AluNews - June 2011

GUINEA REJECTS RUSAL PROPOSAL TO DIG DIAN-DIAN SLOWLY, KEEP BAUXITE ...
Business Insider - 30-Jun-2011
Yesterday’s report on the Guinean President’s ultimatum to Rusal to use or lose the giant Dian-Dian bauxite deposit has drawn fresh sources with additional information, confirming the deterioration in Rusal’s hold on its concession agreement.
According to Vladislav Soloviev, Oleg Deripaska’s first deputy at Rusal headquarters in Moscow, his company is currently in talks with the Government of Guinea on terms for developing Dian-Dian. “We are ready to start to develop the deposit, but we need to solve the problems with infrastructure and agree on railroad use with the government,” Soloviev is reported as saying.
Responding from Conakry, the Guinean capital, industry and government sources say that Rusal has submitted a Dian-Dian project proposal, but that it has been rejected.
According to the Guinean government, no comprehensive feasibility study from Rusal on Dian-Dian has been submitted yet, and no agreement on the project plan. According to initial calculations by the government, the capital cost of the bauxite mine ought to be about $250 million. Required by Rusal’s 20-year concession agreement, signed in 2006 with the government in Conakry, a new alumina refinery should be built to process at least part of bauxite dug out of the mine; the capital cost of the refinery is estimated by the Guinean government at about $1.5 billion. To transport the bauxite and alumina to market, the government’s terms for Rusal are similar to those required for Rio Tinto and other mine developers in Guinea – they should build a freight-standard railroad – estimated at $200 million – and a new port loading terminal; that last bill should cost about $100 million. Total government projection for Rusal’s Dian-Dian project capex – more than $2 billion.
Rusal’s detailed references to the Dian-Dian project plans in its Hong Kong Stock Exchange listing prospectus of January 2010 revealed two project cost estimates – one for the bauxite mine, and another for the alumina refinery. “Dian-Dian is a greenfield project to be constructed in Guinea. The studies to date have identified Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources compliant with the JORC Code of 472.1 Mt with 47.7% Al2O3 and 1.5% silica. The expected volume of bauxite mined, subject to confirmation by additional studies is 13.1 Mtpa (for alumina production) and 10 Mtpa (for export). A feasibility study has been prepared by international consultants. The capital expenditure of the mining aspects of the project has been estimated at US$425 m, which would include the development of the mine and mine related infrastructure.”
The prospectus also acknowledges the Dian-Dian alumina refinery is a much more expensive proposition. This, said Rusal, “is a greenfield alumina refinery project which is planned for construction in Guinea, West Africa. A detailed feasibility study has been completed for a 5.1 Mtpa alumina refinery including a power plant, railway, port and other associated infrastructure. First alumina is currently scheduled for 2015. The CAPEX for this project, including development of the bauxite mine, is estimated at US$5,566 million, of which US$42 million had been spent as of 30 June 2009.”
Subtracting the mine capex from the grand total of $5.566 million indicates that the alumina project should cost about $5 billion. The prospectus data tables also suggest that counting measured, indicated and inferred bauxite in the ground, Dian-Dian holds 689 million tonnes; that is 38% of Rusal’s total bauxite reserves and resources worldwide.
Counting 5.1 million tonnes of projected annual alumina output from Dian-Dian, that represents 65% more than the 7.8 million tonnes of alumina the company turned out last year from refineries in Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere.
But Rusal has no current intention of producing any alumina at Dian-Dian, and no intention for the foreseeable future of producing the prospectus target of 23 million tonnes of bauxite per year. The sources in Conakry say that in the recent negotiations Rusal proposed only to develop the bauxite mine at an initial production rate of 300,000 tonnes, exporting it all, and falling far short of the required 13-million tonne feed rate required for the refinery. So, no bauxite, no refinery.
The Rusal proposal also requested permission from the government to use the current railroad owned by Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG), and the port loading complex also owned by CBG at Kamsar. CBG is half owned by the government, half by a partnership of Alcoa of the US and Rio Tinto of the UK.
By restricting the project this way, the Guineans believe Rusal is hoping to spend no more than $250 million on the Dian-Dian mine, and keep most of the bauxite in the ground. “In other words,” one of the sources added, confirming the calculations and the details of Rusal’s Dian-Dian proposal, “instead of building the large refinery they are contractually obligated to build, they want to waste these mega reserves by exporting 300,000 tonnes per annum, and grow to 5 million tonnes over a few years.”
Another source says: “This is a waste of a major bauxite resource that could feed multiple refineries while exporting as much bauxite as CBG, thus transforming the country’s revenue profile. They are telling Guinea they will operate Dian-Dian at less than 10% of capacity so no one else can have it. They were laughed out of the room.”

Aluminum Makers Seek U.S. Action on China to Counter Weak Yuan
San Francisco Chronicle - 29-Jun-2011
June 29 (Bloomberg) -- Aluminum-product makers filed a lawsuit to force the U.S. Commerce Department to levy tariffs on Chinese imports, countering the effect of a currency the companies deem to be undervalued.
In a case at the Court of International Trade in New York, the makers of products used in door frames, gutters and solar- power equipment said earlier rulings by the Commerce Department to turn down their complaint violates the law.
"Chinese producers and exporters of aluminum extrusions received countervailable subsidies resulting from currency undervaluation," the Aluminum Extrusions Fair Trade Committee said in its June 24 court filing.
In several decisions, the Commerce Department in the Obama and Bush administrations rejected requests by U.S. companies for so-called countervailing duties on imports from China to compensate for the weak currency. A low-priced currency makes exports of a nation cheaper.
.S. lawmakers are pushing legislation to require that Commerce counter imports from China with such tariffs, as senators such as Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, say the administration already has the power to counter the low-cost imports.
Schumer plans to reintroduce legislation aimed at forcing China to raise the value of its currency, according to a letter to colleagues. Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, said she is seeking support for a petition to force a vote on similar legislation in the House. The House passed a measure in September that never reached the Senate for a vote. A new Congress took office in January.
China's yuan appreciated about 5 percent against the dollar in the past year, while remaining "substantially undervalued," William Cline, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said on June 8.
Even without countering the currency, the subsidy rates the U.S. imposed on aluminum imports from China ranged from 8.02 percent to 374.15 percent.
The case was filed by a group of closely held companies. It affects as much as $503 million of imports from China last year.

