AluNews - April 2011

China Fund to Invest $403 Million in Venezuela's CVG Alcasa
BusinessWeek - April 30, 2011
(Blooomberg) A joint development fund between China and Venezuela will invest $403 million in CVG Alumino del Caroni SA after the state-run aluminum producer declared an operational and financial emergency, Venezuela Basic Industries and Mining Minister Jose Khan said.
Beijing-based Aluminum Corporation of China Limited will provide operational advice to the metal maker known as Alcasa, Khan said in comments carried on state television.
“This is going to give Alcasa an increase in production and an increase in its income,” Khan said.
Venezuela is increasingly looking to China for credit to fund development projects as self-described socialist President Hugo Chavez looks to distance the oil-producing country from its traditional trade partner, the U.S., amid the charges of “imperialism” he often repeats.
The $403 million is from a development fund previously established between the two countries. Venezuela Commerce Minister Edmee Betancourt on March 23 said that $6 billion from the fund would be available this month. The $6 billion is at least the third installment of a fund that was set up in 2007 and has received at least $18 billion in contributions.
Venezuela also secured a separate $20 billion loan from the China Development Bank last year that is being paid off with shipments of oil totaling 100,000 barrels per day.
Alcasa produces 22.5 kilogram ingots (49.5 pounds), rolled aluminum in coils, plates and bands and other products for the construction, electrical, transport, packing and refrigeration industries, according to the company’s website.
The company only has resources to operate at 40 percent of its installed capacity of 420,000 metric tons (462,971 tons) per year, El Nacional reported yesterday, citing Alcasa President Elio Sayago.
--Editors: Theo Mullen, Joe Sabo
To contact the reporter on this story: Charlie Devereux in Caracas at cdevereux3@bloomberg.net.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net

Chinalco to build $1.6 bln smelter with Malaysian tycoon's firm
Reuters Africa - 30-Apr-2011
KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 (Reuters) - Aluminium Corporation of China (Chinalco) has signed a joint venture with a company jointly owned by Malaysian tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary to build a $1.6 billion smelter in the country's Borneo state of Sarawak.
The joint venture for the 370,000 tonnes a year aluminium smelter follows from the heads of agreement signed between Syed Mokhtar's Gulf International Investment Group (GIIG) Holdings and Chinalco in 2010, said project manager Asia Smelter.
The smelter is among various projects including Rio Tinto's aluminium processor and OM Holdings's manganese plant that were waiting to begin construction once the 2,400 megawatt Bakun hydro-electric dam starts up this year.
Asia Smelter said it also signed the principal terms of the power purchase agreement with Sarawak Energy for over 600 MW of power from the grid powered by Bakun dam and other hydro-electric power plants.
"On further availability of power from the grid, the plant capacity is planned to be increased up to 700,000 metric tonnes," Asia Smelter said in a statement issued late on Friday.
Construction of the smelter in the Southeast Asian country will start in second half of next year with completion slated for the first half of 2015.
"The plant will... also support the region's development thrust by providing aluminium, which is critical in driving the massive infrastructure projects that are being planned," Mohamed Alabbar, co-owner of GIIG Holdings and a prominent United Arab Emirates businessman, said in the statement. (Reporting by Niluksi Koswanage)

Sector to see second aluminium smelter in Samalaju
The Borneo Post - April 30, 2011
KUCHING: Sarawak’s aluminium sector is expected to progress further with Smelter Asia Sdn Bhd (Smelter Asia) and Syarikat Sesco Bhd (Sesco) expecting to conclude a power purchase agreement (PPA) by the middle of this year, according to analysts.
While details still remained sketchy, AmResearch Sdn Bhd (AmResearch) revealed in a research report that the Smelter Asia plant would be the second smelter being mooted within Samalaju Industrial Park under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) after Press Metal Bhd (Press Metal).
Smelter Asia is a joint venture between Gulf International Investment Group Sdn Bhd (GIIG) and Aluminium Corporation of China Ltd (Chalco).
“At 370,000 tonnes, it would roughly have the same capacity as Press Metal’s once the latter completes its own Phase 2 plans that would boost capacity to around 360,000 tonnes,” added the research firm.
Smelter Asia executed principal terms of the power purchase agreement with Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) for the supply of over 600 megawatts (MW) of power to the proposed aluminium smelting plant.
The latest development follows earlier reports in the middle of this month that Press Metal and three other foreign companies have signed separate PPA term sheets with SEB for the supply of power to their respective plants.
To recap, Press Metal continued to be the only energy-intensive play currently operational within SCORE where the group has strong bargaining leverage to secure uninterrupted and long-term supply of power from SEB.
Press Metal had also recently proposed capital raising exercises that would help raise RM324 million to partially finance the construction of its new smelting capacity in Samalaju which is due to be completed by end-2012.
The imminent commissioning of Phase 2 would triple Press Metal’s capacity to 360,000 tonnes.
“Just on 240,000 tonnes alone, our initial estimates indicate a massive 40 per cent lift to financial year 2013 (FY13) forecasted earnings per share, and FY13 forecasted price earnings multiple improving from eight times to five times,” the firm concluded.

Venezuela aluminum smelter in trouble -state daily
Reuters Africa - 30-Apr-2011
* Alcasa declares "state of emergency" - govt paper
* Says it has plan to be back on track in two months * Government approves new funding of $403 million (Adds govt minister, paragraphs 3, 12-14)
CARACAS, April 29 (Reuters) - Venezuela's government-run aluminum smelter Alcasa is in a "state of emergency" operationally and financially, an official newspaper said on Friday. The South American country is an important global aluminum producer, but the industry has been plagued by labor disputes, outdated equipment and low investment over the last few years.
Months of power rationing last year also hit the sector hard. In an effort to support Alcasa, the government said on Friday the situation at the facility was temporary and that it had approved new funding of $403 million. The state newspaper Correo del Orinoco said Alcasa had a deficit of 23 million bolivars (about $5.3 million at the official exchange rate of 4.3 bolivars to the dollar). It quoted the company's president, Elio Sayago, as saying there was a plan to normalize activities by June. "The declaration of operational and financial emergency will bring us to an immediate solution," it quoted him as saying. "We plan to incorporate 30 cells, which will allow us to
recuperate, operationally as well as financially, in two months and will let us produce some 8,000 more tonnes of aluminum." Alcasa has the capacity to produce 160,000 tonnes a year, but the government says output fell to 96,310 tonnes in 2010. Officials at the company could not immediately be reached for comment. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has nationalized large
swathes of the economy under his self-styled "socialist revolution". Sayago was quoted as saying Alcasa had agreed a plan with the government that would allow the company to have an average of $9 million a month for the purchase of primary inputs. Industry Minister Jose Khan said in a statement on Friday the government had approved new funding of $403 million. "Our basic industries need a big investment, which the government has already approved," he said. "It should not be forgotten that (under the last government) they were forgotten and it was talked of privatizing them. Today they are receiving investment and I am sure we are going to increase production." (Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Gary Hill)

Malaysia, China economic cooperation deals
Daily Times - 29-Apr-2011
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and China signed a slew of economic agreements Thursday, reinforcing an uptick in relations and a bid to identify new areas of regional economic cooperation.
The deals, witnessed by Malaysian premier Najib Razak and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao during a two-day visit to the Malaysian capital, will see the setting up of power plants, an aluminium smelter as well as other infrastructure projects in Malaysia.
“Today’s signing to expand and deepen economic and trade cooperation signifies a deep commitment between the two governments to identify new areas of economic collaboration that should stimulate more trade and investment between both countries,” Najib said after meetings with Wen.
“We are very confident that given (Wen’s) strong leadership that China will continue to grow and provide strong impetus for global economic growth,” he added.
The Chinese premier said that “the development of an equal and beneficial relationship would bring greater benefit to both countries.”
“China appreciates Malaysia’s role in enhancing the ties of China with other ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries,” he added.
“China agrees it will continue to import palm oil and will also import frozen durians (from Malaysia).”
Najib, who is also the finance minister announced that the central Bank Negara Malaysia will establish a representative office in Beijing to facilitate trade in local currencies.
It has offices in London and New York.
Yeah Kim Leng, group chief economist with RAM Holdings Bhd told AFP that the setting up of the central bank office in China will boost trade and investment.
“It will bolster economic ties and remove currency risk in respect of the unstable US dollar. It will allow two-way trade to be settled in each other’s currencies,” he said.
Thursday’s agreements follow the signing of a joint action plan on strategic cooperation by Najib during a trip to China in 2009.
Wen’s trip follows a visit by China’s President Hu Jintao in 2009.
The visits have resulted in the signing of a several deals which saw Malaysia issue a commercial banking licence to Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) in late 2009.
Last January, China’s leading power grid operator SGCC and Malaysian development fund 1MDB announced plans to establish hydropower plants and a massive aluminium smelter worth $11 billion in Sarawak state on resource-rich Borneo, an island split between Malaysia and Indonesia.
China was Malaysia’s largest trading partner last year with trade worth $45.66 billion, making the economic powerhouse Kuala Lumpur’s second largest export destination and largest source of imports.
Malaysia has been China’s largest trading partner in ASEAN since 2008.

Joint agreement on RM5bil aluminium smelting plant
Malaysia Star - 29-Apr-2011
KUALA LUMPUR: Gulf International Investment Group Holdings Sdn Bhd, headed by local tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary and UAE-based business leader Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar, has entered into a joint-venture (JV) agreement with Aluminium Corp of China to develop a US$1.6bil (RM5bil) aluminium smelting plant in Sarawak.
The JV company, Smelter Asia Sdn Bhd, will develop, own and operate the private aluminium smelting plant with an annual capacity of 370,000 tonnes.
The smelter will be located in Samalaju Industrial Park, 60km from Bintulu and some 180km from the Bakun hydroelectric dam. The park has been earmarked by the state government for heavy industries under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy master plan.
Smelter Asia also executed the principal terms of the power purchase agreement (PPA) with Syarikat Sesco Bhd, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Sarawak Energy Bhd, for over 600MW of power supply to the proposed aluminium smelting plant. Smelter Asia and Sesco will jointly conclude the PPA by mid-year.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (second from left) witness the exchange of document between Smelter Asia chairman Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar (right) and Aluminium Corp of China deputy GM Zhang Chengzhong
“The global demand for aluminium is projected to grow by an average 4% over the next five years, with Asia driving the demand. Our strategic collaboration will bring the best in class technology to create a modern aluminium plant that will contribute to the socio-economic growth of Sarawak state,” Syed Mokhtar said in a media statement yesterday.
Meanwhile, Alabbar said the plant would not only benefit the country but also support the Asean region's development thrust by providing aluminium, which is critical in driving the massive infrastructure projects that are being planned.
“This signing of joint-venture agreement marks a significant milestone in the course of project development. I believe Smelter Asia would become an indispensable driving force that dramatically stimulates Sarawak's economic growth,” Aluminium Corp deputy general manager Zhang Chengzhong said.
The agreement follows the execution of the heads of agreement for the JV in February.

US trade panel OKs duties on China aluminum goods
MarketWatch - 28-Apr-2011
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. duties on certain aluminum goods from China can go forward after a trade panel decided Thursday that U.S. aluminum producers were being threatened by the imports.
The International Trade Commission voted to back countervailing and antidumping duties on most imports of aluminum extrusions from China, with the exception of finished heat sinks. Extrusions are shapes squeezed out of aluminum alloys and often used in construction, as well as a number of other commercial products.
That clears the way for Commerce to start imposing antidumping duties of between 32.79% and 33.28%, having determined the imports from China are being sold in the U.S. at less than fair value. In retaliation for alleged government subsidization in the production or exportation of the goods, it also plans to impose countervailing duties of 8.02% to 374.15%.
Commerce estimates that China sold about $502.9 million worth of aluminum extrusions in the U.S. last year, down from $513.6 million in 2009.
The decision is a victory for U.S. groups that had pushed the case, including the United Steelworkers union and a number of aluminum companies that sought redress as part of the Aluminum Extrusions Fair Trade Committee.

