AluNews - September 2010

Tiwai smelter solves decades-old byproduct problem
Southland Times - 30-Sep-2010
The Tiwai Point aluminium smelter has solved an almost 40-year-old hazard waste problem and opened a new shipping route from Bluff at the same time.
The company is storing 186,000 tonnes of leftover refractory and carbon materials – a byproduct removed from aluminium reduction cells – in a landfill and several large sheds at Tiwai Point.
It has struggled to find a sustainable disposable option for the waste, known as spent cell lining (SCL).
Under the new plan between 10,000 and 15,000 tonnes will be sent to Europe each year where it will be used as an alternative fuel, replacing coal, for the industrial insulation of ceramics, brick and cement industries.
A year-long deal has also been struck with Holcim Cement to process SCL at the Westport Cement Works where it will replace some coal in cement kilns.
It is hoped it can result in a deal where the cement-makers take 3000 tonnes a year.
NZAS commercial services manager Jason Franklin said the system came at an annual cost to the company, which he declined to reveal, but it could not afford to keep storing the waste on site.
"We've made sure whatever path we take is sustainable. Using it in cement manufacturing is a win-win for the cement industry and aluminium.
"We send a byproduct and they essentially use it as fuel."
To initiate the plan the company has spent more than $10 million on a crushing plant to make the product easier to transport and use.
Already 6500 tonnes are packed into 250 containers at Tiwai Point ready to be shipped in about two weeks.
"This will be the first time SCL has left the site since it opened," Mr Franklin said.
NZAS waste reduction and energy efficiency specialist John O'Connor said it had been a six-year battle finding a solution to the waste buildup and co-ordinating the solution. Space in the SCL sheds reached capacity last month and the two European agreements were finally signed only six weeks ago and last week.
The cement industry had been slow to pick up on the use of the product, he said. "Cement has always been an option but when you start talking about something with nasties in it, then people are a bit hesitant. It's only since fuel costs have risen and people started looking at recyclable options that it's become viable."
However, the industry was limited in how much SCL it could use, hence the need to export, he said.
"The New Zealand industry can't be a total solution – there's not enough capacity."
The company had also funded a purpose-built truck for Freight Haulage to carry the SCL to Westport.
The long-term plan was to ship 50 containers of SCL to Europe every 40 days and be rid of all the stored SCL by 2030.

Sumitomo Corp. Invests in $900 Million Malaysian Aluminum Smelter Project
Bloomberg - Sep 28, 2010
Sumitomo Corp., Japan’s third- largest trading company, will invest in an aluminum smelting project costing as much as $900 million in Malaysia’s eastern Sarawak state.
Sumitomo will acquire a 20 percent stake in a subsidiary of Kuala Lumpur-listed Press Metal Bhd., which is constructing a $300 million smelter slated for completion by the end of this year, according to a statement from Sumitomo. It has an option to increase its stake to 25 percent and participate in a proposed $600 million second-phase expansion.
Press Metal joins Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. in planning to develop smelters in Sarawak where a 2,400-megawatt hydroelectric dam is nearing completion. Chalco, as Aluminum Corp. is known, is developing a $1 billion smelter with Malaysia’s GIIG Holdings Sdn., while Rio Tinto Group is partnering Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd. on another project.
“Sumitomo expects that the new partnership with Press Metal will enhance its long-term growth strategy in the aluminum business,” the Tokyo-based company said in a statement on its website.
Press Metal rose 0.7 percent to 1.47 ringgit in Kuala Lumpur trading at 10:56 a.m. local time, after earlier rising 4.1 percent.
Their smelter will have initial annual capacity of 120,000 metric tons when the first phase is completed at the end of this year. Capacity may double by the end of 2012 through a second phase expansion, the statement said.
Sumitomo wouldn’t disclosure its investment amount due to a confidentiality agreement, spokesman Taro Ueno said in a e-mail to Bloomberg.

The group already has investments in aluminum smelters in Australia, Brazil and Indonesia.

'Go time' for planned alumina refinery
ABC Local - Sep 28, 2010
Bauxite Resources says a proposed alumina refinery to be built in south-west Western Australia would be the most modern, efficient and clean in the world.
The company has exploration leases from Jarrahdale to south of Manjimup and hopes to find enough bauxite to establish the refinery.
Last week it signed a heads of agreement with Chinese partner Yankuang Corporation to be able to fund the construction of the facility.
Bauxite Resources chairman Barry Carbon says it was a significant step forward for the project.
"We need approvals from regulatory authorities, we need of course to very sensitively manage environmental approvals and we need to arrange a whole lot of infrastructure that goes with these things, but as far as Yankuang is concerned and as far BRL is concerned this is go time," he said.

Factbox: Cameroon mining projects
Reuters - Sep 27, 2010
Below is a list of major mining projects in Cameroon, which is seeking to diversify its traditionally oil-driven economy, the largest in central Africa.
Aluminum, BAUXITE
- Rio Tinto Alcan has partnered Cameroon's government in Alucam for an operation scheduled to include a 1 million tonne aluminum smelter at Kribi. Rio has said the project, including a 1,000 megawatt hydroelectric dam to power the smelter, will cost 140 billion CFA francs ($273.3 million). Construction timeline is 2015-18.
- Cameroon Alumina Limited (CAL), a bauxite mining joint venture formed by U.S. firm Hydromines, the United Arab Emirates's Dubai Aluminum, and India's Hindalco Industries, announced in November it found 550 million tonnes of bauxite and is targeting another 200 million tonnes.
It applied for a mining permit in December and start-up is planned for 2013. The consortium plans to invest $5-6 billion in the bauxite mining and refinery project at Ngaoundal, north of the capital, Yaounde, and a railway linking the project to the port of Kribi, 860 km away. The expected bauxite output is 4.5-9 million tonnes per annum.

Cameroon hires MRS for tidal power study
Reuters - Sep 27, 2010 2:20pm EDT
YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Cameroon is considering harnessing power from its ocean currents to help fill its chronic electricity gap.
The government of the central African state bordering the Atlantic has hired MRS Power Cameroon, a subsidiary of MRS Holding Ltd, to conduct a tidal power feasibility study, the government-owned Cameroon Tribune reported on Monday.
"This project comes at a time Cameroon is suffering a huge power deficit due to a sharp increase in demand and so it will be a wonderful alternative for power generation on a large scale in the country," Fitzgerald Nassako, permanent secretary at the energy ministry was quoted as saying.
ameroon relies heavily on hydroelectric power but has faced severe power shortfalls in recent years that forced its Rio Tinto joint-venture, Alucam, to slash production rates from an aluminum smelter and is believed to be holding up broader investment.
The government has set an ambitious target of tripling power generation capacity by 2020 with a slew of mostly hydropower projects, in part to pave the way for a handful of planned energy-intensive mining projects.
Terms of the agreement, and the potential power generation capacity from the project, were not immediately available.

Tax-wary Alcoa still bullish on alumina
The Australian - 27-Sep-2010
ALCOA says soaring Chinese demand for alumina could allow it to revisit a decision to shelve an expansion of the Wagerup refinery in WA.
But Alcoa of Australia managing director Alan Cransberg also warns that domestic factors, including a possible carbon tax, could keep the long-planned $3 billion Wagerup expansion on hold, despite the forecast rapid rise in China's alumina imports.
Mr Cransberg said there could be no decision on the project until the government's plans to put a price on carbon were clear, given the relatively high greenhouse emissions from Alcoa's refineries.
"I don't think there's anybody in the world who's going to put billions of dollars into the ground without understanding what are the rules for an ETS (emissions trading scheme) or a carbon tax," he said. "Getting clarity on that over time is very important."
Mr Cransberg said the US-based aluminium producer also wanted to ensure it could secure reasonably priced gas to power the project in what has become a tight domestic market for gas.
Major energy users have complained for several years that gas producers are warehousing reserves to export as liquefied natural gas rather than sell it into the domestic market. "It's more expensive to get gas here than in Victoria or Queensland," Mr Cransberg said. Alcoa announced in November 2008 that falling demand and a plummeting alumina price during the global financial crisis had led it to shelve the Wagerup refinery expansion, in WA's southwest.
The project, expected to create 1500 construction jobs, has an estimated capital cost of between $1bn and $3bn, depending on the ultimate size of the expansion.
WA Premier Colin Barnett said at the time he hoped Wagerup's expansion would only be delayed for two years. In an interview on Friday in his Perth office, Mr Cransberg said a decision on the expansion would not be made for at least another six months.
But he said he was bullish about the continuing global demand for alumina.
He said Chinese aluminium smelters were reportedly desperate for alumina due to China's lack of domestic bauxite, which is refined into alumina.
Alcoa mines bauxite in WA that is then refined into alumina at Wagerup. It either exports the alumina or sends it to the company's two smelters in Victoria, where it is transformed into aluminium.
"The world does need more alumina because China, which is a significant player in alumina and smelting, doesn't have a lot of bauxite reserves," Mr Cransberg said.
"So we can send them alumina to run their smelters.
"As you look at the growth rate of the aluminium industry, alumina is going to be a very good business to be in," he said.

Nalco proposes to set up power plant in Orissa

Economic Times - 26-Sep-2010
BHUBANESWAR: Targeting generation of 5,000 MW of power by 2020, aluminium major Nalco today proposed to set up a mega thermal power plant in Orissa, official sources said.
A proposal from the navratna company came when Nalco's chairman-cum-managing director A K Srivastava met chief minister Naveen Patnaik here.
The company had expressed interest to set up the power plant in collaboration with a state PSU, Energy Minister Atanu S Nayak told PTI adding that the government would take a decision in this regard after an examination.
"We are interested to set up a power plant in Orissa in collaboration with any state-run PSU," Nalco CMD Srivastava told reporters after meeting the chief minister.
Stating that Nalco already have expertise in power generation besides being ready to invest the required fund in the proposed project, Srivastava said the company was presently generating 1200 MW of thermal power from its Captive Power Plant (CPP).
Besides a thermal power generation plant, the company was also preparing to set up a gas based power production station in the state.
The company, the minister said, had also expressed interest to be a partner in OMC-OHPC joint venture company for setting up a plant.
Refusing to divulge the amount of the proposed investment, Srivastava said the location for the power plant would be decided later.
"It could either be in Ib valley area in Jharsuguda district or at Talcher where coal mines were located," he said.