jPRESIDENT CONDE ISSUES MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR ULTIMATUM TO RUSAL ? ALCOA, RIO ...
Business Insider - 29-Jun-2011
Now it’s official – the French, British, Americans, Chinese and Indians are all behind Guinean President Alpa Conde’s decision to revoke the Russian concession for the world’s largest unmined bauxite mining deposit, Dian-Dian, and hit the current concession holder, United Company Rusal, with back-tax and fraud claims, plus interest and penalties, for about $1 billion.
A small item in a Paris-based newsletter, African Mining Intelligence (AFI) , out this week, reports the problems Rusal is facing in Conakry. These aren’t news – Conde ordered Oleg Deripaska, Rusal’s chief executive, out of his office in April. Since then Conde has held discussions with his advisors in Conakry and abroad, along with George Soros’s legal aid team in Guinea. The Guinean president has decided that after concluding his sensitive negotiations with Rio Tinto over iron-ore mining rights at Simandou, he will start new negotiations with the Russians. “Conde feels he has finished with Rio [Tinto],” said one of the presidential advisors. But there is still no cash [from Rio Tinto’s promised $700 million down payment] in the treasury. The government is strapped for cash, and will go after all the [mine concession] violations it can. His next target is Rusal. After Rusal, the target will be Crew Gold [owned by Alexei Mordashov’s Nord Gold company].”
AMI is owned by a Frenchman of Moroccan origin, Maurice Botbol, who publishes other newsletters on Africa and the intelligence community. Botbol will sell you this story for €4, although though the information is dated, not altogether original, and not quite accurate:
The Russian concern UC RusAl is in a tizzy in Guinea following the announcement that a Chinese group plans to build an aluminum complex at Fria near RusAl’s refinery. A former natural resources minister, Fassine Fofane, now the boss of a consultancy named Kakande, accompanied a delegation of Chinese investors from the firm Jiuquan Iron & Steel (Group) Co. Ltd (JISCO) in Guinea in early June. Fofana’s delegation proposed building an alumina refinery and an aluminum smelter in the Fria region, close to the Friguia aluminum refinery managed by UC RusAl.
The Chinese program was presented to prime minister Mohamed Said Fofana and to mines minister Mohamed Lamine Fofana. The delegation visited the mine operated by Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG) at Sangaredi before travelling to Fria to examine the Friguia facilities. Rusal was sufficiently alarmed by the visit that it asked its representative in the country to examine how much influence Fassine Fofana had over the present government. RusAl is especially worried that the Chinese shepherded by the former minister might persuade the government to allow JISCO to use the railway to the port of Friguia to ship out its production or even, if it builds an aluminum smelter, that the government could order the Russian group to sell its alumina production at Kindia to the smelter in question.
On April 6, president Alpha Conde gave a report by Alex Stewart International to the Russian envoy to Guinea, Alexander Bregadze. The report calls on RusAl to pay USD 1 billion in compensation for loss of earnings linked to the privatisation of Friguia in 2006. The same day a meeting between Conde and a Russian delegation led by natural resources minister Yury Trutnev turned rather frigid because the president declined to receive Oleg Deripaska, boss of RusAl.
The Alex Stewart International (ASI) report was first ordered and compiled by former Guinean mining minister, Mahmoud Thiam, at the start of January 2010. This is an excerpt from the report – link. Thiam discussed it in detail with the Rusal executive in charge of Guinea, Victor Boyarkin, at several meetings during last year. Boyarkin, a former intelligence officer, reports directly to Deripaska. The head of Rusal’s international relations department, Sergei Chestnoy, a former member of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has been sidelined as he is under investigation by the US Government.
The Paris publication this week is a signal that there are now French and other international interests engaged in the lobbying for Conde to revoke Rusal’s operating and mining rights in Guinea, and put them up for new awards.
A source close to Conde reports, following a conversation with him a few days ago, that “Minister Fofana is a promoter of a refinery project at Friguia. And at least three other refineries at various stages of planning. They pose no threat to Rusal.”
“On the other hand,” he added, “the President has made it clear that Rusal is next on his list of issues to fix.”
Another Guinean source claims the business issues have become personal for Conde and Deripaska after the April door-closing incident, and after Deripaska sought support from Conde’s wife, Djene Kaba Condé.
Thiam, who retired from his ministerial post in January and returned to his home in the US, continues to be a presidential advisor. He confirms that the January 2010 ASI report is the basis for one of the two claims which have been tabled with Rusal. As the report excerpt shows, the ASI claim, for an estimated minimum of $960 million, deals only with Rusal’s Friguia (Fria on map right) bauxite mining and alumina refining and export operations.
Before the ASI report was issued, Thiam and the Guinean government had gone to court in Conakry to annul Rusal’s Friguia purchase agreement. Rusal issued statements in response that it had “purchased Friguia in full compliance with Guinean legislation and we consider the plant to be our legitimate property.” Rusal also said it would apply to an international arbitration tribunal in Paris to overturn the Guinean court’s ruling against Rusal. According to Thiam, Rusal bought the Friguia refinery for a privatization transfer price of less than $20 million.
The second of Conde’s targets is Rusal’s concession to mine Dian-Dian. According to Rusal’s website, this deposit “is located 350 km north of Conakry in the Boke province [see Boke on map], and is a unique deposit containing around 1 billion tonnes of bauxite ore with a high aluminium content and insignificant amounts of hazardous impurities.” According to Rusal’s share sale prospectus in Hong Kong of January 2010, Dian-Dian represents roughly one tonne in five of Rusal’s entire global bauxite reserves.
According to Thiam, President Conde intends to repeat to Rusal the ultimatum it received from Thiam before he left his ministerial office — either start investing and building the mine, as required by the concession agreements, or lose one or all of the Dian-Dian mining permits. “Dian-Dian has three large permits with reserves to accommodate a. large player each,” Thiam said this week. “Once they realise [Dian-Dian] is in play, all the big players will show up.” Asked what bauxite mining internationals he knows to be interested, Thiam referred to Chinese companies, Alcoa of the US, Rio Tinto of the UK, and Middle Eastern companies. He added: “no deadline has been set yet [for retrocession of permits]. The process is just starting. But Dian-Dian is at great risk.”
Rusal refuses to respond to this correspondent’s questions. The latest reference Rusal has made to its negotiations on the Guinean financial claims was this announcement of May 26: “UC RUSAL (SEHK: 486, EuroNext: RUSAL/RUAL, MICEX: RUALR, RTS: RUAL), the world’s largest aluminium producer, is pleased to announce the launch of a unique education programme the “RUSAL Scholarship-2011”. The RUSAL Scholarship will provide 100 talented young Guineans aged between 18 and 25 the opportunity to be educated in Russia’s best universities. All accommodation, transportation costs and tuition fees will be covered by UC RUSAL.”
The company said it anticipates spending $5.5 million over five years on this project. The cost of developing the Dian-Dian mine and associated infrastructure has been estimated at more than $600 million.
The alliance of Alcoa and Rio Tinto already holds a bauxite mining concession at Guinea’s biggest-capacity mine at Boke. According to Alcoa’s website presentation, “Alcoa is present in Guinea as a 45% shareholder of Halco Mining, a partnership which owns 51% of Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG). CBG, a partnership with the Government of Guinea, has exclusive rights to mine bauxite in Guinea’s Sangaredi Plateau. In addition to mining in Sangaredi, CBG operates a port in Kamsar [see map] for drying and shipping bauxite to refineries worldwide. Alcoa also supports the local Guinea community through healthcare and library programs funded by the Alcoa Foundation.”
Omitted from this version is that Alcoa’s equal 45% shareholding partner in Halco was Alcan of Canada, and since the latter’s acquisition in 2007, Rio Tinto. The CBG operations are larger than Rusal’s in Guinea, and the largest in the bauxite world.
For many years, Rusal blamed Alcoa, and its former chief executive Paul O’Neill, US Secretary of the Treasury in 2001-2002, for being behind all of Rusal’s troubles in the US, including court fights and the banning of Oleg Deripaska from entry to the US. Then in 2004-2005 Alcoa, headed by an O’Neill successor, bought two of Rusal’s aluminium rolling-mills in samara and Rostov regions. That deal was facilitated by the purported advisor to the Russian government, Dmitry Afanasyev, who has since served as a Rusal board director and lawyer to Deripaska. Alcoa sources concede that they have been careful not to appear to be challenging Rusal’s interests abroad in case Deripaska makes trouble for Alcoa’s interests in Russia.
The involvement of US financier George Soros as an informal advisor to President Conde, and the despatch of Soros-funded US lawyers to Conakry to review mining permits and resource privatization records, has reawakened Rusal suspicion that the Americans, including Alcoa and the White House, are again aiming at Deripaska.
An American aluminium industry source says that President Conde’s negative attitude towards Rusal goes back many years, during the rule of Lansana Conte, the 25-year Guinean dictator who died in December of 2008. “Rusal was so arrogant and insulting to the Ministers and to the President’s assistants that it was clear that something was going to happen with Rusal’s virtual monopoly. Now it is coming home to roost.”
But Rusal wasn’t the first of the Russian groups to try to hold on to Dian-Dian without digging a hole. In the last years of the Soviet period and early 1990s, the controlling shareholders of the Bratsk Aluminium Plant (BrAZ) — Boris Gromov, Yury Schlaifstein, plus David and Simon Reuben of London – also claimed the Dian-Dian concession, and planned to mine it to feed their smelter. “Funny how life repeats itself,” the US source says.