Commissioning of Nalco's Alumina Refinery begins
Bulk Solids Handling - 29-Apr-2011
Bhubaneswar , India – National Aluminium Company has crossed another milestone in implementation of its ambitious second phase expansion. The company has started commissioning various expanded capacities of its alumina refinery, at Damanjodi, including cogeneration power plant, evaporation plant, stacker and bauxite circuit for production of alumina.
National Aluminium Company has has started commissioning various expanded capacities of its alumina refinery, at Damanjodi. (Picture: saphon, Wikimedia Commons)
Other packages in the plant are now under advance stage of commissioning. It may be mentioned that under the second phase expansion National Aluminium Company (Nalco) is enhancing its alumina refinery capacity from 1.575 million tonnes to 2.1 million tonnes. Further, the company has ordered equipments to upgrade the total alumina capacity to 2.275 million tonnes under its fourth stream upgrade programme.
Earlier, the fourth potline of Nalcos smelter plant and the ninth and tenth units of its captive power plant, both located at Angul, were commissioned. The work at refinery in Damanjodi lagged after the Maoist attack there in April 2009, when several contractors and their workers left the place. Some works were then off-loaded to other contractors.
After the second expansion phase, the bauxite mine will have a capacity of 6.3 million tonnes per year, and the alumina refinery will have a capacity of 2.1 million tonnes per year (to be upgraded to 2.27 million tonnes per year). The aluminium Smelter will have a capacity of 460,000 tonnes per year an the captive power plant will be expanded to 1200 MW.

China Yunnan Aluminium to start up new alumina refinery in May
Platts - 28Apr2011
China's Yunnan Aluminium, which plans to start up its new 800,000 mt/year alumina refinery in May, expects commercial output in June, and hopes to ramp up to full capacity by July-August, a company source told Platts Thursday.
The refinery, when in operation, will mark the company's debut in alumina production.
"We plan to start trial output in May, and should see first output in June. But then it will take a couple more months to reach capacity, so actual output this year will probably reach about 300,000 mt," the source said.
"Next year, we should be able to reach a full 800,000 mt output," the source added.
Yunnan Aluminium's new alumina output will be used mainly to feed the company's 500,000 mt/year primary aluminium and aluminium products smelting operations.
The company currently obtains its alumina feed from both overseas imports and domestic purchases.
The refinery was originally slated to start up in the fourth quarter of 2010, but was delayed due to market and technical factors.
--Yuencheng Mok, yuencheng_mok@platts.com

Brazil aluminum use seen rising 13 pct in 2011
Reuters Africa - 27-Apr-2011
BRASILIA, April 27 (Reuters) - Brazilian consumption of aluminum products should rise around 13 percent from 2010's 1.3 million tonne total, the Brazilian Aluminum Association, ABAL, said on Wednesday.
Production of aluminum cables and wires alone should rise 58.4 percent, the association said.
Brazil ranked seventh among the world's top aluminum producers in 2010, turning out 1.54 million tonnes of primary aluminum.
Domestic consumption in 2010 rose 29 percent, driven by economic growth of 7.5 percent. Brazil's GDP is expected to rise 4.5 percent this year.
Major aluminum producers in Brazil include Brazil's Albras, Alcoa Inc (AA.N: Quote), BHP Billiton (BHP.AX: Quote)(BHP.N: Quote), CBA and the U.S.'s Novelis [NVLX.UL].
(Reporting by Peter Murphy; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

More jobs could go at Anglesey Aluminium
Holyhead and Anglesey Mail - 27-Apr-2011
MORE jobs could be under threat at Anglesey Aluminium.
Eighteen months after hundreds of employees were laid off from the Holyhead plant, the Mail understands that another group of workers have been told they face redundancy.
Anglesey Aluminium said they were unable to comment on the latest job cuts. last week.
Albert Owen MP said he had not been informed on the matter.
He said: "I am not aware of anything and I have spoken recently to the managing director.
"They put in a bid for a biomass plant and they had a special team working on this bid.
"It is possible that they have now been laid off."
On Friday, Unite union’s regional officer John Hamilton confirmed: "A small number of redundancies will be made as a result of the biomass project coming to an end.
"The company are talking to them as individuals and are hoping to find alternative employment or voluntary positions."
Last week, Gill Ronayne, community relations and external affairs at Anglesey Aluminum, said: "I will not be able to comment at the moment."
Almost 400 jobs were lost in September 2009 when smelting at the plant ended.
However there are still hopes that more jobs will be created on the site in future.
In November last year, the site was put up for sale, inviting offers in the region of £10m.
The company has also submitted plans to try and secure planning permission to build a £600m biomass plant on the site, which it is hoped will lead to the creation of 600 construction jobs and 100 jobs once the plant is opened. The plans were given a preliminary go- ahead by the Environment Agency Wales in February this year.

EXCLUSIVE-Guinea eyeing bigger mine stakes, tougher rules
Reuters Africa - 26-Apr-2011
DAKAR (Reuters) - Guinea's government aims to more than double the stake it can hold in mining projects and to toughen procedures for issuing development permits, according to a draft of the West African state's new mining code.
The changes are aimed at boosting the impoverished country's share in its vast minerals wealth, but could backfire by limiting much-needed future investment from international mining firms, analysts and industry insiders said.
Other proposed changes in the code, which is set to become law in coming months, include new tax breaks for mining companies involved in exploration and mine construction, and the creation of a 'Local Development Fund' fed by an existing 0.5-1.0 percent levy on minerals sales.
Guinea is the world's top exporter of the aluminum ore bauxite and holds some of the world's biggest unexploited iron ore reserves that have drawn billions of dollars in planned investment from miners Rio Tinto and Vale.
STATE SHARE
The draft mining code would give the Guinean state a free 15 percent of mining projects, as well as the option of purchasing an additional 20 percent -- bringing the total potential state share to 35 percent.
This proposal, which would more than double the current 15 percent state share in projects, will draw the biggest protest from mining companies who argue it will cut into their revenues without reducing capital outlay.
It is unclear if the government will compromise on the issue and legal battles over retroactivity to existing mining projects are a possibility if the code becomes law.
Guinea President Alpha Conde has signalled that this change is a priority, stating earlier this year that he wants Guinea to have a blocking minority stake in all of the country's mining projects -- something requiring at least 33 percent.
The code would also toughen up procedures for companies seeking to get a mining permit, requiring them to complete a feasibility study and environmental and social impact studies beforehand.
"In the past, companies with big investments were offered the possibility of a customisation of the code to give them some security -- basically a convention or framework agreement that would mean they could avoid the various studies before the concession was granted," said one industry official who asked not to be named. "That's been removed."
In a move to attract more exploration, however, companies doing research and mine construction would get a series of new tax breaks and deductions, including on value-added, equipment imports, and customs duties.
The taxes would mostly be reimposed once exploitation began, according to the draft document.
The draft code also references the creation of a new 'Local Development Fund' that would by fed by a 0.5-1.0 percent existing community development levy on minerals turnover.
The code does not detail how the new fund would be managed and a Guinean mining official was not immediately available to comment

Nalco to set up refinery plant in Vizag
Times of India - 26-Apr-2011
VISAKHAPATNAM: National Aluminium Company Limited (Nalco), India's leading manufacturer and exporter of alumina and aluminium, is likely to set up its refinery near Makavarapalem in Visakhapatnam district.
The site for the refinery is likely to be finalised by the authorities soon. A major chunk of land at Rachapalli panchayat near Makavarapalem mandal has been identified where the private Anrak company is busy constructing its alumina refinery.
Nalco had got the central government's approval to mine bauxite for its proposed alumina refinery in Visakhapatnam 20 months ago. With the approval, Nalco would be able to mine an estimated deposits of 85 million tonnes of bauxite reserves in Gudem of G K Veedhi mandal in Visakha Agency and Katamraju Konda in East Godavari district.
The 1.4 million metric tonne capacity green field refinery at an estimated investment of more than Rs 4000 crore is expected to be commissioned in next three years, a senior officer of Nalco told TOI over phone from Bhubaneswar.
Nalco has already conducted a survey for the site to set up refinery in the district. "We have visited two places near Narsipatnam for the plant a year ago. The sites were near Makavarapalem and it would be finalised soon," he said.
The APIIC and the revenue authorities have started their exercise of identifying the land at Rachapalli, Koduru panchayats and Erakannapalem village area, sources said. The authorities have identified a major chunk of barren land, 1500 acres, at Rachapalli panchayat and another 200 acres of barren land at Koduru panachayat, they said. "They would need 200 acres from the farmers at Erakannapalem," sources revealed.
It is, however, estimated that the plant needs nearly 2000 acres. Setting up an alumina plant at the vicinity of another upcoming plant would not be a problem

Nalco begins commissioning of refinery expansion
Business Standard - April 26, 2011
National Aluminium Company (Nalco), a Navratna PSU of government of India, has crossed another milestone in implementation of its ambitious Rs 4,402 crore 2nd phase expansion.
The company has started commissioning various expanded capacities of its alumina refinery, at Damanjodi, including cogeneration power plant, evaporation plant, stacker and bauxite circuit for production of alumina. Other packages in the plant are now under advance stage of commissioning.
It may be noted, under the 2nd phase expansion Nalco is enhancing its alumina refinery capacity from 1.575 million tonnes to 2.1 million tonnes.
Further, the company has ordered equipments to upgrade the total alumina capacity to 2.275 million tonnes under its 4th stream upgradation programme.
Earlier, the 4th potline of Nalco’s smelter plant and the 9th & 10th units of its captive power plant, both located at Angul, were commissioned. The work at refinery in Damanjodi lagged after the Maoist attack there in April 2009, when several contractors and their workers left the place. Some works were then off-loaded to other contractors.

Soham smelter's $3bn expansion hangs in the balance
GulfNews - 26-Apr-2011
Sohar: Sohar Aluminium's ambitious plan to double the capacity of its smelter to a world-scale 720,000 tonnes per annum hinges on the availability of gas at an economic price.
Oman's sole aluminium plant could be expanded in phase two at an estimated cost of $3 billion (Dh11.01 billion), according to Henk Pauw, Chief Executive Officer of Sohar Aluminium Company.
However, availability of gas at an economic price is the key to the expansion plans.
"No gas, no second phase," Pauw said in reply to a question whether the lack of gas could stall expansion plans.
Speaking to visiting journalists who were given a bus tour of the plant at the Sohar Industrial Estate, Pauw was optimistic that the government would make available gas and go ahead with the expansion of the smelter.
However, he confessed that he doesn't expect a subsidy from the government for the additional gas supply for the second phase.
"We were given a subsidy for the first phase for the gas price but I doubt we will get that benefit again," he added.
The official said that his team was positive about the expansion plans. "It is up to the government to decide," he said.
Pauw said the company had presented major plans for the expansion that would create more jobs for nationals in downstream industries.
He said a second phase expansion of the smelter would take around three years from the day gas is made available.
Pricing worry
The official said an additional one trillion cubic feet of gas would be needed if phase two is to go ahead. He pointed out that besides the availability of gas, it would also depend on gas pricing. According to him, gas is the only economically and environmentally viable source of energy for the smelter.
"Zero, no impact," he said in reply to a question on the impact of recent protests and road blockades in Sohar on the smelter.
However, he later agreed that there was a small cost involved when the company had to host the army. "I was happy for that small cost," he added.
A 50-hour supply of raw materials had ensured that production did not suffer from the protests before the army ensured that supplies out of the plant and movement of manpower resumed. The company, however, has learnt its lesson from the disturbances.
Expansion
"We have decided to increase the capacity of our on-site silos to hold the equivalent of seven days' supply of raw materials," Pauw said, adding that $7 million-$10 million would be spent for the expansion of the silos.
The company has 1,039 employees out of which 733 are Omanis. "Currently we have employed 73 per cent national workforce and we aim to boost it to 85 per cent by 2015," he said.
Sohar Aluminium is a joint venture of Oman Oil Company (40 per cent), a wholly Omani government-owned investment vehicle, Taqa (Abu Dhabi National Energy Company), a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea) and Rio Tinto Alcan (20 per cent), a global leader in aluminium smelting.

Windalco's July 1 opening still on track
Jamaica Gleaner - 25-Apr-2011
UC Rusal confident of meeting timeline despite incomplete talks with Government
UC RUSAL, the Russian firm that controls a big chunk of Jamaica's bauxite production, is insisting that the planned July 1 reopening of the Windalco Kirkvine bauxite plant in Williamsfield, Manchester, remains on schedule.
The assurance comes even as executives of the company and the Government continue to attempt to hammer out a deal Igor Dorofeev, UC Rusal executive, recently told The Gleaner that the start-up date will be met even as the talks continue.
According to Dorofeev, while he cannot comment on the ongoing negotiations with the Government, the talks have been favourable.
The firm has reportedly requested several concessions as it prepares to shell out US$9.5 million (J$817m) to reopen the plan which has been closed for two years.
Hopes for employment
Industry sources have claimed that UC Rusal is requesting a two-year cancellation of the bauxite levy and the purchase of the Government's 45 per cent stake in the Jamalco refinery in Clarendon, among other concessions.
But Dorofeev said even with the deal not settled, the company is working on its reopening plan and expects the employment level to return to the nearly 2,000 employees before it suspended operations in 2009.
The Kirkvine works plant was closed after world alumina prices tanked.
UC Rusal, in a move to cut costs, as its debts ballooned, reduced production at several of its facilities worldwide.
The shutdown was expected initially to have lasted a year.
But UC Rusal now says market conditions have improved sufficiently for it to get back into the game.
"The company has carefully reviewed ways of optimising the facility's structure and production process, reducing cash-operating costs and improving the efficiency of the Windalco-Kirkvine works plant's operations," said UC Rusal.
Energy source options
When the plant is fully operational, it will initially produce 252 tonnes of alumina, less than half of 600,000 tonnes it is capable of producing.
Citing the high cost of energy as one of its major production problems, Dorofeev said Windalco is currently looking at several energy source options, including biogas and coal.
According to Dorofeev, although the company is currently testing a pilot project in biogas energy at its Ewarton plant, if the Government's announced liquefied natural gas project comes on stream, this will be used as its energy source.
Dorofeev was speaking with The Gleaner after the signing of an agreement at the plant with five students who were awarded full scholarships to study in Russia for five years.

