signed an agreement in principle with the New York Power Authority in December 2007, the aluminum maker pledged to invest at least $600 million in upgrading the former Reynolds Metals facility.
It reaffirmed that commitment in January when a 30-year contract was signed. The contract guaranteed the company a 478-megawatt hydropower allocation in exchange for completing the modernization and retaining at least 900 jobs in Massena, a total that exceeded 1,200 at that time.
Project leaders had planned to prepare the modernization project for corporate board approval by the close of 2009 — a timeline that officials now suggest was extremely aggressive.
But the price of aluminum took an unprecedented 60 percent tumble between the fall of 2008 and early this year, and economic conditions deteriorated to the point where, on March 31, NYPA and Alcoa announced an agreement to suspend temporarily the requirements laid out in their contract.
Alcoa idled its Massena East smelter and relinquished, on a temporary basis, 237 megawatts of its hydropower allocation, while NYPA agreed not to enforce job retention requirements and the modernization project deadlines laid out in the agreement until conditions improved.
Layoffs went into effect in July, when 113 workers were furloughed. Alcoa and United Steelworkers Local 420 worked out a deal for 50 of those workers to be laid off in groups of 25 on an alternating monthly basis. Since the summer, the first 25 have gone on layoff for a month, then come back to work while the other group is laid off for a month.
Since the last of the potlines was shut down in July, Alcoa has maintained 250 employees at the East plant, and Alcoa's modernization crew has continued working to put together a project they believe their board will approve.
William R. Gerber, local coordinator on the project, said he cannot say yet when the project will go before corporate officials.
But he said he believes the extra time to consider a variety of options for the many components of the project will help the Massena crew prove to the board its plans are the most economical, viable solution.
"We were previously working very, very fast to meet all of those deadlines," he said. "With the deadlines suspended, we're still doing all of the same work, just at a much slower pace, now with the benefit of being able to dig into some of these issues."
One of the areas Mr. Gerber and his colleagues have been investigating is the way the company handles materials from facility to facility or department to department and what sort of cost- or time-saving measures they could take by redesigning certain sections of the East plant.
Another major discussion in the Alcoa offices here is what kind of a construction schedule would be most effective once the project is approved.
A shorter schedule could mean bringing on a larger number of additional workers and paying for things such as overtime and rush delivery on equipment, Mr. Gerber said.
Yet a more protracted construction plan could inflate costs such as equipment rental and other services.
Part of the goal of the modernization team will be to find the ideal balance to present to the board once economic conditions improve.
When that will happen is still largely unknown.
The market price for aluminum has increased from about $1,300 per metric ton at its lowest point early this year to about $1,800 per metric ton in recent weeks.
But global stockpiles of the metal are still extremely high, and global manufacturing of goods continues to lag.
Once things improve and the project is presented to the corporate board, Alcoa spokeswoman Laurie A. Marr said, the Massena project will be competing with capital projects and requests from plants all over the world.

RUSAL and FGC UES ink agreement to ensure safe operations
SteelGuru - Nov 22, 2009
UC RUSAL and the Russian Federal Grid Company of Unified Energy System announced the signing of an agreement to ensure safe operations of the energy network in Siberia when the Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP is decommissioned.
According to release under the agreement the parties approved a schedule of repairs and recovery operations and defined coordination procedures to prevent and rectify consequences of potential emergencies at overhead power lines in Siberia.
In line with the signed document, FGC UES will ensure the prompt appointment of emergency response teams and immediate planning of remedial actions to fight potential emergencies and prevent failures of power supply to RUSAL production sites. In its turn, RUSAL will provide special vehicles to the emergency response teams in its area of responsibility after receiving notification of such a necessity from FGC UES thus facilitating recovery operations.
Mr Eugueny Fedorov the Director of the Engineering and Construction Division of RUSAL said “The Agreement with FGC UES is of utmost importance for RUSAL as the largest power consumer in the region. It provides for not only the promptness of the repairs and recovery operations but also clearly specifies joint procedures, including our participation, in emergencies which makes it possible to minimize potential risks associated with irregular power supply to our production facilities.”
Mr Dmitry Gvozdev the Engineering Manager of FGC UES said “FGC UES is taking all measures required to ensure safe operations of the Siberian energy grid in a difficult situation of electrical energy shortages following the emergency at the Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP. RUSAL is one of the main electricity consumers in the region and close cooperation with RUSAL on the issue is of principal importance for us. The agreement will allow us to engage additional manpower and resources to ensure safe operations of the power network in Siberia and, in the event of any process deviation, will enable us to shorten the limitation of the power supply to aluminium smelters to minimal.”

Workers Striking at Russian Bauxite Plant in Guyana
TransWorldNews (press release) - 11/23/2009
Roughly three hundred workers are on strike at a Russian-owned bauxite plant in Guyana, demanding that the Bauxite Company of Guyana follow through on its own plan to raise wages and lay off employees.
Under the plan, which employees agreed to last week, 75 of the company’s 400 workers would be dismissed in exchange for a 10 percent wage hike requested by the workers. Union spokesman Charles Sampson says the company, a subsidiary of Rusal, the world’s largest producer of alumina and aluminum, is now stalling.
The strike began late Sunday.

Alumina market to tend towards surplus in 2010
Steelguru - Saturday, 21 Nov 2009
Reuters reported that Alumina producers will continue to exercise restraint all 2010 but the market will be in surplus as output is still likely to outpace aluminium smelter needs.
Recent restarts and new capacity will ensure ample supplies of the intermediate material, used to produce primary aluminium. This will act as a cap on prices and, if anything, they will drift lower.
Mr Ralston Johnson of Brook Hunt, the metals arm of consultancy Wood Mackenzie said that he expected the alumina market to record a 1.0 million tonne to 1.5 million tonnes surplus 2010.
Mr Johnson said that the surplus will be large enough for people to know that alumina is readily available, that there's no shortage. Outside top aluminium producer China, he predicted little demand for the material from reactivations of smelter capacity, mothballed after the slump in global aluminium consumption from the key car and construction industries. But he thought alumina producers could moderate their output to reduce over supply if prices trended below costs. He added that "I don't expect prices to revisit the March lows predicting an average of USD 270 per tonne in 2010.
By March, in the depths of the global economic crisis, spot alumina prices had fallen to around USD 180 per tonne. They have recovered in recent months and stand at around USD 300 per tonne on an Australia FOB basis due partly to production cuts, as well as higher energy and aluminium prices.
Stronger aluminium prices help to support prices for alumina sold through long term contracts which are normally settled at 12% to 13% of the London Metal Exchange cash aluminium price. Global aluminium prices rose sharply after falling to 7 year low of USD 1,279 per tonne in late February. By August, the LME 3 months price had risen to USD 2,115 and has since held on to most of those gains. At 1220 GMT they were indicated at USD 2,032 to 2,042 per tonne.
Nikhil Shah of industry consultants CRU Group said that "Alumina prices are not going to move too far from current levels. I don't think we're going to see prices significantly below USD 250 per tonne to USD 260 per tonne. There's good support above that level."
Alumina market to tend towards surplus in 2010
Sourced from Reuters

UPDATE 1-Montenegro moves toward control of aluminium plant
AFX | 20 Nov 2009
By Petar Komnenic PODGORICA, Nov 20 (Reuters) -
The Montenegrin state took a step towards assuming control of the country's only aluminium plant, agreeing to front a bailout package that signals an end to a dispute with the indebted smelter's Russian owners.
The Kombinat Aluminijuma Podgorica facility (KAP), a key driver of Montenegro's economy, has been running at a loss since global metals prices fell last year. It contributes over 15 percent of gross domestic product and accounted for 41 percent of exports in the first eight months of 2009.
Under the bailout package, the finance ministry said the government guaranteed a 49.7 million euro ($74 million) loan from OTP Bank to KAP, majority-owned by Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska's En+ Group.
The loan has a one-year grace period and an interest rate of Euribor plus 4.625 percent. En+ Group said last week it would transfer half its stake in KAP to the government in a deal that will also slash three in five jobs among the 3,900-strong workforce at the smelter and a nearby mine.
Montenegro will also guarantee up to 135 million euros of debt to cover loan repayments and redundancies.
Both the Russian group and the government have agreed to withdraw legal claims against each other and will each own 29.365 percent of the smelter after the deal is completed. Minority shareholders will retain their 41.3 percent stake in the plant.
"This (loan) is a key step toward a settlement ... with EN+ with an aim of creating short-term stability and long-term sustainability for KAP," Finance Minister Igor Luksic told a news conference on Friday. As well as cutting jobs, En+ and the government plan to invest 39 million euros in the smelter over the next five years.
They also agreed to set a new price formula for electricity supplied to KAP by state-owned power company EPCG which will be tied to the price of aluminium on the London Metal Exchange until 2012.
(Reporting by Petar Komnenic; Writing by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Ivana Sekularac and John Stonestreet) ($1 = 0.6722 euro) Keywords: MONTENEGRO ALUMINIUM/ Copyright Thomson Reuters 2009. All rights reserved.

Rio costs up, output down in new Cameroon power deal
Reuters - Tansa Musa, David Lewis -Sat Nov 21, 2009
* Electricity costs set to double under new agreement
* Alucam to slash output to 50 pct of capacity in 2010
YAOUNDE, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Rio Tinto's aluminium operation in Cameroon has secured a 30-year power supply contract with the government but electricity costs have doubled and output from a smelter will fall due to cuts in power consumption, Rio said.
Rio Tinto Alcan is a partner with Cameroon's government in Alucam, a bauxite mining and aluminium smelting operation that had already slashed output by nearly 40 percent from its 90,000 tonne capacity in 2009 due to power shortages.
"The new contract will last 30 years and Alucam will now pay 12.94 CFA francs ($0.029) per kilowatt of electricity, up from about 6 CFA francs for the previous one," Cameroon's Finance Minister Lazarre Essimi Meny said late on Friday.
"On paper, the price increase seems to be too much, but in reality it is just within international norms," he added.
Menye said state power firm AES-SONEL will raise power supply to Alucam to 250 MW in 2012 when the Kribi gas-fired power plant goes operational and to 490 MW in 2013, when other power plants come on line.
However, in the meantime, Alucam has agreed to slash its electricity consumption from current levels around 140-120 MW so Cameroon can avoid power cuts and satisfy electricity demand, which is growing at eight percent per annum.
"Going by the present arrangement, we'll further reduce our electricity consumption to about 100 MW in 2010 and 2011," Alucam spokesman Arnold Mouangue said.
"(This) means our output, which already dropped to 63 percent in 2009 will fall again to around 50 percent during the two years," he added.
Alucam and the government agreed in 2005 to increase capacity at Alucam's Edea smelter to 300,000 tonnes from current levels around 90,000 tonnes but the project has been delayed due to the global crisis and chronic power problems in Cameroon.
Alucam had a turn-over of 149 billion CFA francs in 2008. It contributes 7 percent of Cameroon's industrial output, 5 percent of export revenues, and generates 3 percent of the gross domestic product. ($1=441.5 Cfa Franc) (Reporting by Tansa Musa; Editing by David Lewis)

European Investment Bank injects megabucks in Icelandic megawatts
IceNews - Alex - Nov 21, 2009

It was announced yesterday evening that Reykjavik Energy has signed a loan deal with the European Investment Bank for around ISK 30 billion (EUR 170 million).
The loan deal was signed in a ceremony at the Hellisheidavirkjun geothermal power station in south Iceland.

The money will be used to finance development of the highly volcanic Hengill area near the towns of Selfoss and Thorlakshofn and where Hellisheidavirkjun is already located. The first priority of the project is the completion of part five of the Hellisheidavirkjun project, due to come into service at the end of 2011 with production of 90 megawatts.

The rest of the loan will be used to finance half of a new geothermal plant to be built at Hverahlid, which will also produce 90 megawatts – most likely for the new aluminium smelter at Helguvik, RUV reports

Vedanta Aluminium to Double Alumina Output After Mine Approval
Bloomberg -Abhishek Shanker Nov 19, 2009
Vedanta Aluminium Ltd., a unit of India’s largest copper producer, plans to double alumina production once it gains approval to mine bauxite in Orissa.

Approval for the mine will come “soon,” Mukesh Kumar, the chief operating officer of the unit of Vedanta Resources Plc, said today in a telephone interview

without specifying further. Once approval is given it will take eight months to increase refinery output to 1.4 million metric tons, he said.

Vedanta Aluminium is currently producing alumina at a rate of 700,000 tons a year, below the 1 million ton capacity, because of delays in securing mining rights

from the federal government.

“We will have steady raw material supply and our costs would significantly come down once the mine becomes operational as there will be no additional freight

cost,” Kumar said.

Vedanta Resources fell 2 percent to 2,404 pence at 10:40 a.m. in London.

The company has the support of the local people, Kumar said, saying most of the population supports the project. Moneycontrol Web site reported in January

that local tribal people had protested against the project in Niyamgiri hills.

Vedanta Aluminium plans to spend as much as 80 billion rupees ($1.7 billion) to raise refining capacity to 6 million metric tons by 2013. Aluminum is made from

alumina which is refined from bauxite.

“We have applied for the approval of the refinery expansion and would proportionately seek to secure raw material supplies,” Kumar said. Vedanta Aluminum is

70.5 percent owned by Vedanta Resources and 29.5 percent owned by Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd., according to the 2008 Sterlite annual report.

To contact the reporter in this story: Abhishek Shanker in Mumbai ashanker1@bloomberg.net.