Chalco, Aurukun bauxite deal falls through: report
Business Spectator - 29-Jun-2011
Negotiations between the Queensland government and Chinese aluminium giant Chalco over a $2.3 billion alumina refinery in the north of the state have broken down, with the Aurukun bauxite leases now set to be put up for sale later this year, according to The Australian Financial Review.
According to the newspaper, a refinery is not expected to be a condition of the new tender, but the state government would prefer a "value-add position" rather than a straight sale.
Building the refinery, or funding an appropriate alternative, was part of a deal the Chalco signed with the Beatie government in 2007.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told the company of her government's decision last week while on a trip to China, according to the AFR.
Bauxite is the main component of aluminium.

Hydro Investing In Extrusion Press In Brazil
Eurasia Review - 28-Jun-2011
Hydro is investing to add another extrusion press at its aluminium extrusion plant in Brazil. The extension will further strengthen the company’s position and boost its ability to meet local demand and broaden its product range in a market that is increasing its consumption of high-value aluminium products.
The NOK 300 million investment covers the new extrusion press, including installation, building and construction, and auxiliary equipment. Hydro already has three presses at the plant in Itú, near São Paulo, with one of the three dedicated to heat transfer components and solutions. The other two are used to serve general extrusion customers.
The new press will be the largest of the three operated by Hydro’s extrusion company in Brazil. The size of the press will enable the company to broaden its product range and supply longer and larger aluminium profiles, mainly to the transportation segment.
The investment is expected to be completed, with the press operating, by January 2013.
“We have big ambitions – just like our customers – and the new press will bring us forward,” says Ivar Venås, who leads Hydro’s extrusion activities in South America.
“We have a strong customer base and a very good image in the market. The investment can help us become stronger in both aspects.”
He says there is “ample room” to increase the use of aluminium extrusions in Brazil, where annual per capita consumption is less than half the figure in the United States. It is very satisfactory to be able to announce such an important investment just a few months after Hydro expanded its operations in Brazil with bauxite, alumina and metal assets.
In line with strategy
The investment is also in line with Hydro’s downstream strategy, says executive vice president Hans-Joachim Kock, who is responsible for the company’s worldwide extruded products operations.
“We are emphasizing greater development in the emerging markets in South America and Asia,” says Kock, pointing out that Hydro recently approved the addition of two new presses at its plant in China.
The Brazilian plant, known as Hydro Alumínio Acro, was acquired by Hydro in 1997. The company has approximately 330 employees. Hydro also has the precision tubing operation, which handles heat transfer applications, and a remelting facility at the Itú site.

Loads of dross boon for Southland farms
Southland Times - 29-Jun-2011
Fluctuating fertiliser prices could become a thing of the past in the south if a dross recycling plant starting up at the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter is successful.
Taha Asia Pacific expects to complete its $5 million dross recycling plant at New Zealand Aluminium Smelters' site by August.
Taha has a long-term contract to recover usable metal from NZAS' dross, a waste by-product of the smelting process, and also the 40,000-odd tonne stored in landfills at Tiwai.
However, in a world first, the firm is going to turn the remainder of the dross into a phosphate fertiliser to sell to southern farmers.
Taha Asia Pacific director Hamish McCallum said the product was good news for the region because it would not be imported and therefore not affected by international prices through factors such as global fuel costs.
"We don't care if the price of oil goes to $400 a barrel, it will not affect our price," he said.
The company has already begun building a plant at the smelter and is working to get consent for a plant in the city to begin processing the dross into fertiliser from September.
The recycling process is expected to create about 40 jobs at Tiwai, with another six to 12 in Invercargill.
The Invercargill plant would produce between 10,000 and 12,000 tonne a year – a drop in the more than 240,000 tonne imported to Southland on average each year – but if successful Taha would look at importing dross from places like the United States, he said.
The US had about 900 million tonne stored underground and access to that would increase its output significantly.
"We thought we might be a minor pimple on the Southland market ... but that may not be the case because if it is successful we may import it (dross) to produce the phosphate," he said.
Federated Farmers Southland president Rod Pemberton said fertiliser was at the whim of global prices and fluctuated a lot, so if the company could stabilise the price it would be great.
However, he questioned the safety of the product and said there had been cases where the by-product of other metal products had caused stock to get sick in the North Island.
Mr McCallum said the product had already been tested in Europe and was being evaluated by the Environmental Risk Management Authority in New Zealand.
Dross has long been a controversial issue in Southland after 10,000 tonne was discovered stockpiled by Haysom Metal Industries in a warehouse at Bluff in 1991 and created concern about potential health effects.
It was later moved to a landfill at Tiwai, having been found to pose little risk to human health, but since then the new dross has been shipped to Australia to be recycled.
NZAS metal products manager Scott Westbury said having the dross recycled at the smelter meant huge savings on the cost of shipping it to Australia to recover the metal.

Novelis Tells a Bright Story of Aluminum's Future
MetalMiner - June 28, 2011
Now that the dust has settled from last week's Harbor Aluminum Conference in Chicago, I find it hard to conclude anything other than a bright rosy future for aluminum (particularly if you are a producer or supplier). ...

Rusal Holds Talks With Guinea to Develop Bauxite Deposit
BusinessWeek - 28-Jun-2011
June 28 (Bloomberg) -- United Co. Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer, said it’s in talks with the government of Guinea on terms to develop the Dian Dian bauxite deposit.
The African nation’s government plans to introduce new rules on mining concessions, Vladislav Soloviev, first deputy chief executive officer of Moscow-based Rusal, told reporters today. Rusal expects the policy change won’t affect the Dian Dian venture because it isn’t a new project, Soloviev said.
“We are ready to start to develop the deposit, but we need to solve the problems with infrastructure and agree on railroad use with the government,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at ikhrennikov@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amanda Jordan at ajordan11@bloomberg.net

Speculation surrounds Century plant
Daily Mail - Charleston - 26-Jun-2011
CHARLESTON, W.Va.-- Rumors are increasing that the closed Century Aluminum plant in Ravenswood may be sold soon, an industry trade publication reported last week.
However, at least one analyst says that, not only does a sale not make sense right now, but there's no good reason why the shuttered aluminum smelter shouldn't already be back up and running.
Last week, a report by American Metals Market said speculation was mounting that the Ravenswood plant was on the auction block.
The report cited several unnamed industry analysts who said the Monterey, Ca.-based company is looking to sell off some of its aging U.S. assets such as the Ravenswood plant, so long as the price was right.
"I don't see why they wouldn't sell it — that's a company that I think wants to be Iceland-based and not U.S.-based," one unnamed analyst said in the article.
The report named Hannibal, Ohio-based Ormet Corporation and Noranda Aluminum of Franklin, Tenn. as potential buyers. Both companies, which are smaller than Century, operate one aluminum smelter each.
A spokesman for Ormet wouldn't comment on the rumors Friday, but said the company is looking to expand operations.
"We've added our last two lines, we're at full capacity," company spokesman James Riley said. "We're always looking to do what we can to improve, but we don't comment on speculation."
Noranda is owned by Apollo Management Group, which has a controlling interest in Constellium, formerly Alcan Engineered Products, the company that operates the aluminum rolling mill adjacent to Century's Ravenswood plant.
But John Tumazos, who follows Century for the Holmdel, N.J.-firm, Very Independent Research LLC, said it doesn't make sense that Century would look to sell off the closed plant to either suitor.
"The two buyers discussed in the AMM article do not have the largest checkbooks in the aluminum industry," Tumazos said. "If you were selling your house or a big piece of property, would you go looking for the smaller players?"
Century closed the plant in February 2009, after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression sent global metals prices plummeting. More than 650 people lost their jobs when the plant closed.
To reopen, the company wants stable aluminum prices and long-term power and labor contracts.
According to one company analysis, the price of aluminum must remain above $1 per pound for the more than 50-year-old Ravenswood plant to operate profitably.
Aluminum prices have remained above that level for nearly nine months as global commodity prices have rebounded.

