AluNews - April 2010

Asbestos suits killing companies and jobs and opportunity
Southeast Texas Record (Opinion)- 4/30/2010
Let us observe a moment of silence for another productive member of our society that has passed away.
It was a company, not a human being, but it provided livelihood for hundreds of men and women, useful products and services for millions more.
Durabla Manufacturing, a Pennsylvania-based maker of sealing products, recently died after a long illness caused by asbestos lawsuits -- 108,000 suits in 30 years. A notice of bankruptcy, delivered to U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno of Philadelphia on April 12th, served as the death certificate.
Death by asbestos lawsuit is an increasingly common form of fatality for otherwise healthy American corporations. Durabla is the 89th company to suffer such a fate in the last 28 years. Other victims include Lykes Bros. Steamship, Babcock & Wilcox, Pittsburgh Corning, W.R. Grace, Kaiser Aluminum and Congoleum.
To say the death of these companies was senseless would be an understatement. Millions of employees were put out of work when the companies went under, millions of shareholders saw their investments destroyed, and alleged victims of asbestos exposure received a pittance for claimed injuries. Plaintiffs attorneys, such Beaumont's Walter Umphrey -- one of the pioneers of asbestos litigation -- did exceedingly well.
What's the logic of that?
Several years ago, senior U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein, noticing the upward trend in asbestos lawsuits, warned that "every company with even a remote connection to asbestos may be driven into bankruptcy."
Do you realize how many tens of thousands of companies in America have a remote connection to asbestos? Do you have any idea how many employees would lose their jobs and how many shareholders would lose their investments if every such company succumbed to death by asbestos lawsuit?
A person with genuine injuries resulting from another party's negligence deserves redress, but asbestos lawsuits aren't providing much of that. The suits seem to be enriching a predatory few while being ruinous to the lives of millions.

Montenegro factory occupation sees bosses back down
Morning Star Online - Friday 30 April 2010
Managers have vowed to reverse plans to sack 42 workers at a factory in Montenegro after staff occupied the facility in protest against the layoffs.
While workers at the KAP aluminium factory hailed the U-turn, they insisted that the government must take over the facility from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who bought the factory after it was privatised in 2005.
Once Montenegro's biggest producer, Kombinat Aluminijuma Podgorica has halved production since the market meltdown hit the aluminium industry last year.
Dozens of the factory's 2,100 workers have been sacked in recent months, but it still accounts for 40 per cent of industrial production in the former socialist country.
The Montenegrin government had offered a 20 million euro (£17m) loan to Mr Deripaska to help him maintain production, but he turned it down.

Century Reports First Quarter 2010 Earnings
Resource Investing News - 29-Apr-2010
Century
Aluminum Company (NASDAQ: CENX) announced net income of $6.3 million for the first quarter of 2010. Cost of sales for the quarter includes a $15.5 ... Click here to access the entire press release

Kaiser Aluminum Corporation Reports First Quarter 2010 Financial Results
MarketWatch (press release) - 29-Apr-2010
Kaiser
Aluminum Corporation (NASDAQ:KALU) today reported net income of $9 million and earnings per diluted share of $0.44 for the first quarter ended March ...

Norsk Hydro reports 1st quarter profit
The Associated Press - 27- Apr-2010
OSLO — Norwegian aluminum producer Norsk Hydro ASA reported Tuesday a first-quarter net profit of 924 million kroner ($157.1 million) due to an increase in aluminum prices and demand.
That compared with a loss of 280 million kroner a year earlier.
Quarterly revenue jumped to 18.15 billion kroner ($3.1 billion) from 16.57 billion kroner in 2009.
Hydro shares rose 3.5 percent, to 48.65 kroner ($8.27), in morning trading in Oslo.
Hydro Chief Executive Officer Svein Richard Brandtzaeg said the gradual recovery of the aluminum market — in particular higher prices and higher global demand — was behind the result.
He also credited cost-cutting measures with improving the company's financial situation. Since the middle of 2008, Hydro has laid off about 4,500 employees.
The company gave its first optimistic outlook since the global economic crisis crippled the aluminum market in the fall of 2008. Hydro noted that although demand remained low in the U.S. and Europe, it appeared likely to grow over the course of 2010.
Still, Brandtzaeg cautioned that "challenging terrain" lay ahead as the concern navigates the market resurgence. He also warned that the company may continue to trim its operations, noting that "we will maintain a strong cost focus across our business."
Hydro employs 25,000 people in 30 countries.

Vimetco EBITDA up despite aluminium price fall
Business Financial News Wire - 27- Apr-2010
Dutch aluminium products group Vimetco reported EBITDA of $300m for the year to December, a 15% increase over the 2008 figure.
The company said its results were mainly due to maintaining the weight of high added-value products sold with a reduction in the production of primary aluminium.
Net profit was $63m, compared with a previous loss of $144m.
Sales fell 17% to $1,519m, partly offsetting a 35% drop in average aluminium prices.
CEO Frank Mueller said the group had adjusted its levels of aluminium production and continued implementing a cost-cutting programme.
'All the measures we took in 2009, including the strategic decisions to continue selected investment programs, have proved successful and will constitute the basis for the further growth of Vimetco.'

Robertson predicts Alpart resumption next year
Jamaica Observer - Apr 27, 2010
SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — Hard on the heels of news that Windalco's alumina plant in Ewarton, St Catherine is scheduled for reopening later this year, Mining and Energy Minister James Robertson is predicting that Jamaica's largest plant, Alpart, at Nain in St Elizabeth will be back in production sometime next year.
"In 2011 we are looking for Alpart to restart," the minister told the Observer by telephone following a visit to the plant and an inspection of the neighbouring red mud (waste disposal) lake on Friday.
Robertson said the Government was also committed to expansion of the JAMALCO plant in Clarendon in which it partners with major shareholder Alcoa. He also held out hope that a reopening of the Kirkvine plant in Manchester was "not impossible".
But Robertson stressed that the future of Jamaica's bauxite/alumina industry was heavily dependent on the Government's push to switch to liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the main source of energy replacing the more expensive crude oil and petroleum-based imports which cost US$2.7 billion in 2008.
Robertson said the LNG project is now at the "procurement stage".
The two Windalco plants -- Kirkvine in Manchester and Ewarton in St Catherine, both owned by the Russian aluminium giant UC Rusal as well as Alpart which is majority owned by Rusal -- ceased production early last year as the global economic recession took hold and metal prices tumbled. Despite the cessation of alumina production, the Windalco plants limped along for a year on a three-day work week and a 40 per cent pay cut before officially closing last month with the redundancy of 762 permanent employees.
JAMALCO survived the recession because of what industry watchers say was its superior energy-usage and cost efficiency.
Robertson told the Observer that the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) had "signed off" with Rusal for a "start up" date of September this year for the reopening of the Ewarton plant.
The bauxite/alumina industry has been a cornerstone of the Jamaican economy for decades, netting in excess of US$500 million and employing thousands at its height.
The fallout in the sector was a major factor in the Government's decision to resume a borrowing relationship with the International Monetary Fund.

Alcan Cable To Invest Another $40 Million In Tianjin Plant
NASDAQ - Apr 27, 2010
SHANGHAI -(Dow Jones)- Alcan Cable plans to invest another $40 million in its Chinese aluminum alloy plant, Alcan (Tianjin) Alloy Products Co., over the next few years, a spokesman from Alcan (Tianjin) said Tuesday.
"The $40 million is included in the $100 million injection that (the parent) company has laid out for the Tianjin plant," the spokesman said.
The plant, Alcan Cable's manufacturing facility in China, started operations April 2009 after receiving an initial $60 million from Alcan, with a goal of " maintaining the largest market share (of 80%) in the Chinese aluminum alloy market," he said.
Parent company Alcan Cable is part of Alcan Engineered Products, a business unit of Rio Tinto Alcan.
The timing of the remaining funding allocations will depend on market conditions, he said.
The spokesman declined to comment on local media reports that Alcan Cable aims to achieve a combined CNY1 billion ($146.5 million) in sales revenue from its Tianjin plant over the next three years.
-Yue Li contributed to this article; Dow Jones Newswires; (8621) 6120 1200

Metal Health: Apollo Proceeds With Another IPO
Wall Street Journal (blog) - 04-26-2010
Noranda, the Franklin-based producer of aluminum products, this morning filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission that added pricing details to its planned initial public offering.
In its amended S-1, Noranda said it plans to sell up to 19.2 million at $14 to $16 per share. Selling all those shares – which includes an overallotment – at $15 would generate about $288 million, 11 percent more than than the ballpark $250 million the company had used in earlier filings.
Noranda, which is 98 percent owned by private-equity firm Apollo Management, plans to pay down more than $370 million in debt using its IPO proceeds as well as about $90 million in hedging gains. (Apollo is selling up to 2.5 million of its shares as part of the overallotment.) BofA Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse are the lead underwriters for the IPO, which has been in the works for about two years. The company plans to list its shares under the 'NOR' ticker symbol.
In its latest filing, Noranda also previewed its first-quarter earnings. Revenues are expected to come in around $300 million, up more than 80 percent from a year ago. Operating earnings are forecast to come between $5 million and $8 million, reversing an $85 million loss last year. Shipping volumes of primary aluminum jumped 24 percent, while flat-rolled product shipments rose 17 percent.
In a separate SEC filing, Noranda also said it is outsourcing most of its bauxite mining operations, which will save it more than $4 million a year. As part of the move, the company will lay off 160 people in Jamaica and take a second-quarter charge of between $3 million and $4 million.

Vedanta Signs MoU with IMMT for Zero Waste
India Infoline.com - Apr 27, 2010
In any mineral based industry, disposal of waste is always an area of concern and by developing suitable technologies; wastes can be converted into resources.
Vedanta Aluminium Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding with leading research institute of Orissa, Institute of Mineral and Materials Technology (IMMT) to utilize expertise available within the state and to develop technology for recovering valuable materials from waste generated in Alumina and Aluminium Industry. The MoU was signed by Dr. Mukesh Kumar, Chief Operating Officer of Vedanta Aluminium Limited and Prof. Barada Kanta Mishra, Director, IMMT on April 26, 2010 at Bhubaneswar. Dr. Srikant Sharma, Head of R&D Planning and other senior scientists of IMMT were present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occassion, Dr. Mukesh Kumar, Chief Operating Officer of Vedanta Aluminium informed that its Alumina Refinery has already implemented Zero Discharge System and our partnership with this leading research institute of International repute would help us in realizing our vision to make the refinery a Zero Waste Plant, which no plant has achieved till date across the globe . Red Mud generated from Alumina Refinery is having lot of valuable materials like Titanium, Vanadium, Iron, etc and Waste utilization would result result in conservation of natural resources as well reducing operating costs to a great extent, he added.
In any mineral based industry, disposal of waste is always an area of concern and by developing suitable technologies; wastes can be converted into resources. They incur cost of processing, generate no revenue and result in unsold material which becomes a concern for the environment and community.
“The partnership between Vedanta and IMMT would further strengthen the interface between industry and institutions,” said Prof. Baradakanta Mishra, Director, IMMT. This will not only help in improving environmental performances but also help in optimum utilization of the natural resources.
IMMT has already developed technologies like utilization of Red Mud in bricks/ tiles manufacturing, recovery of carbon value from Spent Pot lining and production of Pig Iron from Red Mud etc. The association with Vedanta will definitely be a bench mark as IMMT is planning to concentrate more research in Bauxite treatment as well as waste utilization as Orissa is one of the largest depositories of Bauxite Minerals having in excess of 1.5 billion tonnes, he said.
Vedanta Aluminium Limited would provide financial and other technological support and has presented a Cheque of Rs. 1.0 Crore towards corpus fund for various R&D projects. The Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology is a premier research centre of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research
(CSIR), New Delhi. The institute specializes in providing R&D support for process and product development with special emphasis on conservation and sustainable utilization of natural resources. It has been taking up R&D projects for all the leading mineral based industries in the country.