A volatile year for Chinese aluminum output - IAI
SteelGuru - 25 Apr 2011
According to the latest figures from the International Aluminum Institute, global aluminum output dropped a gear to 115,500 tonnes per day in March from 116,200 tonnes in February.
Expressed in annualized terms, the MoM decline was equivalent to 265,300 tonnes denting the explosive 2.73 million tonne increase recorded in the first two months of the year. Two divergent trends are at work here and they are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future.
The first trend is one of rising output in the world outside of China. Annualized production was running at 25.48 million tonnes in March and is nearing the peak output levels seen in 2008 prior to the Great Contraction. Only one region, Latin America, has seen production drop over the last year, reflecting smelter closures in Brazil, most recently the small Aratu plant. The driver of higher output remains the Gulf region where output in March 2011 was running over 30% higher than in March last year.
That's down to the simultaneous commissioning of two new smelters, the 585,000 tonne per year Qatalum plant in Qatar and the 700,000 tonne per year EMAL plant in Abu Dhabi. Elsewhere, particularly in Europe and North America, it is a story of restarts as producers turn on the taps again in response to recovering demand. More is to come in the US where the full impact of Alcoa's 200,000 tonnes per year of restarts will only be fully evident in the Q2.
The second trend is one of volatile production in China. This is not in itself a new development. The country is the world's largest producer of the light metal but also the one with the largest ratio of high cost smelters. It has accordingly assumed the role of global swing producer. Chinese producers were the first to react to the collapse in prices in late 2008 and equally the first to ramp back up in early 2009.
National production plunged late last year in response to the government's drive to meet power efficiency targets ahead of the December expiry of the old 5 year plan. Run rates soared again in the first two months of this year as the pressure from Beijing abated. But expect run rates to become even more volatile over the coming period as the smelter sector responds to both short term and medium-term drivers emanating from the power sector.
Power is the defining cost input for aluminium production. Power is also a highly problematic issue in China. The National Reform and Development Commission has already warned that China could be facing the worst summer power shortages in recent years. Indeed, a growing number of provinces, Hubei being the latest, have warned that they may start rationing power as early as this month in response to low water levels in hydro systems and tight coal supplies.
(Sourced from Reuters)

Oman Aluminum Company awards AED 1 billion deal to Finmeccanica unit
SteelGuru - 25 Apr 2011
Gulf News reported that Dubai Italian contractor Finmeccanica, through its unit Fata has been awarded AED 1.1 billion turnkey engineering, procurement and construction contract by Aluminum Rolling Mill Company for the aluminum rolling plant that will be located in Sohar of Oman.
The project will provide 275 direct jobs and will also generate many other jobs required to support the operation of the plant. With an annual capacity of 160,000 tonnes, the facility provided by Fata will contain a Hazelett continuous caster while Fata Hunter, division of Fata will supply a hot rolling mill along with world-class cold rolling and finishing equipment.
The rolling mill will serve the aluminum food container and food preservation foil markets along with material for the automotive heat exchanger and air conditioning markets.
Under the agreement, Fata began the engineering works last January. It estimates the employment level during construction will peak at approximately 1,200. The mill is uniquely positioned for the growing regional demand and sales are expected to reach international markets as well. Groundbreaking will take place in July with the first production coils targeted for August 2013.
The project fits with the strategy of adding value to existing market and developing economically attractive downstream investments.(Sourced from Gulf News)

UAE rises in ranks of aluminium majors
The National - 24-Apr-2011
The UAE's two aluminium producers are tightening their grip on the metal's supply chain as they race up the ranks of global producers.
Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) and Mubadala Development of Abu Dhabi are already members of a consortium developing a bauxite mine in Guinea, home to the world's largest-known reserves of the base mineral for aluminium.
They are also 50-50 partners in the Emirates Aluminium (Emal) project at Al Taweelah, a smelter in Abu Dhabi near the emirate's border with Dubai. The Emal smelter came into full operation this year.
"We are co-operating with Dubal on the upstream side," said Waleed al Muhairi, the chief operating officer of Mubadala, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government. "We have our holding in Guinea. We have a concession there, and they are part-owners there. We are looking together with Dubal to also make further upstream investments in bauxite."
That closer co-operation comes as Mubadala and Dubal hammer out the creation of a company that would manage all of the UAE's aluminium assets. The deal may involve Mubadala taking a stake in Dubal, which is fully owned by the Dubai Government.
"There are a lot of economies of scale," said a person familiar with the deal who asked to remain anonymous. "You have two smelters but you don't need two support units."
Dubal, which started producing aluminium in 1979, brings to the table a range of expertise and market knowledge, as well as a firm hold on critical bauxite and alumina supplies.
Rocks bearing bauxite are mined in Australia, China, India, Africa and other countries and are refined through a chemical process into alumina, a powder. Smelting companies such as Emal and Dubal put the powder through power-intensive electrolysis to produce aluminium.
In addition to its Guinea bauxite interest, Dubal in 2008 signed an agreement to develop a bauxite mine and alumina refinery in Cameroon. A year later, it teamed with Vale, a Brazilian mining outfit, and Norsk Hydro, a Norwegian company, to develop an alumina refinery in Brazil.
Analysts say gaining a foothold in the mining and refining businesses that make aluminium production possible is one way in which the UAE is trying to secure its place in an industry in which demand is expected soon to outstrip supply.
Global production now stands at more than 40 million tonnesa year, but demand is projected to rise to as much as 70 million tonnes by 2020, leaving a major gap that new smelters in Asia and the Gulf are expected to fill. Access to cheap gas for the smelting process gives the Gulf a crucial cost advantage that regional producers are increasingly aiming to exploit.
"Whereas in Europe your concern is about the availability of power, the concern in the Gulf is about raw materials and human resources," said Chris Bayliss, the deputy secretary general and director of global projects at the International Aluminium Institute, a body in London that represents about three quarters of the world's producers.
Yet as the UAE's aluminium giants gain leverage in the global supply chain, there are potential problems with securing the natural gas from which electricity is produced to smelt alumina. Aside from Qatar, which has some of the world's largest gas reserves, the Gulf countries are not flush with gas. And that could put a cap on the region's aluminium boom.
"Taking into consideration the ambitious development plans that the Gulf states have for the next two decades, the governments in the region need to strike a balance between the demand for electricity for civil use and that for industrial use such as aluminium and petrochemical industries, which are the two main industries after oil," said Mahmood Daylami, the head of the Gulf Aluminium Council, a regional industry body.
Despite those concerns, the UAE's aluminium drive is in full swing. With Emal now running at its full capacity of 750,000 tonnes a year, the UAE can now produce about 1.75 million tonnes of the metal annually, potentially lifting it from the world's ninth-largest producer to fifth. According to the British Geological Survey, the top producer of aluminium globally in 2009 was China, followed by Russia, Canada and Australia.
Emal, which lost Dh416 million (US$113m) last year but is expected to report better results this year, will reveal this summer whether it is going ahead with an expansion that would raise its capacity to 1.5 million tonnes. Its executives say they are unconcerned about securing more gas, noting the plant is locked into a contract with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company to supply enough gas to power the smelter throughout its life cycle.
"There are plans to take care of power," said Yousuf Bastaki, the vice president of projects at Emal. "Energy comes from the Abu Dhabi Government as part of the Vision 2030 to diversify Abu Dhabi's economy."
Dubal has separate power contracts with the Dubai Government.
"Now it's about making sure these guys operate efficiently, making sure we're able to squeeze out, from an efficiency perspective, the most amount of metal at the best cost to generate the best return," Mr al Muhairi said, referring to the Emal smelter.

Rio Tinto Agrees to Give Guinea Stake in Project
Wall Street Journal - 23-Apr-2011
SYDNEY—Rio Tinto PLC said it has signed an agreement to give the government of Guinea up to 35% ownership of its Simandou iron-ore project, resolving a dispute that has held up more than $10 billion of investment.
Rio Tinto said its Simfer S.A. subsidiary will pay $700 million to Guinea to secure the right to mine in two sections of the huge Simandou deposit, and aims to make its first shipment of iron ore by the middle of 2015.
The settlement shows how Western companies like Rio Tinto are increasingly being pressured to renegotiate contracts with governments in less developed regions like Africa, or risk being shut out of lucrative resources developments.
Rapid industrialization in Asia, especially China and India, is tightening the market for iron ore, a key ingredient in making steel. That's handed resource-rich countries an advantage in their dealings with miners as they no longer fear critical investment shifting elsewhere.
Guinea, which could export 350 million metric tons of iron ore annually and rank among the world's top exporters of the mineral, said in 2008 that it planned to rescind an agreement with Rio Tinto to develop the entire Simandou deposit because the company had missed deadlines to start mining.
Guinea's government split the Simandou concession into four areas, known as blocks. Rio Tinto was left with roughly half its original concession: Blocks Three and Four. Blocks One and Two went to a unit of Switzerland's BSG Group Cos., which later sold down a majority interest in its project to Brazil's Vale SA.
In a statement, Rio Tinto said the settlement signed April 22 in Guinea has resolved all outstanding issues with the government over its right to mine in Blocks Three and Four.
"[The] agreement gives us the certainty we need to allow us to invest and move forward quickly so we can bring this great resource into production," Sam Walsh, chief executive of Rio Tinto's iron-ore unit, said.
Whereas previously Rio Tinto had agreed to Guinea taking a stake of up to 20% in its concessions, it is now offering the government an interest of up to 35%.
Rio Tinto said the settlement finalized a tax regime for as long as the mine is operating, including royalties payable at 3.5% free-on-board for all exported iron ore.
It also agreed to build a new rail line through Guinea and a port so that iron ore can be loaded on to ships for export, major engineering obstacles that have stymied past efforts by mining companies to develop the Simandou deposit.
The government of Guinea has the right to take a stake of up to 51% in the rail track and deep-water port, while other companies will be able to negotiate deals to access the infrastructure for shipping ore from their mines.
"The parties have agreed that the terms of the settlement agreement won't be affected by any changes introduced by the government of Guinea as a result of its current review of the mining code or any future reviews," Rio Tinto said.
Resolution of the dispute with Guinea clears hurdles currently preventing Rio Tinto from completing a $1.35 billion deal to sell down a 44.65% stake in its Simandou asset to Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., or Chalco. The deal with Chalco, agreed in July last year, will shrink Rio Tinto's stake to 50.35%, with the remaining 5% will continue to be held by International Finance Corp.
Write to David Winning at david.winning@dowjones.com

Bahrain sacks 835 workers for participating in strike
Khaleej Times - 22 April 2011
MANAMA - A total of 835 Bahraini employees have been sacked for taking part in a general strike called by the General Federation for Bahrain Trade Unions in support of protesters last month.
Sources said the actual number of employees sacked was likely to be much higher as the official figure took into account only those registered with the federation.
More sacking of employees is expected especially of those workers who supported an opposition call for observing civil-disobedience to freeze all work in Bahrain.
Bahrain Aluminum topped the list with the sacking of 194 workers, while Bahrain Petroleum Company terminated 154, Khalifa Port 127 and Batelco sacked 120 workers. The remaining workers are from other public and private organisations. Among those sacked is a former member of the Upper House who was also head of Bahrain Petroleum Company, Abdulghafar Abdulhussain.
His termination was announced less than a month after his resignation from the Upper House.
The Ministry of Labour has announced that these workers are not entitled to any employment insurance facilities as only those workers who were sacked for reasons other than violating the law could benefit from unemployment services.
In this case, unemployed workers are entitled to 60 per cent of their basic salaries for six months, training and employment offers.
shamada@khaleejtimes.com