Chinalco to set up subsidiary for resource business
Alibaba News Channel - 19 Nov 2009
November 19 MetalBiz--The Aluminum Corp. of China (Chinalco), the country's top aluminum producer, published a recruitment advertisement in China Youth

Daily for leadership of the Chinalco Mineral Resources Company, which is to be set up in the near future.


Chinalco is looking for a general manager and three vice general managers for the new subsidiary.


The new company, which will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Chinalco, will mainly be engaged in prospecting for resources, the management of mining rights,

and geological prospecting.
Chinalco, the world's second largest alumina producer and third largest electrolytic aluminum producer and China's largest nonferrous enterprise mainly engaging in the business of aluminum, copper, rare earth and other nonferrous metals, is the parent company of the Shanghai, Hong Kong and New York listed

Union says it is Illegal to Cut Retiree Benefits at Century Aluminum
WOWK - Nicky Walters - Friday, November 20, 2009
Century says the move is a way to cut costs and make it a possibility to get the plant open again.

RAVENSWOOD -- The United Steelworkers of America is upset by Century Aluminum's plan to cut medical benefits for retirees over the age of 65.
The Union has filed a request for declaratory relief in United States District Court for Southern West Virginia regarding the elimination and reduction of medical

coverage for retirees of the Ravenswood plant.

United Steelworkers members met Thursday at Ravenswood High School to discuss the legal action and to help retirees plan for the future.

Union leaders say they aren't will to accept the move without a fight.

"These benefits should have already been paid for and there shouldn't be any way to take these away from these folks," said Local Union President, Jason

Miller.

The Century Aluminum Plant in Ravenswood has been idle since February.

The medical coverage for retirees over 65 are set to expire at the end of the year.

Alcoa To Idle 2 Units In Italy - Update
RTT News - 11/19/2009
(RTTNews) - Thursday after the bell, aluminum producer Alcoa, Inc. (AA: News ) announced that it will temporarily idle production at its two aluminum smelters

in Fusina and Portovesme, Italy, due to uncertainty over future power supply and financial impact of the adverse decision of European Commission regarding

competitive energy tariff allowed to Alcoa. The decision might result in more than 2,000 job losses, said the company.

Alcoa is appealing the European Commission or EC's decision that Italy's extension of the existing electricity tariff post-2005 did not comply with European

Union state aid rules and therein a portion of the benefit received by Alcoa must be refunded.

The tariff was in place for more than 10 years in Italy and approved by the EC in 1995, the year that Alcoa purchased the operations. It was designed to provide

competitive power to energy-intensive industries in Italy. Without the tariff, the two smelters are not commercially viable at current Italian power rates, said Alcoa.

The two smelters directly employ 1,000 workers and indirectly employ another 1,000 workers and have a combined capacity of 194,000 metric tons of aluminum

per year.

The process to curtail the smelters will begin immediately, with completion expected in the second half of December. The company will work with appropriate

works councils and employees at the smelters to gradually wind down production in a safe and efficient manner. Alcoa's rolling mill in Fusina, adjacent to the smelter, is not directly impacted by this action.

The curtailments in Italy will bring Alcoa's total global smelting system curtailments to approximately 24 percent. Alcoa expects a fourth-quarter pre-tax charge

between $300 million and $500 million, including temporary curtailment and recovery actions. The pre-tax charge is mostly not expected to impact fourth quarter

cash flow.

Marcos Ramos, President, Alcoa Primary Products, Europe, said, "It is a terrible outcome for Italy. This EC decision will result in approximately 2,000 direct and

indirect jobs being lost in Italy, not to mention the impact on the communities of Fusina and Portovesme. We will continue to use every lever in an attempt to

gain access to competitive power so that we can get our people back to work."

EU tells Alcoa to repay Italy state aid
AFP – 11/19/2009
BRUSSELS — EU regulators on Thursday ordered US aluminium giant Alcoa to repay Italy for state aid received since 2006 in the form of subsidised electricity

prices for two smelters.

The European Commission did not detail the amount to be returned.

"Price subsidies that result in artificially low energy prices for selected companies waste taxpayers' money and distort competition in the single market," EU

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement.

"Alcoa will have to pay back most of the illegal subsidies," she said.

In the United States, Alcoa announced it would appeal the decision and temporarily idle production at its two aluminum smelters, located in Fusina and

Portovesme, Italy.

"The curtailment is a result of uncertainty in obtaining future power supply for the smelters at competitive rates and the financial impact of today's European

Commission decision," the US firm said.

Alcoa said the tariff was in place for more than 10 years in Italy and approved by the EC in 1995, the year that Alcoa purchased the operations.

Electricity bills to jump for Chinese industries
Shanghai Daily - Leo Zhang 2009-11-20
CHINA yesterday announced a 5.7 percent increase in electricity prices for businesses and industries and said it will adjust residential tariffs early next year

through a new pricing mechanism to promote energy savings.

The average price charged non-residential users will be lifted by 0.028 yuan (0.4 US cent) per kilowatt-hour starting today, the National Development and Reform

Commission said in a statement.

The last time China raised electricity rates for non-residential users was in July 2008 when they went up by about 5 percent to 0.494 yuan per kilowatt-hour. The

tariff for residential use has not moved since July 2006 when it was raised by about 1 percent.

"The increase will help power grids cover rising costs," said Peng Jizhong, an analyst at Guosen Securities Co. "It will also help them raise capital to boost

investment in grid construction."

China in 2005 introduced a cost pass-through mechanism that allows power companies to lift prices whenever coal rates rise by more than 5 percent over six

months.

But the government refrained from increasing retail power rates amid the global economic downturn after raising on-grid power tariffs, charged by power

producers to grids, by 5 percent in August 2008.

In comparison, the price of coal used for power production has risen nearly 4 percent this year after a 10 percent jump in 2008.

The nation's two biggest power distributors, the State Grid Corp of China and China Southern Power Grid Co, incurred a net loss of 16.1 billion yuan in the first

eight months, according to the NDRC.

The country plans to introduce a new pricing structure for residential users as early as the first quarter of next year, the NDRC said. Households that use more

electricity will face higher tariffs, it said, without giving details of the plan.

The pricing adjustment is aimed at boosting conservation, and any increase will be limited to keep inflation in check, the NDRC said.

China National Radio yesterday quoted Cao Changqing, an NDRC official, as saying that homes may face a higher tariff on monthly power consumption

exceeding 87 kilowatt-hours, the average household use in China.

China's electricity generation grew in October at the fastest pace in 19 months.

The country's industrial output and investment continued their strong momentum in recent months, bolstering forecasts for the country's economic growth to

exceed the 8 percent target. However, concerns about overcapacity are also mounting.

In October, China promised to curb excess investment in its key industries as the government seeks to prevent a reckless investment spree from spoiling

economic recovery.

The government said it would withhold approval for and curb lending to projects that don't conform to state guidelines in industries such as steel, cement and

wind power equipment.

"The rate hike will negatively affect producers of aluminum and cement," said Luo Weiwei, a Bank of China analyst.

"Demand from the automobile and property industries may help in the near term, but challenges will come if these booming industries cool as inflation rises."

CAPEX cuts - NALCO shelves SA aluminium smelter plan
Steelguru - Thursday, 19 Nov 2009
IANS reported that state run Asia's largest integrated aluminium producer National Aluminium Co has decided not to pursue its planned aluminium smelter and power plant in South Africa as it could not get coal linkage, but will push a similar project in Iran.

The report cited Mr BL Bagra finance director of NALCO as saying that "South African project has been dropped. Since we have not been able to get coal reserves, we are not pursuing it further.”

According to him, NALCO had expected a lot of coals reserves in that country but found these scattered and not in one block. He said “The South African government has awarded mining contracts for its coal deposits to local entrepreneurs. We could not manage to get enough of them who can together transfer coal blocks to NALCO.”

NALCO was exploring possibilities of setting up a 500,000 tonnes aluminium smelter plant and a 1,250 MW power plant in South Africa on an investment of about INR 17,000 crore.

(Sourced from IANS)

Alcoa aluminium soars with Ares rocket
Steelguru - Thursday, 19 Nov 2009
Alcoa aluminium plays a critical role in the future of NASA’s Ares rocket, named by Time magazine as the 2009 Invention of the Year.

The rocket, which Time called, “The best and smartest and coolest thing built in 2009 a machine that can launch human beings to cosmic destinations we'd never considered before depends on Alcoa’s aluminium lithium alloys for the lightweight, strong plates used in the structure.

Breakthrough aluminium lithium alloy technology continues to be developed at the Alcoa Technical Center in Pittsburgh to support projects such as the Ares program, along with first of kind manufacturing practices to meet the challenge of turning aluminium lithium ingots into high performance plate products.

Aluminium lithium ingots are cast at Alcoa Technical Center before being shipped to Alcoa’s Davenport Works in Iowa, where they are rolled into plate. Alcoa’s Davenport Works is the only supplier certified by NASA to provide the light gauge, high quality plate for the Ares 1 crew launch vehicle.

NASA awarded Alcoa contracts now totalling USD 18.7 million since 2007 to develop manufacturing capabilities and to supply the initial requirements for aluminium lithium alloy products. A year later, NASA certified Alcoa as the sole supplier of the high performance aluminium lithium alloy thin plate. In supplying plate products to NASA since 2008, Alcoa’s Technical Center and Davenport Works facilities have demonstrated both the capability and flexibility needed for NASA to meet its program goals.

Alcoa aluminium has been used in the space program since its inception. Alcoa and NASA are also collaborating on Ares V, the heavy cargo launch vehicle currently under development.

Mr Harry Kiskaddon commercial director of Alcoa Aerospace said that “We congratulate NASA on this significant recognition of the cutting edge technologies used on its Ares rockets program. And we’re honoured to play such a critical role in the agency’s next generation of space vehicle.”

Century to resume building at new Iceland smelter
Reuters - Wed Nov 18, 2009
NEW YORK, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Century Aluminum Co (CENX.O) plans to restart construction at its Helguvik greenfield smelter project in Iceland and to produce its first metal at the plant by early 2012, a company official said Wednesday.
"We'll restart construction in earnest in spring 2010," Century Chief Financial Officer Mike Bless said at the Knight Tumazos Metals and Mining investor conference.

Bless said a project of Helguvik's scope would normally take 30 months to get up and running, once construction was underway, but, considering work already carried out on the project, the first hot metal should be produced in early 2012.

Bless said the U.S. primary aluminum producer plans to bring smelting capacity online in four 90,000-tonne phases, building up to full operating capacity of 360,000 tonnes with 86 potlines.

Century halted construction on the project during fourth quarter of 2008, when demand for aluminum, and consequently aluminum prices, plummeted at the onset of global economic recession.

Since then, Bless said, the company has been maintaining minimal work levels at the site so as not to lose the work already begun.

By the end of the year, he said, Century will have spent $100 million of the total project cost of $600 million. The company is currently mulling options for financing the rest of the project, including the possibility of an investor with a minority interest, the CFO said.

He said, however, financing was not the biggest worry at the site. Rather, its energy supply presented a bigger potential concern.

Once the smelter comes online, production costs at the Icelandic facility should run in the lowest quartile of global smelting capacity, but, Bless said, the risk remains that the energy plant will not be built in time.

Helguvik will be the world's only smelter run 100 percent on geothermal power, but the CFO said the power plant must also be built in stages and be coordinated with the smelter's construction.

Century already operates the Grundartangi smelter in Iceland, which Bless said was able to break even when aluminum fell to $1,275 a tonne, a 7-1/2-year low, in March because of low power costs partly using geothermal energy.

He said the company's overall breakeven level, including capital expenditure and maintenance costs, runs $1,800 to $1,900 a tonne of aluminum, depending on input costs.

Benchmark aluminum MAL3 prices on the London Metal Exchange ended Wednesday at $2,055 a tonne, after a recent price surge. It traded as low as $1,883 a tonne this month.

Though Bless said Century sees a pick-up in aluminum demand in the medium to longer term horizon, the near-term price risk was to the downside in light of recent supply restarts in China, Europe and elsewhere amid slow global demand.

"We're not chasing the bubble, we're still managing for tough times," Bless said.

Century's 170,000-tonne-per-year aluminum smelter in Ravenswood, West Virginia, has been idled since February. (Reporting by Carole Vaporean; Editing by Walter Bagley)

Adbic, Gulfex to set up new aluminium plant
Emirates Business 24/7 - Wednesday, November 18, 2009
This JV is important for Gulf Extrusions in its quest to become a leader in aluminium extrusion. (REUTERS)

By Nissar Hoath

Abu Dhabi Basic Industries Corporation (Adbic) will set up an aluminium plant with an estimated cost of Dh368 million in the upcoming Sheikh Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone in Taweelah.

The plant will manufacture aluminium extrusion products for the local and foreign markets.

The corporation will develop the Aluminium Extrusion Plant in a joint venture with Dubai's Gulf Extrusions Company (Gulfex), which is one of the largest regional manufacturers of the product.

"Building on its strategy to develop a sustainable industrial base in Abu Dhabi, Adbic has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Gulf Extrusions Company," the corporation said yesterday.

Gulfex's annual production capacity in 2008 reached 50,000 tonnes per annum (tpa), producing more than 7,000 profiles, varying from architectural sections to components for household items, air-conditioning grills and customised products for the automotive and engineering industries.

The corporation is an industrial development and investment company wholly-owned by the Abu Dhabi Government's General Holding Corporation (GHC) and focuses on base metals (aluminium, steel and copper), petrochemical and other industrial sectors.

The joint partnership was signed by Adbic CEO Jamal Al Dhaheri and Gulfex Executive Chairman Majid Al Ghurair.