Trinidad Scraps Controversial Smelter
Inter Press Service - PORT OF SPAIN, Sep 24, 2010 (IPS)
The new government of Trinidad and Tobago wasted little time. In fact, Finance Minister Winston Dookeran took less than 30 seconds of a two-hour budget presentation to announce that the People's Partnership government, headed by the country's first female prime minister, Kamla Persad Bissessar, was scrapping the $66.6 million dollar smelter plant project involving investors from China and Brazil.
"In addition to the health and environmental risk, there is also serious concern as to Alutrint's viability and the optimal use of our gas. This project shall cease and an alternative strategy will be put into place for the southwest peninsula," Dookeran said.
The proposed 125,000 metric-tonnes-per-year aluminum smelter complex had been fiercely defended by the Patrick Manning government until it was swept out of power in May. It would have resulted in the Brazilian conglomerate Votorantim Group having a 40 percent stake while the Trinidad and Tobago government held the remaining 60 percent.
China's Exim Bank was providing the $66.6 million dollar credit facility for construction of the project, which was halted last year after the High Court ruled that the decision of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) to grant a Certificate of Environmental Clearance was illegal. The Manning government appealed and a ruling was expected soon. But the government's new position has now made the ruling academic.
Energy Minister Carol Seepersad-Bachan said that plants to manufacture inorganic chemicals, glass, alternative energy- industry plastics and agro-business products were likely to take the place of the smelter plant, which environmentalists said would have been highly toxic and would have affected the health of area residents.
"Despite what we have been told that the plant would have been a modern facility and safe, no one was saying how we were going to get rid of the waste generated," environmentalist Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh told IPS.
"Because of Alutrint, residents of La Brea and environs would have to be tested for cancer every six months," he added, referring to a 2008 medical monitoring plan by the Caribbean Health Research Council and the International Institute for Healthcare and Human Development.
Not everyone agrees. David Renwick, who was given a national award in 2008 for his coverage of energy issues in Trinidad and Tobago, said that "the fact is that aluminium smelting poses no threat these days either to health or the environment – as real experts from countries that have produced aluminium for decades have repeatedly testified."
Health questions aside, at the parliamentary debate on the budget that ended Thursday, Planning and Development Minister Mary King said that the project simply did not make economic sense.
"We don't own the bauxite, we don't have alumina. It is said that we will not use very much natural gas, we are not situated in a big market for alumina products and we have no experience over how we acquired or created any of the sophisticated know-how of the industry which today is the basis of competitive advantage," she said.
Dookeran acknowledged that the government would have to use "diplomatic and commercial solutions" to deal with some of the contractual intricacies involved in the loan arrangement and admitted that the decision to scrap the plant carried "implications".
Alutrint's chief executive Philip Julien said there were contractual ramifications which he was not at liberty to disclose.
"Alutrint remains committed to serving its shareholders and awaits further directives from them pertaining to the company's continued operations. Bearing in mind the government is also the majority shareholder for Alutrint, government is in the best position to comment further on this matter at this time," said Julien.
The smelter plant had been one of the issues in the last general election campaign. The main opposition People's National Movement (PNM) said that the fact that it won seats in the areas where the plant would have been situated is an indication that the residents supported the initiative.
In fact, during the ongoing budget debate in Parliament, some residents staged demonstrations demanding that the government reverse its decision to scrap the project and allow for meaningful employment in the area.
"Give us the project, we have already spent so much money on it," said one protestor, while another said that the "government joins with its environmental friends to kill the project without talking to us".
Seepersad-Bachan says there are already prospective candidates for the plastics project and an integrated complex for a world-scale manufacture of glass and photovoltaic cells to replace the smelter project.
She said the plastics project would require an investment of $2 billion and the integrated glass and photovoltaic cells project, which requires the importation of silica from neighbouring Guyana, would require a capital investment of $2.5 billion.
"The alternative energy industry is a growing industry. It is close to $100 billion now and it is expected that the cost of solar panel will be able — in three years — to meet the cost of conventional energy supplies," Seepersad-Bachan said, adding that there would be a "big market" for those products and would also create "significant employment" for local citizens.

Alcan Iceland Smelter Increases Production Capacity
IcelandReview - 24/09/2010
Alcan Iceland Smelter Increases Production Capacity The production capacity of the Alcan aluminum smelter in Straumsvík by Hafnarfjördur will be increased by 20 percent, from 189,000 to 228,000 tons, in the coming four years. All necessary permits are at hand.
The smelter will not be enlarged but its current equipment will be updated so that more electricity can be used during the production, Morgunbladid reports.
It is estimated that operations will be completed at the end of 2012 and that the electricity will be increased gradually until full production capacity is achieved in mid-2014.
Landsvirkjun, the national power company, recently obtained loan capital in a bond offer at 6.5 percent interest rates. CEO of Landsvirkjun Hördur Arnarson said that is acceptable given the circumstances.

China's Squeeze Pushes Aluminum Upstream
Wall Street Journal - China has taken to aluminum like a chef at Thanksgiving. The country's smelting capacity increased 25% a year in the decade up to 2009, according to Deutsche Bank, taking it to almost half the world's total.
All that capacity, combined with recession, has kept a lid on prices: Aluminum is down 15% over the past two years, while copper is up 6%.
Now, the China effect could squeeze smelters from the other side. Making a ton of aluminum requires about two tons of primary ingredient alumina. Most alumina is sold under contracts pricing it at 12%-14% of the London Metal Exchange aluminum price.
That arrangement provides a neat cost hedge for aluminum producers that have integrated alumina operations. But with the proliferation of smelters in China and elsewhere, the proportion of global alumina sales to third parties has risen from about a quarter in 1980 to nearly half today, according to brokerage Davenport & Co.
Even as aluminum-smelting capacity expands, access to good bauxite deposits, from which alumina is derived, is limited.
There is an analogy in the oil sector, where the biggest chunk of value added in the production chain is in accessing and exploiting upstream reserves. Refining is essentially a lower-value manufacturing process, taking a raw material and modifying it into a usable product.
Aluminum smelting, another manufacturing business, has become less valuable as China has expanded capacity. Value is migrating upstream to alumina production.
Goldman Sachs forecasts an average noncontracted alumina spot price of $330 per metric ton this year, 11% above the aluminum-linked price. By 2013, it projects a spread of 21%.
Both Alcoa and Rusal, the world's largest aluminum producers, reiterated this week that they favor severing the price link. In the past, they might have resisted losing this hedge. But perhaps recognizing China's impact, a market price offers a way of at least monetizing the extra value in alumina.
A switch to market pricing, as contracts roll off, could squeeze margins for smelters without in-house alumina production, such as Century Aluminum. Big alumina producers with little exposure to downstream aluminum production, such as Australia's Alumina, should benefit as realized prices for the product rise.
Moreover, the value of their existing reserves should increase. In the case of steel, producers like ArcelorMittal have bought deposits of key ingredient iron ore to hedge the risk of surging Chinese steel production raising raw-material costs while damping end-product prices. A similar scramble to lock up bauxite and alumina supply could ensue.
Write to Liam Denning at

Rio Tinto to invest $347M to increase output at smelter in Iceland
Winnipeg Free Press - MONTREAL - Rio Tinto has given the green light to a $347-million upgrade to its aluminium smelter in Iceland, citing a new long-term energy supply agreement reached earlier this year with Lansvirkjun, the Icelandic power utility.
The Ango-Australian mining giant (NYSE:RTP) said the upgrade to the smelter in Straumsvik will boost production capacity at the smelter by 20 per cent to approximately 230,000 tonnes.
The new power supply contract runs from this October until 2036 and calls for 75 megawatts of additional power beyond supplies currently purchased by the smelter, allowing Rio Tinto Alcan to carry out an amperage increase.
"We are building on a successful relationship in Iceland that goes back more than 40 years," said Jean-Philippe Puig, president, primary petal, Europe, Middle East and Africa, for Rio Tinto Alcan, a Rio Tinto Inc subsidiary.
"The $347-million investment was facilitated by working together with local stakeholders to ensure the long-term sustainability of the smelter."
Aluminum smelters require large amounts of electricity and operators generally demand stable, long-term contracts from utilities before establishing or enlarging operations.
"This investment is great news for Rio Tinto Alcan and for Iceland," Puig said, noting the smelter provides direct employment for some 450 people.
The smelter is expected to begin increasing production in April 2012, reach full capacity by July 2014.

Bauxite, China to ink new refinery deal
WA Business News - 23-September-10
Controversial junior bauxite miner Bauxite Resources has agreed to enter a revised heads of agreement with Chinese conglomerate Yangkuang Group to build a major alumina refinery in the South West.
The agreement, which is refinement of a deal struck earlier this year, will see Yangkuang provide 91 per cent of the funding needed to build a 1.1 million tonnes per annum refinery in return for 70 per cent of the product. Yangkuang will also help Bauxite secure finance for its 9 per cent share of the $1 billion-plus proposal.
On signing, the partners would expect to start construction within five years, subject to positive feasibility studies, all relevant approvals and the identification of a suitable development site. The partners have previously identified the Kemerton industrial estate near Bunbury as a potential site for the plant.
The refinery would require the supply of at least 3.5 million tonnes of bauxite annually from Bauxite's proposed, but highly controversial, mining operations in the Darling Range.
However, the company has already drawn widespread community flak over noise, dust and trucking movements at its initial trial mine at Bindoon, which it had hoped to expand to a commercial scale operation.
The Environmental Protection Authority this month ruled the proposed 2 mtpa mine at Bindoon would be subjected to a full Public Environmental Review.
The company withdrew a previous application for a smaller 1.2 mtpa operation at Bindoon when the EPA ruled it should also subjected to a full PER-level assessment. Bauxite had hoped the smaller scale operation would be subjected to a lesser level of assessment.
The company hopes to ultimately develop several deposits throughout the Darling Range, where it has more than 1000 square kilometres of tenements.
As part of the revised deal, Yangkuang will reimburse Bauxite for 70 per cent of past exploration expenditure, while China's Shandong No1 Institute of Geology and Minerals Exploration will fund all new exploration work to earn 60 per cent stake in Bauxite's Darling Range holdings.

Chinese company to invest $1.2 billion in Ghana's bauxite/aluminium industry
Ghana News Agency - Sept 22, GNA - The Bonsai Minerals Group of China is teaming up with the Government of Ghana with a $1.2 billion investment to revive Ghana's bauxite, aluminiun and allied industries.
Letters of Intent to provide the framework to fast-track the development of the project have been signed among the partners, in a chain of achievements that have characterised President John Evans Atta Mills' state visit to China.
The project involves the development of the Ghana Aluminium Refinery Plant and associated infrastructure such as electricity, water and roads to support the project. The partners are the Bosai Minerals Group, the China-Africa Fund and the Government of Ghana.
The proposed plant which would be establshed in Awaso in 2014, to revive the bauxite industry, would have a final capacity of two million tons of bauxite per annum
Ghana Government owns 20 per cent, while Bosai has 80 per cent in the proposed investment.
Bosai acquired all the interest of Rio-Tinto-Alcan in the Ghana Bauxite Company at Awaso last February, and has since been poised to increase bauxite production to 1.5 million tons by 2011.
Mr Zlin Yuan, Managing Director of the Company, announced during an interaction with President Mills at Chongqing, that the investment would involve bauxite exploration as well as the processing of alumina for export to the Asian market and the rest of the world.
According to Mr Yuan, the improvement of the supporting infrastructure is a necessary condition for the objectives of the investment strategy to be achieved.
He acknowledged the commitment of the Government of Ghana to increase investment in infrastructure to facilitate the development of the alumina refinery plant and also to generally promote more direct investment in Ghana.
President Mills, who was earlier hosted to a banquet by City Mayor Huang Qifan, assured the meeting that the Government of Ghana would fulfil its part with the provision of the necessary environment so that the investment would yield fruitful results.
Accompanied by a delegation of Ghana's entrepreneurs and business people, President Mills invited the Chinese investors to dialogue with his delegation to identify areas of further cooperation for mutual benefits.
President Mills was earlier taken on a tour of the Three Gorges Musuem, which was in the inner city of Chongqing.
He later held talks with officials of the Foreign Affairs Municipal Authority of Shenzen.
(From Benjamin Mensah, GNA Special Correspondent, Chongqing, China)

Hydro triples aluminium cost-cutting goals
Reuters UK - Wed Sep 22, 2010
* Hydro seeks to cut $300 per tonne from smelter costs
* Norwegian producer expands cost drive to compete globally
* Analysts applaud, stock price rises 3 pct on news