New taxes make Rusal rethink investments
The Australian - 27-Jun-2011
The deputy chief executive of Russian aluminium giant Rusal says the company will refrain from making further investments in Australia until the carbon tax and mining tax uncertainties are resolved, amid concerns that the new imposts could significantly drive up production costs in Australia.
Vladislav Soloviev, the first deputy chief executive of Rusal and one of the most senior executives behind the company's billionaire oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, said the current fiscal and regulatory environment made investing further money into Australia a difficult proposition.
"The problem with Australia is the number of uncertainties and that includes the carbon tax and the mining tax," Mr Soloviev told The Australian after the company's annual general meeting in Hong Kong last week.
"No one knows what the final result of either scheme will be, but I can say that if the final scheme is what is proposed now, the cost of producing alumina in Australia will increase by around 20 to 25 per cent."
Rusal owns a 20 per cent stake in the Queensland Alumina refinery near Gladstone in central Queensland, with the facility ranking as one of the biggest in the world. Fellow mining giant Rio Tinto owns the remaining 80 per cent.
Rusal purchased its stake in QAL back in 2005, acquiring the interest from Kaiser Aluminium for $US401 million in cash and $US60m in assumed debt. Rusal was also a bidder for the Aurukun alumina deposit in far north Queensland but eventually lost out to the Aluminium Corp of China.
While Mr Soloviev described Australia as "a very interesting place" and "one of the best places in the world you can produce alumina", the question marks over the carbon tax and resources tax meant Rusal was unlikely to make any further investments until the outcomes of both taxes were known.
"I would prefer to wait until the situation on the carbon tax and mining tax is resolved and we can understand what the environment looks like," he said.
Mr Soloviev's comments came after QAL began briefing staff on the likely implications for the plant should the carbon tax be approved in its current format.
As revealed by The Australian on Thursday, Rusal is concerned that Australia's alumina industry could become globally uncompetitive as a result of the tax.
A copy of the QAL message to staff, obtained by The Australian, warned them that the current proposed structure of the tax would see the predominantly coal-powered QAL taxed at six times the rate of lower-emission alumina refineries elsewhere in Australia.
The message, signed by QAL managing director Phil Campbell, said: "QAL's competitiveness has been eroded in recent years with the high exchange rate and increasing input costs -- caustic, energy, labour, maintenance, etc. The addition of a carbon tax, which our competitors don't have to pay, only further erodes our competitive position."

Alcoa reaches $1 billion supply agreement with Airbus
MI News 26 - 24-Jun-2011
LE BOURGET, FRANCE (BNO NEWS) -- Alcoa on Friday announced that it had reached a new multi-year supply agreement with Airbus worth approximately $1 billion.
Alcoa, a leader in primary and fabricated aluminum production, as well as the world's largest miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina, said it would be supplying Airbus with aluminum sheet and plate products.
The Alcoa flat rolled products will be supplied from the Company’s plants in Davenport, Iowa in the U.S., Kitts Green in the U.K., and Belaya Kalitva in Russia, and the company's aluminum solutions will be used across virtually all Airbus commercial aircraft programs, from short-range/single-aisle to long-haul/twin-aisle jets including the A380 and range from fuselage panels to structural components to Airbus' newest wing skins.
With approximately 59,000 employees in 31 countries across the world, Alcoa's aerospace business comprises 4 units with international operations totaling approximately $3 billion in revenues.
The agreement was reached this week at the Paris Air Show by executives of both companies, but terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

UC RUSAL announces project for extraction of low iron bauxite in the Komi Republic
SteelGuru - 24-Jun-2011
UC RUSAL announced the launch of a project for the extraction of low iron bauxite in the Republic of Komi by Timan Bauxite, a subsidiary of the Company. Future bauxite production is estimated at 250,000 tonnes per year.
Bauxite will be extracted by open cut mining at the Middle Timan bauxite deposit. Timan Bauxite will launch preparatory works at the new mine in order to produce the first 90,000 tonnes of bauxite by 2012.
Mr Valery Matvienko head of Alumina Division East said that this is a new kind of production for us. Previously, this type of bauxite has neither been mined nor used by us. However, the market analysis shows that there is a quite high demand for this product. We already have a number of agreements with prospective buyers and consequently are confident in the project’s prospects.

Alcoa's Bill O'Rourke Confronts Corrupt Business Practices in Russia and Other ...
Sacramento Bee -
NEW YORK, June 24, 2011 -- /PRNewswire/ -- "I'm a firm believer that the companies that act correctly succeed, and they succeed in the long term," said Alcoa Vice President Bill O'Rourke on June 15, speaking at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. "It's very important, as you evolve in a corporation, that you build the kind of culture where doing the right thing is acceptable."
O'Rourke was the keynote speaker at an interactive Workshop for Ethics in Business, custom-designed for high-level professionals.
The group explored a series of mini-case studies drawn from O'Rourke's experiences, from standing up to corrupt government officials to dealing with kickbacks within his own organization. Although the focus was on Russia, businesspeople are often faced with similar ethical challenges in other emerging markets—and sometimes in developed ones as well.
For the transcript, audio, and video of this event, go to: http://www.carnegiecouncil.org/resources/transcripts/0409.html.
Why go into Russia at all? In 2010, Transparency International ranked it 154 out of 178 countries on perception of corruption and several multinational companies in Russia have been accused of corruption.
"The market opportunity was there," said O'Rourke, noting that the per capita consumption of aluminum in Russia was about 4 kilograms person in 2005, compared to 35-40 in the U.S. and Western Europe. There were big opportunities in the aircraft, packaging, construction, and auto industries, he said, plus there was the opportunity to buy two large manufacturing plants.
What were the potential pitfalls? "Number one on our list was corruption," said O'Rourke. "Number two was bureaucracy."
Another challenge proved to be training Russian staff in the Alcoa company culture. This included raising safety standards, tightening up accounting, implementing environmental stewardship, and, of course, changing the culture of corruption that permeates every aspect of Russian life.
"You have to let the employees know what the rules are and what the sanctions are going to be," said O'Rourke. He also learned never to jump to conclusions. The first step is always "to gather the facts."
The Carnegie Council's Workshops for Ethics in Business are designed to prepare current and future business leaders for the paradoxes of the real world. Featuring top executives of major companies, they are created in consultation with a core group of corporate/financial partners, as well as distinguished academics in the field of business ethics.
Bill O'Rourke has been at Alcoa for over 35 years. He was named vice president, Sustainability and Environment, Health & Safety for Alcoa in September 2008. Previously, he was vice president of Global Business Services and the chief information officer of Alcoa.
From the beginning of 2005 to 2008, he served as Alcoa president of Alcoa Russia, a $1 billion revenue business. He oversaw an investment program that exceeded $500 million.
The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs (www.carnegiecouncil.org), established in 1914 by Andrew Carnegie, is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing understanding of the relationship between ethics and international affairs.
SOURCE Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs

Worsley refinery costs explode
Sydney Morning Herald - June 25, 2011
BHP Billiton managing director Marius Kloppers has endured one of his toughest board meetings, explaining why expansion costs at the Worsley alumina refinery in Western Australia have ballooned by 55 per cent to $US3.4 billion ($3.2 billion.)
The additional $US1.2 billion cost (100 per cent basis, with BHP's share being 86 per cent and Japanese interests 14 per cent) for the extra 1.1 million tonnes of additional annual production makes Worsley one of the most expensive expansions in the industry, if not the most expensive.
What's more, first production from the expansion has been pushed back from now until the first calendar quarter of 2012.
Separately, BHP has committed $US488 million for early-stage development of its new potash business, initially involving the planned development of the Jansen project in Canada at an annual rate of 8 million tonnes a year. It has plans to get to a class-leading 16 million tonnes a year of the fertiliser product.
BHP revealed the embarrassing Worsley cost blowout after a meeting of its board in London on Wednesday and Thursday, one that did not produce a move on Woodside Petroleum as wild speculation earlier in the week had suggested.
BHP did not offer much of a defense for the Worsley blowout, saying that because the expansion was within the existing footprint of the operation, it was ''one of the most complex brownfield projects undertaken''. It said the complexity resulted in significantly lower levels of construction progress than expected. Secondary issues were inflationary pressures and the stronger dollar.
Those secondary issues are regularly reported by the resources industry for development projects. But rarely is complexity of the task cited as the main reason for the blowouts.
The size of the blowout is staggering when it is remembered that Worsley is a so-called brownfields expansion, not a new or ''greenfields'' expansion. China's industry can build alumina plants more cheaply and quicker than the Western world where greenfield expansions (including bauxite mine, alumina refinery and financing) are generally expected to cost no more than $US2000 per annual tonne of new capacity. Worsley is coming in at more than $US3000 per annual tonne.
Despite this, BHP's chief executive for non-ferrous operations, Andrew Mackenzie, said BHP remained ''confident that the project will add value to the business over the medium to long term as it delivers low-cost production into a fundamentally strong market''.
In May, BHP chairman Jac Nasser ruled BHP out as a buyer of US aluminium group Alcoa - once the biggest resource company but now with a shrunken market capitalisation of $US16 billion. In its 60:40 joint venture with the $US5.3 billion Melbourne-based Alumina Ltd, Alcoa manages the AWAC joint venture, which controls about 17 million tonnes of annual alumina capacity. Using the $US3000 a tonne that BHP and its Japanese partners are paying to expand Worsley, AWAC would have a replacement value of more than $US50 billion. Those comparisons stoke debate on whether it is cheaper to acquire than to build for Western world miners.

Worsley overruns adds to embarrassing list of fumbles
The Australian - 24-Jun-2011
Because they play host to a process that sees bauxite transformed into aluminium crystals after being mixed under heat with a basket of chemicals, alumina plants are probably the most elaborate part of aluminium's long production chain. ......

UC RUSAL and GAZ to develop new machinery for national aluminum production
SteelGuru - 23-Jun-2011
UC RUSAL announced the start of a joint project with GAZ Group to develop new machinery for the aluminum industry. The prototypes will be tested by RUSAL's Siberian facilities in September.
GAZ engineering division specialists are developing a pot crust breaking machine, metal handling trucks, alumina loading machines and a stud cleaning unit. This project is a part of the large-scale modernization program held at RUSAL’s operations and provides for the utilization of advanced machinery and equipment for the process automation and labour productivity improvement purposes. The implementation of the joint project will enable RUSAL to upgrade the aluminum production process in terms of safety and efficiency. The new prototypes will be tested at the Novokuznetsk, Krasnoyarsk and Bratsk aluminum smelters.
Following the testing of the prototypes, the Company will consider buying the new machines for all of its smelters. One of the possible options is to launch the manufacturing of the machines directly at RUSAL's sites.
Mr Vladislav Soloviev first deputy CEO of UC RUSAL said that “A dynamic business development is impossible without a special engineering base in place. Together with GAZ Group we are going to develop the best design solutions to manufacture the machinery required by our operations. Some production operations which do not add value will be automated, while some will be excluded from the process completely. The introduction of purpose built machinery to RUSAL’s production facilities will raise the Company's efficiency as a whole.”

Kaiser Aluminum and Airbus Reach Long-Term Agreement to Supply Aluminum Plate ...
MarketWatch (press release) - 23-Jun-2011
FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif., Jun 23, 2011 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- Kaiser Aluminum Corporation /quotes/zigman/101171/quotes/nls/kalu KALU +0.39% today announced it has reached agreement in principle with Airbus to supply aluminum plate and sheet for use in the production of commercial aircraft. The multi-year agreement is subject to definitive documentation, will commence upon the completion of the companies' existing supply agreement, and will extend Kaiser Aluminum's longstanding role as a major supplier of high quality semi-fabricated aluminum products to Airbus.
"The commercial aerospace industry is poised for significant growth, and Airbus is positioned well to benefit from this strong demand," said Jack A Hockema, President, CEO and Chairman. "We are very pleased with the opportunity to continue as a strategic supplier of high-quality aluminum plate and sheet for their aerospace requirements and build on the strong, long-term relationship between our two companies. Additionally, we are confident that our recently-launched KaiserSelect solutions will significantly contribute to Airbus's success."

RUSAL to start refractory bauxite mining in 2012
Industrial Minerals (registration) - 23-Jun-2011
UC RUSAL plans to develop a refractory-grade bauxite mine in the Republic of Komi, western Russia, by the end of next year, the world's largest aluminium producer announced.Through its subsidiary Timan Bauxite, RUSAL will establish a ...

Century talks to include retiree benefits
Daily Mail - Charleston - 23-Jun-2011
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Any talks between the state and Century Aluminum about restarting the Ravenswood plant will also include discussions about restoring retiree health care benefits, Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin promised company retirees Tuesday.
A group representing retirees from Century Aluminum's shuttered Ravenswood plant met with Tomblin and state Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette for about 30 minutes Wednesday afternoon at the state Capitol.
It was the first time the administration met with the retirees, who saw their company-provided health care coverage eliminated at the beginning of the year.
Retirees wanted to make sure that if the administration has any talks with the company reopening the Ravenswood plant, that those talks include some type of discussion about reinstating health care benefits to retirees.
Tomblin agreed.
"Obviously we want to do what we can to create jobs, but also we want to do what we can to take care of our West Virginians," he said following the meeting.
Century Aluminum closed its Ravenswood plant during the height of the Great Recession in 2009, shedding 651 workers in the process.
Citing the need to cut costs, Century informed retirees 65 and older earlier last year that it would no longer provide health insurance or prescription drug coverage for them or their spouses.
Later in the year, the company informed its early retirees - those between the ages of 55 and 65 - that they too would be cut off, again saying the move was designed to make sure the plant could return to profitability.
While retirees have lobbied hard for the government to intervene on their behalf, their relationship with the Tomblin administration has not been the best.
During this year's legislative session, the administration supported a bill that would have provided up to $20 million in taxpayer subsidies to help Century Aluminum reopen the plant.
Retirees fought the plan, which eventually died in the Senate Finance Committee, saying that the state should not be offering tax breaks to companies that are eliminating promised health care coverage.
They again took that message to the acting governor on Wednesday.
"They're going to ask our state for everything they can get from our state - but don't let that include our health care," said Karen Gorrell, who's been a lead advocate for reinstating health benefits.

Russian alumina giant warns on carbon tax
The Australian - 23-Jun-2011
THE Australian arm of Russia's Rusal, controlled by billionaire oligarch Oleg Deripaska, has warned Canberra that the proposed carbon tax could jeopardise future investments, including in the huge Queensland Alumina refinery near Gladstone on the central Queensland coast.
In a recent submission on the government's proposed carbon tax and transition arrangements to an emissions trading scheme, Rusal, the world's biggest maker of aluminium, warned that the proposed policy "poses a threat to the continuing financial viability of QAL and to further expansions of the facility".
The QAL joint venture of Rio Tinto and Rusal is expected to warn its 1500 employees and contractors about the consequences for the refinery under the proposed tax. The Rusal board is also set to debate at a meeting in Hong Kong tomorrow whether the refinery has a long-term future.
At QAL there are growing concerns that the new tax will render the refinery globally uncompetitive and see the refinery's owners pursue investments elsewhere.
Rusal, which owns a 20 per cent stake in QAL, believes the proposed framework for the carbon tax will see the QAL penalised disproportionately to its peers.
With Rusal weighing up some of its other major investments elsewhere in the world, the aluminium giant is expected to discuss whether QAL warrants further investment.
Rusal, which is listed in Hong Kong, believes the mooted structure of the tax would see Queensland Alumina's emissions taxed at 9.6 times the rate of other Australian refineries. It is understood that this impost could put planned long-term investments in the project in doubt.
QAL, which is 80 per cent owned and operated by Rio, was built in the 1960s. According to the joint venture's website, the operation contributes about $200 million a year to the local economy.
The refinery, which ranks as one of the biggest in the world and which would cost an estimated $5 billion to $6bn to replicate today, is capable of producing 4 million tonnes of alumina a year.
It is understood that, under the right conditions, the refinery is capable of being expanded to a 5 million tonnes a year capacity.
Rusal's Australian representatives are believed to have failed to secure a meeting with Environment Minister Greg Combet to discuss their concerns.
The company's concerns lie with the structure of the compensation rate proposed under the policy. The model proposed offers compensation based on average alumina refineries.
Because compensation will apply a single rate per tonne of alumina based on average industry emissions, the model will not take into account the higher emission rate of alumina out of QAL.
Under the fixed compensation rate model, QAL would end up being compensated for about 65 per cent of its emissions, compared to 94.5 per cent compensation levels for its Australian rivals.
Rusal wants to see QAL offered the same 94.5 per cent compensation rate. "It should be noted that in compensating QAL at 94.5 per cent of its baseline, QAL will still pay more carbon tax than the Australian industry average and will thus have a greater financial incentive to reduce emissions in line with the policy aims of the government," QAL says.

