AluNews - January 2011

Aluworks Ghana Rises to Three-Month High on Hopes of Profit
Bloomberg - Jan 31, 2011
Aluworks Ghana Ltd., a maker of aluminum products in the West African nation, climbed for the third day on expectations that the restart of a smelter, which provides raw materials, will return the company to profit.
The stock rose 1 pesewa, or 5.6 percent, to 19 pesewas by 2:46 p.m. in the capital, Accra. That’s the highest since Oct. 20.
Aluworks, which reported a nine-month loss to September of 6.6 million cedis ($4.2 million), may narrow the decline and return to profit this year, said Hilary Lomotey, an Accra-based trader with Renaissance Capital.
The Volta Aluminium Co. restarted operations after a two- year shutdown at its smelter in Tema, the port city about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the capital, last month.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

Melting ice 'ideal for smelters'
The Australian - January 31, 2011
Water from the Arctic's melting glaciers could be harnessed to generate "green" electricity under a scheme proposed by one of the world's largest aluminium producers.
Alcoa wants to build smelters around the Arctic, many of them powered by hydroelectric dams that capture the melted water.
"The Arctic north is an attractive area for the development of the aluminium industry," said Ronny Vatland, Alcoa's European environment director.
Such plans will anger environmentalists, partly because they would be exploiting shrinking glaciers to generate green electricity but mainly because they oppose the industrialisation of pristine wilderness.
However, many companies are planning to move into the territory as the ice recedes. Oil companies are already drilling for fossil fuels off Greenland's west coast while mineral companies have found vast deposits of lead and zinc in rocks uncovered as glaciers melt.
Speaking last week at the Arctic Frontiers conference in Norway, Mr Vatland estimated demand for aluminium would surge over the next few decades and that three new plants would be needed each year to keep up.

Bosai feasibility study against Linden alumina plant
Stabroek News - January 31, 2011
A feasibility study conducted by the Chinese company Bosai Minerals Group late last year did not favour the establishment of an alumina plant in Linden, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds said on Friday.
During his budget debate presentation, Hinds reported that Bosai cited, among other problems, the high cost of the bauxite fee, due mainly to the high stripping ratio and the high …..

Boeing pushed to build 737 successor sooner; and it may be built of aluminum
Puget Sound Business Journal (blog) - 28-Jan-2011
Boeing executives are wrestling with two questions about their most profitable aircraft: When will they build a new one, and what will they build it from?
This week the Puget Sound Business Journal is running a story on the essential materials choice Boeing is facing - composites versus new aluminum alloys - and why some experts think returning to aluminum may be the surprising best choice.
The reasons why aluminum may rise to the top include questions about whether composites will economically scale down from the much-larger 787 to a 737-sized aircraft, especially for the fuselage, and how much the new aluminum-l
As for the best timing for the new aircraft, Boeing is making this decision in an increasingly heated competitive environment, especially since Airbus launched the A320neo. With its choice of two engines more fuel efficient than those powering Boeing’s 737, the A320neo has been picking up large orders rapidly, notably from Virgin America and IndiGo.
Boeing CEO Jim McNerney may think the company has until 2020 to puts a 737 replacement in the air, but Morgan Stanley aerospace analyst Heidi Wood thinks the time line is shorter than that.
In a Jan. 27 report, Wood predicts 500 to 1,000 orders for the new Airbus A320neo by the June Paris Air Show, contending Boeing will have to respond to this with a new plane by June or risk losing market share.
“We believe these sizeable Airbus new orders change the game and could cause BA to accelerate plans,” Wood wrote. “We reason the new narrow (body aircraft) has to occur by 2017/18 for BA to retain its most important customers.”
During Boeing’s Jan. 26 fourth quarter conference call, McNerney seemed more sanguine about the competitive pressures.
“If we could come up with right airplane in 2019, 2020, I personally feel there’s a strong argument the market will wait for us, notwithstanding the re-engining,” he said, in response to an analyst’s question about the A320.
It’s increasingly looking like Boeing will choose to build a new single-aisle aircraft, rather than try to re-engine the existing 737.
When do you think the new plane will fly, and what will it be made from?
STEVE WILHELM covers manufacturing, aerospace and trade for the Puget Sound Business Journal. Phone: 206-876-5427 | Email: swilhelm@bizjournals.com | Twitter: stevewilhelm108 Copyright © 2011 American City Business Journals. All rights reserved.

Sohar Aluminium to buy spot alumina from around December
Platts - Jan 27, 2011
Sydney (Platts) Oman's Sohar Aluminium Company which historically buys all its alumina feedstock from shareholder Rio Tinto through a term contract, plans to start acquiring volumes from the open market from around December, a company source said Thursday.
Sohar plans to boost its production of primary aluminum to 390,000 mt/year from 360,000 mt/year, tentatively by December, and part of its additional alumina requirement is to be sourced from the spot market. In addition Sohar Aluminium is to start an expansion project on its smelter during the second half of 2011, which will add another 360,000 mt/year of metal production capacity. Construction is estimated to last two to three years. Sohar Aluminium is an alliance comprising Oman Oil (40%), Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (40%) and Rio Tinto (20%). Rio Tinto ships alumina to the joint venture from Australia. --Joanna Lim, joanna_lim@platts.com Similar stories appear in Metals Week. See more information at http://www.platts.com/Products/metalsweek

Ormet Going To Full Strength
Wheeling News Register - 27-Jan-2011
HANNIBAL - Ormet Corp. plans to return to full production in early March with a full complement of workers.
Mike Tanchuk, president and chief executive officer, said Ormet restarted the fifth of the six potlines at its Hannibal Primary Aluminum Reduction Plant in early January. Now employees are working to restart the sixth.
Plans call for it to be "energized" with the necessary electrical supply late this month and to bring it back online in March - returning the plant back to its fill production capacity.
This increase in production also means the Hannibal site again has a complete work force. Tanchuk said the corporation brought in about 140 additional employees in anticipation of bringing the fifth and sixth potlines back online, including about 60 people who previously had been laid off. He said the plant now employs "a little over 1,000."
"Right now, the performance of the plant is better than it's been in its history," Tanchuk said regarding its personnel and union relations with the corporation. "The relationship is very strong and positive."
Tanchuk added the employees already in place will be a sufficient number to bring the sixth potline back to production, noting it "takes time" to return the massive lines to operation. The reduction system is comprised of enormous "pots" that heat and reduce alumina to its basic elements.
Aluminum production is an electrolytic process that requires the plant to use a lot of electricity - "as much as a city," according to Tanchuk. This means increased production at Ormet is good for other industries in the local area, including coal mines and coal-burning power plants.
In addition, Tanchuk pointed out growth at Ormet equates to increased impact on the community. He said tax revenue from the plant to local governments will increase, as will the number of indirect support jobs, which he estimated at three for every one job inside the plant. He said these support jobs include restaurant workers, hospital staff and others who provide services to those who hold the "good-paying jobs" at Ormet.
Tanchuk estimated the fifth and sixth potlines will allow the facility to produce an additional 80,000 metric tons of aluminum this year. In 2012, with all potlines expected to be in full operation for the entire year, he said this amount would increase to an additional 90,000 metric tons.
"While this is a very small amount of aluminum on a worldwide scale, this step is important to Ormet," Tanchuk previously said.
The aluminum industry as a whole is experiencing a turnaround. Ormet has been able to weather the recession because it secured long-term commitments from buyers not only to purchase certain volumes of Ormet's products, but also to pay a predetermined price for them.
The potline restart comes more than a year after the Monroe County aluminum producer warned the entire facility was in danger of closing until the company secured supplies to keep four of the plant's six potlines running. At that time, 100 jobs were lost at the facility.

Aluminum association releases 2009 edition of molten metal incident report
SteelGuru - 27-Jan-2011
The Aluminum Association officially released its latest edition of the Molten Metal Incident Report.
The annual report contains 63 reports on incidents that occurred in 2009, down from 83 incidents in the previous year.
On another positive note, many reports indicated injuries were prevented thanks to proper Personal Protective Equipment worn by employees.
The Molten Metal Incident Report is the result of a voluntary reporting program that captures explosions and near misses at facilities that melt aluminum. Although not intended to be statistically representative of the entire industry, the report provides useful information for the industry to help guide its safety efforts in molten aluminum environments. The reporting program has been in place since 1983.
The incident reporting program covers both member companies and non member companies of the Aluminum Association. Currently, approximately 220 representatives of companies with plants in 20 countries participate in the program.

Alcoa sees aluminum demand doubling by 2020
Montreal Gazette - 26-Jan-2011
Alcoa Inc., the biggest U.S. aluminum producer, says world demand for the light metal will double by 2020 driven by economic growth in Asia, Brazil and the Mideast and rising standards of living that will call for more cars and aircraft.
CEO Klaus Kleinfeld China will be leading the way with an average annual increase in demand of six per cent over the decade. It is the world's largest aluminum producer, but will soon become a net importer as the government struggles to improve environmental performance and conserve electric power resources.
Alcoa, which has more than one million tonnes of annual smelting capacity in Quebec, estimated world demand in 2011 will rise about eight per cent, with China leading with a gain of 12 per cent.
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

UC RUSAL to resume construction of Taishet smelter in June
PRIME-TASS (subscription) - 25-Jan-2011
IRKUTSK, Russian aluminum giant UC RUSAL plans to resume construction of the Taishet aluminum smelter in the Irkutsk Region in June, according to the Web site of the region’s Taishet district government seen by PRIME-TASS Tuesday.
Construction at the Taishet aluminum smelter was suspended in December 2008 after aluminum prices and demand for the metal both fell.
RUSAL plans to launch production at the plant in December 2012.
The design capacity of the Taishet smelter amounts to 750,000 tonnes of aluminum per year, which is to allow RUSAL to increase total production by 18%.
RUSAL’s investments in the Taishet smelter are estimated at U.S. $3 billion.
The company accounts for about 10% of global aluminum output. In 2009, its aluminum production decreased 11% on the year to 3.9 million tonnes.

Bauxite forms JV with Yankuang Corp
Ninemsn - 25-Jan-2011
Bauxite Resources Ltd has formed a joint venture company with a Chinese group in another step towards its hopes of building a new alumina refinery in Western Australia.
The companies hope to build a refinery in the southwest part of Western Australia to convert Darling Range bauxite into alumina.
Work towards site selection for the refinery will commence immediately," Bauxite Resources told the stock exchange.
Under the agreements between the companies, Yankuang will pay 91 per cent of the refinery construction costs and receive 70 per cent of the alumina product.
Bauxite Resources will fund the remainder of the costs and receive 30 per cent of the plant's alumina output.
After a positive 2010, businesses across different industries are gearing up for a big 2011. Find out which ones will hit their stride.Small business: Planning Bauxite Resources chairman Barry Carbon said the agreements were a significant step forward towards the development of the proposed refinery.

RUSAL to participate in the sale of Emission Reduction Units under the Kyoto ...
IEWY News - 25-Jan-2011
Moscow, – UC RUSAL (SEHK: 486, EuroNext: RUSAL/RUAL), the world’s largest aluminium producer, announces the inclusion of the “Reduction of perfluorocarbon (PFC) emissions at the Krasnoyarsk aluminum smelter (KrAZ)” project in the list of approved projects carried out in accordance with Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Approval of the project will allow RUSAL to exercise its right to sell Emission Reduction Units (ERUs). Total revenues from the sale of ERUs under this project could reach up to USD 15 million. The funds will be spent on implementing a number of environmental projects by the company.
The project to reduce PFC emissions at KrAZ for the period between 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2009 resulted in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions totaling 464.5 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. This figure is verified by BUREAU VERITAS CERTIFICATION HOLDING SAS. The overall reduction of PFC emissions at KrAZ for the period 2008-2012 is expected to amount to 1.16 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
The project to reduce PFC emissions was launched at Krasnoyarsk Aluminium Smelter in 2006. It ensures a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the frequency and duration of anode effects as a result of a number of organizational and technical measures undertaken in 24 potrooms at KrAZ.
RUSAL’s partner on this project is Carbon Trade & Finance company (a joint venture between Gazprombank and Commerzbank), which acts as the buyer of ERUs generated and provides support for the project as a joint venture project, implemented in accordance with Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol.

