AluNews - December 2010

NALCO to Bid for Power Plants
Wall Street Journal - 31-Dec-2010
NEW DELHI -- State-run National Aluminium Co. Ltd. will bid for two of India's upcoming 4,000 megawatt power plants in the eastern states of Orissa and Chhattisgarh, a senior company executive said Friday.
"We will form a consortium for the bid. Preliminary talks have been held with NMDC Ltd. and Neyveli Lignite Corp. Ltd. for a joint venture," NALCO's director of finance, B.L. Bagra, told Dow Jones Newswires.
So far India has only awarded its 4,000 MW power plants--also called ultra mega power projects, or UMPPS--to private sector companies. The country plans to build at least 16 UMPPs to boost electricity generation and tackle acute power shortages.
Four such projects have been awarded so far--one to Tata Power Co. and three to Reliance Power Ltd.
NALCO, India's second-largest aluminum producer by volume, is planning a major foray into the power sector, with plans to invest in coal-fired, wind and nuclear power plants.
It currently operates a 1,200 MW captive power plant in Orissa and plans to set up another 1,250 MW unit in the country. It also plans to set up a supercritical thermal power plant--which is more energy-efficient than conventional power plants--with a capacity of 1,980 MW in the Dhenkanal district of Orissa, Mr. Bagra said.
NALCO has previously indicated its intent to sign a joint venture agreement with state-run Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd. to invest in a 1,400 MW nuclear power plant in the western state of Gujarat.
"We are bullish on India's power sector," Mr. Bagra said, adding that its foray into the power sector will be mainly funded from its cash reserves, which currently stand at about 44 billion rupees ($982.1 million).
The power ministry Friday extended the last date for submitting bids for the Chhattisgarh UMPPs to Mar. 8, while the last date for the Orissa UMPP is Jan. 30.
Mr. Bagra said the company is waiting for environmental and other clearances for the coal blocks allocated to the UMPPs before it finalizes details of the consortium's bid.
"The consortium can have three to four companies. We plan to hold the single largest shareholding in the joint venture company," he said.
India's installed power generation capacity at the end of November was 167 gigawatts and power producers aim to add 113 GW over the next seven years.

Nadir flays RUSAL-owned bauxite company for `gross disregard' Stabroek News - December 30, 2010
Minister of Labour Manzoor Nadir today wrote the RUSAL-owned bauxite company accusing it of gross disregard for the laws of Guyana following its refusal to attend a meeting with the union, GBGWU, and warned that compulsory arbitration could be invoked.
Nadir’s letter to Ruslan Volokhov, General Manager of the Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc (BCGI) followed the company’s refusal to attend a meeting with the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union on Wednesday. The two sides have been loggerheads for more than a year after BCGI fired 57 workers.

AMM) Hatch to implement Rio aluminum project
Metalbulletin.com (subscription) - 29-Dec-2010
Hatch Canada Ltd. announced Wednesday it will implement the first phase of Rio Tinto Alcan's AP60 project in Quebec's Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region in a 50-50
...
Aluminum prices expected to knock USD 2500 by next Q1
SteelGuru - Wednesday, 29 Dec 2010
Castlestone Management indicated that aluminum will become preferred base metal investment in the next 6 months due to China’s aluminum maker's production cut that will push the price to reach USD 2, 500 per tonne.
It’s known that China is the largest aluminum producing country. Electric power takes 45% cost in Al smelting cost in China, much higher than rest of the world's level of 30%.
However, Chinese government has reduced power supply to aluminum smelting industry to fulfill energy saving goals.
(Sourced from YIEH.com)

Chalco to invest RMB 17.5 bln in Guizhou
China Knowledge Online - Dec. 28, 2010 (China Knowledge) - Chalco, or Aluminum Corp of China Ltd<601600><2600>, the nation's largest aluminum producer and the world's third-largest alumina producer, on Saturday signed an agreement with the government of Guizhou Province to invest up to RMB 17.5 billion in the province, foreign media reported.
The investment reflects the largest one made by the Chinese aluminum giant after the company suffered a huge loss of RMB 4.6 billion in 2009.
Chalco will build an alumina smelter with a capacity of 1 million metric tons and a bauxite plant in the province.
At present, Chalco's Guizhou branch has an annual production capacity of 400,000 metric tons of electrolytic aluminum, more than 1.2 million metric tons of alumina and more than 270,000 metric tons of carbon products. In addition, the firm's joint venture project with Wujiang Hydropower Development Corp in Zunyi of the province is able to produce 800,000 metric tons of alumina and 1.7 million metric tons of bauxite per year.
On Saturday, China's centrally-administered state-owned enterprises inked about RMB 300 billion worth of investment agreements with the Guizhou provincial government.

Alro to receive energy at price pegged to aluminium listing
SteelGuru - Monday, 27 Dec 2010
It is reported that a memorandum drafted by the former minister of Economy, Adriean Videanu and countersigned by the prime minister Emil Boc, declares the aluminium industry a national priority and compels the state company Hidroelectrica to provide energy to Alro Slatina at a price pegged to aluminium listings on the stock market.
To justify this measure, Videanu invokes a practice which, he claims, is the norm elsewhere, namely, that aluminium producers should benefit from 75 per cent hydropower, the cheapest kind, out of their total consumption. According to Videanu, state backing in this sector would result in direct investments, into the Romanian economy, of approximately EUR 500 million in the following three years.
The government’s memorandum came into force on January 29th 2010 and, based on it, Alro is granted a preferential contract with Hidroelectrica until 2018.
According to the energy-producer’s current director, Mr Mihai David, tagging the price of the energy that Hidroelectrica delivers to Alro to the price of aluminium would have been beneficial for the state company, which would have made an additional RON 47 M in the first ten months of 2010. Although the aluminium industry is declared a national priority, it is not included in the export strategy, whence metallurgy, oil and the chemical industry are also absent, but which features IT and ecological agriculture.(Sourced from www.nineoclock.ro)

Mozambique: Concession Contract for New Zambezi Dam Signed
AllAfrica.com - 24-Dec-2010
Maputo — The Mozambican government on Thursday signed a concession contract with the Mphanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric Company (HMNK) granting the company rights to build and operate a hydro-electric dam on the Zambezi river, 61 kilometres downstream from the existing dam at Cahora Bassa.
The previous agreements over Mphanda Nkuwa have been provisional, but the concession contract gives the company and the government definite rights and obligations, and on the basis of this contract HMNK can now negotiate contracts to sell the power that will eventually be produced.
HMNK is a consortium consisting of three partners - the Brazilian company Camargo Correia, with 40 per cent of the shares, the Mozambican group Insitec (40 per cent), and the publicly-owned Mozambican electricity company, EDM (20 per cent).
The project is to build a run-of-the-river dam with an installed capacity of 1,500 megawatts in the first phase (four turbines of 375 megawatts each). The dam will be 700 metres long and 86 metres high, with 13 flood gates.
Mphanda Nkuwa is a narrow ravine, and the geological conditions are such that the lake formed behind the dam will be relatively small. The lake will cover 97 square kilometres - which compares with 2,700 square kilometres covered by the Cahora Bassa lake.
According to Egidio Leite, chairperson of the HMNK Board of Directors, the total cost of the dam, including financing costs, will be 2.9 billion US dollars. Assuming that the financial engineering meets no major snags, he believed that construction of the dam could begin in late 2011 or early 2012, and would take four and a half or five years to complete.
Mphanda Nkuwa is in a sparsely populated part of Tete province, and so few people will need to be moved to make way for the dam.
In the construction phase, the dam will provide about 3,500 jobs, although only around 100 people will be employed permanently once the dam starts operating.
The question persistently raised in recent months is - who will buy Mphanda Nkuwa power? So far, the South African electricity company Eskom has refused to guarantee that it will purchase power from HMNK.
But Energy Minister Salvador Namburete stressed that the main purpose of the dam was to meet Mozambican, not South African, needs. "Mphanda Nkuwa was designed by us for the development of Mozambique - we want to use the electricity inside the company, and then export the surplus", he said.
He pointed out that some major industrial projects have stalled, because no spare electricity has been available in the region to power them. A clear example was the suspension of phase three of the Mozal aluminium smelter, which required 650 megawatts and the surplus generating capacity did not exist.
"If we had built Mphanda Nkuwa then, we would have had the power to guarantee Mozal-3", said Namburete. "Many projects are shelved because of the lack of power".
Eskom came into the picture, Namburete said, because potential financing agencies "would feel more comfortable if there was a firm buyer for the power". This, they believed, would ensure that any money they lent would be repaid.
HMNK itself is less sanguine than the minister. The HMNK documents on the dam state that it expects 20 per cent of Mphanda Nkuwa power to be consumed in Mozambique, and the rest to be exported.
Leite believed that, in the end, the fact that Mphanda Nkua is a much cleaner source of electricity than any coal fired power station would tell in its favour. "We will look at all possibilities if Plan A fails", he said. "We do have a Plan B". But he declined to reveal details of "Plan B" to journalists.
The construction of the dam is also dependent on the granting of an environmental licence by the Mozambican Environment Ministry. The environmental and social impact study is about half way through, and should be completed by July 2011.
Namburete said that Mozambique has stringent environmental legislation and "we are committed to following best international practices in this area".
"We have nothing to hide", he stressed. "When the environmental licence is granted, it will state what aspects must be taken into account to mitigate environmental impacts, and there will be permanent monitoring".