DUBAL leads by hosting 1st Middle East Carbon Course
Eye of Dubai (press release) - Apr 27, 2010
State-owned primary aluminium producer demonstrates industry leadership through specialist forum for information sharing, networking and sustainability best practice.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Built on excellence-based partnerships and currently ranked as the worlds largest modern smelter with a captive power station, Dubai Aluminium Company Limited (DUBAL) is not only the largest producer of primary aluminium in the Gulf, but also the leading aluminium player in the region. Moreover, DUBAL is widely regarded as the UAEs industrial flagship the company being rated by many as a role model in every aspect of its business.
Confirming this status, DUBAL will host the 1st Middle East Carbon Course (MECC 2010) an industry networking and expertise development initiative for communicating cutting-edge technical information in Dubai from 27 to 29 April 2010. Organised by Switzerland-based R&D Carbon Ltd, the two-and-a-half day programme will focus on the critical role that the raw material and anode quality plays in the operating costs of primary aluminium smelters. In addition to a line-up of expert speakers drawn from the industry (including at least four sessions led by highly experienced, senior people from DUBAL), R&D Carbon and invited guests, the agenda for MECC 2010 also includes ample question-and-answer and discussion opportunities for delegates so as to maximize the sharing of information, knowledge and best practices.
The Carbon course is the first of its kind to be held in the Middle East and has drawn keen interest at least 40 delegates have signed-up reflecting the growing stature of the aluminium industry in the region. From just two smelters, in Bahrain and Dubai respectively, the sector has mushroomed in recent years through the addition of new smelter complexes in Oman (Sohar Aluminium), Abu Dhabi (Emirates Aluminium) and Qatar (Qatalum).
Contextualising the value of MECC 2010, in particular, Saleh Rabba Al Shehhi (General Manager: Reduction Materials) advises that the carbon-based anodes used in aluminium smelters account for 25 to 30 per cent of production cost (per tonne). This means that the anode quality can impact measurably on the profitability of an organization, he says. Accordingly, we believe that, as an industrial sector, it is vital that the Gulf aluminium smelters use carbon efficiently in their pots. This will also have positive impact on environment. This requires dedicated focus on the quality of the carbon used (especially in terms of impurities and sulphur content), the anode production process and the performance of the anodes in the pots.
These factors are reflected in the MECC 2010 agenda, which is structured into four sessions:
Anode Raw Materials
Anode Production Technology
Anode Performance and Process Optimization
Pot Performance
The MECC agenda also includes a tour of DUBALs smelter complex at Jebel Ali, which is home to one of the largest carbon plant in the world. We process 450,000 metric tonnes of Carbon paste per year and cater for three different types of reduction technology, says Saleh. Moreover, our four baking kilns produce a total of 380,000 anodes per year; while our rodding room has the capacity to process 1,260 anodes per day. He adds that, through networking with consultants and attending international carbon conferences over the years, DUBAL has developed solid expertise in the reduction materials component of aluminium smelting.
By hosting MECC 2010, DUBAL will demonstrate the professionalism, innovation and versatility that underscore our company ethos; as well as our commitment to benchmarking and adopting best practices, continues Saleh. As an industry leader, it is important for DUBAL to set the pace for other players and to facilitate the development of the regional sector as a whole. MECC 2010 will provide a forum for professionals to discuss the difficulties being faced and the way in which challenges are being resolved. This exchange of information and experience, beyond the limits of our respective corporations, will enable the delegates to learn from one another.
He concludes by saying that MECC 2010 is a product of the long-standing, successful, collaborative partnership nurtured between DUBAL and R&D Carbon over many years

Aluminium industry scores Grattan Institute report
International Business Times - 25-Apr-2010
The aluminium industry has scored a report which argued that the sector should be denied compensations totalling to $10.5 billion under Australia's proposed emissions trading scheme since aluminium smelters contributed far more greenhouse gasses than that of the world average and will eventually be more economically unviable in the future.
In a report by The Age, Australian Aluminium Council executive director Miles Prosser said that shutting down the nation's aluminium industry and the consequent shifting to offshore operation is ridiculous, adding that such proposals could lead to a dismal result for the Australian economy.
Mr Prosser also contended that Australian smelters are in competition against the Chinese, which may use power sourced through nuclear or hydro energy, and therefore would not necessarily lead to lower greenhouse emissions.
A Grattan Institute report released last week urged the government against issuing $22 billion in free permits to emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries (EITE), which includes aluminium processing, as the first 10 years of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) implementation gets underway.
In a deal between the government and the opposition last year, the aluminium industry is slated to receive the biggest chunk of CPRS payments, coupled with free permits amounting to $8.1 billion to be released by 2020, notwithstanding the fact that aluminium smelters are the chief consumers of electricity in Australia.
The deal was cut to dissuade the domestic industry from transferring to offshore destinations though the Grattan report has suggested that offshore operation of aluminium processing would likely result to lower greenhouse emissions.
The report has cited as examples the operations currently based in Bell Bay, Tasmania and Kurri Kurri in NSW, which are destined to incur higher production costs once electricity subsidies enjoyed by the industry were finally withdrawn, and adding that the processing plant in Point Henry, Victoria could in turn succumb to expected swings in market prices.

Green threat to 650 jobs at Alcan factory
Journal Live - Apr 24, 2010
The Government was last night under pressure to outline what support it will offer Alcan as European judges threatened to close down the Northumbrian aluminium plant.
A ruling from the European Court of Justice means the site must cut emissions from its coal-fired power station after a six-year legal battle.
The site now needs to find at least £200m for upgrades before the European Commission steps in and orders closure.
Alcan bosses said they have had the Government’s full support in the long-running legal wrangle but Liberal Democrat MEP Fiona Hall, who has worked with Alcan to fight strict EU laws, claimed the Government could have acted years ago to offer upgrade cash and prevent the threat of redundancies.
Around 650 people are employed at the site, with as many as 3,000 dependent on Alcan in the wider supply chain. .............................
Read the full article by clicking on the headline above

Ras Al Zour aluminum smelter to be tendered in Q1 of 2011
SteelGuru - Apr 23, 2010
Saturday, 24 Apr 2010The local Saudi Arabian Mining Company and US based Aluminum Company of America has started to release tenders for construction packages at its USD 7 billion aluminium smelter project at Ras al Zour.
The source said that bids are out for the earthworks at the moment, then it will be the concrete, then steel and so on. Everything is proceeding as planned. The US's Bechtel Corporation, which was awarded the engineering, procurement, construction and management contract for the 740,000 tonnes per year smelter project, in 2008, is expected to release documents for the main construction contracts in the Q1 of 2011.
The smelter is part of USD 10.8 billion aluminium complexes that also includes the construction of USD 1.8 million tonne per year alumina refinery, a rolling mill with a capacity of up to 460,000 tonnes per year and 4 million tonnes per year bauxite mine.
The source in Saudi Arabia said that the decision on who to award the EPCM contract for the USD 2 billion alumina refinery has not yet been made, but only two bidders are still in the running. It's between Bechtel and the joint venture involving Fluor and WorleyParsons. There are meetings happening now that will resolve who will win it. He said that the decision will be made by the end of the month or the start of next month.
(Sourced from MEED)

More bauxite workers out of work
radiojamaica.com - Friday, 23 April 2010
About 160 workers at the St. Ann-based Noranda Bauxite Company are out of a job.
The company confirmed on Friday that it has cut down the size of its work force as a result of operational changes which will result in out sourcing to third parties for certain areas of its mining operations.
The terminations which took effect on Friday April 23, will affect permanent and temporary employees.
However, Noranda Bauxite states that it will be rehiring 27 persons for positions that have arisen as a result of the staff shake up.
In addition, the company said employees whose positions have been terminated will have the opportunity to become part of the alternative contractor mining operations which is now being instituted.
Noranda Bauxite said it has been meeting with the three unions that represent workers at the Discovery Bay facility to examine alternatives.
The company also noted that the decision to reduce the staff complement was in keeping with its plan to be assured of increased bauxite production.

Alcoa appoints CEO Kleinfeld as board chairman
The Associated Press - Friday, 23 April 2010
PITTSBURGH — Alcoa says it has elevated CEO Klaus Kleinfeld to chairman of the board of the aluminum maker.
He succeeds Alan Belda, who is retiring after 40 years with Alcoa.
Kleinfeld, 52, has been president and CEO of Alcoa since 2008 and has been a board member since 2003. He previously served as CEO of Siemens AG.
Alcoa also says two board members, Frank Thomas and Henry Schacht, are retiring. Both will continue as senior advisers to the board. Employment expert Judith Gueron will succeed Thomas, while Caterpillar Inc. CEO Jim Owens will succeed Schacht.

Rusal turns to leaner cleaner aluminium
RT - 23 April 2010
The production processes which fuelled the aluminium boom of the last century have become increasingly less cost effective, and the Rusal Irkutsk smelter is at the vanguard of efficiency improvements.
The glory days for the Soviet Union, as Sputnik, the first artificial satellite was launched into space, also helped bring about a focus on aluminium production, with the technological age seeing the lightweight metal increasingly used not just in space but also an increasing range of consumer products.
But the aluminium production processes which fuelled this boom have become outdated according to Vladimir Zhukov, Senior metals and mining analyst at Nomura.
“There is a standard technology which is called the solder back process. Most of the global aluminium producers use this technology. However, this technology is outdated. All the old smelters, irrespectively if they were built in Russia or elsewhere they normally use this process.”
Russian-based aluminium producer Rusal supplies 10 per cent of global demand. But over the past 20 years has built only one new smelter. Despite this, Igor Grinberg, General director, Irkutsk Aluminium Smelter, says that in 2009 the company’s production costs per metric ton were 1471 dollars – as much as 300 dollars less than its rivals.
“Rusal launched a cost-cutting program. There were some specific aspects for each smelter, but everywhere alumina and electric energy costs were cut down. Also expenditure costs per ton of aluminium were decreased. In our smelter the costs were cut by 17 per cent.”
With two new smelters being built, Rusal is in the process of modernization. Potlines – a Rusal in house creation – have just been installed in the Irkutsk smelter. There are 200 of them, each capable of producing 2 tons of aluminium per day. But it’s worth the trouble for the increase in efficiency, according to Head of the Casthouse, at the Rusal plant, Aleksandr Strelov
“After we installed new state of the art technology at the end of 2008 our output increased six fold. If earlier we had 4 people working and production was 5 tons an hour, then now we the same four people producing up to 27 tons.”
An important aspect about modern technology, just a little more important than productivity, is that it is cleaner. And with the biggest freshwater lake in the world – Baikal- just 75 kilometers away, its no small consideration.

Aluminium industry condemns report calling for it to shut down
ABC Online - Friday, 23/04/2010
A think tank report says the Australian aluminium smelting and refining industry should shut up shop and move overseas, because it'll never be economically viable.
The study by the Grattan Institute, funded by government and industry, finds that under the proposed emissions trading scheme, taxpayers would be handing over billions of dollars in permits to prop up a fundamentally flawed industry.
One of the report authors, John Daley, says the whole point of introducing a carbon price is to force industry to produce economically and efficiently with low carbon emissions.
But he says the energy intensive aluminium industry could never reach that goal in Australia, because it uses too much coal-fired electricity, and a number of other countries would be more suitable.
"Iceland, where there's substantial geothermal reserves as we've just seen, the Middle East where they produce oil and essentially produce gas as a waste product, in Canada where there's substantial hydro-electric potential reserves," he says.
"There's also potential hydro-electric reserves in parts of Africa."
The Aluminium Association has slammed the Grattan Institute report as inadequate and incorrect.
Executive director Miles Prosser says it's glossed over the fact that nearly all new aluminium refineries will be built in China with electricity supplied by coal-fired power stations.
He also says the reports claims that only 5000 people are employed in the industry, which ignores flow-on effects for other jobs in regional communities.
"It's not just a theoretical economic modelling exercise. These are real jobs in regional areas and this is an industry that's globally competitive," he says.
"We think it's crazy to advocate shutting down that industry, when that can compete on global markets and is a leader on environmental performance."

Venezuelan Al producers cut sales to Glencore
Metalbulletin.com (subscription) - 22 April 2010
São Paulo - Venezuelan state-owned primary aluminium producers CVG Venalum and CVG Alcasa will cut the volume of their shipments to Glencore by around 40% after workers protested that insufficient material was reaching the domestic market. Venezuelan companies are not receiving enough aluminium from the country’s two producers because their output has fallen considerably on the energy shortage that began late last year, union leaders at both Venalum and Alcasa told MB. “These sales contracts were signed in November, before the beginning of the energy crisis here in the country, and as Venalum and Alcasa have been fulfilling these exports, local aluminium buyers are getting a lower volume,” Henry Arias, director of the Alcasa union...