OSLO, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL) tripled its cost-cutting goal on Wednesday, saying it now intends to reduce its smelter costs around the world by $300 per tonne of metal produced.
"We must make the smelters more robust," Hilde Merete Aasheim, head of Hydro's primary metal business area, said in a statement.
Industry analyst Henrik Schultz at Argo Securities said the world's fourth largest integrated aluminium company was forced to act by the arrival of low-cost producers in the Middle East, such as Dubai Aluminium, and others in India.
"It was crucial for Norsk Hydro to do something," Schultz said, adding that costs at Hydro's dozen or so smelters worldwide now amounted to about $1,800 a tonne.
Handelsbanken analyst Anne Gjoeen said she was "pleasantly surprised" by the size of the intended cost reduction. "It's a significant ambition," she said.
Hydro launched its first efficiency push in the autumn of 2009, announcing that it would cut $100 from the cost of producing a tonne of primary aluminium by the end of 2011.
That programme, which is on schedule, will now be expanded to "restore profitability to a sustainable level", the company said.
"We will now increase our ambitions and implement measures which will help improve our cost position by a further $200, mainly by the end of 2014," said Aasheim.
While the existing cost-cutting measures have focused on production operations, the company said, the new ones will affect purchasing, logistics, technology, staffing and organisation.
All told the company said it will shave $300 per tonne from its production-cost structure from 2009 levels. It cautioned that some costs, like those for energy and raw materials, could rise anyway.
Schultz said Hydro has risen from being a low-cost producer two years ago to about the median point in the aluminium industry today. That's despite the company's 2009 launch of one of the world's largest and most efficient plants, Qatalum in Qatar.
"They have drifted upward by virtue of the cost curve drifting downward," he said, adding that if the company can achieve a $300-per-tonne cost reduction from 2009 levels it should be able to compete handily with new market entrants.
"We are now looking at an eventual overall cost position at Hydro of $1,500 to $1,600 per tonne," said Schultz. "It seems that is increasingly necessary to be profitable and competitive."
Aasheim acknowledged in her statement that market conditions made the measure necessary.
"Competition is hard in the aluminium industry," she said, "and with a continued uncertain market situation we need to take the necessary steps to improve our long-term competitiveness."
Competitors include Rio Tinto Alcan (RIO.L) (RIO.AX) and Russia's UC RUSAL (0486.HK) (RUAL.PA), the world's top aluminium producer.
Norsk Hydro shares rose as much as 3 percent after the announcement, and at 0928 GMT they were trading 2.83 percent higher. (Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

Saudi aluminum smelter to expand: Ma'aden
Saudi Gazette - 21-Sep-2010
JEDDAH - The planned new aluminum smelter in Saudi Arabia was designed for “significant expansion,” a senior executive at one of its joint venture partners, Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) said Tuesday.
Abdullah Busfar, vice president of aluminum and project development, said the plant is part of the country’s diversification into other industries to reduce its reliance on oil.
Ma’aden is involved in a joint venture with US producer Alcoa Inc (AA) to build a huge aluminum complex in the Kingdom. The project, in the new industrial zone of Raz Az Zawr on Saudi Arabia’s east coast, will create the largest integrated aluminum project that has ever been built.
Initial capacities will be a bauxite mine of 4 million metric tons, an alumina refinery of 1.8 million tons, an aluminum smelter of 740,000 tons and a rolling mill of between 250,000 tons and 460,000 tons.
Busfar didn’t specify how large an expansion might be.
In the period between the smelter starting and the refinery coming online, the shortfall in alumina will be supplied by Alcoa, Busfar said.
Four tons of bauxite makes two tons of alumina, which in turn makes around a ton of metal. Aluminum is a key material used in industries like construction and automotives.
The integrated project is at the lower end of the cost curve, Busfar said, and will be the first rolling mill in the region supplying food-grade cansheet, such as water bottles.
“The plant is the foundation for Saudi Arabia’s downstream industry development,” Busfar said. “It’ll be a major catalyst for new business and employment opportunities,” he added.
Ma’aden has a 74.9 percent stake in the joint venture. Alcoa has started out with the remaining a 25.1 percent stake and has an option to bring it up to 40 percent.
First production from the smelter and rolling mill is due in 2013 and first output from the mine and refinery is expected in 2014.
A few weeks ago a contract was awarded to a group including Siemens AG (SI), Al-Arrab Contracting Co and Shanndong Electric Power Construction Co to build a power plant at the complex site, Busfar said.
He was speaking at the Metal Bulletin aluminum conference

Hydraulic leak caused weekend Alcoa plant fire
WRCB-TV - September 21, 2010
ALCOA, Tenn. (AP) - A preliminary investigation has found a weekend fire at Alcoa's hot rolling mill was caused by leaking hydraulic fluid.
Alcoa spokeswoman Christy Newman told The Daily Times the fire started on the 96-inch mill and spread to the roof of the building.
The fire forced an evacuation and halted mill operations, but no one was injured.
The company has assembled a team to figure out how long it will take to repair the mill, which turns aluminum ingots into aluminum sheets.
Newman said workers from the mill in the North Plant have been temporarily reassigned to other parts of the plant.
Information from: The Daily Times,
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Noranda to invest US$150M in next five years
Jamaica Observer - 21-Sep-2010
OPERATORS of Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners (NJBP) in St Ann yesterday announced plans for a US$150-million investment over the next five years, reinforcing their commitment to the island's bauxite industry.
"Including 2010, our plan which was approved [by the Jamaican Government] was to spend, over a five-year period, over US$150 million," Layle 'Kip' Smith, president of Noranda Aluminum said.
Senior members of Noranda Aluminum and Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners (NJBP) at yesterday’s Monday Exchange meeting held at the Observer’s Beechwood Avenue headquarters in Kingston. From left are consultant public relations officer Lance Neita; NJBP personnel and industrial relations manager Nathan Thomas; NJBP President Pansy Johnson; Noranda Aluminum President Layle ‘Kip’ Smith and Noranda Aluminum Chief Operating Officer Kyle Lorentzen. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)
Senior members of Noranda Aluminum and Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners (NJBP) at yesterday’s Monday Exchange meeting held at the Observer’s Beechwood Avenue headquarters in Kingston. From left are consultant public relations officer Lance Neita; NJBP personnel and industrial relations manager Nathan Thomas; NJBP President Pansy Johnson; Noranda Aluminum President Layle ‘Kip’ Smith and Noranda Aluminum Chief Operating Officer Kyle Lorentzen. (Photo: Naphtali Junior) 1/1
Smith said Noranda's five-year plan includes major projects such as the dredging of the Discovery Bay pier and skills training.
"We plan to be here, we plan to invest as part of the sustainability of this company as well as our short-term goal," Smith told reporters and editors at the Observer Monday Exchange held at the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue headquarters in Kingston.
Senior management from NJBP and its US principal, Noranda Aluminum, were guests of the newspaper.
"We are strategically here and committed for the long term," Smith emphasised, adding that the local raw material source provides the best opportunity to the company's sustainability.
Noranda took a major step in the island a year ago when it increased its shares in the then St Ann Bauxite Partners while other local bauxite companies -- Windalco and Alpart -- reacting to the global recession, laid off staff and closed their operations, significantly reducing the island's foreign exchange earning capacity.
Noranda Aluminum, a US-based conglomerate, now holds 49 per cent of the St Ann bauxite mining company with the Government of Jamaica owning 51 per cent.
Prior to the 2009 purchase, Noranda and another US-based company, Century Aluminum, equally shared the 49 per cent of the Discovery Bay mining operation.
"During the most recent economic downturn the other half of our joint venture became available and it was at a value that we thought was affordable," said Smith
He added that the purchase was a perfect fit with a sustainable strategy by the parent company to control its raw material supplies.
"... So that we could drive productivity, we chose to buy in the depths of a downturn," Smith declared.
Members of the company's top management yesterday made it clear that the bold decision has paid off, reporting an increase in bauxite production from 3.1 million tonnes to 4.6 million tonnes this year, as aluminum prices increase on the world market.
"Since that acquisition we have returned to our path of growth," Smith declared, adding that spending in Jamaica during 2010 could now be increased threefold.
"As we went through the downturn the price of aluminum on the global basis went from about US$1,300 per tonne in 2009 back to where we are at about US$2,200 per tonne," commented Kyle Lorentzen, Noranda Aluminum chief operating officer.
During the initial period of depressed world demand for aluminum, NJBP president Pansy Johnson told the Monday Exchange that bauxite production at the St Ann mine had to be cut by 20 per cent. Redundancies were, however, avoided.
"During the downturn we made a decision not to reduce individual employment; what we did, we flexed their jobs to take hours away," said Lorentzen.
"There was about 20 per cent cut-back in production, you could see the impact in the towns around," said Johnson.
"Now that we are back up to full production you can see the difference in the towns," she added. "Definitely, Noranda is having an impact in the area."
NJBP, which unlike Windalco and Alpart does not operate an alumina refinery, now employs 460 members of staff and approximately 300 on contract, Johnson said.
In observance of its first anniversary this month, NJBP has announced a number of special events, including the launch of a United Way employee fund-raising campaign.

Alumina Market To Be More Balanced In 2011 -Rio Tinto Alcan
FOXBusiness - September 21, 2010
Manama, BAHRAIN -(Dow Jones)- The global alumina market will move closer to balance in 2011, a senior Rio Tinto Alcan executive said Tuesday.
Rhodri Harries, the senior vice president of the aluminum producer's commercial, energy and carbon products division, said he expects the market to be between 0.5 million metric tons and 1.5 million tons long next year.
"This is much closer to balance than we've seen for some time," he said. "But even though there's a small surplus, this isn't very large in the context of a global market of around 80 million tons--it's just a week's supply," he added.
Alumina is the key ingredient used to make aluminum, the metal used in the automotive and construction industries.
Rio Tinto Alcan is the aluminum unit of U.K.-listed miner Rio Tinto PLC (RTP: 56.18 ,0.00 ,0.00%).
Harries was speaking at the Metal Bulletin aluminum conference in Bahrain.
Copyright © 2010 Dow Jones Newswires

Ghana, China form closer ties
Peace FM Online -20-Sep-2010

He would also visit the Bosai Aluminium Company, which recently invested 80 per cent shares in Ghana's bauxite and aluminium. Relations between the two ...

Chinese gap to boost aluminum prices
Commodity Online - 21-Sep-2010
By Allen Sykora of Kitco News
(Kitco News) -- Harbor Intelligence looks for three-months aluminum to hit $2,400 per metric ton on the London Metal Exchange in the weeks ahead.
Harbor cites expectations that Chinese output will fall, given two years of “negative economics for producers” and pressure on smelters to cut production to meet energy-saving and environmental goals.
The most recent data implies that China lost 6%, or a net 982,752 metric tons, of annualized aluminum output in July and August.
Meanwhile, demand for semi-aluminum products (autos, construction, etc., which are the main customers of primary output) in China is rising, with a monthly gain of 14% in August, which amounts to annualized output of 2.9 million tons, Harbor says.
Ultimately, demand for primary and scrap aluminum will accelerate due to a pick-up in final demand and re-stocking needs for semi-aluminum producers. “Our models show increasing risks of a strong rally in aluminum prices in the final quarter of this year,” Harbor says.
A rise toward $2,400 in the fourth quarter will also exert upward pressure on regional aluminum premiums around the world, Harbor adds.
By Allen Sykora of Kitco News;

BHP Billiton Plans Six Month Bypass of Smelter Smokestack Scrubbers
Inter Press Service - 20-Sep-2010
MAPUTO, Sep 20 (IPS) - Civil society groups are challenging a six-month authorisation granted
aluminium giant BHP Billiton to emit potentially dangerous ...

Alcoa Says Hot Mill Not Operating at Tennessee Plant After Fire
BusinessWeek - 20-Sep-2010
Bloomberg) -- Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, said the hot mill at its Alcoa plant in Tennessee isn’t operating after a fire broke out Sept. 18.
It’s “too early” to predict what kind of disruption there may be to the plant’s production, Mike Belwood, a spokesman for the company, said today in a telephone interview.
To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Marcinek in New York at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg

VHE Installs Thimble Press at Rusal's Sayanogorsk Smelter - 20-Sep-2010
The VHE Stimir thimble press is an hydraulically powered compact unit and is able to exert up to 200 tonnes of dynamic force to remove single thimbles from the yoke assembly.
In the Sayanogorsk installation the rod assembly is suspended from an overhead crane and each stub in turn is guided into the press. Operation is by manual pushbutton and the thimble stripper is able to strip thimbles from two different designs of yoke .
The design is easily modified for automatic processing of rod assemblies travelling in an overhead conveyor.
Velaverkstaedi Hjalta Einarssonar - VHE is a major mechanical fabricator, offering a comprehensive range of design, manufacturing and site services. VHE now provides all Stimir solutions to the primary aluminium industry, with particular focus on the Rodding Plant. All aspects of design and fabrication are undertaken at VHE’s own facilities, ensuring total quality control and on-time delivery.