Bauxite miner up-beat about refinery plans
ABC Local - December 24, 2010
Bauxite Resources says steadily increasing bauxite and alumina prices will help it progress plans for a refinery in south-west Western Australia in 2011.
The miner hopes to find enough bauxite in its exploration leases, from Jarrahdale to south of Manjimup, to establish the alumina refinery.
Chairman Barry Carbon says the company will finalise the location for the facility and submit an application for regulatory approval of its design and construction plans next year.
He says he expects the project will significantly progress over the next 12 months.

Contract ratified for workers at Century Aluminum plant in Hawesville
Louisville Courier-Journal - December 23, 2010
Century Aluminum Co. said Thursday that membership of United Steelworkers Local 9423 had voted to ratify a five-year labor agreement covering about 500 hourly workers at the plant in Hawesville, Ky.
“We are pleased with this ratification vote,” said plant manager Matt Powell in a press release. “This was a positive step for Century, our workers and the local community.”
Century is based in Monterey, Calif. The Hawesville plant is southwest of Louisville.

China Henan cuts power supply to aluminium, lead smelters
Reuters Africa - Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:47am GMT
HONG KONG Dec 23 (Reuters) - Henan, China's top aluminium and lead producing province, has reduced power supplies to aluminium and lead smelters by 20 percent from this week, smelter sources said on Thursday.
"We have been receiving less power since Monday," a manager at a large aluminium smelter in Luoyang city said.
China is the world's top aluminium and lead producer. (Reporting by Polly Yam; Editing by Chris Lewis)

Rio Tinto Alcan commits $300 million to smelter
Terrace Standard - December 21, 2010
RIO TINTO Alcan last week confirmed a $300 million capital expenditure plan for next year which is expected to be the final step leading to the official announcement it will spend $2.5 billion to rebuild its ageing Kitimat aluminum smelter.
Elements of the spending plan were announced earlier this year, but Rio Tinto Alcan officials said last week the dollars had been committed for the 2011 construction season.
The money is in addition to $350 million already spent in preparation work for the smelter project.
The $650 million is considered part of the overall $2.5 billion budget for the rebuild plan.
The dollar commitment announcement came at a meeting of contractors and engineers held in Kitimat Dec. 14.
“To put it in perspective, what we have done in the last three years, we’re going to do next year,” Michel Lamarre, Rio Tinto smelter rebuild project director said.
“This is a big year, this is a lot of work for us, this is a lot of activity in Kitimat, this is a lot of activity in the region.”
The rebuild will increase the current smelter’s production capacity and lower emissions.
“It’s both new and ‘booked’, if you like,” Vice-President, of Operations and Strategic Projects Paul Henning said of the announced monies, adding, “booked against specific things that have to be done.
“Now we can actually roll out to award, bid and tender,” Henning continued.
In the coming year, Rio Tinto expects to complete a 500-person camp, begin dismantling pot lines seven and eight, and start the on-site underground portion of the construction all without disrupting the continued operation of the remaining pot lines.
The construction camp site will include a full range of facilities and an additional 500 construction workers are expected to live in Kitimat proper.
First plans for the rebuild project called for all workers to stay in camp.
Lamarre says Kitimat can also expect to benefit from spinoff economic activity in restaurants, pubs and other local businesses.
When complete, the modernization project will increase Rio Tinto Alcan’s Kitimat aluminum production capacity by nearly half to approximately 420,000 tonnes a year.
The company also says it will reduce emissions by more than half through the use of its AP60 smelting technology.
A rebuild of the Kitimat smelter has been planned for years and has gone through several different designs and configurations.
First estimates of the current plan placed the cost at under $2 billion, but that figure has since grown to the current $2.5 billion projected total.
The project had all but been officially announced in 2008 but the looming recession put the brakes on final approval as the company hunkered down to evaluate spending.
Still, the company did commit monies toward work that would ultimately fit into the long-term rebuild strategy. Rio Tinto Alcan officials now say that the aluminum market has bounced back.
With files from Anthony Damonse, Kitimat Northern Sentinel.

RUSAL prices alumina using spot index from now on
Commodities Now Online - 20 December 2010
Russian aluminum producer RUSAL has priced all of its alumina deals using an index based on the spot market since June, and will continue to do so from now on, said its international alumina chief. In a recent interview with Reuters, Aleksey Gordymov Commercial Director of United Company RUSAL's International Alumina Division, said the world's top aluminum maker set its first alumina deal based on a new weighted index in June.
RUSAL, with about 7% alumina market share by volume, along with other aluminium giants Alcoa in the US and BHP Billiton in Australia, have moved away from a two-decade practice of pegging the alumina price to a percentage of London Metal Exchange aluminium metal.
Instead, beginning in the second half of 2010, most major producers began referencing an index related to the spot market for their alumina sales, including long-term contracts. Alumina is the main ingredient in making aluminium, derived from raw material bauxite.
Some alumina producers continue to evaluate the merits of the pricing switch, but RUSAL's Gordymov echoed comments made last month by Alcoa executives listing a more accurate relationship between alumina's production costs and its price as chief among the new scheme's benefits.
"The cost of alumina doesn't move with the aluminium price. This is definitely one of the main reasons why alumina producers want to move to an index," said alumina chief.
While some customers have resisted the change, arguing that it makes managing price risk more difficult, Gordymov points out that the spot market index can result in a lower alumina price than setting the price as a percentage of LME aluminium. For example, he points to recent long-term contracts concluded by India's National Aluminium Co Ltd (NALCO) at prices around 16% of monthly average LME aluminium. Last Thursday, RUSAL said in a statement that it sees next year's aluminium price around $2,400 to $2,500 per tonne.. If benchmark LME aluminium, rises to $2,500 in 2011, alumina would be had for $400 a tonne in Nalco's deal.
RUSAL currently prices all of its alumina deals using the index on its website www.RUSAL.com currently showing $364.65 per tonne, FOB (free-on-board). Though no one knows where the alumina spot price will be next year, Gordymov points out that the current index price sits well below $373.60 per tonne, or 16 percent of $2,335, the latest LME aluminium price.
RUSAL calculates the its website price using an index comprised 25% of Metal Bulletin's weighted index for the previous week, 25% of CRU's index for the previous month and 50% of Platt's alumina index from the previous week.
RUSAL has about 70% of its alumina volume tied up in long-term contracts, the last of which expire in 2013, and sells 30% in spot transactions. But Gordymov said all of its current deals are now based on the index. As contracts expire, terms will be reset using the spot index.
"We don't sell anything on a percentage (of aluminium) basis now, nil, only on the alumina index," he said.
By Carole Vaporean, Reuters - for Commodities Now.

S.Korea co to study $350 mln Vietnam aluminium refinery
Reuters - Dec 21, 2010
* Vietnam entity to produce 1.3 mln T alumina from 2011
* Near Vietnam alumina plants, Korea firm may build refinery
* If built, it would meet 25 pct of S.Korea aluminium demand
(Recasts with Dongyang Gangchul clarification)
SEOUL, Dec 21 (Reuters) - South Korea's Dongyang Gangchul will review building a $350 million aluminium refinery in Vietnam to meet 25 percent of South Korea's aluminium demand, the company and Korean government said on Tuesday.
Dongyang Gangchul, South Korea's No.1 aluminium extruding firm, has agreed with Vietnam National Coal, Mineral Industries Holding Corp (VINACOMIN) to proceed with building the aluminium refinery in Vietnam, the world's No. 4 bauxite producer, the ministry of knowledge economy said in a statement.
"We will conduct a feasibility study in the next 12 months over building an aluminium refinery and product-producing facilities near either of two Vietnamese alumina-production sites," said managing director Sang-woo Park at Dongyang Gangchul.
If built, the refinery would produce 300,000 tonnes of refinery aluminium ingots by utilising 600,000 tonnes of alumna to be produced by VINACOMIN, Park said.
Of the total aluminium ingots, Dongyang Gangchul would ship some metals into Korea, while converting them into aluminium products also to ship to Korea, he added.
VINACOMIN owns mines of bauxite, which is converted to aluminium via alumina, while it is scheduled to produce 1.3 million tonnes of alumina per year from 2011.
The ministry statement said: "While South Korea sees its aluminium demand rising, all of the demand is met by imports."
South Korea's aluminium markets are estimated at 2.5 million tonnes.
Shares of Dongyang Gangchul closed up 3.36 percent on Tuesday, outperforming a 0.83 percent gain in the wider market .
(Reporting by Cho Mee-young; Editing by Ed Lane)

S.Korea firm to import 600000 T alumina from Vietnam
Reuters - Dec 21, 2010
SEOUL Dec 21 (Reuters) - Dongyang Gangchul (001780.KS) will import 600,000 tonnes of alumina, or 25 percent of South Korea's annual use, from Vietnam as it plans to build a $350 million aluminium refinery, the Korean government said on Tuesday.
Dongyang Gangchul, South Korea's No.1 aluminium extruding firm with an annual production capacity of 54,000 tonnes, has agreed with Vietnam National Coal, Mineral Industries Holding Corp (VINACOMIN) to proceed with building the aluminium refinery in Vietnam, the world's No.4 bauxite producer.
"While South Korea sees its aluminium demand rising, all of the demand is met by imports," the ministry of knowledge economy said in a statement.
"If this (Dongyang Gangchul's refinery) project was successfully conducted, it would contribute to stabilising the metal supply."
VINACOMIN owns mines of bauxite, which is converted to aluminium via alumina, while it produces 1.3 million tonnes of alumina per year.
On top of the aluminium refinery project, state entities of the two countries have agreed to widen cooperation in developing energy and resources, such as oil, gas, coal and rare earth in Vietnam and other countries, the ministry added.