Sierra Leone Discloses Mining Revenues for First Time
Ethiopian Review - April 22nd, 2010
Two years after Sierra Leone signed up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the government has submitted their first report on mining revenues.
Sierra Leone is rich in mineral resources and also one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world.
Now the government is trying to address its ‘resource curse’ by publishing its first ever public report on revenue Sierra Leone receives from mining companies.
The report is part of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative that requires mining companies to publish what they pay and asks governments to publish what they receive in revenue. The idea is to foster transparency in a sector that, if managed properly, could contribute significantly to a country’s development.
Sierra Leone Ministry of Mines Deputy Secretary Emmanuel Komba says the report is an important step for a country that has gained little from its mineral wealth.
“The rationale behind this is that the world believes the people should benefit from the resources of their country,” said Komba. “And that has not been happening. So at the end of the day, what has gone wrong? Who is fooling who? So at the end of the day in order for everybody to see what is actually happening in industry, that you ask the companies to reveal what they have paid to government, and government to say this is what we have received.”
The report covers payments made to the government by six industrial mining companies, two major exporters and other institutions during 2006 and 2007.
Mining companies reportedly paid $10.6 million in 2007 while the government says it received $10.2 million in the same year. Verdi Consulting, the company reconciling the two sides, says the discrepancy is due to the government failing to report some revenue and to companies unable to prove certain payments.
Sierra Leone’s diamond fields fueled a 10-year civil war. The country is also home to one of the world’s largest rutile deposits, and considerable deposits of iron ore, bauxite and gold.
In 2009, Sierra Leone revised its Mines and Minerals Act, requiring greater contributions from mining companies, in the form of license fees, royalties and taxes.
With more money paid to state coffers by mining companies and the recent discovery of oil off Sierra Leone’s coast, advocacy groups say transparency and good governance is more important than ever to ensure Sierra Leoneans benefit from their abundant natural resources.

BHP mum on graft probe tied to Cambodia
Reuters UK - April 22nd, 2010
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - BHP Billiton (BHP.AX)(BLT.L) declined to comment on reports that an anti-corruption probe it is facing from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) involves a former bauxite exploration project in Cambodia.
BHP on Wednesday revealed it was subject of an SEC investigation over potential violations of anti-graft laws tied to old mining exploration projects, but said only the matter did not involve China.
The case follows the jailing in China last month of staff from rival Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) (RIO.L) for bribery and comes as the two mining giants seek regulatory approval for their controversial $116 billion (75.1 billion pounds) Australian joint venture.
Australian newspapers, relying on a 2009 report by Global Witness, a non-governmental organisation seeking to expose corruption in the resources sectors, speculated the probe involved a joint venture to explore for bauxite in Cambodia.
Global Witness, funded by trusts like the Ford Foundation, development organisations and governments, including the European Commission, said it had questioned BHP in 2008 about a $1 million payment.
In a reply to Global Witness, BHP said it made the payment in accordance with the terms of a minerals exploration agreement with the government and rejected any assertion that the payment was inappropriate, the organisation said in a statement.
BHP said on Wednesday that the corruption probe related to exploration projects that were terminated before December 2008.
BHP shares fell 1.4 percent to A$42.12, but that was only slightly weaker than the broader market. Rio shares were down 2.3 percent.

Rio Tinto Alcan exploring construction of aluminum plant in Algeria
CKTB - Wed, 2010-04-21 THE CANADIAN PRESS
MONTREAL - Rio Tinto Alcan is in talks with the Algerian government about building an aluminum plant in the North African country.
Spokesman Stefano Bertolli confirms the Montreal-based division of Rio Tinto (NYSE:RTP) is examining "an opportunity to develop in Algeria," but says the process is in the early stages.
He says new aluminum projects typically have an annual capacity of 460,000 tonnes, which can be doubled in a second phase.
The company is focused on low cost production and is mainly attracted to the Middle East by cheap natural gas prices.
It opened a 360,000 tonne smelter last year in Oman in which it has a 20 per cent stake.
Bertolli says the possible construction of a smelter in Algeria won't have any impact on the company's development plans in Quebec, notably an AP50 pilot project in Saguenay.

Rusal in Talks to Supply Aluminum to Banks for Funds (Update1)
San Francisco Chronicle - April 21 (Bloomberg) -- United Co. Rusal, the world's largest aluminum producer, said it's in talks to supply metal to banks for possible exchange-traded funds that would be backed by the commodity.
"We're interested in supporting new channels of demand for the metal," Oleg Mukhamedshin, Rusal's deputy chief executive officer and head of capital markets, said in an interview today.
Investors buy shares of exchange-traded funds as a way to gain from price increases in the underlying commodity. At least three aluminum ETFs are "technically" ready to be offered to shareholders, Rusal CEO Oleg Deripaska told reporters in Moscow. Banks planning aluminum ETFs still need to negotiate supplies from aluminum producers, Deripaska said.
The appearance of aluminum ETFs on a "significant scale" won't happen until the fourth quarter because of supply constraints, Deripaska said. Rio Tinto Group, Alcoa Inc. and other producers may get involved, he said.
Aluminum prices rose 67 percent in the past 12 months even as inventories climbed to their highest in at least 32 years.
Rusal may supply metal to more than one ETF, depending on the price it's offered, said Mukhamedshin, who was also speaking in Moscow. The volume of metal the Russian company can sell this year is limited because its order book is "almost fully contracted out" for 2010, he said. Rusal has "some flexibility" with sales in the fourth quarter, he said.
Depositary Receipts
Rusal is in talks with three Russian investment banks about listing depositary receipts in Moscow, Mukhamedshin said. That's likely to take place this year, he said.
Rusal became Russia's first company to list in Hong Kong this January, raising $2.24 billion from a share sale to help pay debt. The company owns a 25 percent of OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, Russia's biggest miner. Rusal doesn't plan to seek a merger with Norilsk or boost its stake in the near future, Deripaska said.
"We look to deleverage Rusal before any further move" concerning Norilsk, he said.
Rusal has to repay $3.3 billion to more than 70 creditors by the end of 2013. It's "most likely" to make further repayments of debt this year as the company's cash flow is "very strong," Mukhamedshin said.
"We feel comfortable with the current aluminum prices," Deripaska said. "They are $300 a ton higher than in our accord with the creditors."
The company has applied to global credit agencies for a rating so that it can sell bonds, Mukhamedshin said.
Rusal is in "advanced talks" with Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank for financing to complete construction of the Boguchansk power plant and aluminum smelter in Siberia, Mukhamedshin said.

UPDATE 1-UC RUSAL to limit capacity increases - CEO
Reuters India -By Aleksandras Budrys
MOSCOW, April 21, 2010 (Reuters) - UC RUSAL (0486.HK: Quote, Profile, Research), the world's largest aluminium producer, will limit capacity increases to the 100,000 tonnes planned for 2010 and a further 332,000 tonnes set for next year, the firm's largest shareholder said on Wednesday.
RUSAL plans to launch the first phase of its Boguchany plant in September 2011, adding 186,000 tonnes of new capacity, before launching its Taishet plant a month later. The first phase of the Taishet smelter will have capacity of 146,000 tonnes a year.
This will follow the 100,000 tonnes of capacity that RUSAL is bringing back on stream in the first half of 2010, said Oleg Deripaska, UC RUSAL's chief executive and largest shareholder.
"We do not plan to exceed those levels," Deripaska told a news conference.
UC RUSAL produced about 3.9 million tonnes of aluminium last year, or approximately 10 percent of the world's production. It plans to boost output by 3 percent this year as the market improves after a slump that prompted it to cut output in 2009.
UC RUSAL has capacity to produce 4.6 million tonnes a year of aluminium, which is used in packaging, construction and cars, not including the new capacity that will added when the Boguchany and Taishet smelters in eastern Siberia come on stream next year.
UC RUSAL raised $2.2 billion in January when it became the first non-Asian company to list in Hong Kong. This followed its completion of the biggest ever private sector Russian debt restructuring.
Deripaska, who appointed himself chief executive to see the company through the debt restructuring and IPO, said he planned to remain in charge of the company for the foreseeable future.
Asked whether he planned to remain chief executive, he said: "Yes, for long enough." (Writing by Robin Paxton; Editing by Amanda Cooper)

Stirring the alumina price pot
Business Spectator - Stephen Bartholomeusz - Apr 21, 2010
Commentary:
The rapid shift in the structure of iron ore pricing, and the acrimony accompanying it, has been grabbing most of the media attention but it is only in recent weeks that a similar change occurring in the pricing of bauxite and alumina has started to become visible.
For several decades alumina has been priced in relation to aluminium, using a fixed percentage of the LME price for the metal. That is largely, it appears, as a consequence of the integrated and low-growth nature of the sector throughout most of its history.
Alumina prices have generally been set in low teens as a percentage of the aluminium price, although the price recently rose from around 13 per cent of the metal price last year to between 14 and 15 per cent this year. The price is incorporated into multi-year contracts.
The system has started to break down with the emergence of non-integrated aluminium smelters in China and the Middle East buying alumina and bauxite in excess of the needs of the integrated players, which in turn has created spot and short-term contract markets for alumina estimated at roughly a third of the overall market.
Not surprisingly, given the rather arbitrary nature of the pre-existing pricing structure, the spot price has increasingly diverged from contract prices. Equally unsurprisingly, the producers who are long alumina and bauxite – BHP Billiton, Vale, UC Rusal and Alcoa – are increasingly agitating for a change and a shift towards more market-related pricing.
While the campaign is being led by BHP, which waged and won a long campaign to modernise iron ore pricing, most of the big producers have rapidly fallen in behind it.
Apart from the amount of profit that has been left on the table as the paths of the aluminium and traded alumina prices have diverged over the past five years, there isn’t sound logic in pricing alumina off aluminium. The economics of aluminium are driven primarily off the cost of its power, while the economics of an alumina refinery are dictated by the quality of the bauxite reserves that feed it.
With China’s demand for bauxite and alumina soaring, and its own industry tending not to be integrated, the industry dynamics are somewhat different to those in iron ore, where the Chinese mills had a clear common interest in resisting changes to the pricing structure at a time of rebounding demand and prices.
The more fragmented nature of the aluminium industry and China’s role in it would make it even more difficult to frustrate the introduction of a new market-related pricing of alumina.
China now forms about a third of the global alumina market and about a third of China’s bauxite needs are now imported. Alumina prices are increasingly set by the marginal Chinese refinery and as a consequence average refining costs are rising steadily.
Aluminium prices are starting to rise, despite significant idled capacity and historically high levels of inventory. If alumina could be de-linked from aluminium pricing, the combination of market pricing and a rising industry cost base would have a leveraged effect on the margins and profitability of those producers with the lowest cost bases who produce more alumina than they consume in their own smelters.
Among the major players, Rio Tinto, after its Alcan play, probably has the most balanced position and while it would benefit significantly from higher aluminium prices it probably wouldn’t be a big net winner in the short term from higher alumina prices. It does, however, have its foot on a lot of bauxite and therefore would have the option of creating a long position.
The group with probably the most leveraged exposure to the changes – because it is almost a pure play on alumina – is the locally-listed Alumina Ltd., through its 40 per cent interest in the alumina-focused Alcoa Worldwide Alumina and Chemicals joint venture with Alcoa. Most of the other big players are integrated and/or have multi-commodity portfolios.
Iron ore and coal are already well on their way to market-related pricing. Now, it seems, alumina is also shifting.
The new pricing structures will, when demand is strong and supply tight, transfer significant value towards the big low-cost producers. They will, however, increase the potential volatility of the big resource groups’ cash flows as the bulk of their key commodities moves from settled annual prices to short-term market-driven pricing.

Eskom Charges BHP Billiton 12 Cents a Kilowatt Hour, Times Says
Bloomberg - 21-Apr-2010
April 21 (Bloomberg) -- Eskom Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s state-owned power utility, charges BHP Billiton Ltd. 12 cents a kilowatt hour for electricity, which is a third lower than other industrial clients pay, the Times reported, citing a confidential Eskom report obtained by the opposition Democratic Alliance party.
Eskom is currently renegotiating the price contract with BHP, which will be concluded before May 27, the Johannesburg-based newspaper said.
Democratic Alliance lawmaker Pieter van Dalen presented the report at the parliamentary portfolio committee on public enterprises yesterday, the Times said. Eskom’s acting Chief Executive Officer Mpho Makwana told the committee that he would seek legal advice on whether to prosecute van Dalen or the person who leaked the report to van Dalen, the Times said.

Steve Hodgson quits as Rio Tinto's bauxite, alumina ceo
Metalbulletin.com (subscription) - 21 April 2010
Brisbane
Steve Hodgson, president and ceo of Rio Tinto Alcan's bauxite and alumina division, has resigned from the company, Rio said. Aluminium market sources have suggested Hodgson is returning to work for his former employer UC Rusal, but this could not be confirmed....

RUSAL's alumina refinery reopens
The Voice of Russia - 20 April 2010
The Russian company RUSAL’s aluminium refinery has reopened in the Guinean town of Freya, which was on the edge of collapse after extremists raided the plant earlier in the month. The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly signaled its readiness to interact with Guinean authorities to try to rectify the situation. Right now, the refinery is in the process of restoring production which is of paramount importance for the local population.

Alcoa gets 90 days for counter-offer
Jamaica Gleaner - 20 April 2010
R. Anne Shirley, Business Writer

Alcoa Inc has three months in which to make a counter-offer for Jamaica's minority stake in the Jamalco Refinery, which Prime Minister Bruce Golding has now confirmed is being sold to Zhuhai Hong Fan Trading of China.