"We are very pleased to be partnering with Gulf Extrusions. Our collaboration serves to reinforce Adbic's focused efforts to expand the downstream manufacturing sector in Abu Dhabi. This partnership will position the UAE as a leading exporter of aluminium extrusions to international markets," said Al Dhaheri.

The construction of the plant is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2010, and will produce 50,000tpa of aluminium extrusion and extrusion-based niché-oriented products such as high-end architectural systems and automotive and engineering extrusions.

Adbic said the plant will use environment-friendly processes for the manufacture of these products.

Aluminium billets and liquid aluminium metal will be sourced from the adjacent 718,000tpa Emirates Aluminium (Emal) smelter, currently under construction in Taweelah.

Emal is a joint venture plant between Dubai's Dubal and Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development Company.

Al Ghurair said: "This joint venture is strategically important for Gulf Extrusions in its quest to become a world leader in the aluminium extrusions business. This partnership brings together the technical expertise of one of the region's largest manufacturers of aluminium extrusions with the experience of a leading industrial investment company."

Following the launch of United Cables Company earlier this year, the Aluminium Extrusion Plant will be the second aluminium downstream project launched by Adbic in a series of projects that will be based on the metal produced by Emirates Aluminium.

Deripaska Says Cherney Claim ‘Resembles a Blackmail’ (Update1)
Nov. 17, 2009 (Bloomberg)
By Katrina Nicholas and Yuriy Humber

United Co. Rusal’s billionaire owner Oleg Deripaska, who is seeking to lure investors for an initial public offering in Hong Kong, dismissed a claim for a stake in the aluminum producer by a former business associate.

The claim by Michael Cherney is "nonsense" and "resembles a blackmail," Deripaska said in an interview in Singapore.

Rusal, the world’s largest producer of the metal, is preparing to sell a 10 percent stake and list its shares in Paris. The Moscow-based company needs to raise cash to help repay more than $14 billion of debt, which Rusal is trying to restructure with more than 70 lenders.

Cherney says he’s owed at least $3 billion after Deripaska reneged on an agreement to exchange part of Siberian Aluminium for a future interest in what later became Rusal. Deripaska, owner of 57 percent of Rusal, can be sued by Cherney in the U.K., a London court ruled in July.

In the mid-1990s, several groups vied for control of Russia’s aluminum industry, and unsolved murders accompanied the struggle, spawning the label "aluminum wars." Deripaska, 41, previously worked with commodity trader Trans-World Group, which was owned by investors including Russian-born Cherney, and was managing an aluminum smelter in Siberia at the age of 26.

Deripaska pooled the factories he controlled with assets controlled by fellow metals investors Roman Abramovich to create Russian Aluminium in 2000. Russian Aluminium became part of Rusal following a three-way merger in 2006 with domestic rival Sual Group and the alumina assets of Swiss commodities trader Glencore International AG.

Russian Workers

Deripaska is worth $3.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine. His Basic Element investment company controls companies that employ 1 million people in Russia.

"A lot of people are jealous but I don’t care, I am not working for money," Deripaska said in the Nov. 15 interview. "I have my interests and I try to realize what I can do, and for now I am focused on Rusal because it is very important for Russia."

Deripaska also said restructuring of Rusal’s debt is "almost" complete. Deripaska was in Singapore accompanying Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who was attending the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

"No one would be convinced by Mr. Deripaska’s continued attempt to avoid dealing with the substance of a valid claim by resorting to generalized and false smears against Mr. Cherney," a spokesman for Cherney in Jerusalem, who declined to be named, said in an e-mailed statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katrina Nicholas in Singapore at knicholas2@bloomberg.netYuriy Humber in Moscow at yhumber@bloomberg.net

Delegation sends smelter SOS to Canberra
Warrnambool Standard -18 Nov, 2009 04:00 AM
ALEX JOHNSON

CONCERNS over the costs facing Portland's aluminium smelter under an emissions trading scheme have prompted an urgent dash to Canberra tomorrow.

Glenelg Shire Mayor Geoff White will join representatives from Committee for Portland, Portland Aluminium and the Australian Aluminium Council on the lobbying mission.

It is aimed at changing two key parts of the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme to ensure the Portland smelter does not face competition which its overseas competitors can avoid.

The delegation is planning to speak with Opposition climate change negotiator Ian MacFarlane about altering the proposed Electricity Allocation Factor (EAF).

The Canberra mission comes after draft legislation passed the lower house this week, but Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has not ruled out additional concessions after agreeing to remove agriculture emissions at the weekend.

According to Alcoa's general manager of carbon strategy, Tim McAuliffe, the EAF represents the carbon intensity of power generation that will determine how many carbon permits power producers will need to purchase from the government or the marketplace.

The burden, which would then be passed on to Portland Aluminium, "might just be enough to push Portland Aluminium over the edge", according to Committee for Portland chair Scott Paterson.

Cr White said the group hoped to alter the design of the EAF so it did not seriously work against the smelter.

"This is crunch time right now," he said.

"Obviously, this week is critical. We need to ensure that whatever comes out of that scheme doesn't impact on the smelter."

Australian Aluminium Council executive director Miles Prosser said the meeting in Canberra was designed to give regional bodies a say in the negotiations.

In addition to the EAF, Mr Prosser said the delegation would push for changes to part of the legislation which would cut the number of free carbon permits available to aluminium producers by 1.3 per cent each

Alumina market to tend towards surplus in 2010
Reuters - Karen Norton -Tue Nov 17, 2009
Analysis

LONDON (Reuters) - Alumina producers will continue to exercise restraint all next year, but the market will be in surplus as output is still likely to outpace aluminum smelter needs.

Recent restarts and new capacity will ensure ample supplies of the intermediate material, used to produce primary aluminum. Thiswill act as a cap on prices and, if anything, they will drift lower.

Ralston Johnson of Brook Hunt, the metals arm of consultancy Wood Mackenzie, said he expected the alumina market to record a 1.0 to 1.5 million tonnes surplus next year.

"The surplus will be large enough for people to know that alumina is readily available, that there's no shortage," Johnson told Reuters.

Outside top aluminum producer China, he predicted little demand for the material from reactivations of smelter capacity, mothballed after the slump in global aluminum consumption from the key car and construction industries.

But he thought alumina producers could moderate their output to reduce over-supply if prices trended below costs.

"I don't expect prices to revisit the March lows," Johnson added, predicting an average of $270 a tonne next year.

By March, in the depths of the global economic crisis, spot alumina prices had fallen to around $180 a tonne.

They have recovered in recent months and stand at around $300 a tonne on an Australia FOB basis, due partly to production cuts, as well as higher energy and aluminum prices.

Stronger aluminum prices help to support prices for alumina sold through long-term contracts -- which are normally settled at 12-13 percent of the London Metal Exchange (LME) cash aluminum price.

Global aluminum prices rose sharply after falling to a seven-year low of $1,279 a tonne in late February.

By August, the LME three-months price had risen to $2,115 and has since held on to most of those gains. At 1220 GMT they were indicated at $2,032/42 a tonne.

Some analysts expect production and smelter demand for alumina to be evenly matched and limit price declines in 2010.

"Alumina prices are not going to move too far from current levels," said Nikhil Shah, of industry consultants CRU Group.

"I don't think we're going to see prices significantly below $250/260 a tonne. There's good support above that level."

CHINA ACTS QUICKLY

Independent consultant James King said swift cutbacks by marginal producer China had prevented prices falling even lower than the $180 reached in March.

In a real slump they could have dropped as low as $130.

"Chinese producers open and close more rapidly than Western producers. Their behavior has stabilized the market. It's probably why prices are where they are now," he said.

King forecasts global smelter grade alumina output will rise to 77.65 million tonnes next year from 71.6 million this year. Consumption by smelters in 2010 would be lower at around 75.2 million tonnes.

For a graphic on James King's figures for production and consumption of metallurgical alumina and average annual spot alumina prices in recent years click on: here

NEW CAPACITY

A large amount of new alumina refinery capacity is set to come on stream in the next few years, mainly in Brazil, but also in China, Australia and India.

Some 16.0 million tonnes per year could be added by 2013, which means some capacity idled in the recent downturn might need to stay closed permanently, according to King.

"There may well be permanent shutdowns in the U.S., Canada and Western Europe, but not Australia, Jamaica and Suriname," he said, suggesting partial reductions rather than full scale refinery closures.

For now he estimated around 92 percent of the industry was covering operating costs at current price levels, with 82 percent covering total costs.

Alumina restarts in China are being absorbed by domestic smelter demand growth, but outside there it's a somewhat different picture.

Johnson referred to recent restarts of mothballed production in Canada, the United States, Ireland and Romania.

"There's not much in the way of metal restarts to soak that up," he said.

(Editing by James Jukwey)

Bahrain Runs Out of Hydrocarbons and Goes Looking for Solar

MetalMiner - November 17th, 2009

–Stuart Burns

You would think Bahrain in the Arabian Gulf would not have an energy problem, site of Oil Well Number One in 1931, the first oil strike in the Gulf. Bahrain is the original Arab oil state, yet it will also be the first to run out of oil. Declining production in the 1970’s spurred the government to diversify its economy, using gas once flared off as waste to fuel new industries such as aluminum refining and petrochemicals. The result today is that Bahrain has one of the most varied economies in the region, with a modest manufacturing base and decades-old factories and smelting plants. And there lies a large part of the problem; those industries rely on cheap power for their very existence. Set up in 1968 to produce some 56,000 metric tons a year of primary aluminum, Aluminium Bahrain – Alba – can now produce up to 880,000 metric tons of aluminum a year, making its smelter the second largest in the Middle East after a similar facility in Dubai. The company employs more than 3,000 out of a total population of only 760,000 and contributes about 12% of gross domestic product. As important, it feeds a wider industry of rolling mills, cable manufacturers and foil manufacturers vital to a Bahraini economy with declining oil and gas revenues.

According to a Financial Times report, Bahrain’s natural gas reserves are in decline. Reserve estimates stand at about 84bn cu mtrs, with this figure expected to fall to 75bn by 2011, making the discovery of new resources or increased imports essential to keep Bahrain’s existing heavy industries afloat and ensure the lights stay on in Manama. The problem is both industry and the population have become used to cheap power and gasoline. If Bahrain were to divert oil and gas reserves to feed public needs, their industry would suffer and vice-versa. Of all the renewable options, only solar is practical in much of the Arabian Gulf. There is no hydro, wind is too weak and tidal activity is too low. But NCB Capital cites a study by Franz Trieb of the German Aerospace Centre quoted in another report, which states that Arabia’s large desert regions receive annually average solar energy equivalent to 1.5m barrels of oil per sq km. Nor are they short of large tracts of non arable land, estimated at 98.3% of the land mass by the same NCB report.

With plenty of otherwise valueless land, an average of 9 hours of sunshine a day, little seasonal variation and virtually no cloud cover, Bahrain sounds ideal for solar. But whether Bahrain will choose to use a comparatively expensive power source like photovoltaic or thermal solar, which could arguably be economic for domestic and light industrial use but has little prospect of being economic for aluminum smelters, to continue to produce primary aluminum remains to be seen. There is even talk of setting up an LNG import terminal following the failure to negotiate gas supplies from neighbors like Qatar who have announced a moratorium on any new gas deals. It would seem Bahrain is not alone in the Gulf region to fear the end of cheap natural resources. It doesn’t seem like long ago that the Middle East’s oil and gas reserves seemed limitless. All good things come to an end.

Balco vice president arrested for power plant tragedy
Thaindian.com - November 17th, 2009
Raipur, Nov 17 (IANS) After evading arrest for more than a month, Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd (Balco) vice president Viral Mehta and two others have been nabbed in connection with the Sep 23 tragedy in which at least 41 workers were killed when an under-construction chimney caved in.

As many as 41 disfigured bodies of contracted workers were retrieved from the mishap site at Korba town, some 250 km from here where the Balco plant is located, while dozens of people engaged in the construction work were still missing.

"Mehta, who was also project manager of the power plant, and two other officials Deepak Narang, associate general manager, and Anup Mahapatra, graduate engineer (trainee), attached with the project were arrested Monday night at Korba town," Ratanlal Dangi, district superintendent of police, Korba, told IANS.

Vedanta Resources Plc-controlled Balco, in which the Indian government holds a 49 percent stake, had awarded a Chinese firm Shandong Electric Power Construction Corporation (SEPCO) the task of constructing two thermal power plants of 600 MW each at Korba.

Later, SEPCO outsourced the work of the construction of a 257-metre chimney to Gannon Dunkerley and Company Ltd (GDCL).

Korba police had registered a case against Balco soon after the accident that created wide resentment in Chhattisgarh against the aluminium major. GDCL project manager Manoj Sharma had been arrested Oct 7 on charges of several lapses, including using sub-standard construction material for the chimney.

Police had also interrogated about 20 Chinese engineers employed by SEPCO at Korba but have not yet arrested any SEPCO staff.

The Chhattisgarh government had accused Balco of "doing little" for the families of the workers killed in the accident and ordered a judicial probe.

A single-member judicial commission of Sandeep Bakhshi, the district and sessions court judge here, has begun investigating the tragedy.

Venezuela leaves out Bauxilum and Carbonorca form national aluminum entity by error
Steelguru - Tuesday, 17 Nov 2009
BNamericas cited Mr Ivan Hernandez the deputy ministry of basic industries and mining of Venezuela as saying that excluding state companies Bauxilum and Carbonorca from the decree creating the Venezuelan national aluminium corporation was probably a mistake.

The official said that "It's likely that these companies were left out because of an unintentional error."

