AluNews - August 2011

PUMPING: GIW slurry pump going strong after 52 years
Canadian Mining Journal - 2011-08-30
GROVETOWN, Georgia - An LSA model slurry pump installed at the Noranda alumina plant in Gramercy, LA, has operated continuously with only routine maintenance for 52 years, according to the proud manufacturer, GIW Industries.
Installed at the plant start-up in 1959, the LSA pump operates on the press floor turn back area, handling bauxite mud slurry at a specific gravity of 1.25 and temperature of 51C. The slurry is fed to the pump from a tank that receives excess mud, caustic liquor and dilution water from the filter press that dewaters mud for disposal. The pump recirculates excess material to a mud settler tank located approximately 60 metres away.
More than 150 GIW pumps in the Noranda plant handle the hot, abrasive slurries as they are moved from the milling and slurry mix areas to the digesters. Then the pumps move the slurries through the processes of mud separation and filtering, precipitation and calcinations to create the finished dry alumina product.
David S. Pratt, president of GIW partner Hunter Equipment Co., says, "GIW pumps have proven to be a vital part of this plant's success as one of the most efficient alumina plants in the industry. The high chrome alloys used in the GIW pump line provide excellent abrasion resistance and long life cycles in severe duties and provide the plant with reliable performance and lower maintenance costs than other brands of pumps."

India's aluminum expansion to fall short of expectations
Commodity Online - 29-Aug-2011
The expansion of India’s primary aluminum capacity in 2011-12 will fall short of market expectations by some 1.6 metric tons per year, says Harbor Intelligence.
Indian companies had been expected to increase capacity by 2.29 million tons per year during 2011-12, which was equivalent to 30% of the global committed capacity expansions, or 90% of expected global expansion, excluding China and the Middle East, Harbor says.
“Projects have gone through a process of continuous delays and some of them could be canceled due to lack of bauxite and competitive coal,” Harbor says. “The fact is that these delays and possible cancelations will adversely hit India’s aluminum market balance and thus intensify the ongoing global mark deficit.
Assuming delayed projects actually take place, we expect India’s deficit to widen from 283,000 to 402,000 tons this year, and from 157,000 to 423,000 tons next year.” By Allen Sykora of Kitco News;

Rusal says unaware of partners selling shares
Reuters - Sun Aug 28, 2011
(Reuters) - Russia's United Company RUSAL Plc (0486.HK), the world's top aluminum producer, said on Monday it is unaware of partners selling Rusal shares.
UC Rusal has not yet considered Norilsk's GMKN.NM share buyback offer, a senior company executive told a news conference after its earnings.
United Company RUSAL on Monday reported a sharper than expected 70 percent drop in net profit in the second quarter on non-cash items and as cost inflation offset higher prices and output.
(Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Ken Wills)

Vekselberg, Blavatnik Offer RusAl Stake to Usmanov
The Moscow Times - 29 August 2011
(Reuters)Two partners in the world's top aluminum producer, United Company RusAl, want to sell their stake to a third tycoon, Alisher Usmanov, owner of an iron ore miner and shareholder in Norilsk Nickel, Vedomosti reported Friday.
Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik, who merged their aluminum assets with RusAl about five years ago, have offered the stake to Usmanov, the daily reported, citing three sources.
A source close to Usmanov was cited as saying the offer had only been made, while sources close to the sellers said Usmanov was close to agreeing.
The newspaper said En++, the investment vehicle of RusAl's main owner Oleg Deripaska, had right of first refusal on its partners' stake, but it was unclear whether an offer was made to En+ before talks started with Usmanov.
The offer was based on a valuation of $25 billion to $30 billion, an acquaintance of Blavatnik and Vekselberg told the daily.
The two businessmen, also partners in BP's Russian venture TNK-BP, are caught in a conflict between RusAl and Norilsk Nickel over strategy and management at Norilsk, in which RusAl owns 15 percent.
Usmanov owns 4 percent of Norilsk Nickel.
Before the 2008 credit crisis, Vekselberg and other RusAl shareholders spoke in favor of a Russian mining mega-merger between RusAl, Norilsk and Metalloinvest, which would create a rival to global powerhouse BHP Billiton.
The three mining giants were forced to retreat in the 2008 credit crisis, when a collapse in metals prices and a squeeze on credit forced RusAl in particular to concentrate on debt restructuring.
But some analysts believe that a merger is not out of the question now that the debt has been reduced and refinanced because merger valuations would be simpler.
RusAl has rejected offers from Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel miner, to buy out the bulk of its stake and end the conflict. On Monday, Norilsk made its latest buyout bid, a $8.75 billion offer for a 15 percent stake — a healthy premium.

Aluminium producers switch sights to Far East markets
The National - 27-Aug-2011
The UAE's two aluminium producers are boosting exports to the Far East and other emerging markets to offset disruptions to Middle East orders caused by unrest.
Both Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) and Emirates Aluminium (Emal) have suspended shipments to Syria, an important centre for re-export of the metal in the region.
As a result, the firms are directing more trade elsewhere.
"We always direct our orders to somewhere else," said Khalid Buhumaid, a spokesman for Dubal. "The Far East market is picking up, and one of the challenges for next year is exploring South America."
Dubal secures buyers on global markets of both Dubal and Emal's products. The two companies have strong links: Dubal is a 50-50 partner in Emal with Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government.
Instability in Syria has dented the value of the regional market, which accounts for 38 per cent of total exports for the two companies. Syria's Mediterranean port of Latakia allows aluminium to be shipped into the country via the Suez Canal.
It is then transported by road to neighbouring Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan. But its re-export status has been threatened by heightened unrest in recent months.
"The Syrian market is dominated by us and is a hub for Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq," Mr Buhumaid said. "Syria is one of the most important markets for us, and before the crisis demand was increasing."
The instability may be hastening a trend by the producers to tap aluminium export markets farther afield.
Demand is growing particularly strongly in China and other Far East markets.
Lightweight and available in a variety of grades, the metal is used in everything from the construction industry to making vehicles, aircraft, cans and foil.
China is already the world's biggest producer and consumer of aluminium and demand is expected to rise 10 per cent this year as its economy booms.
Dubal and Emal are also turning their focus on South America, a continent with some fast-growing economies.
Opportunities abound in Brazil as the country upgrades its infrastructure in readiness to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
In 2009, Dubal teamed up with Vale, a Brazilian mining outfit, and Norsk Hydro, a Norwegian company, to develop an alumina refinery in Brazil.
"Recent history suggests that China tends to be more self-sufficient than South America in primary aluminium production, and South America does not have any plans to increase their capacity," said Chris Bayliss, the deputy secretary general and director of global projects at the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) in London.
Together, Emal and Dubal are capable of producing about 1.75 million tonnes of aluminium a year. Emal announced last month it was going ahead with a second phase of its smelter project worth US$4.5 billion (Dh16.52bn) to almost double its capacity to 1.3 million tonnes of annual production.
Aluminium production across the GCC reached 292,000 tonnes last month, the highest production this year, according to data from the IAI.

Aluminum fundamentals positive on declining China inventory
SteelGuru - 28-Aug-2011
Commodity reported that aluminum prices have fallen in tandem with the decline in base metal prices over the recent weeks. Weak macroeconomic data from the US and Europe have pressured prices to move south.
However, the declining Chinese inventories give hope for a strong support in prices and the potential for an upside move.
1. Inventories at the Shanghai Futures Exchange have fallen by 50% since end Q1this year. This might prompt increased buying as traders try to restock. The spare capacity have also decreased partly due to power cuts at smelters and record production costs that have depressed profit margins and provided no incentive for turning on the spare capacity.
2. Data released by the CNIA showed that Aluminum output is up 27%YoY YTD.
Credit Suisse Private Banking said that we expect aluminum prices to find good buying support around current level. We also think that the downside should be cushioned as our valuation model suggests that LME prices are trading close to fair value estimate of about USD 2,400. (Sourced from Commodity Online)

Guinea and China in Talks Over Bauxite Mine, Alumina Refinery
Africa IBTimes - 26-Aug-2011
Guinea is in advanced talks with state-owned China Power Investment to develop a bauxite mine and build an alumina refinery, deep water port and a power plant in the West African state, Guinean government sources said.
One source, who asked not to be named, said the project, which is in Boffa, some 120 km (75 miles) west of the capital, Conakry, and could begin as soon as 2012, would cost $5.8 billion.
Guinea, already the world's top bauxite exporter, is also rich in iron ore and gold and has attracted billions of dollars in investment as it seeks to put decades of misrule behind it.
"We are indeed in talks with China Power Investment for the construction of an alumina refinery that will have a 4 million tonne per year capacity," Guillaume Curtis, secretary general in the ministry of mines, told Reuters.
Curtis said CPI had completed a first feasibility study on the project, which the government had analysed.
A second source, who also asked not to be named, put the project's price tag at $5.8 billion and said that CPI would operate in Guinea as CPI International Minerals Investment Corporation.
"The plan is to open a bauxite mine in the region, build an alumina refinery, a deep water port at Bel Air, housing for the employees and a coal-fired power station with a capacity of 270 MW," the source said.
Elections last year have led to the restoration of civilian rule although an assassination bid on president Alpha Conde last month underscored simmering tensions.