Jamaica's deal with Hong Fan is for the sale of Clarendon Alumina Partners Limited (CAP), which holds Jamaica's share of the refinery.

"The sale is subject to the inherent rights of Alcoa, our joint-venture partner in Jamalco, which has a 90-day right of first refusal," Golding said Tuesday in his contribution to the budget debate.

Alcoa Jamaica, which is run by Jerome Maxwell, did not immediately return calls for comment.

Last week, members of Hong Fan and Alcoa met in Jamaica along with representatives of the Aluminum Corporation of China Limited (CHALCO) and the China Development Bank to discuss various aspects of the proposed agreement, as well as to explore other bauxite and energy investment opportunities.

The Chinese delegation led by CHALCO's president Luo Jianchuan also met with Golding at Jamaica House on April 12.

Hong Fan has an alumina supply contract with CHALCO, China's largest aluminium company. It has also secured financing from the China Development Bank

PM Golding noted in his presentation that Hong Fan is committed to expanding the Jamalco plant from 1.4 million to 2.7 million tonnes "provided adequate long-term bauxite reserves can be assured."

He was optimistic that deal will be consummated, but did not disclose the value of sale.

CAP was established in 1985 as holding vehicle for Jamaica's then 50 per cent share of Jamalco.

In 2007, managing partner Alcoa acquired an additional five per cent of the equity, growing its stake to 55 per cent after adding 125,000 tonnes to the plant's capacity. The investment was funded by the American mining company.

CAP's share of the output generated fiscal year 2009 revenues of US$132 million from the sale of 606,000 tonnes.

CAP's revenues were projected to fall US$125 million (J$11.2 billion) in FY 2010 and even further to US$119.7 million (J$10.8 billion) at the close of FY 2011.

Its accumulated deficit is now estimated at US$234 million (J$21 billion).

As of September 2009, approximately 70 per cent of CAP's total debt of US$369 million (J$33.2 billion) was guaranteed by the Government of Jamaica. The debt is serviced predominantly by cash advances from the GOJ to CAP.

These monies represent funds borrowed through CAP to provide budgetary financing for past budgets and to cover its share of capital investment costs in recent years.

PM Golding noted that in addition to assuming this debt, the GOJ has had to provide an additional US$176 million (J$15.8 billion) to meet CAP's obligations to Jamalco.

Rusal boss says he's worth the money
The Standard - April 21, 2010

Shareholders may take some comfort in the announcement by UC Rusal chief Oleg Deripaska that he will donate to charity two-thirds of the US$62 million (HK$483.6 million) of stock he was given for helping the Russian aluminum maker sell shares in Hong Kong.

The 42-year-old billionaire said the stock will be sold after a two-year lock- up and the proceeds spent on local economies in the 20 cities and regions where Rusal operates. Deripaska also defended the bonus he got - even though Rusal shares are trading 14 percent lower than their January initial public offering price.

"To take a company with a negative US$10 billion value last year and make it worth US$20 billion, to not lose a single key asset, to restructure capacities and make it the world's lowest-cost producer, means management should be rewarded."

UPDATE 1-RUSAL boosts Irkutsk smelter with $600 mln potline
Reuters India - April 20, 2010 By Aleksandras Budrys

SHELEKHOV, Russia, April 20 (Reuters) - UC RUSAL (0486.HK: Quote, Profile, Research), the world's largest aluminium producer, plans to boost output at its Irkutsk smelter by nearly 12 percent in 2010 after spending more than $600 million to build a new potline.

UC RUSAL, controlled by billionaire Oleg Deripaska, said on Tuesday it had completed commissioning of the new potline at Irkutsk Aluminium Smelter, or IrkAZ, in eastern Siberia.

"This will allow IrkAZ to raise production to 390,000 tonnes in 2010 from 349,000 tonnes in 2009," the smelter's general director, Igor Grinberg, told reporters.

In 2008, aluminium production at Irkutsk was 358,000 tonnes.

UC RUSAL raised $2.2 billion in January when it became the first non-Asian company to list in Hong Kong. The company plans to boost aluminium output by 3 percent this year as the market improves after a slump that prompted it to cut output in 2009.

UC RUSAL produced about 3.9 million tonnes of aluminium last year, or approximately 10 percent of the world's production.

It has capacity to produce 4.6 million tonnes a year of the metal used in packaging, construction and cars and brought 100,000 tonnes of idle capacity on stream in the first quarter.

THREE-PRONGED APPROACH

The new Potline 5 at the Irkutsk smelter, located close to Lake Baikal, has design capacity of 166,000 tonnes and UC RUSAL said in a statement it would produce 156,700 tonnes in 2010.

The smelter can now disconnect its least effective potline, UC RUSAL said in the statement. Potline 2 has capacity of 42,000 tonnes a year and was closed during the economic crisis while work was carried out in parallel on the new potline.

"The greater part of our aluminium smelters was built between 40 and 60 years ago. That's why modernising aluminium production sites in Russia is crucial for us," Alexei Arnautov, head of UC RUSAL's aluminium division, said in the statement.

He said UC RUSAL was adopting a "three-pronged approach" to modernise its smelters: making existing smelters more environmentally friendly, building new smelters such as those at Taishet and Boguchany, and replacing obsolete capacity with new.

"Potline 5 is a very illustrative example of implementing the latter approach," Arnautov said.

UC RUSAL said the commissioning of Potline 5 at the Irkutsk smelter had created 585 new jobs. The smelting process is based on pre-baked anode technology. (Writing by Robin Paxton; editing by James Jukwey)

© Thomson Reuters 2010 All rights reserved

BUSINESS NEWS Eskom's sweet deals
iAfrica.com - 20 Apr 2010

Eskom's long-term special rate contracts with companies account for "approximately five percent" of the total electricity consumption in South Africa, Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan has said.

"These long-term contracts account for approximately five percent of the total electricity usage in the country," she responded to a written question in Parliament by the Independent Democrats.

Hogan said only two companies benefited from special rates set in the long-standing contracts which have become controversial for adding to Eskom's losses and supply constraints, but again refused to name them.

The minister said this was "confidential commercial information of a third party and is subject to the protection provided in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act".

The ID's energy spokesperson Lance Greyling said neither the contracts, which date from the early 1990s, nor the secrecy surrounding them could be tolerated any longer.

"I was given the impression by Eskom's briefing to Parliament that they account for 10 percent of consumption. Whether it is 10 percent, or five percent, that is our reserve margin.

"Cancel the contracts and that is our electricity crisis at an end."

Greyling said it was untenable to have a national energy regulator to police the situation of having a monopoly on energy supply, but then allow Eskom to have secret deals with international companies.

There was an outcry last year after it emerged that Eskom's R9.5-billion book value loss was to blame on the derivative-based tariffs at which it supplied power to mining giant BHP Billiton's Hillside and Mozal aluminium smelters.

The tariff was partly linked to the aluminium price that nosedived during the global economic meltdown, Eskom said this month that BHP Billiton had agreed to renegotiate its contract.

US Nears Decision on China Currency Probe
New York Times - 19-Apr-2010
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Commerce Department could decide this week whether to launch a groundbreaking investigation into charges China is subsidizing exports of an aluminum product by undervaluing its currency, a government official said on Monday.
In a case that could further strain U.S.-China trade ties, U.S. producers of molded "aluminum extrusions" used by the automobile and construction industries filed a petition recently asking for steep duties on imports from China.
The petition's many complaints include a charge China subsidizes exports of aluminum extrusions by undervaluing its currency. It asks the Commerce Department to impose countervailing duties to offset that.
The Commerce Department has declined to investigate similar currency complaints in 10 previous cases covering a variety of manufactured products.
But industry groups have continued to include the charge in their petitions, arguing that Beijing gives exporters a subsidy by undervaluing its currency.
If Commerce agrees to investigate the matter, it would be several more months before it has to decide if China's currency practices are an illegal trade subsidy, and if so, how high a duty it should impose to offset them.
China, which defends its currency practices as an internal matter, would likely be upset by a formal Commerce Department decision to investigate whether its exchange-rate actions constitute a countervailable subsidy.
In recent weeks, the Treasury Department delayed a decision on whether China was "manipulating" its currency for an unfair trade advantage, in part to give Beijing more time to revalue its currency without being hit with that label.
Tim Truman, a spokesman for the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration, said he couldn't comment on specific details of the aluminum extrusion case.
"But we will be announcing our initiation decision on the petition as a whole" on Wednesday, Truman said of the decision whether or not to launch an anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigation.
Gilbert Kaplan, an attorney at King & Spalding representing the U.S. aluminum extrusion producers, said China's undervalued currency met the "three major tests" of a subsidy because it is financial contribution from the government that provides a benefit to a "specific" industry.
The last element of that definition could be the most important since China says it manages its currency for its entire economy and not any specific sector.
Kaplan said his law firm submitted a study showing 70percent of all currency transactions in China are done by exporters and that is specific enough under U.S. trade law for the United States to impose a countervailing duty.
"This satisfies the kind of test that Commerce has been using for many, many years to show specificity. We put in strong economic evidence that it is specific," he said.
In February, a bipartisan group of 15 U.S. senators urged Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in a letter to treat China's currency practices as a subsidy under U.S. trade law.
Department officials subsequently said they would look at the issue again in an investigation started last year on imports of coated paper from China.
On Monday, a coalition of labor and manufacturing groups urged Locke to initiate currency probes in both the aluminum extrusion and coated paper cases.
"There can be no doubt that China's large-scale intervention in the currency markets and the significant undervaluation of its currency acts as a subsidy to Chinese exporters to the U.S.," said Scott Paul, executive director for the Alliance for American Manufacturing.
Kaplan said he expected Commerce to announce its decision whether to investigate in both cases this week.
(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Andrew Hay

NALCO to produce 1000 MW as independent produce
Economic Times - 19-Apr-2010
BHUBANESWAR: State-owned National Aluminium Co Ltd (NALCO) said on Monday it will produce at least 1,000 megawatts power by 2016 as an independent power producer.
The company expects to generate the power from the standalone projects it has planned in the nuclear, thermal, hydel, wind and solar energy sectors, NALCO's finance director B.L. Bagra said.
NALCO currently produces about 1000 MW power at its captive power plant to feed its smelter in Angul district in the state.
Asia's largest integrated aluminium producer, NALCO is diversifying from metal to other businesses, including power, for additional revenues.
"The company has decided to build a wind power project with an estimated investment of Rs.300 crore to produce about 50 Megawatt power," Bagra said. The construction of the mill is expected to start in the next six months.
"The company is going to invite bids soon to finalise a site for the project," he said, adding that the power produced by the mill would be sold to the local grid.
Bagra said the company will take up more wind power projects after gaining experience.
Also, NALCO last year signed a joint venture agreement with another state-owned firm, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), to set up a nuclear power plant to produce 1,000-1,500 megawatts.
"We have zeroed in on two of about ten of the projects in their hands. We will hold discussions with them some time next week to finalise a location of the plant", Bagra said.
The city-based company is India's third largest producer of aluminium. It has set a target to produce 1.7 million tonnes of aluminium and 4 million tonnes of alumina annually by 2020.

Alcan might have new owner soon
Charleston Gazette - April 17, 2010
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jackson County's largest employer -- Alcan Rolled Products -- could soon have a new owner.
American Metals Market reported last week that the sale of Rio Tinto Alcan's rolled products division, which includes the Ravenswood plant, could happen next month.
Apollo Global Management, an investment fund, has emerged as the favorite and is considered the most likely buyer, according to the metal industries publication, which cited company sources. The purchase would include the Jackson County factory, and Rio Tinto's Issoire and Neuf Brisach mills in France.
Rio Tinto Alcan spokesman Mark Zelazny could not be reached for comment Saturday. American Metals Market quoted the company last week as saying, "The transaction process is ongoing."
Rio Tinto, an Australian-base iron ore company, has previously said that it wanted to divest its rolled products division.
The rolled products business would become the largest addition to Apollo's growing portfolio of metals-related companies, if the sale is successful.
The Apollo investment fund already owns Noranda Aluminum Holding Corp, which has aluminum refining, smelting and rolled products assets.
Alcan's plant in Ravenswood has become even more critical to the region's economy in the wake of last year's closure of the adjacent Century Aluminum plant. Century shut down its smelter in February 2009, putting 650 people out of work. The company recently said it was considering reopening the plant.
Alcan Rolled Products has about 1,130 workers at its Ravenswood plant.
The factory has a $123 million annual payroll, including wages and benefits. The factory also hires about 150 local contractors to service the facility.
Each year, Alcan pays about $4 million in property taxes, and purchases more than $57 million in goods and services from local businesses.
The company spends about $9.5 million a year to purchase electricity from Appalachian Power.
The power is primarily used to drive generators that roll blocks of aluminum to thinner dimensions before being sold to customers.
Alcan produces about 250 million pounds of rolled aluminum and alloy plate a year. The aluminum is used in commercial and military aircraft, armored vehicles, railcars, trucks and boats. Customers include Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman and Boeing.
Reach Eric Eyre erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.