In the decree published in Venezuela's official gazette announcing the creation of the new state aluminium corporation, bauxite and alumina producer Bauxilum and carbon anode producer Carbonorca were not listed as being part of the new entity. Although the goal of the corporation is to take over management of all companies involved in the aluminium production process, from the extraction of raw materials to fabrication, the decree excluded the 2 key companies.

According to the decree the companies that will make up the new corporation are Alcasa, Venalum, Cabelum, Alunasa, Alucasa and the aluminium rolling social production company.

(Sourced from Business News Americas)

Russia's EN+, Montenegro to share ownership, cut jobs in deal to save KAP
Balkans.com Business News - Petar Komnenic - 18.11.2009
Russia's En+ Group will relinquish majority control of Montenegro's only aluminum plant by transferring half its stake to the government in a deal that will also slash the workforce at the smelter and a nearby mine.

En+ Group, owned by Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, said the government of Montenegro would issue guarantees of up to 135 million euros in debt before the end of this year to cover loan repayments and redundancies at Kombinat Aluminijuma Podgorica, or KAP ().

En+ and Montenegro will each own 29.365% of the smelter after completion of the deal, which will end an international legal dispute between the two. En+ said it had retained the right to buy the shares back from the government later on. Minority shareholders will retain their 41.3% stake.

About 2,300 employees -- 59% of the workforce -- at KAP and an associated bauxite mine, Rudnici Boxita Niksic, will lose their jobs in the restructuring.

Montenegro's economy draws heavily on KAP, which contributes over 15% of the tiny country's GDP and accounted for 41% of its exports in the first eight months of 2009.

En+ () and the government plan to invest 39 million euros in the smelter over the next five years, while the agreement also sets a new price formula for electricity supplied to KAP by state-owned power company EPCG.

Source: Reuters, Balkans.com Business News

Massive Brazilian power blackout may short circuit future mining ventures

Mineweb - Thursday , 12 Nov 2009

A four-hour blackout, which plunged half of Brazil into darkness Tuesday, could be one indication of the inability of the country's power infrastructure to cope with commodity sector booms.

Author: Dorothy Kosich

A power outage that plunged as many as 60 million people and half of Brazil in darkness Tuesday may indicate Brazil's power infrastructure is not adequate to reliably serve its mushrooming commodity-based economy.

Transmission problems at a power substation in Parana state apparently caused a disruption at the Itaipu dam, one of the world's largest operating hydroelectric plants, left 16 of Brazil's 27 states and part of Paraguay in the dark. Itaipu generates 19.3% of Brazil's electricity and 87.3% of Paraguay's power needs.

Almost all of Brazil's electricity runs through an interconnected network. Mauricio Tolmasquim, president of Brazil's Energy Research Agency, told Bloomberg, "Brazil has the largest integrated power grid in the world; it's fantastic because it facilitates electricity between regions, but the domino effect that happens when we have a problem is a major inconvenience."

In contrast, the U.S. relies on three main regional power grids.

Tolmasquim estimates that investments in the power industry have totaled $10 billion since 2003. However, he added, "The government will have to look into the question of how to restore electricity more quickly. Allowing major urban centers like Rio and Sao Paulo to be without power for more than three hours is not acceptable."

Commodity-based companies including Vale, Gerdau and Petroleo Brasileiro suspended production because of the lack of electricity. Brazil's Mines and Energy Ministry said Rio de Janeiro was the only state left completely in the dark. The world's largest iron ore producer, Vale, is based in Rio de Janeiro.

A spokeswoman for Vale told Bloomberg that operations in Minas Gerais and Espirito Santa states were affected by the blackout. Vale's southern system includes mines that account for more than half of Vale's overall iron-ore production capacity, as well as railroad and port operations.

Vale's operations in the north and northeast which include the Albras primary aluminum smelter were believed not to be impacted by the outage.

Maintenance problems contributed to another major power outage in Espirito Santa state in 2007.

The blackout, which began at 10:13 p.m. local time on Tuesday and lasted four hours, also affected the states of Goias, Parana, and Mata Grosso, which all have mining districts, as well as the coal mining region of Santa Catarina.

Adriano Pires of the Brazilian Center for Infrastructure Studies has argued for years that the country's electric transmission lines, which have been neglected for decades, are unable to handle the added demand created by a commodities boom, and were vulnerable to a huge outage/

However, Brazil President Lula da Silva insisted the blackout was an isolated incident that had nothing to due to a lack of investment in the energy sector. The Ministry of Mines and Energy has claimed that adverse weather conditions caused three transmission lines to collapse. These lines triggered a domino effect that caused the Itaipu dam to go offline.

Itaipu officials say they have feared that transmission problems between the Brazilian states of Parana and Sao Paulo would cause energy breakdowns. The transmission is controlled by Brazilian state company Furnas Central Electric. The Itaipu hydroelectric plant returned to normal operation by early Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Times reported the global financial crisis has forced the postponement of costly long-distance power transmission lines, each costing at least $1 billion. The crisis has also delayed other infrastructure projects

Nevertheless, the Lula Administration has constructed new thermoelectric plants that help prevent blackouts during times of low rain, while increasing connections within the national grid that permit easier movement of electricity. Brazil also plans to build four nuclear reactors.

Otavio Santoro, executive director of the consultant Indeco Energy, told Reuters that the blackout problems should not be affecting so many states. "The energy ministry needs to improve coordination so that these problems can be isolated."

He said projects, such as the controversial proposed Belo Monte dam in the state of Para in the Amazon, would give the energy system greater stability. However, the proposed dam would directly impact the Paquiçamba reserve of the Juruna indigenous people and flood 400 square miles of forest and agricultural lands.

Jose Soares, who researches Brazilian infrastructure for Moody's, told the Wall Street Journal, "There was obviously some failure, either technical or human. The problem is the magnitude, and they should provide a clear answer as to why this won't happen in the future."

To compound Brazil's problems, the blackout has now raised questions about the country's ability to host the World Cup and the Olympics over the next seven years.

Ironically, a series of blackouts between 1999 and 2001 were exploited as an election issue that hurt former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and resulted in Lula's elected as Brazil's President.

Rusal Nears Debt Deal Key to IPO .ArticleCommentsmore in World Markets »
Wall Street Journal - 13-Nov-2009
By GREGORY L. WHITE and ALEXANDER KOLYANDR

MOSCOW—UC Rusal is close to a deal to restructure $7.4 billion in debt to foreign banks, a key condition for an initial public offering of the Russian metal giant planned for December, people familiar with the situation said.

The debt deal, which bankers said is probably the largest and most complex of the restructurings undertaken by debt-swamped Russian companies, is likely to be announced as early as next week after approvals by creditor banks are completed, these people said.

Rusal CEO Oleg Deripaska, in September, would remain the firm's largest shareholder if its IPO goes forward.

."All the terms are agreed," said one person close to the talks.

The long-delayed deal is aimed at allowing Rusal breathing space to repay $16 billion in debt built up when metal prices were at record highs before the financial crisis hit last year.

The IPO, which is still in the planning phases and could be delayed if market conditions aren't favorable, is aimed at raising cash to help repay creditors. Hong Kong regulators are expected to approve the company's listing at a regular meeting Nov. 19; Rusal has also applied for a secondary listing in Paris.

Asian investors are Rusal's main target, and the company and its bankers have been talking to major state-owned companies in China, as well as government-owned funds across the region, about taking major stakes, according to people familiar with the situation. Rusal plans to offer a 10% stake in the IPO, raising as much as $2.5 billion.

A Rusal spokesman declined to comment.

The debt deal, initially agreed to in July, extends over seven years, during the first four of which principal will be paid on a "pay if you can" basis. Interest rates will vary depending on how much debt the company is able to pay down. The plan targets a total of $5 billion in repayments by the end of 2013 and prohibits dividend payments until debt levels are reduced, according to previous Rusal statements.

Only one major creditor, tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov, will convert a substantial part of the $2.8 billion Rusal owes him into equity, ending up with a stake of as much as 19% in the company as a result of the deal, up from 14%. Western banks could get warrants for a small stake, people close to the deal said, while the Russian state bank that made a $4.5 billion bailout loan a year ago has agreed to extend that until late 2010. Mr. Prokhorov wasn't available for comment.

In the IPO, founder and Chief Executive Oleg Deripaska will see his 56.8% stake reduced to just below 50%, but will remain Rusal's largest shareholder, according to people close to the company. Other shareholders are Soviet-born billionaires Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik, as well as trading company Glencore International. Messrs. Deripaska, Vekselberg and Blavatnik, as well as Glencore, weren't available for comment.

Preparations for the IPO have led Rusal, one of Russia's most secretive companies, to disclose the details of its finances to investors for the first time. In a presentation to analysts last month, Mr. Deripaska and his colleagues laid out details of the company's profitability, according to people familiar with the meeting.

Materials from that session, viewed by The Wall Street Journal, show that Rusal said that before the crisis hit it enjoyed fatter profit margins than its main global competitors. Rusal had $1.4 billion in net profit on $8.4 billion in revenue in the first half of 2008. In the first half of 2009, when prices and demand plunged, revenue dropped to $3.8 billion, with a net loss of $784 million.

The company sharply cut costs this year, reducing the cash cost of producing a ton of aluminum by about 25%, according to the presentation.

Mr. Deripaska's legal problems have added a level of intrigue to the offering. In London, a former Deripaska associate is suing for what he says is a 13% stake in the company Mr. Deripaska owes him, a claim that Mr. Deripaska denies. U.S. officials, meanwhile, have refused to grant him an entry visa because of allegations of links to organized crime. He rejects those.
Write to Gregory L. White at greg.white@wsj.com and Alexander Kolyandr at Alexander.Kolyandr@dowjones.com

VHE of Iceland has developed the Stimir robust rotary crusher.
Azom.com - 13-Nov-2009
The unit is suitable for pre-crushing of large bath pieces.
At Alcan Iceland, and at Nordural also in Iceland, the Stimir bath crusher is used to process bath emptied from spent anode transport trays. Bath is crushed to 200-250mm and is discharged to join the main bath conveyor from the anode cleaning machines.

A similar crusher design is also available to pre-process large pieces of anode butt.

Check out other interesting technology articles at http://www.azom.com/news.asp?newsID=19709

UC RUSAL - Comments on the Chinese Market

ACN Newswire (press release) - Nov 13, 2009

Moscow, Below is the commentary today by Artem Volynets, Director of Corporate Strategy of UC RUSAL, the world's largest producer of aluminium and alumina, on the Chinese market:

"UC RUSAL is actually an Asian company. 80% of UC RUSAL's aluminium production facilities are located in Asia, the key smelters are just 500 km from the Chinese border, much closer to Beijing that to Moscow or London. The transportation costs and delivery timeline of Siberia-produced aluminium to China are minimal. Delivery cost from Vanino to Shanghai is only USD$15/ tonne.

It is common knowledge that China is short on energy, it has to buy oil. As aluminium production is a highly energy consuming industry, it is a waste of energy for a country that imports energy to produce aluminium. Such countries are moving into higher value added products and turn into aluminium importers. Japan and Korea have already done that and focused on downstream. That is the path that China is now taking.

UC RUSAL is a natural partner for China. We do not plan to compete with the traders. We are planning to have seven to eight such large customers like China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) that are looking for a long-term reliable supplier of high quality aluminium.

NORINCO contract is a breakthrough trend setting development for the Chinese market. It represents a change in their business philosophy. Before this Chinese market was balanced, now it is shifting to import.

It is noteworthy that global consumption of aluminium has mostly shifting to Asia.

UC RUSAL is the only company that could satisfy the needs of the rapidly growing Chinese economy. We are the only aluminium producer that could quickly launch a considerable amount of new capacities that will be again favorably located in proximity to China. Other companies either could not expand so quickly or are limited by their own production circle.

As for the joint projects, we will secure contracts with large consumers like NORINCO or provide our potential partners access to the raw materials resource to jointly develop them."

DJ Hydro Opens 50,000 Ton Aluminum Remelt Unit At German Plant
Trading Markets (press release) - Fri. November 13, 2009
LONDON, Nov 13, 2009 (Dow Jones Commodities News Select via Comtex) -- NHYDY | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- Norsk Hydro ASA (NHY.OS) Friday opened a 50,000 metric ton a year aluminum remelt facility at its Alunorf plant in Neuss, Germany, raising the company's total German annual recycling capacity to 150,000 tons.

The new EUR16.6 million recycling furnace processes scrap metal into high-quality aluminum Hydro said, and will help cut the company's carbon emissions.

Recycling aluminum uses only 5% of the energy needed to produce primary aluminum, saving around 1 million tons of carbon dioxide compared with average European primary aluminum production.

Alunorf is the world's biggest aluminum remelting and rolling facilities, and is a joint venture between Hydro and Novelis.

The new unit improves the flexibility of the Alunorf

Middle East Aluminium 2010
MEED (subscription) - 11 November, 2009
MEED’s Aluminium conference is a comprehensive overview of the MENA aluminium production and processing sector, and its place in the global market. The conference is your opportunity to meet and do effective business with the region’s smelters, producers and downstream players, along with all the key international raw materials and technology providers. You’ll be developing strategies to develop and promote a sustainable downstream sector in the Middle East.
In 2010 the event is growing, with dedicated streams for the upstream production and smelter side of the industry, and for the downstream processing and fabrication sector. We’re matching this technical focus on the local challenges, with international plenary session focusing on the macro issues and the place of the Middle East in the global aluminium sector.
2010 sees the ramping up of production by Qatalum and Emal, among the biggest smelters in the world. You’ll get business critical insight into their challenges and ambtions as they move from the project phase to full operations.
Date: 5th - 17th March 2010

Venue: Address Hotel, Dubai Marina, Dubai, UAE

Email/ phone: vents@meed.com

+971 (0) 4 390 0699 or

+971 (0) 4 390 0049

To register or download the brochure, visit:

www.meed.com/events/aluminium

Deripaska’s Rusal May Offer Assets to China for IPO Support
Bloomberg.com Nov. 13, 2009 By Yuriy Humber
Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s aluminum producer United Co. Rusal may offer stakes in smelters and mines to Chinese companies to ensure the success of its initial public offering in Hong Kong, analysts said.