Explosion at East Iceland aluminium smelter
IceNews - 20 December 2010.
Members of the Iceland Fire Authority are on their way to East Iceland to investigate what caused Saturday’s explosion at the Alcoa aluminium smelter in Reydarfjordur. Foreign experts are also expected today or tomorrow. It is already clear that the investigation could take months.
The explosion took place just after 17.00 on Saturday in the smelter’s electricity substation. The explosion caused a large fire and cut off electricity to the whole factory. Nobody was injured in the blast.
According to Alcoa spokesman, Erna Indridadottir, nothing is yet known about the cause of the explosion, or exactly how much damage has been done. It seems likely that the investigation will take several months and that an electrical component known as a rectifier will need to be sent overseas for analysis, Visir.is reports.
Indridadottir said that an explosion of this type is extremely rare and that the manufacturers of the rectifier will need to get involved in the investigation.
She added that it took a long time to get aluminium production going again after the power cut; but that it is now running at full capacity again, luckily. If an aluminium smelter is left without power for too long, the molten metal can harden in the machinery, which needs to be replaced at the cost of tens of millions of dollars.
Gudmundur Helgi Sigfusson from the Fjardarbyggd fire brigade told reporters that the operation went well, all things considered. Adding that given all the oil on the premises, things could have gone a lot worse. It was, however, a very big fire.

RusAl to pay USD 120 million - Report
SteelGuru -19 Dec 2010
RusAl Aluminium Company Limited, the core investor in Aluminium Smelter Company, ASLCON, Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State, must refund USD 120 million to the Federal Government coffers with all interests and charges accruable, three years after it reneged on a contract to dredge the Imo River.
This is part of the decision of the House of Representatives and the Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, have agreed by the two bodies during a hearing by the House Committee on Privatization and Commercialisation, headed by Hon Brimoh Abass, in Abuja recently
The 40 km wide Imo River could be a very vital inland water way that could stimulate trade and commerce within its catchments basin, but only when dredged to hold llarge barges.
The amount is part of the USD 250 million controversial Share Purchase Agreement, SPA by the company and the BPE in which USD 120 would be used to dredge the Imo River in 2006.
However, Russal, which said that paying the sum is not a problem, argued that in the separate agreements with the BPE, no deadline was attached to the dredging of the river.
But the Director of Industry and Services, BPE, Mr. Allwell Ibe, noted that when Russal emerged as the core investor for ALSCON in February, 2006, the Russian aluminum giant attached several conditions built into the SPA.
He said that “It insisted that the Imo River, by which ALSCON lies in Ikot Abasi, must be dredged.”
Accordingly, he said the BPE, based on technical findings then agreed that it would cost USD 120 million to dredge the Imo River, up to 150 metres deep to allow bigger ships berth at ALSCON.
He said that on getting the report from Biometric Pre-dredging Survey and Volumetric Analysis, consultants to the river in October 2006, the BPE got the approval of the Presidency, to advertise the job to interested companies. According to him, of all the four companies that bid, the least was Westminster Nigeria Limited which bided for USD 149 million
He said that “And all the companies came up with other conditions attached, which would mean extra-financial burden on us. When Russal saw the result of the bid, it said it could do it for USD 120 million and with none of the obnoxious conditions attached. We then had to add the dredging of Imo River as an addendum to the SPA in November, 2006.”
He noted that Russal is a reputable Aluminum company, but he had no idea if it was also into dredging, saying, “But, we thought that maybe they had a subsidiary that was into dredging, since most of their plants are by the river banks.”
He declared that “Rusaal must pay the Federal Government USD 120 million and all calculated interest and sundry charges, or go on and dredge the river without reviewing the contact and must finish the job in three months.”
(Sourced from www.vanguardngr.com)

Power constraints, costs to weigh on Chinese aluminium output - Alcan
Creamer Media's Mining Weekly - 17th December 2010
China will increasingly have to look abroad for its aluminium needs, as power constraints and an appreciating remnimbi put pressure on domestic producers, Rio Tinto Alcan CEO Jacynthe Côté said this week.
“The supply side of the aluminium equation will struggle to keep up as the country becomes energy constrained and the cost of power increases in current production centres,” she told Mining Weekly Online.
“It will continue to be a net importer of bauxite and alumina, and keeping up a sufficient aluminium supply will become quite a significant task.”
Alcan, which Rio Tinto bought for some $40-billion near the peak of the commodities bull market in 2007, announced this week it would spend more than $1-billion on expansions and upgrades at its aluminium smelter operations in Canada
Of this, $758-million would go to the first phase of a new aluminium plant in Quebec, using the group's new energy-efficient AP60 technology, and $300-million was allocated to prepare for a larger $2,5-billion upgrade at the firm's Kitimat smelter, in British Columbia.
Rio Tinto Alcan has touted its new AP60 plant as “the next generation of benchmark smelting technology for the global aluminium industry”, with metal output per pot being 40% higher than at existing smelters.
Côté said recovery in demand for what is the most prolific metal in the earth’s crust was “progressing nicely”, providing some price upliftment.
The aluminium price on the London Metals Exchange (LME) has climbed 40%% to around $2 200/t for cash buyers since its lows of some $1 200/t in March 2009.
Aluminium peaked above $3 200 before the credit crisis froze markets.
Other metals, such as copper, have fared much better in the recovery, already beating their pre-crisis highs.
Reported aluminium inventories represented less than 13 weeks of western world shipments, which was down almost five weeks on their peaks in May 2009, said Côté
“But considering the large inventory still hanging over the industry, we are cautious in the short term. The situation will continue to stabilise as inventories gradually decrease,” she added.
Tokyo based research firm Market Risk Advisory predicted this week that aluminium prices could reach $3 000/t.
Price support could come in the form of exchange traded products – investments backed by physical aluminium stored in warehouses. Russian producer Rusal estimated this week that exchange traded funds could lock up two to three-million tons of the metal over the next few years.
Reuters reported on Thursday that UK-based ETF Securities would list an aluminium exchange-traded product in the first quarter of next year.
Humans only began to extensively use aluminium in the mid-19th century, after technological advancements, according to the LME.
The metals exchange said that aluminium is its most traded product. The biggest uses of the metal include transport, which absorbs 26% and packaging at 22%, the LME said on its website.
DEMAND GROWTH
Côté said that the emergence of green technologies and the global economic recovery would lift demand for aluminium.
“Growth will come from various sectors, and will be based on both broader economic growth (projections indicate five per cent annually) and a need for more environmentally sound solutions worldwide,” she said in reply to emailed questions.
“More aluminium in cars, planes and trains means less pollution because aluminium is light and durable. Every additional kilogram of our metal used in a vehicle becomes a 20 kilogram reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the life of that vehicle.”
Côté added that aluminium also played a key role in economic development.
“In developed countries like Canada, the per capita rate of aluminium consumption is 20 kilograms per year and it continues to increase. In India, it is currently one kilogram; in Brazil and Indonesia, it is five kilograms; and in China, 10 kilograms. The richer a society becomes, the more it uses aluminium.”
In China, producers might struggle to maintain competitiveness as their costs climb on the back of energy constraints and a higher value of the yuan relative to the US dollar.
This could favour Alcan, as it generates much of its own power from hydropower sources in Canada.
“For aluminium production, cost pressures at the top end of the industry cost curve are expected to continue, driven by renmimbi appreciation, China’s reliance on imported bauxite, gradual increases to alumina cost from price decoupling, higher energy prices, and the eventual impact of carbon-pricing mechanisms,” commented Côté.
“The result should be a steeper cost curve that favours low-cost producers such as Rio Tinto Alcan and provides us, as a fully-integrated producer, with strong margins across our business.”
She said she was confident that Rio Tinto Alcan would continue to capitalise on China’s growth markets and maintain strong sales partnerships in China.
RESTRUCTURING
In the wake of the financial crisis – which nearly saw Rio Tinto sinking under the massive debt it took on to acquire Alcan – Rio Tinto Alcan has sold aluminum assets and turned off some production.
Côté said this resulted in cost being down 25% at the end of last year.
Earlier this week, Rio Tinto CFO Guy Elliot told The Australian newspaper that the mining giant was considering further asset sales in the aluminium business.
Côté commented that there were “always a number of options available to us as we consider ways to enhance our portfolio”.
“While the portfolio of assets in our aluminium business is strong overall, there is always room to improve performance,” she said, without saying explicitly that the company was considering further asset sales.