RUSAL Guinea plant opens as workers return - union
Reuters India - April 17, 2010
CONAKRY, April 17 (Reuters) - Workers at RUSAL's (0486.HK: Quote, Profile, Research) Friguia alumina refinery in Guinea have gone back to work after a 16-day strike to demand more pay, a union source said on Saturday.
The Friguia plant, the largest industrial project in the fractious West African nation, has a capacity to produce around 640,000 tonnes of alumina per year, which the Russian firm ships around the world to be refined further into aluminum.
The plant's output has been nearly completely halted since the start of a strike April 1 by workers seeking a 50 percent pay rise to compensate for rising fuel prices.
"Factory production started up again last night," said Sekou Ousmane Diallo, one of the main union leaders at the plant.
Diallo added there was still no definitive agreement on salaries and that negotiations with management continued.
The decision by staff to go back to work came hours after news of the death in a car crash of Ibrahima Fofana, a top Guinean trade unionist who had been involved in the talks at the plant. It was not clear if the two events were linked. (Reporting by Saliou Samb; writing by Mark John; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Push for alumina price reforms
Financial Times - April 16 2010
After the collapse of the iron ore pricing system between miners and steelmakers, is alumina set to follow?
For about 30 years, the cost of the raw material used to produce aluminium has been fixed as a percentage of the metal's price, with secretive negotiations between alumina refiners and aluminium smelters settling the ratio.
This entrenched scheme is under threat as some of the largest alumina producers, including Alcoa of the US, push for change.
The move for reform comes as the 40-year-old iron ore pricing system crumples. "There are some parallels with the iron ore market," says David Wilson, analyst at Société Générale in London.
But, unlike in the iron ore market, a price revolution in alumina is unlikely to happen straight away. Industry executives, traders and analysts say changes, if any, would be gradual. The pricing discussions are important for companies ranging from BHP Billiton and Glencore to UC Rusal and Chinalco, and come as growth in aluminium demand drives the alumina market to $25bn annually, similar to the magnitude of zinc, lead or nickel but well below the $200bn of the iron ore market.
For now, the traditional alumina pricing prevails.
After the latest negotiations, the price for the 2010 deals or for the multi-year contracts renegotiated this year was set at about 14-15 per cent of the value of aluminium. That was up from 13-13.5 per cent in 2009.
With the cost of aluminium hovering at about $2,400 a tonne, this means alumina costs about $350 a tonne, below the price paid in the spot market.
These contract prices have been below spot prices for the past five years.
BHP Billiton, the world's top miner and the driving force behind the iron ore pricing revolution, wants to close the gap between the spot and the contract markets for alumina.
Alcoa has thrown its weight behind moves for a radical change in the pricing system.
"It is time for the industry to develop a pricing methodology that is reflective of alumina fundamentals," says Timothy Reyes, president of Alcoa Materials and head of commercial activities for aluminium, alumina and bauxite at the company.
He suggests replacing the current system with an index based on spot transactions, similar to the new pricing system for iron ore. "We have had discussions with parties interested in developing this index, and we believe that the number of transactions in the spot market allow a reliable index to be created," Mr Reyes says.
But, as in iron ore, not everyone in the alumina industry backs a change. Some producers support the current system - or back less radical changes than those proposed by Alcoa - while aluminium smelters are head-on against a change that would increase, in most cases, their procurement costs.
The smelters strongly support the current scheme of pricing alumina as a percentage of the final value of aluminium because it protects their margins, executives say. "The smelters have zero incentive to move," says a senior alumina trader.
Still, rapid demand growth for alumina and a change in the industry's structure make a change in the pricing system possible in the medium term.
In the past, most aluminium smelters were vertically integrated with their own alumina refineries and bauxite mines.
But Jon Dudas, head of aluminium at BHP Billiton, says that the industry "has changed over the last 30 years with the emergence of non-integrated aluminium producers in China and the Middle East".
Non-integrated smelters are sourcing their alumina from the so-called third-party market, which has grown in size to almost 35m tonnes last year, up from 7m tonnes in 1980. Alongside this growth of the third-party alumina market has come the inception of a spot market, which has opened the door for the creation of an index.
The development of the iron ore spot market since the early 2000s was critical to changing the iron ore pricing system. Some believe it will prove the same for alumina.
Additional reporting by Jack Farchy in London

International Study Confirms Aluminum Advantage
Your Industry News (press release) - Apr 15, 2010
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alcoa (NYSE:AA) today praised a new study concluding that lightweight, strong and infinitely recyclable aluminum is the best choice for reducing energy usage and emissions over an automobile’s lifecycle.
“In the current state of technology and within the lifetime of the vehicle, aluminum has a better (energy) performance...”
The study was conducted as part of the Magnesium Front End Research and Development project, an initiative tasked with developing technologies to grow the use of magnesium in automobiles. The study concluded that utilizing aluminum results in lower lifecycle energy and GHG emissions than steel or magnesium for all scenarios. Aluminum’s “breakeven distance” is less than 36,000 km (only 16,300 miles), highlighting aluminum’s vehicle mass reduction and recycling benefits.
“In the current state of technology and within the lifetime of the vehicle, aluminum has a better (energy) performance...,” the study stated.
The study was presented at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress in Detroit this week. The authors, from Natural Resources Canada, GreenhouseGasMeasurement.com, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Australia Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, and Beijing University of Technology, compared the energy and environmental impacts of using aluminum, steel or magnesium-based front end parts on a General Motors Cadillac CTS.
The study took a “cradle to cradle” approach, looking at the impact of materials choices from production through the use phase of the vehicle to recycling at the end of the vehicle’s life. Cradle to cradle is a more comprehensive analysis model which includes a review of the product through the end of its life, but also evaluates whether the product is actually re-used or recycled. Aluminum is infinitely recyclable and can be converted directly back into new parts without degradation versus other materials which are simply down-cycled.
“Overall large magnesium structural parts can provide environmental benefits in terms of energy use and GHG emissions vis-à-vis steel within the expected life of the car. But overall, the aluminum design is still better achieving the breakeven distance from energy use and GHG emissions perspectives within the vehicle life,” the study stated.
The Magnesium Front End Research and Development project is sponsored by Natural Resources Canada, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, the United States Department of Energy and the United States Automotive

Carbon pricing threat to growth of aluminium industry, says Rusal CEO Oleg ...
The Australian - 14-Apr-2010
OLEG Deripaska, the chief executive of Russian aluminium giant United Company Rusal, today said that carbon-pricing posed a major threat to the aluminium industry, which should turn to small-scale nuclear power to fuel growth.
“In my view, (nuclear) is the best solution,” he told the Melbourne Mining Club.
Small-scale reactors could be easily deployed to power energy-hungry aluminium plants, and the plutonium they produced could be reused in a new generation of reactors, he said.
Mr Deripaska said Chinese industrialisation would continue to drive demand for aluminium, and Australia and Russia were poised to be the two key suppliers of commodities to fast-growing Asian markets.
“In the next cycle of development, there will be such strong demand in Asia, (and) Australia and Russia will share this market,” he said.
Mr Deripaska said 2009 was a very tough year for Rusal, which accounted for 10 per cent of global aluminium and alumina production last year, as prices and demand slumped.
Rusal was forced, like other aluminium producers, to cut back production, but the depth of the cuts seen across the industry point to an eventual price recovery, he said.

Colombia Says Vale Has 'Advanced' Plans for Smelter
BusinessWeek - 14-Apr-2010
April 14 (Bloomberg) -- Vale SA’s plan to build an aluminum smelter in Colombia that would cost $4 billion to $5 billion is at an “advanced” stage after the price of the metal rallied, Energy and Mines Minister Hernan Martinez said.
Vale is seeking to tap energy supplies that are cheaper than in other Latin American countries to power the smelter, Martinez said today in an interview in Washington, D.C. Rio de Janeiro-based Vale plans to ship alumina to Colombia and can use the same ships to transport coal from its coal mine back to Brazil, he said.
“Aluminum prices went back up,” Martinez said. Talks on the project will likely be finished “soon,” he said, without specifying a timeframe. Vale’s press office declined to comment.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has sought to lure international investment in metal refining, mines and oil by quelling guerilla attacks since taking office in 2002. Investments in Colombian mining and energy projects will exceed $50 billion by 2015, Martinez said last week.
Companies that plan to boost spending in Colombia include oil producer Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp. and Brazil’s MPX Energia SA, an energy company controlled by billionaire Eike Batista. MPX said last month that it will invest $1.9 billion over a decade to tap Colombian coal deposits.
Colombia seeks to increase electricity generating capacity at Isagen SA. The state-run power company said last year it will produce lower-cost electricity starting in 2014 with its $1.74 billion Sogamoso dam project.
Primary aluminum for three-month delivery has rallied 63 percent in 12 months on the London Metal Exchange.
With assistance from Heather Walsh in Bogota and Helder Marinho in Rio de Janeiro. Editors: Jessica Brice, Carlos Caminada.
To contact the reporter on this story: Fabiola Moura in New York at fdemoura@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

Noranda Bauxite targeted for acquisition
Jamaica Gleaner - 13-Apr-2010
Aluminum Corporation of China Limited (CHALCO) is preparing to invest big in Jamaica's bauxite - and possibly the intricately linked energy sector - a deal that would lead to the divestment of more bauxite assets, well-placed sources say.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding met with officials from CHALCO and China Development Bank (CDB) at Jamaica House on Monday morning for a more precise reading of the company's plans, which two sources tell Wednesday Business includes US$1.5 billion of investment to be rolled out over time.
"The quality of the bauxite in Jamaica is good, but I understand from my investigation that the energy pricing in Jamaica is not competitive. If CHALCO can improve that, it would be good competitiveness in Jamaica Lou Jianchuan, executive director and president of CHALCO told Wednesday Business through an interpreter following the meeting with Golding."
"Some time ago, the competitiveness of the alumina sector in Jamaica was very good, but from what I have seen, we will have to do something to reinforce the competitiveness of the Jamaica alumina sector."
Chalco, a top producer in the alumina and aluminium markets, is owned by three Chinese firms, of which state-owned Aluminum Corporation of China (CHINALCO) is controlling partner. CHALCO trades on exchanges in Hong Kong, mainland China, London and New York.
Luo, the leader of the delegation which included CDB assistant governor J.P. Zhao, said Golding's plan to intensify Jamaica's energy policy "would be a big boost to what we want to do here."
Luo was unwilling to say what assets he was after here or the size of the investment under consideration, saying his company was doing its feasibility studies, but two sources - one from the top echelons of the mining sector - said CHALCO was going after Jamaica's 51 per cent stake in Noranda Bauxite Limited, formerly St Ann Jamaica Bauxite Partners - and potentially more, and that the deal was worth at least US$1.5 billion.
The other 49 per cent of Noranda Bauxite is owned by Noranda Aluminium Inc of the United States.
Previous foreign owners of the St Ann based operation have included Kaiser and Century Aluminum.

Antam to Seal $900m Alumina Deal With China
Jakarta Globe - 13-Apr-2010
State-owned miner PT Aneka Tambang said on Tuesday that it would finalize an agreement this month with China’s Hangzhou Jinjiang Group to invest in Antam’s planned $900 million West Kalimantan alumina plant.
“The Hangzhou Jinjiang Group will sign the agreement on April 22, when the Chinese Premier [Wen Jiabao] pays a visit to Indonesia,” said Bimo Budi Satriyo, Antam’s corporate sectretary, declining to disclose the size of the HJG investment.
The plant will process bauxite into alumina, a raw material used to produce aluminum. Currently, the nation’s manufacturers must import all their supplies of alumina.
“It will increase the value of our bauxite,” Bimo said, adding that the alumina would be sold on the domestic market.
He said the plant would have a capacity of one million tons a year. Construction would start this year, Bimo said, although he declined to say when it would be finished. “We will announce [the details] after we sign the agreement,” he said.
Antam said last month that it was in talks to borrow as much as $325 million, mostly to finance the alumina plant. Antam president director Alwin Syah Loebis had said it was negotiating with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and other lenders to secure financing.
The miner expects rising commodity prices this year will boost profit, which fell 56 percent in 2009 to Rp 604 billion ($67 million).