Bauxilum aiming to export bauxite - Venezuela
SteelGuru - 23-Jun-2011
BNamericas reported that Venezuelan state bauxite and alumina company Bauxilum which operates the Los Pijiguaos bauxite mine in Bolívar state is aiming to export 300,000 tonnes of the mineral.
Mr Antonio Rivas union general secretary Suprobaux said that "For the production process this year we need 4.2 million tonne of bauxite and the goal is to have 4.5 million tonne which means that we will be able to export 300,000 tonne.
Mr Rivas said that Bauxilum is aiming to produce 1.4 million tonne of alumina this year. The company is currently looking for customers for the bauxite. There are three interested companies.
He said that the plant has alumina capacity of 2 million tonne but due to the lack of investments in maintenance and parts, it is not operating at full capacity. We expect to be producing 2 million tonne per year by 2014. The outlook for the company has improved significantly.
(Sourced from Business News Americas)

jWill India Be The Next China In The Aluminum Market? ? Live From Harbor's ...
MetalMiner - 23-Jun-2011
Will India be the next China?
This is a question we have touched on before, and one that spurs a lot of interest lately. With talk of whether China will experience a soft landing or a hard landing after all its growth – while India’s quickly multiplying population gobbles up copper, iron ore and aluminum – there are a number of reasons India could overtake China.
After all, having a democracy and the potential of “adding 2.7 billion consumers” to the global marketplace (as put by Greg Wittbecker, Alcoa’s VP of materials management at Harbor Aluminum’s conference) is a good thing for aluminum producers in India and worldwide, right?
Not so fast, Wittbecker argues.
Granted, India does have positive growth in aluminum demand across all sectors (9 percent per year through 2020), and ever more of their population is rising to the middle class. As Wittbecker mentioned, the economy is turning away from services and toward industry, fixed asset investment is moving from 20 percent to 35 percent, India’s trade with China has grown 50 percent a year since 2002, and public sector debt is declining.
And India has access to very cost-competitive bauxite, Wittbecker said, as well as access to low-cost coal based on the government-driven current pricing structure. These have been the main drivers behind the growth strategy of India’s “Big Three” producers — Nalco, Hindalco, and Vedanta – to put multiple projects online between now and 2016, resulting in millions of tons of additional smelter capacity.
But two terms from the previous paragraph is where the hitch lies – coal and government. It all comes down to energy – in this case, both power production and bureaucratic agility, which India sorely lacks.
In terms of coal, Wittbecker stressed that India has a massive systemic problem with mining enough coal to meet its demand needs. Importing the bulk of the country’s supply is not the sustainable solution. Because of this, many of the new smelter projects have been put on hold.
The double-edged sword here is that India’s democratic government produces 87 percent of the country’s coal, and as MetalMiner contributor TC Malhotra has written, there are many ministries who operate independently and don’t necessarily communicate, and individual Indian states have differing exporting rules. Not to mention the environment minister beginning to crack down more and more…
(To add insult to injury, a Maoist militia group clustered around the northeast, deemed the “Naxalite terrorists” by Wittbecker, poses a threat to mining operations, as they vehemently oppose any industrialization – further posts on this later.)
Ultimately, however, it doesn’t look that Indian aluminum producers’ very assertive play to up smelter capacity looks realistic, given the power needs they have – and the power needs their coal mining situation cannot assuage.
If India can get this figured out – and also how to get their democracy of 1 billion people to move faster and better –maybe they can get a leg up on China.
But perhaps we shouldn’t hold our breath.

Cost Engineer - SAUDI
news.careerstructure.com - 22-Jun-2011
A cost engineer with in excess of 10 years hands on experience is required to work on a large new Aluminium mining project in Saudi Arabia. You will have come from a Quantity Surveyor background and be suitably qualified in this field. ...

Senior Planning / Commissioning Engineer - SAUDI
news.careerstructure.com - 22-Jun-2011
A Senior planning / Commissioning Engineer required to work on a large Aluminium mining project in Saudi Arabia. The Project is at early Planning stage and is anticipated to move toward first phase commissioning in 9 - 12 months where you role will be ...

Exploration Orbite transforming aluminum production Montreal Gazette - 21-Jun-2011
Exploration Orbite Inc., developer of the Grande Vallée aluminous clay deposits in the Gaspé Peninsula, has passed another milestone towards proving the mineral can be converted successfully into alumina, the intermediate material used to smelt primary aluminum.

CEO Richard Boudreault said Tuesday “a large scale” aluminum ingot has been produced from the high-grade alumina supplied by Orbite’s Cap Chat pilot plant in the Gaspé to Norway’s SINTEF international metals research group.

“This large-scale laboratory test conclusively showed Orbite alumina meets industry standards and that it can be ultimately oriented for sale to aluminum smelters,” he said.

Last month, Orbite reported the first conversion of its Cap Chat alumina into primary aluminum metal – but in small nuggets. This time a much larger ingot was produced at the independent Norwegian research centre after following a continuous 50-hour electrolytic test, Boudreault said.

“Excellent quality aluminum was produced in the SINTEL test and without any unexpected events,” he said. “It confirms Orbite’s ability to make a superior quality smelter-grade alumina (SGA) with consistent quality.”

Orbite earlier patented a process to extract metallurgical-grade alumina from the extensive Grande Vallée aluminous clays near Murdochville. It then built a $7 million pilot plant at Cap Chat to convert the clay to alumina on a small scale.

If the process is finally proven to be economic in all conditions, Orbite hopes to set up a full commercial plant near Murdochville. The whole project has a capital cost of more than $400 million and it would displace heavy imports of alumina from the Caribbean, Africa and Australia to feed Quebec’s aluminum smelters

Project Support Engineer
news.careerstructure.com - 22-Jun-2011

Our client will focus on the production of primary aluminium casthouse products such as extrusion ingots, or billets, and foundry alloys. These value-added products can be supplied to producers of applications for an unlimited variety of products for ...

Electrical Engineer, Doha, Middle East
news.careerstructure.com - 22-Jun-2011

Our client will focus on the production of primary aluminium casthouse products such as extrusion ingots, or billets, and foundry alloys. These value-added products can be supplied to producers of applications for an unlimited variety of products for ...

Foundation stone laid for $385m aluminium rolling mill in Sohar
Times of Oman - Mon Jun 20 2011
SOHAR: Aluminium Rolling Mill Company, owned by Takamul Investment Company, yesterday laid the foundation stone for its facility in Sohar Industrial Estate. It is the biggest value added project till date in the field of aluminium industry in the Sultanate.
The project’s total cost is $385 million. The production capacity of the aluminium rolling mill is 140,000 tonnes of multipurpose rolled aluminium sheets. The project will provide more than 270 direct job opportunities, as well as, a number of associated investment opportunities.
The construction of the project will take 31 months. All environmental and safety requirements were considered during the designing phase including selection of the latest technologies in manufacturing aluminium flat rolled products.

Rio Tinto to confirm investment of USD 4 billion in smelter by year end
SteelGuru - 20-Jun-2011
Rio Tinto Alcan will announce at the end of 2011 if it will invest USD 4 billion in the installation of an aluminum smelter in Paraguay.
Mr Francisco Rivas Industry and trade minister of Paraguay said that "We believe we will know whether this investment in our country is feasible by year end.
Mr Rivas said that he will meet with company representatives at end June to find out about the progress of the technical studies being carried out.In April, representatives from Rio Tinto Alcan met with Paraguay's President Mr Fernando Lugo to discuss the details of the project. Paraguay will provide the power needed for the plant which is an estimated 1,100 MW.
At end 2010, the company increased projected investment from USD 2.5 billion to USD 3.5 billion and now it could be USD 4 billion. The plant will be Rio Tinto's largest worldwide with capacity to produce more than 670,000 tonne per year. It is scheduled to start operating in 2016. The company will spend USD 25 million in 2011 to carry out more feasibility studies. (Sourced from Business News Americas)

Alcoa and VSMPO-AVISMA Sign Memorandum of Understanding for Technical and ...
MarketWatch (press release) - 17-Jun-2011
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia & NEW YORK, Jun 17, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Alcoa and VSMPO-AVISMA Corporation, the world's largest titanium producer, announced today they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate in the design and production of innovative light alloy die forgings and extrusions for the commercial transportation market, including solutions for light-weight rail car production.
"Alcoa and VSMPO-AVISMA are both world leaders in the development of advanced technologies, and by working together we can create exceptional products of superior quality," said Alcoa Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld. "We fully expect that this collaboration will let us leverage our existing product portfolios and research in a mutually beneficial manner. I am excited to have VSMPO-AVISMA as a partner, as it shares Alcoa's commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable manufacturing practices."
Commenting on the Memorandum signing, Sergei Chemezov, Chairman of the Board of Directors, VSMPO-AVISMA and Head of 'Rustechnology', said: "This document confirms our striving for mutually beneficial cooperation. This means joining efforts with the world-wide technological leader of the aluminum industry in the development and production of light-alloy high-tech products for commercial transport. Those products are in high demand both in Russia and in the world because their application provides significant savings and meets the latest environmental requirements. I believe joint work will generate innovative solutions that will find use in various branches of industry."
Mikhail Voevodin, General Director, VSMPO-AVISMA Corporation said: "I am confident that cooperation between VSMPO-AVISMA and Alcoa will result in significant accomplishments, yielding new solutions in the commercial transportation industry."
One result of the MoU may be the development of wide (up to 700 mm or 27.5 inches) and long (up to 26 meters or 85 feet) extrusions made of advanced aluminum alloys designed for passenger and freight cars, including next- generation high-speed rail for the Russian market. These aluminium products will increase the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of rail cars through light-weighting and the infinite recyclability of aluminum.
Alcoa and VSMPO-AVISMA will form working teams to coordinate the execution of projects resulting from this MoU. The MoU does not signal the establishment of a joint venture, partnership or any other formal business entity between the parties.

Government Considers Cancelling Aluminum Rebates
CapitalVue - 17-Jun-2011
China’s central government may cut its tax rebate for the nation’s aluminum exporters in light of punitive actions taken by the United States, reports cnmn.com.cn. Specifically, tax rebate on exports of certain semi-finished aluminum products may be cut to 9 percent from 13 percent.
The government may encourage the integration of the domestic aluminum sector by limiting aluminum exports through the tax rebate cuts, the source added.
The source said Australia might consider anti-dumping measures actions similar to those taken by the US in the near future.
Aluminum prices on London Metal Exchange are likely to rise due to a demand increase in the EU and US markets, and supply decrease from China.

Smelter tips another strong year
The Southland Times - 16-Jun-2011
The New Zealand Aluminium Smelter at Tiwai Point is predicting another strong year after it upped its production by 25 per cent.
The smelter's 2010 Sustainable Development Report shows aluminium production increased from 271,902 tonnes in 2009 to 343,335 tonnes last year – including 137,619 tonnes in high purity metal.
General manager Ryan Cavanagh said that although 2010 had been challenging at times, it had been a successful year for the smelter.
He said: "I'm extremely pleased with our performance. "We're always seeking to improve, but certainly moving in the right direction."
In August the smelter, which employed almost 800 people and paid $86.2 million in wages and benefits, achieved a plant record and exceeded the 610 megawatt level for power consumption, which should position the plant for a record production in 2011, he said.
The amount of money earmarked for infrastructure improvement projects also showed the smelter was an important part of parent company Rio Tinto's assets going forward, Mr Cavanagh said.
NZAS invested $41.3m in infrastructure improvements in 2010, including its new 200-tonne transformer that arrived at the smelter in May last year.
But that figure would increase to $50.4m in 2011. Meanwhile, the report also showed the gross domestic product benefit to Southland was worth $506m in 2010.
Exports were worth about $1 billion.
The company was also involved in several community programmes.
These included the Kakapo Partnership Agreement with the Department of Conservation, worth $1m over five years, and the donation of more than $500,000 to the community in 2010, the report said.

Kryronized Aluminum Busbar Surpasses Performance of Copper Busbar
Azom.com - 16-Jun-2011
Bourque Industries, an exclusive distributor of Kryron-based technologies, has announced that the initial testing on Kryronized aluminum busbar has been completed and it has been found that the performance of the Kryron busbar exceeds the C11000 copper busbar.
The standardized test was carried out at General Electric laboratories in Tucson, Arizona. The busbar is a key component of energy grid and suitable for several industrial applications.
When compared to standard copper busbars, the Kryronized aluminum busbar has shown excellent performance by scattering more heat at greater currents. In addition, the tests show that the Kryron busbar possesses less resistance and enhanced conductivity than the C11000 copper. Standard copper busbars have high risk of theft, whereas the Kryron busbars eliminate this risk as they are not a traded product.
Bourque Industries’ Founder and CEO, John M. Bourque pointed out that Kryron material provides an effective solution to modernize and advance the world's energy grid.

Suzlon Energy gets 50.4 MW order from NALCO
IBNLive.com - Jun 16,2011
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Wind turbine maker Suzlon Energy said on Thursday it had got a 50.4 megawatt order from National Aluminium Co Ltd. The order is to set up, operate and maintain wind energy projects in the southern Indian state Andhra Pradesh and is scheduled for completion by January 2012, the company said in a statement. (Reporting by Neha Singh)

Russian company interested in bauxite mining
Fijivillage - 16/06/2011
Interest in bauxite mining in Fiji continues to grow with the latest one from a Russian company UC RUSAL which is the world’s largest producer of aluminum.
UC Rusal’s three member team met with the Ministry of Mineral Resources Acting Permanent Secretary Pene Baleinabuli yesterday and has expressed interest to explore potential bauxite mining and export opportunities in the country.
Baleinabuli said the company’s interest will greatly boost the mining sector in the country which the ministry is banking on to greatly assist the nation in socio-economic development.
Baleinabuli has assured members of the visiting delegation that the ministry would look at options to accommodate their interest.
The Ministry highlighted areas between Ba and Lautoka as some of the prospect areas of bauxite in the region.
Story by: Sofaia Koroitanoa