Aluminium shipments rebounds in both US and Canada
SteelGuru - 20 Sep 2010
According to the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute, the rate of growth of aluminum shipments from North American metals service centers rebounded in August. Inventories of both metals changed very little during the month in both the United States and Canada.
Shipments of aluminum products from US metals service centers totaled 126,600 tonnes or 47.6% more than in August 2009. For the first 7 months of the year, US aluminum shipments of 860,400 tonnes were 22.9% ahead of those from last year.
Aluminum stockpiles at metals service centers totaled 322,300 tonnes at the end of August, 23.4% larger than a year ago and equal to a 2.5 month supply at current shipping rates.
In Canada, 11,300 tonnes of aluminum were shipped in August up 11.3% from a year ago bringing year to date shipments to 89,800 tonnes, a rise of 5.6% from last year. Aluminum inventories totaled 31,700 tonnes at Canadian metals service centers at the end of August, 7.5% more than a year ago and equal to 2.8 month supply at current shipping rates.
The Metals Activity Report, based on data from metals service centers in the United States and Canada is produced by the Metals Service Center Institute and a third party econometrics and strategy firm, McCoy, Scott & Company.

Rusal executive tips aluminium price will rise as China becomes net importer
The Australian - 20-Sep-2010
RUSAL is forecasting that China will become a net importer of the product next year -- boosting the price for Australian producers.
The world's biggest aluminium producer -- which turned around a loss of $US922 million in the first half of 2009 to a $US1.27 billion ($1.35bn) profit in this first half -- is pushing to consolidate its lead over its chief competitor, China's Chalco, as power costs begin to surge in China.
Beijing's insistence on reducing the energy intensity of the country's growth in order to cut pollution and carbon emissions is causing electricity prices to rise rapidly in China.
Oleg Mukhamedshin, Rusal director of capital markets, told The Australian that his company was responding by ramping up its major asset -- its aluminium production in Siberia, based 87 per
Rusal owns 20 per cent of Queensland Alumina, which is operated by Rio Tinto -- the third largest global producer of both aluminium and of its key input, alumina. Chalco is the biggest alumina producer.
Mr Mukhamedshin said Australia remained a "very interesting" place to invest, with Rusal having considered a number of options in recent years, including the Aurukun bauxite deposits on Queensland's Cape York, which Chalco had recently relinquished. "But for the short term, our key priority is Russia itself," he said.
Now, a separate global market is being created for alumina. But Rusal will continue to focus on smelting its own alumina, not selling it into the new market.
Mr Mukhamedshin, who last week made market presentations in Hong Kong, where the company listed early this year, and in Sydney, said Asian investors were only now becoming familiar with Rusal. "But the gap is getting smaller," he said. "Slowly, slowly they're demonstrating their interest in our stock."
Demand for aluminium itself was growing faster in Asia than the demand for the stock -- about 20 per cent a year in China, he said. "And this demand will continue, with urbanisation and industrialisation."
Mr Mukhamedshin believes the Chinese market will double within 10 years. "India is going to follow, with huge infrastructure projects that require a lot of aluminium."
He said that China's shift towards becoming a net importer "presents a good opportunity for Rusal, because our smelters in Siberia are only 500km from the Chinese border".

Global aluminum market in 178000 tonnes surplus SteelGuru - 19 Sep 2010According to the World Bureau of Metal Statistics, global aluminum market was in surplus by 178,000 tonnes during the first 7 months.
During the same time of last year, aluminum market was in surplus by 1.35 million tonnes. Demand for the primary aluminum was 23.53 million tonnes up by around 4.21 million tonnes compared with the period time last year.
(Sourced from

Metal Smasher Makes Aluminum as Strong as Steel
Science AAAS - 17 September 2010
Strong as steel. Atom probe tomography suggests that packing zinc and magnesium atoms together in groups of various sizes (small spots) can greatly improve the strength of aluminum alloy
Credit: University of SydneySnuffing out a cigarette butt with a 10-ton boot would be excessive, but using the equivalent on certain metals can yield amazing results. By smashing an aluminum alloy between two anvils, researchers have created a metal that's as strong as steel but much lighter. If the process can be commercialized, it could yield better components for aircraft and automobiles, as well as metal armor light enough for soldiers to wear in battle.
Aluminum's main advantage is its lightness. But the second-most-abundant metal in Earth's crust is also a weakling: It breaks apart under loads that heavier metals such as steel shoulder easily. For decades, scientists have been looking for a way to manufacture the aluminum equivalent of titanium, a lightweight metal that's stronger than steel, but without titanium's high cost.

In the new study, an international team of materials scientists turned to an emerging metal-processing technique called high-pressure torsion (HPT). Basically, HPT involves clamping a thin disk of metal to a cylindrical anvil and pressing it against another anvil with a force of about 60,000 kilograms per square centimeter, all while turning one anvil slowly. The researchers also kept the processed samples at room temperature for over a month, in a common metallurgical process called natural aging. The deformation under the enormous pressure plus the aging alters the basic structure of metals at the nanoscale—or distances measured in billionths of a meter.

And indeed, when the team subjected an alloy of aluminum called aluminum 7075 (which contains small percentages of magnesium and zinc) to the process, the metal attained a strength of 1 gigapascal, the researchers report in the current issue of Nature Communications. That's equal to some of the strongest steels and more than three times higher than conventional aluminum. A meter-square plate of the processed alloy could withstand the weight of a fully loaded aircraft carrier.

To find out why the alloy had gotten so much stronger, the team examined samples using a technique called atom probe tomography. Resembling a combination of an electron microscope and a CT scanner, the method showed that HPT had deformed the lattice of atoms in the alloy into an unprecedented arrangement. Instead of the normal structure found in the conventional metal, HPT had created what the researchers call a hierarchical nanostructure: the size of the aluminum grains was reduced, and the zinc and magnesium atoms clustered together in groups of various sizes, depending on whether they were located inside the aluminum grains or on the edges (see photo).
Exactly how this arrangement creates stronger aluminum is unclear, says co-author Simon Ringer, director of the Electron Microscope Unit at the University of Sydney in Australia. He says the atoms at the edges of the grains seem to be bonded tightly to atoms at adjoining grain edges. Whatever the physics, he says, the hierarchical structures are "very potent for strengthening."
Ringer adds that even though the experiments produced only laboratory quantities of the superstrength alloy, the process could quickly be adapted to produce small components that require high strength but low weight, such as biomedical implants. Co-author and materials scientist Yuntian Zhu of North Carolina State University in Raleigh says there is strong incentive to scale up the process because the alloy could be useful for "many lightweight, energy-efficient applications such as aerospace, transportation, and body armor."
The experiments "have achieved remarkable strength" in a conventional commercial aluminum alloy, says materials scientist Terence Langdon of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The research team has also demonstrated "the exceptional capabilities provided through processing by high-pressure torsion," a technique that Langdon and others have been working with for several years.
Materials scientist Yuri Estrin of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, calls the results exciting and agrees that the hierarchical nanostructures "appear to be crucial to the spectacular enhancement of [the alloy's] strength."

Cameroon: Strides of Cameroon Alumina Limited - 16 September 2010
The long-standing gap that blocked the project's takeoff has been bridged and communication made easier
Cameroon Alumina Limited, a joint venture of Dubai Aluminium Company Ltd, India's Hindalco Industries and US firm, Hydromine Inc., responsible for executing a giant bauxite mining project in Ngaoundal and Minim-Martap, Adamawa Region, have put their activities online to better communicate within and without the country. Its website, www. was launched on Wednesday September 15, 2010. This was during a diner at the Yaounde Hilton Hotel presided at by the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Industries, Mines and Technological Development, Fuh Calistus Gentry and attended among others by board members of the consortium.
Like the stakeholders, Dr Fuh Calistus said information is crucial in a giant project like that of Ngaoundal and Minim-Martap. The launching ceremony preceded an audience with the Minister and close aids during which it was revealed that the project's scope has been modified to integrate infrastructure like railway lines. Stakeholders say this is a significant advancement in the project and that they are only waiting on the mining licence to commence effective work.

Australian Tomago Aluminium smelter in power limbo after 2017
Platts - 17Sep2010
Australia's Tomago Aluminium smelter has no contracted source of power once its current 25-year agreement expires in 2017 after year-long talks with state-owned electricity provider Macquarie Generation broke down last month.
Tomago says its behind-the-scenes efforts to rekindle the talks were thrown into the spotlight Thursday when a potential long-term aluminium metal supply deal was put on hold as a result of the ongoing uncertainty.
Macquarie Generation advised Tomago, its biggest customer, unexpectedly in August that it was unwilling to continue talks into a new long-term power supply contract and that an offer on the table at the time had been withdrawn, a Tomago spokeswoman said on Friday.
Tomago had been hopeful of reaching an agreement by June after 12 months of negotiations and had extended the talks into August "in good faith" that a deal was imminent, she added.
The Tomago spokeswoman said Macquarie Generation had not indicated why the offer had been withdrawn. A spokesman for Maquarie Generation declined to comment on commercial contract negotiations.
The state government of New South Wales is in the midst of a wide-ranging reform of its energy sector, which includes the privatization of the output of its three electricity utilities, including Macquarie Generation. The latter owns and operates three power stations in the state and produces the equivalent of 40% of the electricity it consumes.
Bids from potential buyers of the output are due by November 1, 2010, and the government expects the sales to be finalized by the end of the year. All infrastructure, including seven power stations, will remain publicly owned.
The Tomago spokeswoman said the privatization was by no means certain and any agreement signed on commercial terms with Macquarie Generation would stand if it were to be finalized in future.
Tomago announced late Thursday that a potential long-term aluminium metal supply deal had "stagnated" as a result of the contract uncertainty with Macquarie Generation.
Bahrain-based cable manufacturer Midal Cables International's plan to build a A$30 million ($28 million) aluminium conductor and rod factory next door to Tomago's smelter was in limbo until Tomago could guarantee it a long-term supply of aluminium, Tomago said.
The Tomago smelter, located 13 km west of the port city of Newcastle, produces 528,000 mt/year of aluminium, accounting for around 25% of Australia's primary aluminium output. The operation is a joint venture between Rio Tinto Alcan, Gove Aluminium Finance and Hydro Aluminium.
Wendy Wells,

Novelis Announces Investment to Meet Rising Demand for Aluminum Sheet - 16-Sep-2010
Novelis today announced that it will invest a further US$11.3 million to help meet growing demand for the aluminum sheet produced at its Sierre, Switzerland, rolling operation.
The project, which will add ingot preparation capacity and thus improve the flow of material through the complex, is expected to come on stream in late 2011. It will include the installation of a "scalper," used to machine the ingot surfaces prior to hot-rolling, as well as ancillary handling equipment, environmental controls and a new building to house the process.
"We are seeing strong growth in demand from our customers, particularly in the automotive sector," said Tadeu Nardocci, president of Novelis Europe and senior vice-president of Novelis Inc. "The benefits of lightweight aluminum sheet are increasingly being recognized by car manufacturers, with significant new programs already in the pipeline and solid demand forecasts. The investment announced today will help ensure that Novelis remains the leading supplier to this sector."
The announcement follows the company's investment in a state-of-the-art casthouse at the Sierre rolling mill, which was commissioned in September 2008. In addition to conventional single-alloy material, the facility produces sheet ingot using Novelis Fusion(TM) technology. This patented process enables Novelis to offer its customers multi-alloy rolled aluminum with combinations of different core properties and surface characteristics that provide performance benefits not achievable with conventional aluminum. Customers in the automotive market have led the take-up of the new technology.