More Than 800 Turn Out For Century Aluminum Job Fair
Tristatehomepage.com - 16-Dec-2010
Century Aluminum of Kentucky is on the hunt for new employees and it has plenty to choose from.
More than 800 people showed up for the job fair. People were waiting outside the gate at 5 a.m.
When they economy tanked, the plant shut down one of its potlines in February 2009. But now things are starting to bounce back as the company is looking to fill 85-100 jobs.
"A lot of people out here. I said it kind of reminds you of in pictures of the Great Depression, people standing in line for different things. So that's what it kind of reminds me of when I walked up here," Martha Wooldridge said.
"It is a good feeling that that many folks know and believe that this is a good place to work and would like to work here. I think it's also concerning though this time of year and just in general that maybe that many people are out of work or have taken on jobs that are different than what they use to have," Matt Powell said.
Matt Powell is the Vice President of Operations at Century Aluminum. He says they hope to bring the plant back to full capacity. Powell says these production jobs are family wage jobs. They're looking for general labor, maintenance workers, electricians, and mechanics, and the people are looking for the jobs.
"Going to different job fairs and applications and it's just been kind of desperate right now," Charles Williams said.
"I want this job really bad. It's going to actually help me and my daughter. It's also going to help with bills that I'm late on so I'd just do about anything to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week if they want me to," Clinton Allen said.
Some people drove several hours to get here, hoping things will soon warm up.
We just learned officials saw around 800 people Thursday. Century Aluminum hopes to fill the jobs by the first part of next year.

Ormet ends pact to buy Kaiser Mead
Spokane Journal of Business - 16-Dec-2010
Ormet, Corp., a Hannibal, Ohio-based aluminum producer, has terminated a tentative agreement to buy the shuttered former Kaiser Aluminum Corp. Mead Works smelter property north of Spokane.
In a brief news release announcing the action, the company said, though, that it intends to continue discussions with the owner of the property "to investigate a future transaction."
Ormet didn't say why it decided not to complete the purchase, the deadline for which had been extend...

BHP Billiton Aluminium ends dispute with SA union
Reuters Africa - 16-Dec-2010
Workers get 8 pct wage increase
* Union confirms strike over
JOHANNESBURG Dec 16 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton Aluminium in South Africa reached a salary agreement with workers to end a strike at its Richards Bay unit, the company said on Thursday.
In an emailed statement, BHP Billiton (BLT.L: Quote)(BHP.AX: Quote) said, "A three-year agreement was reached with an 8 percent increase in the first year and (inflation) plus two percent in the second and third year.
"A democratic process followed by NUMSA and the company led to closure of the protracted wage dispute," the company said.
Some workers at the aluminium unit at Richards Bay, in the country's KwaZulu Natal province, downed tools last week after talks on wages and changes in work conditions with management failed.
National Union of Metalworker of South Africa spokesman, Mbuso Ngubane confirmed to Reuters that the strike was over.
Africa's biggest economy has been hit by a wave of strikes and strike threats in both the private and public sector, which have led to above-inflation settlements and stoked fears that the cost of living will rise.
South Africa's inflation rate stood at 3.6 percent in November. (Reporting by Phumza Macanda; editing by Keiron Henderson))

Aluminum May Gain 29% on Copper-Substitute Demand
Bloomberg - 16-Dec-2010
Aluminum may advance as much as 29 percent to $3,000 a metric ton next year as record copper prices spur end-users to use the light metal as an alternative, said a partner at Tokyo-based research company Market Risk Advisory.
Substitution will boost global demand by 6.9 percent to 40.1 million tons in 2011 from this year, narrowing a worldwide surplus to 200,000 tons from 1 million tons, Naohiro Niimura said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday. Demand is forecast to surpass production by 300,000 tons in 2012, creating a global shortage for the first time in six years, he said.
Copper climbed to a record $9,267.50 a ton on Dec. 14 and has gained 22 percent this year as China-led demand outpaces supply. Aluminum has retreated about 7.5 percent from a two-year high of $2,500 a ton on Nov. 11. The widening price gap encourages companies such as Japanese cable maker Furukawa Electric Co. to increase aluminum consumption.
“Aluminum will likely benefit from copper’s rally as substitution may accelerate,” said Niimura, who worked about 10 years in commodity derivative sales at Mizuho Financial Group’s Mizuho Corporate Bank, Barclays Capital and Deutsche Securities before starting his company this year.
Furukawa Electric plans to produce aluminum wire harnesses in Southeast Asia for Japanese carmakers in the year beginning April, spokesman Masahiko Fukumoto said. The new product, more than 40 percent lighter than copper-based wire harnesses, will increase fuel-efficiency, he said by phone yesterday.
Shipments of aluminum wires increased 48 percent on year to 42,900 tons in the year ended March 31, while shipments of copper-based products fell 13 percent to 662,500 tons, according to the Japanese Electric Wire & Cable Makers’ Association.
China Demand
Global aluminum demand is forecast to increase 6.2 percent to 42.6 million tons in 2012, exceeding expected output of 42.3 million tons, according to Niimura. The market has had a surplus since 2007 on capacity expansion by smelters in China, Russia and the Middle East.
Aluminum output in China, the world’s largest producer, is expected to grow 8 percent to 14.8 million tons in 2011 from this year, falling short of demand estimated at 15.9 million tons, Niimura said. Chinese smelters will have difficulty catching up with domestic demand as the government restricts electricity supply to the energy-intensive industry.
Growth in Chinese demand may be curbed next year if the government tightens its monetary policy to curb inflation, Niimura said. The Chinese central bank has raised rates once since December 2007, pushing the benchmark one-year deposit rate to 2.5 percent and the lending rate to 5.56 percent. Next year the bank may increase rates gradually by a total of 1 percentage point, he said. Consumer prices jumped 5.1 percent in November.
ETF Influence
Aluminum demand will also increase next year as exchange- traded funds backed by the metal are expected to become available to investors, Niimura said.
United Co. Rusal, the world’s biggest producer, said the possible launch of aluminum exchange-traded funds in 2011 may lock 2 to 3 million tons of the metal for “several years,” according to a statement filed to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, supports the creation of an exchange-traded fund backed by the metal and would be interested in supplying aluminum for such a product, Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld said last month.
Copper for three-month delivery in London may advance to as high as $11,000 a ton next year as global consumption is expected to outpace output by 300,000 tons, led by Chinese infrastructure building and auto demand, Niimura said.
Global copper demand is expected to grow 4.8 percent to 19.5 million tons next year, while production is forecast to increase 2.1 percent to 19.2 million, Niimura said.
The deficit may narrow to 200,000 tons in 2012 as production is forecast to increase 5.2 percent, faster than the 4.6 percent growth in consumption, he said.
Aluminum for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange traded at $2,313 a ton at 5:04 p.m. in Tokyo.
To contact the reporter on this story: Aya Takada in Tokyo at atakada2@bloomberg.net Yasumasa Song in Tokyo at ysong9@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

RUSAL sees spot aluminium at $2400-2500/T in 2011
Reuters - 16-Dec-2010
Dec 16 (Reuters) - Russia's United Company RUSAL (0486.HK)(RUAL.PA), the world's top aluminium maker, said on Thursday that it sees next year's aluminium prices at $2,400-$2,500 per tonne and global demand for the lightweight metal to rise 8 percent.
The company said the spot market price for alumina, which is used in the production of aluminium, may reach $400 per tonne in 2011 on strong demand from China and other regions, it said in a statement.
Deputy Chief Executive Oleg Mukhamedshin told reporters in November in Hong Kong that aluminium prices in 2011 would be roughly at current levels or higher, referring to a guidance of $2,400-$2,500 per tonne for the fourth quarter. (Reporting by Alison Leung; Editing by Chris Lewis)

Power deal seals smelter jobs
ABC Online - 16-Dec-2010
A mining and resources giant has signed a long term energy contract with Hydro Tasmania.
Rio Tinto Alcan produces around 180,000 tonnes of aluminium each year at its Bell Bay smelter, consuming 320 megawatts of power annually.
It has signed a contract with Hydro Tasmania until 2025, securing the smelter's future for another 15 years.
Manager John Lemberg says the agreement ensures hundreds of jobs stay in Tasmania.
"This is fantastic news for the 550 employees here at Bell Bay and the thousands of others that support us in the region," he said.
"This has certainly given us security for the future and I'm very confident that this will provide us with an opportunity to continue to continue to Tasmania well into the future."
"Certainly we feel, and certainly by the nature of the agreement I'm sure Hydro feel, that we've reached a very fair price for the product that we buy from them."