The world’s largest maker of the metal plans to sell a 10 percent stake to help repay more than $14 billion of debt. Rusal may seek to win Chinese state-owned companies as investors by offering production joint ventures and access to raw materials, said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at UralSib Financial Corp., and Eric Kraus, a strategy adviser at Otkritie Financial Co.

"The only way that Rusal can get a high valuation is if it gets a couple of big state-backed anchor investors," Weafer said in Moscow. "Chinese companies usually only buy if they can leverage this by getting access to projects or strategic assets."

Access to Rusal’s output would help China, the largest aluminum user, to secure supplies as its own production is curbed by comparatively higher costs. A deal may also cement a deepening trading relationship between the countries. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, accompanied by a delegation including Deripaska, visited China last month to clinch oil, natural gas and nuclear deals for more than $100 billion.

Rusal, which intends to proceed with the IPO, can’t go ahead without first agreeing on a debt restructuring with foreign creditors, according to two people familiar with the situation who declined to be identified because the debt talks are private. A postponement would mean delaying the offering until at least March to allow for Chinese New Year, one of the people said.

New Customers

Rusal plans to win over seven or eight major customers in China to secure long-term deliveries of aluminum, Rusal’s Head of Strategy Artem Volynets said by e-mail in response to questions from Bloomberg News.

"We will secure contracts with large consumers or provide our potential partners access to the raw material resource to jointly develop them," Volynets said.

Rusal’s debt almost doubled last year after it bought 25 percent of OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s biggest mining company, for $7 billion in cash and a 14 percent Rusal stake. Commodity prices subsequently collapsed, and Rusal had a net loss of $6 billion last year, Vedomosti reported last month. Rusal received $4.5 billion from Vnesheconombank in October 2008, the biggest state bailout of any Russian company.

Political Interests

Rusal is in talks with potential investors including China Investment Corp., a Chinese sovereign wealth fund, and Singaporean fund Temasek Holdings Pte, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported last month. State-controlled Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., also known as Chalco, looked at the IPO and decided against buying a stake, Caijing magazine reported Oct. 12.

"It would be naive to conceive Rusal’s IPO as a purely financial transaction with no political interests," said Kraus, who helps Asian clients invest in Russia. "It would make sense that the Chinese would be looking for an entry in a more energy- efficient aluminum smelting project via Rusal."

The utilization of China’s aluminum smelting capacity dropped to 69 percent by July, while the global rate was 81 percent, according to Chalco’s Web site. Electricity is the biggest cost for aluminum producers. China’s aluminum industry is 86 percent reliant on coal-fired generation, while Rusal sources most of its electricity from hydropower plants, some of them owned by Deripaska.

Higher Valuation

That has helped make Rusal more profitable last year than Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. producer, and Beijing-based Chalco, Vedomosti reported last month, citing a Rusal presentation to analysts.

Rusal also may obtain a higher valuation in Hong Kong compared with other locations. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng benchmark index trades at an estimated price-to-earnings ratio of 17.8 for 2010, compared with 14.7 for the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index. The ratio of Chalco’s enterprise value to its estimated 2010 earnings is 17, while New York-based Alcoa’s is 9, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Enterprise value is calculated by adding market capitalization to preferred equity, minority interest and total debt, minus cash and equivalents.

Smelting aluminum in Siberia, where Rusal has plants, would offer China a chance to "get serious about closing down its own production," said Lochlann Toolin, a partner with Balor Capital Management LLC, a commodity-trading fund in New York. "China has been talking for years about closing down smelters, and they should as it’s a very uneconomic use of resources."

6-Year Deal

Rusal said last week it agreed to a six-year contract to supply defense company China North Industries Corp. with 1.7 million metric tons of aluminum. Rusal’s Volynets told Dow Jones in March Rusal was in talks with Japanese and Chinese investors about Russian smelting and power projects.

In February 2008, Rusal signed an accord to build a 500,000-ton factory in China and mining complex in Guinea with China Power Investment Corp.

"Currently, Asia is where the money is," Weafer said. "Deripaska’s trying to piggyback on a theme of Russia being the raw material supplier to Asia and he’s boosting his Asian credentials."

To contact the reporter on this story: Yuriy Humber in Moscow at yhumber@bloomberg.net

DJ Chalco Delays Decision On A$2.2 Bln Queensland Refinery
Trading Markets (press release) - Mon. November 09, 2009; Posted: 04:07 PM
Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. (ACH), or Chalco, is deferring a decision to build a A$2.2 billion alumina refinery in Bowen, Queensland, and won't now make a decision on mining bauxite at Aurukun until next year, The Australian reported on its Web site Tuesday, citing Dan Foo, Chalco's Australia-based head of the mine study.

Chalco is in the final stages of evaluating the mine and refinery, and a decision will be made in the next few months but not this year, the Web site reported Foo as saying. A decision had been expected on mining bauxite at Aurukun, Cape York, and refining it at Bowen, in September or October, it said.

"The major challenge (to a refinery and mine operation) is a fundamental change to the economic landscape from two years ago," the Web site quoted Foo as saying. "We envision it will take some years before we see a recovery (in alumina markets) to pre-global economic crisis levels."

Full story: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/chalco-delays-plan-for-22bn-refinery/story-e6frg8zx-1225795907720

RusAl jitters on Wall St
Moscow News - Ed Bentley 09/11/2009

RusAl's proposed IPO is causing jitters on Wall Street where Goldman Sachs quit its position as listing adviser and bankers are worrying about dealing with debts and Oleg Deripaska.

The company, which is the world's largest aluminium producer, is hoping for a December listing in Hong Kong and Paris but is in a race against time to sort out its burgeoning loan portfolio by the listing deadline of November 19.

Troubled tycoon Deripaska, the majority shareholder in the firm, is reportedly on the verge of restructuring $7.3 billion of the firm's debts with foreign creditors, but would still need to secure the approval of more than 70 banks for the offering to take place.

"We believe RusAl may be successful in restructuring its debt ahead of its IPO, which is planned for December this year, but faces significant hurdles," said CitiBank in a research report.

A deal with fellow oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov was due to go through at the weekend a source close to RIA Novosti said, which would see Russia's richest man take a 19.16 per cent stake in the company.

Conclusion of the deal has not been confirmed but it is thought Prokhorov will convert $1.8 billion in debt to gain the extra 5.16 per cent share.

Analysts say that the IPO will be good for Russia's metals and mining sector if it goes ahead as well as for Deripaska, who is reportedly under pressure from other shareholders, including Prokhorov, to raise cash for the debt-laden firm.

"The deal could also increase the interest in the Norilsk Nickel stock, given that UC Rusal owns a 25 per cent stake in Norilsk Nickel; hence this stake has substantial value," said UBS in a note.

American bankers, however, also have concerns about Deripaska and the law suit filed against him in London by Michael Cherney, who claims he is owed a stake in the firm.

Reports in the Wall Street Journal quote a person familiar with the situation saying that investors "are just not comfortable sponsoring Deripaska."

The metals magnate recently visited the US, meeting with top bankers but his visa status in the US remains in doubt, with some reports claiming he is banned from entering and doesn't hold a visa.

Anglesey on nuclear station list
BBC News - 09-Nov-2009
The current Wylfa station is due to stop producing electricity in 2010

A new nuclear power station on Anglesey has moved a step closer after the UK government announced a list of 10 approved sites.

The inclusion of the site at Wylfa has been welcomed by the county council and Welsh Secretary Peter Hain.

Campaign group Pawb (People Against Wylfa B) said more should be done to find alternative sources of power.

The current Wylfa power station has permission to continue electricity production until December 2010.

As well as Wylfa, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband announced that other sites deemed suitable are Bradwell in Essex, Braystones, Kirksanton and Sellafield in Cumbria, Hartlepool, Heysham in Lancashire, Hinkley Point in Somerset, Oldbury in Gloucestershire, and Sizewell in Suffolk.

Anglesey council leader Clive McGregor said the announcement would give the potential developers JV - Horizon and RWE npower/e-on confidence to progress with their schedule for Wylfa.

He said the significance of the potential investment should not be underestimated as it was "in the region of £8bn".

'Long-term employment'

"This is comparable to the investment in London in preparation for the 2012 Olympics," he said.

"We must make the most of this opportunity to safeguard long-term employment on the island," he added.

A 14-week consultation period will follow the announcement of the list of potential sites.

Bryan Owen, holder of the economic development portfolio holder on Anglesey council, said it was important for everyone to have their say "whatever their stance on nuclear new build".

Public consultation events will take place on Anglesey in January 2010.

"It is important for the regional economy, and our communities, that Wylfa is part of the first wave of new nuclear developments if we are to capitalise fully on the availability of transferable skills in the area," he added.

Mr Hain said: "After the devastating blow to the island with the closure of Anglesey Aluminium recently, a new nuclear build with the jobs and investment it could provide would be a massive boost to the local economy".

Mr Hain added the island was already "proven" as suitable for nuclear generations, as the current Wylfa station had been operating for 40 years.

"However that facility is due to close and it is important for the energy security of our country that we get a new nuclear round of building started as soon as possible," he said.

"A new nuclear power station at Wylfa will provide us with a stable energy mix which includes renewable generation such as wind and tidal, as well as our investment in clean

Natural Gas for Maputo Power Stations
AllAfrica.com - 9 November 2009
Maputo — The two diesel fired back-up power stations that can provide Maputo with electricity in the event of interruption to the normal power supply are being converted to run on natural gas, according to a report in Monday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".
The publicly owned electricity company, EDM, has signed a memorandum of intentions with the National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH) to provide gas for these power stations.
The gas comes from the southern province of Inhambane, where it is extracted and treated by the South African petrochemical company Sasol. Most of the gas is exported along a pipeline to South Africa, but there is also a branch of the pipeline taking gas to the city of Matola. Some industries, notably the Mozal aluminium smelter, are already using the gas.
The two power stations can, between them, currently generate 60 megawatts of power. Once they have been converted to run on natural gas they will enable EDM to make considerable savings, since the gas will be much cheaper than imported diesel.
Augusto de Sousa Fernando, EDM's director for generation and transmission, said that after the conversion, the two power stations can be switched on at peak times, to cover any deficit. The power Maputo uses at the moment comes mostly from the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi, but is routed via South Africa.
The gas required is available. ENH chairperson Nelson Ocuane told the paper that ENH has 2.5 million gigajoules of gas a year to sell to EDM.
"Now we are dealing with the technical questions of the project", he said, "but I think that if all goes well, we can begin supplying gas to EDM as from 2011".
This project will make it viable to extend the current pipeline from Matola to Maputo. That extension is budgeted at 20 million US dollars. A gas distribution network in Maputo will cost another seven million dollars, and a further extension to Marracuene district would cost 2.5 million dollars.

RUSAL to decide on Taishet and Boguchany smelters soon
Steelguru - Wednesday, 11 Nov 2009
Interfax citing Mr Alexei Arnautov head of the aluminum giant aluminum division as saying that, United Company RUSAL will decide soon when to commission the Taishet and Boguchany smelters in Siberia.
Mr Arnautov said "The construction of the Boguchany smelter has been put on hold due to today's oversupply of the metal. A decision to resume construction has not yet been reached."
However he said the timeframe for both projects were being analyzed and that decisions should be announced before the end of this year.
Work on the Taishet smelter was suspended in July 2009. RUSAL estimates it will cost approximately USD 339 million to put the first 187,000 tonnes per annum stage of the plant on lone. RUSAL started to build the Taishet smelter back in 20006. The first stage is 60%-complete.
The USD 274-million Boguchany smelter, projected capacity 73,000 tonnes per annum is part of the Boguchany Energy and Metals Project which RUSAL is carrying out with RusHydro.
Mr Arnautov said work on the Boguchany hydro plant was progressing. "The first stage is 90% complete and it will generate its first electricity as early as the end of 2010."
Sourced from Interfax)

Smelter claims fluoride, dust cut
Gladstone Observer - Amy Glass - 12th November 2009
BOYNE Smelters Limited claimed last night it was spending millions to reduce its dust and fluoride emissions into the community.

Over 30 people gathered in Tannum Sands yesterday to discuss the newly released Boyne Smelters air emissions study, which was initiated in part after a fire at the smelter in 2007.

Attendees questioned smelter representatives on a range of environmental concerns and fears, including whether the smelter could prevent similar incidents occurring again.

Smelter general manager Brian Cooper said he was sure they would be prevented in the future.

Management from the company also acknowledged that reducing dust, fluoride and benzo(a)pyrene were the biggest issues facing the smelter.

Health, safety and environment officer Allan Milne said the study had found the smelter was "far too dusty – we need to work on reducing our dust".

Modelling had also suggested the smelter had potential for elevated levels of fluoride past the site’s boundary, he said.

However nearby vegetation showed no adverse effects from fluoride and vegetation was more sensitive than humans, he added.

Mr Cooper said the company was rebuilding its carbon bake furnace which would reduce emissions of benzo(a)pyrene.