Dual technologies improve die casting quality
FEN - 12-Apr-2010
CSIRO says two of its new environmentally friendly technologies can result in stronger conventional die castings.
According to the organisation, the two new technologies, a dynamic gating system and the “ATM runner system”, produce high-integrity castings with fine-grained microstructure and low porosity.
The technologies influence the flow behaviour of the molten metal, the fill pattern of the die and subsequent solidification. They can be used with aluminium and magnesium alloys.
CSIRO says it can take advantage of the high pressure inherent in the die casting process by changing the architecture of the runners and the die cavity gate. This reduces the amount of gas captured during the passage of the molten metal into the die cavity, a factor directly related to porosity.
ATM conditions the melt prior to filling the cavity so that the melt enters the die in a less viscous state, improving melt flow and causing better fusion of separate melt fronts when they meet within the casting.
The improved melt delivery system can be used with existing casting machines, and can reduce the mass of the metal runner, resulting in less metal being wasted.
The researchers say X-ray analysis of test castings made with the dynamic gate showed a significant improvement in density in both thicker and thinner areas of the casting.
Additionally, ATM technology is said to be cheaper to operate than conventional high pressure die casting processes. This development has already been proven by a number of companies in commercial production.

Eco hurdles for 12 aluminium and power projects in Orissa
SteelGuru - 13-Apr-2010
Business Standard reported that the interim report of the Nagpur based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute entrusted with the task of preparing a Regional Environment Management Plan based on the ecological carrying capacity of the Sambalpur Jharsuda region has come as a hurdle for 12 aluminium and power projects in the area.
Though the report has permitted the Orissa government to go ahead with the projects for which environmental clearances have been obtained from the Union ministry of environment and forests, it has suggested the government to halt the expansion plans of the existing projects and disallow setting up of new projects which are yet to obtain the ministry’s clearance.
Stating that the recommendation for individual projects would be made in the final report, the interim report stated that new projects could be considered if the monitored data collected through institutional mechanism shows improvement in environmental quality and reduction in pollution load through preventive technology.
Sources said that the primary meteorological data would also be utilized for proper delineation of ventilation coefficient with respect to dilution potential of pollutants in this region. The new aluminium projects facing NEERI hurdle are 0.5 million tonne per annum aluminium smelter proposed by the state owned National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco) at Brajarajnagar and 0.44 million tonne per annum smelter proposed by Larsen &Tubro at Jharsuguda. Both these units have not obtained the No Objection Certificate from the Orissa State Pollution Control Board and environmental clearance from the MoEF. Similarly, ten other power projects have been pushed into uncertainty in this area.
Nalco, which proposed to set up 1260 MW CPP along with its 0.5 million tonne per annum smelter at Jharsuguda would have to wait till the submission of the final report of NEERI. Kalinga Energy and Power’s proposed 1000 MW IPP at Babuchakuli and Action Ispat and Power’s 600 MW IPP at Jahrasuguda are yet to obtain the environmental clearances. The 1000 MW IPP proposed by Mega Power Builders at Babuchakuli near Rengali and the 2000 MW IPP proposed by Neyvalli Lignite Limited near Rengali also faces delay on account of the carrying capacity study.
Sources said that 3 more units namely Ravi Metalliks 15 MW CPP, Bramha Iron and Power’s 50 MW CPP at Khinda in Sambalpur and Reliance Energy’s 4000 MW IPP would have to wait till the final report of NEERI is submitted to the Orissa State Pollution Control Board. Out of these 3 projects, only Ravi Metalliks has applied to the OSPCB for issue of NOC.
(Sourced from www.business-standard.com)

On the Call: Alcoa CEO Kleinfeld
BusinessWeek - 12-Apr-2010
Three major iron ore producers, Vale, BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto have negotiated a new contract pricing system with some global steel producers, primarily in Asia.
They will set prices quarterly instead of annually, which will give them more flexibility in determining future prices.
Analysts say any increases stemming from the new international contracts shouldn't impact U.S. manufacturers because they get most of their supply domestically.
During a conference call with analysts, Alcoa President and CEO Klaus Kleinfield discussed contract pricing formulas for alumina, which is used in the processing of aluminum metal.
QUESTION: Can you comment on whether there will be pricing changes in alumina contracts?
RESPONSE: "You can clearly see that the pricing is trending upwards, so obviously the tightening that exists in the alumina market is reflected in a stronger percentage to the LME (London Metal Exchange) . ... The recent contracts that we signed up have been upwards 15 percent, which is historically a pretty good number. We also have gone away from longer-term contracts to more of a shorter-term contractual obligations on the pricing situation."

World's largest aluminum Rusal producer reports US$821 million in profit
TODAYonline - Apr 12, 2010
HONG KONG (AP) - The world's largest aluminum producer says it earned US$821 million in net profit in 2009 thanks to cost-cutting measures, in its first earnings report since its controversial listing in Hong Kong in January.
UC Rusal said in a statement Monday the result compared to a net loss of $5.984 billion in 2008.
The Russian company said revenue plunged 48 percent to $8.165 billion due to lower aluminum prices and sales volumes. Aluminum production dropped 11 percent to 3.9 million metric tons after the company cut production at inefficient smelters, while alumina production contracted by 36 percent to 7.3 million metric tons as production at high-cost refineries was suspended.
Rusal said reduced sales and production also helped contribute to a 39 percent decrease in cost of sales.

India's Nalco To Invest Big In Indonesia's Aluminium Project
Bernama - Apr 12, 2010
NEW DELHI, April 12 (Bernama) -- India's state- owned National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco) is to pump in massive investment to set up a aluminium smelter and a coal-fired power plant in Indonesia.
The Indonesian government is said to have approved the Indian company's multi-million dollar investment project in the coal-rich East Kalimantan region, said media reports.
"We have projected an investment of around Rs1,500 crores (RM1.05 billion) a year in Indonesia, starting 2012-13.
"The investment will be made in tranches and the amount will go up in step with the progress of the project," A.K. Srivastava, Nalco chairman and managing director, was quoted by the Economic Times in Kolkata.
Nalco is planning to set up a 500,000 metric tonne smelter and a 1,250MW coal-fired power plant in East Kalimantan in the next 48 months.
Investment in the green field projects, to build both the plants, is estimated to cost Nalco nearly US$3 billion (RM10.5 billion).
The public sector unit, under India's Ministry of Mines, signed a MoU with the Indonesian government in January 2008 to initiate the project.
Nalco will collaborate with the United Arab Emirates' RAK Minerals & Metals to develop port facilities and rail corridor in Indonesia to transport the coal, said Srivastava.
The Orissa-based company produces nearly 400,000 metric tonnes of metal a year, making it the third largest aluminium maker in India.t of sales

Rusal Plans to Restart Ewarton Alumina Refinery in Jamaica
ACN Newswire (press release) - Apr 12, 2010
Moscow, Apr 12, 2010 - (ACN Newswire) - UC RUSAL plc (SEHK: 486, EuroNext: RUSAL/RUAL), the world's largest aluminium producer, announces its plans to restart operations of its Jamaican facilities. In June 2010 the company plans to bring back to operations alumina refinery Ewarton Works, part of Windalco, mothballed in 2009 due to cost reduction measures. The total capacity of the Ewarton plant is approximately 650,000 tonnes of alumina. In 2010, the production at the Ewarton plant is planned to be approximately 321,000 tonnes of alumina per year. The decision on restart is subject to the international lenders approval.
As part of RUSAL's Cost Efficiency Leader programme RUSAL has undertaken a number of measures to ensure that when the market conditions make the restart of Ewarton plant economically viable, the facilities will be able to restore the operations in more effective and competitive manner. The positive dynamics of the global aluminium market development and the agreements with the Jamaican Government and the contractors of the plant contributed to improving the economics of Ewarton's operations and enable RUSAL to make the decision on restart.
"We are pleased to restore the operations at Ewarton as the global economic situation improves. During the suspension period RUSAL has carefully studied the opportunities to optimise the facility's structure and production process, cut cash operating costs and improve the efficiency of Ewarton's operations. It should be noted that the restart has been made possible with a strong and constructive support of both the Jamaican government and contractors as the bauxite and alumina industry has the core economic and social role in the country. We strongly believe that the improving market conditions coupled with the favourable business environment in Jamaica will be instrumental in the development of renewed Ewarton", said Oleg Deripaska, CEO of RUSAL.

Salco power deal talks under way
Malaysia Star - Apr 12, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR: Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS), which sees exciting times ahead with the implementation of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), is looking at raising funding on a non-recourse basis for its 40% share of the aluminium smelter at Samalaju.
Managing director Datuk Richard Curtis said negotiations for a power purchase agreement for the Salco (Sarawak Aluminium Company Sdn Bhd) aluminium smelter were ongoing and once concluded, final feasibility studies on the design, construction, commissioning and operation of the smelter would commence
“Negotiations between CMS, Rio Tinto Alcan and Sarawak Energy Bhd to finalise a power purchase agreement for the Salco smelter are ongoing,’’ he told StarBiz in an email reply.
See the whole article by clicking on the headline above

Norsk Hydro likely to close German aluminium plant
Reuters UK - 11-Apr-2010
DOHA, April 11 (Reuters) - Norway's Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL) was likely to close Germany's biggest aluminium smelter plant due to high energy costs, Hydro's chief financial officer said on Sunday.
The company had yet to make a final decision on the Rheinwerk plant in Neuss, but production was already curtailed by 90 percent, Jorgen Arentz Rostrup told Reuters in an interview in the Qatari capital.
"It is a fantastic plant but the energy situation in Germany makes it extremely challenging to run," said Rostrup. "It's more likely that it will close but we haven't decided yet."
(Reporting by Regan Doherty; Writing by Simon Webb)

Qatalum enjoys edge in global competition
Gulf Times - 10-Apr-2010
Qatar’s strong industrial infrastructure and large proven reserves of natural gas give Qatalum an edge in the international market in terms of ‘competitive long-term energy supplies.’
Qatar Petroleum is supplying approximately 200mn standard cubic feet of natural gas a day to Qatalum power plant and this energy supply is transformed to 1350MW of electricity in the state of the art combined cycle power plant.
Qatalum is set for inauguration at Mesaieed tomorrow at a high-profile event, which will be attended by dignitaries from all over the world.
Qatalum is positioning Qatar at the forefront of the global aluminium industry with one of the lowest operating costs in the industry and strategic market access. Qatalum’s product casthouse, the largest of its kind in the world, will have an output of 585,000 tons of premium-quality aluminium products a year once fully operational.
Qatalum chairman Abdulla Salatt said: “Qatalum was established as a long-term investment for Qatar in realisation of the strategy set by HH the Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, for the optimal utilisation of the country’s natural resources.
“Our competitive advantages in the global aluminium industry will allow us to withstand market conditions that might put other producers out of business.
Many major industries depend on a steady supply of aluminium and I am confident that Qatalum is leading an industry that will prove very profitable for the country in the long term.”
The Qatalum plant is expected to be fully operational this year and will have a design capacity to produce 585,000 tons of aluminium products every year. The plant’s main products will be extrusion ingots and foundry alloys, although the casthouse will also be capable of producing standard primary ingots.
These value-added aluminium products can be used in an unlimited variety of manufacturing applications and products in building and construction, transportation, general engineering, household durables, leisure and more. Most of these products are also fully recyclable and their aluminium content can be reused endlessly.
Although aluminium producers in Europe and the US have had to close their smelter operations due to high power costs and market downturn, Qatalum has been able to deliver results on time, within budget, and at the highest environmental and safety standards.
Qatalum chief executive officer Jan Arve Haugan said, “The opening of the primary aluminium industry was a strategic investment for Qatar because of the country’s gas reserves, industrial infrastructure and market flexibility between Europe and Asia.
Aluminium is a versatile and sustainable metal used in a wide range of products.”
Qatalum made its first shipment of aluminium foundry alloys to India in December last year.
The project’s first extrusion ingot line has been in operation since January and the remaining production lines will be completed and ramped up by Qatalum in the coming months.
Qatalum is strategically positioned to supply markets in Asia and Europe, in addition to serving regional demand from the GCC.

Hydro Takes a Stand on Safety
PRLog.Org (press release) - 09-Apr-2010
Apr 09, 2010 – How valuable is worker safety? For Hydro Extrusion Americas, more valuable than profit-generating production time. To make the point to its employees, Extrusion Americas on March 22 halted production across all its facilities in North and South America for one half hour.
If we are willing to shut down multi-million dollar projects so we can talk to every worker about safety, we’re going to get their attention, said Extrusion Americas President Fernando Simό?nes Henriques. “It reaffirms our insistence that on the worksite, safety is a requirement that we will enforce very aggressively. A safe workplace helps us improve productivity and contain costs, but most importantly it’s the right thing to do.”
In preparation for the work stoppage, facility management teams met with employees to determine the barriers to becoming zero-injury facilities. The intelligence gathered at these meetings was used to focus management team presentations and discussions during the stand-down.
Several operations in Hydro’s Extrusion Americas group have run accident-free for years. In Argentina, extrusion plant workers have gone more than 900 days – nearly three years – without an accident. In Kalamazoo, Mich., they have not had an incident in more than 800 days. Hydro’s extrusion facility in Sidney, Ohio, has not had an incident since November 2008; in Guaymas, Mexico since December 2008.
Steve Robuck, Health, Safety and Environment director for Extrusion Americas, believes the stand-down will further the company’s safety mindset. “To get to zero injuries, we need visible leadership, improved communication, and personal involvement. When you’re talking about workplace injuries, good is not good enough. We can and will be better.”
Extrusion Americas is a unit of Norsk Hydro, a global supplier of aluminum and aluminum products. Based in Norway, the company employs 23,000 people in 40 countries and has activities on all continents. Hydro is the world’s third-largest aluminum supplier, the largest single manufacturer of primary metal and extruded aluminum products in Europe, and a leader in delivering innovative light metal solutions to the automotive and building industries worldwide.