Aluminum Industry to Gather for Platts Event
Recycling Today - 15-Dec-2010
Aluminum Symposium 2011 set for Jan. 16-18 in California.
Programming has been lined up for Aluminum Symposium 2011, a metals industry event organized by Platts that will take place Jan. 16-18 in Coronado, Calif.
The event begins with a welcome reception Jan. 16 and then features a full day of programming on Jan. 17 and half of a day of programming on Jan. 18.
Among the topics to be covered will be a look at the state of the global aluminum industry, the economic outlook for the aluminum sector, supply chain trends and dynamics and the mergers and acquisition outlook for the industry.
The speaker roster includes representatives from aluminum companies, including:
Timothy Reyes, president, Alcoa Materials Management
Jean-Marc Germain, president, Novelis North America
Layle (Kip) Smith, CEO, Noranda Aluminum
Thomas Brackmann, president, Nichols Aluminum
Erik Serio, director of Metal Risk Management, Aleris International Inc.
Gary Curtis, president, Wise Recycling
Duncan Crowdis, president, Bonnell Aluminum

Those interested in finding out more about the event can go to www.aluminum.platts.com.

Glencore in Talks on Power for US Aluminum Plant, Union Says
BusinessWeek - 15-Dec-2010
Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Glencore International AG, the world’s largest commodities trader, is negotiating a power supply contract that may lead to the restart of an aluminum smelter in Montana, a local union said.
Glencore, Bonneville Power Administration and a group of Montana congressman have been in “heavy” discussions for about six weeks, said Brian Doyle, a spokesman for the Aluminum Workers Trades Council, a union representing employees of Glencore’s Columbia Falls Aluminum Co. unit.
“There are open discussions between Glencore and BPA,” Doyle said today in a telephone interview, citing his discussions with the congressmen. “There’s something in the works.”
Columbia Falls, which Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore acquired in 1999, has an annual production capacity of 168,000 metric tons. Glencore began reducing output in 2000 because of rising electricity costs and shut the unit in October last year.
Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus and Representative Dennis Rehberg began pushing BPA to negotiate with Glencore after the union asked them to apply pressure, Doyle said. Restarting the plant could potentially add 350 jobs, Tester said in a Dec. 6 statement. Columbia Falls, also known as CFAC, previously employed as many as 600 people, Doyle said.
“BPA is in discussion with CFAC and we’re hopeful that we can reach an agreement,” Katie Pruder-Scruggs, a spokeswoman for Portland, Oregon-based BPA, said in an e-mailed statement.
Marc Ocskay, a spokesman for Glencore, declined to comment.
--With assistance from Jesse Riseborough in London. Editor: Simon Casey
To contact the reporter on this story: Natalie Doss in New York at ndoss@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

Tiwai smelter reduces output due to high electricity prices
guide2.co.nz - 15-Dec-2010
Wellington, NZPA - The Tiwai Aluminium Smelter at Bluff is cutting production in response to high electricity prices which are being looked into by the Electricity Authority.
The smelter is cutting production by 5 percent, or 1500 tonnes per month, the Southland Times reported. About 10 percent of the company's electricity is taken from the spot market and is subject to current market pricing.
The smelter is operated by New Zealand Aluminium Smelters, which is a joint venture 79.36 percent owned by Rio Tinto Alcan and 20.64 percent owned by Sumitomo Chemical Co.
It contributes 13.5 percent of Southland's gross domestic product and has export revenue of around $1 billion each year.
The newly created Electricity Authority said last week that in response to reports from participants, it was looking into increases in wholesale electricity prices since the end of November.
Under the Electricity Industry Act 2010 the authority monitors the wholesale electricity market's performance.
The authority said it had yet to form a view on currently high spot prices and was not undertaking a formal investigation.
Major energy users have warned that exports will decline as they reduce output due to high spot electricity prices.
Pulse Utilities said yesterday that recent prices have reached record levels despite the fact that hydro storage remains at average levels.
Wholesale electricity is continually traded -- every half hour -- on a hedge market and Pulse says prices have risen from a daily average of above $140/MWh earlier last week to a high of almost $308/MWh in recent days.
Energy campaigner Molly Melhuish said retail electricity prices will rise after electricity prices rose this month to almost three times the benchmark price. The benchmark is the price of electricity from new power stations.
The Domestic Energy Users' Network called on the Government to instruct the Electricity Authority to calculate the likely effect on domestic power bills of the recent high spot prices.

Century Aluminum reopening pushed back
Daily Mail - Charleston - 15-Dec-2010
CHARLESTON, W.Va.--The now-closed Century Aluminum plant in Ravenswood will not be able to profitably reopen until 2013, according to an analyst hired by the company.
And if it were to reopen, it would probably have only about 10 years worth of use left in it.
That was the assessment of Joseph Kettell, a business valuation specialist working with the International Appraisal Co., which was hired last year to appraise the Ravenswood plant.
Century closed the plant in February 2009, laying off nearly 650 workers in the process.
Century hired the appraisal firm last year to challenge the state tax department's $73.1 million appraisal of the Jackson County plant.
Using the separate appraisal, Century was hoping to get the value of the plant decreased by $49.6 million to $23.5 million.
The Jackson County Commission, acting as Board of Review and Equalization, affirmed the tax department's appraisal value following a hearing earlier this year.
During that hearing, Kettell delivered his analysis for the future of the plant.
Kettell projected that, given labor and electricity costs as well as expected price trends in the aluminum market, the Ravenswood plant could reopen and turn a profit beginning in 2013.
His analysis was conducted in 2009, and while he projected that 2013 was the likely start date, it could change should there be unexpected swings in the market.
"The prices of aluminum could skyrocket and the plant might open up a year from now, or this facility may never open up. I'm assuming that (2013) is a reasonable estimate," he testified.
He said in February that the price of aluminum would have to stay above $1 a pound to turn a profit. Since he testified, the price has traded both above and below that level.
It currently stands around $1.17 per pound, having stayed above the $1 level since late summer.
Kettell also estimated that Century, or any potential buyer, would have to invest more than $90 million to restart the plant. That figure includes $44 million in startup expenses in rehiring employees and firing up equipment, as well as nearly $50 million to purchase raw materials and other capital costs.
But Kettell said that even if the plant, which was built in the 1950s, were to reopen, the equipment might have only about 10 years of life left.
"Everything dies, and this plant will die," he said.
He said 23 aluminum smelters around the age of the Ravenswood plant were operating in the United States in 1999. Since then 10 had shut down. Of the 13 remaining, four, including the Ravenswood plant, had been temporarily shut down.
Given the startup costs and short lifespan of the plant, Kettell estimated that any company operating the plant could expect to make about $14.9 million over the next decade of the plant.
Century used that $14.9 million profit forecast, combined with the cost of current inventory at the site, as the cornerstone for seeking to have the plant's value reduced.

DJ Rio Tinto To Modernize And Expand Canadian Aluminum Smelter
Trading Markets (press release) - 14-Dec-2010
LONDON, (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- Rio Tinto PLC (RIO.LN), an international mining group announced Tuesday it is to invest $758 million in its Canadian aluminum smelters to improve production efficiency through modernization and expansion.
-The bulk of this new investment will be spent on completing the first phase of the AP60 plant in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.
-Rio Tinto will also invest an additional $300 million for further construction in preparation for the $2.5 billion modernization of the Kitimat smelter in British Columbia.
-AP technology, developed by Rio Tinto Alcan, is designed to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs of aluminum production. AP60 is the latest generation of the bespoke technology and metal output per pot at the plant will be 40 per cent higher than at existing smelters.
-The Kitimat modernization project will increase the smelter's current production capacity by more than 48% to 420,000 ton per year.
-The modernized Kitimat smelter will be powered exclusively by hydroelectricity and use Rio Tinto Alcan's proprietary AP technology to reduce its emissions intensity by more than 50% per year.

Norsk Hydro says Vale aluminum deal delayed
Reuters UK - 14-Dec-2010
(Reuters) - Norwegian aluminum producer Norsk Hydro's (NHY.OL) planned $4.9 billion purchase of Brazilian miner Vale's VALES.SA aluminum assets has been delayed until the first half of 2011.
Norsk Hydro said on Tuesday the delay from the fourth quarter of 2010 was caused by mining rights and regulatory approval processes in Brazil and was not expected to have a significant impact on the value of the transaction for Hydro.
Its shares were down 1.7 percent to 39.48 Norwegian crowns at 0940 GMT on an Oslo bourse down 0.5 percent.
"The news does not alter our view of the deal, but it is marginally negative to sentiment because the market is already a little unsure how to value these assets," said Samir Bendriss, an analyst at Pareto Securities.
In May, Norsk Hydro agreed to buy alumina and bauxite assets from Vale, which will get a 22 percent stake in Hydro as partial payment, a transaction the Norwegian government has approved.
"We will not be able to close the transaction this year as anticipated," Hydro chief executive Svein Richard Brandtzaeg said. "We expect to get the necessary remaining approvals in time to finalize the transaction in the first half of 2011."
Hydro said the deal required the transfer of mining rights from Vale to a newly established joint venture company called Paragominas, of which Hydro will own 60 percent.
Tito Martins, executive officer and head of basic material operations at Vale, said: "Vale and Hydro are working closely together to finalize the transaction as soon as possible, and we are confident that we will resolve all outstanding issues."
(Additional reporting by Oslo newsroom; Editing by Dan Lalor and Louise Heavens) ($1 = 5.903 Norwegian crowns)

Reports: Rio Tinto may sell some plants
Evansville Courier & Press - 13-Dec-2010
Rio Tinto is planning to sell some of its Alcan aluminum smelters and bauxite refineries, The Australian newspaper reported Monday.
"We have to look critically at some of the assets -- smaller, older assets that exist in the portfolio that maybe don't have much upside in terms of expandibility or extension of life," Rio Tinto chief financial officer Guy Elliott told the newspaper.
"Maybe we're going to have to find another owner for those," Elliott said.
No specific plants were identified. Rio Tinto Alcan employs approximately 500 people at its nearly 40-year-old Sebree smelter.
Sebree spokesman Kenny Barkley said Monday afternoon that he had no information concerning a possible sale of assets.
Alcan has more than 20 smelters and five refineries worldwide. At an investor briefing last month, Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese said some of the company's smelters were in the expensive half of the industry cost curve.
He said they would need to improve, or they would be considered for closure or disposal, The Australian reported.
The Sebree smelter is considered one of Rio Tinto Alcan's higher-cost plants because it is fueled by more expensive coal-fired power plants while its Canadian plants use cheaper hydroelectric power. In 2009, the Sebree plant trimmed its work force by approximately 100 employees to reduce costs.
Rio Tinto's aluminum businesses recorded a net loss of $578 million in 2009, down from a nearly $1.3 billion.
Meanwhile, Elliott said Rio Tinto Alcan is on the verge of announcing its first major capital spending projects since Rio Tinto acquired Alcan Inc. in late 2007.
The two most likely options are the $2 billion expansion of its Kitimat smelter in British Columbia and a pilot plant to test its higher-efficiency AP50 technology at Saguenay, Quebec, The Australian reported.

NALCO to start work on Rs 18k cr Indonesian project by June
MSN India - 12-Dec-2010
New Delhi, State-owned NALCO today said it has selected UAE-based RAK Minerals as JV partner for its Rs 18,000 crore aluminium-cum-power project in Indonesia and is looking at commencing work on it by June 2011.
The company proposes to set up 0.5 million tonne per annum (MTPA) aluminium smelter and 1,250 MW captive thermal power plant in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, part of its ongoing Rs 58,000 crore capacity expansion plan.
"We have selected Ras-al Khaimah Minerals as one of the JV partners for the project, while others would be finalised soon. NALCO will have majority stake in the JV," NALCO''s Director Finance B L Bagra told PTI.
JV agreements are likely to be finalised in six months and the company hopes to start work on the projects by June 2011, Bagra said.
He also said that an Indonesian state-owned mining firm too has evinced interest in the project, which will have debt equity ratio of 70:30.
NALCO''s investment would be 15 per cent of the total project cost, while the JV partners would fund 15 per cent and the remaining 70 per cent would come through loans.
NALCO, which is Asia''s largest integrated aluminium complex, encompassing bauxite mining, alumina refining and aluminium smelting had inked a pact with Government of South Sumatra, Indonesia for the projects in January 2008.
However, the project remained stuck following delays in development of port at Tanjung Api-api and railway line in South Sumatra.
Later, Indonesian Investment Coordination Board gave approval for alternative location of the project in East Kalimantan.
While the company intends to import about one million tonne of alumina annually from its facilities in India to feed the aluminium smelter, it will procure coal for the captive power plant locally, for which it has already invited bids from coal companies.
The company needs about 10 MTPA of thermal grade coal, half of which will be to feed its East Kalimantan project and the rest for its energy requirement elsewhere.
The government holds 87.15 per cent stake in the PSU, which is undertaking about Rs 58,000 crore expansion project, which includes over Rs 16,000 crore Orissa project for setting up a 5 MTPA smelter plant and 1,260 MW power plant.
It had a turnover of Rs 5,548 crore in 2009-10, against Rs 5,631 crore in the previous year.

Clifford Chance announces the financing of aluminum smelter project
SteelGuru - Saturday, 11 Dec 2010
Clifford Chance and Al Jadaan & Partners Law Firm have announced that the financiers on the financing of USD 5.01 billion aluminum smelter plant cast house and related infrastructure forming part of what will be the largest fully integrated aluminum complex in the world and will be located at Ras Az Zawr in Saudi Arabia.
The aluminum smelter which is to initially produce 740,000 tonnes per annum of primary aluminum is the first to be constructed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is being developed by Ma'aden Aluminum Company. MAC is JV between the Saudi Arabian Mining Company and Alcoa Inc.
The total amount of the multi-sourced financing for the project will be USD 3.256 billion and comprises an Islamic Ijara facility an Islamic Wakala facility, a commercial facility, a facility to be provided by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and a facility to be provided by the Saudi Industrial Development Fund.
Clifford Chance acting through its offices in Frankfurt, Dubai and Paris and Al Jadaan & Partners Law Firm acted for the financing group, comprising Islamic and commercial banks financial institutions led by a set of mandated lead arrangers which included Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation, Alinma Bank, Arab National Bank, Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation, Bank AlJazira, Banque Saudi Fransi, BNP Paribas, Emirates NBD, Export Development Canada, Riyad Bank, Samba Financial Group, Saudi Hollandi Bank, Standard Chartered Bank Limited, The National Commercial Bank and The Saudi British Bank. Banque Saudi Fransi acted as documentation bank.
The Clifford Chance team was led by partner Edmund Boyo who was assisted by partners Qudeer Latif and Nicholas Wong. The core team comprised Mr Matthew Meyerink, Mr Paul McViety counsel of Dubai and Mr Debra Counsell of Counsel Paris. The wider team included: Mr Craig Dale, Mr Michael Gibling, Ms Anna Thwaites each based in Frankfurt; Mr Richard Parris, Mr Sandy Hall, Mr Katja Fenton, Mr Benjamin Goss, Mr Shauaib Mirza and Mr Cheuk Yin Cheung and Ms Corinne Duvnjak. The Al Jadaan team was led by Mr Mohammed Al Jadaan, Mr Abdulaziz Al Abduljabbar and Riyadh based Clifford Chance partner, Mr Mohamed Hamra Krouha with support from partner mr Khalid Al Abdulkareem and associates Mr Fahad Abuhimed, Mr Yasser Alhussain and Mr Nader Alharbi.
The sponsors, through Maaden Rolling Company will also develop a USD 2.52 billion aluminum rolling mill project that will be located adjacent to the smelter. The rolling mill will be the first to be constructed in the GCC. The same teams from Clifford Chance and Al-Jadaan & Partners Law Firm advised on that financing in parallel with the financing of the aluminum smelter project.

New York firm to take over Alcan Ravenswood mill next month
Charleston Gazette - December 10, 2010
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Apollo Global Management plans take control of Alcan's Ravenswood aluminum rolling mill the first week of January, American Metals Market Bulletin reported Friday.
In August, Alcan announced it had received a binding offer to buy its rolled products division -- which includes the Ravenswood plant -- from Apollo Global Management, a New York investment firm.
Alcan's management reportedly told Ravenswood's workers about the transition plans this week, according to American Metals Market.
The Ravenswood mill is Jackson County's largest employer, with more than 1,000 workers.
In July, union workers approved a new collective bargaining agreement.
Alcan had pledged to spend $86 million on plant improvements, after union workers passed a new contract.
Apollo has not said whether it intends to honor Alcan's commitment.

'New' VALCO poised to engineer Ghana's industrialization
Myjoyonline.com - 11-Dec-2010
The Chief Executive of the Volta Aluminum Company says the company is very serious about contributing its quota to the country’s industrialization.
According to Emmanuel Lartey, VALCO, as a result of its new focus, is now not as keen on profits.
He told Joy Business the company’s vision is to ensure that it is able to utilize local bauxite as part of an integrated aluminum industry.
“The new VALCO is not going to look for alumina in the western world, we are going to look at adding value to our bauxite, turn it into alumina and then convert the alumina into aluminium,” he stated.
The company has resumed production after it was shut down for almost two years. Mr. Lartey also explained that the company will also embark on a massive recruitment of new hands in addition to the old hands that were recalled.
Source: Joy Business/Ghana

Strike hits BHP Billiton S.African aluminium unit
Reuters Africa - 09-Dec-2010
* Union says about 600 workers go on strike
* Workers want 12 percent increase in wages
* Company says open to further talks

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Hundreds of workers at BHP Billiton's (BLT.L: Quote) (BHP.AX: Quote) aluminium smelter in South Africa went on strike on Wednesday, demanding better wages and changes in work conditions, a union official said.
About 600 workers downed tools at BHP's Billiton Hillside aluminium smelter at Richards Bay, in the country's KwaZulu Natal province, after talks with management failed, National Union of Metalworkers spokesman Mbuso Ngubane said.
The workers are demanding a 12 percent hike in wages across the board, and a 50 percent employer contribution to a medical aid scheme, among other things.
The union said it had been in talks with management since April this year.
BHP Billiton SA spokesman Johnny Dladla said in an e-mailed statement the company was open to further talks and that its offer of a 7.5 percent pay rise had been accepted by about 70 percent of the employees at the unit.
Hillside, with annual capacity of around 700,000 tonnes, is South Africa's major producer of aluminium.
Dladla said the company had put in place contingency plans to maintain production at the unit.
The union was expected to meet with management later on Wednesday.
"We are going (to the meeting) with an open mind, hopefully we may have an agreement by tomorrow," Ngubane said.
Africa's biggest economy has been hit by a wave of strikes and strike threats in both the private and public sector, which have led to above-inflation settlements and stoked fears that the cost of living will rise.
South Africa's inflation rate stood at 3.4 percent in October. (Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda; editing by Keiron Henderson)

Hydro to Shut Karmoey Extrusion Plant on Falling Sales
Bloomberg - 08-Dec-2010
Norsk Hydro ASA, Europe’s third- largest aluminum maker, will halt extrusion operations at its Karmoey plant in Norway in 2012 and switch to lower cost facilities after sales to carmakers and the U.K. declined.
Hydro has “a significant overcapacity,” Trond Sandberg, extrusion chief in the Nordic area, said in a statement today.
Karmoey has the highest fixed costs among Hydro’s three Norwegian operations, the company said. It will raise output at extrusion plants in Magnor and Raufoss, Hydro said.
The company will post a charge of 50 million kroner ($8.3 million) in the fourth quarter for the closure of the plant, which will affect 94 employees, it said. Hydro expects increased output in the other two plants to also cost 50 million kroner.
Karmoey began operating in 1969 and has an annual capacity of 15,000 metric tons of so-called aluminum profiles.
To contact the reporters on this story: Firat Kayakiran in London at fkayakiran@bloomberg.net;
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amanda Jordan at ajordan11@bloomberg.net.

VALCO Reactivates Operations
Modern Ghana - 07-Dec-2010
The Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) has been reactivated for operations after being shut down for two years.

Consequently, the smelter is expected to produce its first primary aluminium metal of 80,000 metric tonnes in January 2011.

The Managing Director of VALCO, Mr Emmanuel Lartey, announced this when the Minister of Energy, Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei, visited the plant in Tema yesterday.

He said VALCO had 20,000 metric tonnes of alumina ready and was stockpiling carbon to start smelting, explaining that the designed capacity of the smelter plant was 200,000 metric tonnes of primary aluminium per year when all the five lines were in operation.

He said currently the long-term London Metal Exchange price of aluminium was estimated at $2,500 per tonne, noting that the long-term potential sales revenue of VALCO would be $500 million per annum.

Mr Lartey said for a start, the company would produce to feed local companies downstream before exporting to the international market.

Dr Oteng-Adjei for his part, said the government rgarded VALCO as one of the critical agents which served as an anchor for Ghana's integrated industrial development strategy through aluminium, saying it was in the light of this that President Mills, in July 2009, tasked him to facilitate the conduct of a study of VALCO.

The minister said verifiable evidence from the study indicated that a properly mainstreamed VALCO held a significant place in the country's economic transformation agenda.

He said the reactivation of VALCO provided a unique opportunity to create 8,000 direct jobs and 40,000 indirect jobs in the over 150 downstream industries and the several other companies engaged in aluminium fabrication and use, as well as service provision activities.

Dr Oteng-Adjei said with the activation of VALCO, the downstream industries would source their raw materials locally, without the attendant huge freight and other costs associated with the importation and clearing of their basic raw materials from other countries.

Century Aluminum Announces Restart of Hawesville, KY Potline
Live-PR.com (press release) - 07-Dec-2010
MONTEREY, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 12/07/10 -- Century Aluminum of Kentucky, a wholly owned subsidiary of Century Aluminum Company (NASDAQ: CENX), today announced its intention to restart an idled potline at the Hawesville, Kentucky aluminum smelter

The Hawesville smelter has a rated capacity of approximately 250,000 tonnes of primary aluminum annually from five potlines. As a consequence of the cost structure

of the plant and depressed aluminum prices, one of the five potlines was curtailed in March 2009. Restarting the idled potline is expected to increase primary aluminum production by approximately 4,370 tonnes per month. To support the increase in production, Century of Kentucky plans to add approximately 100 new positions through recall and new hiring. The process of restarting the potline is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2011.

"Bringing the Hawesville smelter back to full operating capacity will improve our competitiveness and help sustain continued operations," said Hawesville vice president and plant manager Matt Powell. "We will begin preparations for restarting the idled potline immediately."

Century Aluminum Company, the parent of Century Aluminum of Kentucky, owns primary aluminum capacity in the United States and Iceland. Century's corporate offices are located in Monterey, California.

Orbite files patent on alumina preparation
Montreal Gazette - 07-Dec-2010
December 7, 2010 Exploration Orbite Inc., developer of aluminous clay deposits near Murdochville in Quebec's Gaspé region, said Tuesday it has filed for a new provisional U.S. patent covering improvements to its alumina preparation process.

Orbite has explored the clay reserves and is building a pilot processing plant at nearby Cap Chat to produce small quantities of alumina from the clays. The patented processing technology has been proved in the laboratory.

Orbite plans initial commercial-scale production of super-high-grade alumina for the electronics industry - assuming success at the pilot plant stage. Later, it would be sold to Quebec's aluminum smelting industry. Alimina is the intermediate material for production of primary aluminum metal.

Orbite said its agents Bereskin & Parr in Montreal expects to file another patent application for additional improvements to the processing technology early next year. "Innovation holds the key to achieving higher yield and lower production costs in a project like ours," said Orbite CEO Richard Boudreault.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Novelis to close smelter in Brazil
Reuters Africa - 06-Dec-2010
* To close aluminum smelter in Aratu, affecting 300 jobs
* Says the plant has been at loss for 2 yrs
* Says shutdown will not impact other Brazil ops

Novelis Inc, a unit of Indian aluminium maker Hindalco Industries Ltd (HALC.BO: Quote), said it will shut a 60,000 tonnes-a-year smelter in Brazil due to high operating costs and energy prices, affecting about 300 employees.
Novelis said the Aratu plant has been operating at a loss for nearly two years despite the company's efforts to improve performance through restructuring its workforce, installing new leadership and adjusting production levels.
"High energy prices and other structural costs will keep the plant unprofitable at expected aluminum prices for the foreseeable future," the company said in a statement.
Novelis said the shutdown, by Dec. 31, will not impact its other operations in Brazil. (Reporting by Krishna N Das in Bangalore)

Cevital plans USD 7 billion aluminium plant in Algeria
SteelGuru - Dec 5, 2010
Reuters reported that Algeria's largest private company, Cevital is awaiting government approval to build USD 7 billion aluminium plant with annual capacity of 1.5 million tonnes.
Mr Issad Rebrab CEO of Cevital said that the project is part of the family owned firm's expansion strategy in Algeria which is trying to develop domestic industry and reduce its reliance on oil and gas exports.
He said that we have submitted details of the project to the authorities. Unfortunately we are still waiting for authorization from the government.
Cevital has investments in sectors ranging from sugar refining and car imports to vegetable oil and hypermarkets. Mr Rebrab said that about plans to build USD 3.8 billion steel complex and to double its sugar exports to 1 million tonnes.
Metals companies are looking to Algeria because of its good infrastructure, abundant energy resources and proximity to European markets but some investors say its business climate is challenging. As we are in the early stages of evaluating this opportunity it would be inappropriate to speculate about possible investment and production details.(Sourced from Reuters)

Australian Bauxite Limited (ASX:ABZ) Taralga Bauxite Resource Doubles to 12 ...
ABN Newswire (press release) - Dec 5, 2010
... is the world's largest bauxite-alumina production province, producing the world's lowest-cost alumina because the aluminium ore mineral is exclusively ...