Kingdom's aluminium industry in upswing
Saudi Gazette - 21-Apr-2011
RIYADH: Increasing demand for aluminium products in Saudi Arabia will push production in the country to 2.4 metric ton (MT) by 2015, making the Kingdom the largest market for aluminium in the Middle East.
Besides the aluminum kitchen utensils that the consumers everyday, the construction sector in the Kingdom abundantly use aluminum in making a wide range of products for the construction industry, aluminiun makers said.
Driven by the rapid growth of the Kingdom’s construction sector, the demand for fabricated aluminium products is expected to increase at a compound average growth rate of 9 percent from $920 million in 2010 to $1,442 million in 2015.
The huge demand is expected to increase at the average growth rate of 10 percent, from 5.4 million square meter (249,000 linear meters) in 2010 to 8.4 million square meter (377,000 linear meters) in 2015.
Aluminum products used with the corresponding values are for windows (33 percent), curtain walls (17 percent) and cladding (17 percent). Aluminium demand by volume is also highest for windows (35 percent; cladding (24 percent) and curtain walls (15 percent).
Saudi Arabia’s aluminium market is expected to increase from $27 billion in 2010 to $44 billion in 2015, or an average growth rate of 10 percent, industry sources said.
Total building construction expenditure is estimated to be $217 billion, excluding projects on hold, according to a recent report by Ventures Middle East.
In recent years, the use of aluminium for curtain wall systems and cladding for new and modern property developments has become more widespread, thus fuelling demand for aluminium in the construction sector. As the Kingdom continues to diversify its economy toward non-oil industries, focus has increased on upstream primary aluminium production, such as bauxite extraction and alumina refining.
While the aluminium industry has historically been focused on downstream production, the Kingdom is planning to become one of the major aluminium upstream producers in the Middle East, after announcing three aluminium smelting projects at a total value of $19.5 billion.
The total capacity of planned projects is estimated to increase from 740,000 MT in 2013 to 2.4 million MT in 2016. As for the downstream aluminium industry, Saudi Arabia is now the base for the largest number of aluminium processing factories in the region at more than100. The five largest extrusion companies have a combined production capacity of around 144,000 MT per annum.
The report said business opportunities created in the country’s aluminium market will be discussed at the 2nd edition of Aluminium Dubai, the local version of Reed Exhibitions’ global series of aluminium events which also covers India, China and Germany.
A large number of Saudi manufactures of aluminium products will join the trade show from May 9 to 11 at the Sheikh Saeed Halls 2 and 3 of the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center, said Tarek Ali, the show manager. He said the report confirmed the highly positive outlook of the Kingdom’s aluminium market instilling confidence in the regional industry players.

New aluminum rolling mill to be set up in Sohar
SteelGuru - 0 Apr 2011
Times of Omans reported that Aluminum Rolling Mill Company, owned by Takamul Investment Company has signed an agreement with FATA EPC, an Italian company to construct an aluminum rolling mill at the Sohar Industrial Estate with an estimated cost of USD 385 million.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Dr Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi minister of oil and gas. The production capacity of the aluminum rolling mill is 140,000 tonnes of multipurpose rolled aluminum sheets. The project construction will take 31 months. All environmental and safety requirements were considered during the designing phase including selection of the latest technology in manufacturing flat aluminum rolled products.
At the ceremony, agreements related to the works for the project were signed, including natural gas supply and land usufruct agreements with the Public Establishment of Industrial Estates, the construction of transmission lines for transmitting power with Larsen & Toubro, financing agreement for funding the project with the National Bank of Oman and Bank Dhofar and marketing agreement for marketing the product with the Gulf Aluminum Rolling Mill, Bahrain.
Takamul Investment is involved in the development of value added projects in the field of petrochemicals, metals and mining. Takamul Investment is a 90% subsidiary of Oman Oil Company and the remaining shares are owned by Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority and Al Maha Strategic Industries for Investments.
Nabil Abdullah Al Ghassani CEO of Takamul Investment stated that the project is so far considered the largest project of the added value to be implemented by the company in the field of aluminum and it will provide more than 270 direct job opportunities. This project will provide a number of further investment opportunities.
Mr Adel Rahman Hamad CEO of Aluminum Rolling Mill stated that the company has paid great attention to Omani nationals and has initiated selection and recruitment procedures, as well as, instituting training programs and pre-qualification with the assistance of Sohar Aluminum.
The ceremony was also attended by Dr Salim bin Nasser Al Isma’eeli, chairman of the Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Exports Development; Mr Khamis bin Nasser Al Jashmi oil and gas ministry’s undersecretary and representatives of companies operating on Sohar Industrial Estate.
(Sourced from www.timesofoman.com)

Alcoa invests $100 million in Quebec plants
Montreal Gazette - April 19, 2011
MONTREAL - Alcoa Canada said Tuesday it will invest $100 million to upgrade its four Quebec plants this year and keep them in shape to handle growing demand for aluminum.
The amount excludes the $1.2-billion multi-year modernization of its main Baie Comeau smelter.
The $100-million investment will cover operational maintenance, $52 million; health and safety, $25 million; cost reduction, $14 million; and environmental and energy efficiency, $6 million.
The Deschambault smelter near Quebec City will get a new $12-million transformer while the Baie Comeau, Deschambault and Bécancour smelters will get computer-based cell control systems offering greater reliability.
Parent Alcoa Inc., the biggest U.S. aluminum group, expects global demand for primary aluminum to grow by 12 per cent this year, with rising demand from the aerospace, auto, residential and commercial construction and beverage can sectors.
Alcoa Canada employs more than 3,000 in Quebec. The $1.2-billion modernization of the Baie Comeau smelter is due for completion in 2015.
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Emal smelter inaugurated
Emirates 24/7 - 18-Apr-2011
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai and Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, inaugurated on Monday the Emirates Aluminium Company Limited (Emal) smelter development project in the Al Taweelah area of Abu Dhabi.
It is a joint project of Dubai Aluminium Company (Dubal) and Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala).
Saeed Al Mazrouie, CEO of Emal, said the strategic joint industrial venture has become a tangible reality on the ground and embodied the far-sighted vision of "our wise leadership."
He described Emal as a distinct national achievement and the best industrial deal in 2007 between Mubadala and Dubal in the Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
The construction and operation of a new hi-tech aluminium smelter in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is making history by being one of the largest Greenfield aluminium smelter ever built, and one of the largest industrial projects in the UAE outside the oil and gas sector. The approximately $6 billion development project is the flagship of Abu Dhabi's industrialisation and diversification strategy.
Located in the new Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone, the project is being built in two phases. The Emal smelter commenced operations of its First Phase on 2 December 2009.
“Once complete it will have production capacity of 750,000 tonnes of aluminium per year, doubling to 1.5 million tonnes annually at the end of Phase Two, making it then the most productive single-site aluminium smelter in the world,” he said. The smelter has an on-site 2,000 MW power plant, an anode manufacturing plant and multi-product cast house.
“Emal provides direct employment for approximately 2,000 people with Emirati manpower accounting for 14 per cent. The project creates jobs and encourages economic diversification and downstream development opportunities,” he added.
This new initiative will generate long-term economic benefits for the UAE, offer both Emiratis and expatriates the chance to develop their careers in a wide range of disciplines, be a catalyst for downstream processing, and create significant economic value for generations to come.
Emal’s output in 2010 was exported to several countries and the whole products of 2011 (about 742,000 tonnes) have already been sold out.
After watching an e-show of the UAE's rich past and prosperous present, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Mohammed bin Zayed took tour by car of the smelter's various units.

Dubal and Gouda Refractories enter into new era of refractories for anode ...
AME Info - 18-Apr-2010
Dubai Aluminium Company Limited (Dubal) recently upgraded one of its four anode baking furnaces with Gouda Refractories' next generation refractory bricks - the LP 50 S. After successfully conducting industrial trials at various plants around the world, Gouda Refractories is proud to announce that Dubal is the front-runner in implementing this next generation brick at full industrial scale.
LP 50 S refractory brick The LP 50 S brick is a high-density, low porosity, high strength 50% aluminium oxide brick. The combination of these improved characteristics, depending on furnace design and operational maintenance, results in operational advantages in anode baking furnaces, such as:
- Increased refractory life.
- Reduction in fire cycle time and hence increased anode output.
- Reduction in flue wall maintenance costs.
- Reduction in fuel costs and hence CO2 emissions.
- Possibility to make bigger anodes by reducing wall thickness.
The LP 50 S has been developed to satisfy clients' needs better - now and in the future - and as Gouda Refractories had done before with AK 46 S, has set once again a new standard in the global refractory market for anode bake furnaces.
New tunnel kiln
In the next two years Gouda Refractories BV will build an additional tunnel kiln at its newly acquired land on their current premises which will increase the production capacity for refractory bricks with approximately 60%. This will significantly reduce delivery times, particularly for customers upgrading to this new industrial standard in refractory bricks for anode baking furnaces. Gouda Refractories BV expects the new kiln to be fully operational in the first half of 2013.
Dubai Aluminium
Dubai Aluminium Company Limited Dubal owns and operates one of the world's largest and modern aluminium smelters. Built on a 480-hectare site in Jebel Ali, the complex's major facilities comprise a one million metric tonne per annum primary aluminium smelter, a 2,335 megawatt power station (at 35°C), a large anode plant, casting operations with a capability of more than 1,161,000 metric tonnes per annum, a 30 million gallon per day seawater desalination plant, laboratories, port and storage facilities.
Entirely state-owned, Dubal is one of the largest non-oil contributors to the economy of Dubai and is widely regarded as the industrial flagship of the UAE. Having begun to tap metal at the Jebel Ali site in November 1979, Dubal celebrated its company's 30th anniversary in 2009.
Gouda Refractories BV
Gouda Refractories BV, member of Andus Group BV, a well-established company for over 110 years, is located in Gouda, The Netherlands. Apart from refractory bricks, monoliths and prefabricated elements that are worldwide applied in several industrial installations, Gouda Refractories BV mainly manufactures and delivers customer-specific total refractory solutions. Within this specialist market, Gouda Refractories has a leading position with worldwide clients in a.o. Non-Ferrous Metals, Hydrocarbon Products, Energy and Waste Treatment.

VHE Develop Efficient Solution for Repairing Damaged Stubs in Aluminium Smelters
Azom.com - 18-Apr-2010
Damaged stubs are a routine occurence in all prebake aluminium smelters. Eroded stubs must be cut off and new ones welded onto the yoke assembly.
VHE of Iceland has an effective and efficient solution for the repair of damaged stubs - a customised stub saw and an automatic MIG welding system.
VHE's cutting solution is a band saw, offering energy savings, a low noise profile, clean and precise cut surfaces, and easy and inexpensive blade replacement. The saw is designed to cut stubs horizontally whilst the rod remains hanging in the overhead conveyor.
System automation enables the selection of any of three cut lengths on any combination of the stubs on each anode rod. The machine is suitable for all designs of yoke, including star and hexapod designs. After cutting, the rod moves on the overhead conveyor to the automatic MIG welding station, where the correct length of new stub is welded in place. The smooth and precise cut surfaces produce by the VHE saw enables precise welding control of welding, producing mechanically stronger joints with significantly lowered electrical resistance.

Feature: The integrated aluminum industry
Myjoyonline.com - 18-Apr-2010
One of the major aims of Ghana’s first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah in the establishment of the Volta River Dam was to provide the country with cheap electricity supply and help in its industrialisation process.
The cheap electricity will be used in processing the huge bauxite deposits in the country into alumina for the local and international markets. This, therefore, saw the establishment of the Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO) to process the alumina.
However, due to the perceived poor quality of Ghana’s bauxite, VALCO imported alumina from Jamaica and processed them into aluminum ingots.
It had been the ambition of Dr Nkrumah to establish an integrated aluminium project, comprising access to bauxite, a smelter and refinery and VALCO came in handy.
However, for more than four decades, a refinery had been out of the production equation of VALCO, making the country operate a fragmented aluminium project, having to export its bauxite and import alumina which is derived from bauxite for the production of foundry ingots and molten aluminium.
Establishing an integrated aluminium project will not only deal with that production fragmentation but also cut down VALCO’s production cost by almost fourfold in respect of the importation of alumina.
This, therefore, gave birth to the Akosombo Dam and the generation of hydro-electric power for the country, which has since been the main pillar for Ghana's industrialisation.
The original project plan was to build the dam, the hydro-electric plant and aluminium smelter and a refinary. However, because it was not possible to raise funds for the entire project, the agreement between Ghana and Kaiser necessitated the latter's building of the smelter.
Since 1965 VALCO has been in operation producing nearly 200,000-tonne per year smelter with six potlines until it was shut down since March 2007, largely due to weak metal prices and power shortages caused by low water levels in the vast Volta hydropower dam.
VALCO before it was shut down was the second largest in Africa, and was the foundation for the local aluminium industry, supplying 10 per cent of its product to local aluminium factories through the Minerals Commission.
Operating at full capacity in those days, the company employed 1,900 people, of which 99 per cent of them were Ghanaians.
Currently, the country fully owns VALCO after buying Kaiser Aluminium's 90 per cent stake in 2004 for US$18 million and then acquiring the outstanding 10 per cent stake from U.S. aluminium maker Alcoa four years later.
The country now plans to establish an integrated industry including a two million tonne/year alumina refinery. The government estimates that as world metal prices recover, VALCO could add about US$300 million in revenues into the economy yearly at full capacity.
In line with a reactivation road map, the management of VALCO is currently holding technical discussions with the Volta River Authority (VRA) to begin operating a second production potline next June.
That will increase its monthly production by 20 per cent from 3,000 tonnes to more than 6,000 tonnes per month (80,000 tonnes annually).
Although that production level is far less than the company’s installed capacity of 200,000 metric tonnes per annum when all the five potlines are activated, it is nevertheless envisaged that the activation of a second potline will create 55, 000 jobs from upstream to downstream.
With respect to VALCO alone, the activation of a second production potline will lead to an increase in staff strength from 480 to 700, apart from the multiplier employment effect it will have on an estimated 445 business downstream.
It must be noted that aluminum due to its low density, low cost, and corrosion resistance, is widely used around the world.
It is used in an extensive range of products from drinks cans to window frames and boats to aircraft. A Boeing 747-400 contains 147,000 pounds (66,150 kg) of high-strength aluminum.
Unlike some metals, aluminum has no aroma - hence its widespread use in food packaging and cooking pots.
Although not quite as good as silver or copper, aluminum is an excellent electrical conductor. It is also considerably cheaper and lighter than these metals, so it is used widely in overhead power cables.
Of all the metals, only iron is used more widely than aluminium and it is 100 per cent recyclable without any loss of its natural qualities.
Recovery of the metal via recycling has become an important facet of the aluminium industry.

Is this man's job really under threat?
Sydney Morning Herald - Melissa Fyfe - 17-Apr-2011
The institute also found that Australia's $6 billion alumina refining industry, which turns
bauxite ore into a white powder used to make aluminium, would remain healthy, even with a carbon price. Australia is one of the world's largest producers of ...

FACTBOX - Malaysia's Bakun dam: white elephant or growth engine?
Reuters India - Fri Apr 15, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - The outcome of elections in Malaysia's key state of Sarawak on Friday could determine how soon the country's long-delayed Bakun hydroelectric dam starts generating power and fuelling economic growth.
A strong win for Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling coalition could provide him with a fresh impetus to execute economic reforms, including the dam which has been delayed following almost two decades of controversy over its environmental impact, cost overruns and allegations of displacement of indigenous communities.
Following are some key facts on the dam:
* Bakun, one of the world's tallest dams, seals off the Batang Balui river in Sarawak on Borneo island. Once filled, it will cover 70,000 hectares of primary and secondary forests, roughly the size of Singapore.
* Construction costs have doubled to at least $2.6 billion from initial estimates, making it the fourth most expensive building job in Malaysian history.
* The 2,400-MW Bakun dam, owned by the state government, was meant to supply power to peninsular Malaysia via an undersea cable but the plan was scrapped as costs were prohibitive and would drag on future earnings for state-run energy firm Tenaga Nasional.
* The dam is now intended to drive a 30-year development project to attract power-intensive industries to Sarawak and boost its GDP to 118 billion Malaysian ringgit ($39 billion) in 2030 from 93.4 billion ringgit in 2010.
* The government has made three attempts to build the dam. The idea was conceived in the 1970s but the plan encountered setbacks during an economic slowdown in 1985-87 and the Asian financial crisis in 1997-98.
* Parts of the dam collapsed more than 20 times in the second construction attempt, which local media attributed to the wrath of restive local spirits. The contractors reportedly slaughtered six pigs and buillt a shrine to appease the spirits.
* More than 10,000 indigenous people were relocated from the catchment areas to a nearby town of wooden shacks to accommodate construction of the dam. Tribal leaders say the government allocated inferior agricultural land to the communities and gave little compensation, charges which the authorities have denied.

WHY IS BAKUN DAM IMPORTANT?
Bakun dam coming onstream will bring Rio Tinto a step closer to building a $2 billion aluminium smelter in Sarawak with local firm Cahya Mata Sarawak . China's main power grid operator also plans to invest $8 billion in an aluminium smelter and two dams in the state.
It could also give fresh impetus for Australian manganese producer OMH Holdings, chemical maker Tokuyama Corp and China's top aluminium group Chinalco to commit to their announced investments in Sarawak.
Bakun will be able to harness one of its eight turbines to commercially generate 330 MW of electricity by July and help power an existing 60,000 tonne per annum aluminium smelter owned by Malaysia's Press Metal.

WHY IS THERE A DELAY IN SETTING POWER TARIFFS?
Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud has said Bakun will be a joint-venture between the state and federal governments, but there has been a disagreement over power tariffs.
The federal government had wanted to sell electricity to the state's power firm Sarawak Energy for 0.09 ringgit per kilowatt-hour (KwH) over 30 years.
Sarawak Energy wanted to settle at 0.05 ringgit to 0.07 ringgit per KwH to secure investments from smelters for whom energy accounts for a third of costs.
Sarawak's request for lower tariffs was based on the view that power uptake will be slow and the federal government needs to subsidise power costs to support economic growth in the state, a key vote bank for Prime Minister Najib Razak.

HOW WILL THE SARAWAK POLL OUTCOME AFFECT BAKUN?

If Najib's ruling coalition keeps its two-thirds majority in Sarawak, he can push through economic reforms and the federal government may stick to its high power tariff proposal in order to lower debts and prevent more subsidy payments.
If the ruling bloc loses more seats to the opposition and ends up with a simple majority in the state, Najib has to rebuild support by agreeing to subsidise power tariffs. ($1 = 3.02 Ringgit)
(Editing by Liau Y-Sing and Sugita Katyal)

ANALYSIS-China's tough talk on aluminium won't slow smelter growth
Forexyard - 15-Apr-2011
* China smelter curbs only a slight limit on expansion
* Beijing needs to crack whip, reduce capacity with higher energy prices
* Unlikely to stop 6 mln tonnes of new capacity being added by 2013

By Polly Yam and Nick Trevethan

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG, April 14 (Reuters) - China is once more ratcheting up pressure on its aluminium industry to limit growth, but the measures are likely to fail without support from regional governments hungry for projects to generate jobs and boost economic growth.
The world's top aluminium producer and consumer has ordered a halt to all planned smelter projects and is considering cutting export rebates on some aluminium products as it tries to rein in the burgeoning energy-hungry industry.
If enforced, the moves could delay or eliminate some 7 million tonnes of planned smelting capacity, traders and analysts estimate, equivalent to about a third of existing capacity. But previous attempts to curb the industry have met with only limited success.
"Social stability means everything to the Chinese authorities," said Jonathan Barratt, managing director of Commodity Broking Services, in Sydney. "If local governments can argue these projects are needed to maintain order and employment, Beijing will find it hard to kill them off."
OUTPUT ABOVE DEMAND
China had annual capacity of around 20 million tonnes in 2010, around 40 percent of the world's 50 million tonnes, Reuters Metal Production Database shows.
The market expects Chinese aluminium output to exceed consumption by 1 million tonnes. A concerted, effective crackdown would cut that, and if maintained, could turn the country into a net importer, with the potential to lift global prices.
But if Beijing takes a softer line, as many in the industry expect, oversupply may continue to hold back domestic prices <SAFc3>, currently trading 5 percent above their long term average since 1994, while international prices are 45 percent above their average over the same period.
The latest statement by a senior industry ministry official signal renewed enforcement of a central government policy of controlling aluminium smelting capacity by denying approval to any new smelters.
Previous efforts by Beijing to rein in the sector had started to bite during late 2007 and 2008, but were relaxed during the financial crisis and in some cases replaced by incentives to expand output as China strove to maintain employment and growth.
"The concern they have is that as they tighten monetary policy there is a risk of overcapacity, which this looks to address," Barratt said.
"There is a more serious message buried within these moves -- that China is far more cautious about the future than the rhetoric suggests."
SOCIAL STABILITY
Even if successful, the current scheme is probably too late to prevent some 3 million tonnes of smelting capacity expansion underway from coming on stream this year, and another 3 million tonnes due online through 2013.
To enforce the measures in the provinces, where smelters are sources of income and employment, the central government would need to throw its full weight behind the policy, complete with sanctions against government officials who fail to enforce it.
The powerful state planner, National Development and Reform Commission, one of the ministries that issued the circular, has been the main body driving the policy.
Despite its political muscle, it has had little success in enforcing the curbs on aluminium's expansion. The sector has expanded from just 12 million tonnes per year in 2006.
Beijing would consider social stability concerns raised by the provinces but would tend to set these against factors such as strong Chinese semi-fabricated production in recent months and the need to keep an eye on targets, one analyst said.
"Thus far, it appears that these smelter plans have been put on hold, rather than canceled," said commodities analyst Chen Xin Yi at Barclays Capital.
"And if capacity utilisation rises, those plans will be revived. Nevertheless, this direct action against smelters forms an important part of why we believe Chinese aluminium production has entered a period of much slower growth."
The government has yet another key weapon it could deploy, which could eventually drive production out of China -- a net energy importer -- to areas such as the Middle East, where supplies are greater.
If Beijing was determined to limit the growth of smelters, it could drive up their costs by mandating higher energy prices for the sector, analysts said, and pricing smelters out of the market would be more effective than legislating them away.
"The effort to cut excessive capacity in the aluminium industry, just like in the steel industry, is quite difficult," said Judy Zhu, an analyst with Standard Chartered Bank.
"The central government has good intentions, but when it comes down to local governments it will be very difficult to implement. For a small city, an aluminium smelter means jobs, financial revenues, and even social stability. The most effective method would be to raise energy costs significantly, to let the market filter out the inefficient capacity."
It was unclear how the policy notice would hit projects that have already begun, but the risk of burdening banks with bad debts was likely to mean many would be allowed to continue.
"A lot of planned projects that have not been approved are under firms that are owned by local governments, or even the central government. It is not easy to halt the projects," said a smelter official in the southwestern province of Guizhou.
The bulk of planned new plants were in industrial or technology zones allocated by Beijing as part of special policies to boost local economies, he said.
The notice was probably just an official circular to urge local authorities to stop unapproved projects and questioned how much planned capacity would be removed from the pending list, another industry source said.
In the near term, at least, few analysts were shifting forecasts in response to the threat of restrictions.
"The notice would not have an impact on this year's production," said Li Yang, senior aluminium analyst at state-backed research firm Antaike, adding that he had not altered his forecast of 19.5 million tonnes of primary aluminium production this year, an increase of 11 percent from 2010. (Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Combet outlines carbon price timeline
The West Australian - 13-Apr-2011
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has outlined a more detailed timeline for implementing a carbon price with Treasury modelling due to be completed mid-year.
As well, a Productivity Commission examination of the impact of carbon prices on the economies of Australia's trading partners is expected in late May.
Mr Combet said the government was engaged with business on the design of transitional assistance for emissions intensive, trade-exposed industries as well as the treatment of the energy sector.
"For the carbon price to take effect from July 1 next year, as minister, I am aiming to finalise the detailed design in time to introduce the legislation into the parliament in the third quarter of this year," Mr Combet told the National Press Club.
Earlier on Wednesday, opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said Labor's carbon tax risked redistributing wealth rather than changing people's behaviour.
"If a lot of people are better off, what's the purpose of the tax?" he asked.
"If you want to change behaviour then you impose a tax with punitive measures behind it and that's why we are opposed to this."
But Mr Combet rejected Mr Hockey's argument outright.
"Providing this assistance will not remove the incentive for households to become more energy efficient," the climate change minister said.
"Improving energy efficiency, for example, will reduce the price impact that a household may experience and enable it to keep all or some of the additional cash assistance that the government provides."
But Mr Combet noted that the main behavioural change the carbon price was targeting was actually at the industry level.
It would force "the organisations that emit large amounts of pollution" to adopt cleaner technologies.
Mr Combet also insisted that by providing assistance to big polluters the government wouldn't reduce the signal for them to reduce emissions.
"If the assistance is in the form of free permits, these permits are an asset," he said.
"These businesses have an opportunity to reduce their carbon emissions and sell surplus permits."
Mr Combet suggested households wouldn't receive more than 50 per cent of the carbon tax revenue as compensation indefinitely.
Rather, that level of assistance would only apply for the first year "and over a period of years".
"Our commitment is that more than half the revenue will be used for household assistance, and that holds for the first year and over a period of years," Mr Combet said.
Details of how fuel and transport will be dealt with will be announced at a later date.
"I'm indicating very clearly that we understand the pressures that petrol prices represent for households and we'll be articulating the way in which we will deal with that when we produce the detailed package," Mr Combet said.
Climate change adviser Ross Garnaut has recommended a starting carbon price of between $20 and $30 a tonne.
Mr Combet said after compensation a $20-per-tonne price would add $2.60 to the cost of a tonne of steel which sells for around $800.
It would add $18.70 to a tonne of aluminium which sells for around $2500.
"In other words the carbon cost relating to the core pollution activity for steel would be one third of one per cent of the value of a tonne of steel and three quarters of one per cent of the value of a tonne of aluminium."
Mr Combet acknowledged steel and aluminium makers would rightly argue that was not the only carbon cost they would face.
"I am referring to the carbon cost in their core activity but the fact is that this is the largest component of their respective carbon costs."
Mr Combet said he expected to hold talks with coal industry figures in the next few weeks over assistance measures.
"The government does anticipate that there will be assistance provided to the coal industry in the development of a carbon price - that is currently a matter for discussion," he said.
"I'm not speculating that it will be an identical approach to that taken under the CPRS (carbon pollution reduction scheme).
"I anticipate we will be beginning that discussion in coming weeks."
Mr Combet said he believed talks with the independents and the Greens - whose votes will be crucial to get the laws through parliament - had been constructive to date.
"I think they all have behaved and dealt with the issues in a very responsible manner," Mr Combet said.
Asked whether it was helpful for Prime Minister Julia Gillard and other ministers to label the Greens as "extreme" and "basket weavers", he said it was important to highlight policy differences.
"The fact of the matter is that there are important policy differences and differences in values that underpin those policies between the Labor party and the Greens party," Mr Combet said.
He said all of those involved in the multi-party climate change committee needed to recognise that export businesses and workers had "very valid and particular interests in the design of a carbon pricing mechanism".
"All of this creates some policy tension between ourselves and the Greens but I assure you the government remains committed to responsible economic policy-making on this issue."

Bakun hydro project to be joint venture
Malaysia Star - 13-Apr-2011
KUCHING: The Bakun hydro dam, which is expected to produce its first 300MW in three months, will become a joint venture between the Federal and Sarawak governments, said Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
He did not, however, reveal what would be Sarawak government's stake in the dam, which could produce up to 2,400MW when fully operational.
The dam is now owned by the Federal Government through Finance Minister Inc.
The Sarawak government has offered to take over the dam's ownership for RM7bil after the Federal Government agreed to sell it last year as the plan to transmit the electricity to the peninsula via underwater submarine cables was scrapped.
“The Prime Minister has assured me and the state government that all the Bakun power will be given to industries in Sarawak,'' Taib said at the signing of power purchase agreement (PPA) term sheet between state-owned Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) and four major investors in energy-intensive industries in Samalaju Industrial Park in Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) here yesterday.
The four investors were Press Metal Bhd, Japan's Tokuyama Corp, Hong Kong-based Asia Minerals Ltd and Singapore's OM Materials, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Press Metal will set up a new aluminium smelter while Asia Minerals and OM Materials will each invest in a manganese smelter. Tokuyama's plant will produce polycrystalline silicon for solar panels.
Taib said the 944MW Murum dam project, now under development by SEB, would be operational in 2014, and that more dams would be built.
“For the (proposed) Baram and Pelagus dam projects, all the technical studies have been done. The Baram dam project will be a joint venture with Brunei.
“We (Sarawak) will have 6,000MW to 7,000MW (hydro power) by 2020,” he added.
The proposed Baram dam in northern Sarawak is expected to generate about 1,000MW while the Pelagus dam in the upper reaches of the Rejang River basin, where the Bakun and Murum dams are located, will generate about 900MW.
SEB, which has plans to develop several smaller dams, will export electricity to Brunei and Sabah.
Taib said the state had some 500,000 coal resources which could be exploited to produce electricity.

ZAlk suspends electrolysis, to stop production of aluminum next month
Ukrainian Journal (subscription) - 11-Apr-2011
KIEV, April 11 - Zaporizhia aluminum plant (ZALK), which is 97.6% owned by Russia's RUSAL, has started completion of temporary closing-down the electrolysis facility and from May the plant will stop production of virgin aluminium due to its unprofitability.
A company representative told Interfax-Ukraine that a decree to close the electrolysis facility from April 5 to April 28, 2011 was signed by ZALK director general Oleksandr Kotiuk.

Antam starts construction of $450m CGA plant
Jakarta Post - 12-Apr-2011
The construction of the Tayan CGA plant, which would have an installed capacity to produce 300,000 tons a year, is scheduled to be completed within 32 months. If plans proceed on schedule, the plant would begin commercial production in January 2014.
The term CGA collectively refers to aluminium hydroxide and alumina for applications other than aluminium smelting. For example, aluminium hydroxide, an intermediate product in alumina production, is used as a coagulant for water purification, whereas alumina is widely used for the smelting of aluminium metal. Antam expects that this
project would generate optimal returns for its shareholders through the processing of its vast, high-quality bauxite reserves, Bimo said, adding that the CGA project would have potential revenue of $200 million annually.
The Tayan CGA project is part of Indonesia’s Master Plan of Development Acceleration and Extension 2011-2015 for the Kalimantan Corridor

China May Suspend New Electrolytic Aluminum Projects
CapitalVue - 12-Apr-2011
April 12 -- Eight government departments, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) may soon issue a joint notice to suspend approvals for the building of new electrolytic aluminum processing capacity, reports Beijing Times.according to the report, the notification will result in the cancelation of about 70 billion yuan worth of related projects.
According to the Deputy Minister of the MIIT, Su Bo, the State Council had earlier this year received a report regarding excessive domestic electrolytic aluminum production capacity.
It was reported that China produced 15.65 million tons of electrolytic aluminum in 2010. With total domestic electrolytic production capacity of 21 million tons, excess capacity was thus more than five million tons.
According to analyst Guo Feng from CHEM99.Com, the profitability of the industry fell from between 4,000 yuan and 5,000 yuan per ton before the financial crisis to 400 yuan per ton at present.
Guo said that the implementation of the new policy may be difficult as the electrolytic aluminum industry is distributed across many regions, contributing to the economic development of these regions and the earnings of local governments.
According to analyst Fan Zhibin from CIConsulting, as producing a ton of electrolytic aluminum requires approximately 10,000 kilowatts of electricity, the industry will be affected as the government seeks to cut down on energy consumption.
Shares of China Nonferrous Metal Industry’s Foreign Engineering and Construction (000758) fell 3.77 percent to trade at 36.81 yuan at 10:38 today.

China mulls export rebate cut for aluminium products -report
Reuters Africa - 12-Apr-2011
SHANGHAI, April 12 (Reuters) - China is considering plans to either scrap or reduce export tax rebates on some aluminium extrusion products as well as on stainless steel wires and rods, the China Securities Journal reported on Tuesday, without identifying sources.
China's finance ministry is weighing whether to drop export rebates for some aluminium extrusion products to 9 percent from the current 13 percent, and to abolish the 5-percent rebate for exporting stainless steel wires and rods, the paper said.
Fan Jianping, head of economic forecasting at the State Information Center think tank, said in March that China was likely to gradually restrict exports of copper and aluminium products and would cut export rebates and impose new export taxes to achieve its aim.
Simple semi-finished aluminium products would be the first aluminium products to see rebate cuts, Fan added.
China, the world's second-largest economy, has sought to limit exports from its energy-intensive and high-polluting industries.
China last scrapped export-tax rebates on some exports in June, which was also part of efforts to ease trade tensions. (Reporting by Ruby Lian and Jacqueline Wong; Editing by Ken Wills)

RusAl threatens to close Ukrainian plant over high electricity charges
RIA Novosti - 11-Apr-2011
The world's largest aluminum maker, Russia's RusAl, may close its Ukrainian plant, the country's only aluminum producer, over high electricity prices, RusAl said on Monday.
"The problem with diversified tariffs for Zaporozhye Aluminum Smelter (ZALK) has not been solved, the plant keeps generating losses, which RusAl has to cover at the expense of the company's other subsidiaries. As a result, RusAl had to raise prices for the plant's products in March to make it loss-free. After the price was increased it became uncompetitive," RusAl said in a statement.
The plant, privatized in 2000, has made a loss in the past few years due to high power tariffs. The government removed a special low electricity tariff for ZALK in 2005 and the company has repeatedly said it needed to return to the previous price.
The plant, in central Ukraine, cut aluminum output to 50,000 tonnes in 2009 from 112,800 in 2008, then reduced it further to about 25,000 tonnes in 2010.

China halts plans to build new aluminum plants -report
Reuters Africa - 11-Apr-2011
BEIJING, China has halted plans to build new aluminum plants in the country to tackle serious over-capacity in the industry, the official China Securities Journal reported on Monday, citing Su Bo, a vice industry minister.
The move will put all planned aluminum projects with a combined investment of more than 70 billion yuan ($11 billion) on hold, the newspaper said.
China Non-ferrous Metals Industry Association said the aluminum industry produced 17.8 million tonnes of aluminum on 21-million-tonne capacity, indicating the rate of capacity utilisation was about 85 percent, the paper said.
But a recent report by the State Council, or the cabinet, showed that the capacity utilisation rate was only 60 percent, the newspaper said.
Currently, aluminum projects under construction involved total spending of more than 20 billion yuan, the newspaper.
China had in the past used heavy-handed measures to tackle rapid expansion of some industries, including steel and cement. (Reporting by Zhou Xin and Kevin Yao; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

The Goldendale aluminum plant -- The death of a way of life
Yakima Herald-Republic - Ross A. Courtney - 09-Apr-2011
Making
aluminum is a relatively simple process. Run a current through pots of alumina, a raw material extracted from bauxite, which is plentiful in the Earth's crust throughout the world. Then suck it out and pour it off to cool and mold into parts or ...

Rusal updates on aluminum and alumina output 2010
SteelGuru - Sunday, 10 Apr 2011
Rusal produced 4,083 tonnes of aluminum in 2010 up 3 % from 2009. Alumina output totaled 7.84 million tonnes up 8 % from 2009 while bauxite production totaled 11.8 million tonnes up 4 % over the same period.
Production increased at its Krasnoyarsk and Novokuznetsk smelters in Russia and Kubal in Sweden while potline 5 at the Irkutsk aluminum smelter which was commissioned in April 2010 had reached full capacity by end of June and operated at full capacity throughout December 2010.
ladyladyRusal announced Ewarton will restart July 1st 2011. In addition the Achinsk and Bogoslovsk alumina refineries missed production growth targets. Rusal targets increasing aluminum production by 2 % in 2011 from 2010 by boosting output at its smelters in Siberia and raising alumina production by 8% year on year in 2011 due to the restart of Ewarton.
The company forecast China's demand for aluminum to grow 12 % YoY to 18.5 million tonnes in 2011 and for that country to continue to increase its imports of primary aluminum in the medium term. Rusal describes itself as the world's largest producer of aluminum and alumina accounting for 10 % of global production of both in 2009.
(Sourced from www.refractories-worldforum.com)