Guinea currently only has one alumina refinery, a 640,000-tonne-a-year plant at Friguia operated by RUSAL but major mining firms have flocked to the country.
Guinea Alumina Corporation, which brings together BHP Billiton, Global Alumina, Dubai Aluminium Co and Mubadala Developments, has a project that includes a 3.3-million tonne-per-year alumina refinery.

Guinea says alumina production up 38.6 pct in H1
Reuters Africa - Aug 25, 2011
CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea's production of alumina, a derivative of bauxite used to produce aluminium, rose 38.6 percent in the first half of the year, compared with the same period a year ago, according to a government report seen on Thursday.
Alumina production for the year hit 315,600 tonnes by June, according to the Ministry of Finance report.
Bauxite production rose 6 percent to 8,266,900 tonnes in the same period, exceeding its target by 1 percent.
Emmanuel Sassouadouno, a senior official at the Ministry of Finance, said the rise in production was due to the country's return to stability and investor confidence.
"We noticed the same trend in the diamond sector and relatively in the bauxite sector also," Sassouadouno said.
Guinea last year elected Alpha Conde as its president, ending two turbulent years of military rule.
The report said diamond production also jumped 41 percent to 202,900 carats, while gold production fell 15.2 percent to 372,600 ounces in the period.Sassouadouno however said the country would remain cautious about forecasts for the months ahead due to the sharply deteriorating global economic climate.
RUSAL's 640,000-tonne-a-year capacity Friguia alumina refinery is the west African nation's only refinery.

Vietnam alumina refinery to sell material through tender
Reuters - Aug 25, 2011 5:32am EDT
* Vietnamese alumina being offered in Asia for the first time
* Adding supply, weighing on alumina prices - trade
* Spot alumina falls 12 pct this month, now $360-$370 FOB
By Polly Yam and Ho Binh Minh
HONG KONG/HANOI, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Vietnam's first alumina refinery will sell its material through tenders rather than directly to China's Yunnan Metallurgical Group under a 30-year sales agreement between the two firms, sources at Yunnan and the Vietnamese firm said on Thursday.
The 600,000-tonne capacity Tan Rai alumina refinery, controlled by Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin), is set to start production in September using locally mined bauxite.
A Vinacomin manager who has direct knowledge of the tenders said the firm has invited various companies to join the bidding, without giving names.
"Who pays the best price will get the product," the Vinacomin manager in Hanoi said.
A spokesman for Vinacomin declined to comment.
Vinacomin and Yunnan hold a Memorandum Of Understanding under which the Vietnamese firm had agreed to sell 600,000-900,000 tonnes a year of alumina to Yunnan Metallurgical, which plans to supply the alumina to its smelter Yunnan Aluminium Industry Co Ltd .
But the MOU does not set a price for the alumina, which the firms need to negotiate before the delivery year, according to the Vinacomin manager and an official at Yunnan Metallurgical.
"I am not holding a high hope for alumina shipments (from Vinacomin) in 2011," said the Yunnan official with direct knowledge of the talks.
He added that the firm's aluminium subsidiary would be able to tap into rising Chinese alumina production, while supply in the international market remained sufficient.
Yunnan's subsidiary is also building a 800,000 tonnes a year alumina refinery in China's southwestern Yunnan region and the construction is expected to finish by the end of this year, he said.
Traders said Vinacomin's offers were weighing on spot alumina prices, which have already fallen 12 percent this month due to reduced imports from China.
Spot Australian alumina was being offered at $360-$370 a tonne on a free-on-board basis, down from $410-$430 in late July-early August.
Trading sources said Yunnan had offered a pricing formula lower than the 15-15.5 percent of the London Metal Exchange aluminium prices many Chinese smelters have paid for 2011 alumina imports to Vinacomin, as it takes advantage of rising local output.
China used to be one of major alumina importers in the world but the country has ramped up production in recent years.
The country's alumina imports fell to a monthly record low of 59,095 tonnes in July, down 78.2 percent from a year ago.
China's production of alumina rose 22.8 percent on the year to 2.978 million tonnes in July, 5.2 percent lower than a monthly record of 3.143 million tonnes in June. (Editing by Michael Urquhart)

Glencore Plans To Ramp Up Sherwin Alumina Output To Capacity
Fox Business - August 25, 2011
LONDON -(Dow Jones)- London-listed miner and commodities trader Glencore International PLC (GLEN.LN) plans to ramp up production at its Sherwin alumina refinery in the U.S. in the medium-term to its full 1.6 million metric tons a year capacity, the company said Thursday.
The company currently expects output of 1.52 million tons for 2011, a rise of 21% from last year.
Production at the Texas refinery in the first six months of the year was 751,000 tons, up 13% from the year-earlier period.
"The restart of the fifth digester unit at the beginning of 2011 was a key driver, while efficiency levels were also better on all fronts," said Glencore. "Sherwin continues to benefit from low U.S. natural gas prices and the relatively strong London Metal Exchange aluminum prices," it added.
Unit production costs for 2011 are expected to be lower than 2010, although will be higher in the second half due to increased input costs linked to LME prices--which include alumina--higher bauxite freight costs, as well as increased maintenance spend, Glencore said.
Glencore owns 100% of Sherwin, a refinery on the Texas Gulf Coast near to U.S. smelters and potentially in the path of approaching tropical storm Don. But it said it has no plans to shut down unless the storm strengthens, although it continues to make preparations to the plant.

Glencore Alumina Business Grows, Seeking New Contracts In Gulf
Fox Business - August 25, 2011
LONDON -(Dow Jones)- London-listed miner and commodities trader Glencore International PLC (GLEN.LN) is seeking to build out its alumina marketing business, including pursuing contracts with new aluminum smelters starting production in the Middle East, it said Thursday.

The division is already showing growth from 2010 levels.

"We will continue to seek long-term purchase and supply contracts with existing counterparties, as well as targeting new business opportunities with smelters being opened in the Gulf and elsewhere," the company noted in its first half of 2011 earnings.

When Glencore announced its intention to float in London and Hong Kong earlier this year, its prospectus revealed that in 2010 the company marketed around 6.7 million metric tons of alumina, equivalent to 38% of the available alumina that can be marketed and 8% of world output.

It also marketed 3.9 million tons of aluminum, equivalent to 22% of the available aluminum that can be marketed and 9% of world output.

These combined volumes have increased substantially since then, although the company didn't provide a breakdown of whether the growth was in the alumina or metal side.

Marketed volumes for alumina and aluminum increased to 6.5 million tons in the first half compared to 5.6 million tons in the same period the year before, representing an increase of approximately 16%. The division generated revenue of $281 million in the first six months of the year, up 26% from the year-earlier period.

"Alumina arbitrage opportunities were broadly similar in the first half compared to the first half of 2010, apart from China, which swung from being a large importer to being more balanced," Glencore noted.

The average alumina spot price increased to around $400/ton in the first half from $330/ton in the year-earlier period, with average prices of around $405/ton in the second quarter. Glencore attributed this price rise to production problems in various facilities in Australia, start-up of new aluminum smelting capacity in the Gulf region and restarts of idled smelters in Europe and the U.S.

Alumina is the raw material used to make aluminum, which is consumed in the automotive, construction and aerospace sectors. Roughly two tons of alumina is used to make one ton of aluminum metal.

Barclays: Aluminum primary output rises to 70.2 Ktd in July
Commodity Online - 23-Aug-2011
LONDON (Commodity Online): Prices were softer across the base metals yesterday as a mixed set of Chinese trade combined with on-going macro concerns weighed on the market. In terms of metalsspecific developments, the latest production data from the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) showed that the daily global average primary output (excluding China) rose to 70.2Ktd in July. This represented a 6% y/y increase, in-line with the average size of y/y increase seen so far this year and marginally higher than the monthly average daily production rate during H1 this year (69.7Ktd).
In terms of the geographical breakdown, there were no shifts from previous trend. Africa (+6.2% y/y), North America (+8.55 y/y), Asia (+13.5% y/y) and Western Europe (+8.4% y/y) were all sources of strength. Weakness in Latin American output continued (-5.1% y/y) to act as a downside constraint. The IAI also released the CNIA Chinese production data for July, which showed average daily output at 51.3Ktd during the month, which works out as an annualised production rate of 18.7Mty. While this represented a 12% y/y increase, most significant was the mild 2% m/m decline from June's output level.
Despite an extremely tight domestic aluminium market balance, significant spare capacity and robust price signal (SHFE front-month has averaged $2760/t in July-August versus $2552/t in H1 2011), the supply-side has yet to respond. In our view, this can be attributed to two factors. First, over the last few weeks, we have seen announcements of power cuts to smelters in both Henan province (which accounts for a 25% of domestic capacity) as well as Guangxi province, indicating enforced cutbacks are currently taking place.
Second, rising production costs are pressuring smelter margins and may be limiting a supply response. Marginal costs in China currently stand just under $2600/t, following cost increases this year such as average power increase of RMB0.2/Kwh in 15 provinces and higher carbon anode prices. ... Article continues about copper