Two more transfer stations were under construction to reduce dust spillage and 12 new cranes would be introduced, also to reduce dust spillage.

The smelter is spending $685 million on improving dust and fluoride emissions, and $30 million on the carbon bake furnace rebuild.

The two new transfer stations will cost $11 million.

Boyne Smelters Limited is the largest aluminium smelter in Australia and produced 558

Alcoa to Fix Press to Build Lockheed F-35 Jet Parts (Update1)
Bloomberg - Nov. 5 2009
Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, is set to invest $110 million to repair one of the nation’s biggest pieces of industrial machinery to help boost output for Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 fighter jet.

The 50,000-ton Cleveland Works press, which has been out of service for more than a year, will be completely disassembled and renovated in the next two years, said Bill Christopher, head of Alcoa’s engineered-products division. John Kent, a spokesman for Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed, said his company expects to extend Alcoa’s contract as a result of the commitment.

The 92-foot (28-meter) structure, with four stories above ground and four below, began production in Cleveland in 1955 and has been out of service since a crack was found in its base in August 2008. Alcoa needs the press to make aluminum-alloy bulkheads for Lockheed’s F-35 Lightning II fighter. The Pentagon is accelerating production of the jet, its largest weapons program ever at $298.8 billion.

"The F-35 absolutely is the driving factor" behind the repair, Christopher, 55, said in an interview yesterday. "The pure amount of sales and volume for the F-35 requires us to have the 50,000-ton press at full run. We are making parts today on a 35,000-ton press" that will exceed its capacity as production of the fighter ramps up.

New York-based Alcoa aims to complete the project by the end of 2011’s second quarter, aided by $21 million in state and local tax credits, Christopher said.

10-Year Contract

Alcoa won a 10-year, $360 million contract from Lockheed in 2007 to supply parts for the F-35, including structural supports that can weigh as much as 6,000 pounds each and reach 23 feet in length. About $24 million of the refurbishments are specifically related to testing and processing equipment for the F-35, Christopher said.

Lockheed and Alcoa are negotiating an extension of that contract as part of Alcoa’s decision to commit to the costly repair, Christopher and Kent both said. Both declined to give details.

"We are pleased to learn that Alcoa is undertaking a full renovation of its 50,000-ton press," Kent said in an e-mail. "The renovation of the 50,000-ton press will help ensure that the expansion and maintenance of F-35 production continues without interruption throughout the life of the program."

There has been no impact to F-35 production so far as a result of the issues with the 50,000-ton press, Kent said. Production with Alcoa’s existing presses will allow sufficient capacity for F-35 production demands well into the middle of the next decade, he said.

Precision Castparts Corp. owns the only other 50,000-ton press in the U.S., in Grafton, Massachusetts. Both machines were a result of U.S. Air Force investments as part of the Heavy Press Program in the 1950s, according to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The society has registered both the presses as landmarks.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edmond Lococo in Boston at elococo@bloomberg.net.

Corporation keeps Coega dream alive
Business Day - Nov 4, 2009

WAY back in 1997, there was an air of excitement in the Port Elizabeth area after a feasibility study had shown that a deep-water port and industrial development zone at Coega, 22km outside the city, was indeed viable.

This was going to be the first industrial development zone in SA and bore the hallmarks of success. Substantial investment in power stations in the 1970s and 1980s had left SA with a surfeit of electricity generating capacity.

Naturally, power-hungry investors were the ideal suitors.

If ever there was such a thing as a match made in heaven, this was it. In fact, Gencor’s (now Billiton’s) search for a site for its proposed zinc refinery was one of the stimuli for the Coega dream.

The promoters of the zone — initially the Port Elizabeth Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry and later the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) — had a number of other prospective investors in their sights.

This year is the 10th anniversary of the CDC. The optimism about Coega is still there.

Projects planned for the site include PetroSA’s 10bn crude oil refinery. The plant is expected to come on line either late in 2014 or early 2015.

Kwezi Tiya, CDC business development executive manager, says as at March this year, 22 investors had signed lease agreements to locate in the industrial development zone. These cover sectors such as chemicals, logistics, motor vehicle components and manufacturing. The corporation says it has attracted investments worth R31,2bn to date.
But the Coega vision of the 1990s has dimmed somewhat.

Cheap electricity has ceased to be a hook with which to lure investors.

"For many years, SA’s industrialisation agenda was underpinned by cheap electricity. That era came to an abrupt stop in 2007-8 when, for the first time in decades, the country experienced blackouts and Eskom started rationing electricity to industrial users," CDC chairman Moss Ngoasheng says.

Corporation CEO Pepi Silinga says the availability of cheap and abundant electricity was the backbone of SA’s industrial strategy.

"This competitive advantage has since been eliminated because of the electricity supply shortages," he says.

Paul Jordan, deputy chairman of corporation, says SA has swung from a position where it had an excess electricity capacity of 5GWh "to nothing".

The Coega industrial development zone has had to adapt to the changes. He says Coega’s initial mandate was to attract foreign direct investment.

"But our objective now is jobs. All of us have to put on our thinking caps and come up with jobs," Jordan says.

The corporation has adopted four new sectors which it considers areas of priority — petrochemicals, biofuels, business process outsourcing and skills development.

The obsession with the concept of an anchor tenant has also disappeared.

Silinga this week jokingly wondered if the concept had not become a swearword these days.

Reliance on anchor tenants has proven to be risky. There is always the question of what happens if such an investor pulls out. Does the Coega cookie crumble every time a multinational pulls out?

The corporation suffered a setback last month when Eskom, Rio Tinto Alcan, the Industrial Development Corporation and the Department of Trade and Industry announced the cancellation of a power-supply agreement for a proposed aluminium smelter in the zone because of electricity woes facing SA.

The planned smelter had been the electricity-intensive anchor tenant that was supposed to underpin the whole zone. Silinga says CDC has been seeking an aluminium smelter investment since 2001.

Silinga says CDC has had to make a number of changes over the years, much like a snake shedding its skin in order to grow. "It is a painful process," Silinga says.

He says corporation has undergone a review of its mandate, resulting in a switch from an industrial development company focusing on the Coega zone to a services group. "The outcome of the strategic review … has positioned the organisation to minimise the adverse impact of the economic recession," Silinga says.

In the past financial year, the corporation generated revenue of more than R55,3m.

njobenis@bdfm.co.za

Jamalco on track for record production
radiojamaica.com - Saturday, 07 November 2009
Clarendon-based bauxite/alumina company Jamalco says it will be ending the 2009 financial year with record production figures.

This is despite the ongoing recession and the closure of other local bauxite/alumina companies.

In a release, Jamalco said it is on tract to produce 100,000 metric tonnes of alumina above its previous record in 2006.

Adlai Robinson, Jamalco's Production Manager says several factors contributed to this year's production figures.

"Our two partners, Alcoa and the Jamaican Government have been able to find markets for our quality alumina and this helps us to find markets which have also allowed us to produce above our best year ever which was 2006 and to be able to sell it," he said.

Mr. Robinson added that Jamalco's production record is also being helped by the extended closure of other local alumina refineries which has resulted in added pressure on the company to perform.

According to him, Jamalco has risen to the challenge with increased production and improved efficiencies while reducing maintenance cost by 50%.

Minister says VALCO key in country's economic transformation
Accra Daily Mail - 04-Nov-2009
Accra, Nov. 4, GNA - Ms Hannah Tetteh, the Trade and Industry Minister, on Wednesday said a properly positioned Volta Aluminium Company Limited (VALCO) "holds a significant place in Ghana's economic transformation agenda."

She said at a long-term metal price of some amount per tonne, the Smelter operations "alone would reap revenue of at least 500 million dollars at full business potential."

"VALCO's operations would inject revenue of about 300 million dollars, (not counting the multiplier effect) into Ghana's economy through the Volta River Authority power purchases, income tax/value added tax, VALCO fund, property rate, port charges, local purchases, indirect labour, local contractors, etc.," the Minister said.

She said these when she appeared before Parliament to respond to a question on why VALCO was closed down and whether the Ministry had plans to re-open it.

The Minister said VALCO's history of shut downs was attributable to inadequate supply of electric power.

"However, the current shut down which occurred on January 3, 2009 was mainly due to the effects of the global economic down meltdown."

She said the global aluminium market began deteriorating and the result, among others, was a drastic reduction in the demand for aluminium, the metal used in the housing and auto industry for windows, doors, engine casing and other like products.

"Consequently, the London Metal Exchange aluminium price which is used world-wide as a benchmark, which was about 3,071 dollars, in July, 2008 slumped down to about 1,490 dollars a metric ton by December, 2008."

"This situation made it uneconomical for VALCO to continue to operate. Therefore on January 3, 2009 the facility, like several others around the globe, had to be shut down to re-start when conditions improved."

She said the shut-down led to a sizeable redundancy but added that the conditions that triggered the shut-down in January this year, have improved because aluminium prices recovered.

Again, she said, the low level of the Akosombo dam due to low rainfall and drought, which led to insufficient power, has also improved.

"The combination of a reasonably good metal price and the improved energy outlook puts VALCO in a favourable position to re-start the smelter facility so Ghana can continue to reap the full benefits that an operating VALCO makes possible."

"It is significant to note that VALCO currently has in stock substantial amounts of major raw materials to get the plant running for at least three months before replenishments are required."

"It is estimated that at least two months will be required to hire employees, train and re-train then and to re-commission the equipment before actual manufacturing operations start," the Minister said.

Valco to restart melter operations
Ghana Broadcasting Corporation - 04-Nov-2009
Valco will restart its melter facilities in the first quarter of next year due to improved energy out-look and favourable metal price. The melter facility was shut down in January this year as a result of inadequate supply of electric power and the effect of the global economic meltdown.

The Minister for Trade and Industry, Hannah Tetteh announced this in parliament today following a question by the MP for Ashaiman, Alfred Agbesi on why Valco was closed down.

Former Koenig & Vits owner buys Canadian aluminum mill
Herald Times Reporter - November 4, 2009
MANITOWOC — The former owner of Koenig & Vits, Tim Martinez, has purchased a closed aluminum mill in Canada, according to a report in Tuesday's edition of Le Nouvelliste, a French-language newspaper in Quebec.

Martinez had announced in August that his aluminum rolling mill on Mirro Drive, now in receivership after Manitowoc County Circuit Court action removed Martinez from control in October, was the winning bidder on the Quebec manufacturing plant that closed in November 2008. Martinez' winning bid was reportedly $17 million.

On Tuesday, Martinez had no comment when asked about the Canadian acquisition. In September, Martinez had said that from marketing and banking perspectives, it is "easier to run (two) plants than one."

Court documents filed in Manitowoc claimed Martinez owes millions to various creditors including $6.7 million to Community Bank

St Ann Bauxite, Gramercy Alumina see US$19-m revenue in Sep quarter
Jamaica Observer - Nov 3, 2009
St Ann Bauxite in Jamaica and Gramercy Alumina in the US collectively earned US$19 million (J$1.6 billion) in revenues for the September quarter for its US-based parent company Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation.

It is the first quarter since Noranda fully acquired both operations from Century Aluminum Company.

"Third quarter 2009 upstream revenues also included approximately $19 million from Gramercy and St Ann external shipments of alumina and bauxite in September," confirmed the company in its October 27 released financials.

For the third quarter of 2009, Noranda "expects to report net income in the range of US$1 million to US$8 million, compared to a net loss of $12.1 million in second quarter of 2009 and $22.4 million in third quarter 2008" the company stated on the preliminary financials.

On August 31, Noranda completed the full acquisition of St Ann and Gramercy operations from Century.

The company said the acquisition would allow it to "vertically integrate" its operations by securing alumina for its aluminium operations. Noranda and Century had a 50/50 joint venture in St Ann and Gramercy. Century and Noranda will, however, enter into an agreement under which Century will purchase alumina from Gramercy in 2009 and 2010.

Noranda's 50 per cent stake in the joint venture earned it US$15.1 million in EBITDA over the 12 months ending in June. Noranda however wrote off US$80.3 million in impairment which related to "its equity-method investment" in St Ann and Gramercy.

Century and Noranda jointly acquired Gramercy and St Ann from Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation in 2004. Gramercy operates a 1.2 million metric tonne-per-year annual capacity alumina refinery located in Louisiana and St Ann owns and operates a 4.8 million-tonne-per-year annual capacity bauxite-mining operation in Jamaica. As a result of the economic crisis, Gramercy and St Ann have been producing at approximately 50 per cent and 40 per cent of their rated capacities since early 2009.

Australia to impose AD duty on aluminium extrusions import from China
Steelguru - Friday, 06 Nov 2009
Reuters reported that Australia plans to impose a provisional dumping duty of 16 percent on certain aluminium extrusions from China starting November 6th 2009.

It said ""In reaching this preliminary decision, Customs and Border Protection is satisfied that the dumped and subsidized goods appear to have caused material injury to the Australian industry producing like goods."

The Australian customs authorities launched an investigation into the case in June and are due to report to the Minister of Home Affairs with recommendations on or before April 15, 2010 on whether to publish a dumping duty notice.

It is unclear the volume of extrusions shipped to Australia from China, but a source familiar with the investigation said earlier this year China's extrusions exports ballooned in the first quarter.

The action followed Canada's decision in March to impose dumping and subsidizing tariffs on Chinese extrusions.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Alcoa partners with His Royal Highness the PRP
teelgru - Friday, 06 Nov 2009
Alcoa announced that it is partnering with The Prince’s Rainforests Project an environmental initiative started by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to protect the rainforests and tackle climate change. Alcoa joins with corporate, NGOs and other groups to support Prince Charles’ action to protect rainforests in advance of the international climate change meeting hosted by the United Nations in Copenhagen this December.