Rusal sets sight on Jamalco
Jamaica Gleaner - 08-Apr-2011
Russia's UC Rusal has linked its planned re-opening of the Kikvine alumina plant in Manchester to being allowed to purchase the Jamaica government's 45 per cent stake in the Jamalco refinery in Naine, Clarendon, industry sources in London and Moscow have told the Financial Gleaner.
"At present, ostensibly the Jamaican Government is negotiating with the commodity traders, Glencore, for their acquisition of the equity Jamaica holds in Jamalco through its vehicle, Clarendon Alumina Production (CAP)," according to a UK source conversant with the talks.
"However, Glencore has a stake (around eight per cent) in Rusal and apparently there is an agreement between the two that would allow Rusal to take over Glencore's offer," the source added.
"Rusal has insisted on the acquisition of the shares as quid pro quo for restarting Kirkvine."
Neither James Robertson, the mining minister nor Rusal's country manager for Jamaica, Igor Dorofeev, were available for comment yesterday.
There are, however, suggestions in some circles that the government may be inclined to acquiesce for two reasons:
To get the hundreds of jobs and the economic rejuvenation of surrounding communities that would come with the re-opening of Kirkvine; and
Because of the pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to unload its stake in the loss-making CAP so as to improve the country's ability to meet fiscal targets.
"Recent warnings by the IMF about CAP's debt and losses, it is believed, would have emboldened Rusal," said one Financial Gleaner source.
Rusal, controlled by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, owns the 550,000-tonne Kirkvine plant as well as a 650,000-tonne refinery at Ewarton, StCatherine - both of which it acquired from Glencore.
Rusal also owns 65 per cent (its partner is Norsk Hydro) of the 1.6-million tonne Alumina Partners refinery in Naine, St Elizabeth.
Rusal closed its Jamaica alumina refineries in 2009 at the height of the global recession, saying that the mid-tier efficiency plants were too expensive to be profitable in the prevailing conditions.
However, it re-opened the Ewarton refinery last June after the Jamaican Government acceded to hefty fiscal concessions.
These included dropping its bauxite production levy in the first year of the deal and, thereafter, only collecting half of the tax - US$2.50 per tonne of bauxite equivalent of alumina shipped - if the average price of aluminium stayed at US$2,100 per tonne, or lower.
If the price of aluminium rose above the benchmark $2,100, the levy payment would rise 20 per cent, to US$3 a tonne of bauxite equivalent of alumina shipped.
Two months ago, Energy Minister Robertson announced that Rusal would also take Kirkvine out of mothballs at mid-year.
Rusal, however, as was revealed by the Financial Gleaner in March, is insisting on terms that were, in most cases, twice as good as what it received when it re-opened Ewarton even though the price of aluminium, against which alumina is benchmarked, has shot up in recent months and is now hovering at around US$2,600 a tonne.
For instance, Rusal proposed a cancellation of the levy for two years and, thereafter, a rate of US$1 if aluminium did not go above the US$2,100 price.
Thereafter, the levy would rise by US$0.50 for every US$1 upward movement in the price of aluminium.
It has now emerged that Rusal's demands go beyond financial concessions to acquiring the Government's shareholding in the 2.4-million tonne capacity refinery it owns with Alcoa and a near stranglehold of Jamaica's alumina refining industry. Rusal already owns half of Jamaica's capacity.
The problem with CAP is its accumulated losses of nearly US$400 million and debt of a similar amount, especially at a time when the Government, under a US$1.3-billion loan agreement with the IMF, is being forced to rein in spending and offload unprofitable companies.
In CAPs case the Rusal/ Glencore alliance is believed to have additional leverage by the fact of a US$62-million loan Glencore made to the former People's National Party (PNP) administration in 2002, securitised against the forward sale of alumina. The money was used to finance CAP's portion of an expansion of the Jamalco refinery.
Under the agreement with Glencore, CAP was to sell half of the delivered alumina at US$180 per tonne and the rest at a variable price of 12.25 per cent of the price of aluminium on the London Metal Exchange. However, the price of aluminium tanked and the inflows were insufficient to service the debt.
According to the administration that came to office in 2007, the forward sale has cost the country J$12 billion (in additional payments and lost earnings) since 2002 and will add another J$15 billion by the time it ends in 2013.
However, analysts argue that given the current and likely rising price for aluminium, Jamaica could recoup some of the losses.
"The possibility would be completely foregone if the government is forced to sell CAP at this point," said the Financial Gleaner source. "And it would be worse if CAP gets it and almost all the muscle in Jamaica's bauxite mining and alumina refining."
business@gleanerjm.com

Noranda's pleas over electric rates stir worry in Bootheel
STLtoday.com - 07-Apr-2011
Noranda
Aluminum Inc.'s sprawling smelter just south of rural New Madrid, Mo., has survived volatile commodity markets, labor disputes and a devastating ice storm since production began 40 years ago. Now, to hear company officials tell it, ...

Venezuela to Ration Power After Worst Blackout Since 2009
Bloomberg - 07-Apr-2011
Venezuela will ration power supply today after the worst blackout since 2009 struck the capital of Caracas and at least 15 states.
State utility Corpoelec will reduce supplies to the entire country this evening for three hours with the exception of Caracas, Electricity Minister Ali Rodriguez said. Power had been restored to all states including Zulia, Carabobo and Miranda after this afternoon’s blackout, according to Rodriguez.
The power failure hit Caracas at 3:30 p.m. local time, temporarily closing the metro and causing traffic jams ahead of the evening rush hour, Rodriguez said on state television. A forest fire damaged a power line from the Planta Centro plant in Carabobo state, cutting off 10,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Rodriguez said.
“This was an isolated event and doesn’t mean that we’re close to seeing a power grid collapse,” Vice President Elias Jaua said on state television. “We apologize for the inconveniences caused.”
Demand typically utilizes about 15,000 megawatts of generating capacity, compared with a total installed capacity of 24,000 megawatts, according to Rodriguez.
Last year, Venezuela, which depends on hydroelectric power for more than two-thirds of its electricity needs, imposed rationing, penalized high-consuming businesses and shut steel and aluminum plants after a severe drought threatened to cripple the grid. Oil Refining Units
About 40 percent of Venezuela’s electricity supply was cut during a blackout on Sept. 3, 2009, that affected several states. As the economy emerges from recession, industrial demand for power is rising, straining the grid, Rodriguez said.
Today’s blackout shut the alkylation unit at Petroleos de Venezuela SA’s El Palito refinery, the state oil company said in an e-mailed statement. The unit was being restarted and production won’t be affected, PDVSA said.
The power failure also interrupted operations at refining units in Anzoategui state that process heavy crude into lighter oil, PDVSA said in a separate statement. About 700,000 barrels a day of capacity was affected, according to PDVSA.
The Petropiar heavy-oil upgrader operated with Chevron Corp. (CVX) was halted, PDVSA said. Operations should return to normal by early tomorrow, according to the statement.
Venezuela, the largest oil producer in South America, is a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Curbing Consumption
Rodriguez on April 5 called on the population to curb consumption that he called excessive and among the highest per capita in the world.
“Our efforts to bolster the grid won’t be successful if we don’t teach the population to conserve more power,” he said.
President Hugo Chavez installed about 1,700 megawatts of new generation capacity last year, below the government’s 5,000- megawatt target. Rodriguez said the government expects to add 2,568 megawatts to the grid this year.
Finance Minister Jorge Giordani said today at a news conference that the government invested $5.5 billion in the electricity sector last year. Chavez said yesterday $3 billion to $4 billion will be spent this year to bolster the grid.

L&M announces deal to supply power to smelter
Otago Daily Times - 08-Apr-2011
L&M Energy has provided markets with some welcome news it will sell electricity from its Ohai coal-seam gas pilot project to the Tiwai aluminium smelter.
L&M chairman Geoff Loudon said in a statement the company had entered into a landmark agreement to sell the electricity to the Rio Tinto Alcan-owned New Zealand Aluminium Smelters.
The smelter, situated less than 80km away from Ohai, was New Zealand's biggest single electricity user and expected to use 5500GWh of electricity this year.
L&M had also received all the regulatory consents required to site a Gough's Power Systems-supplied 1MW Caterpillar gas-fired generator on the Ohai site.
"This is a vindication of the potential for the company's coal-seam gas project to generate strong economic returns."
The company was looking forward to building a strong commercial relation with the smelter, he said.
Craigs Investment Partners broker Peter McIntyre said the announcement proved to the market L&M had gone past the drilling and licensing phase of the coal gas project to reach a point of viability.
The deal with the smelter was significant because L&M could possibly supply other large industries in Southland, such as the Fonterra plant in Edendale.
"There will be a sigh of relief by investors," Mr McIntyre said."
The amount of electricity generated initially might not be a huge amount, but it was a start, he said.
Mr Loudon said L&M had been talking to the smelter and had recognised it had significant energy requirements in the form of electricity, fuel oil and liquefied petroleum gas.
"We are looking forward to exploring all of these opportunities with NZ Aluminium Smelters as the coal-seam gas development progresses into the future."

Alcoa to explore turning pollution into product
CNBC.com - 07-Apr-2011
PITTSBURGH - Alcoa Inc. said Thursday it has joined with two other companies to work on technology that captures carbon emissions, neutralizes them and turns them into a commercially viable product.
Alcoa will fund the project along with $13.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. It will join with Codexis Inc. and CO2 Solution Inc., to investigate the technology.
The aluminum producer said the companies will use scrubber technology to capture the emissions, then they will collaborate to treat a byproduct of aluminum manufacturing called alkaline clay. The project will try to combine treated flue gas, enzymes and alkaline clay to make a mineral-rich product for use in environmental reclamation projects, the company said.
Researchers at Alcoa's technical center in Pittsburgh will lead the three-year project.
The company secured the government grant to find ways of converting captured carbon dioxide emissions into useful products such as fuel, plastics, cement and fertilizers, it said in a statement.

Siemens to supply electrical equipment for Henan Zhongfu hot aluminum rolling mill
Your Industry News (press release) - Thursday, Apr 07, 2011
Siemens has received an order from the Chinese company Henan Zhongfu Industrial Co., Ltd, to equip a new 2560 millimeter aluminum rolling mill with automation and drive technology. The rolling mill will be assembled in Gongyi in the Henan Province, where the first strip is due to be rolled in December 2012. The value of the order lies in the double-digit million Euro range..
The new hot aluminum rolling mill is part of Henan Zhongfu's comprehensive expansion project to develop its production of high-quality strip and sheet metal for new types of packaging materials. The 2560 millimeter hot rolling mill is designed for an annual production of 760,000 tons of flat products. The plant comprises four heating furnaces, a reversible roughing mill – consisting of a horizontal stand with edger, and a downstream four-stand tandem hot rolling mill, with coiler and pallet transport system..
Siemens will supply the complete automation and drive equipment for the hot rolling mill, from the furnace outlet side to the coiler, as well as for the coil conveyor to the high-bay warehouse. The automation equipment includes the basic automation, together with the technological control systems, the human-machine interface equipment, and the associated sensor systems. One important element is the process automation, which has integrated profile and flatness control to calculate the setpoints of the rolling plant online on the basis of analytical mathematical models. Self-learning neural networks adapt the models precisely to the given production conditions, thus facilitating flexible production planning while still maintaining the same high product quality. Sinamics S150 medium voltage converters and Sinamics S120 low-voltage converters will be supplied for the drives. .
All the systems and components used are drawn from the integrated Siroll ALU solution platform for hot aluminum rolling mills. Their modular design and high degree of standardization guarantee a fast production ramp-up and safe, easy to maintain operation. Siemens will also be responsible for supervising the installation, commissioning, and customer training..
The deciding factors which enabled Siemens to win this order were its technological competence and the large number of worldwide references which it has accumulated in the aluminum industry. With this project, Siemens extends its leading position in the equipment of hot aluminum rolling mills still further. .
Henan Zhongfu Industrial Co. Ltd is a subsidiary company of Henan Yulian Energy Group Co., Ltd. This group of companies not only owns aluminum production plants but is also active in the fields of electrical power generation, district heating and water supply..

Miners reject weak carbon tax safeguards
Bombala Times - 06-Apr-2011
THE POWERFUL lobby group for the mining industry has effectively ruled out support for the Labor carbon tax plan before a meeting between the government and key industry representatives tomorrow.
In a sign of another protracted battle between the mining industry and the government, the chief executive of the Minerals Council of Australia, Mitch Hooke, said he was increasingly concerned industry compensation for Labor's proposed carbon tax would be based on the package of the dumped emissions trading scheme. But the Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet, hit back at suggestions from Mr Hooke yesterday that European trade-exposed industries would be better protected under its trading scheme than Australian companies, adding the government would not walk away from the ''good work'' it had done on industry compensation under the now dumped trading scheme.
The Minerals Council represents mining giants BHP and Rio, among others. Mr Combet will come face-to-face with representatives of BHP and Rio tomorrow at a meeting with the government's business consultation group on carbon pricing.
''The Rudd government's carbon pollution reduction scheme did not adequately protect Australia's export sectors and should not be the template for the new carbon pricing scheme,'' Mr Hooke said in a statement yesterday. ''The Minerals Council of Australia will not support a carbon pricing system that fails to maintain the international competitiveness of Australia's export industries.''
The council also released an analysis it commissioned from SFS Economics finding compensation for heavy industry under the European Union's emissions trading scheme covered more industrial sectors than Australia's plans.
Under the now abandoned Australian emissions trading scheme, an industry receives compensation based on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted to revenue generated. Mr Hooke said the European scheme also assessed an industry's trade exposure to countries with no carbon price in place.
The SFS report says the difference in criteria meant the EU's compensation covered more than 164 industry sectors as opposed to the 31 industrial activities covered by Australia's compensation plans.
Mr Combet yesterday rejected suggestions the EU's scheme was better for industry, saying the Australian compensation package had significant advantages for emissions intensive trade-exposed industries such as aluminum smelting.
Mr Combet said unlike the Australian compensation package, the EU imposed a hard cap on free permits for industry reducing every year and would not cover the cost of electricity price rises post 2013.
Mr Combet said the EU scheme also set the baseline for assistance to all companies based on the top 10 emissions efficient firms in the sector.
Under Labor's now abandoned scheme, industries determined to be ''emissions intensive trade exposed'' would have received for free 66 or 94.5 per cent of the carbon permits they would have had to buy on the carbon market. Coal miners also received a package worth $1.5 billion over five years, while coal-electricity generators got $7.3 billion over 10 years.