Researchers discover superdense aluminium
Swinburne University Media Centre - 24 Aug 2011
An international research team has discovered a new material, superdense aluminium, which has never before been found on Earth.
In a paper published today in Nature Communications, the researchers from Australia, the USA and Japan, describe how the material can only exist under extreme pressure, similar to that found in our planet’s core.
According to team member Professor Saulius Juodkazis from Swinburne University of Technology, the researchers were able to create the superdense aluminium, which is around 40 per cent stronger and denser than its conventional counterpart, by simulating the conditions found at the centre of the Earth.
“At extreme pressures and temperatures, such as those found in our Earth’s core, common materials form new dense phases with compacted atomic arrangements and unusual physical properties.
“Because we can’t physically see or sample materials from the extreme depths of the Earth, we need to come up with other ways to prove the existence of superdense materials. In this case, we replicated the high pressure conditions on a nano scale,” he said.
“By focusing single short laser pulses of light onto a sapphire we were able to induce a micro explosion within it. This process mimics the kind of seismic forces that have shaped the earth and other planets, melting and reforming materials under intense pressure, allowing us to synthesise the superdense aluminium material.”
According to Professor Juodkazis, the discovery could significantly advance applications which rely on nanostructured materials.
“Using this focused laser technique, we may now be able create a range of superdense metals that have extraordinary properties,” he said. “The creation of superdense silver or gold, for example, could lead to many new possibilities for bio-sensing and plasmonics.”
He said the discovery was also likely to catch the attention of earth and climate scientists. “By examining the mechanical and electrical properties of this type of material, we may be able to gain a greater understanding of the electrical conductivity of the interior regions of the planet. This is particularly important in the context of global climate change observed over long geological time spans.”
Professor Juodkazis said the experiment was conducted using a standard bench-top laser common in many research laboratories and manufacturing operations.
“Because of the simple nature of the experiment, other scientists will be able to replicate it without needing any sophisticated, expensive, equipment,” he said. “As such, many researchers now have the means to create these high density, high pressure materials, opening the door to many exciting new possibilities.”
The publication of the discovery comes just one week after Swinburne was named one of the top 100 universities in the world for Physics research in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.
The paper Evidence of Superdense Aluminium Synthesized by Ultrafast Microexplosion was authored by Dr Arturas Vailionis from Stanford University, Associate Professor Eugene Gamaly and Professor Andrei Rode from the Australian National University, Associate Professor Vygantas Mizeikis from Shizuoka University, Dr Wenge Yang from the Carnegie Institute of Washington and Professor Juodkazis from Swinburne.

Hindalco likely to delay fund raising for aluminium refinery
Business Standard - August 24, 2011
Hindalco Industries, the metal products manufacturing arm of the Aditya Birla Group, has decided to delay the financial closure of the Rs 7,800 crore Aditya Alumunium refinery project due to uncertain market conditions.
D Bhattacharya, managing director, said the markets were not favourable to raise the money at this point in time. He, however, said work on the project was on and there was no constraint on funds to hold up the project. The debt to equity ratio for the project is 75:25 and the company is using equity for the project. Hindalco had raised $600 million via a QIP issue in 2009 for its expansion plans.
Sunirmal Talukdar, CFO, said the project size for Mahan and Aditya were same and both required the same amount of funding. He said Hindalco will wait for the right opportunity to tap the market. Talukdar said the company had considered several products to raise money and will take a final decision once it decides to go ahead with the financing.
He said the company prefers rupee financing with an option to refinance part of the rupee loan with a cheaper ECB, if the opportunity arises. “Normally, we always keep the option of getting a cheaper ECB credit open. This is what we did with the Mahan and Utkal financial closures. We have a comfortable cash balance today, so we are not in a desperate need of money. We want to launch it when the markets improves.”
The company said the project is expected to be commissioned in 2013. The project includes a 359-kilo tonne per annum aluminium smelter, a 900 Mw captive power plant and an alumina refinery. The company has got the clearances for the 260-ktpa smelter and 600 Mw of power generation.

Vedanta's Alumina Refinery at Lanjigarh in Orissa gets ISO 50001:2011 ... - 23-Aug-2011
Report by correspondent; Bhubaneswar: Vedanta Aluminium Limited, (VAL), an Associate Company of the globally diversified, metals and mining group Vedanta Resources PLC. became the first Mining & Metal Industry in the country to get accreditation for its Energy Management System for ISO 50001:2011 from the British Standards Institution, for efficiently managing the existing natural resources and mitigating the impact of climate change, at its Lanjigarh Unit in Orissa.

ISO 50001:2011, the international standard on energy management, seeks to drive the attention of Industrial houses to lay greater emphasis and focus on augmenting their existing energy efficiency. In other words, it is a carefully drafted and systematically presented framework for entwining energy efficiency into management practices so that the existing energy-consuming assets can be used in a better manner which will ultimately help in reducing levels of Green House Gas emission.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Mukesh Kumar – President & COO, VAL Lanjigarh, said, “With the obtaining of the ISO 50001:2011, VAL aims to minimize energy consumption to a greater level. The accreditation for ISO 50001 also reflects VAL's determined attempt in energy-saving green practices.

“VAL is committed for overall area development & Environment protection. The Lanjigarh Plant is the only Alumina Refinery in the country having Zero discharge system and aiming to become the First Alumina Refinery in the world by developing Zero Waste road Map. It has already started recovery of valuable Vanadium from waste which is helping in reducing import of vanadium sludge,” he further added.

After attaining of the ISO 50001 certification, VAL, Lanjigarh has adhered to a framework of stringent energy conservation and efficient natural resource usage policy which requires it to align its operations to four aspects affecting energy management such as; (a) Mitigation of Climate change, (b) World class Energy Performance, (c) Support BEE, Ministry of Power, Govt. of India and (d) Energy efficient procurement. Now its system has been certified as per ISO 50001:2011.

Apart from the recent certification, VAL Lanjigarh’s environmental concerns are reflective from the constitution of a core EMS team which is primarily responsible for drafting the System Based Energy Management. In fact, the company has also trained 25 of its employees on EnMS – 16001 and 14 other employees as lead auditors through a reputed external agency.

Venezuelan Alcasa seeking private investors
SteelGuru - 23-Aug-2011
BNamericas reported that workers at Venezuelan state aluminum reducer Alcasa have drawn up a proposal to attract private investors to help return plant operations to normal.
Mr Henry Arias labor director of Alcasa said that "We want to look for investors to help us revitalize the company and we're willing to sign whatever agreements are necessary, provided they are win win relationships."
Mr Arias said that the initial goal is to raise USD 30 million from investors to incorporate 60 production cells and restore the plant's operational capacity. Alcasa had to look for allies among local and international companies interested in increasing the number of cells in operation because the plant's status is critical. We are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to stabilize the plant.
He said that many of the company's 89 customers have expressed interest in providing this financial support including Swiss based commodities trader Glencore International. All of the company's customers are entitled to participate, so they can also be international companies.
In July, workers at Alcasa approved a document called the emergency proposal that established the urgency of seeking resources from public and private companies to ensure the continuation of plant operations. In April, Alcasa declared an operational and financial emergency due to lack of resources to maintain the stability of the cells which are operating at 40% of capacity.

SPOTLIGHT: Brazil's aluminium sector in split on import duties (subscription) - 23-Aug-2011
aluminium industry must find a compromise between extruders fighting for the removal of import taxes on primary aluminium, and smelters which want them retained. "This trade-off will be very difficult to achieve […] but reducing the duties ...

Casthouse Planner - 23-Aug-2011
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aluminum smelter in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates).

NALCO to invest Rs. 579 bn by 2020 on expansion
India - Aug 22, 2011
Firm plans to set up two large aluminium smelters, an alumina refinery and a power project
NALCO reportedly plans to invest Rs. 579 bn by 2020 on expansion, including the setting up of two large aluminium smelters in India and abroad.
According to a report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Coal and Steel, the firm would invest Rs. 165 bn in Indonesia for setting up a 5 million tonnes (MT) smelter, with 1,250 MW power plant and another Rs. 163 bn on a smelter of the same size to be built in Western Orissa, with 1,260 MW power plant.
NALCO also plans to construct a new alumina refinery of 1.4 MT in Andhra Pradesh and 1,000-MW power project as independent power producer, both of which would require an investment of Rs. 106 bn, the report stated, adding that rest of the amount would be spent on existing projects.