UPDATE 1-Alcoa CEO says demand to remain strong in 2011
Reuters - 24-Jan-2011
Jan 24 (Reuters) - U.S. aluminium giant Alcoa (AA.N) expects continuous strong demand for aluminium this year driven by China and other Asian countries, the company's chief executive said on Monday.
"We continue to believe demand is going up, this year we project demand growth of 12 percent," Klaus Kleinfeld told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Riyadh.
"China will be growing around 15 percent, last year 21 percent, we see a lot of emerging economies strengthening in places like Southeast Asia," Kleinfeld said, adding that Europe and the United States have shown stable signs of improvement.
Alcoa is building a giant aluminium complex with state-run miner Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Maaden) in Ras Az Zawr on the Gulf coast of the kingdom.
Kleinfeld reiterated the first phase of the project which includes a smelter and a rolling mill would be up and running by 2013 while a bauxite mine and an alumina refinery is set to start by 2014.
He said that it was premature to talk about plans to expand the project given its size was "already pretty challenging".

CVG-Venalum following Alcasa management process {? two new cells
VHeadline.com - 24-Jan-2011
VHeadline News Editor Patrick J. O'Donoghue reports: Four cells on production lines III and IV were launched last Friday in the Venezuelan Guayana Corporation (CVG) Alcasa aluminum plant.

The move is part of aluminum sector consolidation plans.

Attending the launch were: Alcasa president, Elio Sayago and Venalum president, Rada Gamluch, along with worker's representatives.

As member of the Aluminum Socialist Corporation, Gamluch said work has been going on since 2010 to develop the two productive units.

"In Alcasa we have the two cells started as part of a cell incorporation plan, aiming to transform the aluminum sector's production model … we are showing Venezuela that we are changing the management model with the workers."

Sayago said Venalum is following the Alcasa process with the launch of the new cells.

The aim this year, he stated, is to close with 300 cells in operation and producing 120 tonnes ... it would leave 90 cells to be finished.

Bauxite Resources Limited (ASX:BAU) Announce Patent Application - Process For ...
ABN Newswire (press release) - 24-Jan-2011
Perth, Jan 24, 2011 (ABN Newswire) - In the past two years, Bauxite Resources Limited ("BRL" or the Company") (ASX:BAU) has made extensive investigation and experimentation of available processes to produce alumina. The investigation has been a prelude to technology decisions for a new alumina refinery to be built in south-west WA. At the conclusion of these investigations BRL with its partner Yankuang Resources Pty Ltd will choose the alkali-based Bayer process as appropriate for their proposal.
In its research however BRL has developed and filed a Patent Application for an acid based process for treating an ore or related material containing aluminium-bearing materials. The application covers a confidential acidic process that solubilises minerals and then selectively recovers aluminium and other metal species by means of precipitation or solvent extraction. The end product is aluminium oxide (alumina) and other metal oxides. The results demonstrate that acid extractable alumina can be higher than from alkali extractions and that extraction is independent of reactive silica content.

China Hongqiao Seeks Up to $2.2 Billion in Hong Kong IPO to Double Output
Bloomberg - 23-Jan-2011
China Hongqiao Group Ltd., the country’s largest privately-owned aluminum producer, is seeking as much as HK$17.2 billion ($2.2 billion) in a Hong Kong initial offering on Feb. 11 to help it double capacity by next year.
Hongqiao, which mainly produces molten aluminum alloys, is selling 1.74 billion shares at HK$7.10 to HK$9.90 apiece, according to the terms of the sale. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, BOCOM International and ICBC International are managing the transaction.
The Shandong-based company joins United Co. Rusal, the world’s biggest aluminum producer, and Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., the nation’s largest producer of the metal, in tapping Hong Kong investors keen to buy into rising demand for the metal. Initial public offerings there may raise as much as HK$350 billion this year, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
“As an integrated aluminum producer, Hongqiao competes directly with Chalco. Its advantage lies in aluminum processing.” said Helen Lau, a Hong Kong-based analyst at UOB- Kay Hian Ltd. “We are positive on aluminum demand and prices this year.”
Hongqiao, whose customers are makers of window frames, doors and speed train components, will use the capital to double capacity by 2012, according to its prospectus.
Rival Chalco returned to a profit in 2010 after aluminum prices recovered, the Beijing-based company said Jan. 17. Global aluminum demand may rise 8 percent this year, with demand from China likely growing 12 percent, Rusal said on Jan. 18.
Molten aluminum alloy comprises the metal melted with small elements of others and is used for fabricating aluminum products. It can be directly transported to manufacturing sites for further processing, without any need for molding or re-smelting, according to Beijing Antaike Information Development Co.
Hongqiao is controlled by Shandong Weiqiao Pioneering Group, whose business includes textiles, thermal power and aluminum. The group is owned by Zhang Shiping and his family. A call to Weiqiao’s securities department was redirected to the company’s public relations agency, Porda International (Finance) PR Group in Hong Kong. A call to Porda was not answered.
--Fox Hu and Xiao Yu. Editors: Alan Soughley, Andrew Hobbs
To contact the Bloomberg News staff on this story: Fox Hu in Hong Kong at fhu7@bloomberg.net Xiao Yu in Beijing at yxiao@bloomberg.net;
To contact the editor responsible for this story Andrew Hobbs in Sydney at ahobbs@bloomberg.net Darren Boey at dboey@bloomberg.net

Protesters halt BALCO's bauxite shipment
Economic Times - 22-01-2011
RAIPUR: Hundreds of youths led by a Congress legislator halted shipment of bauxite Saturday to aluminium major Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd (BALCO) in Chhattisgarh's Surguja district, demanding jobs for local residents.
Vedanta Resources-controlled BALCO - in which the Indian government holds 49 per cent stake, is based in Korba town, about 250 km from here. BALCO gets bauxite from Mainpat in Surguja.
Hundreds of protesters led by Amarjeet Bhagat, the legislator from Sitapur that includes Mainpat mining area, squatted on roads near the bauxite mining area and stopped the mineral's transportation to BALCO.
The protesters were raising slogans against BALCO for exploiting natural resources of Surguja district without offering employment to local people and developing infrastructure.
They threatened to halt bauxite mining to BALCO for an indefinite period if the company management did not open an aluminium plant in Surguja district to offer employment to local youths of poverty-hit families.

Lease hold up
Fiji Times - 22-Jan-2011
XINFA Aurum, the company heading bauxite mining in Bua, has yet to receive the surface lease to begin preliminary works at the site.
The surface lease should have been issued last week, according to an earlier media statement.
The lease would allow the company to begin preliminary work such as building a campsite access, bridges and infrastructure.
"We haven't received the surface lease yet and we can proceed with the plans once we receive it," managing director Isireli Dagaga said.
According to the statement, the mining lease was expected to be issued around March this year.
Mr Dagaga said the mine was expected to recruit more than 200 people and work would begin once a lease was issued.
The Fiji Times was unsuccessful in attaining a comment from the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources.

GOJ negotiating Jamalco sale with Glencore, Drops talks with Hong Fan
Jamaica Gleaner - 21-Jan-2011
Jamaica is now trying to sell its stake in Jamalco to Glencore International AG, after industry experts frowned on the Chinese deal, different sources with knowledge of the negotiations tell the Financial Gleaner.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding initially signalled the shift in his New Year message.
"We have entered into a new agreement to divest our assets in Jamalco," he said.
Subsequent checks with industry sources confirmed that the Government was no longer negotiating with Hong Fan of China, but had turned to Swiss company Glencore.
"The agreement negotiated includes the cancellation of the forward-sale contracts which have cost taxpayers more than J$12 billion since they were entered into in 2002, and which were projected to cost us another J$15 billion before the contracts come to an end in 2013," Golding said.
Jamaica began negotiating the sale of its 45 per cent stake of Jamalco with Hong Fan last year, with Golding announcing in his budget speech that a deal was close, but would be subject to Alcoa's approval.
But sources said this week that as the discussions advanced, concerns began to emerge within the industry on whether Hong Fan, chiefly a trading company that specialises in the production and sale of metallic elements, had sufficient background experience in the tough bauxite-alumina business to be a strong partner to Alcoa, which owns 55 per cent of Jamalco.
The Golding administration could not turn a deaf ear to the chatter, the Financial Gleaner was advised, because under the 'first right of refusal' agreement with Alcoa - which gives the company 90 days in which to object - it would have to present a strong case for the American company not to give a thumbs down to the arrangement.
The Jamalco holdings are reposited in Clarendon Alumina Production Limited (CAP), whose share of the refinery amounts to around 650,000 tonnes of the plant's 1.45 million tonnes of capacity.
Ongoing talks
CAP, which earns revenue of about J$11 billion annually from Jamalco, was around J$33 billion (US$382m) in debt up to the close of fiscal 2010.
Mining and Energy Minister James Robertson did not return several calls for comment, and his state minister Laurie Broderick was unwilling to entertain discussions on how the debts would factor into the negotiation.
"It's not at a point that we should be making disclosures, but the talks are ongoing," Broderick said.
Alcoa Minerals has not weighed in publicly on the discussions, nor has it signalled whether it favours the Chinese or Glencore. Its Jamaican spokesman Leo Lambert said its position is to offer no comment.
Efforts at reaching Glencore representatives were unsuccessful.
A deal with Glencore would put the Swiss company in the position of being both Alcoa's partner and its indirect rival through its 8.8 per cent interest in UC Rusal, which controls the majority of Jamaica's bauxite assets.
The GOJ-Glencore transaction is expected to include an accommodation on the forward-sale agreement with Glencore that carries a fixed-price component on some of the supplies, and which has become expensive for Jamaica to service because, as oil prices climb worldwide, the cost of producing the alumina now outweighs the sale price.

Rio smelter, Aquila ops resume after Australia floods
Reuters Africa - 21-Jan-2011
SYDNEY Jan 21 (Reuters) - Miners Rio Tinto and Aquila Resources resumed some operations in Australia's flood ravaged Queensland state on Friday as waters receded and the region's vital mining and metals sector slowly returned to work.
Rio Tinto terminated force majeure at its Boyne Island aluminium smelter as it could resume transportation while Aquila restarted production at its Isaac Plains coal mine, a joint venture with Brazil's Vale ,.
But Queensland's coal industry, which suffered losses of over $2 billion according to some estimates, is still far from normal and Aquila warned it would still take some time to resume full operations while Cockatoo Coal said mining at its Baralaba operations would not start before February.
"Whilst all equipment is in working order, resumption of full production rates will take some time while dewatering of the site is completed. Force Majeure remains in place on a number of sales contracts," Aquila said about its 2.8 million tonne per year coking and thermal coal mine.
Australia accounts for around two-thirds of the world's coking coal exports and Queensland share is around 90 percent of that figures.
Gladstone Port, Queensland's second-largest coal export port, earlier this week said it would take until the end of March for exports to return to normal while mining services companies said it could take three to six months to pump out all the water in mining pits.
Rio's Boyne unit, capable of producing 558,000 tonnes of aluminium annually, is Australia's largest aluminium smelting operation and some feared that an extended force majeure could push up aluminium prices, which hit their highest level since Sept 2008 earlier this month.
The December and January floods partially or fully shut about 85 percent of Queensland's coal mines, damaged key rail lines and closed ports.
However, mining staff returned to work this week, some key rail lines reopened and port activity picked up. (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by James Regan)

More smelting capacity coming up, says Mahmoud Daylami, GAC general secretary
GulfNews - 21-Jan-2011
Dubai: There is no let-up in the Gulf states' fascination with aluminum. For Dubai and Bahrain, the respective smelters — Dubal and Alba — have long been exemplars of their assured progress in the non-oil manufacturing space.
More recently, Abu Dhabi joined Emirates Aluminum (emal), Oman has had success through a smelter in Sohar, while Qatar came through with Qatalum last year.
Saudi Arabia is preparing a mega smelter for commissioning in 2013. Total investments in these smelters have crossed more than $35 billion (Dh128.53 billion).
This is why the coming together of these smelters under the umbrella of the Gulf Aluminium Council (GAC) represents a pivotal moment for the metal in the region. The GAC has just been set up, but it intends to be a determining factor in the ebb and flow of a highly cyclical industry.
Formerly a deputy chief executive at Alba, Mahmoud Daylami has been named the GAC's first general secretary. He talks to Gulf News about the many opportunities — and quite a few challenges — the entity will look to take up in the coming months.
Gulf News: The moment one hears of heavyweights in a particular industry joining hands, red flags are raised over the possible creation of a cartel. How would you counter that?
Mahmoud Daylami: Aluminium is a different business compared with many others, including oil. Our industry is governed by anti-trust laws in all of the major markets and that makes creating anything resembling a cartel illegal.
Whatever else GAC might do, one thing we won't is try to set prices for the commodity. After all, the pricing is decided by global market fundamentals and at the London Metal Exchange on a weekly basis.
We are different from other industry groupings in that we are more of a business-orientated body. We don't stand for lobbying.
Eventually we will have to. We try to see what the common needs are and how we can address them optimally. It could be related to technology, could be logistics, or do with purchasing or common contractual agreements. It would even relate to environment or human resources.
Even now fresh smelter capacity is being raised in the Gulf, which is arguably excessive. What is GAC's response to that?
There's this constant misunderstanding about cap-acity and the need to add more smelters. In fact, one smelter is one too many for the real consumption in the Gulf.
But the smelters in the Gulf are not just to satisfy demand in the area and the markets around it. It's value-added and export-oriented for the international markets, and that means 80 per cent of the output is headed out.
We are now producing aluminium as a primary product, but there are a lot of downstream industries in the Gulf which can take primary aluminium and convert to different products. For instance, Dubal and Emal do not produce windows, but others buy the output and convert it to profiles.
Other buyers come in for the profiles which are converted to windows and doors. There are so many secondary and tertiary end-users in the Gulf, and that's how new value is being created constantly.
There's room for investments on the downstream side on much higher value-added industries. Not just doors and windows, but engines, in areas related to casting, etc. That should be the focus in future.
What about new smelters?
Apart from those projects that are nearing completion, I don't think there will be new smelters coming up in the area. But there's a good chance of expanding existing ones.
Alba could go for one more potline expansion. They are studying it, they have five now, and could go for the sixth. Dubal could expand, emal certainly would. Saudi Arabia will have new capacities in the future; Sohar in Oman has room for it.
Saudi Arabia is building one now and it's a massive investment of $10.5 billion in a joint venture with Alcoa (which holds 25 per cent). It will have a process that goes from refining the bauxite to smelting to the finished product. The commissioning is set for 2013.
Aluminum production in the Gulf will reach four million tonnes by 2014.
But there's talk of some imports being cheaper than even locally manufactured aluminum. How can Gulf smelters counter that?
The price of aluminum is set internationally, and it doesn't matter whether end users buy it from the Gulf or outside. Of course, there are the transportation and other logistical costs.
It will not be cheaper to import unless Chinese manufacturers sell it below the market price, and they have been known to do that.
There's a lot of legal action against that taking place in different countries. And it's an issue we are keeping a close watch on before taking any action. When you source from within this area, prices tend to be cheaper and labour costs lower.
What will be the GAC's priorities?
Our power does not lie in changing legislation; it lies in the providing of factual advice and information. We know the product and the industry more than the people in the ministries concerned. For instance, we will not claim someone dumping unless we have the facts. That we can provide.
Aluminum prices have recovered a lot. Do you expect more?
It's $2,400 plus. It's a good price, and way above the cost of production of smelters in the region. It's a healthy business at the moment. The prediction is for a further hike, but how high I don't know.
Obviously, there's a lot of inherent demand that's coming to the surface, isn't there?
It, of course, has to do with the global economy, the cost of energy and other fundamentals.
Fifty per cent of the aluminum produced around the world is used in transportation and construction. Both sectors are highly linked to global economic health. During the crisis, automobile production went down and everything else came down with it, including aluminum prices. Now it's getting healthier, which has different reasons going for it. One is that the energy prices are high and the dollar is low.
The current world demand is around 40 million tonnes and the projection is for at least a five per cent increase in demand annually. By 2020, demand is expected to be 74 million tonnes, which means we need new production facilities of more than 30 million tonnes within the next 10 years.
What about competition from smelters elsewhere?
In recent days, there have been reports that a few smelters in the US are going to restart. It's a big signal that the turnaround is happening for the metal.
But in Europe, because of the cost of energy, many smelters had either downsized or closed down.
If this continues, the Gulf is well-positioned to be a global centre for aluminum production. Currently we produce seven per cent of the world's output and I see the share going up to ten per cent. The Gulf countries, China and India will be the main producers as well as Canada, Brazil and Russia. The West will gradually reduce output due to ageing plants and high energy costs.
The majority of new demand will be from China which is estimated to be around 40 million tonnes by 2020. Currently it is 16 million tonnes.
Gulf-based smelters have historically relied on gas as feedstock. Do you think there's a chance it could shift to processes that are more environmentally conducive?
Right now there's no alternative to gas. Moreover, the more the operational efficiency of the smelter, the better the use of the energy produced by the power station.
Gulf smelters, because they are new and have been modernised extensively, have high efficiencies.
Worldwide, you need 15.4 kilowatts (Kw) to produce one tonne of aluminum while in the Gulf it's 14 Kw. That's one way of looking at reducing the environmental impact. Also, local smelters have investments of $500-$700 million on environmental equipment alone. These are significant commitments.
By-product treatment
Under the umbrella of the Gulf Aluminum Council, the region's leading smelters are doing a feasibility study on a dedicated plant for treating by-products.
Once treated, these would have commercial application in industries such as cement production.
"Because smelter capacities were smaller in the past, it was hard to justify an investment in such a plant," said Mahmoud Daylami of GAC. "Now we have five smelters in the Gulf and a sixth is on the way.
"The quantity of by-products that will be generated is enough to justify a recycling plant now."
There's a relining material in smelter pots that should be changed after every five or six years. The material would be reprocessed if the proposed treatment plant comes into being.
"A new plant can take care of this in an environmentally-friendly way," said Daylami. "The technology was not there before. It's there now.
"This is available in Europe, and we have now assigned a technology provider to carry out the feasibility study. The location of the plant and the investments would be decided later."
GCC aluminium import duty
The stalled negotiations with the EU over the longstanding and vexed issue of the six per cent duty on GCC aluminum imports could be revived.
"Negotiation stopped last year. Now there's talk about restarting them soon," Daylami said. "The six per cent is hurting both the Gulf as well as consumers within Europe because they have to pay more.
"All because there are some people benefiting from it in between."
The six per cent duty on GCC aluminum has been in effect for 20 years. "The players keep changing and so do the arguments," Daylami added.
The stalled negotiations with the EU over the longstanding - and vexed - issue of the 6 per cent duty on GCC aluminum imports could be revived.
"Negotiation stopped last year, now there's talk about restarting them soon," said Mahmood Daylami of GAC. "The 6 per cent is hurting both the Gulf as well as consumers within Europe because they have to pay more. All because there are some people benefiting from it in between."
The 6 per cent duty on GCC aluminum has been in effect for 20 years now. "The players keep changing and so do the arguments," Daylami added.
"It was started as a protection measure by aluminum producers in Europe and then became part of the free trade negotiations between the Gulf states and EU. The other side is using aluminum tariff as a bargaining chip to try and receive concessions in other areas.
"All of us are hoping that a breakthrough will happen at some point."

Chinalco looks to go global
China.org.cn - 19-Jan-2011
Aluminum Corp of China (Chinalco), China's largest aluminum producer, is looking to become one of the world's top five mining operations in the next 10 years, by diversifying its core business sectors, a company spokesman said.
The company reported a profit of 2.7 billion yuan ($409 million) in 2010, and revenue of 200 billion yuan, up 40 percent from the previous year.
The upbeat figures follow two years of continuous losses after the global financial crisis hit the aluminum market.
"Apart from our main business sectors, including aluminum and copper, Chinalco also aims to top the domestic rare earths sector in three or five of the elements," said the spokesman Yuan Li.
Rare earth is the collective name given to 17 elements which are used in many industrial products such as hybrid cars, missile-guidance systems and mobile phones.
Yuan said Chinalco signed a memorandum of understanding with Guangxi Nonferrous Metals Group in late December to develop rare earths in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region to bolster reserves.
The central government has indicated that it wants large companies to lead the consolidation of the country's rare earths sector.
Earlier, the media reported that China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group was also planning to explore rare earths mines in partnership with local operators in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
Yuan said Chinalco is also talking with local miners in Guangdong province about potential cooperation.
He said the company will speed up the development of its overseas business. Yuan expects foreign operations to account for more than 30 percent of the whole group's assets, and to advance overseas mining projects this year.
Yuan said the delay to Chinalco's $2.2 billion Toromocho copper project in Peru has been resolved. The company has obtained approval from the local environmental agency and is expected to start construction this year. The project will produce 250,000 tons of copper annually.
Chinalco and its partner, the Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto, signed an agreement in December to establish a joint venture to look for new sources of copper and coking coal in China.
The move is an expansion into other mining sectors, after an agreement on the Simandou iron ore project in West Africa with Rio Tinto.
Rio's managing director for China, Ian Bauert, said at a media briefing on Tuesday that the joint-exploration might also include potash.
In July, Chinalco got approval from the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), which is both a regulator of and shareholder in China's largest State companies, to expand into other sectors such as iron ore, copper, coal, and rare earth.
Analysts said the move will help Chinalco diversify beyond aluminum. The company has been facing competition in the domestic aluminum market from private companies.
Prices of alumina, the raw material used in the production of aluminum, were around 4,500 yuan per ton before the global financial crisis, before dropping to 2,650 yuan per ton in 2009.

Vedanta will not reapply for refinery expansion
Business Standard - 20-Jan-2011
London-based Vedanta Group today said it was not going to apply afresh for ‘green’ clearance to expand its aluminium refinery project in Orissa’s Kalahandi district, even after being advised by the Union environment and forests (MoEF) ministry to do so.
The linked bauxite mining project there was disallowed by the ministry last year, after a damaging report by the NC Saxena committee appointed by it. The committee had found several illegalities with the refinery project at Lanjigarh, too. It had said Vedanta was in illegal possession of 26 hectares of forest land and was in expansion mode even before any sort of clearance from the ministry.
Accordingly, the ministry had scrapped the proposal for six-fold expansion of the refinery, from a million tonnes per annum to six mt. The ministry of environment and forests has now asked Vedanta to re-apply for expansion of the refinery, while it maintains a firm No against mining the Niyamgiri Hills for bauxite.
High level sources in Vedanta said the company would not file again. “Fresh applications are filed for a greenfield (new) project. This is an expansion project. About 60 per cent work is already complete. We will not make any fresh applications. We will also not drop the court challenge, and pursue it,” a company official said.
A petition by Vedanta ALuminium challenging the Centre’s decision is currently before the Orissa high court. The next hearing in the case is on February 2.
Early this week, Vedanta chairman Anil Aggarwal had a meeting with environment minister Jairam Ramesh. Sources say the minister showed he was willing to review the Lanjigarh project on a fresh application. The minister could not be spoken to for his comments.
The turnaround in the case of Vedanta comes on the heels of the environment ministry’s decision yesterday to allow the Lavasa project in Pune to procced, with penalties, though it was illegal. The minister, who has taken some strong positions on environmental issues, has recently been seen as softening his stand, as in the Lavasa decision.

Polish aluminum producer to invest a billion zoty
Warsaw Business Journal - 19th January 2011
Polish aluminum producer Impexmetal is the latest of Roman Karkosik's companies to announce massive investment plans after a period of restructuring, reports Parkiet.
"We're looking to build a new rolling factory," said Impexmetal president Piotr Szeliga. "At maximum capacity, this would allow up to double annual production from the current 85,000 tons per year."
Through Q3 of last year, the firm's aluminum operations were responsible for half of the company's operational profits.

China Aircraft Production to Boost Aluminum Demand, Aleris Says
Bloomberg - 18-Jan-2011
Aluminum plate consumption by global aircraft makers may rise 15 percent a year as China builds its first passenger planes to break Airbus SAS and Boeing Co.’s hold on the market, according to Aleris International Inc..
“We estimate about 15 percent per year,” driven by demand for China’s first narrowbody passenger plane, the C919, Sean Stack, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Aleris, said yesterday, without giving a timeframe. Aluminum comprises about 80 percent of a plane’s weight, according to Aleris, the world’s third-largest supplier of the material.
Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China is challenging Boeing and Airbus in the $70 billion-a-year global aircraft market. Aleris yesterday started building a $300 million aluminum rolling venture in the city of Zhenjiang, 250 kilometers from Shanghai, to compete with Alcoa Inc. and other companies in supplying the plane maker, known as Comac, which expects to sell more than 2,000 C919s worldwide over 20 years.
“One third of the world’s newly produced airplanes will be used in China between now and 2029,” Steven J. Demetriou, Chief Executive Officer of Aleris, said at a briefing in Zhenjiang. “We have an agreement which will make us a major supplier to Comac over many years to come.” He didn’t elaborate.
The C919, which has 166 seats in its standard version, will compete with Boeing’s 737 and the Airbus A320. The jet is scheduled to make its maiden flight in 2014 before entering service two years later.
Beachwood, Ohio-based Aleris, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June, said in August that it was considering expanding in China to boost revenue and may make acquisitions.
Global Demand
Global aluminum demand may rise 8 percent this year, with Chinese consumption likely rising 12 percent, United Co. Rusal, the world’s biggest producer of the light metal, said on Jan. 18.
Aleris said it will own 81 percent of the new venture, which will have annual capacity of 250,000 metric tons of aluminum plates. Zhenjiang Dingsheng Aluminum Industries Joint- Stock Co., a local partner, will hold the balance, Aleris said.
Shipments to customers from the new plant will start by the fourth quarter of next year, Aleris said.
The venture, which will supply Comac as well as Boeing and Airbus plants, has received all the required government approvals, Demetriou said. The investment comprises loans offered by Bank of China Ltd., plus cash he said, without giving details.
Shanghai-based Comac is working with overseas suppliers on the C919, including CFM International Inc., a venture between GE and Safran SA that has won a $10 billion engine contract. Other suppliers include Honeywell International Inc., United Technologies Corp. and Parker Hannifin Corp.
Alcoa, the largest U.S. aluminum producer, agreed with Comac in Oct 2009 to jointly study aluminum structural concepts, designs and alloys for the new C919 jet.
Aleris may further expand the Zhenjiang venture to make aluminum sheets, which are thinner than plates, to supply automakers, Demetriou said. It’s already running a plant in the northern city of Tianjin to make aluminum extrusions used in train car bodies and suspension parts of vehicles.
--Helen Yuan. Editors: Alan Soughley, Keith Gosman
To contact the Bloomberg News staff on this story Helen Yuan in Shanghai at hyuan@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Hobbs at ahobbs4@bloomberg.net.

$300-million smelter investment 'welcome news' for BC trades
Daily Commercial News - 19-Jan-2011
Rio Tinto Alcan is planning to make a multi-million dollar investment in construction at a smelter in Kitimat, B.C. in 2011.
“We are going to see construction and project activity substantially increase in 2011 as a result of these new funds,” said Bryan Tucker, spokesperson for Rio Tinto Alcan.
“We are planning to build a 500-person camp to house temporary workers for the Kitimat modernization project, and we will also double the size of our EPCM (Bechtel) workforce and increase the size of the Rio Tinto Alcan project workforce.”
Rio Tinto Alcan recently announced that it is investing US$300 million dollars in construction preparations at the Kitimat smelter to get ready for the US$2.5 billion dollar modernization of that plant.
Tucker said this investment is almost equal to what has been spent since the beginning of the project and it is three times what was spent last year.
A lot of this work is still in the planning stages, but Tucker said there will be many opportunities created for local residents. “This announcement is welcome news for the trades,” said Mark Olsen, business manager with the Construction and Specialized Workers Union.
“We appreciate that during poor economic times, Rio Tinto has continued with the construction of this project, albeit at a slower pace than initially planned.”
This phase of construction involves demolishing an existing building and clearing the area for a new plant, building a new reduction services building, clearing the old pot lines for a new pot line area, relocating buildings on the site and infrastructure such as roads.
Olsen said this phase will also include the construction of a work camp with 400 rooms.
The aluminum smelter modernization is expected to employ about 1,500 construction workers at its peak.
During the recent global financial crisis, Rio Tinto Alcan reviewed its capital expenditures and decided to move forward with the project, but investment was slowed.
The challenging economic times provided Rio Tinto Alcan with an opportunity to reduce capital costs.
“The modernization of our Kitimat smelter is truly a transformational project, in line with our strategic objective to grow via long-life, large-scale, low-cost assets,” said Jacynthe Côté, chief executive, Rio Tinto Alcan.
“Once completed, Kitimat will be one of the lowest-cost smelters in the world.”
The final schedule for completion and commissioning still requires Rio Tinto Board approval for the complete project.
The modernized Kitimat smelter will be powered exclusively by hydroelectricity and use Rio Tinto Alcan’s proprietary AP technology to reduce its emissions intensity by more than 50 per cent per year.
The project will increase the smelter’s current production capacity by more than 48 per cent to about 420,000 tonnes per year. Rio Tinto Alcan has awarded Bechtel a $200 million contract to provide engineering, procurement, and construction management for the modernization project.
Members of the Kitimat Modernization Employer Association, which was formed by Bechtel Canada Co., contractors and a coalition of 16 building trades, signed a deal on Aug. 28 to supply qualified building trades workers to the project.
The main aim of the agreement is to supply qualified building trades workers to the project, by making a commitment to hire local workers, including First Nations groups.
The non-concessionary agreement is based on the standard no-strike, no-lockout condition for projects.
More importantly the agreement integrates the standard industry package of wages and benefits for all 16 unions.
An agreement between the Construction Labour Relations Association of B.C. and the British Columbia Building Trades Council Unions for substance abuse testing and treatment will be adopted for the first time on the project.

Alcoa, China Power Agree $7.5 Billion of Energy, Smelter Plans
Bloomberg - 18-Jan-2011
Alcoa Inc., the biggest U.S. aluminum producer, agreed with China Power Investment Corp. to work on $7.5 billion of clean-energy and smelting projects, as China seeks to cut pollution and energy costs.
The companies plan to develop wind- and solar-energy projects and “state-of-the-art” aluminum-smelting plants in China in the “coming years,” New York-based Alcoa said in a statement yesterday. The companies may also look at opportunities to collaborate outside China.
China, the world’s largest polluter, wants non-fossil fuels to contribute 15 percent of its energy needs by 2020. The nation’s incentives to encourage low-carbon generation such as solar and wind power are almost triple those in the U.S., according to a report by the Climate Institute.
“It’s very difficult for China to buy state of the art technology from the U.S., as there are many restrictions, but clean energy is an area where both U.S. and China love to cooperate,” said Owen Liang, a Shenzhen-based analyst with Guotai Junan Securities Co. “The question is why Alcoa? One reason could be China wants to promote the use of clean energy in aluminum smelting to reduce pollution, and improve the efficiency of power utilization to save energy.”
China, whose President Hu Jintao arrived yesterday in Washington for a state visit, is the largest consumer of aluminum, used to make beverage cans and window frames.
Global Demand
Alcoa and China Power haven’t yet decided on specific projects and the exact amount they will spend will depend on the ventures they choose, Mike Belwood, a spokesman for Alcoa, said by telephone.
Global aluminum demand may rise 8 percent this year, with Chinese consumption likely rising 12 percent, United Co. Rusal, the world’s biggest producer of the light metal, said on Jan. 18.
Chinese aluminum smelters shut down 1.6 million metric tons of production capacity since July due to power restrictions, of which 1.2 million tons is likely to come back on line in the first half of 2011, Wan Ling, a Beijing-based analyst at consultant CRU International Ltd., said Jan. 15.
China Power plans to increase production of renewable energy to 40 percent of its total electricity generated in 2015 from the current 30 percent, its president Lu Qizhou said in December.
China Power’s units, including CPI Xinjiang Energy Co., in October won the right to build seven of the 13 solar projects in the nation’s western regions in a tender, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data.
--Natalie Doss, Xiao Yu and Feifei Shen. With assistance from Baizhen Chua in Beijing. Editors: Alan Soughley, Keith Gosman
To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Xiao Yu in Beijing at +86-10-6649-7564 or yxiao@bloomberg.net Feifei Shen in Beijing at +86-10-6649-7528 or Fshen11@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Gosman at kgosman@bloomberg.net Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net.

Bosnia alumina plant, bauxite mine agree on supplies
Reuters Africa - 18-Jan-2011
SARAJEVO Jan 18 (Reuters) - Bosnia's sole alumina plant Birac and its main bauxite supplier Boksit on Tuesday clinched a deal to secure steady supplies of bauxite following a December row over prices that had endangered Birac's production.
"The first bauxite supplies will be delivered to Birac today after Boksit and Birac signed a deal on 450,000 tonnes of bauxite feedstock for 2011," the Boksit mine in the northeastern town of Milici said in a statement.
Birac, which gets most of the feedstock from the nearby mine, warned last month it may be forced to halt production unless a compromise solution was reached on the bauxite price which it said was 60 percent higher than on the world market.
Boksit said the deal with Birac was worth 30 million Bosnian marka ($20.4 million). "Today's agreement has set all conditions for the operation of both companies at full capacity," it said.
Birac, majority owned by Lithuania's Ukio Bank Investment Group (UKB1L.VL: Quote), had earlier said that Boksit management demanded a price hike, first of 18 percent and then of 10 percent, on the 2010 price.
It said that Birac in the northeastern town of Zvornik offered Boksit a price "somewhat higher than in 2010" with the condition it got larger bauxite deliveries in 2011.
Birac said in November it had returned to profit last year and increased output by the third quarter of 2010 by more than a third from the same period of 2009. (Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Adam Tanner)

Norsk Hydro Spends 315 Million Kroner on Suzhou Plant
Bloomberg - 18-Jan-2011
Norsk Hydro ASA, Europe’s third- largest aluminum producer, will invest 315 million kroner ($54 million) to extend its Suzhou plant near Shanghai as it boosts sales to China’s construction and auto industries.

The investment includes two new extrusion presses, the Oslo-based company said today in a statement. The expansion will help Hydro meet demand in China, the world’s biggest market for aluminum products and components, it said.

Aluminum makers including United Co. Rusal, the world’s largest, are expanding their Asian business as demand surges in the region and consumption in developed nations remains subdued. At Suzhou, Hydro produces precision aluminum tubing for applications such as cars, heaters and refrigerators.

The Norwegian company plans to begin output at the first press in mid-2012, and at the second several months later, according to the statement. The expansion will bring to three the number of presses at the plant.

The company has had a “tremendous development in China,” Chief Financial Officer Jorgen Arentz Rostrup said in an interview in Oslo on Jan. 13. “We are very eager to develop that business.”

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Meera Bhatia at mbhatia2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amanda Jordan at ajordan11@bloomberg.net

Vedanta chief meets Jairam Ramesh, seeks fresh nod for mining in Niyamgiri
Hindu Business Line - Jan. 17 2011
The Vedanta Group Chairman, Mr Anil Agarwal, met the Environment Minister, Mr Jairam Ramesh, on Monday and discussed issues relating to Vedanta Aluminium Ltd's refinery expansion in Lanjigarh and bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri Hills of Orissa.
Sources said Mr Agarwal asked Mr Ramesh to reconsider the Ministry's decision on the refinery expansion.
Vedanta is likely to make a fresh application before the Ministry seeking clearance for the project.
Mr Agarwal's meeting with Mr Ramesh assumes significance as the Orissa High Court has set February 2 for hearing the petition filed by Vedanta challenging the Environment Ministry's decision to reject its refinery expansion plan.
Vedanta's proposal for a six-fold expansion of its alumina refining capacity to six million tonnes at Lanjigarh in Orissa was refused clearance by the Environment Ministry in October last year citing violation of environmental laws.
Besides Vedanta, the Orissa Government and several tribal organisations too have filed separate petitions before the High Court in the case.
Recently, the Orissa High Court directed the Environment Ministry to justify its stand on denying permission to Vedanta's expansion plan and file its reply before the month-end.

VALCO finalizes supply agreements to local companies
Myjoyonline.com - 17-Jan-2011
The revived Volta Aluminum Company says it will soon resume supplies to the local aluminum industry.
The company is back in operation after it was forced to temporarily shutdown for inadequate electricity supply and a slump in aluminum prices that made production unprofitable.
The company started actual smelting in the first week of March after it secured the necessary guarantees that its electricity needs would be met.
Director of Human Resources and Administration, Dan Acheampong told Joy Business an off-taker agreement is in place to ensure the products are supplied to markets.
“We will first feed the local market and if there is any left we will look at the external market,” he said.
Meanwhile Aluworks, one of the companies which feed off VALCO has confirmed negotiations are ongoing.
The Managing Director of Aluworks, Kwasi Okoh told Joy Business they expect to receive their first supply of up to 60 tonnes by the end of the month.
He said the company was excited about the resumption of production by VALCO because Aluworks’ cost of production is set to reduce as it will buy materials at lower cost from the smelter.
Source: Joy Business/Ghana

GMDC filters 4 firms for alumina project in Kutch
Business Standard - January 17, 2011
The state PSU had received EoIs from nine companies.
State-run mining major Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) has short-listed four firms for executing Rs 14,000 crore alumina project in Kutch.
As many as nine companies were in fray to partner with the state PSU for this project. The companies filtered out of the total nine players include Aditya Birla Group firm Hindalco, Jaiprakash Associates, JSW Aluminium and public sector company Nalco.
However, GMDC will finalise only one player for the project. GMDC had received expressions of interest (EoI) from nine companies for the project, which include Hindalco Industries, Gujarat Foils, JSW Aluminium, Nalco, Aluchem (USA), Dubai Aluminium, Jaiprakash Associates, Adani Group and Jindal Steel and Power. It had appointed two agencies to study the EoIs and carry out a technical assessment as well as financial backgrounds checks of the companies in the fray for the plant.
V S Gadhvi, managing director of GMDC, had said earlier that GMDC might narrow down on three to four companies and then ask them to furnish more details which will help to select one company as a partner for the project. The total project size for setting up a million tonne alumina and a half million tonne aluminium smelter is Rs 10,000-14,000 crore.
GMDC proposes to set up a one million tonne alumina refinery and 500,000-tonne aluminium smelter. It plans to supply bauxite for the alumina production from its Kutch mines. The EoI document had no mention of a power plant. However, the companies would also be setting up a power plant for the project as aluminium production is a power intensive process.
The state government will construct a desalination plant for water supply. Currently, there is a temporary water pipeline arrangement to feed industries in Kutch. GMDC has bauxite reserves that can last for 25-30 years.

Floods affect Rio Tinto's aluminium deliveries
International Business Times AU - January 15, 2011
Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) has declared force majeure on supplies of aluminium from its Boyne smelting division in Australia's Queensland state due to severe flooding.
Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) has declared force majeure on supplies of aluminium from its Boyne smelting division in Australia's Queensland state due to severe flooding.
Rio Tinto "Flooding that has already brought much of the state's coal mining industry to a halt and closed the port of Brisbane was preventing deliveries to some domestic and international customers," Rio said.
Rio Tinto Alcan has given notice to its affected customers of a force majeure event impacting the supply of aluminium from Boyne Smelters Ltd near Gladstone as a result of the severe flooding across Queensland.
The floods have cut road and rail access between Gladstone and Brisbane and the Brisbane port is closed, preventing deliveries to some domestic and international customers.
Rio Tinto Alcan said it is investigating alternative arrangements for customers, including shipping aluminium directly out of the Gladstone port.
Despite this, premiums for spot primary aluminium in Asia are unlikely to rise due to weak demand and sufficient supplies, according to trading sources.
"Spot premiums should not be affected, unless the problem lasts for months, as that could force clients to buy from the spot market," an industry source said.
Boyne Smelters, 59.4 per cent owned by Rio and operated by its Alcan division, is Australia's largest aluminium smelting operation and is located near Gladstone in central coastal Queensland.

Breaking point: LSU professor discovers method to determine when metals reach ...
Eureka! Science News - 13-Jan-2011
January 13, 2011
We live in a world almost completely dependent upon machinery. Since the creation of the simple wheel, humans have found ways to increase quality of life and advance scientific knowledge using these devices. Though the prevalence of machinery has allowed us to build bigger, travel faster and create more quickly with complexity increasing as science advances, our dependence upon them has limitations. Everything that moves can and will break, especially metals under strain. And when they fail, the consequences can be catastrophic. LSU's Michael Khonsari has developed and proven a novel method to avoid the danger that comes with reaching the breaking point. Under the direction of Khonsari, Dow Chemical Endowed Chair in Rotating Machinery, the Center for Rotating Machinery in LSU's College of Engineering has developed a method to determine when metals under repeated back and forth stress will reach their breaking point. This discovery has the potential to save industry millions of dollars – and also save lives.
"It has far-reaching implications … this isn't going to impact just one industry or field," said Khonsari. "Machines impact our everyday lives, from automobiles to aviation, and breakdowns can cause immense complications. We're working to minimize those while maximizing efficient output."
The point at which materials reach a breaking point is a major concern. Chemical plants, for instance, rely on vast amounts of machinery to run efficiently and safely at all times. An emergency shutdown of just one piece of machinery could cost millions of dollars at best; at worst, it can cost lives.
"We have determined that most metals respond similarly when subjected to external cyclic stress that causes fatigue. While any kind of repetitive stress – bending, torsion, tension and compression – results in an increase in temperature, the moments before breakdown are precipitated by a sudden, drastic rise in temperature," said Khonsari. "What's more, we've determined that as a metal degrades, the amount of disorder generated within it keeps rising to a maximum value just before it fractures. And this maximum value happens to be a unique property of the metal. This discovery means we can anticipate the moment of failure and shut down before that moment arrives."
To reach these answers, Khonsari and his group had to go back to some basic questions and formulate their research in a totally new way.
"We had to ask ourselves those very fundamental questions. What is fatigue? What is wear? How to we characterize fatigue and wear? And is there a unifying principle behind all of these phenomena that basically cause degradation in a system? We had to start from the ground up."
He and his research team found that degradation results in disorder within a material and increases its entropy, a thermodynamic principle manifesting itself in an increase in temperature. They hypothesized that, at the moment of material failure, the total accumulated entropy is constant and independent of frequency, load or specimen size. The research was originally published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Mathematical, Physical & Engineering Sciences.
"The science base that underlies modeling and analysis of machine and structure reliability has remained substantially unchanged for decades. And unfortunately, a significant gap exists between available technology and science to capture degradation of machinery and provide early failure prediction," said Khonsari. "Fortunately, we were able to make significant strides toward closing that gap."
Using infrared cameras and cutting-edge computer technology, they ran tests analyzing bending and torsional stress of common metals such as aluminum and stainless steel. The thorough testing proved their hypothesis – the total accumulated entropy before fracture occurred was constant. In other words, it is a metal property. This led them to their next line of questioning.
"We essentially found an end to the life of certain materials in which you can monitor entropy accumulation to avoid catastrophic failure, so why not use this information to automatically stop the machine when the system reaches, say, 90 percent of its life?" said Khonsari. "Computerized monitoring systems and the algorithms and signal relay capable of doing so were all developed here at the Center for Rotating Machinery at LSU. Naturally, there was a process of trial and error, but it's all been tested and verified now. It's the real thing."
Because of the LSU College of Engineering's stature in industry in Louisiana and around the globe, Khonsari is confident that this research won't simply sit unused in a lab. It meets current industry needs. He knows, because the college meets with industry representatives on a regular basis to determine just that.
"The LSU College of Engineering's industry connections have been a huge help to us during every stage of this process," said Khonsari. "Research and development is not a quick process. There are many factors, including safety, that have to be considered and tested. Once we have tested it at LSU and feel confident that the product is up to par, it's a great advantage to then use it on a preliminary basis in industry situations so we can see how it performs outside the laboratory environment."
Khonsari submitted invention disclosures describing the technology to the LSU Office of Intellectual Property, Commercialization and Development and two patents are pending. The office is currently investigating licensing and commercialization opportunities.
"Before our venture into this area, research relating to fatigue was slow and incremental," said Khonsari. "Now, we're looking at potentially transformative new ideas. There are possibilities for this to be applied in nearly every aspect of our lives. Imagine being able to know before an airplane element breaks, a helicopter blade cracks or the brakes in a car fail. Things like this are possible through future applications of our work. And it all happened at LSU by a team of researchers at the Center for Rotating Machinery."

EMAL Hits the Smelter's Full Production on First Workday of 2011
Coal Geology - January 13, 2011, ABU DHABI, UAE, (Coal Geology)- Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) rang in 2011 by hitting their most momentous milestone to date – smelter’s full production.
On the last working day of 2010, EMAL energized the last of the 756 pots that make up the smelter.
“This is an incredibly exciting start to 2011 for us,” said Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, President and CEO of EMAL. “To start the year at full production capacity of the smelter means that we can now bring to a close the construction phase of EMAL and spend 2011with our full focus on ensuring we meet the production targets we’ve set for ourselves.”
EMAL reached the New Year’s milestone in impressive fashion. An average of 13.3 pots were energized each week over the course of 13 months – the highest rate of completion ever achieved by any Greenfield smelter. In doing so, the smelter produced an additional 76,000 tonnes of primary aluminium beyond what was originally forecasted for the year.
“We energized the last 100 pots in just 21 days at a rate of 33.3 pots per week” said Mazrooei. “It’s an astounding feet that will truly serve as a benchmark for future projects. What we’ve been able to do here in a very short time is hugely impressive, but I’m even more proud of the safety record we achieved in the process. We did not cut corners in pursuit of speed, and our people always knew that our first priority was safety; also, noting that during the 13 months of work on the smelter’s potlines, none of the 756 production pots were lost.”
In addition to announcing the completion of the potlines, EMAL also released impressive year end numbers for 2010 from other operational areas of the smelting complex. The EMAL power station produced nearly 5.5 million mega watt hours in 2010.
In 2010, 811,000 tonnes of alumina, 140,000 tonnes of calcined petroleum coke and 24,000 tonnes of coal tar pitch were used by the smelter during production.
Source: Emirates Aluminium (EMAL)

Hydro's Qatalum Faces 8-Week Delay on Power Problems
BusinessWeek - Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Norsk Hydro ASA, Europe’s third- largest aluminum maker, said full production at its Qatalum smelter in Qatar may be delayed for eight weeks because of technical problems at a power plant at the site.
Qatalum may now reach capacity from June, Chief Executive Officer Svein Richard Brandtzaeg said in a statement today, adding the site’s production ramp-up is 50 percent complete.
Hydro’s third-quarter earnings were wiped out by currency losses and an outage at the Qatari plant, it said in October. The company reported an underlying loss of 229 million kroner ($39 million) from the joint venture with Qatar Petroleum after primary aluminum output was shuttered for more than a month. It forecast a fourth-quarter loss of 400 million kroner, excluding insurance payouts expected to cover most of the charges.
Part of the insurance compensation will be recognized in the fourth quarter results, according to a presentation by Chief Financial Officer Jorgen Arentz Rostrup posted on the company’s website today. So-called cash costs at Qatalum will be between $1,400 and $1,500 a metric ton when full production is reached.
--Editors: Tony Barrett, Alastair Reed
To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Jordan in London at ajordan11@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amanda Jordan at ajordan11@bloomberg.net

Tajikistan's aluminum producer plans $100M upgrade
Central Asia Newswire (subscription) - 12-Jan-2011
January 12, 2011 - Leading metal firm Tajikistan Aluminum Company (TALCO) plans a $100 million upgrade following its failure to meet output targets last year.
Central Asia’s largest aluminum producer fell short of meeting its 2010 target of 442,798 tons, the Reuters news agency learned from an unidentified source on Wednesday.
Its actual output of 384,541 tons last year represents a 2.9 percent decrease from 2009, said the source, identified by Reuters as being close to the firm’s management.
The decline in output was attributed to aging equipment and a shortage of qualified personnel.
"Aluminum prices have displayed stable growth over the last few months," Reuters reported the source as saying. "This year, TALCO's budget has set aside large sums for modernization: the replacement of outdated equipment and the training of engineers and technical staff."
Funding for the upgrades will come entirely from revenues on the sale of metal last year produced out of its smelter, located 30 miles west of the capital city Dushanbe.
The smelting facility, established during the Soviet era, had the best year in 2007 when it was able to produce 461,934 tons of the metal.
TALCO’s exports contribute a whopping 65 percent of the state budget.
However many of its qualified engineers have gone abroad to seek employment in recent years even though the monthly pay of metallurgists, at between $300 and $400, is far higher than the country’s average wage of $82.

China icy weather hits metal smelters in Henan, Guizhou
Reuters Africa - Jan 12, 2011
* Power supplies to aluminium smelters in Guizhou to fall
* Natural gas supplies in Henan fall on icy weather
By Polly Yam
HONG KONG, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Aluminium output in China, the world's top producer, may be trimmed further this month as smelters in southwest Guizhou province face power cuts to offset soaring energy demand linked to freezing weather, industry sources said on Wednesday.
Aluminium smelting capacity, including capacity that was built but has not been started production was over 21 million tonnes a year at the end of last year.
But operating capacity was about 70 percent of the total, based on the official metal production in November, and more capacity is likely to have idled since then given that power supplies have fallen since late December in some provinces such as Henan, the top aluminium producing province in China.
Guizhou accounts for nearly 10 percent of the country's aluminium smelting capacity.
"We received (official) signals this week that the power supplies may be cut," an aluminium smelter source in Guizhou said. "If the weather does not improve next week, we are likely to have a problem."
Natural gas supplies have been cut to aluminium and lead smelters in central Henan province, the top producing province of the two metals in China, this month and local power authorities cut electricity supplies by 20 percent in late December, further limiting their production, the sources said.
In Henan, power supply cuts have forced aluminium smelters to keep some 800,000 tonnes of annual capacity idle and have reduced operations at fabricating plants that use the metal to make semi-finished products such as profiles, plates and sheets, smelter sources said.
Aluminium prices on the three-month contract of the London Metal Exchange rose 11 percent in 2010 and traded at $2,495.25 a tonne on Wednesday, up nearly 8 percent in the past month. The price on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SAFc3 increased 2 percent last year and traded at 16,890 yuan on Wednesday, up nearly 4 percent from a month earlier.
LME lead rose 5 percent in 2010 and was indicated at $2,610 on Wednesday, up near 12 percent over the past month. Shanghai does not have a lead contract and Chinese spot lead
prices PB-1-CCNMM inched up 1 percent in the past month to 17,450 yuan on Wednesday.
Icy rain and freezing weather also hit southern and southwest provinces and regions of Hunan, Guangxi, Jiangxi and Yunnan, disrupting traffic and damaging power facilities, Chinese media reported on Tuesday.
The Guizhou smelter source said that local aluminium smelters prepared to idle some capacity and use limited power supplies to keep production pots warm to allow smelters to restart quickly once power supplies resume.
Many smelters in Henan cut capacity in October last year due to limited power supplies and had planned to restart before the year-end after electricity supply increased in November.
But the restart plans have been delayed again after the power supplies were cut in late December.

Alcan plans another $50M investment in W.Va. plant
Huntington Herald Dispatch - January 12, 2011
CHARLESTON -- Alcan Rolled Products says it plans to invest $50 million in its Jackson County plant, provided the facility meets the objectives of a turnaround plan.
Last year, the company spent $38 million on upgrades at the aluminum rolling plant in Ravenswood.
Alcan spokesman Nicolas Brun told The Charleston Gazette that the turnaround plan includes an injury-free workplace, making targeted plant investments, developing strategic customer relationships, improving competitiveness, and providing open and ongoing communication.
Brun says the company's goal is to remain a key employer in the region.
The Ravenswood plant is Jackson County's largest employer. It employs 940 workers.

RUSAL may halt or sell Ukraine plant, power costly
Reuters Africa - Jan 11, 2011
Ukraine's only primary aluminium maker ZALK, owned by the world's biggest aluminium producer UC RUSAL (0486.HK: Quote), could be sold or stop production because of high electricity costs, the company said on Tuesday.
A RUSAL spokesman said in an emailed statement that the plant, privatised in 2000, had faced losses 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 aluminium output to 50,000 tonnes in 2009 from 112,800 in 2008, then reduced it further to about 25,000 tonnes in 2010, according to Interfax-Ukraine news agency.
"There are two options: to stop the plan completely or to sell it," the company official said in the statement.
"But the decision has not been adopted yet because we are waiting for a decision by the Ukrainian government over the tariff."
The new government of President Viktor Yanukovich is unlikely to cut prices for ZALK.
"Our position is the same as the previous government had," a government source told Reuters. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; editing by Anthony Barker)

Alcoa Expects Sales 'Headwinds' as China Seeks to Tame Inflation
Bloomberg - 10-Jan-2011
Alcoa Inc. said growth in demand for aluminum in China, the world’s largest market for the metal, will decelerate as government measures to curb inflation slow housing and automobile sales.
China’s aluminum consumption will expand 15 percent in 2011 compared with 21 percent last year, the New York-based company said yesterday in its fourth-quarter earnings presentation. Metal used by truck makers will rise as much as 3 percent this year, compared with a jump of about 60 percent in 2010, Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld said in a conference call.
“For 2011 we see some headwinds like the phasing out of the stimulus package, uncertain housing market,” the CEO of the world’s third-largest producer of the metal said.
China is trying to contain the effects of a lending boom unleashed in late 2008 with a $586 billion economic stimulus package. The plan fueled a surge in home prices, investment in property, and quickened inflation.
“Construction is such a huge part of first-end use of aluminum in China, almost 50 percent,” Peter Richardson, chief metals economist at Morgan Stanley Australia Ltd., said by telephone from Melbourne today. “The measures that have been progressively ratcheted up to control speculation and other excesses within construction and high-end property would have inevitably been expected to be reflected in slower growth.”
Shipments of aluminum used in vehicles is also expected to slow as China raised the sales tax on small vehicles to 10 percent from 7.5 percent on Jan. 1 in phasing out measures to support auto sales. China’s vehicle sales growth will be around 10 to 15 percent this year, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said yesterday. Sales jumped 32 percent to 18.06 million units in 2010, according to the association.
European Demand
China will use about 19 million metric tons of aluminum in 2011, according to Alcoa. Europe, the second-biggest market, will consume about 6.9 million tons, the company said.
Alcoa estimates global demand will expand 12 percent this year, from 13 percent in 2010. Use in Asia excluding China will increase 15 percent, from 10 percent last year, it said.
Alcoa said net income was $258 million, or 24 cents a share, in the fourth quarter after aluminum prices rebounded. That compared with a loss of $277 million, or 28 cents, a year earlier. Earnings excluding tax benefits and gains on restructuring and derivatives were 21 cents a share, beating the 19-cent average estimate of 15 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Sales gained 4 percent to $5.65 billion from $5.43 billion, missing the $5.75 billion average estimate of seven analysts in a Bloomberg survey. Alcoa dropped 28 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $16.21 as of 7:59 p.m. yesterday after the close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
‘Reasonably Strong’
“This is not a blow-it-out-of-the-park quarter,” Jorge Beristain, an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG in Greenwich, Connecticut, said in a telephone interview. “It’s a reasonably strong quarter.”
The profit is Alcoa’s biggest since the third quarter of 2008, when commodities began to tumble after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September that year. Alcoa had net losses in 2008 and 2009, its worst run in at least 19 years. It fired more than 20,000 workers and closed plants in the U.S. and Europe during the global economic slowdown.
Aluminum for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange averaged $2,365 a metric ton in the fourth quarter, the most since the third quarter of 2008. It traded at $2,541 on Jan. 7, the highest since Sept. 23, 2008, eight days after Lehman filed for bankruptcy. The metal slid 1.2 percent to $2,488 in London yesterday.
Price Gain
“The increase in aluminum prices has more than offset high material and industry costs as well as the impact of a weaker U.S. dollar,” Chief Financial Officer Chuck McLane said on the conference call. “Each of our businesses was able to significantly improve their performance.”
Alcoa said demand strengthened in most of its markets and productivity gained. The cost of goods sold declined 7.5 percent to $4.54 billion from $4.91 billion a year earlier.
The company said Jan. 7 it will restart idled production at three U.S. plants, adding 137,000 tons of output this year.
Alcoa, which operates in 31 countries including Brazil, Australia and Canada, sells aluminum in dollars and pays costs in local currencies.
The Australian dollar appreciated 5.8 percent against the U.S. dollar in the fourth quarter, the Canadian dollar advanced 3.1 percent and the Brazilian real gained 1.6 percent. Crude oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange were on average 12 percent higher in the quarter compared with a year earlier.
Aluminum output in 2011 will be 43.2 million tons globally, exceeding consumption by 360,000 tons, according to Deutsche Bank estimates. There were 4.37 million tons of aluminum inventories stored in LME-monitored warehouses as of Jan 7, down 5.3 percent from a year ago.
To contact the reporters on this story: Natalie Doss in New York at ndoss@bloomberg.net; Rebecca Keenan at rkeenan5@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

Alcoa foils its doubters
Business Spectator - 11 Jan 2011
With most analysts having aluminium on their "least preferred" list of metals, the contrast between their less-than-enthusiastic views and the optimism in Alcoa’s fourth-quarter results presentation overnight is marked.
The result was the best quarterly performance by the group since the financial crisis and its full-year net income of $US254 million represented a massive turnaround from 2009’s loss of $US1.2 billion.
Most encouraging, the fourth quarter income from continuing operations (excluding special items) of $US223 million was driven by $US180 million of price, mix and volume gains. For the full year price, mix and volume improvements added about $US1.6 billion to the group’s income.
After two years of losses and 20,000 job losses, Alcoa appears to have turned the corner on the back of an improving aluminium price and a lower cost base created by massive restructuring and the shutting down of about 20 per cent of its smelting capacity. Global demand for aluminium improved 13 per cent last year and the company is forecasting a further increase in consumption of about 12 per cent this year.
Inventories, while still high – about 52 days of consumption, or roughly 50 per cent higher than they were at the start of the crisis – are falling and Alcoa is predicting that the market, while still in surplus, will move closer to balance this year. The market for alumina, it forecasts, will see supply and demand balanced.
There was, however, a lot of smelting capacity mothballed during the crisis that could be brought back on line if prices do hold up which, with the inventory levels, are the reasons analysts remain so unenthusiastic. Alcoa itself is starting to bring some idle capacity back into production.
The Alcoa forecasts are also predicated on China facing a substantial deficiency between its production and consumption of aluminium. With China wrestling with inflationary pressures there is considerable uncertainty about its economic outlook.
The alumina market is more balanced and the sector is moving rapidly towards index or market-related pricing which in turn is diverging from its historical relationship with aluminium prices (it was once fixed at a percentage of the LME price for the metal) as non-integrated smelters in China and the Middle East have driven demand for bauxite and alumina.
Alumina Ltd’s chief executive, John Bevan, noted the shift towards index-related pricing today when commenting on the Alcoa results and said the change would impact his group’s results progressively as the new contracts were entered into this year. Alumina has a 40 per cent interest in the Alcoa Worldwide Alumina and Chemicals joint venture.
For all the commodity producers the push for market-related prices, or at least short-term prices, to displace the annual contract negotiations is providing massive windfalls as the prices of most hard commodities, particularly those used to produce steel, have spiked because of the continuing growth in demand from China and India and the impact on potential new sources of supply of the financial crisis.

Recycling signals a new era at Hydro Aluminium Kurri
SteelGuru - 10 Jan 2011
A new facility to recycle waste materials generated by the aluminium smelting process into products used by other industries has signaled a new era in environmental sustainability.
Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Mr Tony Burke was on site at Hydro Aluminium Kurri officially open the Spent Potliner Reprocessing Facility.
The facility is a joint initiative between mineral processing company Regain Services Pty Ltd and Hydro Aluminium Kurri.
According to Regain Director, Bernie Cooper, the initiative represents a new era in environmental sustainability with gains for the environment, for end-users of products and for the aluminium industry. He said that “The approach is a major win for the environment, with 100% beneficial use of smelter by-products.”
The management of Spent Potliner waste is an important issue for the aluminium industry worldwide. Mr Cooper said that “Regain has developed world leading technology to make SPL safe and recover minerals from it, which can then be used to make valuable products used in other industries such as brick, cement and steel making.”
SPL Reprocessing is part of Hydro’s program to further improve environmental performance. “The commitment to SPL Reprocessing is part of Hydro’s commitment to further improve environmental performance and achieve a zero waste smelter, at a time of significant financial challenges,” Hydro Technical Manager, Hubert Lehman, said.
In addition, the products made by Regain offer many environmental benefits for the cement and brick making industries, as they include properties that reduce emissions and save energy in the manufacturing process.
Following 10 years success within the Australian market strong demand for the product is now coming from Asia, with Regain recently obtaining approval to export to China.
Mr Cooper said that “By expanding our customer base to Asia, Regain can continue to grow its operations in Australia, providing many environmental and economic benefits.”
(Sourced from www.cessnockadvertiser.com.au)

Lam Dong Aluminum-Bauxite Complex Project churns out first alumina products
VOVNews.vn - 09-Jan-2011
In the second quarter of 2011, the Lam Dong Aluminum-Bauxite Complex Project will produce its first alumina products, according to the Vietnam National Coal Mineral Industries Group.
By the end of 2010, the project’s total investment capital level was nearly VND9.5 billion, accounting for 85 percent of its total investment.
An ore-bauxite factory in the complex will be put into operation in April this year. At present, the Tan Rai Aluminum Buxite Poject has finalised almost 90 percent of work while the Nhan Co Alumin Project is conducting a geological survey for the implementation of the remaining part in the future.
In addition, infrastructure projects for the development of the aluminum industry such as the Ke Ga Port Construction Project have been approved and will be carried out in the first quarter of this year.
After the visit to Hungary to learn about the causes of the red mud spill, the group gained new experiences in technical and operational standards.
Currently, the group is completing a technical design of a red mud lake project and called on investors to ensure the design quality.

China meets 5 year target to cut energy intensity
SteelGuru - 09 Jan 2011
Reuters reported that China has met its target to cut the amount of energy produced per unit of GDP growth by 20% over the 2006-2010 periods.
Zhang Ping, the director of the National Development and Reform Commission, speaking at a work conference said China could basically meet its goal but he added that detailed data had yet to be released.
Big industrial regions such as Hebei province launched punishing campaigns in the second half of 2010 to fulfill their local targets and hundreds of steel mills, aluminium plants and other big energy guzzlers were forced to close.
Chinese officials are still deliberating on energy intensity targets for the next five years, but Chinese media reports suggested last October that the figure for 2011-2015 could be 17.3%.
Mr Xie Zhenhua NDRC vice director said at the end of November that those targets had already been met that China also aimed to reduce key pollutants like sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and chemical oxygen demand by 10% over the 2006-2010 period. (Sourced from Reuters)

Guyana union, Rusal launch long-awaited mediation
Bloomberg - 08-Jan-2011
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — A Russian-owned bauxite company is meeting with union leaders in Guyana to talk about its de-recognition of a labor union and dismissal of more than 120 workers amid wage disagreements.
Labor Minister Manzoor Nadir is mediating the long-awaited talks between the company and the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union. He said Saturday that meetings will continue early next week.
The South American country had threatened sanctions if Rusal did not agree to binding arbitration.
Nadir has accused Rusal of unilaterally and illegally ending the union agreement.
Rusal is the world's largest producer of alumina and aluminum and has extensive holdings in the Berbice region of the South American country.
Copyright © 2010 Associated Press

GMDC to select partner for Kutch aluminium project in 2 weeks
SteelGuru - 08 Jan 2011
BS reported that Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation will take till January 20 to select and announce a partner for its INR 14,000 crore aluminium project in Kutch.
Mr VS Gadhvi MD said “We wanted to announce the partner during the ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ event which begins on January 12. However, we won’t be able to complete the assessment of the Expression of Interests by that time. We are studying the EoIs by nine companies and will announce the decision by January 20.”
He said “Since all the companies are of sound financial health and very strong corporate houses, we might narrow down to three companies and then ask them to furnish some more details, which will help us to select one company to partner with.”
Mr Gadhvi said The EoI document had no mention of a power plant, which is very important as aluminium production needs huge quantities of power.
He said that “The companies in their EoIs have mentioned the power plant and they themselves will be setting it up. Also, for the water requirement, the state government is setting up a desalination plant as a long-term measure to support the industries in Kutch. There is presently a temporary water pipeline arrangement.”
The EoIs came from Hindalco Industries, Gujarat Foils, JSW Aluminium, Nalco, Aluchem, Dubai Aluminium, Jaiprakash Associates, Adani Group and Jindal Steel and Power.
The project is for setting up 1 million tonne alumina refinery and a 500,000 tonne aluminium smelter. GMDC will be the bauxite provider for the alumina production from its mines in Kutch. The company has bauxite reserves to last 25 to 30 years. (Sourced from Business Standard)

Alcoa to restart potlines
Evansville Courier & Press - 07-Jan-2011
NEW YORK (AP) - Aluminum maker Alcoa said Friday it plans to restart idled potlines at three US smelters, creating approximately 260 jobs through recalls and hiring.
Potlines will be restarted at the Massena East facility in Massena, N.Y.; Wenatchee Works in Malaga, Wash.; and Intalco in Ferndale, Wash., the company said in a statement.The restarts, which already have begun, will help Alcoa meet expected growth in aluminum demand, and it will meet obligations to power companies in long-term, low-cost contracts, Alcoa's statement said.

The US is being left behind in the race for market share
Energy Collective - 06-Jan-2011
The U.S. is being left behind in the race for market share
To see where India’s drive is headed to build 20 GWe of new nuclear powered electric generation capacity in the next 10 years, look at its aluminum and steel industries. As India relaxes its government rules that limit private sector participation in new reactors, two huge heavy industrial firms are preparing bids to invest in new reactors dedicated to supplying power to India’s plants.
State-run National Aluminum Co. Ltd (NALCO) is making plans to acquire a nuclear power station in Gujarat, in India. The Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) is also planning to acquire a dedicated reactor at the Gujarat site. Both companies will take minority stakes, up to 49 percent, in the reactors.
NALCO said that it will fund the new power stations from existing cash reserves. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) is reported to have estimated the delivered cost of the new reactors at $1600/kw. The planned 1400 MWe of power needed by NALCO would cost $2.3 billion. Whether NPCIL can actually deliver the reactors at these costs won’t be known for a few years.
What is known is that India has the second most ambitious program on the planet to build new nuclear reactors, worth an estimated $150 billion. (Map of India’s nuclear infrastructure.) With plans to build 20 GWe in the next 10 years, it is overshadowed only by China’s recently announced plans to build two-to-four times that amount in the same decade. China is aiming to build new 1000-MW reactors in less than five years and at a lower cost. (See ANS Nuclear Cafe–China’s Ambitious Nuclear Program–December 2, 2010.)
Total investments in nuclear energy by India could boost its contribution to as much as 8 percent of electricity by 2020. India’s transmission and distribution infrastructure needs massive investment, however, and the theft of electricity by consumers and industries is a national pastime.
A key factor in acquiring new reactors is India’s reliance on Russian technology and, to a smaller degree, on similar offerings from France. U.S. firms simply aren’t in the running due to a harsh supplier liability law that was enacted by India’s parliament in 2010. Though India has signed an international convention on supplier liability at the International Atomic Energy Agency, ratification must pass through the same hostile gauntlet in parliament that enacted the liability law.
India, which once touted its “nonaligned status” in world politics, is now aligning itself with Russia on the east and France on the west to acquire nuclear reactor technologies.
The Russians are coming
Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy export agency is building four new 1000-MW VVER design reactors at Kudamlulan, located on the tip of India’s southern coast. The first two are expected to enter revenue service in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Another six Russian reactors are planned for a site in Haripur in West Bengal. These reactors are scheduled to come online by 2017. The Russians are concerned about the future of the West Bengal project because Maoist political parties in the region have mounted strong political protests against the proposed plant.
Following a late December visit to India by Russian President Dimitri Medvedev, the two nations announced India could be expected to buy up to 18 new reactors from Rosatom. The first group of reactors will be 1000-MW units, but later power stations are expected to use 1200-MW designs.
India has told the Russians, and other current and potential vendors, that a significant percentage of new reactors must be based on local production of components. While the Russians make their own reactor pressure vessels, they are in talks with Larsen & Toubro (L&T), one of India’s largest manufacturers, to develop a joint venture to make pumps and parts for the VVERs. Russia will also supply its own turbines for power stations that it builds in India. It is possible that the turbines will come from Siemens in Germany, which has a joint venture agreement with Rosatom.
Separately, NPCIL is working to establish a forge big enough to produce the components for reactor pressure vessels. L&T announced a joint venture in February 2010 with G.E.-Hitachi to build a facility at Gujarat in India. G.E. Hitachi also hopes to build a nuclear power station there. The future of that project will depend on how India manages its policy on nuclear liability.
According to The Hindu, one of India’s largest newspapers, L&T’s forging unit will have a dedicated plant producing ingots weighing up to 600 tonnes each, and a heavy forge equipped with a press that will be among the largest in the world.
It could take several years to plan and build the facility, and up to 10 years to reliably produce four or more reactor pressure vessels a year. Until that facility is built, India will have to rely on Japan Steel Works for its 700-MW indigenous reactors. The Russians and the French have their own forges.
Russians concerned about liability
While multiple deals between Russia and India paint a rosy future for nuclear energy there, a dark shadow hangs over the scene. India’s Civil Nuclear Liability Act makes a supplier of a nuclear reactor, or its components, liable in case of an accident even after NPCIL has accepted it and is running the operation. In other words, years after components are installed, the supplier could be held liable in if there is an accident.
While the Russians enjoy sovereign immunity from litigation, they are balking at signing on to the provisions of the liability law in their contracts. Gregory O. Kumani, vice president at Atomstroyexport, went public in December with his reservations.
Kumani told The Hindu newspaper that the export agency doesn’t want the liability law as a clause in its Indian contracts. He predicted that if the India government presses the case for the liability law, the Russians will include a risk premium in the delivered cost of every reactor they build.
American firms also won’t enter India’s market without removal of these provisions. Despite strenuous efforts by American diplomats to get India to make changes, President Obama came home empty handed from his November visit to New Delhi.
None of the expected $10 billion in new reactor deals were announced while Obama was there. GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse have agreements only in principle on paper while the Russians and French move full steam ahead in breaking ground for new power stations.
Not all of the impacts of the liability law are on suppliers selling into India’s $150 billion new build from abroad. India’s big push for “localization” of production could be delayed by the same law.
The former head of India’s Atomic Energy Commission, Anil Kakodkar, said in early December that the language in the legislation hits Indian suppliers with the same liability risks. He noted that the lack of insurance means that Indian suppliers, like L&T, would have to stash cash in liability bonds that would limit their ability to expand production facilities to supply components to new reactors. One such facility would be the new forge.
France gets a foothold
French President Nicolas Sarkozy meets Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
In late November, French President Nicholas Sarkozy signed an agreement in New Delhi to supply two, and as many as six, 1600-MW European Pressurized Reactors at the Jaitapur plant in the Maharashtra state. The first two reactors will supply electricity to Mumbai, which is about 500 km (300 miles) north of the site.
The new reactors will cost an estimated four-to-six billion euros ($5-8 billion) and include turbines, generators, and upgrades to transmission and distribution infrastructure. Areva has also agreed to supply fuel for the plants for the first 25 years of operation.
The technical and financial documents were signed by NPCIL Chairman S.K. Jain and Areva CEO Anne Lauvergeon. Like the Russians, the French state-owned reactor supplier has reservations about India’s liability law. CNN reported that Lauvergeon said that France “wants more clarity” about the effect of the liability law, but also said it “would not be a deal breaker.”
An unexpected development is that protests have broken out in Jaitapur in India from farmers who will be displaced by the clearance of the reactor site. Some of the protests have turned violent. India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has vigorous defended the project and pointed out that the protests are organized by opposition parties.
Independent of the reactor deals, Areva is also offering NPCIL a minor share in its Georges Besse II uranium enrichment plant in France. This investment profile is similar to arrangements Areva has made with South Korean and Japanese nuclear utilities. India also inked deals to acquire uranium from Areva’s mining business unit.

India's NALCO sells aluminium at $108/T premium-source
Reuters - Jan 6, 2011
BHUBANESWAR, India, Jan 6 (Reuters)- India's state-run National Aluminium Co Ltd (NALCO) (NALU.BO) sold 10,000 tonnes of aluminium ingots at $108 per tonne premium over the average LME cash price on a cost, insurance and freight basis, a company source said on Thursday.
The buyer, Hong Kong's Hongfan International Ltd, will get the metal in five batches of 2,000 tonnes each from April to August this year, said the senior official, who has direct knowledge of the deal but could not be named due to company policy.
NALCO, the tenders of which serve as an international benchmark, in December sold aluminium ingots at $111 per tonne premium over the average LME cash price on a cost, insurance and freight basis, the same source had said. (Reporting by Jatindra Dash; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan)

AMM) Chinese aluminum extrusion duties cut
Metalbulletin.com (subscription) - 05-Jan-2011
NEW YORK 05 January 2011 21:27
The U.S. Department of Commerce has cut its proposed anti-dumping duty on Chinese aluminum extrusion almost in half due to "significant" errors in the preliminary determination in November.
In a preliminary ruling, the department has cut the margin for individual companies to 32.04 percent and the China-wide margin to 33.18 percent from the 59.31 percent proposed Nov. 12, according to Tuesday's Federal Register.
The department published its affirmative preliminary determination Nov. 12, ruling that aluminum extrusions from China are being, or...

Global X Funds launches first aluminum ETF
Reuters -Jan 5, 2011
* Global X Funds launches first aluminum ETF
* Rio Tinto, Alcoa, Norsk Hydro three top components
* Fund rises nearly 2 pct in debut trading (Adds CEO comments, fund rises in debut)
NEW YORK, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Global X Funds, a provider of exchange-traded funds, on Wednesday launched the first ETF for aluminum, saying demand for the metal is growing.
In its debut, the Global X Aluminum ETF (ALUM.P) rose 25 cents, or almost 2 percent, to $15.25 in morning trading.
"Aluminum has seen tremendous price increases as a result of increased global demand, especially from China and India," Global X Funds Chief Executive Officer Bruno del Ama said in a statement.
"Its invaluable properties to various industries make it essential for future economic growth."
Aluminum is used in automobile and airplane manufacturing and beverage cans, After a sharp drop in demand and price after the 2008 recession, aluminum prices are on the rise, increasing 11 percent last year and now stand near a two-year peak of $2,500 per tonne.
The Global X Aluminum ETF tracks the Solactive Global Aluminum Index, which is designed to reflect the performance of the largest and most liquid companies globally in the aluminum mining industry.
As of last Dec. 13, the three largest components of the index were Rio Tinto plc (RIO.L), Alcoa Inc (AA.N) and Norsk Hydro ASA (NHY.OL).
The aluminum ETF expands Global X Funds' commodity producer funds and comes on the footsteps of Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX.P). (Reporting by Steve James; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

Sarawak Hidro negotiating to sell power from Bakun dam to SEB
Malaysia Star - 04-Jan-2011
KUCHING: Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd is in advanced talks with Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) to sell the power from the Bakun dam to the state utility firm.
Sarawak Hidro managing director Zulkifle Osman said negotiations would resume around Jan 20, and hopefully, an agreement on the sale and purchase of Bakun power could be inked in May or July by the latest.
The last round of talks was in October last year before the impoundment of the dam, which will generate up to 2,400MW when fully operational.
“SEB has done its due diligence on various aspects, including the technical and financial aspects of the Bakun dam, and is now doing some fine-tuning (on the findings). We have yet to see the report,” he told StarBiz.
He said the negotiations had yet to touch on tariffs for power from the Bakun dam.
Sarawak Land Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr James Masing (right) and Zulkifle Osman during a recent visit to the Bakun impoundment area in central Sarawak
Despite preparations for the sale of the Bakun dam project to the Sarawak government, the talks to hammer out the power tariffs will be ongoing. The value of a power-generation project is often determined by the level of its tariffs
In September, Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said in Kuching that the state government had placed a bid of over RM6bil to buy over the Bakun project from the federal government.
Taib had said recently that the state government was willing to raise its bid for the dam ownership to RM7bil, from an initial RM6bil, if the federal government could offer flexi-payment mode, like providing a lower bridging loan.
The federal government agreed to sell the dam to the Sarawak government three months ago.
However, Zulkifle said he did not know of the progress of negotiations between the two governments.
Sarawak Hidro, which is owned by the Finance Ministry, is the developer of the dam, which costs more than RM7bil to build.
Zulkifle said with good rainfalls in the interiors (which is at the maximium level based on the average taken in the past 10 years), the water level at the reservoir had risen to 158m since the impoundment started less than three months ago.
He said wet testing on the first turbine, which could produce 300MW, was expected to be carried out in April when the water level reaches between 185m and 190m.
To achieve that level, he said, a good pattern of rainfall should continue as the water level would be rising at a slower pace from now on due to the larger surface area that it needs to cover.
The area to be flooded covers 690 sq km, which is about the size of Singapore. Earlier prediction had put the entire flooding process at up to two years.
Zulkifle said Sarawak Hidro, which was reported to have assembled some 150 ecological experts worldwide to monitor the massive flooding exercise, had not encountered any technical problems.
“Wet testing will take at least one month, with pre-commissioning (of the first of the eight turbines) in May. The dam will be operational (to produce power) by July,” he added.
Zulkifle said Bakun power would be supplied to energy-intensive industries like aluminium smelters and steel mills to be set up in the Samalaju Industrial Park in Bintulu Division within the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy.
The basic infrastructure of the park is now under development.
Zulkifle said he hoped the SEB power substation in Similajau would be ready by July. A joint-venture company between China's Sinohydro Corp and Naim Holdings Bhd is building the RM209mil Bakun-Similajau transmission system.

Sale of Alcan assets completed: Rio Tinto
Montreal Gazette - 04-Jan-2011
Mining and metals giant Rio Tinto Group says sales of almost all of its Alcan subsidiary's downstream businesses has now been completed, bringing the divestments' total value to more than $11 billion U.S.
Rio Tinto Alcan had sold about $10 billion U.S. of assets by late December, including some engineering and packaging units. The asset disposals were made to help fund Rio Tinto's $38-billion (U.S.) acquisition of Alcan Inc. four years ago.
Rio Tinto's CFO, Guy Elliott, said Tuesday the sale of 61 per cent of European-based Alcan Engineered Products to funds affiliated with New York investment manager Apollo Global Management LLC and Fonds Strategique d'Investissement (FSI), controlled by the French government, has been completed. He did not disclose the terms.
But the divestment includes the big Ravenswood aluminum rolling mill in West Virgina with a payroll of 1,000 and a producer of aircraft sheet and plate, industry sources said.
Apollo becomes the majority shareholder in AEP with a 51-per-cent stake in a new holding company (for AEP), with FSI holding 10 per cent and Rio Tinto retaining 39 per cent. Rio Tinto sold AEP's composites division in 2009.
"The closing of our majority divestment in AEP marks Rio Tinto's exit of substantially all Alcan's downstream businesses," Elliott said. "Since 2008, we have completed more than $11 billion U.S. of divestments."
However, Rio Tinto maintains its ownership of U.S.-based cablemaker Alcan Cable.

Jamaican government mum on reported Glencore deal
Reuters Africa - 04-Jan-2011
KINGSTON Jan 4 (Reuters) - The Jamaican government refused on Tuesday to confirm reports it had struck a deal to sell its 45-percent stake in the Jamaica Alumina Co, known as Jamalco, to Swiss-based Glencore International AG GLEN.UL.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding said in his New Year's message that the government had reached an agreement to sell its holdings in the bauxite and alumina company but declined to identify the buyer.
International media, including Metal Bulletin, have since reported that the buyer is Glencore, one of the world's largest suppliers of raw materials and commodities.
Mining and Energy Minister James Robertson told a Kingston radio station on Tuesday that negotiations to divest the government's shares were continuing, but would not say which company was involved in the talks.
"I will only say that negotiations are at a delicate stage and because of the delicate nature of the talks, I cannot say much more," Robertson told the station.
Jamalco operates a mine, port and refinery and has the capacity to produce 1.425 million tonnes of alumina annually.
Golding told Parliament last year that the state would be better off divesting its interest in Jamalco. The remaining 55 percent of shares are owned by Alcoa (AA.N: Quote) which manages the company. (Reporting by Horace Helps, Editing by Jane Sutton)

Sale of Alcan assets completed: Rio Tinto
Montreal Gazette - 04-Jan-2011
Mining and metals giant Rio Tinto Group says sales of almost all of its Alcan subsidiary's downstream businesses has now been completed, bringing the divestments' total value to more than $11 billion U.S.
Rio Tinto Alcan had sold about $10 billion U.S. of assets by late December, including some engineering and packaging units. The asset disposals were made to help fund Rio Tinto's $38-billion (U.S.) acquisition of Alcan Inc. four years ago.
Rio Tinto's CFO, Guy Elliott, said Tuesday the sale of 61 per cent of European-based Alcan Engineered Products to funds affiliated with New York investment manager Apollo Global Management LLC and Fonds Strategique d'Investissement (FSI), controlled by the French government, has been completed. He did not disclose the terms.
But the divestment includes the big Ravenswood aluminum rolling mill in West Virgina with a payroll of 1,000 and a producer of aircraft sheet and plate, industry sources said.
Apollo becomes the majority shareholder in AEP with a 51-per-cent stake in a new holding company (for AEP), with FSI holding 10 per cent and Rio Tinto retaining 39 per cent. Rio Tinto sold AEP's composites division in 2009.
"The closing of our majority divestment in AEP marks Rio Tinto's exit of substantially all Alcan's downstream businesses," Elliott said. "Since 2008, we have completed more than $11 billion U.S. of divestments."
However, Rio Tinto maintains its ownership of U.S.-based cablemaker Alcan Cable.

Jamaican government mum on reported Glencore deal
Reuters Africa - 04-Jan-2011
KINGSTON Jan 4 (Reuters) - The Jamaican government refused on Tuesday to confirm reports it had struck a deal to sell its 45-percent stake in the Jamaica Alumina Co, known as Jamalco, to Swiss-based Glencore International AG GLEN.UL.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding said in his New Year's message that the government had reached an agreement to sell its holdings in the bauxite and alumina company but declined to identify the buyer.

International media, including Metal Bulletin, have since reported that the buyer is Glencore, one of the world's largest suppliers of raw materials and commodities.

Mining and Energy Minister James Robertson told a Kingston radio station on Tuesday that negotiations to divest the government's shares were continuing, but would not say which company was involved in the talks.

"I will only say that negotiations are at a delicate stage and because of the delicate nature of the talks, I cannot say much more," Robertson told the station.

Jamalco operates a mine, port and refinery and has the capacity to produce 1.425 million tonnes of alumina annually.

Golding told Parliament last year that the state would be better off divesting its interest in Jamalco. The remaining 55 percent of shares are owned by Alcoa (AA.N: Quote) which manages the company. (Reporting by Horace Helps, Editing by Jane Sutton)

Ord River Resources to complete Yuqida drilling for Laos feasibility study in ...
Proactive Investors Australia - 04-Jan-2011
Ord River Resources (ASX: ORD) has reported that drilling work at the Yuqida tenement, part of its Laos feasibility study, will be completed by 10 January.
The drilling will be conducted by feasibility study manager Sinomine Resource Exploration Co.
Sinomines will take a break from operations between 20 January and the Chinese New Yea and will return to complete the remaining geology, measurement and sampling work before the wet season.
ORD is targeting an extensive good quality bauxite resource on the Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos over an aggregate area of 487 km2 and is on track to complete the feasibility study by mid 2011.The feasibility study commenced on 1 March 2010. Ord maintains 49% interest in the JV with Sino Australian Resources (Laos) Co., Ltd (SARCO) until the end of the feasibility study.

Alcoa Unlikely to Build Smelter in North Iceland, Visir Reports
Bloomberg - 03-Jan-2011
Alcoa Inc.’s plans to build a smelter in Husavik, north Iceland, are unlikely to materialize, the Reykjavik-based news service Visir reported, citing Hordur Arnarsson, chief executive officer of Landsvirkjun, Iceland’s largest producer of electricity.
Landsvirkjun has signed a memorandum of understanding with Carbon Recycling International Ltd., which wants to build a methane factory in the area; that would leave Landsvirkjun unable to supply Alcoa with the power needed to build an aluminum smelter, Visir said.
“It’s clear that a 360,000-ton smelter, such as the one Alcoa has an environmental-impact assessment for, is unlikely to be built in the area,” Arnarsson told Visir.
To contact the reporter on this story: Omar R. Valdimarsson in Reykjavik valdimarsson@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tasneem Brogger at tbrogger@bloomberg.net

Additional funding for alumina refinery project gets approved
Energy Business Review - 03-Jan-2011
Global Alumina Corp has reported that the joint venture board of directors has approved an additional funding of $5.3m for a alumina refinery project for the period 1 January 2011 through 31 January 2011.
Global Alumina is participating in the joint venture to develop an alumina refinery, mine and associated infrastructure in the bauxite-rich region of the Republic of Guinea.
The company said that it will be responsible for its one-third share of this amount.
The joint venture board had earlier approved cumulative project funding from inception through December 2010 of $728.8m of which $717.6m was incurred or prepaid through November 2010 and $710.4 million has been funded to date.
The company has approximately $43.7m in cash, $34.6m of which is in escrow available for project development and $9.1m of which is unrestricted and available for general corporate purposes.
Global Alumina also has a $33.3m subscription receivable due to the company on the completion of the project debt financing.
The joint venture partners in the project are Global Alumina International, BHP Billiton, Dubai Aluminium Company and Mubadala Development Company PJSC.

Vedanta gives Gujarat aluminium plant offer a miss
SteelGuru - 03-Jan-2011
It is reported that Vedanta Resources does not seem interested in setting up an alumina refinery and an aluminium smelter in Gujarat. It has decided against an expression of interest as invited by the state-owned Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation.
GMDC had invited EoIs for a 1 million tonne per year alumina refinery and a half a million tonne aluminium smelter project in the Kutch region. The bauxite requirement of the project is supposed to be fulfilled by GMDC through its own mines. The last day for an EoI was November 11.
Mr Mukesh Kumar COO of Vedanta Aluminium said “We want to concentrate our energies in Orissa and, therefore, have decided not to go to Gujarat for setting up of the plant. He said bauxite deposits in Kutch were ‘very limited’ and would not be able to support a plant larger than one million tonne of alumina refinery capacity. This limits the scope for further expansions.”
Mr Kumar said the same project was offered to Ashapura Minechem a few years ago. An official in the know said “Ashapura Minechem and GMDC had signed an agreement a few years back for this plant, but it failed to take off. GMDC then offered the project to the Adani group, but no headway was achieved.”
In October, the state government persuaded Vedanta to set up the alumina project and offered partnership with GMDC. The state also asked GMDC to scrap its project with Ashapura Minechem in favor of Vedanta.
Mr Kumar said Vedanta, however, sees no possibility of a plant in Gujarat. He said that “We have tied up with GMDC for bauxite supply of 500,000 tonnes and that is about it.”