Aluminium demand catching up to supply-Norsk Hydro
Reuters Africa - 06-Apr-2011
* Steadily rising demand brings supply balance into sight
* Aluminium overcapacity on way down -chief executive
* Prices reach highest level in 30 months
By Joachim Dagenborg
OSLO, April 6 (Reuters) - Aluminium demand is rising steadily and could wipe out global oversupply by the end of 2011, metals producer Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL: Quote) said as European aluminium prices rose to their highest since September 2008.
"We began this year with an overcapacity of more than 1 million tonnes," Norsk Hydro CEO Svein Richard Brandtzaeg told Reuters at an energy seminar on Wednesday.
"Now we see that demand is strengthening surely and steadily and I hope there will be a balance between supply and demand in the course of the year."
Aluminium CMAL3 rose to $2,663 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange on Wednesday, its highest since September 2008, helped by a weaker dollar versus the euro.
Despite the surge, Brantzaeg said aluminium prices remain "far behind other metals".
China accounts for about 40 percent of global aluminium demand, which is forecast to be above 40 million tonnes this year.(Editing by David Holmes)

jRising Power Costs Driving Aluminum Higher ? But For How Long? Part Two
MetalMiner - 06-Apr-2011
Electricity accounts for about 40 percent of average smelting costs for Chinese aluminum producers, against 30 percent elsewhere. Electricity cost pressures have been rising steadily; around 80 percent of China’s power comes from burning coal, which it produces and also imports from Australia. Coal prices have been rising relentlessly partly due to global demand, but not helped by the floods in Australia. Cancellation of nuclear power plant extensions in Germany are the tip of the iceberg in terms of a global reappraisal of nuclear as a source of power, and gas prices inasmuch as they are related to the oil price have also been on the rise, particularly outside the shale-rich gas market of the US. The theory goes, not unreasonably, that as energy prices rise, smelters’ margins will be cut, forcing closures and reducing supply; as supply is reduced, shortages will arise and metal prices will rise, hence energy prices will support aluminum prices.
The largest swing producer is China, as we said in Part One. Power costs to smelters are already reckoned to be some of the highest in the world and smelters have shown their willingness in recent years to idle and restart capacity as the market demands. But sources polled by MetalMiner say that even if Beijing does push through electricity price increases for smelters, a cost increase will only be applicable for those smelters that buy power from the grid — many don’t have their own captive power deals. Furthermore, the current metal price is well above the costs of production, even with the proposed electricity cost increase, so while margins would be squeezed, aluminum production would still be profitable.
What all this means for the gravity-defying aluminum price is very difficult to say. A recent Reuters survey for the aluminum market asking if the market was expected to be in surplus or deficit this year resulted in an average surplus figure of a 383,000 tons – manageable without driving a dramatic price fall. But the forecasts ranged between a deficit of 1.056 million tons and a surplus of 1.558 million tons, underlining just how hard even the experts are finding it to predict how much capacity will be available to meet the predicted 8-9 percent growth in demand.
With a gradually cooling, China (no bad thing as it will ease inflation pressures), a slowly recovering global economy and likely continued high energy costs on the back of unrest and growing demand, we don’t see a lot of downside to the aluminum price for 2011.
–Stuart Burns

Argentina's Aluar plans Brazil investment
Reuters - 05-Apr-2011
Argentina's biggest aluminum producer, Aluar (ALU.BA), is planning to invest soon in Brazil and expects output to reach 475,000 tonnes this year, the company's chief executive said on Monday.
Aluar will not meet its goal to increase output to 515,000 tonnes a year in 2011 as it shifts to focus on margins, Chief Executive Javier Madanes told the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit in Buenos Aires.
"We've prioritized the investment to add value to products...it delays the expansion plan to boost output, but production will still rise this year" from 425,000 tonnes last year, Madanes said.
He sees restrictions in Brazil's aluminum market as an opportunity to invest in the regional powerhouse.
"Brazil has restrictions that are blocking supply while demand is rising. We're looking into investing there," Madanes said. Asked when the investment could take place, he said: "very soon."
The company's third-quarter earnings "will be in line" with the $40 million net profit in the second quarter, Madanes said.
The global price for aluminum, trading at around $2,630 on Monday, should average around $2,750 per tonne this year, Madanes said.
"If the world economy doesn't see any upturns, if the world economy grows at 3 or 4 percent this year, we see a positive outlook for aluminum, perhaps with a slight hike in prices," Madanes said.
But he predicted it would take years before commodities demand and prices return to 2008 peak levels when aluminum prices reached $3,300 per tonne.
Madanes said in recent years China had made an enormous strides to become a major supplier in the global aluminum market.
"China currently supplies 22 to 24 percent of the world's aluminum...it went from having a large demand for the product to become a supplier," Madanes said.
Aluar regularly receives acquisition offers from companies at home and abroad, but is not currently considering any of them, he said.
The company, which exports about 75 percent of its total output, recently hired 300 employees to increase its workforce to just under 4,000. Most work at Aluar's primary aluminum production plant in the southern city of Puerto Madryn.
Aluar, which is 77 percent controlled by the Madanes family, is one of several firms in which the state pension administrator, Anses, has a stake after the government took over the private pension system in 2008.
The government holds a 10 percent stake in the company.

VALCO Revamps Aluminium Industry
Ghana - 04-Apr-2011
After three months of reactivation, the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) is on course towards reviving the aluminium industry in the short-term and the national goal of developing an integrated aluminium project in the long–term.
Operating at 20 per cent capacity since its reactivation on January 3, 2011, VALCO is currently producing 3,000 metric tonnes of foundry ingots per month for local and international markets
Half of that production is supplied to aluworks, a local manufacturer of aluminium products, and western rod and Wire Company limited, another local company that uses foundry ingots and molten aluminium for the production of rods for high – tension cables.
Under an off-taker agreement signed between valco and aluworks and western rod and wire, the two companies are to purchase 1,000 metric tonnes and 500 metric tonnes respectively, 1,500 metric exported to Europe.
The reactivation of VALCO has given a lifeline to the two local companies in respect of the regular supply of foundry ingots, therefore saving them the cost of importing the materials
According to the Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Human Resource/Administration, Legal & Public Affairs) of VALCO, Mr. Dan Acheampong, “everything is moving smoothly”.
He, however, noted that it would not be sustainable to limit VALCO to only one potline production, given the huge overheads.
“In fact, it will amount to deliberately, strangulating it to deny Ghanaians the benefit of real and meaningful jobs and livelihoods that an operating VALCO brings”, he added.
In line with a reactivation road map, the management of VALCO is currently holding technical discussions with the Volta River Authority (VRA) to begin operating a second production potline next June.
That will increase its monthly production by 20 per cent from 3,000 metric tonnes to more than 6,000 metric tonnes per month (80,000 metric tonnes annually).
Although that production level is far less than the company’s installed capacity of 200,000 metric tonnes per annum when all the five potlines are activated, it is nevertheless envisaged that the activation of a second potline will create 55, 000 jobs from upstream to downstream.
With respect to VALCO alone, the activation of a second production potline will lead to an increase in staff strength from 480 to 700, apart from the multiplier employment effect it will have on an estimated 445 business downstream.
VALCO had been shut down for about two years due to some challenges but a study conducted by an independent consult on the authority of Cabinet proved the economic viability of the company and that it could even become a major growth pole for the country’s development aspirations.
According to the findings of the study, operating at a 40 per cent capacity will lead to an increase in employment by Aluworks and other companies by 8,000 and that will create an additional 32,000 jobs with respect to other companies downstream.
One other benefit is that with the beginning of oil production in Ghana, VALCO will no longer have to import residue of crude oil for its operations, a development which will reduce its cost of production and ensure minimum waste in the petrol-chemical industry.
It had been the ambition of Ghana’s founder and first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, to establish VALCO as an integrated aluminium project, comprising access to bauxite, a smelter and refinery.
However, for more than four decades, a refinery had been out of the production equation of VALCO, making the country operate a fragmented aluminium project, having to export its bauxite and import alumina which is derived from bauxite for the production of foundry ingots and molten aluminium.
Establishing an integrated aluminium projects will not only deal with that production fragmentation but also cut down VALCO’s production cost almost fourfold in respect of the importation of alumina.
Source: The Daily Graphic

S'tomo Light Metal, 4 Others To Buy US Aluminum Canstock Maker NIKKEI.com - 05-Apr-2011
TOKYO (Nikkei)--A consortium of five Japanese firms, including Sumitomo Light Metal Industries Ltd. (5738), said Monday that it will acquire major U.S. aluminum can materials manufacturer Arco Aluminum Inc.
The group will buy all shares in the Kentucky-based firm from British oil giant BP Plc for 680 million dollars, or roughly 57 billion yen.
Sumitomo Light Metal President Shigenori Yamauchi.The Japanese firms have established a holding company to carry out the acquisition. Sumitomo Light Metal has a 40% stake in this firm, while Furukawa-Sky Aluminum Corp. (5741) holds 35%, Sumitomo Corp. (8053) owns 20%, and Itochu Corp. (8001) and Itochu Metals Corp. together hold the remaining 5%. The deal will likely be completed between July and September pending approval by U.S., Taiwanese and Chinese antitrust authorities.
Arco produces about 300,000 tons of aluminum canstock a year. It is the No. 4 player in North America, with a market share of 15%. It makes the canstock at a Kentucky factory operated with industry leader Novelis Corp., also of the U.S.
The Japanese firms hope to expand abroad because the domestic market for can materials is sluggish. Until now, most overseas efforts have been in China. But a North American foothold could offer access to such promising markets as Latin America.
BP had sounded out Sumitomo last summer on a possible sale of Arco, and the Japanese trading house brought the other domestic companies together. The British firm has indicated that it will sell 25-30 billion dollars of its assets, or roughly 10% of the total, to raise money to cover expenses related to its oil spill last year in the Gulf of Mexico.

Nalco records excellent production, sales rise
Economic Times - 03-Apr-2011
BHUBANESWAR: State-run National Aluminium Company Limited (Nalco) recorded excellent production and sales results during 2010-11, the company said Sunday.
While the company has achieved highest-ever cast metal production of 443,597 tonnes against the previous best of 431,488 tonnes achieved in 2009-10, sales of its metal was up to 438,952 tonnes in 2010-11 against the previous year's 435,979 tonnes, Nalco said in a statement.
The increasing demands and improvement in company's share in the domestic market is the reason behind the highest ever metal sale, the statement said.
Besides, Nalco's alumina refinery has achieved 98.8 percent capacity utilisation by producing 15.56 lakh tonnes of alumina hydrate, while its bauxite mines produced 48.24 lakh tonnes with a capacity utilisation of 100.5 percent.
Nalco's captive power plant at Angul also recorded the highest-ever net power generation of 6,608 million units, against the previous best of 6,293 million units achieved in 2009-10, the statement s
The company also recorded the highest-ever domestic metal sale of 340,752 tonnes in 2010-11, surpassing the previous highest of 289,032 tonnes in the previous fiscal.
Nalco achieved a record sale of 20,022 tonnes of rolled products in the domestic market in 2010-11 against the previous best of 14,419 tonnes in 2009-10.
This year the company added aluminium T-Ingots to its product range, which is first of its kind in Indian aluminium industry.
Similarly, the company resumed its billet exports in 2009-10 after a gap of a decade and in 2010-11 it exported 4614 tonnes of billets.
More production and sale of rolled products and billets have increased the proportion of value added products in Nalco's operations.
Nalco has also widened its international customer base by adding new overseas clients during the year.

VHE Win Contract to Renovate Rio Tinto Alcan Plant in Iceland
Azom.com - Apr 1, 2011
VHE of Iceland has been awarded a major contract for the modification and refurbishment of the rodding plant at ÍSAL - Rio Tinto Alcan Iceland.
The IPU Project - ÍSAL Production Upgrade - will increase the amperage to 181 kA in Lines 1 and 2 of ÍSAL's three-line Alusuisse EPT-10/12 technology smelter to achieve an additional aluminium production of 44.000 tonnes per year.
Anode rod stub diameters will be increased from 125mm to 160mm, and anodes will be enlarged in all three potrooms. Busbars in potroom basements will be upgraded and pot superstructures modified.
VHE's contract commenced in March 2011 and has a scheduled completion date of November 2012 during which period 21 machines will be modified and refurbished, and 6 machines replaced with new equipment. The rodding plant will be in full production throughout, except for a scheduled 28 day shutdown in September 2012 when rod and anode dimensional changes will be implimented.
New machines to be manufactured include a thimble press, a stub straightening press, a stub saw and welding system, and a rod stem straightener. Machines to be refurbished include a butt press, the anode casting line, and collar forming and filling machines. All supporting electrical work and PLC