RUSAL revives alumina project in Russia's north
Reuters Africa - Sep 16, 2010
MOSCOW, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The world's top aluminium producer, Russia's UC RUSAL (0486.HK: Quote), will revive a project to build a refinery of intermediate product alumina in the country's north, it said in a statement seen by Reuters on Thursday.
The project to build a 700,000-tonne alumina refinery in the Komi republic has been postponed indefinitely in 2008 as RUSAL decided to cut output of alumina and aluminium due to the global economic crisis, which cut the demand for the light metal.
RUSAL and the government of the Komi province have discussed the possibility to start building the refinery in 2013 and to finish building within four years, the statement said.
RUSAL, which has tycoon Oleg Deripaska as a major shareholder, accounts for around 10 percent of the global output of the lightweight metal.
Its total aluminium output was 3.9 million tonnes in 2009, a reduction of 11 percent from 2008, while alumina output totalled 7.3 million tonnes in 2009, down 36 percent from 2008.
RUSAL has said it would boost alumina output by 11 percent or 800,000 tonnes this year and aluminium by 3 percent or 100,000 tonnes as the market improves. (Reporting by Aleksandras Budrys)

Alba signs extrusion billets deal with Sapa
Gulf Daily News - September 16, 2010
MANAMA: Alba and Sapa have signed a three-year agreement to supply a significant quantity of extrusion billets to Sapa Profiles group in Europe.
The deal was a result of Alba and Sapa working closely together since the end of 2009 to develop a strong business relationship to supply extrusion ingots.
There have been a number of high-level meetings held between the companies, which included Alba successfully completing a quality audit performed by Sapa in the first quarter of 2010.
At the end of April, Alba was invited to participate in Sapa's global strategic sourcing programme where Sapa consolidated their purchases between a select group of suppliers and source larger volumes over a multi-year basis.
As a result of this process, Alba was officially selected as one of the key suppliers for this programme.
Sapa is the global leader in its field of operation in the core areas of extruded profiles, building and heat transfer systems.
Sapa, which currently operates around 45 plants in Europe, North America and Asia, is regarded as the largest extruder in the world, with a global capacity of more than 900,000 metric tonnes per annum.
"We are delighted to have been selected as part of Sapa's strategic sourcing programme," said Alba chief executive officer Laurent Schmitt.
"This further demonstrates Alba's commitment to be a major player in the global market for high value added products.
"The outcome is also the result of a strong team effort at Alba, involving the close co-operation between the marketing and operations groups bolstered by strong support by the executive team," he said.
Alba continues to be a key player in the aluminium industry and today operates the world's fourth largest single site smelter with a capacity of 870,000 tonnes per annum.
Alba's state-of-the-art Casthouse Three is one of the largest extrusion billet facilities in the world with a capacity of more than 350,000 metric tonnes annually.

DJ Brazil Alumar Refinery Incurs $45M Extra Costs In 3Q - Alcoa
Trading Markets (press release) - Sep 15, 2010
RIO DE JANEIRO (Dow Jones) -- Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. and trader Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals, or AWAC, said that higher production and equipment costs at the Alumar alumina refinery in Brazil will boost costs at the joint venture by $45 million in the third quarter.
The extra costs, to be recorded in the companies' third quarter results, were due mainly to energy blackouts and a problem which occurred at Alumar's bauxite ship unloader in Aoril, causing some disruption, an Alcoa spokesman said Wednesday. Temporary equipment is being used until a permanent loader is brought into operation later this month, he said.
The refinery, located at Sao Luis in Maranhao state, northeast Brazil, is targeted to reach full capacity by year-end after a recent expansion, the spokesman said.
The refinery is ramping up to its full capacity of 3.5 million metric tons a year of alumina, a raw material for aluminum smelting, after completing in December 2009 an expansion which started in 2007. Full capacity was previously expected to be attained in first-quarter 2010.
The refinery initially had a capacity of 1.5 million tons a year.
Combined with the last year's opening of the Juruti bauxite mine in the Brazilian Amazon, expansion of the Alumar refinery represents an investment of more than $2.2 billion designed to move Alcoa to the top quartile of low-cost production, according to the company.
Alcoa manages the Alumar refinery and, together with AWAC, holds a 54% stake in the venture. The other partners in the refinery are BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP.ASX) with 36% and Rio Tinto Alcan Ltd. (RIO.ASX) with 10%. Alumina produced at Alumar is used in the adjacent Alumar primary aluminum smelter, which is also majority-owned by Alcoa and may also be sold to the general market according to the smelter's needs, the spokesman said.

Hydro may shift German aluminium plant to recycling
Reuters Africa - Sep 15, 2010
* Only 200 of 730 personnel would keep their jobs
* Loss-making plant produced only 50,000 tonnes in 2009
HAMBURG, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Norwegian group Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL: Quote) may convert its troubled German aluminium plant from a producer of primary metal to a recycling unit, CEO Svein Richard Brandtzaeg said in comments published on Wednesday.
Norsk Hydro said in April it may close Neuss, Germany's largest aluminium smelter, because of high German power costs. In January 2009 Norsk had said it was cutting aluminium output at Neuss and was reviewing its future
The company was now considering converting primary aluminium production at the 230,000 tonnes annual capacity plant into metal recycling, Brandtzaeg said in an interview with German regional daily Rheinische Post.
This could mean only 200 of the plant's 730 personnel would keep their jobs, he said.
It would also mean that extra aluminium would have to be imported from the group's other plants in Europe to support its large German aluminium rolling operations in Grevenbroich, he told the newspaper.
Brandtzaeg said Neuss had only produced about 50,000 tonnes of aluminium in 2009 or about 80 percent down on the year. The plant had made peak losses of about 300,000 euros daily.
"Electricity costs in Germany are about double as high as the world average," he told the newspaper.
Power represented about 50 percent of the Neuss plant's costs.
"We can continue to hold the situation in Neuss for a couple of months," he said. "But something must be done."
He urged the European Union Commission to approve a request for the German government to allow power-intensive industries to receive a special reduction in their carbon dioxide emission costs.
"We are still hoping but I am now starting to become sceptical," he said.
(Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Lin Noueihed)

Stopping smelter comes with legal challenges
The Trinidad Guardian - Sep 14, 2010
Two ministries—Finance and Energy—have been charged with handling the exit costs of Alutrint. The Government stated its intent to cease the smelter plant during its budget proposal last week Wednesday. Apart from being a campaign promise, the Finance Minister Winston Dookeran said it was not the best use of the country’s natural gas. But stopping the plant comes with legal challenges. Alutrint’s chief executive Philip Julien said there are contractual ramifications which he was not at liberty to disclose. He said the Ministry of Energy has undertaken the exercise to quantify the contracts. For the moment, Alutrint, remains operational. Julien said the company had already completed detailed engineering and the site is prepped for construction.

He said the decision by the High Court in June 2009 to nullify the grant of the certificate of environmental clearance impeded construction. However, Alutrint’s support structure is also in progress: its 750 mega watt power plant should be completed in the first quarter of 2011 and work is still being done on the port at Brighton. Of the 28 people still employed, 13 of them are contract workers from La Brea. “Alutrint remains committed to serving its shareholders and awaits further directives from them pertaining to the company’s continued operations. Bearing in mind the Government is also the majority shareholder for Alutrint, Government is in the best position to comment further on this matter at this time,” said Julien.

When questioned about the smelter plant last week, Dookeran said Government would look to pursue other industries in the area earmarked for the plant. He said it was part of a wider development plan for the south west peninsula. Pushed further to explain why the power plant would be underutilsed when its completed or the economics of looking for new industries when one was already being pursued, Dookeran said the decision was a campaign promise. He said it was a loss the Government had to accept as well as its legal burden.

GCC to produce 18pct of world aluminium
SteelGuru - 15 Sep 2010

Emirates Business 24/7 reported that Gulf oil producers are pushing ahead with mega aluminium projects which will boost their output to 10 million tonnes and allow them to control 18% of the world’s total aluminium output.

The six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, which sit atop 45% of the global recoverable crude deposits produced around 2.2 million tonnes of aluminum in 2009 and new smelters and expansions of existing units will push their combined output to nearly 3.7 million tonnes by the end of 2010, said they study by the government controlled aluminium company, Dubal.

It said that by the end of this year, the GCC’s combined aluminium production will account for nearly 9% of the world’s total output. In 2015, production is expected to reach 10 million tonnes accounting for about 18% of the expected global smelters production.

The increase in the GCC’s aluminium output would be a result of expansions in the capacity of some smelters, mainly those in Dubai and Bahrain and the completion of new plants in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Oman.

According to the Doha based Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting which advises on the non oil manufacturing sector in the GCC, most regional nations are carrying out costly projects to build new smelters or expand their existing aluminium plants to face growing demand.

Another major venture in Abu Dhabi, Emal began producing nearly 700,000 tonnes in before expanding it to 1.4 million tonnes when the smelter is fully completed at a cost of around USD 5.7 billion. Saudi Arabia is also in the process of building two smelters with a capacity of 1.4 million tonnes per year.

GOIC said that these projects are part of the GCC’s long term strategy to expand their manufacturing sector and diversify their sources of income. The GCC nations have already gone a long way in such a strategy they now have a total 886 plants producing aluminium and associated products accounting for nearly 7.2% of the total industrial units with an estimated capital of around USD 13.3 billion and a workforce of more than 63,000.

The UAE and Bahrain were the first Gulf countries to set up smelters 30 years ago. Dubal aluminum plant in Jebel Ali produced a record 935,000 tonnes last year while output from Bahrain’s Alba smelter stood at 830,000 tonnes.

But there are long term programs to expand the capacity of the two smelters to face growing demand from their customers in Japan, South Korea and other key Asian consumers which rely heavily on the Gulf for their aluminum needs given the high costs of their domestic projects.

Besides its expansion, the latest in a series of development projects over the past decade, Dubal has teamed up with Mubadala Development Company to build the world’s largest aluminum complex in Taweela just outside the capital. The plant will is initially producing 720,000 tonnes but capacity in the second phase of construction will surge to nearly 1.4 million tonnes per year to turn it into the largest single site smelter in the world.

Aluminum projects in the GCC countries are part of overall industrial plans aimed at diversifying their economies away from unpredictable crude oil sales, which still account for at least two thirds of their national income. Aluminum projects in the Gulf are among the least expensive in the world given the region’s massive energy resources and relatively cheap labour.

EIB said that the abundance of energy resources in the GCC countries makes such industrial project among the most feasible in the world. But they face challenges in their long term plans to develop their aluminum industry, mainly gas supplies despite their massive gas resources, its extraction requires enormous investments with the exception of Qatar, a large part of the produced gas in the GCC is associated with oil, making its separation a costly and complicated process.
(Sourced from Emirates Business 24/7)

Rio Tinto Alcan restoring Laterriere pot line
Business Spectator - 15 Sep 2010 Reuters
NEW YORK - Production at Rio Tinto Alcan's Laterriere Works aluminium smelter in Quebec will be completely restored in a couple of weeks after a power outage in July forced the company to idle nearly half of the plant's total capacity of 235,000 tonnes.
"We began a restart process at Laterriere in early August ... a bit over 60 per cent of the pots that were down are now back in production," a company spokesperson confirmed to Reuters.
"We should have it back up at full production in the coming weeks," he said.
On July 6, the smelter suffered a significant power outage after two electrical transformers failed, forcing the company to suspend Laterriere Works' two production lines.
During the restart process, Rio Tinto Alcan was able to leverage its larger smelter network in order to meet customer needs, the spokesperson said.
The cause of the outage is still under investigation.