Alcoa is aligned with and supports the Prince’s Rainforests Project’s dedication to further understanding that rainforests are critical for the planet’s survival as they regulate rainfall, preserve biodiversity, and store vast amounts of carbon.

Mr Frank Feder Alcoa VP and President of Latin America and Caribbean said that "Alcoa is committed to delivering on both the business efficiency and the stewardship of the Amazon region." Mr Feder oversaw the development of the Juruti Project, part of an Alcoa USD 2.2 billion investment in Brazil which includes a mine, port and railroad in the Amazon.

He said that "When we began this project, we declared that we will mine bauxite and return the area to the same, if not better, condition that when we initially arrived. We believe no amount of deforestation is acceptable and revegetation is the key. We will plant 15 million trees over 50 years to ensure that mined areas will be totally revegetated with native species."

In addition to the revegetation of the area, Alcoa is aiding the sustainable development of the Juruti region, including supporting infrastructure projects such as hospitals, schools, roads and water wells and investing in the people of Juruti through training programs.

Mr Feder said that "At Alcoa, we’re proud to be part of The Prince’s Rainforests Project as a positive example of sustainable development in the rainforest."

The PRP launched its Rainforest SOS campaign on September 30th 2009. The campaign will culminate at a major rainforest event to be hosted by Prince Charles in November. This event will include key leaders, NGO directors and leading figures from the business community.

Minister says VALCO key in country's economic transformation
Accra Daily Mail - 04-Nov-2009
Accra, Nov. 4, GNA - Ms Hannah Tetteh, the Trade and Industry Minister, on Wednesday said a properly positioned Volta Aluminium Company Limited (VALCO) "holds a significant place in Ghana's economic transformation agenda."

She said at a long-term metal price of some amount per tonne, the Smelter operations "alone would reap revenue of at least 500 million dollars at full business potential."

"VALCO's operations would inject revenue of about 300 million dollars, (not counting the multiplier effect) into Ghana's economy through the Volta River Authority power purchases, income tax/value added tax, VALCO fund, property rate, port charges, local purchases, indirect labour, local contractors, etc.," the Minister said.

She said these when she appeared before Parliament to respond to a question on why VALCO was closed down and whether the Ministry had plans to re-open it.

The Minister said VALCO's history of shut downs was attributable to inadequate supply of electric power.

"However, the current shut down which occurred on January 3, 2009 was mainly due to the effects of the global economic down meltdown."

She said the global aluminium market began deteriorating and the result, among others, was a drastic reduction in the demand for aluminium, the metal used in the housing and auto industry for windows, doors, engine casing and other like products.

"Consequently, the London Metal Exchange aluminium price which is used world-wide as a benchmark, which was about 3,071 dollars, in July, 2008 slumped down to about 1,490 dollars a metric ton by December, 2008."

"This situation made it uneconomical for VALCO to continue to operate. Therefore on January 3, 2009 the facility, like several others around the globe, had to be shut down to re-start when conditions improved."

She said the shut-down led to a sizeable redundancy but added that the conditions that triggered the shut-down in January this year, have improved because aluminium prices recovered.

Again, she said, the low level of the Akosombo dam due to low rainfall and drought, which led to insufficient power, has also improved.

"The combination of a reasonably good metal price and the improved energy outlook puts VALCO in a favourable position to re-start the smelter facility so Ghana can continue to reap the full benefits that an operating VALCO makes possible."

"It is significant to note that VALCO currently has in stock substantial amounts of major raw materials to get the plant running for at least three months before replenishments are required."

"It is estimated that at least two months will be required to hire employees, train and re-train then and to re-commission the equipment before actual manufacturing operations start," the Minister said.

Valco to restart melter operations
Ghana Broadcasting Corporation - 04-Nov-2009
Valco will restart its melter facilities in the first quarter of next year due to improved energy out-look and favourable metal price. The melter facility was shut down in January this year as a result of inadequate supply of electric power and the effect of the global economic meltdown.

The Minister for Trade and Industry, Hannah Tetteh announced this in parliament today following a question by the MP for Ashaiman, Alfred Agbesi on why Valco was closed down.

Former Koenig & Vits owner buys Canadian aluminum mill
Herald Times Reporter - November 4, 2009
MANITOWOC — The former owner of Koenig & Vits, Tim Martinez, has purchased a closed aluminum mill in Canada, according to a report in Tuesday's edition of Le Nouvelliste, a French-language newspaper in Quebec.

Martinez had announced in August that his aluminum rolling mill on Mirro Drive, now in receivership after Manitowoc County Circuit Court action removed Martinez from control in October, was the winning bidder on the Quebec manufacturing plant that closed in November 2008. Martinez' winning bid was reportedly $17 million.

On Tuesday, Martinez had no comment when asked about the Canadian acquisition. In September, Martinez had said that from marketing and banking perspectives, it is "easier to run (two) plants than one."

Court documents filed in Manitowoc claimed Martinez owes millions to various creditors including $6.7 million to Community Bank

St Ann Bauxite, Gramercy Alumina see US$19-m revenue in Sep quarter

Jamaica Observer - Nov 3, 2009

St Ann Bauxite in Jamaica and Gramercy Alumina in the US collectively earned US$19 million (J$1.6 billion) in revenues for the September quarter for its US-based parent company Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation.

It is the first quarter since Noranda fully acquired both operations from Century Aluminum Company.

"Third quarter 2009 upstream revenues also included approximately $19 million from Gramercy and St Ann external shipments of alumina and bauxite in September," confirmed the company in its October 27 released financials.

For the third quarter of 2009, Noranda "expects to report net income in the range of US$1 million to US$8 million, compared to a net loss of $12.1 million in second quarter of 2009 and $22.4 million in third quarter 2008" the company stated on the preliminary financials.

On August 31, Noranda completed the full acquisition of St Ann and Gramercy operations from Century.

The company said the acquisition would allow it to "vertically integrate" its operations by securing alumina for its aluminium operations. Noranda and Century had a 50/50 joint venture in St Ann and Gramercy. Century and Noranda will, however, enter into an agreement under which Century will purchase alumina from Gramercy in 2009 and 2010.

Noranda's 50 per cent stake in the joint venture earned it US$15.1 million in EBITDA over the 12 months ending in June. Noranda however wrote off US$80.3 million in impairment which related to "its equity-method investment" in St Ann and Gramercy.

Century and Noranda jointly acquired Gramercy and St Ann from Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation in 2004. Gramercy operates a 1.2 million metric tonne-per-year annual capacity alumina refinery located in Louisiana and St Ann owns and operates a 4.8 million-tonne-per-year annual capacity bauxite-mining operation in Jamaica. As a result of the economic crisis, Gramercy and St Ann have been producing at approximately 50 per cent and 40 per cent of their rated capacities since early 2009.

Carbon tax will light a slow fuse
The Australian - Alan Moran - Tue Nov 3, 2009
A form of carbon tax such as the emissions trading scheme cannot reduce global emissions unless there is agreement for a similar level of tax across all economies. That aside, the government's immediate issues are how to spend the money the tax raises, including how to avoid compensating the privatised brown coal generators for losses the tax causes.
Naturally, to ensure re-election, the Rudd government wants as much of the revenue as possible to go to voters. But the government is constrained because the tax would cripple firms that are unable to pass on all its costs. Twenty-five per cent to 35 per cent of the revenues raised are, therefore, to flow to the emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries. This has kept those firms quiet by cushioning the effects of the carbon tax on their existing assets.
That the carbon tax means nobody will again build an aluminium smelter, a steelworks or any other facility that makes use of Australian low-cost energy is not their worry. Nor, apparently, is it a concern of governments, all of which seem to envisage a dreamy, new low-energy economy that jettisons domestic consumption of our coal reserves and, eventually, our gas reserves.
Other business users also will be losers from the higher priced electricity brought about by the ETS tax. Higher energy costs will undermine the profits of all firms and even destroy some businesses. But the damage to relatively low energy users will be less easily traced to the government imposition.
The other major loser industry comprises carbon-based electricity producers. These provide 85 per cent of Australia's electricity. The ETS tax hits the brown coal generators hardest, followed by black coal generators. Notwithstanding the government's fantasy about new low-cost power generation technologies emerging, there is no alternative to the present supply profile, so it's more than likely we will see few generator departures.
Indeed, the compensation offered to the coal power stations is contingent on them remaining online when the only way the government can meet its stated carbon reduction goals is if they close down.
That aside, as with energy-intensive industries, the government has made it impossible for any firm to again build a base load power station in Australia without giving it a cast-iron carbon tax indemnification. As with the energy-intensive industries, the proposed tax will impose substantial costs on the existing generators. The most vulnerable are Victoria's privately owned brown coal generators.
Though Canberra refuses to publish its own estimates of the cost to the generators' shareholders, these are unlikely to differ from the $8billion to $10bn estimated by commissioned studies for the Victorian government and for the generators themselves.
Canberra is keen to avoid paying these costs to businesses it has already demonised as producing dirty energy. Its process has been to play the tough cop, soft cop game. The tough cop, Labor's consultant Ross Garnaut, argued that the generators should get no compensation on the (incorrect) basis that there was no tradition for such provision in Australia. Uncharacteristically, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong played the soft cop and offered $3.5bn in compensation. The Coalition is arguing for $10bn in compensation, though an unknown amount of that is to go to the state-owned black coal generators in NSW and Queensland.
The issues are perceptions of "sovereign risk" on all future foreign investment and whether a hardline approach will mean distress sales and low maintenance causing power outages. The latter is an open question but has belatedly become a concern of the Brumby government since brown coal provides 96 per cent of Victoria's supplies.
With regard to sovereign risk, it is argued that the investors bought these facilities more than five years after the 1990 Kyoto Protocol writing was on the wall, and any business risk of expropriation by regulatory taxation should have been built into their decision frameworks.
The generators would maintain that the state government sales documents contained no indication that a future government would impose a new discriminatory tax on the assets being sold, thereby reducing their value.
Nor did the opposition at the time indicate such likelihood.
If the sale was by a private enterprise that withheld information about the imposition of post-sale measures, that would significantly devalue the assets and the buyers would have legal recourse.
In fact, the generators have a better case to be compensated than emission-intensive industries, at least those built or bought in the past 15 years, since the emission-intensive industries were not bought from the government, a related branch of which is now imposing a discriminatory tax on them.
This haggling over compensation is vital to present investors and of concern also to the government, which could see some depletion of its election-buying pot of new taxes.
For the Australian economy the stakes are far greater.
The planned carbon tax regime (and opposition to nuclear generation) makes significant new power plant investment impossible. This lights a slow fuse under the economy's growth potential. Alan Moran is director of the deregulation unit at the Institute of Public Affairs.

State of the art CCPP fires Oman new aluminum smelter
Steelguru - Wednesday, 04 Nov 2009
Pepei Pennnet reported that Oman has commissioned a 1000 MW combined cycle power plant. Designed and built by Alstom at a cost of USD 476 million to supply exclusively a vast new green field aluminum smelter, the high efficiency Sohar Aluminum power plant was delivered on program and within budget.

Situated some 240 kilometers northwest of the capital Muscat, the new 1000 MW combined cycle gas turbine Sohar Aluminum power plant boasts a number of ground breaking credentials. It is the biggest of its kind in this progressive Sultanate and features Alstom’s proven combined cycle technology for aluminum applications. The purpose of the power plant is to provide power to an aluminum smelter so reliability and robustness of the power supply are the main priorities. Thus, a key design requirement was the need for highly reliable electricity generation in order to secure the constant power demand of the smelter over the entire year and throughout its life. Additionally, the plant was designed to accommodate large power load changes from the aluminum smelter and restore power rapidly if required.

Construction of the innovative captive power plant has survived hurricanes and achieved compliance with strictly observed industrial emissions and health and safety laws to secure its rightful place as one of the most challenging projects in the region in recent years.

Built by Alstom on a turnkey engineering, procurement and construction and commissioning basis, the power plant is based on Alstom’s proven and mature KA13E2 combined cycle technology, which has over five million operating hours worldwide. This technology provides not only high plant efficiency but also exceptional operational availability. Several references dedicated to aluminum plants demonstrate the high reliability of the KA13E2.

The SAPP contract in Oman adds to Alstom’s recent successes in combined cycle power development in the region. Prior to Sohar, the company completed work on a similar facility for the Aluminum Bahrain Line Five smelter expansion project.

The Sohar Aluminum CCPP is aimed exclusively at powering a green field aluminum smelter operated by the Sohar Aluminum Company, Logical Link Control. Together, the smelter and power plant brought a welcome boost to employment opportunities in the Al Batinah Region and represent one of the largest investments in the country in recent years.