New unit to remove emissions from aluminium plant flue gases
SteelGuru - 22-Aug-2011
Hydro's technology center in Ardal of Norway is installing a unit to remove sulfur dioxide from the flue gas from aluminum production. The unit will reduce annual emissions of SO2 from the technology center by 200 tonnes. It is the first industrial application of this technology.
Mr Are Dyry who is responsible for environmental technology in the technology unit in Hydro's Primary Metal business area said that "We have evaluated SO2 capture in Ardal for some time and have now found a new solution that can be implemented and that will remove at least 95% of the sulfur emissions. The installation will also be completed without creating additional emissions or production losses."
The treatment plant for the recovery of fluorine which was built during the expansion of the technology center in 2008 does not remove SO2 as the metal plant in Ardal had dispensation for the increased discharge. A standard solution for the treatment of SO2 would have increased project costs significantly. So studies were initiated instead into how treatment could be added at a later date.
A solution has now been developed in cooperation with the supplier Alstom that can be installed on a full scale. It is the world's first treatment plant of its kind. The new treatment facility enables the Ardal metal plant to meet the stricter requirements for emissions of sulfur dioxide that are expected in the future.
Sulfur dioxide is a by product of aluminum production and the consumption of anodes in the electrochemical process. Anodes contain petroleum coke; the coke contains sulfur, which forms the SO2 when the anode is consumed.
Mr Knut Omholt Austreid director of Technology in Primary Metals said that "This is an interesting project for two reasons. First, the unit will be installed during full operation at the technology center and second we have to learn to run aluminum production with anodes containing more sulfur. If the sulfur content rises in the anodes at least 95% of all sulfur dioxide will be removed in the new facility."
The new facility has an expected cost of NOK 35 million and is scheduled to be in full operation by the autumn of 2012. To implement this initiative the project has received support from the Process Industry Environment Fund in Norway. The fund was established in 2001 by the Federation of Norwegian Industries and the Ministry of the Environment for the purpose of planning and financing reductions in SO2 emissions from the Norwegian processing industry.
The project which led to the decision to invest in new environmental technologies has been a collaboration between the technology areas in Primary Metal, the Ardal metal plant and Hydro's central Health, Safety and Environment department.
Mr Dyry said that "This is an excellent example of interdisciplinary collaboration, where the technology and operating environments in close cooperation with the HSE department have succeeded in finding a good technical solution that can be installed while the plant is in operation. In addition, we have succeeded in getting support from the Environmental Fund for a good environmental project."
(Sourced from

China Power Investment to Spend $6 Billion on Guinea Refineries
San Francisco Chronicle - 20-Aug-2011
Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- China Power Investment Corp. will spend $6 billion to develop bauxite and alumina refineries at Boffa in Guinea, according to a statement from the president's office.
The Beijing-based energy company will also build a port to remove ore from the area, President Alpha Conde's office said in the statement, citing China Power Vice President Yu Dehui.
The facilities will initially produce 12 million tons annually of bauxite, used to make aluminum, along with 4 million tons of alumina, according to the statement.
--Editors: Claudia Maedler, Ross Larsen.

Govt mulling disinvestment in BHEL and NALCO: FM
India - 19-Aug-2011
Proposals to sell some of Government stakes in public sector undertakings (PSU) BHEL and National
Aluminium Co. Ltd. (NALCO) are at various stages of consideration before the Government approves them, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday. ...

Nalco seeks EoI for downstream units in Angul Aluminium Park
Economic Times - 19-Aug-2011
NEW DELHI: Public sector aluminium miner National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco) has invited potential entrepreneurs/manufacturers to set up ancillary and downstream units at its Angul Aluminium Park in Orissa, Parliament was informed today.
"An Expression of Interest ( EoI) has been floated on July 27, 2011, for inviting potential entrepreneurs/manufacturers in both ancillaries and downstream category to participate in the proposed Aluminium Park," Mines Minister Dinsha Patel said in a reply to the Lok Sabha.
In order to promote aluminium-specific downstream and ancillary units in Orissa, Nalco and Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation formed a joint venture firm, Angul Aluminium Park Private Ltd, in July last year for setting up an Aluminium Park adjacent to Nalco's smelter plant in Angul district.
"Under the Angul Aluminium Park Private Limited, both ancillaries and downstream units shall be encouraged to set up their respective units within the proposed Aluminium Park. Nalco has agreed to participate in equity of 49.5 per cent of the joint venture company," the minister said.
In addition to equity participation, Patel said the PSU has also agreed to provide a Rs 20 crore loan to the joint venture company.
However, the minister said Nalco does not have any identified industrial area for upstream and downstream industries.

ENRC increases its aluminium production by 20.4% in first half-year 2011
Caspionet - 19-Aug-2011
Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) has produced 124 thousand tonnes of aluminium over the first six months of 2011 which is 20.4% higher than during the same period in 2010.
ENRC has increased aluminium production by 20.5% over the first six months of 2011, Interfax reports. The group sold a total of 124 thousand tonnes of aluminium. According to the document, bauxite extraction reached 2.689 million tonnes while alumina production totaled 813 thousand tonnes. The production of chrome ore, high-carbon ferrochromium and ferroalloys increased while iron ore production saw a decline. Apart from that, production of primary iron-ore concentrate and commodity iron-ore pellet reduced as well. Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation is engaged in mining and processing chrome, manganese and iron ore, smelting ferroalloys, processing bauxite for the production of alumina and aluminium, producing copper and cobalt, coal mining and electricity production, as well as transporting and selling products. The group’s production assets are located mainly in Kazakhstan.

Alcoa hints at leaving SC
The State - 18-Aug-2011
Santee Cooper’s largest customer could pull out of the Lowcountry if it doesn’t get a competitive power rate.
Aluminum-maker Alcoa, one of the Charleston region’s largest employers, is renegotiating its power contract with the state-owned utility and is threatening to leave if those talks go sour, Santee Cooper spokeswoman Laura Varn said.
The Berkeley County smelting plant’s contract with the utility expires at the end of 2015, but a renegotiation clause allows the plant to alert Santee Cooper by next June if it wants to terminate the deal.
“We are hearing that they will pull out if they don’t get a competitive rate,” Varn said.
Alcoa Mount Holly plant manager Mike Rousseau said he hopes that an agreement can be reached, but he said the cost of electricity is an obstacle for the company.
“Power is a big component of our cost structure,” Rousseau said. “We produce a commodity that is sold on the worldwide market. The price is pretty well set, and it becomes difficult to pass costs, such as price increases with electricity, on to our customers. We just have no way to do that.”
Talks are in the early stages with the company that makes up 10 percent of the utility’s total electric sales.
“We recognize that Alcoa operates in a global market and must remain competitive,” Varn said. “The situation we are in right now is that Santee Cooper is also facing some increasing pressures, and circumstances such as rising costs that are impacting our business.”
Rising fuel costs, increased transportation charges and uncertainty over the effect of current and future federal environmental regulations are affecting power rates, costs that inevitably must be passed along to Santee Cooper’s 164,000 customers and 30 large industries, including Alcoa, Varn said.
“The good news is we have a history of working with Alcoa over the past several decades, and we have been down this road before with them,” she said. “It’s a top priority for us, and we are doing all we can to find a workable solution.”
Rousseau said, “We have to get to a rate that allows us to remain competitive, and we are working with Santee Cooper to do that. Ultimately, we have to figure out a solution to this.”
Gov. Nikki Haley on Tuesday weighed in on the matter. South Carolina has one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates at 10.5 percent.
“We are not going to lose Alcoa jobs over utility rates,” she said. “We are not going to let that happen. What Santee Cooper has to do is prioritize and cut and see how we are going to get there. Alcoa has to realize that we can’t give them everything they want.”
In the larger picture, she said the state needs to make sure it is creating a competitive environment for all businesses in the area.
“Alcoa is just one of the people feeling the symptoms,” Haley said. “My job is to find out why we are where we are.”

Rusal to Boost Aluminum Output on Demand for Computers, Phones
San Francisco Chronicle - 17-Aug-2017
Aug. 17 (Bloomberg) -- United Co. Rusal, the world's largest aluminum producer, plans to increase output of high- purity aluminum used in computers and mobile phones as demand rises in Asia and the U.S.
Rusal's Krasnoyarsk plant in Russia is targeting a 13 percent increase in output of the high-purity metal this year to 17,000 metric tons, the Moscow-based company said today in an e- mailed statement.
Rusal plans to restart 10 alumina-processing units that were halted two years ago as the global recession curbed demand. One of the 10 is already operational, it said.
--Editors: Amanda Jordan, John Viljoen

LME aluminium may bottom around $2363/T
Business Recorder - 17-Aug-2011
SINGAPORE: LME aluminium's fall may have ended and the contract may bottom out around $2,363 per tonne.
The short-term downtrend that started at the July 27 high of $2,675.25 has developed five waves, with the final wave "5" likely to complete around $2,363.25, a low touched on Aug. 9.
The focus now is whether the metal would be able to surge above $2,394, a pivotal level in confirming the start of a strong rebound.
A fall below $2,363 will extend to $2,330.
No information in this analysis should be considered as being business, financial or legal advice. Each reader should consult his or her own professional or other advisers for business, financial or legal advice regarding the products mentioned in the analyses.