China Guangxi Aluminum Smelters Start to Cut Output, CRU Says
BusinessWeek - September 13, 2010
(Bloomberg) -- Aluminum smelters in China’s Guangxi region have started to reduce production in order to meet the local government’s energy conservation goals, said an analyst at CRU International Ltd.
Three smelters in the region are shuttering about 250,000 metric tons of annual capacity, Wan Ling, Beijing-based aluminum analyst said by phone. “They were asked by the local government to cut a third to half of their production,” said Wan, who surveyed local industry officials. That represents about 2 percent of China’s total output last year, according to Bloomberg News calculations.
Some local governments in China, the world’s largest aluminum producer, have ordered energy-intensive plants, including those of steel, cement, and aluminum producers, to suspend part of their operations. Power consumption by aluminum smelters accounts for 6 percent of the country’s total, according to data provider Shanghai Metals Market.
“This is the topic now, so people have become very sensitive about it,” Liang Lijuan, an analyst at Cofco Futures Co., said by phone from Beijing. Still, “I don’t think it will cut the country’s overall output significantly.”
Production of aluminum, used in cars, packaging and homes, gained 37 percent in January-August from a year ago to 10.84 million tons, said China’s statistics bureau today.
The Guangxi smelters suspending output have a total annual production capacity of 500,000 metric tons to 600,000 tons, CRU’s Wan said. Wan declined to identify which smelters were involved.
Energy Saving
A group of officials from China’s 13 central government bodies had started to visit 18 provinces and regions to ensure that local governments had eliminated outdated capacity as ordered and controlled energy-intensive users’ production to meet energy saving targets, said the National Development and Reform Commission on its website Aug. 30.
The country’s top economic planner said June 10 it might be “difficult” to achieve the goal of cutting energy use per unit of economic output by 20 percent in the five years through 2010.
“Guangxi is quite serious this time,” Wan said. Wan said she hadn’t heard of any smelters in other regions that had started to cut output. Spot aluminum prices are quoted at 15,280 yuan to 15,320 yuan a ton today at Changjiang Nonferrous Metals Market in Shanghai, up from 15,150 yuan to 15,190 yuan on Friday. Aluminum for three-month delivery on London Metal Exchange has declined 4.5 percent this year, and was 1.5 percent higher at $2,130.50 a ton at 2:58 p.m. in Shanghai.

Rio Tinto Seeking Approval for Weipa Bauxite Expansion in Queensland State
Bloomberg - Sep 12, 2010
Rio Tinto Group, the world’s third- largest mining company, is seeking approval for a A$900 million ($837 million) expansion of its Weipa bauxite mining operation in Australia’s Queensland state.
The expansion would include two new processing plants and a new port, London-based Rio said in a filing today to the federal Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.
The expansion would take three years and would start once it receives environmental approval, Rio said. The new operation would have capacity of 50 million metric tons a year and bauxite would be exported from the new port between Boyd Pt. and Pera Head, Rio said in the filing.
Rio wants to expand its operations to replace depleted reserves in nearby areas, it said. The company began a $30 million study into the development in 2008, it said on its website.
Rio gained 1.5 percent to A$75.36 at 2:03 p.m. Sydney time on the Australian stock exchange.
The expansion may cost A$900 million, the Queensland state government said in January 2009.
To contact the reporter on this story: Rebecca Keenan in Melbourne at

Cheap Chinese imports threatening aluminum industry in Brazil
SteelGuru - Sep 12, 2010
BNamericas cited Mr Mauro Moreno coordinator of national aluminum association Abal's economy and statistics as saying that the demand for aluminum products in Brazil has attracted the attention of foreign producers chiefly the Chinese who are directing their output to the country while other regions are still struggling to recover from the global economic crisis.
As a result, import levels in the H1 rose significantly. In value terms, imports increased 47.8% YoY to USD 464 million in H1. In the whole year, the association expects imports to amount to USD 932 million.
Mr Moreno said that in terms of volume, Brazil imported 59,000 tonnes of manufactured aluminum products in the H1 of the year compared to 30,000 tonnes in the same period of 2009. Primary aluminum imports totaled 21,000 tonnes versus 13,000 tonnes in the comparison period.
He said that obviously, other countries have no obligation to Brazil's aluminum sector and they send their products here at prices that just cover costs. He added that when Brazil imports manufactured items it buys added value from other regions instead of generating it domestically.
Mr Moreno said that China has received large investments in its base and manufacturing industries which consequently generated a production surplus. The only alternative is to export the surplus to regions where demand is growing, such as Brazil.
He said that Brazil currently has import duties of 12% on manufactured aluminum items and 6% on primary aluminum. However, tax incentives in certain states that promote imports end up cancelling out the duties. He added that in order to implement anti-dumping measures, we need to prove that the industry is dying. When and if the measures are put in place, the industry will already be dead.
(Sourced from Business News Americas)

Malaysia dam faces 'white elephant' claims
MSN Malaysia News - 11-Sep-2010
The multi-billion-dollar Bakun dam in Borneo, already condemned as a catastrophe for the environment and tribal people, is now battling suggestions it could become a giant white elephant.
The dam, which will eventually submerge an area the size of Singapore, is finally nearing completion after suffering a series of setbacks and delays since its approval in 1993.
But at the last hurdle the project has stumbled again, with delays in winning the state government's permission to begin the flooding process and no deal yet on purchasing its hefty 2,400 megawatt output.
With ambitious plans for an undersea cable to feed the Bakun's electricity to the Malaysian peninsula now abandoned, the Sarawak state government is the only feasible buyer -- leaving it with a very strong hand.
Negotiations with the dam developer Sarawak Hidro, a subsidiary of the national finance ministry, have reportedly been tough.
"It's a case where the owner of the project is naming an asking price that is very different to what the buyer would want," said Wong Chew Hann, an analyst at Malaysia's top bank Maybank.
"I understand there's quite a huge mismatch," she said. "I'm not sure what they've incorporated into the pricing, but the cost of the project has gone up so much since it was started."
As well as the cost of construction, there is the expense of compensating tribal people for their forced relocation from ancestral lands, and suppliers affected by the long delays.
"So the question is, are you going to incorporate all the compensation costs in the tariff price?" said Wong.
With the indigenous people from the Bakun catchment area long since resettled and its valuable timber resources long since felled, the dam has been ready to be flooded since April.
The state government had delayed permission, saying it was still evaluating river levels and the impact on boat transport.
A Sarawak minister reportedly said last week that the necessary permit has been granted, denying both that it had been used as a bargaining chip to lower the tariff and that Sarawak was facing an energy glut.
Sarawak Hidro managing director Zulkiflie Osman played down suggestions that he has been held to ransom by the state government.
"Both parties are working together and want it to be settled amicably, with a tariff acceptable to both parties," he told AFP, adding that he expected to strike a tariff deal before December.
The next of Sarawak's mega-dams, the Murum, which is being developed by the state government, is due to come online in 2013 but Osman said he was convinced the state authorities will not bypass the Bakun in favour of its own project.
Alongside the power purchase negotiations, the federal government is also said to be discussing selling the entire Bakun facility -- built at a reported cost of 7.3 billion ringgit (2.4 billion dollars) -- to the state government, but pricing and finance problems have emerged.
The Star daily reported in July that the federal government was seeking 8.0 billion ringgit while the state government offer was just 6.0 billion ringgit.
The Bakun's output far exceeds existing energy needs in Sarawak, a relatively undeveloped Malaysian state, and is mostly destined for industrial users such as aluminium smelters, but these are still on the drawing board.
"The main problem is that currently there is no demand for such a big capacity yet, and in order for Sarawak Energy to purchase the dam they would need adequate funding," said an analyst with a major research house.
"The banks would ask for some kind of feasibility study, and as there is no real demand yet this project risks becoming a white elephant," said the analyst, who declined to be named.
Newspaper reports have questioned how the federal government can ever hope to recover the huge amount of money it has sunk into the project.
"Marred by too many disagreements, the 7.3 billion ringgit project could very well turn out to be a non-starter," the Star said last month, adding that with both the Bakun and Murum dams online there would be a "very real possibility" of a power glut.
Transparency International has labelled Bakun a "monument of corruption" in Sarawak, which has been ruled for three decades by the formidable chief minister Taib Mahmud.
There has also been fierce criticism over the botched relocation of 15,000 indigenous people, who have made an unhappy transition to life in drab resettlement areas.
Baru Bian, chairman of the opposition party Keadilan in Sarawak, said the Bakun project was designed purely to profit cronies, and not planned in the public interest.
"The dam is a waste of public funds, it's not necessary, and what is paramount is that it is disturbing and disrupting the lives of the natives and the environment -- the trees and the forests."

USW seeks China curbs
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - 09-Sep-2010
The union's members work in the steel,
aluminum and other industries that supply companies that make wind turbines, solar panels and other green energy ...

Key aluminium issues to be probed at forum
Gulf Daily News - September 10, 2010
MANAMA: His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Economic Development Board chairman, will be the official patron of the 25th International Aluminium Conference.
It will be held from September 20 to 22 at the Gulf Hotel.
Alba is the lead sponsor of this prestigious event which is organised by Metal Bulletin, and is set to attract more than 600 delegates from across the globe.
It is expected that the entire segment of the aluminium industry will be represented at the event - from bauxite miners and alumina refiners, to smelters, recyclers, fabricators, end-users, traders, bankers and service companies.
"It is a matter of pride and honour for everyone at Alba that the 25th International Aluminium Conference will be held under the patronage of HRH the Crown Prince," said Alba chairman Mahmood Al Kooheji.
"We are encouraged by such support since it clearly underlines the vision and determination shown by the political leadership in enhancing Bahrain's industrial profile worldwide, and in promoting Bahrain as a business-friendly destination for potential investors.
"The conference is one of the most important trade events in the aluminium industry that business leaders from across the world look forward to each year.
"It is a great privilege for Bahrain to be selected as the venue for this year's event, and Alba is proud to be its lead sponsor.
"As a pioneer in aluminium production in the region, we are keen supporters of any initiative that will increase a wider understanding of the current and potential trends as well as the various dynamics impacting the industry," he added.
The three-day event is expected to provide networking opportunities with industry leaders from across various segments in the aluminium industry.
It is expected to offer an insight into new developments, investment possibilities, innovative technologies and to know what is influencing the market and shaping its prices

Iron Mountain finds high grade bauxite at Wandoo
Proactive Investors Australia - Sep 8, 2010
Iron Mountain (ASX: IRM) has now received the final results from the maiden Wandoo bauxite drilling program, after a total of 287 air core holes were drilled in June 2010.
Assay grades as high as 47.9% Al2O3 were encountered with little or no recorded overburden, with results encouraging due to the extent and grade of the bauxite profile identified, and its proximity to existing road and rail infrastructure.
The program was across five freehold properties on the Darling Ranges Plateau within E70/2693, approximately 35km west of the township of New Norcia, in Western Australia.
The drilling was undertaken on a 200m x 200m grid, and approximately 250 holes were unable to be completed due to the onset of early seasonal rains and cropping season in the district.
Including quality control and check sampling, a total of 1311 assays were received intermittently in batches of 200 samples each since drilling was completed.
All assay data has been subsequently merged with all existing drilling data in preparation for the complete drilling database to be submitted to independent consultants Hackman & Associates for resource estimation study.
Reactive silica analysis utilising hydroxide leach technique is currently in progress, with a total of 512 samples selected and submitted for reactive silica analysis, with results expected to be received by late September.
Once completed, the reactive silica results will be merged into the maiden drilling database and resource estimation will commence.