(Sourced from pepei.pennnet.com)

New Zealand plans annual subsidy for aluminum smelter
Steelguru - Wednesday, 04 Nov 2009
Protecting Rio Tinto's Tiwai Point aluminium smelter from the full impacts of the emissions trading scheme will cost New Zealand USD 225,000 per year for every job at the smelter.
Mr Kent Duston of Wellington based Autonomic Consulting said that the subsidy will cost USD 209 million per year. It would be cheaper for the New Zealand taxpayer to pay every single Tiwai Point worker and contractor USD 200,000 per annum for the rest of their lives to simply stay home.
Mr Duston bases his calculation on the USD 14.13 million per year worth of free carbon credits Rio Tinto will get a year under proposed changes to the emissions trading scheme, plus the opportunity cost of using the Manapouri hydro power scheme to power the smelter instead of using it to replace the Huntly coal fired power station.
He told Carbon News that he did the numbers after hearing Climate Change Issues Minister Mr Nick Smith say during his road show to set New Zealand's 2020 emissions reduction target that subsidies were need to protect New Zealand jobs.
Mr Duston said that "Anybody with access to the internet and a pocket calculator could have performed the same calculation and I'm astounded that nobody has. We keep hearing that it's jobs, jobs, jobs, but nobody is asking the questions about the cost of those jobs."
He said that based on a formula of 1.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide for every tonne of the 330 kilo tonnes of finished aluminum the smelter produces each year, the plant has an emissions profile of 627,000 tonnes per annum.
He added that "At the proposed capped price of NZD 25 per tonne, these emissions represent a liability to the smelters' owners of USD 15.675 million per annum. Under the proposed changes to the ETS, 90% of the emissions units would be given to the smelter free of charge, subsidizing its operations by USD 14.13 million per annum courtesy of the New Zealand taxpayer."
Mr Dustan said that the smelter's emissions level is artificially low because it gets subsidized electricity from the Manapouri hydro power scheme. However, if this electricity were to be diverted to the national grid, the 850 MW produced by Manapouri would be sufficient to decommission the coal burning Huntly power station which produces up to 15% of New Zealand's electricity. He said that replacing the emissions-intensive Huntly with Manapouri would result in a net decrease in liabilities to taxpayers of USD 209 million per annum, made up of the non payment of the Rio Tinto subsidy and the non payment of the Huntly subsidy.
He added that "There are 800 staff and 130 contractors employed at Tiwai Point. The Government argues that subsidization of the carbon emissions for export industries is necessary to protect jobs. However it is obvious that the cost of retaining these jobs is exceptionally high a stunning USD 225,000 per job per annum."
(Sourced from Voxy.co.nz)

State of the art CCPP fires Oman new aluminum smelter
Steelguru - Wednesday, 04 Nov 2009
Pepei Pennnet reported that Oman has commissioned a 1000 MW combined cycle power plant. Designed and built by Alstom at a cost of USD 476 million to supply exclusively a vast new green field aluminum smelter, the high efficiency Sohar Aluminum power plant was delivered on program and within budget.

Situated some 240 kilometers northwest of the capital Muscat, the new 1000 MW combined cycle gas turbine Sohar Aluminum power plant boasts a number of ground breaking credentials. It is the biggest of its kind in this progressive Sultanate and features Alstom’s proven combined cycle technology for aluminum applications. The purpose of the power plant is to provide power to an aluminum smelter so reliability and robustness of the power supply are the main priorities. Thus, a key design requirement was the need for highly reliable electricity generation in order to secure the constant power demand of the smelter over the entire year and throughout its life. Additionally, the plant was designed to accommodate large power load changes from the aluminum smelter and restore power rapidly if required.

Construction of the innovative captive power plant has survived hurricanes and achieved compliance with strictly observed industrial emissions and health and safety laws to secure its rightful place as one of the most challenging projects in the region in recent years.

Built by Alstom on a turnkey engineering, procurement and construction and commissioning basis, the power plant is based on Alstom’s proven and mature KA13E2 combined cycle technology, which has over five million operating hours worldwide. This technology provides not only high plant efficiency but also exceptional operational availability. Several references dedicated to aluminum plants demonstrate the high reliability of the KA13E2.

The SAPP contract in Oman adds to Alstom’s recent successes in combined cycle power development in the region. Prior to Sohar, the company completed work on a similar facility for the Aluminum Bahrain Line Five smelter expansion project.

The Sohar Aluminum CCPP is aimed exclusively at powering a green field aluminum smelter operated by the Sohar Aluminum Company, Logical Link Control. Together, the smelter and power plant brought a welcome boost to employment opportunities in the Al Batinah Region and represent one of the largest investments in the country in recent years.

(Sourced from pepei.pennnet.com)

New Zealand plans annual subsidy for aluminum smelter

Steelguru - Wednesday, 04 Nov 2009

Protecting Rio Tinto's Tiwai Point aluminium smelter from the full impacts of the emissions trading scheme will cost New Zealand USD 225,000 per year for every job at the smelter.

Mr Kent Duston of Wellington based Autonomic Consulting said that the subsidy will cost USD 209 million per year. It would be cheaper for the New Zealand taxpayer to pay every single Tiwai Point worker and contractor USD 200,000 per annum for the rest of their lives to simply stay home.

Mr Duston bases his calculation on the USD 14.13 million per year worth of free carbon credits Rio Tinto will get a year under proposed changes to the emissions trading scheme, plus the opportunity cost of using the Manapouri hydro power scheme to power the smelter instead of using it to replace the Huntly coal fired power station.

He told Carbon News that he did the numbers after hearing Climate Change Issues Minister Mr Nick Smith say during his road show to set New Zealand's 2020 emissions reduction target that subsidies were need to protect New Zealand jobs.

Mr Duston said that "Anybody with access to the internet and a pocket calculator could have performed the same calculation and I'm astounded that nobody has. We keep hearing that it's jobs, jobs, jobs, but nobody is asking the questions about the cost of those jobs."

He said that based on a formula of 1.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide for every tonne of the 330 kilo tonnes of finished aluminum the smelter produces each year, the plant has an emissions profile of 627,000 tonnes per annum.

He added that "At the proposed capped price of NZD 25 per tonne, these emissions represent a liability to the smelters' owners of USD 15.675 million per annum. Under the proposed changes to the ETS, 90% of the emissions units would be given to the smelter free of charge, subsidizing its operations by USD 14.13 million per annum courtesy of the New Zealand taxpayer."

Mr Dustan said that the smelter's emissions level is artificially low because it gets subsidized electricity from the Manapouri hydro power scheme. However, if this electricity were to be diverted to the national grid, the 850 MW produced by Manapouri would be sufficient to decommission the coal burning Huntly power station which produces up to 15% of New Zealand's electricity. He said that replacing the emissions-intensive Huntly with Manapouri would result in a net decrease in liabilities to taxpayers of USD 209 million per annum, made up of the non payment of the Rio Tinto subsidy and the non payment of the Huntly subsidy.

He added that "There are 800 staff and 130 contractors employed at Tiwai Point. The Government argues that subsidization of the carbon emissions for export industries is necessary to protect jobs. However it is obvious that the cost of retaining these jobs is exceptionally high a stunning USD 225,000 per job per annum."

(Sourced from Voxy.co.nz)

State of the art CCPP fires Oman new aluminum smelter

Steelguru - Wednesday, 04 Nov 2009

Pepei Pennnet reported that Oman has commissioned a 1000 MW combined cycle power plant. Designed and built by Alstom at a cost of USD 476 million to supply exclusively a vast new green field aluminum smelter, the high efficiency Sohar Aluminum power plant was delivered on program and within budget.

Situated some 240 kilometers northwest of the capital Muscat, the new 1000 MW combined cycle gas turbine Sohar Aluminum power plant boasts a number of ground breaking credentials. It is the biggest of its kind in this progressive Sultanate and features Alstom’s proven combined cycle technology for aluminum applications. The purpose of the power plant is to provide power to an aluminum smelter so reliability and robustness of the power supply are the main priorities. Thus, a key design requirement was the need for highly reliable electricity generation in order to secure the constant power demand of the smelter over the entire year and throughout its life. Additionally, the plant was designed to accommodate large power load changes from the aluminum smelter and restore power rapidly if required.

Construction of the innovative captive power plant has survived hurricanes and achieved compliance with strictly observed industrial emissions and health and safety laws to secure its rightful place as one of the most challenging projects in the region in recent years.

Built by Alstom on a turnkey engineering, procurement and construction and commissioning basis, the power plant is based on Alstom’s proven and mature KA13E2 combined cycle technology, which has over five million operating hours worldwide. This technology provides not only high plant efficiency but also exceptional operational availability. Several references dedicated to aluminum plants demonstrate the high reliability of the KA13E2.

The SAPP contract in Oman adds to Alstom’s recent successes in combined cycle power development in the region. Prior to Sohar, the company completed work on a similar facility for the Aluminum Bahrain Line Five smelter expansion project.

The Sohar Aluminum CCPP is aimed exclusively at powering a green field aluminum smelter operated by the Sohar Aluminum Company, Logical Link Control. Together, the smelter and power plant brought a welcome boost to employment opportunities in the Al Batinah Region and represent one of the largest investments in the country in recent years.

(Sourced from pepei.pennnet.com)

New Zealand plans annual subsidy for aluminum smelter
Steelguru - Wednesday, 04 Nov 2009
Protecting Rio Tinto's Tiwai Point aluminium smelter from the full impacts of the emissions trading scheme will cost New Zealand USD 225,000 per year for every job at the smelter.

Mr Kent Duston of Wellington based Autonomic Consulting said that the subsidy will cost USD 209 million per year. It would be cheaper for the New Zealand taxpayer to pay every single Tiwai Point worker and contractor USD 200,000 per annum for the rest of their lives to simply stay home.

Mr Duston bases his calculation on the USD 14.13 million per year worth of free carbon credits Rio Tinto will get a year under proposed changes to the emissions trading scheme, plus the opportunity cost of using the Manapouri hydro power scheme to power the smelter instead of using it to replace the Huntly coal fired power station.

He told Carbon News that he did the numbers after hearing Climate Change Issues Minister Mr Nick Smith say during his road show to set New Zealand's 2020 emissions reduction target that subsidies were need to protect New Zealand jobs.

Mr Duston said that "Anybody with access to the internet and a pocket calculator could have performed the same calculation and I'm astounded that nobody has. We keep hearing that it's jobs, jobs, jobs, but nobody is asking the questions about the cost of those jobs."

He said that based on a formula of 1.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide for every tonne of the 330 kilo tonnes of finished aluminum the smelter produces each year, the plant has an emissions profile of 627,000 tonnes per annum.

He added that "At the proposed capped price of NZD 25 per tonne, these emissions represent a liability to the smelters' owners of USD 15.675 million per annum. Under the proposed changes to the ETS, 90% of the emissions units would be given to the smelter free of charge, subsidizing its operations by USD 14.13 million per annum courtesy of the New Zealand taxpayer."

Mr Dustan said that the smelter's emissions level is artificially low because it gets subsidized electricity from the Manapouri hydro power scheme. However, if this electricity were to be diverted to the national grid, the 850 MW produced by Manapouri would be sufficient to decommission the coal burning Huntly power station which produces up to 15% of New Zealand's electricity. He said that replacing the emissions-intensive Huntly with Manapouri would result in a net decrease in liabilities to taxpayers of USD 209 million per annum, made up of the non payment of the Rio Tinto subsidy and the non payment of the Huntly subsidy.

He added that "There are 800 staff and 130 contractors employed at Tiwai Point. The Government argues that subsidization of the carbon emissions for export industries is necessary to protect jobs. However it is obvious that the cost of retaining these jobs is exceptionally high a stunning USD 225,000 per job per annum."

(Sourced from Voxy.co.nz)

RUSAL to supply 1.68 mln T aluminium to NORINCO
Reuters - Mon Nov 2, 2009
MOSCOW, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Russia's UC RUSAL, the world's biggest aluminium producer, has signed a deal to supply 1.68 million tonnes of the metal to China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) in 2010-16, the companies said on Monday. "UC RUSAL's sales to China are expected to represent 5 percent of its revenue in 2009, and the company aims to increase this to 10 percent of revenue by 2015," the joint statement said.
"The metal will be shipped to NORINCO from UC RUSAL's Siberian smelters, which are favourably located in proximity to UC RUSAL's Chinese clients." (Writing by Toni Vorobyova)

China Tianyuan to double secondary aluminium capacity
Reuters - Rujun Shen, Jacqueline Wong - Tue Nov 3, 2009
SHANGHAI, Nov 3 (Reuters) - China's Sanmenxia Tianyuan Aluminium Co (8253.HK) plans to double its production capacity of secondary aluminium next year to 100,000 tonnes, as the aluminium market recovers, a senior executive of the company said on Tuesday.
"Although there is overcapacity for now, aluminium consumption will definitely increase every year," said Xiao Chongxin, deputy general manager of the company.
"We are optimistic about the primary aluminium market next year, but cautious on price outlook."
Xiao expected aluminium prices to hover around 16,500 yuan ($2,417) a tonne next year.
Sanmenxia Tianyuan currently has production capacity of 50,000 tonnes. Part of the secondary aluminium is used as feedstock for its aluminium products.
The benchmark third-month aluminium futures contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange MAL3 rose 32 percent so far this year, but lagged behind a strong rally in copper that more than doubled prices. (Reporting by Rujun Shen and Jacqueline Wong; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)

China Guanlu restarts 40,000 T of aluminium capacity
Reuters - Rujun Shen, Jacqueline Wong - Mon Nov 2, 2009
China's Shanxi Guanlu (000831.SZ) said on Tuesday it had restarted an 40,000 tonne aluminium production line, as the market improves and aluminium prices rise.
The company shut down the production line, which accounts for 36.4 percent of its total production capacity, in January when the aluminium market was hit by the international financial crisis.
The company has 110,000 tonnes of primary aluminium capacity.
The restarted production line is expected to produce 7,300 tonnes of aluminium in 2009, the company said in a statement filed to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
Three-month aluminium futures contracts on the London Metal Exchange MAL3 have risen 25 percent so far this year, but still lag a strong rally in copper that doubled prices. (Reporting by Rujun Shen and Jacqueline Wong; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner