AluNews - June 2010

Vedanta hits another roadblock, MoEF forms new panel on project
Indian Express - Jun 30 2010
Plans by Vedanta Resources to mine bauxite in Niyamgiri to feed its alumina refinery in Lanjigarh area of Orissa’s Kalahandi district face further delay after the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on Tuesday formed a new committee, headed by former Planning Commission member N C Saxena, to look into the issues related to alleged violation of forest rights of tribals living there.
A global campaign against the project, which will impact settlements of tribals at the proposed site, has been raising its pitch for the past one year. The earlier committee constituted by the ministry gave a report that neither opposed the project or endorsed it. In its Tuesday notification, the MoEF said the four-member panel headed by Saxena (from the National Advisory Council) would include S Parasuraman from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Promode Kant and Amita Baviskar from the Institute of Economic Growth.

Ma'aden Agrees on $4.5 Billion Loan for Alcoa Venture
BusinessWeek - June 29, 2010
By Glen Carey and Mourad Haroutunian
(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabian Mining Co., the state- controlled metals producer known as Ma’aden, said its board approved $4.5 billion in financing for the first phase of an aluminum smelter project with Alcoa Inc.
Ma’aden will borrow from local and foreign banks, and government funds, to help pay for the project in Saudi Arabia, the company said in a statement on the Saudi bourse website today. The finance will represent 60 percent of the first phase of the project with a total cost of $7.5 billion, it said. The facility is to start production at the end of 2013.
In December, Ma’aden signed a contract with Alcoa to build a $10.8 billion industrial complex to supply Saudi Arabia and global markets as part of the kingdom’s attempt to develop its mineral resources. In April, Ma’aden said it increased its stake in the project to 74.9 percent from 60 percent, while New York- based Alcoa’s stake decreased to 25.1 percent.
The 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.
--Editor: Peter Branton
To contact the reporter on this story: Glen Carey in Riyadh at gcarey8@bloomberg.net; Mourad Haroutunian in Riyadh at mharoutunian@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net; Shaji Mathew in Dubai at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

RUSAL expects to supply metal to aluminium ETF
Mineweb - Tuesday , 29 Jun 2010
The first aluminium-backed ETF is expected in July and the Russian producer will likely supply the underlying asset
Author: Chikako Mogi and Osamu Tsukimori (Reuters)
TOKYO (Reuters) - Backed by healthy physical demand, what would be the first aluminium-backed exchange traded fund is expected to be launched in July, the head of Russia's UC RUSAL (0486.HK: Quote) (RUAL.PA: Quote) said on Tuesday.
Chief Executive Oleg Deripaska told reporters in Tokyo that RUSAL, the world's biggest aluminium producer, will likely supply aluminium as an underlying asset for the ETF.
While he declined to give more details, such as which company would launch the contract or the size of the ETF, he said 1 million tonnes in size reflected the current positive market.
"Physical demand is at a very healthy level. Premiums for physical demand demonstrate that there is something which is very sustainable," Deripaska said.
For RUSAL, such an ETF is "an important factor for managing stock capacity," and for investors, it gives the opportunity to hedge against commodity, currency, and energy prices because aluminium is an energy-intensive product, he said.
The company has previously said it was considering launching an ETF that could lock up more than a million tonnes, while sources had previously told Reuters that Glencore and Credit Suisse are interested in launching an aluminium fund.
Deripaska said that as soon as fears over Europe's debt problems disappear, something that could happen by the end of 2010, aluminium prices MAL3 could recover up to $2,400 a tonne.
At 1030 GMT on Tuesday prices were hovering just below $2,000 a tonne, well off the record high of $3,380 a tonne struck in 2008.
Deripaska also told reporters that RUSAL would resume operations at its Ewarton Works plant in Jamaica by the end of August. The facility was stopped in 2009 due to cost cuts.
"It will be in full capacity. Already this year, we'll take delivery to Russia from Jamaica," he said.
The company has said it plans to produce about 321,000 tonnes per year of alumina at the plant this year, or about half of its capacity.
RUSAL became the world's biggest aluminium producer through a string of acquisitions and expansion last decade, but the global economic crisis and subsequent downturn in aluminium prices plunged the group into a debt crisis.
It eventually restructured $16.8 billion of debt late last year, and launched IPOs in Hong Kong and Paris in January.
Deripaska said he expected the company's share prices on the Hong Kong exchange to recover when aluminium prices rebound.
The company swung into the black during the first three months of the year after flirting with collapse amid heavy losses and mammoth debts in 2009. [ID:nTOE64800B] (Editing by Michael Urquhart)© Thomson Reuters 2010 All rights reserved

Alcoa to buy private window and door maker
Boston Globe - June 28, 2010 W YORK—Aluminum manufacturer Alcoa said Monday it has agreed to buy privately held window and door maker Traco for an undisclosed sum.
Traco will become part of Alcoa's building and construction systems business.
Traco was founded in 1943 and has about 650 employees. It is based in Cranberry, Pa., hich is north of Alcoa's Pittsburgh headquarters.
Alcoa makes aluminum for a wide range of industries from aerospace and construction, for products from electronics to drink cans.

Bahrain's losses double
Sydney Morning Herald - June 29, 2010
BAHRAIN'S government investment company says its losses more than doubled last year as the economic slump hit key businesses.
The Mumtalakat fund announced losses of 183 million dinars ($A552 million), compared with 69 million a year earlier.
Mumtalakat is the holding company that runs most state-run businesses in the tiny island in the Persian Gulf. It says it spent the past year restructuring some of its holdings.
Mumtalakat says the global downturn particularly hurt business at its money-losing airline Gulf Air and at Alba, an aluminum smelting company. Saturday's statement did not provide specific financial details.
Source: The Age

Henan smelters to idle 700000 T of aluminium capacity
Reuters Africa - Jun 28, 2010

* Henan smelters to idle 700,000 T of aluminium capacity
* Move may cut 350,000 tonnes of output this year
* High electricity costs, low prices cited

By Polly Yam
HONG KONG, June 28 (Reuters) - Aluminium smelters in China's Henan province plan to idle 700,000 tonnes of annual production capacity by early July on low prices and high costs in the world's biggest manufacturer of the metal.
Liu Libin, vice-chairman of the Henan Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, said on Monday that 13 smelters had started production cuts in the middle of June in the province, which produces a fifth of China's aluminium production.
"Smelters are suffering losses of near 2,000 yuan ($294) per tonne," Liu told Reuters, referring to sale prices below production costs such as electricity.
Spot aluminium AL-A00-CCNMM traded around 14,630 yuan per tonne on Monday, down more than 15 percent from this year's high of 17,380 yuan seen in early January.
Liu said he expected the 700,000 tonnes of capacity would be idled by early July and unlikely reopened this year if aluminium prices stay weak.
"The move is unlikely to push up the prices given the capacity is small compared to China's total capacity unless speculation arises," Liu said.
China has around 20 million tonnes of annual aluminium production capacity.
"Smelters want to see profit margins of more than 1,000 yuan per tonne before they'd think about reopening," he said.
Henan has the capacity to produce 4.5 million of aluminium, of which 4.3 million tonnes of operated in May, Liu said.
Henan produced 3.1-3.2 million tonnes of aluminium last year, Liu said.
Based on Liu's expectation that the 700,000 tonnes of capacity will be idled by July, annual production would fall by 350,000 tonnes in the province.
Smelters in Henan had closed some capacity in late 2008 on weak demand and low prices, but gradually gradually restarted most operations from the second quarter of last year. ($1=6.7932 yuan) (Editing by Ed Lane)

Alcoa agrees new pact with union workers
Reuters Africa - Fri Jun 25, 2010

* New labour contract approved on Thursday
* No wage increases in 2010 and 2011
* Wages will rise 2.5 pct in 2012 and 2013
* Increased employee contribution for healthcare

(Reuters) - U.S. aluminium giant Alcoa Inc (AA.N: Quote) said it ratified a new four-year contract with the United Steelworkers union covering 5,400 employees at ten of its locations in the United States.
The company, one of the world's largest aluminum producers, said on its website there would be no wage increases in 2010 and 2011 but all job classes will see their wages go up by 2.5 percent each in 2012 and 2013.
Also, the company's healthcare program will see increased employee contributions, with price tags increasing every year.
The union contract covers all Alcoa workers in the U.S. under an umbrella deal. (Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

Proposals for port and storage facilities coming in
Trinidad News - June 24 2010
MINISTER of Energy and Energy Industries, Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, yesterday said proposals have started coming in to her on alternative uses for the port and storage facilities at the Labidco Industrial Estate in La Brea.
The silo and port were being built to facilitate the aluminium smelter at La Brea.
While she said she was unable to say at this point exactly what would be the alternatives chosen she said her Ministry was paying major attention to the issue.
Head of Administration at the National Energy Corporation(NEC), Wendy Seow, told Newsday they were looking at the alternatives from a business development standpoint.
Asked about the ramifications of halting works on the silo and conveying system, she said once the terms and conditions of a contract were being interfered with “you will be holding talks with your contractor.”
The US based contractor, GLF Construction Corporation, was told that they are not to advance any works on the silo and conveying system, Seow said.
Meanwhile, physicist and activist, Dr Peter Vine, said that at the smelter site another industry can be set up which will not be a health hazard to anyone.
“There is the option of a fruit or food processing plant, or some type of agriculture...it’s really up to the Government to decide.”
Yesterday there were few workmen around the site of the silo and conveying system, digging mud and building a drain.
However, news of the halt in works was welcomed by residents yesterday who said they were quite happy with the decision by the People’s Partnership.
According to Anslym Carter, “There is just no place in TT for such a smelter plant...we are relieved by the move.”
He said if this means that some 55 families no longer need to be relocated, then they would be contented to continue living in the area, once they are compensated.
“We have endured dust and trauma for the past six years, and we deserve to be compensated for that,” he added.
Alutrint’s Chairman, Leroy Mayers in a signed affidavit, dated July 7, 2009, said the estimated cost of the smelter was US $540 million of which approximately US $64 million was already spent.
Alutrint’s corporate communications officer, Josieann Richards, yesterday said she was looking into Newsday’s questions on the legalities and penalties of stopping the project, and how much money was spent on the project thus far. However, up to press time she did not respond.

'Smelter relocation may be considered'
Trinidad & Tobago Express - June 24th 2010
’Guyana would possibly consider a proposal for the relocation of an aluminium smelter project from Trinidad and Tobago,’ Guyana Prime Minister Samuel Hinds said yesterday.
Hinds, who holds the ministerial portfolio for Energy and Mines, made the comment in a telephone interview yesterday from Guyana, in response to questions as to whether Guyana would consider a proposal to have a smelter plant, originally scheduled to be constructed here, relocated to his country.
Hinds said at present, Guyana has two proposals on hold for the establishment of an alumina refinery, aluminium smelter and hydro-power installations from two foreign companies operating bauxite mines in two locations in Guyana.
The two companies-Russian company RUSAL and Chinese company BOSAI, Hinds said, have conducted pre-feasibility studies on their proposals and were in the process of conducting feasibility studies when the global financial meltdown put the proposals on hold from the two competing firms.
Guyana’s alumina refinery, which was built prior to 1955, was closed in 1983, Hinds said, noting that since then Guyana has been exporting basically dried and calcined bauxite.
Asked whether Guyana is no longer interested in investing in a smelter to revive the faltering industry, Hinds, an engineer by profession who worked in the bauxite industry prior to becoming the country’s Prime Minister, said, ’I wouldn’t say that nothing is happening. Essentially that project is on hold due to the global financial meltdown.’
Since the process of economic recovery has begun, there has been a great demand for bauxite, he said, adding that the prices for its products and by-products in the world are getting better each day.
’Therefore, conditions are favourable for such developments in the bauxite industry in Guyana,’ he said. He expects that there would be resumption of talks between the government and the two companies on the subject of the refinery, smelter and hydo-electricity installations.
Apart from saying that Guyana would possibly consider a proposal from Trinidad and Tobago for the relocation of a smelter project to Guyana, Hinds said he could not comment further on the subject, since matters of foreign direct investment would be in the portfolio of President Bharrat Jagdeo.

Vedanta, Hindalco expansion plans get Orissa SWCL nod
Financial Express - Jun 23, 2010
Bhubaneswar: The Orissa government's Single Windown Clearance Committee (SWCL) on Tuesday cleared nine project proposals with total investment of Rs 70,314 crore including the massive expansion proposals of Vednata Resources and the Hindalco. The London-based Vedanta Resources has proposed to enhance its Lanjigarh alumina refinery capacity from the present 1 million tones per annum (MTPA) to 6 MTPA, and the Jharsuguda smelter capacity to 1.6 MTPA from 0.25 MTPA, besides the ramp-up of the capacity of the captive power plant to 1350mw from 675mw. The total investment would be Rs 37,440 crore.
Hindalco has proposed to enhance the aluminium capacity from 0.14 MTPA to 0.36 MTPA and the Hirakud captive power plant to 967mw from 367mw with a total investment of Rs 4430 crore.
Bhusan Steel is planning to set up an SME park in Dhenkanal district with an investment of Rs 3000 crore.
NSL Nagpatnam Power Ltd has plans to invest Rs 8940 crore to set up a 1320mw power plant at Boinda in Angul district, a spinning mill at Rayagada and a suger refinery at Paradip.
Ramakrushna Power is planning to set up a 120mw power plant using sea water at the cost of Rs 575 crore near Ganjam of the same district. Similarly, the SPI Ports is proposing to set up a 1320mw power plant using sea water with an investment of Rs 6609 crore at Mahakalpada in Kendrapara district.
Rohit Ferrotech Ltd, which has a ferro alloys facility in Kalinganagar, is proposing to enhance its capacity to 1 lakh tonnes to 6 lakh tonnes with an investment of Rs 2100 crore.
KU Projects is planning to set up a 1320mw power plant with a total investment of Rs 7220 crore.
The SWCL, headed by the chief secretary, T K Mishra, recommended the projects to the High Level Clearance Authority(HCLA) headed by chief minister Naveen Patnaik for the final clearance.

RusAl Wants More State Money
The Moscow Times - 24 June 2010
By Alexandra Terentyeva and Natalya Kostenko / Vedomosti
United Company RusAl has requested 1.4 billion rubles ($45 million) from the government for the development of two innovation projects.
No other company has ever requested such a large sum.
The commission for modernization and technological development has approved the two RusAl projects, a source close to the commission and an official in the presidential administration told Vedomosti. The decision is preliminary, they said, and there will be a final list of projects approved later.
RusAl says the development of a heavy-duty electrolytic cell will cost 2 billion rubles, while technology for producing aluminum via the use of inert anodes will run 1.07 billion rubles.
RusAl asked the government for 1.4 billion rubles through 2014 for the projects — the biggest request made by a single company.
A total of 168.9 billion rubles has been assigned to the commission for 2010 to 2012, but it is asking for an additional 92.5 billion rubles.
RusAl will not invest much more into the two projects because the main part of the investment has already been made. The company has been working on electrolytic cells since 2001 and has invested 808 million rubles in the highest capacity model. Now it needs to build and launch a pilot installation, which it says will happen in 2011 or 2012 and require 1.09 billion rubles. The company is investing 199 million rubles and will request another 1 billion through 2014.
On its second project, RusAl has spent 439 million rubles since 2004, and in 2011 to 2014 it will invest another 230 million. It hopes for 400 million rubles from the government.
The government is ready to co-finance at most half of the required sum — and that much only in exceptional circumstances, presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich said.
RusAl’s projects likely fit such circumstances. In 2008, VEB lent the holding $4.5 billion, nearly doubling its limit for a single borrower.
The projects have clear economic and ecological benefits, RusAl said.
“It’s not just elements modifying existing processes but rather dramatically different technology,” RusAl spokeswoman Vera Kurochkina said.
Co-financing will speed up completion of the work, she said. “After implementing [these projects] into the production process, Russia’s aluminum sector will become the clear world leader for many years ahead. And the quicker we implement them, the more significant the technological breakthrough will be,” she said.
The projects are realizable, and their results might be in demand in countries other than Russia, according to an assessment by Rusnano’s science and technology commission.

Bahrain's Alba to hike aluminium capacity to 1.4 mil mt/year by 2014
Platts - 23Jun2010
Aluminium Bahrain, one of the world's largest aluminium smelters, plans to boost its annual production capacity to 1.4 million mt by 2014 -- from 870,000-880,000 mt/year currently -- by expanding two of its five potlines and adding a sixth one, a senior official at the company told Platts Tuesday.
Tim Murray, Alba's chief financial officer, said that the new potline should be in production by end-2014, bringing an additional 400,000 mt of annual production capacity to the smelter.
Speaking on the sidelines of CRU's 15th world aluminium conference in Oslo, Murray said Alba is also planning to ramp up production at the smelter's fourth and fifth potlines by about 100,000 mt in the next year or two by increasing the current power supply and adding more pots to the lines.
"If we optimize and do everything we can it will take us to 1.4 million [mt/year]," he said, referring to the smelter's total production capacity.
The plans are subject to board approval and the completion of feasibility studies.
"We've done some initial studies in terms of how we can best optimize the plant, including Line Six," he said. "Now the plan would be to do bankable feasibility studies," Murray said, adding that the study of Line Six will be conducted "probably" in September.
The company has yet to decide on how to secure gas supplies that will provide power to the sixth potline.
"We may do a scenario where we just import the power from the grid. We may build a power station or we may import, or we may do a hybrid of smaller power stations and imports," Murray said.
He added: "Bahrain has recently built several new power stations and they have excess capacity."
The Alba smelter, located in the Askar industrial area near Bahrain, is 77% owned by the government of Bahrain. The remaining shareholders are the Saudi Public Investment Fund (20%) and Breton Investments (3%).
--Agnieszka Troszkiewicz, a_troszkiewicz@platts.com

Rio Tinto to complete alumina refinery expansion at Yarwun Q3 2012
International Business Times - 22-Jun-2010
Poised to become the world's largest alumina manufacturer in the world, Rio Tinto Alcan announced on Wednesday that the Yaryun refinery in Australia is on track by the third quarter of 2012 under an amended schedule.
Company officers led by Pat Fiore, President and Chief Executive Officer, said in a presentation to the Australian financial community said they are bullish that there will be growth in bauxite demand this year. China is still the biggest user of mineral bauxite mainly used for industrial production.
"Positive that bauxite demand will again rise this year," Fiore noted in his presentation on Wednesday.
In a presentation to investors, Rio Tinto said that the refinery expansion project of the plant near Gladstone, Queensland, since its acquisition of Canadian mining firm Alcan, has been progressing significantly and initial trial shipment is on target in the second half of 2010.
The company reported that efficiencies in work management and process improvement has further increased incremental output.
The expansion project includes a gas-based 160 MW cogeneration plant, which will reduce CO2 emissions per tonne of alumina by 35 percent relative to coal.
"In the eight months since the expansion project began, engineering is approaching 25 per cent completion with over US$900 million committed by the end of February 2008," Project Director Keith Nugent said.
"There have been no lost time injuries on the project, with more than 400,000 hours worked (as at 29 February 2008) with a current workforce of just over 300 on site. We expect to commence our first major concrete pour at the end of March 2008", he said.
On completion, the expanded refinery, at 3.4 million tonnes per year, will produce about four percent of the total global alumina demand.

Smelter report false
The Trinidad Guardian - 23 Jun 2010
Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo was appalled and very concerned about a newspaper story in the Daily Express which claimed he was expected in T&T yesterday to discuss the relocation of an aluminium smelter plant from La Brea in T&T to Guyana.
This is according to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who spoke with reporters about the issue, during a news briefing at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, yesterday. “The headline is totally false, totally, totally false,” she stressed. “In fact, President Jagdeo, through his representative here, was very concerned when he saw that headline, because there was no such agenda. “He was very appalled because he has only just recently received an award that has to do with the environment and it has placed him in a very difficult position in his own country—on something that has been totally false in a Trinidad newspaper.”
Persad-Bissessar also said that after several meeting with police officers and businessmen yesterday, to discuss the appointment of a new police commissioner, no decision had been reached by the Government. She said the People’s Partnership Government would meet in caucus at Rienzi Complex tonight to discuss the matter. The Prime Minister said she was willing to meet with Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley to discuss the issue. On Rowley’s call for a possible review of the selection process for a commissioner of police, Persad-Bissessar said she was yet to be convinced of such a need, but “no law is fixed in stone...so things can be changed, but there must be a consensus of views when changing the law.
“This law came about by strong constitutional majority, with a lot of consultation (and after many years)—should there be a review that is not something that is going to happen overnight,” she said. “It is something that will take a longer period of time to have proper consultations if it is that we are to make further constitutional changes. “We have to consider what would be best for the police at this time and more importantly what would be best for the people of T&T at this time.” She said the Government had no policy position on the Special Anti Crime Unit of T&T, but a report submitted by National Security Minister Brigadier John Sandy would to be considered shortly.

Rio Tinto expects aluminium market to recover, but cautious on short term
The Australian - 23-Jun-2010
RIO Tinto believes aluminum markets are set to continue to recover but the company remains cautious on the short-term outlook.
Rio Tinto Alcan chief financial officer Phillip Strachan said prices were set to be driven higher by factors including the appreciation of the yuan, rising electricity costs in China, raw materials prices and the high capital costs of installing new capacity.
"Continued cost pressure on marginal cost producers will provide upward price lift," he said in a slide from a presentation delivered to analysts on a site visit in Queensland.
Rio Tinto Alcan expects strong aluminum demand recovery in 2010, with Chinese demand forecast to be between 18 per cent and 20 per cent higher than in 2009 and global demand to be up about 15 per cent.
Longer term, the group's base case assumption is for global aluminum demand to grow by between 4 per cent and 5 per cent a year over the next two decades.
Mr Strachan said the alumina market remains finely balanced and that China continues to drive the market, with its demand for the product forecast to rise 22 per cent in 2010 to 37 million tonnes.
Bauxite prices were trending higher driven by Chinese alumina refinery restarts, and bauxite volumes into China were expected to recover to pre-crisis levels in 2010, he said.
Rio Tinto Alcan was trending well in 2010 in terms of its key profit drivers, Mr Strachan said, and the unit was continuing to deliver cost improvements which would deliver stronger margins and returns.

Chinese Aluminum Production Cuts Loom on Record Output, Yuan
BusinessWeek - June 22, 2010
Bloomberg -- Chinese aluminum producers may cut output from a record if the current price slump persists and after the world’s third-largest economy signaled an end to its currency’s fixed rate to the dollar.
China, the world’s largest maker of the metal, produced 1.416 million metric tons in May, the highest monthly total ever, said China International Futures (Shanghai) Co. analyst Wang Zhouyi, as higher power costs were offset by falling prices of alumina, the raw material used to make aluminum.
Aluminum prices in Shanghai have tumbled 15 percent this year, while London Metal Exchange prices dropped 12 percent, on concern that Europe’s debt crisis will slow the global recovery and China’s curbs on lending will cool demand. The average cost of aluminum production in China is 15,300 yuan ($2,247) a ton, according to CRU International Ltd. That compares with today’s Shanghai Futures Exchange price of 14,845 yuan a ton.
“We will see production curtailments in China unless the government rescues them, and the rhetoric from the government up till now has been precisely the opposite,” said Alan Heap, managing director of global commodity analysis at Citigroup Inc.
An appreciation of the Chinese currency will put “further upward pressure” on costs, said Heap.
The People’s Bank of China said on June 19 it will allow greater “flexibility” in its currency, signaling it would abandon the 6.83 yuan peg to the dollar adopted during the global crisis to shield exporters. The central bank ruled out “large changes” in the exchange rate and said it will prevent “excessive” moves.
‘Little Upside’
“Exports are expected to increase if production continues to rise,” said China International’s Wang. “However, a stronger yuan will hurt exporters, so there’s little upside for the aluminum industry at the moment.”
China, also the world’s largest user of the metal used in cars and airplanes, resumed being a net importer in May, according to data from the Beijing-based Customs General Administration. In April, it exported more aluminum than it imported for the first time since the end of 2008 as supply outpaced demand.
“These sort of circumstances, where the prices fall to the global industry average cash cost, that’s what you see in a full-on global recession,” Citigroup’s Heap said in a phone interview from Sydney. “So the aluminum industry is telling us the world is in economic recession, which I don’t think it is. Output cuts will protect the downside.”
There’s little evidence of output cuts so far, even though more than 40 percent of the Chinese aluminum industry is incurring losses, Barclays Capital said yesterday.
Power Costs
The Chinese government last month ended discounts on electricity charges and doubled surcharges for high-consumption companies. CRU expects 1.3 million tons of capacity in the country to be affected by the surcharge. Energy represents as much as half the cost of producing aluminum.
“It’s unprofitable to make aluminum but it will cost producers even more to stop making it, so unless the price holds below the cost of production in the next few months, it’s unlikely we’ll see output fall,” said Zhou. “Even if some of the smaller producers shut, there’s still new capacity coming on stream.”
China is expected to add about 3 million tons of annual smelting capacity this year, Zhou said.
The country is cutting overcapacity as stockpiles of the metal in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai exchange jumped 67 percent this year after smelters raised output on expectations demand will improve as the global economy recovers.
“They’ve removed the power tariff discounts, they’ve introduced more measures to curtail capacity growth, but we’ve been down this route so many times in the past and it’s failed,” said Heap. “It’s failed every time for the same reason, which is that the provincial governments are not on board.”
--Editors: Matthew Oakley, Richard Dobson.
To contact the reporter for this story: Glenys Sim in Singapore at
gsim4@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@Bloomberg.net

KAMLA, JAGDEO TO TALK SMELTER
Trinidad & Tobago Express - Tuesday, June 22nd 2010
Ria Taitt Political Editor
Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo flies in tonight and is expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar tomorrow on a number of issues, including the prospect of relocating the aluminium smelter plant initially proposed for La Brea to Guyana.
Sources have informed the Express that the discussions are expected to centre around the aluminium smelter, ethanol and hydro-electricity. Jagdeo is flying in from Canada, where he was on Government business with his Minister of Housing. (See other story)
Press Secretary Garvin Nicholas yesterday confirmed that Jagdeo would be flying in today and that a meeting was ’tentatively scheduled’ with the Prime Minister for 3 p.m. tomorrow. Nicholas could not say what the talks would be about.
However, sources said that Persad-Bissessar wants to examine the feasibility of relocating the aluminium smelter plant to Guyana. Apart from the vast amounts of land that that country has, it also produces bauxite, the raw material from which aluminium is made. The other key ingredient in the manufacture of aluminium is natural gas, which Trinidad and Tobago has. And it was because this country processed this second ingredient that it had embarked on the project in the first place.
However, the project has been stalled pending the outcome of an appeal, after the High Court found the Certificate of Environmental Clearance given by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) was deficient because it failed to consider a number of things. The EMA has appealed that judgement and the Appeal Court’s decision is pending.
But informed sources said that any cancellation of the project could cost the country dearly. The last government entered into several agreements, including a loan agreement for US$400 million with Exim Bank of China, to facilitate the construction of the project.
But the vocal anti-smelter lobby in this country is resolute in its opposition to the establishment of a plant here.
Furthermore, the People’s Partnership has on the election platform been consistently saying that there would be no smelter in Trinidad and Tobago. And since its victory, Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal has reiterated this position. ’We have said before that there will be no smelter. This is the position. Until and unless all the parties to this dispute can arrive at a consensus as to the need for such a development policy and assure the nation on the health and safety issues, there will be no smelter in Trinidad and Tobago,’ he said

Alcoa Treks Into Jungle to Cut Costs
Wall Street Journal - 21-Jun-2010
By ROBERT GUY MATTHEWS
JURUTI, Brazil—This steamy, isolated outpost, with its dusty streets and sun-baked buildings, may hold the key to recovery for Alcoa, the world's biggest aluminum maker.
The company has been battered by one of the fastest, steepest downturns in the mining and metals industry, and Alcoa Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld's recovery plan has been to whip out the corporate checkbook and build or buy nearly $4 billion of new operations, as well as slash other company costs.
Here, deep in the Amazon jungle, the company is spending $1.5 billion to create a new, low-cost bauxite mine. The aluminum maker hopes that by spending now it will be able to become a lower-cost producer once the economy finally stabilizes.
Alcoa's bauxite mine in Juruti, Brazil, shown under construction in October 2008.
The issue of when, where and how much company cash to spend is a puzzle for top metal and mining executives during the best of economic times. But adopting either a save or spend strategy is critical for a company like Alcoa in this tough economic environment, because for years it has lost ground to more nimble and efficient competitors Rio Tinto, UC Rusal and to small upstarts.
Mr. Kleinfeld has generally followed a different strategy than most of his competitors. They mostly tried cash hoarding and cost cutting when metal prices and demand were at their nadir beginning about 18 months ago.
Alcoa cut costs, including nearly $3 billion in operations, shutting down plants, shedding 60,000 employees through layoffs and the sale of noncore assets. But it used those saving to reposition itself as a lower cost producer.
Right now, Alcoa is still ramping up its $1.5 billion bauxite mine here in the Amazon. The mine juts out of the ground like a huge white spaceship nestled in a green thicket, Its cheap bauxite will be fed into an expanded complex that makes alumnina in São Luís, and the alumina will then be shipped from Brazilian ports to Alcoa aluminum plants world-wide.
Six months ago, the aluminum maker said it would also invest $2.2 billion to become a partner in a new mining complex in Saudi Arabia. When completed, the aluminum project will become the largest such complex in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Kleinfeld says. The first batch of metal from there is expected to be ready for sale in 2013.
The location here is so remote that villagers, who travel 12 hours by boat to get to Santarém, the closest city, have lived for centuries by farming, fishing and harvesting nuts from the towering Brazilian nut trees. To develop Alcoa's bauxite mine, jungles had to be cleared, roads built, and farmers and fishermen trained.
But in 2008, "We thought hard if we should curtail" the project, Mr. Kleinfeld says. Amid a 60% drop in aluminum prices and bloated inventories, Alcoa's investors were pressuring the company to either grow or put itself on the block.
On Jan. 13, 2009, Mr. Kleinfeld called his top 20 officers to the board room for a three-day meeting behind locked doors.
The executives began running numbers with worst- and best-case scenarios, agreeing to close down plants and lay off workers and choosing which assets to sell. "People were standing up and walking around just to get rid of the stress," Mr. Kleinfeld recalls.
The executives also decided "that Brazil was an important piece of the puzzle," the CEO says.
The Amazon offered a low-cost source of bauxite, a key ingredient in the production of alumina and ultimately aluminum. It was also relatively close to the company's São Luís bauxite-processing plant.
Moreover, Brazil's government was stable, its economy was growing, and its electricity was fairly cheap and reliable. And its vast coastline facilitated shipping metals and minerals to North America, Europe and China.
When Alcoa first broached mining bauxite here, some locals resisted, saying it would ruin their land and way of life.
To build the mine, the company needed to clear nearly 3.8 square miles of forest, which looked from above like a lush green blanket. The area is also home to more than 300 species of birds and more than 50 types of snakes, as well as wild passion-fruit flowers and tall white faveiras, whose petals spread out like Fourth of July sparklers.
Activist groups tried to challenge Alcoa's permits to build in federally protected zones and threatened to set fire to Alcoa's operations.
But the current Brazilian government has generally tried to walk a fine line between protecting the nation's environment and indigenous cultures and attracting development.
Officials say that Alcoa consulted it throughout the process, and that the government approved company measures to restore vegetation, including replanting 20 trees for each one felled.
Indeed, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who wanted the project to be an example of how the country can become a manufacturing and mining powerhouse, attended the official opening of the mine.
But it still isn't clear whether Alcoa's expensive strategy will put it ahead.
Both UC Rusal and Rio Tinto are changing their strategies from trying to save cash to ramping up production at their lowest-cost production facilities.
That means that Alcoa, despite its new Brazilian mine and its new Saudi Arabian joint venture, is still a higher-cost producer than its biggest rivals.
Write to Robert Guy Matthews at robertguy.matthews@wsj.com

Saudi-Alcoa JV starts work on giant aluminium plant
Reuters Africa - Sat Jun 19, 2010
RIYADH June 19 (Reuters) - Alcoa (AA.N: Quote) and state-controlled Saudi Arabian Mining Co (1211.SE: Quote) (Maaden) have started work on a plant that would be the world's largest fully integrated aluminium complex, Maaden said on Saturday.
The $10-billion Maaden-Alcoa joint venture will start by developing a fully integrated industrial complex, consisting of a bauxite mine at Ba'aitha and an alumina refinery, aluminum smelter and rolling mill at Ras Al-Zour, it said in a statement.
"Groundbreaking has now officially begun to pave the way for construction of the smelter and rolling mill that will serve the packaging and other industries".
The plant aims to become the world's "lowest-cost supplier of primary aluminum, alumina and aluminum products", Maaden said.
It will also be the Middle East's first food-grade can sheet rolling mill, Ken Wisnoski, a senior Alcoa executive, said in the statement.
The smelter and rolling mill is to begin operations in 2013 with the mine and refinery expected to come onstream in 2014, it added. (Writing by Souhail Karam; editing by Patrick Graham)

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) Signs Russian Shipbuilding Deal
Commodity Surge (blog) - 18-Jun-2010
Alcoa (NYSE:AA) signed a deal with the state-owned Russian shipbuilder JSC to supply aluminum for its ships.
JSC, or JSC United Shipbuilding Corp., is the largest holder of assets related to building or repairing ships in Russia, said Alcoa, who signed the deal with them in St. Petersburg at an economic forum.
Part of the deal will be to aid in building out the shipbuilding market in Russia, which could be a good long-term deal for Alcoa, which has struggled to open up new markets and generate new demand for aluminum, which has plunged in price as demand has largely dried up since the recession began.
Alcoa has been doing business in Russia since 1998, and has acquired two aluminum plants in the country, while spending $750 million to upgrade them.

South Africa: Rusal Loses Out As Guinea Dismisses Adviser
AllAfrica.com - 17 June 2010
Johannesburg — GUINEA's interim government has dismissed presidential adviser Mamadou Conde after he was found to have been involved in a plan to sign over bauxite concession rights to Russian company Rusal.
Mr Conde's scheme apparently involved securing the endorsement of acting Guinean President Sekouba Konate during last week's scheduled trip to Moscow.
Sources in Conakry and Moscow have told Business Day that Mr Konate's trip to Moscow on a private Russian aircraft was aborted after public disclosure of details of meetings he and his advisers had held early last week with Oleg Deripaska, the aluminium company's CE and controlling shareholder. Mr Deripaska had flown into Conakry for talks with Mr Konate.
The sources say that Mr Conde, acting as Mr Konate's adviser, agreed to a Rusal plan confirming title and mining rights to the Dian Dian bauxite concession, one of Guinea's largest unmined deposits of the mineral, and one of the largest in the world. Unilateral transfer of Dian Dian to the Russians has been opposed by Guinean Mining Minister Mahmoud Thiam. Mr Thiam has notified Rusal that it is in violation of earlier agreements signed for Dian Dian, adding he would revoke the defaulted Rusal concession agreement, and offer the mine licence to open international bidding.
According to Rusal's website, it holds exploration rights to Dian Dian. "A decision by the company's management to begin exploration of one of the largest bauxite deposits in the world, Dian Dian, also typifies our strategic interests in Guinea.
"The Dian Dian deposit ... is a unique deposit containing around 1-billion tons of bauxite ore with a high aluminium content."
Rusal's prospectus for prospective share-buyers at its Hong Kong Stock Exchange listing in January implied it also had the right to mine Dian Dian.
The mining licence for Dian Dian is said to expire 2026. The prospectus also claims that no additional permits are required "according to (the) Concession Agreement".
Counting Dian-Dian's measured bauxite at 402-million tons, the prospectus suggests that Dian Dian comprises two-thirds of Rusal's global bauxite reserves.
But the Rusal plan for Dian Dian is reported to be still at the early study stage. "A feasibility study has been prepared by international consultants. The capital expenditure of the mining aspects of the project has been estimated at 425m, which would include the development of the mine and mine-related infrastructure."
Dian Dian's bauxite is also vitally linked to Libyan government plans to build a gas-fired aluminium smelter in Libya.
Rusal reveals in its prospectus that should it mine bauxite at Dian Dian, 13-million tons of bauxite a year would be refined in Guinea. This would then be exported for an about " 600 000 tons per annum aluminium smelter in Libya."
The Libyan connection to Rusal was revealed late last year when Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Muammar Gaddafi's son and head of the Libyan Investment Authority, asked Guinean officials about Rusal's concessions in the country. He also said he was considering buying a proffered 10% shareholding stake in Rusal.
The Guineans warned Gaddafi to be cautious. When Rusal finally listed its shares on January 27, the Libyan Investment Authority was reported as buying just more than 1% of the 10% on offer.
Unnoticed until now has been the link between Mr Gaddafi's investment in Rusal shares, and the scheme to fuel a new Libyan aluminium smelter. The scheme tooka serious knock when Mr Deripaska failed to get Mr Konate to Moscow last week. The Kremlin said "the Guinean side requested to postpone the June 9 visit of the acting president. Due to the onset of urgent matters of an internal nature."
Without acknowledging to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange the Guinean government claims regarding Dian Dian, Rusal has admitted in its share prospectus the risk that, if the company loses Dian Dian, the affect on its aluminium production operations would be serious.
Mr Conde, high government sources in Conakry told Business Day, was responsible for arranging Deripaska's visit last week, and for Konate to agree to sign the Rusal documents on Dian Dian. In addition to sacking Mr Conde, Mr Konate has ordered all papers submitted by Mr Deripaska and signed by Guinean officials to be cancelled.
On Tuesday, a week after his abortive trip to Guinea, Mr Deripaska's company issued a statement claiming that after meeting Mr Konate and acting Prime Minister Jean-Marie Dore, Mr Deripaska had "also reached agreement on the schedule and terms of development of the Dian Dian bauxite deposit, the license for mining and exploration of which is held by Rusal."
Mr Thiam told Business Day the Rusal statements were all false

Alumina pricing needs to match costs: Alcoa
The Australian - June 17, 2010
The way alumina contracts are priced should be changed to reflect the difference in cost drivers between the raw material and the metal it produces, the chief executive of US producer Alcoa has said.
"The principle question is what is driving alumina costs - oil and gas, caustic, shipping and logistics, for the bauxite particularly," Klaus Kleinfeld told Dow Jones Newswires.
"The cost drivers for alumina are substantially different to those that you see for smelting. It's very odd to have those two things bundled given that they are very different cost drivers."
The cost of alumina, refined to make aluminum, is fixed as a percentage of the price of the metal. Historically this was between 11 per cent and 14 per cent, although for 2010 contracts were priced at 14 per cent to 15 per cent. With aluminum trading at $US2000 a tonne, that means alumina costs $US280/tonne to $US300/tone, below spot market prices.
However, there has been pressure to close the gap between the spot and the contract markets for alumina, just as there has been for iron ore. One suggestion is to replace the current system with an index based on spot transactions, similar to the new pricing system for iron ore.
The changes won't happen overnight.
"This is a slow process that started a while ago - contracts typically are not long term any more, and even if they are tied to LME, they have a higher percentage of LME (than the 11 per cent - 14 per cent norm)," Mr Kleinfeld said.
"We're talking about looking at something (the alumina pricing system) that historically has evolved and today you have to ask yourself, why could this system be sustained for such a long time?"
Alcoa is a joint venture partner in Alcoa World Alumina & Chemicals, with Australian-listed Alumina.
The changes have been backed in principle by other producers like BHP Billiton, but critics say they would take smelters away from a pricing structure that is a natural price hedge for metal production, boosting costs and crimping margins in the process.

Ken Julien resigns from NEC
Trinidad & Tobago Express - June 16th 2010
Former prime minister Patrick Manning’s energy czar Prof Kenneth Julien has resigned from the board of the National Energy Corporation (NEC).
The NEC is responsible for the identification and development of new industrial sites including the controversial Labidco, Industrial Union Estates at La Brea and the Claxton Bay Industrial Port.
Confirmation of Julien’s resignation came yesterday from Minister of Energy Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan. She said: ’About a day ago I received his resignation.
’His son Philip Julien is a member of the executive (of Alutrint).’ Seepersad-Bachan said she also received ’a few’ resignations from other NEC board members.
Labour Minister Errol McLeod was also a board member of the NEC and said yesterday that he resigned the position on April 28.
Julien, a Trinity Cross recipient, also holds the position of chairman of the Board of Governors of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and president of the UTT.
During the PNM administration he also headed the Natural Gas Export Task Force, which set the still secret gas price, and which was responsible for downstream energy projects. Seepersad-Bachan has also instructed the National Energy Corporation (NEC)-the landlord overseeing the Alutrint aluminium smelter project-to find another use for the port facilities being constructed at the Labidco Estate, La Brea.
She also has a report submitted by the directors of Alutrint detailing the status of the proposed smelter to be built at the Union Industrial Estate.
The report, she said, will be discussed in the Cabinet tomorrow. Seepersad-Bachan said reports, that work was continuing on a smelter-related facility, could be regarded as ’contempt of court’.
Since winning the election, the People’s Partnership Government has been asked to state its policy regarding the smelter.
During the election campaign, politicians of the People’s Partnership said the smelter project would be stopped.

RusAl, Guinea Strike Deal
The Moscow Times - 16 June 2010
United Company RusAl said Tuesday that it had agreed on a “strategic partnership” with Guinea and will maintain bauxite and alumina output, a year after the country ordered the company to return some assets.
CEO Oleg Deripaska met Prime Minister Jean-Marie Dore and acting President Brigadier General Sekouba Konate on a two-day visit to Guinea, the company said in a statement.
“We do not plan to decrease bauxite and alumina production at our Guinean facilities,” Deripaska said in the statement. “RusAl has long-term projects in Guinea that will be fully completed.”
The current tax and customs regimes for the Friguia plant will be maintained, while the two sides also agreed on the schedule and terms of development of the Dian Dian bauxite deposit, RusAl said.
(Bloomberg)

Mining Minister Expects Expansion of Bauxite/Alumina Industry
Government of Jamaica, Jamaica Information Service - Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. James Robertson, is expecting an expansion in the local bauxite/alumina industry in the next eight months, based on the work done by the Ministry in that sector.
Speaking at a press conference, held at the Ministry's Trafalgar Road offices on June 14, Mr. Robertson cited the Ministry's effort to facilitate increased investments in the sector, as well as efforts by the administration to source cheaper alternative fuel, in the form of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
"Based on the work that we have done in this Ministry, the bauxite/alumina industry within the next eight months, quite likely, will be a larger industry than it has ever been in the history of this country. A lot of hard work has been done," he said.
The Minister noted that with the bauxite/alumina industry realising new investments, new sustainable technology, and cost effective alternative to fossil fuel, these factors should assist in significantly boosting the capacity of bauxite companies even further, adding that several are already performing well.
He said that currently, St. Ann Bauxite Partners are producing six per cent more than its normal output. Additionally, he pointed out that the output of Alumina Partners (ALPART), which is a high heat refinery, should increase significantly when operations are resumed, with the introduction of LNG as an alternative fuel, adding that "the efficiencies of better fuel, will make a huge difference to them."
"We are waiting on results for ALPART. The owners will be in the island in July, and we sit waiting to see how they will go forward," the Minister said.
He pointed out that in terms of West Indies Alumina Company's (WINDALCO) Ewarton and Kirkvine plants, and Jamalco, "we are seeing new investments."
In addition to being a cheaper source of fuel for the bauxite industry, LNG is odourless, colourless, non-toxic and non-corrosive.
The Government began exploring the possibility of natural gas as an alternative fuel in 2001, under an initiative spearheaded by the then Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Science and Technology.

Utkal Alumina to commission refinery project in July 2011
Sify - 2010-06-15
The construction of the 1.5 million tonne per annum (mtpa) alumina refinery project of Utkal Alumina International Limited (UAIL), a Aditya Birla group company, at Doraguha, near Kasipur in south Orissa’s Rayagada district is set to be commissioned in July 2011.
The implementation of the alumina refinery project of UAIL had suffered a delay of 18 years due to the protests by the project affected people (PAP) and the environmentalists.
The construction work is now going on in full-swing and if it goes on at this pace, the project is expected to be completed in July 2011, said a senior official of the UAIL.
Around 40 per cent of the work has already been completed and the equipment ordered for the plant to produce 1.5 mtpa of alumina in the first phase has already reached the Vishakhapatnam port, said S K Mishra, chief executive of UAIL.
Around Rs 7000 crore is being invested on the project.The alumina produced by UAIL at its Doraguha plant will feed the smelter plants being set up by Hindalco Industries at Rengali (Orissa) and Mahana (Madhya Pradesh). Both these aluminium smelter projects are now under construction.
Meanwhile, the disbursement of additional compensation to the PAP of its alumina refinery project at Doraguha, is going on and around 50 per cent of them have already taken the ex-gratia compensation.
"In addition to the earlier payment, the affected people will be paid an additional Rs one lakh per acre. The additional amount is being given to the affected people as per the decision of the state government", said a company official."While in 1995-96, the affected people were given Rs 30,000 per acre, Rs 80,000 extra was paid to them in 2005-06. This time the government had directed the company to pay additional Rs one lakh per acre to the affected people", sources said.
The Utkal Alumina refinery project was conceived in 1992 to tap the huge bauxite deposits in the area and produce alumina. The project had evoked stiff protests from the enviroZZnmentalists and the affected people for the past 18 years.
Worried over the implementation of the refinery unit, the two original joint venture partners- Tata and Norsk Hydro, had pulled out of the project earlier while another foreign partner, Alcan had sold its stake in 2007.

Floods Force Alcoa to Idle Spanish Smelter
ABC News - 14-Jun-2010
Alcoa Inc. said Monday that it has idled an aluminum smelter in Spain after severe flooding caused some damage.
The smelter, in Aviles, Spain, was impacted by heavy flooding in the region late last week. Alcoa said that plant workers were able to minimize damage, but that some water entered the plant and a substation, requiring cleanup work and repair.
Alcoa said the plant, which employs 500 people and has a capacity of 93,000 metric tons of aluminum per year, will remain idled during the cleanup and damage assessment.
The company has notified customers that force majeure provisions of their contracts have gone into effect. Force majeure is a contract provision that frees parties from liability when an extraordinary event, such as a natural disaster, occurs that could significantly disrupt business.

Vale to Sell $4.9 Billion Aluminum Venture to Norsk, Nikkei Says
Bloomberg - 14-Jun-2010
June 14 (Bloomberg) -- Vale SA will sell its $4.9 billion holdings in aluminum production ventures with a Japanese partner to Norsk Hydro ASA, the Nikkei newspaper reported. Vale will obtain a 22 percent stake in Norsk Hydro as part of the transaction. Vale’s venture partner, Nippon Amazon Aluminium Co., agreed to the decision, according to the report, which didn’t cite anyone.

Alcan workers reject contract
Parkersburg News - June 13, 2010
RAVENSWOOD -Union workers at Alcan Rolled Products in Ravenswood early Saturday rejected a company offer for a new contract.
Local 5668 United Steel Workers of America said the tentative collective bargaining agreement was rejected 548 to 105.
Contract negotiations had been ongoing for the past six weeks with contract extensions, including a July 15, 2009, extension that extended the terms and conditions of the current agreement from June 1, 2006. That agreement is set to terminate Aug. 31.
A spokesperson for Alcan Rolled Products stated the union and the company have agreed to continue production under the terms of the current agreement until further notice.
There are more than 700 union workers at the Ravenswood facility that has approximately 1,000 total employees. In 2009, Alcan laid off 168 workers at the plant.
Votes on the contract were due by midnight Friday and the announcement was made around 7 a.m. Saturday.
The contract that was turned down was for a two-year term and included yearly increases in hourly wages and increased contribution to employees' pension plans as well as health care, the Alcan spokesperson said.
Because the contract was turned down, Alcan has proposed the formation of a joint labor and management committee with the union with the help of a third-party facilitator. This committee will identify and implement important operational improvements that will make Alcan Ravenswood more productive, the spokesperson said.
"It has been suggested that those operational improvements would automatically become job losses - they don't," the spokesperson said. "The cornerstone of the joint initiative would be increased training and utilization of our skilled employees and an improved co-operative working environment."
USW Local 5668 President Jason Miller could not be reached for comment Saturday.
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., released a statement in which he said the union workers voted the decision they felt was best for their families.
"I sincerely hope both sides can return to the bargaining table and reach a deal that can keep these hard-working men and women on the job and the plant operational for years to come," Rockefeller said.
Rockefeller went on to state that he has spoken with union and Alcan officials and has encouraged them to work together to keep the company and jobs going.
"We all know how much the company and these jobs mean to Jackson County - they keep the community running and keep the families strong," Rockefeller said. "I have been proud to have stood by Jackson County's dedicated, highly-skilled workers for decades and will always continue to do so."

ABG Shipyard explores buying bauxite mines in Sierra Leone
Hindu Business Line - Mumbai, June 12, 2010
ABG Shipyard, India's leading private shipbuilder, is in talks to acquire bauxite mines in the West African country of Sierra Leone. It is learnt that the company proposes to set up a joint venture with Sierra Leone Exploration Mining Company (SLEMCO).
SLEMCO is engaged in a large-scale mining and exploration operations in Sierra Leone with its offices based in the capital city of Freetown and the UK. The mines, located in Port Lokoin the northern part of Sierra Leone, are expected to have reserves of 300-400 million tonnes.
A source familiar with the development said the joint venture is likely to start operations in the next five-seven months and an official announcement is expected shortly.
The first phase of the operations is likely to see an investment of around Rs 250 crore. In future, both the companies may look at constructing a plant to extract aluminium from bauxite, the source added.
Hub of action
Since past the few months, mining and steel majors such as Rio Tinto and ArcelorMittal have congregated on the mineral-rich corner of West Africa, which was until recently torn by civil wars. These countries have poor infrastructure facilities; the governments there are looking to investments from multinationals to to fund various infrastructure projects and create jobs.
When Business Line contacted top officials of ABG Shipyard earlier this week, they declined to comment while an e-mail query sent to SLEMCO remained unanswered.
However, an agency report on Saturday from Freetown quoting the SLEMCO Chairman, Mr Mohamed Sesay, said that his firm is partnering with an Indian company for bauxite mining venture.
Diversifying into mining will allow ABG Shipyard to hedge against the weak demand for ship-building. The company's current order book stands at Rs 12,050 crore, which is likely to be completed by fiscal 2014.
Slowdown impact
In April, ABG Shipyard secured an order to build three cement carriers from the Singapore-based Associate Bulk Carriers for $85.5 million (approximately Rs 385 crore). The company reported a net profit of Rs 52.85 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2010. ABG Shipyard shares closed at Rs 248.30 on BSE on Friday.
Following the economic slowdown, several shipyards around the world witnessed cancellation of orders last year. Though Indian yards did not face cancellations, fresh orders have dried up, particularly for bulk carriers.
Incidentally, last year ABG Shipyard had made a hostile bid against Bharati Shipyard for the takeover of the Mumbai-based offshore company Great Offshore. Eventually, seeing the higher cost of acquisition, it gave up and its rival Bharati took over the company.
In 2009, H.K Mittal-promoted Mercator Lines acquired three coal mines in Indonesia and one in Mozambique in order to minimise the impact of the cyclical nature of shipping business.

Noranda gets extended levy waiver
Go Jamaica - 11-Jun-2010
The Cabinet has granted approval for Noranda Bauxite Limited to continue to operate without having to pay a special production tax called a levy.
Noranda, formerly called St Ann Bauxite Limited holds the assets of the Discovery Bay operations.
The Cabinet has given permission for the levy to be suspended until 2014.
Noranda inherited the levy waiver when it took over from St Ann Bauxite last year.
The waiver, which ran from 2004-2009, was put in place as previous owners Kaiser, had filed bankruptcy following an explosion at its Gramercy alumina refinery in the US.
The waiver allowed Kaiser to continue production in Jamaica despite its financial difficulties.

Nalco to rope in partners for Indonesia project
Sify - 2010-06-12
The public sector National Aluminium Company (Nalco) is set to finalise the terms of its joint venture (JV) agreement with two foreign partners for a Rs 18,000 crore smelter and power plant project in Indonesia within next couple of months.
The company intends to tie up with Pt Antam, a government owned mining company of Indonesia and MEC (Middle East Coal) promoted by Ras Al Khaimah Minerals and Metals Investment of UAE for the project.
The Indonesian project, billed as a key growth driver for Nalco, is part of the company’s Rs 40,000 crore expansion plan incorporated in its Vision 2020 document.
The project comprises of setting up of a 0.5 million tonne per annum aluminium smelter and 1260 Mw captive power plant (CPP) over 6,000 acres of land in East Kalimantan province of Indonesia.
Though both the foreign partners are keen to have 40 per cent shares each, Nalco, with its role as the lead promoter, will hold at least 50 per cent stake in the project and can only allow them less than 50 per cent shares combinedly, said B.L. Bagra, director, finance, Nalco.
The finalization of the terms of the JV agreement will be followed up with preparation of detailed project report (DPR) for the venture. The company had recently invited bids for appointment of consultant for DPR and Tata Consulting Engineers, Dastur & Co, Engineers India (EIL) and Canadian firm, SNC Lavlin are vying for this Rs 5 crore contract.
The JV agreement is a pre-curser to DPR as this will provide a clear picture on the cost to be borne towards procurement of coal and transportation.
While the company expects the partnership with the Indonesian government company Pt Antam will help the project to sail smoothly in that country, the tie up with MEC, which operates coal mines, rail lines and port in East Kalimantan province, will be strategic in securing raw material supply and transport infrastructure for the smelter and power plants.
With the debt equity ratio of the Rs 18,000 crore-project being pegged at 70: 30 and Nalco intent on having at least 50 per cent stake in it, the equity exposure of the company is estimated at around Rs 2,700 crore.
After the JV agreement and finalization of DPR, the company will seek the approval of its board and the government for equity investment and approach foreign financial institutions for financing the project.
The debt component at Rs 12,400 crore being a sizeable amount, the company will seek international consortium financing, Bagra said.
With the DPR expected to take about 8 months to prepare, the work on the project is expected to start within a year from now, he added

Cape Alumina reviews future after ditching $400m project
Sydney Morning Herald - June 11, 2010
Bauxite-focused Cape Alumina Ltd is reviewing its future after scrapping its proposed $400 million Pisolite Hills project on Cape York.
The move to abandon its only major project comes after the Queensland government last week announced the Wenlock River Basin would be declared under its wild rivers legislation, giving it special environmental protection.
The protection means mining will be outlawed in a 500 metre buffer area around the the river's tributaries in the Pisolite Hills, where Cape Alumina planned to mine bauxite.

Rusal's Deripaska predicts smelter shutdowns -FT
Reuters Africa - 10-Jun-2010
LONDON June 10 (Reuters) - Aluminium producers will be forced to shut down smelters if the metal price remains at current levels, the chief executive of the world's biggest aluminium producer said in an interview published on Thursday.
Russian tycoon and UC RUSAL (RUAL.PA: Quote)(0486.HK: Quote) head Oleg Deripaska told the Financial Times the fall in the aluminium prices meant many producers were struggling to cover production and distribution costs.
"If (the aluminium price) will be at this level at the end of the second and third quarters, we will see 2 million to 3 million tonnes shut down, all around the world," Deripaska told the paper.
Rising energy costs in China are making it hard for local producers to remain profitable, Deripaska told the paper, saying he expected many manufacturers to mothball some of their smelters.
The FT said RUSAL benefited from lower production costs as it has access to cheap power from Siberian hydroelectric plants.
Earlier this year RUSAL said it would limit capacity increases to the 100,000 tonnes Planned for 2010 and a further 332,000 tonnes set for next year. [ID:nLDE63K1HG] (Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Gary Hill)

Chalco must deliver on alumina refinery promise by June 30 or face State ...
Courier Mail - June 09, 2010
It is 35 years since leases over the Aurukun bauxite deposits on Cape York were granted –? on condition that the leaseholder would upgrade its production to alumina at a refinery somewhere in Queensland.
But the quality of the Aurukun ore, the cost of a stand-alone alumina refinery to process the bauxite in Queensland, and global demand for alumina-aluminium never quite made such a development compellingly economic.
For a time, China's emergence as an economic super power promised that finally the Aurukun mining and refining project might go ahead.
But the leaseholder, French group Pechiney – which was swallowed by Alcan which itself was later taken over by Rio Tinto – wasn't convinced.
Queensland government ministers Jim Elder and Tom Barton, visiting China early this decade, were, however, convinced the Chinese could make the dream come true.
It was decided to relieve Pechiney of its leases because it hadn't delivered a mine, let alone a refinery – something that the government controversially eventually did by legislation, after the French company threatened to take the state government to court.
Aurukun was then put up for international tender – attracting a swag of tyre kickers from among the world's aluminium companies and big diversified mining houses.

As expected, Chinese group Chalco won the race, and set about studying both a mining and refining operation.
Chalco now has until June 30 to satisfy the Government it will build the bauxite mine and the refinery under the terms of the development agreement granted back in May 2007.
It was originally supposed to finalise and evaluate the engineering and commercial aspects of the project by late 2009. But the Government gave it a six-month extension early this year because of the global financial crisis.
However, the aluminium market, even before the global financial crisis, had turned soft.
And Chalco, more than a year ago, approached the State Government asking to be allowed to shelve plans for a stand-alone refinery at Bowen, that would export through the nearby port of Abbot Point, in favour of joining forces to expand Rio Tinto's Yarwun refinery at Gladstone.
Premier Anna Bligh yesterday seemed to indicate that if Chalco didn't come up with a firm refinery proposal, they might well lose their leases.
She didn't mention Bowen, however.
"So what Chalco has to get over the line is not only a bauxite mine, but also a refinery on the eastern coast of Queensland," the Premier said, meaning Gladstone might remain an option.
Meanwhile, observers said yesterday any decision by Chalco not to proceed would be unrelated to the Federal Government's proposed resource super profits tax – except that it might be used as a scapegoat.

Chalco May Halt North Queensland Project, Financial Review Says
Bloomberg 09-Jun-2010
By Jacob Greber
June 9 (Bloomberg) -- Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. may halt its planned A$3 billion bauxite project in north Queensland, the Australian Financial Review reported, without saying where it got the information.. Chalco is expected to lobby Queensland state Premier Anna Bligh to amend the lease on the Aurukin development, which requires the construction of a refinery, the newspaper said, without citing sources.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jacob Greber in Sydney at jgreber@bloomberg.net

Refinery looks at uses for 'red sand' product
inmycommunity - 09/Jun/2010
Alcoa is investigating the use of bauxite residue as a road base.
AFTER its use as road base on Greenlands road near Pinjarra as part of the new Perth to Bunbury highway, Alcoa is investing in projects to determine whether bauxite residue has the potential to become a useful material.
Its Technology Delivery Group based at the Kwinana refinery has developed a carbonation and wash system to process the residue and produce a product known as ‘red sand.’
Residue technical manager David Cooling said that the red sand was crushed rock and ‘literally sand.’
“Not only does red sand have the potential to be a cost-effective alternative to general purpose sand, it has also shown to be a high quality construction sand thanks to its excellent drainage and strength characteristics,” he said.
It is hoped the product will help fill the decline in sand supplies.

Chinalco denies plans to axe Qld project
Sydney Morning Herald - June 9, 2010
China's leading alumina maker Aluminum Corp of China (Chinalco) says it has had no internal discussions on pulling out of its $3 billion Aurukun bauxite project in Queensland, and is carrying out feasibility studies and comparing proposals.
The company reacted to news reports saying that Chalco, the Hong Kong-listed subsidiary of Chinalco, will lobby the Queensland government to amend the lease terms of the Aurukun development after the federal government’s announcement of the 40 per cent mining super profits tax.
They want Queensland to amend the deal so they no longer have to build a refinery, expected to be based in Bowen, to make the project viable.
"We do not have the consideration of withdrawing," Chinalco vice-president Lu Youqing told Reuters today.
"We are pushing the project. Now we are comparing different proposals," he said, adding the proposed tax in Australia was a factor under consideration.
Meanwhile Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said she won’t allow mining giant Chalco to renege on constructing a refinery to make the bauxite development viable.
The company has just three weeks left to submit a feasibility study for the project.
However, Ms Bligh stood her ground in parliament during question time, saying the most important stipulation when the project was put to tender on the international market was that the winning bidder build a refinery.
‘‘Chalco was awarded this project on the basis of secondary manufacturing of this product in Queensland,’’ she said. ‘‘They will be subject to the firmest possible view by this government that they will only get access to the bauxite mine if they can deliver what they said they will deliver and what the other international tenderers would have been required to do.
‘‘So what Chalco has to get over the line is not only a bauxite mine, but also a refinery on the eastern coast of Queensland.‘‘It’s a tough project to get up, and always was, but I look forward to it getting up.’’
Ms Bligh also took aim at the opposition in her response, reminding them that the National Party originally awarded the contract to a French company which idly sat on the project for 35 years.

Hindalco may see action on expansion plan
India Infoline.com - Jun 09, 2010
Hindalco Industries reportedly plans to borrow about Rs 14000 crore in the next couple of years to build two new plants that will treble its aluminium making capacity as increased production of cars and aircraft, fuel demand for the white metal.
Shares of companies controlled by the two Ambani brothers may see action after Anil Ambani withdrew a Rs 10000-crore defamation suit filed in the Bombay High Court against elder brother Mukesh Ambani as the two brothers seek harmonious relationship. Anil had accused Mukesh of defaming him in a 2008 interview with the New York Times.
Berkshire Hathway's unit may reportedly buy about 5-10% stake from the open market in Bajaj Finserv. Berkshire Hathway is controlled by legendary investor Warren Buffet. Buffet had announced last month at the annual meeting of Berkshire Ha
Tata Power is reportedly eyeing a strategic stake in overseas mines to fuel its upcoming 1600 megawatt super-critical thermal power project in Dherand-Shahpur in coastal Maharashtra.
State-run National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) is reportedly forming a 51:49 joint venture with Monnet Ispat & Energy to acquire and develop coal blocks in India and will bid for mines with reserves of 200-300 million tonnes.
Container Corporation of India is reportedly in talks with Steel Authority of India (Sail) to set up a steel hub for shipment of the latter's products to customers in India and overseas.
Competition Commission of India (CCI) has reportedly revived an investigation into whether a 2008 strategic alliance between Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways is a case of cartelisation. The inquiry began in August 2009, but was suspended after Kingfisher moved the Bombay High Court, which dismissed the petition in March this year.

Aluworks Threatened - As Cheap Chinese Products Flood Market
Graphic Online - 08-Jun-2009
The dumping of subsidised aluminium sheets from China is threatening to collapse Ghasna's only aluminum roller, Aluworks Ltd.
The company, set up to augment the operations of the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) in a comprehensive attempt to develop the country’s bauxite value chain, is now facing unfair competition from the unbridled importation of aluminium sheets and rods from the East Asian country of China into Ghana.
With the shutdown of VALCO, Aluworks has had to import aluminium ingots to power its operations. The company has a large pool of local labour who add value to the raw material to produce aluminium sheets, circles and coils, which it supplies to other downstream aluminium finished goods producers in the local market.
Its clients are those that produce cooking utensils, roofing sheets and other aluminium finished products.
Since the company uses local labour to add value, which is captured in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), it has a concession to import ingots at five per cent customs duty, which it hitherto bought from VALCO in liquid form. It adds a lot of value before its final coils and circles are produced.
Unfortunately, other big companies which produce with sheets as their raw material, have now started importing the aluminium sheets (not ingots) into the country and have managed to secure the payment of the same five per cent duty meant for ingots.
Such finished products are supposed to attract 10 per cent duties, while other aluminium products attract 20 per cent duties.
While it is not clear which law mandates such importers to pay similar concessionary customs duties, the GRAPHIC BUSINESS has gathered that granting of equal concessions to the imported semi-finished sheets was inimical to the competitiveness of those who produce the same products locally, by adding value to ingots.
Evidence of dumping
The GRAPHIC BUSINESS has gathered from reliable sources that at the casting level for instance, Aluworks incurs about US$300 per tonne, while in China the same process costs an average of US$450 per tonne.
However, the Chinese products end up on the Ghanaian markets, cheaper than what is produced locally, even with value addition between the stages of casting and cold rolling, shipment, handling and clearing charges as well as duties.
“We need to restructure our taxes to ensure fair competition in the market,” the Managing Director of Aluworks, Mr Kwasi Okoh stated.
A research commissioned by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has established that the cost of production at the factory floor for most items were lower in Ghana compared to other emerging markets such as China. Mr Okoh believes the Chinese imports come in from traders who did not use them for the purposes declared.
It is alleged that some of the big aluminium finished product manufacturers also import the sheets over and above their requirements and divert the rest to be sold to local manufacturers of aluminium cookware.
What is even more frastrating about the phenomenon was that, the practice threatens the survival of the only company set up purposely to convert aluminium ingots to sheets and other semi-finished products, with consequences of rendering a large number of skilled personnel unemployed.
Restructuring
The Managing Director told GRAPHIC BUSINESS that retrenchment of staff had already started.
According to Mr Okoh, to contain the rising costs associated with VALCO’s closure and the unfair competition from the East Asia, the company had to reduce its staff strength. In 2007, the company cut its staff strength from 460 to 260 workers.
With that action and coupled with a rights issue undertaken by the company earlier this year, Aluworks had started recording modest profits after two years of losses, Mr Okoh said.
The Aluworks managing director believes that China had found solace in the country and West Africa because she was forced by the economic recession to become a net exporter instead of net importer of manufactured goods.
This is, therefore, the time to safeguard operations of companies such as Aluworks, which has consecutively won the non-traditional Exporter of the Year Award conferred by the Ghana Export Authority.
“China is net exporter because of the recession. They will pull out of the market as soon as the dust settles, by which time our local aluminium industry would have collapsed,” Mr Okoh, stated.
Aluworks produced between 18,000 and 20,000 metric tonnes of sheets and coils last year, but it is working hard to repeat the same feat this year, although its exports to Europe had seen a dip in recent months due to the economic recession.
The company which installed a new line of manufacturing to its fold, the paint line, used to export about half of its products to Europe and West Africa.
As a sharp departure from the Union versus Management wrangling that usually goes on at workplaces, the local union at Aluworks has teamed up with the management to look for a remedy to the situation.
Local Union Chairman, Mr Francis Assifuah, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS that the situation was having dire consequences on Aluworks, which went the full length of adding value to ingots to get flat sheets.
He said due to low revenue that company now made, coupled with the slowdown of activities at the factory, many specialists were resigning from the company.
He said it was unfair to allow subsidised imported flat aluminium sheets from China when the product could be sourced locally.
Attempts to get any official response from the Ministry of Trade on the matter have not been successful.

Aluminum Prices in China Drop Below Cost, Chalco Says
BusinessWeek - June 08, 2010
(Bloomberg) Aluminum prices in China have dropped below the cost of production, putting pressure on smelters to reduce output, the nation’s biggest producer said.
“Prices of aluminum have dropped below the cost of production,” Luo Jianchuan, president of Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., said today at an Antaike aluminum conference. The recent electricity price increases will have a “significant” impact on smelters, Luo said.
China, the world’s largest maker of the metal, said last month it will raise power surcharges for some aluminum companies by as much as 100 percent from June, to curb overcapacity. Producers are weighing output cuts because of increase, Liu Xu, an analyst at China International Futures Co. said last month.
Producers in China are probably unprofitable as the current price is below the average 15,300 yuan production cost, said Wan Ling, a Beijing-based analyst at CRU International Ltd. CRU expects 1.3 million tons of capacity in the country to be affected by the surcharge. Energy accounts for as much as half the cost of producing aluminum.
The effect of the higher energy prices on Aluminum Corp., known as Chalco, will be limited, because only a few of its smelters enjoyed the cheaper rates, Luo said without giving details.
Aluminum in London has fallen 16 percent this year on concern Europe’s debt crisis may derail the global economic recovery.
--Xiao Yu. Editors: Andrew Hobbs, Richard Dobson
To contact the editor responsible for this story Andrew Hobbs in Sydney at ahobbs@bloomberg.net

China's Aluminum Exports May Stall on Yuan, Association Says
BusinessWeek - June 07, 2010
(Bloomberg) -- China’s aluminum export growth may stall should the yuan be allowed to appreciate against the dollar, the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association said.
Rising labor costs have already made China’s products less competitive overseas, Li Defeng, director of aluminum at the association, said in slides prepared for the Antaike aluminum conference in Shanghai today. Producers should look to take advantage of growing domestic demand, Li said.
“Producers should actively tap domestic demand,” said Li. Exports may decline, though China’s urbanization and transport development will boost local demand, he said.
U.S. purchases accounted for 19 percent of China’s overseas aluminum sales last year, the association said. China, the world’s biggest producer, has resisted calls from trading partners to let the yuan strengthen after maintaining a peg of about 6.83 percent to the dollar since July 2008.
Low-carbon emission requirements will boost the lightweight metal’s use in vehicles and high-speed trains, Li said.
China’ aluminum product exports rose 7.5 percent to 472,000 metric tons in the first quarter from the December quarter of 2009, the slides show.
China produced 16.5 million tons of aluminum products in 2009. Shandong Nanshan Aluminum Co. and China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd. are the biggest producers.
--Xiao Yu. Editor: Andrew Hobbs, Keith Gosman

To contact the editor responsible for this story Andrew Hobbs in Sydney at ahobbs@bloomberg.net

Ord River Resources ticking more boxes at Laos Aluminium Project
Proactive Investors Australia - 07-Jun-2010
Ord River Resources (ASX: ORD) is continuing to make solid progress and build momentum in its feasibility study over its Laos Aluminium Project. ORD holds a 49% interest in Sino Australian Resources (Laos) Co., Ltd (SARCO), a joint venture company between ORD and China Nonferrous Metal Industry’s Foreign Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd.
In the first week of June, project contractor Sinomine Resource Exploration Co., Ltd. has undertaken significant volume of project work including:
- Topographic Survey
- Built a temporary Camp
- Undertaken past drill hole analysis on 80 holes
- Exploration Drilling for ore blocks 2, 10 and 11; ore block 6 was 15% completed
- Sampling and processing for exploration drilling of ore blocks 10, 11 and 12 were 100 completed
Frank Zhu, coporate development chief at Ord River Resources said "the feasibility study was progressing well and the company would update market on further progress in Laos."
Laos Project ticking all the boxes
The JV partners SARCO 51% and Ord River 49% have managed to tick a significant number of boxes at the project, which they believe has bauxite potential estimated to be to 2 billion tonnes.
The Lao aluminium project has a JORC compliant resource of 130 million tons of quality bauxite resource
and the partners are building a 600,000 ton per annum capacity alumina refinery, which has received strong support from the Lao and Chinese governments.
Which ties in nicely as China represents 32% of the world’s alumina market. One third of China’s bauxite needs are currently imported. Laos’s location and large resources render the project attractive to China. These pertinent facts have perhaps been lost amidst the current equities downturn, as to how important this project potential is to China
.A$5.3million feasibility study was commenced on 1 March 2010. The aim is to increase the overall resource and make a recommendation for mining and refinery investment. Ord maintains 49% interest in the JV with SARCO until end of feasibility study. A$500,000 has been set aside for ORD’s contribution to the study in the future. No cash impact in 2010FY.
Ord is in a healthy financial position with A$5.2million in cash and no debt.
Interestingly, the price of the aluminium may rise 30 per cent by 2015 as demand accelerates, according to Macquarie Group, as demand gains from aircraft and automakers.
Only once in the past seven years have aluminum prices outperformed copper prices. However, the metal may rise 14.3 per cent in three years, compared with a 2.1 percent drop in copper, according to forward price curves for both metals.
Analysts are tipping the situation in China could potentially be a catalyst for a real aluminum bull market, Sydney-based head of global commodities at Citigroup said.

In Sierra Leone, New Bauxite Mining Exercise to be Announced
Awareness Times - Jun 7, 2010
A brand new, economically viable, Port Loko Bauxite Mining exercise will soon open under the aegis of the Sierra Leone Exploration Mining Company (SLEMCO) which has undergone extensive work in Port Loko that now indicates a discovery of well over 300 million tons of proven bauxite reserves. The findings are reported to be so lucrative that an Investment group known as ABG Shipyard of India is all set to launch a massive joint venture with SLEMCO for the mining of Bauxite in Sierra Leone.
The Joint Venture is reported to be all set to start large scale mining operations within the next four to seven months as a result of extensive, quiet work by the Chairman of SLEMCO Mr. Alieu Mohamed Sesay, a ruling party strongman, formerly of APC Radio’s ‘On Target’ programme.
Information reaching this medium is that SLEMCO is reporting that there are indications of even more bauxite reserves of an additional almost two hundred million tons.
This will be of one of the biggest bauxite operations in West Africa. ABG Shipyard, a multi-billion dollar company in India already plans to invest almost a cool billion dollars into the Sierra Leone economy. An initial pegged amount of one to two hundred million dollars is already in place to launch the first phase of the operation with an additional four to eight hundred million dollars for the construction of the aluminum plant that will be built in Port Loko to extract the bauxite.
It is also reported that all the exploration and drawing of the map was done by a Sierra Leonean geologist which information has been cross-checked and endorsed by world-renowned geologists.
This project has a huge potential for the country not only earning high revenue for the state but will also create job opportunities for Sierra Leoneans; an estimated one to two thousand jobs will be directly created by SLEMCO with an indirect expected multiple effect of over ten thousand jobs.
Sources in Government say that the country is just now waiting for the official announcement from ABG and the SLEMCO. Already, sources at the Mines Ministry say that the Mines Minister, Alpha Kanu is extremely ecstatic about the discovery done by the Sierra Leonean geologist. It is reported that the local geologists results were analyzed and certified by an India company associated with international space research organization (ISRO).
"This is a great news for the country especially as a high powered delegation of ABG investors will be in Freetown this week from India; we are expecting a wonderful announcement that will keep the country smiling and smiling and smiling," a source at the Mines Ministry confided to this writer.
© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Zhengzhou to build aluminum industrial base
SteelGuru - Sunday, 06 Jun 2010
SMM reported that the development plan for aluminum and aluminum processing industry in Zhengzhou city has been approved by experts on May 28th 2010 and annual sales revenue of aluminum industry in Zhengzhou city will exceed CNY 100 billion in the coming 5 years and this city will build an influential aluminum industrial base.
According to the plan, Zhengzhou city should focus on developing high-precision and high-performance plate, strip, profile, foil and other aluminum deep processing industry, developing alloy products and new materials and transferring to the high end of aluminum industry.
The proportion of high value added, high tech products used in rail vehicles, automobiles, electronic products, special alloys in aluminum processing products will increase from less than 10% in 2008 to 20% in 2013 and to 30% in 2015 with the annual sales revenue of aluminum industry growing steadily from CNY 46.24 billion to CNY 100.78 billion.
Zhengzhou is an important aluminum plate, strip and foil supplier in China and there are 52 aluminum processors in this city and a complete industrial chain concerning alumina, aluminum, aluminum processing and secondary aluminum has been formed currently.
(Sourced from SMM)

Smelter, rapid rail in limbo, water taxi to stay
Trinidad and Tobago News (blog) - Raffique Shah June 02, 2010
.....................
Start with the aluminium smelter.
While the adjacent 240-megawatts electricity generating plant is currently under construction, the US$500 million-plus smelter is yet to get off the ground, stymied by final EMA approvals.
The anti-smelter lobby successfully challenged the EMA’s provisional CEC before the High Court sometime last year.
The People’s Partnership vowed on its platform to change the EMA to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
One source said the new government may opt to continue with the power generation plant.
‘It may make sense to proceed with that and integrate it into the national electricity grid. In fact, we could even consider expanding its capacity from 240 megawatts to 400 megawatts. That would compensate for eventual closure of the Port of Spain generating plant that has a capacity of around 320 megawatts, but is obsolete. Instead of constructing a new plant in the capital city, this La Brea plant could meet the country’s immediate and future electricity requirements.’
The Alutrint project has several very powerful and strategically important ‘partners’ as part of the joint-venture.
China, for example, has provided the ’soft loan’ capital (US$400 million through its Exim Bank) and the building contractor.
The latter has insisted on using Chinese labour, with minimal jobs for locals.
China is among the emerging global superpowers, and no Trinidad and Tobago government would want to sour relations with Beijing.
Last December, months after Venezuela’s Sural withdrew as an investor in the project, one of Brazil’s leading aluminium companies, Votorantim Metais, signed an MOU with Alutrint to ‘take up the slack’.
Brazil is fast emerging as the powerhouse of South America, a country with which we’d want to have good relations.
How the new government would wiggle its way out of the smelter plant without breaching contracts the last PNM government would have signed, and without offending China and Brazil, would be a diplomatic challenge.
..............................

ALBA IS EYEING ASIA FOR KEY EXPANSION
Gulf Daily News - June 05, 2010
MANAMA: Alba's participation in a top aluminium expo in China is part of the company's drive to expand into new territories, increase its reach, develop new customer base and strengthen its links with aluminium leaders around the world.
Aluminium China 2010 is a three-day event which will be held at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre from Wednesday to Friday.
It brings together over 10,000 decision makers, buyers and influencers from 30 regions across China and 90 countries around the world.
"China is regarded as one of the largest consumers and producers of aluminium in the world, and occupies a central role in the growth of the aluminium industry worldwide," Alba chief executive Laurent Schmitt said.
"It is our privilege to be part of this event that offers tremendous opportunities for companies like Alba to pursue business leads with potential customers in China, Far East Asia, South Asia and other parts of the world.
"Our commitment to expand our presence in the emerging markets of Asia remains an integral component of our growth plans.
"One of the clearest evidence of this commitment is that, today, sales to the Asian region occupies nearly 25 per cent of our high-quality aluminium products, and we are keen on developing this market further and capitalise on the tremendous opportunities available.
"As one of the world's largest aluminium producing companies, we at Alba, are pleased to be, once again, part of such a global platform that brings together the world aluminium community for effective networking opportunities and exchange of ideas.
Aluminium China 2010, which has been billed as one of the world's largest gathering of aluminium professionals, provides an ideal platform for suppliers of aluminium raw material, semi-finished and finished products, surface treatment and producers of machinery, plant and equipment for aluminium processing and manufacturing.
It also brings together aluminium professionals, decision makers and key industry influencers, and offers valuable opportunities for networking as well as viewing some of the advanced technology and techniques currently used in the industry.

Jobs lost to Wild Rivers
The Australian - June 05, 2010
A MINING project that would generate hundreds of indigenous jobs in one of the most remote reaches of the country has hit the wall after the Queensland government locked up another expanse of Cape York Peninsula under its controversial Wild Rivers law.
Australian-controlled Cape Alumina said its proposed $1.2 billion bauxite mine north of Weipa was "highly unlikely" to proceed after the state government declared the Wenlock River as wild, putting off-limits nearly a third of the rich mineral lode.
Indigenous activist and community leader Noel Pearson reacted with fury. In a scathing article for The Weekend Australian today, he denounces Premier Anna Bligh as the "leader of this pig trough that passes for a system of government" in Queensland.
"It is not possible to convey the intensity of the feelings I harbour for these bastards," Mr Pearson writes.
"It is not their contempt for Aboriginal people. It is not their utter lack of principle that gets me.
While there are several mining projects under examination on the western side of Cape York, Cape Alumina had had the most advanced negotiations with indigenous people, and the traditional owners had signed an employment convenant with the company.
Cape Alumina has held the land since 2004, well before the Wild Rivers legislation was introduced, and was due to lodge an environmental impact statement in the next few months with plans to mine 132 million tonnes of bauxite over 15 years.
There were to be more than 1000 jobs created in the construction phase and 350 permanent jobs when the mine was in full operation.
Cape Alumina is a publicly listed company majority owned by Australian interests, with 17.5 per cent of the company owned by Xinfa, a Chinese aluminium company.
The company had argued that the standard exclusion zone of 1km either side of a river listed under Wild Rivers legislation would make its project unviable, but conservation values could be maintained with a buffer zone of 200m.
Queensland government scientists recommended a buffer zone of 300m, but Queensland Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson said he had taken the decision to increase the zone to 500m after visiting the area three weeks ago.
Cape Alumina managing director Paul Messenger said the decision had been made on political rather than scientific grounds, and had significantly increased sovereign risk in Queensland.
"This government has today jeopardised 1700 jobs," Dr Messenger said. "It defies logic that a government as heavily in debt as Queensland would without justification write off over $1.2bn in future GDP."
Dr Messenger compared the Bligh government's decision to that of the Queensland government in the 1960s, when it moved people off the nearby town of Mapoon for a mining development.
"Some 47 years after the Queensland government burned their houses to the ground and forced those people off the land at gunpoint, the government has today again sold those people down the river," he said.

Jamaica to probe Chinese link to bauxite company
The Trinidad Guardian - 3 Jun 2010
Jamaica’s Contractor General Greg Christie has launched an investigation into government’s proposed sale of its 45 per cent stake in bauxite mining company, Jamalco, to a Chinese firm.
Christie said his hand had been forced in the matter because the Ministry of Energy and Mining had failed and/or refused to put the divestment of the shares to Zhuhai Hongfan through a “structured, Office of the Contractor General (OCG) monitored competitive process.” His decision to investigate the deal also comes a few days after he received a letter from the permanent secretary in the ministry, Hillary Alexander, in which she challenged his jurisdiction in matters relating to the divestment of government assets. Christie said he had written to Prime Minister Bruce Golding on Tuesday, describing the development as “nothing short of scandalous” and a “retrograde step for the administration,” and giving him formal notice of the probe.
Public contracting
“The fact that the administration has now boldly challenged the jurisdiction of the OCG over asset divestment matters despite, inter alia, its previous record of requesting the OCG to formally investigate similar issues, has called into question the credibility and sincerity of its pronouncements regarding its commitment to fight corruption, to strengthen the country’s anti-corruption and good governance institutional structures, and to ensure transparency, probity, competition, accountability and value for money in public contracting,” the contractor general said in the statement.
Christie noted that he had previously indicated to the government that the circumstances surrounding the Zhuhai Hongfan deal had raised very serious concerns and questions about transparency, value for money, competition, conflicts of interest, propriety, merit and impartiality. Golding announced in Parliament in April that negotiations were advanced for the sale of the government’s stake in Jamalco to Zhuhai Hongfan. At the time he said that the Chinese company had secured financing for the purchase from the China Development Bank.
The other 55 per cent in Jamalco is owned by Alcoa, the world’s leading producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina. Jamaica’s bauxite and alumina export sector was badly hit by the global economic downturn that reduced international demand, forcing several plants on the island to either stop or slash production and lay off workers.

Novelis Gains from Alcoa (NYSE:AA) Abandoning Aluminum Cans
Commodity Surge (blog) - 3 Jun 2010
Alcoa (NYSE:AA) is dropping out of the aluminum can business, at least they're going to produce much less, as in April they announced they were letting a 10-year contract expire which had been losing money.
Novelis, the American division of India-based Hindalco Industries, said they will become the largest producer of metal beverage cans in America as a result.
This would be under the flat-rolled segment of the company, which reduced shipments in the first quarter by close to 75,000 tons.
On the other hand, Novelis said they'll increase North American flat-rolled product by around 1.75 billion pounds of sheet. That would give them approximately 45 percent of the aluminum business used to make beverage cans. That's an increase of about 3 percent for Novelis.

Basic industries have deteriorated "without exception"

El Universal - 3 Jun 2010
Labor leaders and managers of the basic industries in Guayana said that iron, steel, and aluminum production centers “are deserted and deteriorating without exception”
Henry Arias, a trade union leader at state-run aluminum mill Alcasa, said that Alcasa plants "are totally unproductive. They are on the brink of bankruptcy, and workers conditions have worsened." In his view, over the past 10 years, "problems have been complicated by mismanagement, political activism, corruption, lack of government plans and funds to support those companies."
He said that throughout this period "there have been nine presidents at the state-run Venezuelan Guayana Corporation (CVG). Some have made experiments with worker's cooperatives, others with joint management and worker's control or with social production enterprises. The result is total failure. Now they are telling a new story: socialist enterprises."
Meanwhile, José Calderón, a union leader of state-run aluminum company Venalum, said on Tuesday that the coal plant closed operations for shortage of coke. "There will be no deliveries of this raw material until the company pays a USD 42 million debt it owes a supplier. 410 electrolytic cells out of 925 are out of service."
Further, Emilio Campos, another labor leader, said that basic industry Carbonorca is shut down. "The plant is not operating because of the shortage of raw material and exports of products have been prohibited. As a result, these plants are doomed to bankruptcy."
He also said that the briquette plants expropriated by the government a year ago have not started operations. "Matesi, Comsigua, Orinoco Iron, Tavsa are closed".

Translated by Gerardo Cárdenas

Rio claims it could lose $800m under RET, report says
Business Spectator - 02-Jun-2010
Mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd says the federal governments renewable energy target (RET) scheme will cost the company between $500 and $800 million over the first 10 years of the program, partially due to government compensation being tied to Labor's delayed emissions trading scheme (ETS), according to Fairfax newspapers.
According to the report, in a submission to a Senate committee, Rio said the government's plan to give a 90 per cent exemption from RET costs to trade-exposed sectors would provide only a 55 per cent exemption with the delay of the ETS.
The Senate is set to vote on amendments to the target soon, which aims to see 20 per cent of all energy come from renewable sources before 2020.
According to Fairfax, Rio's submission said that the costs of the plan will affect the miner's spending and employment at it's Hunter Valley, Gladstone and Tamar Valley smelters.
Rio's concerns echo those of other aluminium producers that say RET amendments link assistance for big power users to the ETS.
The miner's shares rose 1.76 per cent to $67.94 at 1034 AEST, against a 1.36 per cent improvement in the benchmark index

Bosnia and Herzegovina Aluminium smelter tender annulled
Balkans.com Business News - 02.06.2010
Bosnia's regional government annulled on Tuesday a tender for a majority stake in its sole aluminium smelter as top bidder Glencore International AG [GLEN.UL] set terms the cabinet was unwilling to fulfill.
"The government has decided to declare failed the tender for the sale of an 88 percent stake in Aluminij Mostar ," the Muslim-Croat federation cabinet said in a statement without further elaboration.
The minimum price for the stake, equally owned by the federation government and small shareholders, was set at 76.8 million euro ($93.30 million).
The Swiss-based commodities trader had set cheap power supplies as a condition for the bid.
The government refused to provide cheap electricity prices arguing Aluminij was a qualified buyer that can purchase power under commercial prices. It however pledged to guarantee that the company would get needed power quantities.
The sell-off talks have also been stalled over environmental and ownership issues.
The government has been extending the deadline for Aluminij Mostar privatisation since 2007 to give more time to the best bidder to resolve outstanding issues.
The smelter produced 96,000 tonnes of primary aluminium in 2009, down from 123,000 tonnes in 2008, after cutting output by a quarter last year but it gradually started returning to full production last autumn.
Its revenues and exports fell by a third in 2009 to close to 138 million Bosnian marka ($86 million) and 260 million marka respectively. ($1=1.6 Bosnian marka) Source; Reuters; Balkans.com

Summary Box: Alcoa, union agree on new contract
BusinessWeek - 01-Jun-2010
DOWN TO THE WIRE: Aluminum manufacturer Alcoa Inc. and the United Steelworkers Union tentatively agreed to a new four-year contract to cover about 5,400 workers in 10 states just before a contract deadline expired.
KEY ISSUES: Neither the union nor Alcoa would disclose details of the agreement, which still must be ratified by union members. Key issues during the talks included health care, wages for new workers and scheduling flexibility.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR ALCOA: Alcoa has seen some market improvement after it was battered during the recession when demand dried up for aluminum.

Alcan, USW extend contract talks
Charleston Gazette - June 1, 2010
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Alcan Rolled Products and the United Steelworkers Union Local 5668 have agreed to extend their current collective bargaining agreement through Wednesday. The contract, which covers 700 hourly employees at the Ravenswood aluminum plant, was set to expire Monday.
Representatives from both sides are trying to negotiate a new long-term contract this week in Charleston.
With more than 1,000 workers, Alcan is Jackson County's largest employer.
The plant produces aluminum plate, coil and sheet, and operates one of the world's largest rolling mills.

New Quenching Process Maximizes Stress Relief
American Machinist - 06/01/2010
The Cryogenic Institute of New England Inc. has introduced Nitrofreeze® “uphill quenching” to maximize stress relief in cast, heat-treated and forged aluminum parts. The process enables critical aluminum components made from aluminum to achieve a superior level of material stabilization.
The procedure involves using a controlled cryogenic chamber where the parts are cooled to ultralow temperatures by using liquid nitrogen or liquid helium. Once the components have reached the low temperature, they are subjected to a controlled warming cycle to a higher temperature appropriate for the alloy. The process is repeated up to six times, each following the same cool down and “uphill” quenching cycle. The process typically operates within a range of 450 degrees F on the low side and up to +450 degrees F at the high side.
The Cryogenic Institute of New England, in Worcester, MA, offers a full range of cryogenic technologies for industry, government, and scientific applications. Services include conventional cryogenic treatment, heat and freeze thermal cycling, cryogenic deflashing and deburring services, shrink fitting services, and dry ice (CO2) blast cleaning. It also offers engineering services, cryogenic lab work in support of R & D, and custom equipment design for cryogenic applications.
“Aluminum alloys used in high-precision aerospace and optic components require maximum part stabilization so that they will hold the tolerances needed in their mission critical tasks,” explained Cryogenic Institute of New England Inc. president Robin Rhodes. “The Nitrofreeze® Uphill Quenching Process eliminates the resident residual stresses in the raw cast or forged aluminum block as well those that are created during CNC machining operations,” he added.
Alcoa adopted uphill quenching in the 1950s for artificial aging of aluminum to produce a more stable microstructure with less residual stress. The adopters of the technique enjoy benefits including reduced part deformation, elimination of machining distortion, and improved mechanical properties. Aerospace and optics firms use uphill quenching to reduce or eliminate “walk and creep,” which can occur during machining of critical tolerance parts.
Most uphill quenching treatments are used in aerospace, high-precision optics and military applications. “Our experience with uphill quenching and other thermal cycling enables us to perform precise profiles as specified by MIL/DOD and U.S. governmental agencies,” said Ryan Taylor, product marketing specialist at the Cryogenic Institute of New England Inc. “We are able to cycle a wide range of parts to temperatures approaching absolute zero at controlled ramps and extended dwells,” he added. The company completes the uphill quenching processes with its own specially developed chambers and other vessels.

Chinalco: Adhere To Traditional Alumina Benchmark Pricing
Easy Bourse - 01-Jun-2010
BEIJING -(Dow Jones)- Aluminum Corp. of China, also known as Chinalco, supports the traditional form of pricing for alumina, a raw material used in the production of aluminum, the Chinese metal giant's vice president told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.
Echoing developments in the iron ore sector, industry majors including Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) have been lobbying to move alumina term prices toward a format based on spot prices, away from the traditional method of benchmarking it as a percentage of the London Metal Exchange aluminum price.
"We have no issue (with the current pricing format)," Lu Youqing, Chinalco's vice president, said. "We're still following the original method of pricing alumina."
Chinalco's position in the pricing argument is important because its listed unit is the world's second largest producer of alumina, which also differentiates the market from iron ore, where the country is a major importer.
BHP has argued that alumina ought to follow thermal coal and iron ore into market-oriented pricing because of similar industry trends such as a sharp rise in demand, the development