Trinidad cancels $600 mln aluminum smelter project
Reuters Africa - Wed Sep 8, 2010

* Government cites health, environmental risk, viability
* Brazil's Votorantim Group was partner in proposed plant
* ChinaExim Bank was to provide $400 million credit

PORT OF SPAIN, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Trinidad and Tobago's government said on Wednesday it was cancelling a $600 million project to build a 125,000 tonnes-per-year aluminum smelter in the Caribbean nation.
"In addition to the health and environmental risk, there is also serious concern as to Alutrint's viability and the optimal use of our gas. This project shall cease," Finance Minister Winston Dookeran said during a presentation of the 2010-2011 national budget.
Brazilian conglomerate Votorantim Group has a 40 percent stake in the proposed 125,000 metric-tonnes-per-year aluminum smelter complex while the Trinidad and Tobago government held the remaining 60 percent.
ChinaExim Bank was providing a credit facility of $400 million for construction of the project.
The cancellation of the Alutrint smelter complex effectively ends a court battle over the project.
The Environmental Management Authority had issued a Certificate of Environmental Clearance to Alutrint for the project. But a court quashed the certificate after anti-smelter groups and individuals filed for judicial review, claiming the EMA's decision was based on inadequate and flawed information.
EMA's appeal of that ruling was rendered moot by Wednesday's decision. (Reporting by Linda Hutchinson, Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Marguerita Choy)

Anglesey Aluminium to be decommissioned
Daily Post North Wales - 08-Sep-2010
A METAL plant mothballed 12 months ago is to be decommissioned – killing off any hope production would ever re-start.
A year after the two potlines at Anglesey Aluminium Metals (AAM) in Holyhead ground to a halt, putting 400 people out of work, the company announced the site will be cleared.
Plans for a biomass project that could have powered a re-started plant will continue, but the company revealed this could now be sold to an energy firm as a separate business opportunity. Re-melt work at the site, which employs around 80 staff, will continue.
Decommissioning will take around 12 months. The landmark chimney will remain towering over Holyhead for now, with its future dependent on what development is brought in to replace the smelting site.
Works director Brian King said: “Market forces were against us 12 months ago and nothing has changed since then, which is why decommissioning will start.
“Extra staff will now come in and a team of 20 will carry out the work, which will start with clearing the potlines.
“No decision has been made on the chimney. This will depend on what development comes here and whether it will be required. If it is getting in the way then it will come down. Our hope is that over time there will be at least as many employment opportunities created as there was when AAM was fully operational.”
Ex worker Jeff Evans, deputy mayor of Holyhead, said: “While the potlines remained there was always hope that production could start again. Now that hope has gone and this is the final nail in the coffin for the site.
“This is a sad day and means it is inevitable that those jobs that were lost will be never be back. But I am confident other work could come there and if we get through the dark days then there will be a good future for Anglesey.”
Smelting ended at the site after the failure to secure a new power deal after their cut-price contract with Wylfa nuclear power station ended last September. This was despite a multi-million pound sweetener offered to the firm by the then Labour Government.
There are now hopes that green firms producing wind or tidal turbines could be tempted to the site due to the skilled workforce in the area and deep water port.
Anglesey MP Albert Owen said the announcement was not a “shock” after the firm snubbed generous Government inducements to continue smelting. He said: “If the company was serious about continuing to smelter it would have taken up the generous government offer in 2009 to help bridge the gap over a difficult economic period. Once the off switch is pressed at a smelting then it is always unlikely production will start again and this announcement confirms this.”
He added that he was confident new investors could be brought in. He said: “I have been working with the company and other potential investors and will continue to do so to try and create as many jobs as possible on the site.
“There is a lot of interest in the area in the new low carbon economy, as part of making Anglesey a centre of excellence in low carbon industries. The site has a good infrastructure and excellent location, and frankly the company needs to leave as strong a legacy as possible – future jobs are the best way of doing this.”
Anglesey AM Ieuan Wyn Jones said: “This is sad news, but not unexpected. I know every effort was made by workers, their unions and the Welsh Assembly Government to secure the future of the plant and it is deeply disappointing that smelting activities will now be decommissioned. It is important all parties continue to work together to attract new investment to the island.”

Orissa govt scouts for new bauxite reserves for Vedanta
Economic Times - 08-Sep-2010
BHUBANESWAR: The Naveen Patnaik government in Orissa has begun to scout for alternative bauxite reserves for Vedanta Resources’ Lanjigarh alumina refinery, after the central government last month denied permission to the Orissa Mining Corporation for mining bauxite at Niyamgiri hills.
OMC, the joint venture partner with Vedanta Aluminium, is in a contract to supply 150 million tonnes of bauxite for Vedanta’s alumina refinery at Lanjigarh.
Orissa has the world’s fourth-largest bauxite reserves in about 11 mines and a total deposit of 1,805 million tonnes. This constitutes about 58% of the country’s total reserves of the ore that is used to make aluminium.
But the government’s sharp focus on environment makes the task difficult. “Even if we do our best, we’ll not be able to provide bauxite for Vedanta’s Lanjigarh refinery due to procedural hassles, environmental norms and statutory forest clearance requirements notwithstanding our commitment to supply 150 million tonnes of bauxite,” said a senior Orissa state government official in the steel and mines department.
Vedanta had earlier applied for mining at other bauxite deposits at Siadimal, Badamaribhata, Kutumal-Kashmir and Kutamal in Rayagada district and Rampur in Kalahandi district and the applications are still pending.
But the company didn’t pursue the matter nor did the state government go for statutory public hearings as both were confident of an approval for mining at Niyamgiri.
Orissa’s industry, steel and mines minister Raghunath Mohanty said the government was taking all possible steps to provide bauxite linkage to VAL. “The state government is exploring various possibilities to provide bauxite from alternative sources. We are examining the company’s applications for other mines,” said Mr Mohanty.
Vedanta Aluminium’s existing one-million-tonne refinery requires only three million tonnes of bauxite. The Orissa government is considering leasing out smaller mines in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts with deposits of around 40-50 million deposits to feed the refinery for the next 15 years.
Vedanta wants to source bauxite from nearby areas to bring down costs. Of the seven mines that it has applied for, three are located within a distance of 3 km.
Sources said the state government was contemplating to link the bauxite source to Vedanta from Gandhmardhan which is about 400 km away in Bargarh district.
But its long distance from the refinery and protests by local residents could create a stumbling block. Vedanta Resources has already shifted attention toward s Gujarat. The Vedanta has bid for five lakh tonne of non-plant grade bauxite from Gujarat Mine

Brazil Aluminum Consumption Rose 35% In 1st Half 2010 To Record High
NASDAQ - 08-Sep-2010
RIO DE JANEIRO -(Dow Jones)- Brazil's consumption of processed aluminum products rose to a record 626,700 metric  ?tons in first-half of this year, 35.3% higher than in the same period last year, the Brazilian Aluminum Association, or Abal, said Wednesday.
Consumption grew in all aluminum product  ?areas, Abal said in a statement. Consumption of extruded products used in construction leapt 45% from a year ago, while foundry products used in car manufacture rose 43.9% and sheets used in packaging rose 32.4%, the association said.
The jump in first-half consumption follows a decline in usage to 463,100 tons in the same period last year, when the sector was severely hit by the economic crisis, Abal said. Still, consumption in first-half 2010 was 17% higher than in the first-half 2008, before the impact  ?of  ?the  ?global  ?economic  ?crisis, the association said.
"Aluminum usage grew in all major sectors of the Brazilian economy," said Abal economics and statistics coordinator Mauro Moreno. "The construction industry used 37.5% more aluminum, while the transport sector used 43.4% more. Packaging, which is the biggest consuming area, used 26.1% more than a year ago," he said.
The positive first-half performance supports Abal's forecast that Brazilian aluminum products consumption for the whole of 2010 will reach a new record of 1.29 million tons, Moreno said.
Brazil's exports and imports of aluminum products also grew in the first half, according to Abal.
Exports grew 18.9% in value terms from a year ago to reach $1.82 billion, while imports leapt 47.8% to $464 million, due to higher local demand and the appreciation of the Brazilian real.
For the whole of 2010, Abal forecasts Brazil's aluminum products exports will be worth a total of $4.05 billion, while imports of aluminum products will reach a value of $932 million. -By Diana Kinch, Dow Jones Newswires, Tel: +55-21-2586 6086 diana.kinch@

Chinese aluminium companies to face extinction in US market
Global Times - 08-Sep-2010
The US Department of Commerce made a preliminary anti-subsidy ruling on Chinese aluminium exporters Tuesday, and the result of such action may force Chinese firms in the field to withdraw from the US market, according to media reports.
The department decided to impose a punitive tariff ranging from 6.18 percent to 137.65 percent on the metal imported from China.
The three companies, which the maximum value of 137.65 percent will be imposed upon, are: Liaoyang Zhongwang Aluminum Profile Co. Ltd, Miland¡¡Luck¡¡Ltd, and Dragonluxe Limited. And others like Guang Ya Aluminum, Guang Cheng Aluminum Co., LTD, will be imposed tariffs ranging from 6.18 percent to 10.37 percent
An unnamed manager from an aluminium company said that 137.65 percent is enough to squeeze the Chinese aluminium firms out of the US market.
Ding Dan, vide head of the export office of the Guangdong Xingfa Aluminium Co., Ltd., said that its distributors in the US can only make profits of over 20 percent, and a tariff higher than 30 percent would be enough to keep Chinese producers out of the market.
"The US Department of Commerce held an investigation debate in June, to which the three aforementioned firms were summoned as mandatory respondents. But since the firms did not respond to the department's request, it (department) was given the right to impose as much as it thought to be right," the manager said.
The US had previously launched an anti-dumping investigation on the Chinese aluminium products, with preliminary ruling due this October 27. The final decision for the anti-subsidy ruling will come out on November 21.
According to data from the US, from 2007 to 2009, the aluminum extrusion profiles the US imported from China grew about 90 percent. In 2009, Chinese aluminum firms made up 20.1 percent of the market share in the US market.

Qatalum aluminium plant to restart mid-September
Reuters Africa - Sept 8, 2010
Qatar's Qatalum aluminium smelter will resume production in a few days and now aims to hit full capacity by the end of the first quarter of 2011, co-owner Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL: Quote) said on Wednesday.
The 50/50 joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and Hydro had originally planned to reach full production by the end of 2010, but an August power failure delayed those plans.
Qatalum has a design capacity of 585,000 tonnes from a total of 704 production cells. 444 of the cells had been started by the time the plant lost power on Aug. 10, forcing a restart.
The 260 cells that had not yet been in production would continue their rampup as planned, Hydro said at the time.
"The clean-out of the 444 cells that were affected by the power outage is well underway, and the planned restart is expected to commence by mid-September," Hydro said in a statement on Wednesday.
Soon after the August outage Norsk Hydro declared force majeure for aluminium deliveries from the Qatar smelter.
African Minerals Limited must be praised for considering reducing poverty throughout the country. Last week Friday was a day of celebration at Water Quay as a thousand port workers sang songs of praise for African Minerals for bringing a locomotive train that would be transporting their bauxite from Tonkolili to Port Loko district.
His Excellency, the President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma assured his people that it is just the beginning of his vision for the success of this country.
President Koroma praised African Minerals for their total commitment in helping his government in the area of job creation and further mentioned that this country will be a blessing to every Sierra Leonean to reap the sweet benefit of Gods Blessing. He encouraged every Sierra Leonean to be patient as no youths will be left without being employed.
Minister of Mines, Alpha Kanu said that the commitment of His Excellency, the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma shows that he has the country at heart for better development.
Kanu also disclosed that His Excellency promised this nation that within 36 months during his tenure the county will be productive and reduce the high rate of unemployment, pointing out that with the support of African Minerals the economy will improve.

African Minerals Gives Life to Sierra Leone
Sierra Express Media (blog) - September 7, 2010
African Minerals Limited must be praised for considering reducing poverty throughout the country. Last week Friday was a day of celebration at Water Quay as a thousand port workers sang songs of praise for African Minerals for bringing a locomotive train that would be transporting their bauxite from Tonkolili to Port Loko district.
His Excellency, the President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma assured his people that it is just the beginning of his vision for the success of this country.
President Koroma praised African Minerals for their total commitment in helping his government in the area of job creation and further mentioned that this country will be a blessing to every Sierra Leonean to reap the sweet benefit of Gods Blessing. He encouraged every Sierra Leonean to be patient as no youths will be left without being employed.
Minister of Mines, Alpha Kanu said that the commitment of His Excellency, the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma shows that he has the country at heart for better development.
Kanu also disclosed that His Excellency promised this nation that within 36 months during his tenure the county will be productive and reduce the high rate of unemployment, pointing out that with the support of African Minerals the economy will improve.
He further maintained that the locomotive train engine brought by African Minerals will kick start the economy with young men and women having access to jobs.
Minister of Transport and Aviation, Alieu Pat Sowe praised the successful step of African Minerals to improve the standard of living of young men and woman in the country. He encouraged those who have been employed at African Minerals to take their work seriously.
Minister Pat Sowe said African Minerals have planted more seeds for the socio economic development of the country to develop.
Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray, Minister of Employment assured the people that the APC government will deliver more to reduce the unemployment rate throughout the country, stating that African Minerals will definitely deliver.
The no-nonsense Minister of Information and Communication, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said this government has proved their physical presence and commitment towards developing this country.
He called on all stakeholders to fully join hands in embracing this development, adding that his government knows how to create jobs for the youth and have concern for every Sierra Leonean to benefit from what God has made for the people of this country.
By Samuel Kargbo

Eskom expecting new govt guarantees
Business Report - September 7, 2010
Eskom has finally submitted its new funding model to Cabinet for approval and expects to be given further government guarantees to bridge a funding shortfall of R190 billion over seven years.
"It is one of the solutions. It is not the only solution... the others are recapitalisation of Eskom and then a hybrid between the two, between recapitalisation and guarantees," Eskom chief financial officer Paul O'Flaherty told reporters at Parliament on Tuesday.
"But government is one hundred percent behind it."
Eskom chairman Mpho Makwana said there was no time line for an answer from Cabinet on the funding model and request to extend guarantees beyond the R176 billion already made available to the power utility.
Eskom's total funding gap over seven years comes to R190bn, but the company's senior management warned Parliament's public enterprises portfolio committee that tariff fluctuations, failure to restructure preferential pricing contracts, dire coal supply problems and non-payment by municipalities could put further pressure on the bottom line.
"If we do not get paid we are just going to get into a worse and worse situation from which we cannot recover," O'Flaherty said of the debt, which includes some R1.8 billion from Soweto. He stressed that the company's balance sheet was looking far healthier, partly because higher tariffs approved by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa was helping it to cover costs.
"We sold over 220 million kilowatt at 31.9 cents versus 24.7 cents. That is a good turnaround. We were selling electricity below our operating costs. So we are making an operating profit, but it is still not enough to foot the total interest bill," he said, referring to Eskom's losing battle to pay interest on its loans.
O'Flaherty warned that should a scenario of lower tariffs occur, this could see the shortfall increase to as much as R412 billion.
He said Eskom was renegotiating its contract with mining giant BHP Billiton to supply power to its Hillside and Bayside aluminium smelters. It was hoped this would avert further losses on long-standing pricing arrangements linked to embedded derivatives.
The company had successfully done so on the contract to supply the Mozal smelter in Mozambique, which resulted in a R9 billion book-keeping loss in the previous financial year, after the global economic crisis saw aluminium prices plummet.
The new terms yielded a R2.3 billion profit in Eskom's 2010 financial results, O'Flaherty said.
On the two remaining smelters, Eskom was trying to convince Billiton to agree to a price equal or just below its average industrial tariff, the so-called "mega-flex" rate.
Anything less than the generating cost, as is the case at present, would be a deal breaker. - Sapa

EU Plans to Raise Duty on Chinese Aluminum Car Wheels
BusinessWeek -September 07, 2010
The European Union plans to increase duties on imports of car wheels from China to 22.3 percent from 20.6 percent as price-undercutting hurts makers in the 27-member bloc, according to a document from the European Commission.
Price-undercutting by Chinese producers remains substantial and may be as much as 38 percent, the commission said in the Aug. 25 document obtained by Bloomberg News. John Clancy, a trade- policy spokesman at the commission, the EU’s executive arm in Brussels, declined by telephone today to comment on the plan. EU anti-dumping duties aim to counter below-cost imports.
The duty punishes Chinese exporters including Zhejiang Wanfeng Auto Wheel Co. and Lizhong Wheel Group Ltd. Europe accounts for about 10 percent of China’s aluminum-wheel exports and demand from carmakers, such as Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, will be hit if the final duty is above 25 percent, according to Eric Zhang, an analyst at researcher Shanghai Metals Market.
“We can’t afford to ignore the impact even though Europe is a relatively small market for China’s aluminum wheels,” Zhang said in a telephone interview from Shanghai. “Anti- dumping measures are usually contagious.”
China producers boosted their share of the EU market for wheels sold directly to car owners to 34 percent in the 12 months through June last year from 22 percent in 2006, according to the document. Chinese companies’ share of wheels bought by carmakers climbed to 3 percent from 1 percent.
Producers in the EU saw their share fall to 48.5 percent from 57.4 percent for retail customers, and to 82.3 percent from 84.5 percent among carmakers in the period, the document showed.
“There is an evident link between the significant increase in Chinese import volumes at low prices and the injury observed with the Union industry,” the commission said in the document.
The commission introduced the provisional 20.6 percent duty in May. EU national governments, acting on a commission proposal, have until Nov. 11 to decide whether to impose a definitive five-year levy at the same or a different rate

UAE aluminum producers plan to purchase more raw materials
SteelGuru - 06 Sep 2010
It is re[ported that two of the largest aluminum smelters, Dubai Aluminium Company and Abu Dhabi based Emirates Aluminium Company are planning to buy more raw materials such as calcined petroleum coke, liquid pitch and alumina in order to meet strong growth in demand.
The companies expect that Middle East will produce about 10% of the world's primary aluminium comparing to 4% in 2007 and the global aluminum demand will grow by 5% in the next 20 years. As a result, the demand for alumina will grow by 22% in 2010.
(Sourced from

New aluminium alloys are harder and lighter than alternative
SteelGuru - 05 Sep 2010
Powdermet Inc has developed new PM alloys which it says have lower weight, higher strength and increased hardness when compared to aluminium alloys currently on the market.
The alloys are made using a scalable, non cryomilling based process developed by the company that can produce nanocrystalline powders with a stably, highly refined grain structure that can be consolidated with combined power metallurgy and deformation processing conditions to produce aluminium products with higher strength and hardness. The process does not require reliance on rare earth or other non domestic sourced alloying elements.
Powdermet said that subscale mill products including plate and sheet have shown strengths and hardnesses comparable to high strength Cr Mn steels. The company has won a competition leading to a multiyear development and demonstration contract from the US Army Research Laboratory under a small business innovative research program to further develop and scale up the demonstrated production processes to produce aluminium mill products having strengths above 500MPa and hardnesses above 400VHN while retaining 8% or greater ductility.
The project will be carried out utilizing the company’s Microcomposite Deformation Centre and will include researchers at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, UK, the Army Research Laboratory and Impact Ballistics, a ballistic testing facility also based in Cleveland among others.
The company plans to manufacture the alloys for military up armouring systems which could have 30% to 50% lower mass than current RHA steel solutions, bridging the gap between steel and titanium armor in terms of cost, weight and performance. It is also considering additional applications in spacecraft, launch vehicle, and ground transportation systems where strength to weight improvements translate into significant lifetime operating cost and emissions/environmental impact reduction.
Mr Andrew Sherman president and CEO of Powdermet said that “Powdermet is excited to be part of the convergence of nanotechnology and advanced metallurgy, leading to a reduction in the environmental and economic footprint of transportation and military vehicles.”

Noranda in New Madrid to resume $38M expansion
KFVS - Sep 03, 2010
NEW MADRID, MO (KFVS) - Noranda Aluminum in New Madrid will expand its aluminum smelter with a $38 million investment to increase production capacity.
Gov. Jay Nixon announced the expansion along with a $1 million Energy Efficiency Pilot Grant to construct a system for producing aluminum more efficiently with less energy use.
This announcement marks the return to the expansion which was originally announced in 2008. The expansion was put on hold due to economic conditions and the January 2009 ice storm.
Copyright 2010 KFVS. All rights reserved

Hindalco mulls huge expansion
The Hindu - 03-Sep-2010
Aditya Birla Group flagship company Hindalco has drawn-up a Rs.21,000-crore capital expenditure plan for the next two years even as its promoters are looking at increasing their stake in the company in the current fiscal, company Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said here on Friday.
“We plan to invest Rs.10,000-crore in 2010-11 and Rs.11,000-crore in 2011-12 on account of our ongoing expansion programme, which should be commissioned between 2012 and 2014,” Hindalco Chairman Mr. Birla told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting here.
The promoters now hold a 36 per cent stake in the company. “We as promoters are constantly looking to increase our holding in this fiscal,” Mr. Birla said, without divulging the percentage of the stake hike.
Elaborating on the expansion plans of its greenfield projects, Mr. Birla said the company planned to invest Rs.9,200 crore in its Mahan aluminium project in Madhya Pradesh, which would have a capacity of 3.60 lakh tonnes annually of aluminium metal, along with a 900-MW captive power plant.
Hindalco is also setting up the Rs.9,200-crore Aditya aluminium project with a capacity of 3.60 lakh tonnes annually of aluminium metal. Its Utkal alumina project, costing Rs.7,000-crore, would produce 1.5-million alumina to start with, which could be increased to 3 million tonnes in the future. The equity requirement for the Utkal project had been tied-up as well, he said.
“The timely execution of greenfield projects would enhance our cost competitiveness and give Hindalco a distinct global competitive edge,'' he added.
Commenting on the performance of Novelis, Mr. Birla said, the company had witnessed a remarkable turnaround in the midst of extremely challenging circumstances.
Its liquidity surpassed the $1-billion mark on the back of a strong operational cash flow, the bond issuance and increased gross borrowing. — PTI

Vedanta taps Gujarat for bauxite supply to its Orissa refinery
Economic Times - 02-Sep-2010
BHUBNESWAR: Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Resources has begun talks with the Gujarat government to ensure long-term supply of bauxite for its refinery in Orissa's Kalahandi district after its mining project in the Niyamgiri hills was refused permission by the central government on environmental grounds.
Mukesh Kumar, chief operating officer of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd, said the company is also prospecting the raw material in other states after the environment ministry rejected its mining plan near the refinery.
"We are trying to sign a pact soon with the Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) for supply of around 600,000 to 800,000 tonnes of bauxite every year for our refinery. They have already agreed for 500,000 tonnes," Kumar tp;d IANS in an interview.
GMDC is a government of Gujarat undertaking engaged in mining of minerals and developing mineral-based industrial products.
"In the recent past we had several rounds of discussions with GMDC officials and the result was encouraging. In the next 15-20 days, we are likely to finalise something with them," he said.
Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh last week rejected the company's bauxite mining project in the Niyamgiri hills in Lanjigarh, saying it will affect the environment and disturb primitive tribes living in the area for ages.
The one million-tonne alumina refinery of the company set up in 2008 has been running on bauxite from other mineral-rich states, including Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, Kumar said.
The approval to mine bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills located closer to the plant could have helped the company cut operating costs.
Kumar said he has requested the state government to provide alternative mines in nearby areas. "Since this matter (mining plan at Niyamgiri) is not getting resolved, we told the Orissa government that we cannot wait any more and kindly look for some alternative source of bauxite."
"More then 500-600 million tonnes of bauxite deposits are there within 40 km of Lanjigarh. I told them to look into them and select one," he said.
The alumina refinery in Lanjigarh began operations about three years ago and availability of raw material has always been a challenge.

Workers at Vedanta's refinery attack office
Business Standard - September 02, 2010
Close to 75 workers at the alumina refinery complex of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) at Lanjigarh in western Orissa’s Kalahandi district were detained by the police, after 100-odd people, perceived to be a mix of contractual workers and outsiders, attacked the company's office, damaging assets worth '1 crore.
Sources said those who did the vandalism were engaged by L&T, contractor of the VAL expansion project, and were agitated over the serving of retrenchment notices. This was a sequel to the halt of refinery expansion work at Lanjigarh following the N C Saxena committee report and subsequent statement of Union minister of environment and forests Jairam Ramesh, depicting the expansion as illegal in the absence of statutory environment clearances.
However, VAL authorities said neither VAL nor L&T had issued notices to lay off the contractual employees. They said these workers were being relocated to sites outside Orissa by L&T and they were unwilling to accept the proposal.
“Trouble began at around 11:20 pm last night when 100-odd miscreants attacked our company's office. Thereafter, our refinery complex plunged into total darkness for about 45 minutes when some unidentified persons switched off the main switch of the plant. The trouble mongers were probably a mix of contractual workers and outsiders. These agitators finally fled after the project- affected people staying in the company's rehabilitation colony came to our rescue,” Mukesh Kumar, chief operating officer (Lanjigarh) of VAL told Business Standard.
According to Kumar, the contractual workers were agitating as L&T had proposed to shift some of the workers outside Orissa, a move stiffly opposed by the workers. They had demanded immediate payment of Provident Fund. Though negotiations were held on Tuesday with the district collector and the labour commissioner present, the issue could not be resolved.