Guinea mulls mining pay as RUSAL strike continues
Reuters South Africa - 09-Apr-2010
CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea's government said on Friday it will propose a minimum wage for the country's mining sector in a bid to end a strike over pay that has halted RUSAL's Friguia alumina refinery since April 1.
"At the moment the government is preparing the decree for a minimum wage for mining companies and it will then be submitted to the president of the transitional government," said Mouctar Diallo, one of the government negotiators.
The Friguia plant, the largest industrial project in the fractious West African nation, has a capacity to produce around 640,000 tonnes of alumina per year, which the Russian firm ships around the world to be refined further into aluminum.
The plant's output has been nearly completely halted since the start of a strike April 1 by workers seeking a 50 percent pay rise to compensate for rising fuel prices.
The head of the Friguia workers' union, Sekou Ousmane Diallo, said he expects the mininum wage decree to be announced over the weekend, adding it could bring minimum salaries at the plant from about $150 per month to $250 per month.
"The government has promised to prepare a decree that should be published within 72 hours," he said.
Guinea's transitional government, charged with setting elections following a protracted political crisis, is headed by General Sekouba Konate, who would need to give final approval.
Konate's government is already in talks with RUSAL over whether the Russian firm underpaid for the plant in 2006.
The wage decree is unlikely to affect salaries at other mining companies operating in the country, like the massive Rio Tinto and Alcoa joint venture CBG, because their pay levels are already higher.
"This should not pose any problems (for them)," government negotiator Diallo said.
A RUSAL executive said on condition of anonymity that, after nine days of halted production, the company was willing to submit to a government decree on minimum wages.

BHP Likely to OK $5.2 Billion Africa Project, Sydney Herald Says
Bloomberg - 09-Apr-2010
BHP Billiton Ltd. is likely to make a development decision to proceed with the $5.2 billion Sangaredi alumina project in Guinea, West Africa, by the end of the year, the Sydney Morning Herald reported, citing venture partner Global Alumina Corp. of Canada. Dubai Aluminium Co Ltd. and Mubadala are also partners in the project, the report said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sharples at bsharples@bloomberg.net

US aluminum extrusion makers seek duties on China
Reuters - 08-Apr-2010
WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) - U.S. manufacturers of an aluminum product used by the automobile and construction industries have asked President Barack Obama's administration to slap duties on competing imports from China, industry and government officials said on Thursday.
The U.S. Commerce Department will decide by April 21 whether to accept a petition charging that Chinese "aluminum extrusion" producers receive government subsidies and sell their goods in the United States at below-market prices, a department official said.
That would lead to two separate Commerce Department investigations over the next 12 to 14 months into whether to impose significant anti-dumping and countervailing duties on the Chinese goods.
The industry petition contends one way China subsidizes its domestic producers is by undervaluing its currency and it asks for countervailing duties to offset that.
The U.S. government does not currently impose duties to offset currency manipulation, but is mulling that possibility in another case involving coated paper imports from China.
Aluminum extrusions are made by squeezing heated aluminum compound through a die with a profile of the desired shape, according to an industry website.
Construction and automobile industries are two of the biggest consumers of extruded aluminum and uses include doors and window frames, structural framing systems, roofing and exterior cladding.
While some of the shapes are complex and not easily mass produced, others are more simpler and "susceptible to a lot of price competition," said Rand Baldwin, president of the Aluminum Extruders Council in Wauconda, Illinois.
Both Canada and Australia have moved to curb imports of aluminum extrusions from China.
U.S. producers of glyphosate, a herbicide used to kills weeds, also have filed a petition asking for anti-dumping duties on imports from China, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission. (Reporting by Doug Palmer; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Alcoa to Demolish Smelting Plant Near Frederick
WJZ - 07-Apr-2010
Alcoa Inc. says it will dismantle the Eastalco Works aluminum smelting complex near Frederick that ceased production in 2005.
The Pittsburgh-based company says it has no plans for the 2,000-acre property about five miles south of Frederick. A spokesman says the ground will be tested for hazardous materials and chemicals.
More than 600 workers were laid off when Alcoa idled the plant in December 2005, citing high electricity costs.
Some local lawmakers have suggested offering the site for a federal diplomatic security training center that has met resistance at a proposed location in Queen Anne's County.
A spokesman says the State Department hasn't ruled out the Eastalco site or any other location within 2 1/2 hours of Washington if its first choice falls through.

Aluminum Workers Seek to Annul Glencore Contract, Mundo Says
Bloomberg - 07-Apr-2010
April 7 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan aluminum workers at the state-run industrial holding company Corp. Venezolana de Guayana are seeking to annul a supply contract with Glencore International AG, El Mundo said.
Workers at CVG units Alcasa and Venalum plan to seek legal action to nullify the contract with Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore, El Mundo reported, citing Henry Arias, director of a workers union at Alcasa. The contract stipulates selling 12,000 tons of aluminum a month to Glencore, the Caracas-based newspaper said today.
The accord harms the domestic aluminum industry because the company doesn’t pay a value-added tax, Arias told El Mundo. Former Basic Industries and Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz reportedly signed the agreement, the newspaper said.
Carlos Perezagua, a Glencore spokesman in Switzerland, declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.
To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Cancel in Caracas at dcancel@bloomberg.net.

Romania's Alro concludes negotiations for electricity price
Balkans.com Business News - 07-Apr-2010
Vimetco NV (LSE: VICO), the global producer of primary and processed aluminium products, announced on Tuesday that its Romanian subsidiary, Alro SA, (BSE: ALR), the biggest aluminium producer in Central and Eastern Europe, concluded negotiations with Hidroelectrica for the electricity supply of three TWh/year until 2018. Alro is using the entire quantity of energy for the production process and for the current activity of the Group in Romania.
“The supply contract for electricity consolidates the predictability of the business and allows us to further implement the development programme, as part of an integrated aluminium producer”, said Frank Mueller, CEO Vimetco. “It will offer Alro the basis to secure its own aluminium production in Romania and to further develop the production of higher added value products in Slatina. This, along with securing the alumina supply for Slatina via Alum Tulcea, gives Alro a good platform to continue production with long term, reliable conditions. We are now confident in our long term plans for producing aluminium in Romania. We will continue to carefully monitor the international market to ensure we continue taking the best decisions for maintaining the viability of the company.”
As a result of negotiations, the two parties agreed on a formula for the electricity price, considering a series of factors, including the aluminium price at the London Metal Exchange. As a result, at this point, the current price that Alro is paying for electricity has increased by 25%. Despite the increase, the Company considers that the current contract offers predictability of costs and contributes to the long term development of the smelting activities in Romania.
In 2009, the Company reported a preliminary net profit of RON 93.6 million (approx USD 30.7 million), and a turnover of RON 1.41 billion (USD 462.5 million)1, according to the preliminary unconsolidated financial results.
The financial results for 2009 reflect the cost reduction strategy implemented by the Company throughout the financial year. Alro continued the programmes for the reduction of consumption of raw materials, energy and gas and renegotiated the contracts with part of its suppliers. Moreover, Alro continued to focus on core activities and on increasing productivity. As a result of the reduction in production, Alro is now using 3 TWh of electricity for producing aluminium. Source: Vimetco

Research and Markets: The Aluminium Cast House Technology XI Proceedings ... Business Wire (press release) - 06-Apr-2010
Selected, peer reviewed papers from the international conference, organised by the CAST CRC, on behalf of the aluminium industry. It was held from 13-16 September, 2009 on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
The Aluminium Cast-house Technology Conference in Australia is truly an international event where leaders in the aluminium industries of the five developed continents meet every two years. The participants have the opportunity to listen to acknowledged experts in the field and to learn of the latest developments in aluminium processing technology. It is important, especially during the current worldwide financial crisis, to learn what means are available for reducing costs and to learn how others have adjusted to the present situation.
These proceedings contain the technical papers presented at the conference and serve as an important reference work for anyone involved with aluminium. The 31 peer-reviewed papers are grouped into: industry directions, safety & environment, dross generation & handling, furnaces & refractories, melt quality & treatment, cast-house productivity, direct chill & continuous casting, and ingot casting.
Key Topics Covered:
Table of Contents (31 papers, 10 per page listed)
A Historical Review of the Developments in Casthouse Technology and a Peek into the Future
Peter Whiteley
Hydro Casthouse Reference Centre
Trond Furu, Idar Kjetil Steen
Recent Developments in Australian Aluminium Casthouse Personal Protective Clothing
M.J. Lee
Greenhouse Emissions in Primary Aluminium Smelter Cast Houses - A Life Cycle Analysis
Paul Koltun, Ambavalavanar Tharumarajah, John Grandfield
Predicting Dross Formation in Aluminium Melt Transfer Operations
John A. Taylor, M. Prakash, G.G. Pereira, P. Rohan, M.J. Lee, Barbara Rinderer
Furnace Operations to Reduce Dross Generation
Alan M. Peel, James Herbert, David Roth, Martin J. Collins
Dross Processing Technology
Alan M. Peel, James Herbert, David Roth, Martin J. Collins
Automated Metal Siphoning and Cast House Energy Consumption
Jerry Locatelli, Guang Wei Liu
Technological Researches Concerning a Decrease in the Losses Due to the Oxidation of Remelted Scrap from Aluminium Alloys
Ilie Butnariu, Ioana Butnariu, Dana Butnariu
Furnace Operation: A Gold Mine in your Casthouse
Guillaume Girard, J. Barresi, C. Dupuis, G. Riverin
Author: J. A. Taylor, J. F. Grandfield, A. Prasad

Aluminum Association Works with Industry to Encourage PFC Reductions in China Environmental Expert (press release) - 06-Apr-2010
ARLINGTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- More Chinese smelters and the aluminum industry in India are expressing interest in Perfluorocarbons (PFC) reductions, according to Aluminum Association’s Sustainability Specialist Marshall Wang. Wang attended the Vancouver Task Force meetings on Aluminum, Cement, Building and Appliances, Renewable Energy and Distributed Generation in Vancouver, Canada, March 21-26, 2010. The meeting was held as part of the Asia-Pacific Partnership (APP) on Clean Development and Climate.
While in Vancouver, the Aluminum Association participated in the Aluminum Task Force meeting along with the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), the Australian Aluminium Council, The Aluminum Association of Canada, and China Non-Ferrous Metals Industry Association (CNIA). Current projects include an aluminum industry sustainability measuring and benchmarking project, a bauxite residue management research project, a fluoride emission management project, and a project intended to address aluminum recycling, with the PFC management project remaining the task force’s top priority.
A joint meeting of APP task forces including aluminum, cement, building and appliances, renewable energy & distributed generation, and coal mining was also held. The Aluminum Association again highlighted the problem of global carbon leakage through landfill of recyclable and reusable materials such as aluminum and other metals and materials.
The Asia-Pacific Partnership (APP) on Clean Development and Climate began in 2006 to address increased energy needs and issues of air pollution, energy security, and climate change.The Partnership, which consists of Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, Korea, and the United States works to achieve their goals while promoting economic development, reducing poverty, and accelerating the development and deployment of cleaner, more efficient technologies.
The Aluminum Association, based in Arlington, Virginia, works globally to aggressively promote aluminum as the most sustainable and recyclable automotive, packaging and construction material in today’s market. The Association represents U.S. and foreign-based primary producers of aluminum, aluminum recyclers and producers of fabricated products, as well as industry suppliers. Member companies operate more than 200 plants in the United States, with many conducting business worldwide.