Century to restart Hawesville potline by year end
Reuters - 15-Aug-2011
Aug 15 (Reuters) - Century Aluminum Co. (CENX.O) plans to restart the idled potline at its Hawesville, Kentucky, smelter by year-end and begin construction on the Helguvik, Iceland, smelter in early 2012 at the latest, company executives told analysts on a recent conference call.
"Bottom line, we now believe the plant will be operated at graded capacity by the end of this year," said Chief Executive Officer Logan Kruger of the 244,000 tonne-per-year aluminum smelter at Hawesville, Kentucky.
The Monterey, California-based primary aluminum smelter expects efforts to restart the fifth of five potlines at Hawesville will leave third-quarter shipments for Century's entire U.S. operations essentially flat compared with second quarter. Second quarter U.S. shipments were up 7 percent.
"We're looking at a third-quarter estimate of cash operating costs to be about $300 per tonne higher than we had estimated back in February," the executive said.
Century curtailed the potline in March 2009 to contain plant costs while faced with depressed aluminum prices. It had planned to bring the potline back online during the first quarter, adding about 4,370 tonnes a month of production.
But restarting the potline meant adding 130 new workers, many of whom were inexperienced and needed training. Management issues also delayed progress, the executive said.
Planned technical improvements and floods along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers that caused logistic challenges exacerbated delays caused by staffing issues.
Speaking generally, the CEO said, market conditions were stable and demand growth in BRIC countries "encouraging."
In the United States, metal remains tight, with the Midwest aluminum premium holding close to record levels. Certain products are in short supply, "with end markets like automotive continuing to exhibit relative strength," he said.
Kruger also said alumina spot prices look like they are coming down a bit, but supply and demand was fairly balanced, and Century's own supply was secure for three or four years.
"It seems to us, from what we hear and see, that alumina destined to go into China is now staying out of China."
With China out of the market the spot price has fallen to around $400 to $380 a tonne in recent few weeks or months, similar to a price figured as some percentage of LME aluminum.
In Iceland, he said, the Helguvik smelter should produce its first 90,000 tonnes of aluminum by early 2014, or about 24 months after planned construction starts in early 2012.
But first, Century needs to negotiate a power agreement.
"It does no good to have a smelter ready to go if the power isn't there. As important as getting the pricing finalized is getting delivery commitments from these two power providers finalized," said Michael Bless, chief financial officer.
He added that Century thinks it can get a satisfactory power deal by year-end, with construction starting soon after.
It met with HS Orka, one of two power companies, in May.
"We were pleased on how it went. We will hear at the end of September. We have also made some progress with discussions with OR (the second power company)," Kruger said.
To complete Helguvik's Phase I, pipes need to be sunk, the turbine needs connecting and transmission lines must be built. The smelter has all necessary permits and contracts in place.
Its Mt. Holly, South Carolina plant returned to its 220,000 tonne-per-year operating rate, running several percent above its nameplate capacity after surmounting management and other challenges during the second quarter.
To restart its curtailed Ravenswood, West Virginia, plant, Century would need a labor contract, a competitive power contract -- which it continues to negotiate -- and "some view of this market for three to five years," the CEO said. (Reporting by Carole Vaporean; editing by Jim Marshall)

Emirates Aluminium picks SNC-Lavalin to manage Phase 2 of smelter construction - 15-Aug-2011
MONTREAL - Emirates Aluminium Company Ltd. has selected SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (TSX:SNC) to manage the construction of Phase 2 of a major smelter project in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
The project will add 525,000 tonnes of annual aluminum production capacity when it is completed in 2014.
Montreal-based SNC-Lavailin also managed construction of the first phase of the smelter, which has a capacity of 750,000 tonnes of aluminum per year.
The second phase will include a power plant capable of producing 1,000 megawatts of electricity and a 1.7-kilometre-long pot line, which SNC says will be the longest ever built.
SNC didn't publish the value of its new contract. Its shares closed Monday at $51.40, down 15 cents, on the Toronto Stock Exchange

Australian Bauxite Limited (ASX:ABZ) Announce 6 Million Tonne Maiden Bauxite ...
ABN Newswire (press release) - 15-Aug-2011
Sydney, Aug 15, 2011 (ABN Newswire) - Emerging bauxite exploration and development company, Australian Bauxite (ASX:ABZ) has discovered a thick layer of bauxite at its Guyra project in northern NSW. The bauxite lies near surface beneath a thin clay horizon. Results from 71 holes into the bauxite include some exceptionally high grade, thick gibbsite bauxite, ideal as a "sweetener" to any bauxite refinery.
ABx refers to such high grade bauxite as "Brown Sugar" which commands a large price premium.
The deposit lies at surface, commonly on topographic high points which have been cleared for grazing but left uncultivated because of the poor soil that develops on bauxite.
The bauxite is relatively consistent in quality as demonstrated by the fact that 87% of the 71 bauxite intercepts are "Brown Sugar" bauxite, being a superior quality, low silica, gibbsite bauxite suitable for sweetening circuits in refineries. .................

China not to mine bauxite in Vietnam
VietNamNet Bridge - 12-Aug-2011
VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam does not have a policy of allowing Chinese investors in bauxite projects in the Central Highlands, President Truong Tan Sang has said.
Meeting with voters in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 4 yesterday, Aug 11, the newly elected president said: “I would like to confirm to you that the politburo has decided not to allow Chinese investors to exploit bauxite in the Central Highlands.”
Asked about the fact that there were Chinese workers at the Nhan Co Aluminum Plant in Dak Nong Province and the Tan Rai Aluminum Bauxite Plant in Lam Dong Province, he said some Chinese contractors had won bids to build the two plants and had brought their workers to Vietnam for the construction.
“When the work is complete, the workers will return to China.”
The Vietnam Coal and Mineral Industries Group had been entrusted with mining bauxite, he said.
“It is normal for workers to go from country to another to work. The issue is that those workers must comply with the laws of the country where they are working.”
As for Chinese workers working in some provinces without work permits, he blamed it on local labor management agencies, which he said had failed to exercise control.
Replying to some people who said the National Assembly was not properly supervising construction projects, he said: “The NA will have to renovate itself to improve its supervision activities.”“To know if [something] has been built in accordance with the design or meets quality standards, we need to have an independent appraisal organization.”

UK aluminium smelter power plant must switch from coal
Reuters - Thu Aug 11, 2011
* Already looking at the technology, trialling
* Tight schedules
* Smelter would need to import some power

By Karen Norton
LONDON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - The coal-fired power station which supplies all of the energy to Rio Tinto Alcan's Lynemouth aluminium smelter in northeast England, must switch to biomass generation if it is to have a long-term future, a spokesman for the company said.
The company has yet to decide separately, in a strategic review, whether it will keep, sell or close its Lynemouth assets, which comprise the smelter and power plant.
But the need to comply with tougher environmental legislation by April 2013 has forced it to look sooner at options for the power station.
"Regardless of what happens with the strategic review, if the power station is to have a long term future it needs to move away from conventional coal-fired power generation to something low carbon," the company's Corporate Affairs Director, John McCabe, based at Lynemouth, told Reuters on Thursday.
"We've looked at a whole range of options... and have settled on biomass as being probably the most feasible."
McCabe said the company was already looking at the technology, and trialling materials, the infrastructure and the plant that was in place.
It has applied for planning permission to allow construction of 10 silos to store the biomass on-site.
Some 1-2 percent of the energy generated from the plant is currently biomass, he added.
"I guess the next decision is for Rio Tinto to decide whether it will make the investment to take the project forward of whether it's best done by a third party who may have an interest in buying the power station," McCabe said.
Schedules are tight and a decision on the next stage would need to be made late in the third quarter to convert the power plant and get it operational by April 2013.
McCabe said the company was also asking the British government for clarity on what it proposes to do about incentivising renewable power generation.
"That's the sort of thing which will also impact the decision-making process going forwards."
Meanwhile, the long term future of the Lynemouth assets has yet to be finalised.
"Both assets are under strategic review...anything which impacted the power station, to the extent of a change of ownership, obviously would have a very direct and immediate impact on the smelter," McCabe said.
"But it is possible that Rio decides to split the assets and follow one course of action with one and another with the other."
At present the Lynemouth aluminium smelter takes all of its electricity from the power station.
Trials indicated that a biomass plant would have the capacity to provide most of the smelter's power needs, although some would probably have to be imported.
McCabe said the smelter had the ability to import energy from the grid if needed.
The Lynemouth smelter is in the process of returning to full capacity of around 175,000 tonnes a year. Production was curtailed around late 2008/early 2009 in response to a slump in global demand and prices.
Most of its output is exported to mainland Europe, primarily to Germany, ending up in a variety of uses including the packaging, construction and automotive industries.
Around 630 workers are employed at Lynemouth, with 120 of those at the power station. (Editing by Anthony Barker)

Alumina's spot price push proves its mettle
Sydney Morning Herald - 12-Aug-2011
ALUMINA LTD has confirmed initial success in the five-year push to have alumina priced on a spot/index-based system, with margins at its 40 per cent-owned Alcoa Worldwide Alumina and Chemicals joint venture with Alcoa improving as a result.
Alumina stated its sales volumes under the new system - one that the iron ore industry has also adopted - were running at 20 per cent of total third party sales, with the intention of getting to 100 per cent in five years.
The initial success in the changeover was confirmed by Alumina in its June half profit report. Underlying profit increased by $US56 million to $US78 million, with the 254 per cent improvement underpinned by higher commodity prices.
Alumina has increased interim dividends on the higher result from US2 a share to US3 a share (fully franked and to be paid on September 7 after books close on August 22 - the date on which the applicable exchange rate for payment to Australian shareholders will be made).
Alumina did not specify the direct impact of the alumina pricing shift on its June half profit. But historically, spot pricing has generally been about $US50 a tonne higher than the traditional method of pricing alumina at a 13-14 per cent percentage of the aluminium metal price. It also said that the move had helped its margins to expand as well as reflecting the key value of alumina's worth.
The managing director of Alumina, John Bevan, said that was important as alumina was finally being priced on the ''true worth of the alumina rather than the end product.''
''So it will go up and down on those fundamentals rather than the fundamentals of aluminium,'' he said. ''That means you can make investment decisions based on the true value of what you are producing.''
Mr Bevan said alumina prices need to rise to more than $US400 a tonne to support further investment.
''Capital and operating costs have moved up significantly in the industry. So if you are going to make an adequate return you are going to need prices above $US400 a tonne to get people to reinvest in the industry.
''The market is already very tight and it needs to have everybody producing and investing to ensure that the market does not become very short.''
Mr Bevan also said ''nothing'' was happening with AWAC's potential $US2.2 billion expansion of the Wagerup refinery south of Perth.
''We would want to see pricing firm for an extended period of time before we jumped into anything,'' he said.

Alcoa Starts Construction of Refinery at Saudi Venture
San Francisco Chronicle - 10-Aug-2011
Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, said it started construction on the site of an alumina refinery in Saudi Arabia.
Ceremonies were held today to mark the official groundbreaking at the refinery and the pouring of the first concrete at the aluminum rolling mill, Alcoa said in a statement.
The $10.8 billion project at Ras Al Khair on the country's east coast is a joint venture with the Saudi Arabian Mining Co., known as Ma'aden. The complex will mine bauxite and refine the ore into alumina, which will be processed at a 740,000 metric- ton-a-year smelter.
The 380,000-ton rolling mill will initially make aluminum sheet for cans, and in the future may produce metal for building products or car parts, Kenneth Wisnoski, who heads Alcoa's division that encompasses growth, energy, bauxite and Africa, said in a telephone interview from Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.
"Our first target market is Saudi and then following on that, the Middle East region," Wisnoski said. "We're near very high-population areas."
Ma'aden owns 75 percent of the venture and New York-based Alcoa owns 25 percent, Mike Belwood, a spokesman for Alcoa, said in a telephone interview. Alcoa provides technical expertise for the refinery, smelter and mill and Saudi Arabia is building infrastructure for the project including a port, rail line and power plant, Belwood said.
The rolling mill and smelter will begin production in 2013 and the mine and refinery will start up in 2014.
--Editors: Simon Casey, Jasmina Kelemen

Nigeria: Senate Hearing - US$3.2 Billion ALSCON Sold for US$130 Million - 09-Aug-2011
The Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) in Akwa Ibom State built at a cost of $3.2bn was sold to a Russian company for $130m, the Senate ad-hoc committee investigating the activities of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on the privatisation and commercialization of federal government owned public enterprises from 1999 to date heard yesterday.
Documents and oral presentations made before the committee by BPE's Director General Ms Bolanle Onagoruwa shows that the Federal government invested $3.2 billion from the 1980s to 1997 in constructing the company, including a 540 megawatts capacity power plant, but the company was later valued at $250 million by BPE consultants and subsequently sold to a Russian based company, Russel in September, 2006.
The probe was sequel to a motion on the matter sponsored by Senate Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan (ANPP, Yobe North) and 25 other Senators and adopted by the Senate pursuant to its resolution No. S/Res/004/01/11 passed on 19th July, 2011.
Although the BPE had valued ASCON at $250 million, according to Ms Bolanle, it later discounted $120 million to the Russians with the understanding that Russel will use the $120 million to dredge the Imo River, which it will use to ferry its raw materials and also export finished products using bigger ships. However, 5 years after, Russel neither carried out the dredging exercise nor remitted the money to the BPE. Instead, it chose to ship its goods through the Onne Ports.
Senators were also told that Russel requested for import waivers from the Federal Government on all its raw materials and this was immediately granted, which explains why from 2006 to date, the Russian company never paid any import duty to the Nigeria Customs service.
Similarly, the BPE boss revealed that the government had also entered into an agreement with the Russians to subsidise the price of gas to them from $1 to 30 cents for a period of 20 years, as a result of which the government was already owing Shell N800 million naira for supplying the gas.
"It is a criminal act for a $3.2 billion company operating at 75 percent technical capacity and 95 percent structural capacity to be sold at $250 million at a time when it has worked for 18 months," said Senator Mohammad Magoro (PDP, Kebbi South).
However, Ms Bolanle said most Nigerian companies were built at exorbitant prices, saying "and their cost of production was inflated.' She said within the same period, a similar company was built in Mozambique for $800 million which the Senators said was also a far cry from what was paid on ASCON.
When asked on the whereabouts of the $120 million meant for the Imo river dredging 5 years after it was supposed to have been completed, the Acting Managing Director of Russel Mr. Vitaly Kuzretzov said he was not ready to answer the question but maintained that from 2008 to 2011, the company had experienced six stoppages resulting in loss of production due to shortage of gas supply.
"The pricing was anomalous. Russel has no capacity for dredging but was given $120m to outsource the dredging. The sale was like dashing the company to Russel, with N800m import waiver and gas subsidy to last for 20 years. As a Nigerian I feel grossly short-changed," said committee Chairman Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan (ANPP, Yobe North).

Kaiser Aluminium to Expand Plate Heat Treatment Capacity - 08-Aug-2011
Kaiser Aluminum Corporation (Nasdaq:KALU) today announced plans to further expand heat treat plate capacity at its Trentwood rolling mill in Spokane, Washington. The investment of approximately $21 million to debottleneck various processing centers is expected to increase the rolling mill's heat treat plate capacity approximately 5% as it comes on stream during 2013.
"This additional plate capacity demonstrates our commitment as a strategic supplier to our major commercial aircraft manufacturing and service center customers," said Jack A Hockema, President, CEO and Chairman. "The three-phase plate expansion completed in late 2008 broadened our capabilities and more than doubled our heat treat plate production capacity. These debottlenecking plans, enabled by our dedicated and supportive workforce, leverage our strong manufacturing platform at Trentwood to further increase plate capacity in anticipation of exceptionally strong aerospace build rates in the coming years," concluded Mr. Hockema.

Sarco signs 20-year deal to sell alumina from Laos to NFC (subscription) - August 08, 2011
London, Sino Australian Resources (Sarco) has signed a memorandum of understanding with China Non-ferrous Industry's Foreign Engineering and Construction Co (NFC) for sale of alumina from the Laos aluminium joint venture
Sino Australian Resources (Sarco) has signed a memorandum of understanding with China Non-ferrous Industry's Foreign Engineering & Construction Co (NFC) for sale of alumina from the Laos aluminium joint venture.
“Sarco and NFC will enter into a minimum 20 year off-take agreement for Sarco to sell to an NFC-led buyer group alumina products from Laos,” Ord River Resources, which owns 49% of Sarco, said.
The remaining 51% of Sarco is owned by NFC.
The agreement is for 600,000 tpy in alumina sales – the refinery’s...

VHE Win Contract to Refurbish Rodding Plant at Alcan's Aluminium Smelter in ... - August 7, 2011
VHE of Iceland has been awarded a major contract for the modification and refurbishment of the rodding plant at ISAL - Rio Tinto Alcan's aluminium smelter in Iceland.
The IPU Project - ISAL Production Upgrade - will increase the amperage to 181 kA in Lines 1 and 2 of ISAL'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 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.
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 and SCADA automation will also be undertaken by VHE.

BHP appeal could stall Eskom pricing release
BusinessLIVE - 07-Aug-2011
While the High Court has ordered Eskom to release the details of its pricing agreement with BHP Billiton's Hillside and Mozal smelters, which consume an estimated 5.7% of the South African utility's total supply, the ruling might be opposed by BHP Billiton.
BHP Billiton, which is reportedly weighing its legal options, argued in court papers that disclosure of the pricing would harm its financial and commercial interests by informing other industry participants about the production costs of smelters.
The resources giant was one of the beneficiaries of special tariffs devised to incentivise investment into South Africa opening its borders after the sanctions era. By offering tariffs that were among the lowest in the world, the country was able to attract the investment of major companies, particularly those seeking a destination for aluminium smelters which are highly electricity intensive.
Until now the details of the cut-rate pricing agreements have not been disclosed.
The case was brought by a local publishing group who asked the court to force Eskom to reveal the terms of these agreements in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.
Eskom was first requested to provide the information more than two years ago in June 2009 and when it failed to do so the court application was lodged in September the same year.
It has taken all this time to secure a ruling that should set a precedent for both the public and private sector.
Eskom, which was willing to divulge some of the details, was never willing to provide the full agreements. It and BHP Billiton argued that to do so would prejudice the resources group's competitive position.
BHP Billiton put forward that all aluminium producers "vigorously protect" information relating to their electricity costs for this reason.
But the judge overrode the argument, saying release of the information was in the public interest - particularly in light of the recent electricity shortages and price increases.
"It cannot be disputed that this application relates to matters of considerable public interest," said Judge Frans Kgomo.
Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe said on Friday that the utility intended to abide by the count's decision. She also said that Eskom had no plans to appeal the ruling.
Joffe confirmed that two out of three bulk purchases agreement had been negotiated.
The two contracts are for the Mozal aluminium smelter in Mozambique and Skorpion Zinc in Namibia. Joffe said the only contract that remained to be reviewed was the Hillside aluminium smelter in KwaZulu-Natal.
Bulk supply agreements were traditionally linked to commodity prices and therefore producers pay less for electricity when they receive less for the metal they produce but the new contracts decoupled the electricity tariff from the price of the commodity.
The fall in commodity prices, particularly that of aluminium, led to earnings volatility for Eskom. Required to report mark-to-market adjustments on the value of its embedded derivative, these contracts were part of the reason the utility posted a massive loss two years ago.
Joffe did not say whether the details of these reviewed contracts would be made available.
There is also no indication of when the historic information would be made available.In terms of the judgement, which concerned the agreements with BHP Billiton's Mozal and Hillside smelters, Eskom is compelled to furnish details about the formula used in the price determination, the dates of the commencement and termination of the agreements, as well as the signatories of the agreement.
Eskom has provided a list of those who signed the agreement and said the agreements dated back to the 1990s with the Mozal smelters set to receive electricity until 2026 and Hillside until 2028.
If BHP Billiton decides to appeal, Eskom would hold back the contract details until the appeal was finalised.

Rio Says Rising Labor Costs, Australian Dollar Put Pressure on Expansion
Bloomberg - 06-Aug-2011
Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second- largest mining company, said the rising Australian dollar and labor costs are hurting earnings and will be a challenge in coming years, putting pressure on expansion plans.
“We’re going to be suffering the dual effects of rising costs, rising labor rates and a strong currency and that’s going to affect not only operations but also the pace and the expense on capital projects,” Chief Executive Officer Tom Albanese said in an interview on Australian Broadcasting Corp’s “Inside Business” program today.
Global mining companies are battling rising wages, raw material and energy bills as well as currency gains in producing countries that drive up their costs. The Australian dollar, known as the Aussie, has gained 14 percent against the U.S. dollar in the past 12 months, making it the third-best performer among the major global currencies. London-based Rio Tinto said currency gains and costs curbed earnings as it reported first- half profit this week that missed analyst estimates.
Higher costs associated with project expansions cut earnings by $353 million while other production-related expenses including maintenance and additional labor costs reduced earnings by $182 million, Rio said on Aug. 4. Gains in the Australian dollar drove the cost of existing iron ore and alumina expansion projects $2.4 billion higher, the company said.
Tight Market
Albanese said the iron ore market will remain tight as global suppliers are struggling to meet demand from China. China’s economy is estimated to expand by close to 9.5 percent this year, driving global growth to 3 percent to 3.5 percent in 2011, he said.
“Many producers around the world are struggling, too, with their own supply and their own growth and that’s continuing to keep tight conditions and higher prices” for iron ore, Albanese said. Rio Tinto will look for acquisitions opportunities “from time to time” while continuing to focus on expanding its own projects to boost production.
Bigger rival BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) said in June the cost of expanding its Worsley aluminum project in Western Australia state increased by more than half to $3 billion and completion has been delayed by at least six months.
Australia’s plan to introduce a carbon tax in 2012 will add pressure to Rio’s costs, Albanese said today. The government’s plan to charge companies an initial A$23 a ton of carbon dioxide from July next year before moving to an emissions-trading system by 2015 may reduce the value of the coal industry by about A$8 billion, research group Wood Mackenzie Ltd. said in a report on July 25.
‘Not the Time’
The Reserve Bank of Australia, which has cut the nation’s 2011 economic growth outlook to 2 percent from 3.5 percent, said Aug. 5 the carbon price will add 0.7 percent “to the general price level.”
The tax “as it’s currently being envisioned will just add to those cost pressures and will create more competitive challenges,” Albanese said. “Our position is that in terms of coming up with a price for carbon, our suggestion, our engagement would be that it should be gradual, it should be tested over time to make sure it’s not having a negative effect. This is not the time to experiment with an economy.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Soraya Permatasari in Melbourne at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at

Century to resume building in Iceland (subscription) - 06-Aug-2011
Century Aluminum Co. plans to resume construction of its greenfield smelter in Helguvik, Iceland, next year, and expects its Hawesville, Ky., plant to reach capacity by the end of the year, executives announced Friday.
Century Aluminum Co. plans to resume construction of its greenfield smelter in Helguvik, Iceland, next year, and expects its Hawesville, Ky., plant to reach capacity by the end of the year, executives announced Friday.
Century expects to reach a power agreement for Helguvik by the end of the year and start construction in early 2012, Logan Kruger, president and chief executive officer, said during the company’s second-quarter earnings conference call.
"We’ve got all the permits, we’ve got the permissions, we’ve got all the contracts in place," Kruger said. "We basically have to bring to a conclusion the power provider discussions."
Century met with Icelandic power provider HS Orka in May. "We were pleased with how it went," Kruger said, adding that talks will continue in September. "We will assess the decision and sit down with...

Venezuela's Bauxilum Agrees to Glencore Contract, Correo Says
Bloomberg - Aug 5, 2011
Venezuelan state-run alumina and bauxite producer CVG Bauxilum’s board agreed to a $120 million future supply contract with Glencore International Plc, Correo del Caroni reported, citing Wilfredo Flores, a labor director.
Bauxilum will supply Glencore with 1.4 million tons of alumina between 2014 and 2018, the Ciudad Guayana-based newspaper reported. The contract still needs approval from Mining Minister Jose Khan, the newspaper said.
Glencore spokesman Simon Buerk in Baar, Switzerland declined to comment when contacted by telephone today.
Bauxilum and Glencore have signed three earlier future supply contracts, Correo del Caroni said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Cancel in Caracas at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at

Eskom Ordered to Release BHP Electricity Price Information
BusinessWeek - 05-Aug-2011
Aug. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the utility that supplies about 95 percent of South Africa’s electricity, was ordered by a court to release to a news organization details of how power sold to BHP Billiton Ltd. was priced.
“It is in the public interest” that the information about the supplies to BHP aluminum smelters is released to Naspers Ltd. unit Media24, Judge Frans Kgomo said in his ruling in Johannesburg’s South Gauteng High Court today. Eskom won’t, appeal against the judgment, said spokeswoman Hilary Joffe.
State-owned Eskom in 2009 declined to give information Media24 requested under the Public Access Information Act after the utility posted a record 9.75 billion rand ($1.4 billion) loss. Discounted power sales to BHP have a “significant impact” on the reliability and affordability of supplies to the public, Media24 journalist Jan de Lange said in an affidavit last year.
BHP’s aluminum smelters in South Africa and Mozambique are capable of consuming as much as 2,150 megawatts of Eskom’s power, equivalent to more than 5 percent of the utility’s installed capacity.
“It’s only right that this information is in the public domain,” Ryk van Niekerk, editor of Sake24, the business section of Media24, said in an interview at the court.
Pricing Formula
The ruling requires Eskom to disclose the formula used to price power sold to BHP’s Hillside and Mozambican smelters, the parties who signed the contracts, and the period they are valid for, Van Niekerk said.
BHP, which is a respondent in the case brought by Media24, has argued that the power price information is commercially sensitive. BHP will consider today’s ruling “with the view of determining whether there are grounds for an appeal,” the Melbourne-based company’s local unit said in an e-mailed response to questions.
Eskom started a review of the contracts with BHP in 2009, and two have been renegotiated. The utility has struggled to fund a 500 billion rand expansion program to end a capacity shortage that shut most of the country’s mines for five days in 2008.
De Lange and Media24 are the applicants in the case, while BHP, Eskom, the Hillside smelter, a Mozambican power distribution company and South Africa’s Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development are the respondents. Naspers, based in Cape Town, is Africa’s biggest media company.

Outotec wins over EUR 100 million aluminum smelter technology contract for ...
CisionWire (press release) - AUGUST 4, 2011
Outotec wins over EUR 100 million aluminum smelter technology contract for Emirates Aluminium
Outotec and Emirates Aluminium PJSC (EMAL) have agreed to terms for two contracts with a total value of over EUR 100 million. The deal calls for Outotec to deliver aluminum smelter technology to the second phase of EMAL's smelter expansion project located at Al-Taweelah in Abu Dhabi.
Outotec will be providing technology, engineering, supply and installation of a green anode plant with one anode production line, along with a crushing plant
for recycled carbon materials. Expanding the liquid pitch storage system and the plant operation center are also part of the overall scope.
In addition, the two companies also agreed that Outotec is to deliver an anode rodding shop and hot bath removal facility, including engineering, procurement and construction. The work is to be carried out ensuring that the technology meets the strong environmental standards as outlined by EMAL.
"Our customers and the industries we serve are in their investment decisions increasingly emphasizing technologies which are operationally efficient and as clean as possible. This is where Outotec can play a significant role as a leading technology supplier," states Pertti Korhonen, president and CEO of Outotec.
The massive smelter facility is scheduled to be commissioned by early 2014. Once the overall second phase is completed, EMAL will be the world's largest single-
site aluminum smelter. Currently, the company is producing roughly 750,000 tonnes of aluminum annually, but it will be able to almost double that figure with a planned capacity of 1.3 million tonnes by the end of 2014.
Outotec previously worked with EMAL in 2007 providing similar technology to the first phase of the smelter project.
"We are extremely pleased to once again be working with EMAL. It re-affirms what we at Outotec believe to be the key to our success - a customer's confidence in
our technology and expertise to support their business aims over and over again," notes Korhonen.
For further information please contact: OUTOTEC
Dr. Peter Weber, President - Energy, Light Metals and Environmental Solutions, business area, tel. +49 6171 9693 165
Eila Paatela, Director - Corporate Communications, tel. +358 20 529 2004, +358 400 817 198

Aluminium Drops By 4.2% In Three Days
India - Aug 04, 2011
Weakness in the overall mood of metals has offered considerable decline for Aluminium in last three days. The metal markets have been prone to some negative news from the US. Chinese inflation worries have also been peaking out to lend softness in prices.
The ISM Non Manufacturing Report from US was released yesterday. The report showed that the NMI registered 52.7% in July, down 0.6% in June. The New Orders Index decreased by 1.9 percentage points to 51.7 percent. The Employment Index decreased 1.6 percentage points to 52.5 percent, indicating growth in employment for the 11th consecutive month, but at a slower rate than in June.
In China, consumer prices are expected to remain high even after a series of slowdown measures by the government. Consumer Price Index in June was 6.45% in China, which is expected to remain elevated in July. Rise towards 6.5% in July is on the cards. China has been on a CPI molding stream that is expected to continue going forward.
Coming back to Aluminium, the prices in domestic markets have seen a decline of 4.2% from 1 Aug 2011. The August contract tested a high of Rs. 117 per kg on the initiation of the month though the prices came down to Rs. 114 on the very same day, now the metal has come down to Rs. 112 per kg currently. A further decline is possible towards support of Rs. 110 per kg.

Short term weakness in aluminum, followed by strength

Commodity Online - 04-Aug-2011
Harbor Intelligence anticipates price weakness for aluminum in the short term, but “substantial” upward pressure afterward. Prices rose in July, supported by good physical demand, plus recovering demand for secondary Aluminium from the global auto sector, Harbor says. Funds built slight long positions.
“Market conditions have been especially tight in China, where prices reached a 40-month high and trade in backwardation,” Harbor says. Still, Harbor cautions of possible weakness in the near term, with support around $2,500 to $2,450 a metric ton, or 113 to 111 cents a pound.
Chinese monetary tightening and debt issues in the U.S. and Europe have dented market confidence, and end-user demand has slowed. Seasonal weakness can’t be ruled out for the next one and one-half months, Harbor says.
“Nevertheless, our models continue to suggest LME prices entering a new wave up before the end of September that could take price toward $3,000 per mton (136 cent/lb) by May 2012 and much higher in 2013-2014,” Harbor says.
By Allen Sykora of Kitco News;

Showa Denko to strengthen high purity aluminum foils business
SteelGuru - 03-Aug-2011
Showa Denko KK has decided to expand its capacity to produce high purity aluminum foils for electrolytic capacitors at Sakai Plant increasing aluminum refining capacity, modifying rolling processes and installing additional annealing facilities by the end of 2013.
SDK has also decided to establish a final processing site in China for start up in the Q2r of 2013. The site will finish rolled foils supplied from Sakai Plant and provide final products to customers in China.
As a result of the expansion at Sakai Plant and establishment of the new site in China, the Showa Denko Group's ability to provide high purity aluminum foils will increase by stages from 2,000 tonnes a month at present to 3,000 tonnes a month by the end of 2013. The capacity expansion will involve capital investment of around JPY 4.5 billion in total.
Aluminum electrolytic capacitors are now used widely in electric appliances, including LCD TVs, air conditioners, refrigerators and LED lighting. They are also used in energy saving devices for inverters; PCs and other IT equipment; parts for electric vehicles and plug in hybrid cars and in the area of renewable energies, such as wind energy and photovoltaic power generation.
Since demand is also increasing in China and other emerging economies, the global market for aluminum electrolytic capacitors is expected to grow around 10% a year through 2015. In particular, demand is expected to grow rapidly for high voltage aluminum electrolytic capacitors used in environment friendly cars and in the area of renewable energies.
Unlike commodity aluminum foils for packaging, high purity aluminum foils for electrolytic capacitors need to be produced by rolling aluminum slabs with purity as high as 99.99%. SDK is currently producing high purity aluminum foils at Sakai Plant, covering the whole stages from refining, rolling and finishing. The expansion work at the plant will enable SDK to meet growing demand for high-purity aluminum foils used in high voltage electrolytic capacitors for automotive and renewable energy applications.
SDK is strengthening its high purity aluminum foils business, considering the product as one of its core product items in the domain of Electronics. With the establishment of the new production site in China, SDK aims to meet growing demand for high performance products, centering on high purity aluminum foils used in high voltage aluminum electrolytic capacitors.
(Sourced from

BPA offers power deal for CFAC
Daily Inter Lake - 01-Aug-2011
The Bonneville Power Administration is proposing an electric-power deal for the Columbia Falls Aluminum Co. that could provide service to the dormant aluminum plant for up to 4 1/2 years.
“We’ve been working with CFAC on this agreement,” said BPA spokesman Mike Hansen. He cautioned, however, that “At this time, CFAC has not committed to anything, but has expressed interest in the agreement.
“In particular, CFAC likes the duration of the proposed agreement,” Hansen added.
The aluminum reduction facility has been shuttered since October 2009 as a result of the high cost of power and increased international competition.
The power deal would begin on April 1, 2012, if it gets final approval.
Under the proposal, BPA would provide 140 average megawatts, enough power to allow two of the smelter’s five potlines to operate. Reopening the aluminum plant would create a significant boost in employment in the Flathead, with relatively high-paying jobs.
Hansen explained that under its current rules of operation, BPA “had to do an equivalent benefits test to make sure the agreement would be even for Bonneville or beneficial, and that we would not lose money on the deal that would affect our other customers.”
According to the BPA analysis, “results show benefits will exceed the cost of service for four years and six months,” BPA said in a press release.
The agreement would also commit CFAC to purchasing the power at the agreed Industrial Firm Power Rate for a minimum of nine months.
BPA is accepting comments on the proposed sales agreement and on possible environmental effects through Aug. 31 at

Sumitomo completes Arco Aluminum purchase; now called Tri-Arrows
Platts - 01-Aug-2011
The purchase of US aluminum sheet maker Arco Aluminum by a Japanese consortium was completed Monday, and the company is now operating under the name of Tri-Arrows Aluminum Inc.
The Japanese consortium comprised of Sumitomo Light Metal Industries (40%), Furukawa Sky Aluminum (35%), Sumitomo Corp (20%), Itochu Corp (2%) and Itochu Metals Corp (3%) in April said they agreed to pay BP $680 million in cash for Arco.
As previously reported, current management is expected to remain in place.
At the time of the announcement in April, a consortium source said Sumitomo intended to raise production at Arco's majority-owned aluminum rolling mill in Logan, Kentucky, but the company did not disclose any specifics. While the consortium source was mum on how much output would be increased at the Logan Aluminum, this source did say the higher output would be sold into Central and South America.
Tri-Arrows owns 60% of Logan Aluminum, with Atlanta-based sheet maker Novelis owning the other 40%. However, Novelis owns the majority of Logan's production -- 55% versus Arco's 45%. Arco and Novelis supply their own primary metal inputs to Logan for processing and own and market their own share of the plant's output.
Logan makes aluminum sheet used mainly by the beverage and automotive industries. Its products include automotive sheet, building products, distributor sheet, food and beverage can stock, and rigid container sheet. Logan produces more than 1.8 billion lb/year of cansheet.

Europe Aluminium Industry Poised with Growth
Industry Today (press release) - 01-Aug-2011
According to our new research report, "European Aluminium Market Analysis", Europe has emerged as one of the world's largest manufacturing base for the aluminium industry owing to large production capacities across the European countries.
In 2010, Europe remained the second major producer of primary aluminium and its production is also increasing. Moreover, the Europe primary aluminium production is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of around 8% during 2011-2013.
As per our research report, majority of the producer are looking towards Eastern European countries for setting up their manufacturing base due to low cost of production and availability of cheap labor. Recovery in production of primary aluminium has helped the aluminium industry in Europe to remain upbeat. In 2010, primary aluminium production grew around 7% while secondary aluminium production registered a 4.5% year-on-year growth. Strong demand from the automobile and packaging sectors has resulted in high aluminium consumption and encouraged major aluminium smelters to increase their production levels. In addition, transport and building & construction sectors are expected to become the significant aluminium consumers in the coming years.
Our report also covers in-depth analysis of major aluminium producing countries like Russia, Germany, Italy, France, Norway, Netherlands, Iceland, Romania, and the UK. Our study revealed that the industry is presently recovering from the downturn on account of the global recession that has taken a toll on two important aluminium consumers - automobile and construction industry.
The current situation is expected to improve in the coming years with increasing demand for aluminium in the global environment. Our report, "European Aluminium Market Analysis", provides an exhaustive research and rational analysis of the European aluminium industry and its various segments like primary and secondary aluminium production, and consumption.
Besides, the report also covers information on market drivers, industrial developments, alliances and acquisitions, and competitive landscape to enable key players understand the market structure and its progress in coming years