MHM Metals Updates on aluminum project
SteelGuru - Dec 3, 2010
MHM Metals Limited is moving closer to council approval for evaporation ponds to be built adjacent to the company’s operations south of Geelong in Victoria. Approval is being sought to construct the ponds on 9 hectare property that has been leased to MHM by Alcoa for USD 1 per year.
The closed loop landfill free technology for which MHM has exclusive global rights produces 3 valuable commodities. One is a blended salt brine solution that requires evaporation. Evaporation ponds are one way of recovering the salts.
MHM plans to use the intended new ponds for an initial period but to be followed by installation of an instant salt crystallization system. This system will recover over 120 million liters of water each year from the Geelong operations. Instant salt crystallization systems also enable MHM to establish salt slag processing facilities at sites where solar evaporation is not viable.
Alreco Private Limited, MHM’s wholly owned operating subsidiary for the Australian operations, submitted an initial application for evaporation pond approval in June 2010. The process has been delayed because the council has given conflicting advice about the need for a Cultural Heritage Management Plan. A CHMP is a study to assess and manage cultural heritage values.
The application for evaporation pond approval was advertised to the community without objection. The company has now been given new advice from the council that a CHMP is required. MHM will now proceed with the CHMP and this is expected to take 4 weeks. MHM’s operations at Moolap are proceeding to high levels of satisfaction but will be improved further when salt ponds are constructed.
Alreco has asked the council why incorrect advice was given and steps that can be taken to remedy the situation. The directors of MHM had hoped that the written advice would have been received by this time, but has not been forthcoming. The company believes this written advice should be received next week.
It is important to note that the company has other alternative locations upon which ponds can be built including a two and a half hectare property owned by Mr Frank Rogers MD of MHM that shares a common boundary with the 9 hectare Alcoa property. Consultants have advised Alreco that this alternate property would not trigger the requirement for a CHMP but the company believes the fastest way to resolve the salt pond approval issue and commence construction of the ponds is to complete the CHMP on the original location.
MHM takes this opportunity to remind shareholders of important facts:
1. The use of evaporation ponds at this location is one of a number of options for MHM.
2. The delay in approval is irrelevant to the viability of the salt slag processing technology.
3. MHM continues to process salt slag under contracts with Alcoa and Sims.
4. Large sections of the upgraded processing plant in Geelong have been commissioned. These operations have exceeded expectations.

New coal mine to create jobs in Alcoa Warrick Operations
SteelGuru - Friday, 03 Dec 2010
Community leaders and Alcoa Warrick Operations asked the Indiana Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday to approve a permit for a new surface coal mine being proposed for Warrick County.
Alcoa is working with Evansville-based Vigo Coal Co. to open the Liberty Mine, located about three miles north of Chandler, Ind. Plans call for mining to begin in 2012. The coal from the mine would supply Alcoa’s Warrick Power Plant, which recently underwent a significant $600 million modernization project to install state of the art environmental controls that remove more than 95% of sulfur dioxide emissions. The environmental modernization project was the largest investment by Alcoa in North America when completed in 2008.
The proposed development of this new surface coal mine would provide about half of the annual fuel supply for the power plant, which provides electricity to all of Warrick Operations.
Warrick Operations, which is celebrating 50 years in the community this year, employs about 2,000 people and has a daily economic impact of USD 6.6 million in the Evansville Metropolitan Area.
Mr G Royce Haws location manager for Alcoa Warrick Operations told the Department of Natural Resources’ staff that access to low cost, reliable energy is critical to the long-term success of aluminum smelting and to Alcoa’s facility in Warrick County. He said that “Aluminum facilities across the country have curtailed or permanently closed because they lost access to affordable energy, so this coal development will help ensure that Warrick Operations can avoid the severe business risk that would come from fluctuating energy prices.”
The IDNR also heard comments from local business leaders representing the Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana and the Warrick County Economic Development Corp both of whom encouraged approval of the development to help Alcoa remain competitive in Warrick County.
Mr John Harman president of Vigo Coal Operating Co said the Liberty Mine would initially employ about 62 miners, with an annual payroll including benefits near USD 6.2 million. Once underway, it would produce about 1.0 million tonnes per year.
Vigo Coal and its subsidiaries have been recognized for environmental performance, including four Excellence in Mining Awards from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, three awards from the US Department of Interior and four reclamation awards from the Interstate Compact Commission.
Mr Haws said that “This year, Alcoa Warrick Operations celebrates 50 years of success in this community We are proud of the significant investments that Alcoa has made at this facility over the years and this additional investment in a new coal mine will allow Warrick County to remain competitive in the global aluminum market.”

Aluminum industry suffers US backlash
Global Times - 03 Dec 2010
As US authorities have targeted Chinese aluminum products with a preliminary raft of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties, industry producers are beginning to feel the squeeze.
According to customs figures from Foshan, Guangdong Province, aluminum product exports have dropped from 3,117 tons in August to 1,150 tons in October, representing a sharp two-thirds decline.
"We stopped exports to the US two months ago due to the pressure," Ding Dan, director of the exports department of Guangzhou-based Xingfa Aluminum Holding Ltd, told the Global Times Thursday.
"Our profit margin stands at between 5 to 7 percent. Once we start exporting, we will take losses," Ding added.
In October, the US government said it wanted to slap anti-dumping duties on Chinese aluminum products, a move boosting both a group of US aluminum producers and the United Steelworkers union, according to the report by the Wall Street Journal.
The proposed duties, which require further action by the International Trade Commission, could add 59.31 percent to the cost of Chinese aluminum extrusions, said the report. Extrusions are removed from aluminum alloys and are a major construction material
As of August 31, the US Department of Commerce also made an accompanying preliminary anti-subsidy ruling, imposing a punitive tariff ranging from 6.18 percent to 137.65 percent on imports of the metal from China.
In total, most aluminum exporters must accept a staggering 196.96 percent mark-up on duties.
"We have ended cooperation with our partners in the US for more than 10 years, and they are heart-broken," said Ding.
"Aluminum exporters are mostly private companies and receive no subsidies," she added.
China is the world's largest exporter of aluminum extrusions. Between 2007 and 2009, imported aluminum extrusions to the US rose by 90 percent. The sector was worth $514 million in 2009, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Thursday.
"The US government has maintained anti-dumping measures on Chinese products for years, connected to the appreciation of the yuan, or to China' trade surplus with the United States ," Huo Jianguo, director of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, Thursday told the Global Times.
A final decision concerning these anti-subsidy and anti-dumpling measures is expected for January next year.
Ding said her company is focusing on the European Union and Southeast Asian markets to avoid the trade protection risks, as "the US market only accounts for five percent of exports."

Vimetco starts operating Sierra Leone mines without contractor
Metalbulletin.com (subscription) - 03 Dec 2010
Vimetco has started operating its
bauxite mines in Sierra Leone without a contractor as part of its plans to cut costs and improve vertical integration, ...

Russia's RUSAL, RusHydro ink deals to borrow 50 bln rbl from VEB
HydroWorld - 01-Dec-2010
Russia's Boguchanskaya hydropower plant and Boguchansky Aluminum Smelter have concluded deals to take out two loans totaling 50 billion rubles from state-owned Vnesheconombank (VEB), VEB said Wednesday.
The smelter and the power plant are part of the BEMO hydropower and aluminum project in the Krasnoyarsk Region, which is being jointly carried out by aluminum producer United Company RUSAL and hydropower producer RusHydro.
The loans include a 16-year 28.1 billion ruble loan for the hydropower plant and a 14-year U.S. dollar-denominated loan worth an equivalent of 21.9 billion rubles for the smelter's first stage, which is slated to be launched in 2013.
No information on interest rates was provided.

Indian Aluminum Output May Rise Eightfold by 2020, Minister Says
Bloomberg - Dec 1, 2010
India’s aluminum output may gain almost eightfold to 10 million metric tons by 2020 as companies expand capacities, Mines Minister B. K. Handique said.
Production, currently about 1.3 million tons, is expected to match consumption at 5 million tons in the next five years, Handique said today at a conference in New Delhi.
Hindalco Industries Ltd. and National Aluminium Co., India’s top producers of the metal used to build aircraft, cars and power plants, are expanding their smelters in the eastern state of Orissa, which has the country’s largest deposit of bauxite ore used to make aluminum.
To contact the reporters on this story: Bibhudatta Pradhan in New Delhi at bpradhan@bloomberg.net; Abhishek Shanker in Mumbai at ashanker1@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Hobbs in Sydney at ahobbs4@bloomberg.net

Nine firms eying GMDC aluminum plant
SteelGuru - 01 Dec 2010After two revised deadlines, Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation has managed to get 9 responses for its INR 14,000 crore aluminum project in Kutch of Gujarat.
The companies are UltraTech Cement, Gujarat Foils, JSW Aluminum, NALCO, Aluchem (USA), Dubai Aluminum (Dubai), Jaiprakash Associates, Adani Group and Jindal Steel and Power.
A GMDC official said that “What is interesting to note is that non aluminum companies like Jaiprakash Associates, Jindal Steel and Power and UltraTech Cement have shown interest in the business. Nine bids have been received and now the process of evaluation of the expression of interests will begin.”
GMDC had invited an EoI from interested companies for 1 million tonne alumina refinery and a half a million tonne aluminum smelter in the Kutch region of Gujarat. The bauxite requirement for the project will be supplied by GMDC through its captive mines. The company stated that its bauxite mines in the Kutch region are enough to last a project this size for 25 to 30 years.
(Sourced from Business Standard)