Eskom, BHP agree on changes to power agreements
Reuters Africa - 05-Apr-2010
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African state power firm Eskom and BHP Billiton have agreed to amend pricing agreements for power supplies to BHP aluminium smelters in South Africa and Mozambique, Eskom said.
Eskom seeks to raise more than $60 billion for investments to prevent a repeat of crippling blackouts in 2008. It is increasing power prices and renegotiating supply deals signed when it was able to charge much less for electricity.
Eskom said it would sign the final power agreements with BHP Billiton during the third quarter of 2010 and that they would require the approval of state power regulator, Nersa.
"This is a significant milestone that results in a new pricing path which will not be linked to commodity pricing and foreign currency," Eskom said on Monday, without giving precise details.
It said the agreements would affect the Mozal aluminium smelter in Mozambique and two others, the Hillside and Bayside smelters in South Africa, the continent's largest economy and a major mining hub.
Eskom, which has separate power supply agreements with other mining companies operating in South Africa, was granted an average of 25 percent in power tariff increases by Nersa for the next three years starting in 2010. .
South Africa's electricity is among the cheapest in the world, partly due to a government policy of underpricing power to attract industry.

Alcoa Sees $260 Mln In Charges In Q1 - Update
RTT News - 05-Apr-2010
Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. (AA: News ) expects to record $260 million in charges in the first quarter, the company said in a regulatory filing Monday. The company expects to record a charge of about $180 million related to closure of certain facilities and another $80 million is expected to be recognized as a noncash charge related to the change in the health care law.
Alcoa said that after a comprehensive strategic analysis its management on March 31 approved the permanent shutdown and demolition of certain facilities in the U.S., including the Eastalco smelter located in Frederick, Maryland and the smelter located in Badin, North Carolina. The management expects to record a charge of about $180 million, $120 million after-tax in this regard.
The $180 million charge comprises of non-cash asset impairments of $135 million and environmental and asset retirement obligations of $45 million in the quarter ended March 31.
Charges related to the Eastalco smelter are expected to consist non-cash asset impairments of $90 million and environmental and asset retirement obligations of $30 million. Charges related to the Badin smelter are estimated to be non-cash asset impairments of $30 million and environmental and asset retirement obligations of $15 million.
Alcoa's management expects to record additional charges of $10 million to $15 million for various costs related to the demolitions from 2011 through 2015. The management plans to sell the land that certain of these facilities are located on within the next five years.
Further, the management expects to recognize a noncash charge of $80 million in the first quarter for the write-off of deferred tax assets to reflect the change in the tax treatment of the federal subsidy related to certain retiree prescription drug plans.

Alcoa amends its deal with Saudi Arabian Mining
BusinessWeek - 05-Apr-2010
Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. amended a deal with the Saudi Arabian Mining Co. related to the construction of a bauxite mine, alumina refinery, aluminum smelter and rolling mill in Saudi Arabia, according to a regulatory filing on Monday.
Alcoa will now pay $34 million instead of $55 million to the mining company for some costs it incurred prior to their joint venture's formation. The payment is due Aug. 1.
Shares of Alcoa shed a penny to $14.69 in afternoon trading.

Orissa emerging as as aluminium hub of India
Economic Times - 05-Apr-2010
BHUBNESWAR: The bauxite-rich Orissa is set to emerge as the aluminium hub in less than a decade with upward swing by increasing its volume of production. The state has more than 1,530 million tons of bauxite reserve, according a conservative estimate
Public sector Navratna public section undertaking National Alumunium Company Limited (Nalco), major private players such as Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) and Aditya Birla Group (ABG), have made aggressive planning to cash in on the 2010 boom the sector is going to witness.
Nalco, India's largest producer and exporter of alumina and aluminium, has set a target of producing 4.6 lakh tons of aluminium and 16.58 lakh tons of alumina in the 2010-11 financial year.
In the recent MoU signed by company chairman-cum-managing director A.K. Srivastava with mines secretary Santha Sheela Nair, the PSU has projected 100% capacity untilisation of its aluminium smelter at Angul and its refinery at Damanjodi in Orissa. Besides, it has projected to produce 7,715 million units of power at 85% PLF (Plant load factor), from its 1,200 MW captive power plant at Angul.
Despite high input costs, Vedanta Aluminium has set a target of producing 2.5 million tons of aluminium by 2012-13. The company hopes that it would make up for its daily losses once it is allowed to source bauxite from the allocated Niyamgiri mine for its 1-million-tonnee refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi.
The Lanjigarh refinery – which began its operations in 2007 - is at present losing $ 90 on every ton of alumina it produces. This refinery project would feed VAL’s Jharsuguda smelter in Orissa and Balco in Chhattisgarh.
According Mr Mukesh Kumar, chief operating officer of VAL, the 500,000-tonne Jharsuguda smelter is to be ramped up to 1.75 million tons.
Encouraged by the new market trend, Aditya Birla Group (ABG), which is putting up a world-class one million-ton aluminium complex at Rayagada – has proposed to set up Rs 1,000-crore aluminium downstream project near its existing smelter at Hirakud. The project envisages setting up of rolling mill to manufacture high quality aluminium flat rolled products (FRP) and cans.
ABG chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla recently called on chief minister Naveen Patnaik and discussed on the group’s various projects in Orissa, including expansion of proposed smelter capacity at Hirakud from 0.26 million ton per annum (MTPA) to 0.36 mtpa.
ABG’s integrated aluminium project comprises an alumina refinery of one-million metric tonnes per annum, an aluminium smelter plant of 2,60,000 tons per annum, a captive power plant of 650 MW and bauxite mines of three million tons annual capacity, at a project cost of about Rs.11,000 crore.

VHE Install Anode butt Stripping Press at Russian Aluminium Rodding Plant
Azom.com - 05-Apr-2010
VHE of Iceland has installed an anode butt stripping press at Rusal's Sayanogorsk smelter as part of a development process line in the rodding plant.
VHE's manual butt press is a compact scissor-type spreader designed to work between the yoke and the top of the anode butt. The unit is designed to remove the butt in one operation.
The butt press is suspended by a chain and is manually positioned between the yoke and butt. Operation is by hydraulic lever-valves located on the handle of the equipment. The unit is able to exert up to 15 tonnes of dynamic force to remove the butt from the yoke assembly and is capable of stripping butts from two different designs of yoke.

Alcoa cuts stake in Saudi project
Arab News - Apr 4, 2010 By REUTERS
RIYADH: Alcoa has reduced its stake in a planned $10.8-billion aluminum complex in Saudi Arabia by more than a third, its partner said on Saturday, the second time a foreign partner reviews its position in the plan.
State-run Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Maaden) said in a statement that Alcoa's stake was reduced to 25.1 percent from 40 percent and called the move "a rejig in (Maaden's) capital stake in the joint-venture project with Alcoa" without giving more details.
The stake cut corresponds to a reduction of Alcoa's investment to $2.71 billion from $4.32 billion.
Maaden - whose stake in the joint-venture rose to 74.9 percent from 60 percent previously - said the project's size and start date would not be altered because of this change.
Alcoa agreed in December to take the 40 percent stake in the Ras Azzour plant with Maaden after Rio Tinto Alcan abandoned its 49 percent stake about a year earlier in a similar plan with Maaden because Rio Tinto was unable to obtain financing due to the global financial crisis.
The project was then budgeted at $8 billion.
Since its agreement with Alcoa, Maaden has not made any announcements about progress in raising financing for the project which aims to start production from 2013.
The Ras Azzour plan is the biggest of investments Maaden pledged to deliver in 2008 when it raised SR9.25 billion ($2.47 billion) in an IPO that was open only to Saudi investors.
Maaden's deal with Alcoa provided for the setting up of a 1.8 million ton-per-year refinery, a 740,000 ton-per-year smelter, a bauxite mine with an annual capacity of 4 million tons and a rolling mill with a capacity of up to 460,000 tons.
The smelter and mill are slated to start production in 2013 while the refinery and mine would come online in 2014.
Alcoa's Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld said in December the $10.8 billion cost of the project would be split, with the US firm and its partners paying 40 percent while Maaden is to handle 60 percent.
Maaden is investing about 60 billion riyals to develop the Kingdom's phosphate, bauxite, gold and industrial minerals and help reduce reliance on oil.

Ma'aden Raises Stake in Aluminum Project With Alcoa
BusinessWeek - April 03, 2010
By Glen Carey
Saudi Arabian Mining Co., the state- owned metals producer known as Ma’aden, said it increased its stake in a project to build an aluminum industrial complex with Alcoa Inc. in Saudi Arabia.
Ma’aden’s decision to raise its stake to 74.9 percent from 60 percent won’t impact the schedule and size of the project, the Riyadh-based miner said in a statement on the Saudi bourse Web site today. New York-based Alcoa’s stake decreased to 25.1 percent, Ma’aden said, without providing a reason for the change in ownership.
Ma’aden in December signed a contract with Alcoa to build the 40.5 billion-riyal ($10.8 billion) industrial complex about a year after Rio Tinto Group, the world’s third-largest mining company, abandoned the project. Rio Tinto pulled out of the smelter venture in December 2008 amid falling aluminum prices and a slump in demand.
The Saudi company is studying “all the financial tools” available to finance the project after increasing its stake, Ma’aden said in its statement.
Ma’aden was in talks with aluminum producers to offer as much as a 49 percent stake in its project before it signed the agreement with Alcoa, Chief Executive Officer Abdallah Dabbagh said at a conference in Riyadh in May.
The Ma’aden aluminum complex will supply aluminum to Saudi Arabia and global markets as part of the kingdom’s attempt to develop its mineral resources. The world’s largest oil exporter plans to spend $400 billion on roads, energy and infrastructure projects over five years starting last year to stimulate the economy.
Bauxite Mine
The aluminum project includes a bauxite mine in Qassim, a province in northeast Saudi Arabia, with a production capacity of 4 million metric tons. The material will be shipped by rail to a 1.8 million metric ton-a-year alumina refinery and a 740,000 metric ton-a-year aluminum smelter in Ras Az Zawr on the Persian Gulf. The smelter will start production in 2013 and the refinery in 2014.
Saudi companies have tapped banks and bonds to help finance new projects and expansion works. Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s largest petrochemical maker, raised 10 billion riyals in a private placement of seven-year bonds with the government-run Public Investment Fund, according to a company statement on Dec. 29.
--Editor: James Kraus
To contact the reporter on this story: Glen Carey in Riyadh at gcarey8@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

Nalco breaks all previous records
Indian Express - April 03, 2010
National Aluminium Company Ltd. (NALCO), Navratna PSU and country's largest producer and exporter of alumina and aluminium, has achieved the highest-ever metal production of 4.31 lakh tonnes in 2009-10, against the previous best of 3.61 lakh tonnes in 2008-09, with 19.4% increase.
Similarly, Nalco's Alumina Refinery at Damanjodi has recorded the highest-ever production of 15.92 lakh tonnes of Alumina Hydrate against the previous best of 15.90 lakh tonnes in 2005-06, with capacity utilization of 101.05%.
Most notably, despite external hindrances at the beginning of the fiscal, the company’s Bauxite Mines at Panchpatmali Hills of Koraput, achieved the highest-ever production, with 48.79 lakh tonnes against the previous best of 48.54 lakh tonnes in 2005-06, with capacity utilization of 101.64%.
Nalco’s Captive Power Plant, which feeds to the Smelter Plant at Angul, achieved the highest-ever power generation of 6295 million units against the previous year’s 5541 million units, up 13.6%, and the previous best of 5968 million units in 2006-07

Guinea ministers hold talks at striking RUSAL plant
Reuters India - 02-Apr-2010
CONAKRY, Guinea's government has sent two ministers to hold talks on Friday with striking workers at RUSAL's (0486.HK: Quote, Profile, Research) Friguia alumina refinery, where production remains at a standstill, a RUSAL source said.
Workers at the plant, Guinea's largest industrial project with a capacity to produce around 640,000 tonnes of alumina per year, went on strike on Thursday and are demanding a 50 percent pay hike to compensate for a 40 percent increase in fuel prices.
"Two ministers arrived last night. This morning they are holding talks to find a solution to the problem," the RUSAL source said, asking not to be named.
"The situation is the same as yesterday. All production has stopped. Minimum service is currently being maintained to ensure that the factory's equipment isn't totally damaged," the source added.
RUSAL, which ships the alumina around the world to be refined into aluminium, said on Thursday that it was working with unions to resolve the strike but the situation had not had any impact on the company's production volumes.
A resident in Fria, the town that hosts the Friguia refinery, said that power had been cut to the town since the beginning of the strike.
"We haven't seen this since 1991 (when there was a general strike). We don't have power and some neighbourhoods are also experiencing water shortages," the resident said. (Reporting by Saliou Samb; writing by David Lewis, editing by Anthony Barker)

RusAl Strike in Guinea
The Moscow Times - 02 April 2010
A strike at United Company RusAl’s Friguia alumina refinery in Guinea has brought production there to a standstill, two company sources in the West African country said Thursday.
The plant, Guinea’s largest industrial project, has capacity to produce about 640,000 metric tons of alumina per year, which the Russian firm then ships around the world to be refined into aluminum.
Employees are demanding a 50 percent pay rise, a company executive and a worker told Reuters