Burning villages
BBC News - 15 June 2011
One of Russia's richest men, Oleg Deripaska, is investing billions of dollars in new hydro-power dams in remotest Siberia, to export the electricity to China and cash in on its booming economy. The BBC's Daniel Sandford visits his latest project.
To get to the Boguchanskaya dam in eastern Siberia, you have to fly for 90 minutes in a small twin-propeller aircraft from the nearest city.
Winding through the dense taiga forest below are the waters of the vast and majestic Angara, the only river flowing out of Lake Baikal and the main tributary of the Yenisei, which flows all the way to the Arctic Ocean.
The Angara has already been dammed three times, at Irkutsk, Bratsk and Ust-Ilimsk.
Now a fourth hydro-electric dam is almost finished at Boguchanskaya, near Kodinsk, and is due to start generating power in April 2012.
Eastern Siberia already generates more power than it needs. So why the plans for even more hydro-electric stations?
"We have everything in place - people, competence, technology and a market next door”
Oleg Deripaska
The answer lies in the huge market for electricity in China, several hundred kilometres away. China has asked Russia to supply it with 60 billion kWh/year by 2020 - enough to power all of Greece or Hong Kong.
"It's a unique opportunity that Russia could benefit also from Asian growth," says Oleg Deripaska, the chairman of En+ and chief executive of the aluminium giant Rusal, and a part-owner of Boguchanskaya dam
"I believe that in terms of the GDP of Siberian provinces, it could be tripled in the next 15 years.
"I can't see how we can miss this opportunity. We have everything in place - people, competence, technology and a market next door."
The Boguchanskaya dam has nine vast turbines. When they are all operating, the dam will be able to generate over 17 billion kWh/year.
Much of this will be used to power a new Rusal aluminium plant downstream, but any excess will go onto the Russian grid and made available for export to China. It is a case of turning water into cash.
Torched villages
The enormous dam, like other great dams in the world, is an awe-inspiring sight. It is 3km across, and the concrete section is 80m high. The new reservoir will be 70m deep.
Burning down houses to make way for the dam Just above the new dam, the Angara still looks as it has for thousands of years. It is a wide, fast-flowing river, hundreds of metres across.
The small settlements that have grown up on its banks over the past 300 years are picture-postcard villages made up of traditional wooden houses. Now they are all being burned, so that after the area is flooded, the debris does not clog up the new dam.
"The authorities promise them a flat, they leave, their house get burnt”
Alexander Bryukhanov once lived in Kezhma, a town of some 10,000 people. Its people survived on fish and agriculture, largely cut-off from the outside world. Over a number of years, the town's population has been moved into Soviet-style flats in grimy, modern cities, like Kodinsk.
"The most tragic thing is the elderly people," Mr Bryukhanov says. "They started dying within a year of being moved. Because they had lost their village houses, their gardens, and their neighbours, and in return had been given flats with nothing but a TV for company."
He takes us to another village, Prospikhino, once home to 5,000. Only a handful of houses are still standing, the rest are just charred timbers and foundations. A few half-wild horses splash through a small river flowing into the Angara.
Prospikhino is not quite empty though. Konstantin Poddubny arrives on his old Ural motorbike and sidecar. He is refusing to leave because, he says, the compensation scheme is cheating people out of their land.
"The authorities will burn all the houses that are left here. Then we will have problems getting a flat in the town. Many people have been through that.
"The authorities promise them a flat, they leave the place, their house get burnt and then the authorities say there is no house, so there will be no flat. At the same time, people who have no relation to our villages are getting flats."
He says nobody in Siberia needs a new hydro-power plant. "There are other plants on this river which only work to half of their capacity. This is all about export to China."
Fragile eco-system
Oleg Deripaska: "It's a unique opportunity"
Environmental groups say the impact of other dams on the Angara has not been good. Parts of the river have turned to swamp, and buried trees have rotted, changing the chemistry of the water.
"They say they are building new dams on Siberian rivers in order to save the planet from Chinese greenhouse gases," says Alexander Kolotov, of Rivers International.
"So of course the question is whether you are ready to destroy the Siberian environment, kill great Siberian rivers, and flood vast forests, in order to save the world from Chinese emissions."
Many more dams are planned for the wilderness of Eastern Siberia to feed the demands of electricity-hungry China.
Oleg Deripaska says they will help turn Siberia into the next Canada - rich in resources, and an economic success story.

Egypt aluminium workers' main demand to be met 'soon'
Ahram Online - 15 Jun 2011
Egyptalum's aluminum plant workers bring an end to their three-day sit-in on Tuesday, despite a deadline for the administration's assurances not being setMarwa Hussein,
Following a three-day sit-in by workers, the administration of Egyptalum, Egypt's public aluminium plant, announced that it will "immediately" meet the workers' main demand. The workers would then retroactively receive salary differences they hadn't collected since the administration ignored a 2003 ministerial decree increasing their base salaries.
The workers welcomed the decision and ended their sit-in on Tuesday, despite no deadline, or timeline, being set, and the use of "immediately" in the administration's statement remaining a cypher.
"We expect that we will get the money after next month's payment", says Effat Bahig, one of the workers that participated in the sit-in.
Calculations of the amount each worker will receive is complicated because of changes in the worker's grades since 2003, in addition to the further complication of workers' expectations, some of which are looking forward to thousands of pounds in hand.
The workers had three other demands that the administration said would be studied by the holding company for metallurgic industries. The demands include bonus increases, the implementation of postponed promotions and more vacation days for workers recruited before 1995.
The workers also raised demands to remove five company officials they accuse of corruption, nepotism or injustice, a demand that has not been taken into consideration by the administration thus far. "These people remaining in their offices could create more problems and protests because they make unfair decisions that make the workers angry," says Effat Bahig.
According to Bahig, the number of workers that joined the three-day sit-in at the main plant in Nag Hammady in upper Egypt reached around 3000, but in order not to suspend production the workers protested in rotation, keeping a minimal average of around 1000 at the site at all times.
In April 2010, 6000 workers of Egyptalum held a sit-in to raise bonuses and allowances.

Dubal to Mine Guinea Bauxite With BHP, Studies Cameroon, India Projects
Bloomberg - 14-Jun-2011
Dubai Aluminium Co., the developer of the world’s largest smelter of the metal, is seeking to mine bauxite in Guinea in partnership with BHP Billiton Ltd., as well as sourcing the raw material from Cameroon and India.
“One of our projects is in Guinea together with BHP Billiton,” Sultan Al Sabri, general manager of marketing and sales, said in Barcelona today. “We’re looking at Cameroon.” Talks in Orissa, India, “didn’t really move forward much because of lack of support from local officials,” he said.
The company’s Emirates Aluminium Co. joint venture with Abu Dhabi state-run investor Mubadala Development Co. will double annual capacity to 1.5 million metric tons by March 2015, Chief Financial Officer Bill Campbell said in an interview.
Aluminum producers are seeking to secure sources of raw materials as costs increase, squeezing margins. Gulf states also aim to develop aluminum production as they diversify away from oil and gas exports, and demand for the metal climbs.
Dubal may combine with its joint venture under a holding company. “Cooperation and synergy between the two companies is aimed at bringing benefits of technology, production and marketing of the metal under one roof,” Campbell said. Mubadala may also buy a stake in Dubal, he said, declining to elaborate.
Dubal has marketed about 1.7 million tons of aluminum to be produced by the two companies this year, Al Sabri said. “The market is strong and stable for the next few years,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Firat Kayakiran in London at fkayakiran@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amanda Jordan at ajordan11@bloomberg.net.

Chinese aluminum output to remain high if no power cuts
Commodity Online - 14-Jun-2011
Chinese aluminum production hit an all-time high last month and could limit further price gains if feared power-related supply interruptions end up not materializing after all, Commerzbank says.
Chinese data showed an 8.7% year-on-year rise in aluminium production to a record of 1.54 million metric tons. “Smelters have clearly raised production sharply in anticipation of bottlenecks in power supply during the summer months,” Commerzbank says.
“Should the power shortage not be as serious as feared, aluminum production is unlikely to fall significantly but is more likely to stay at its current very high level, according to the Chinese data provider SMM.
The high supply surplus on the global aluminum market would therefore remain and the significant oversupply should prevent further substantial price rises.”

Norsk Qatalum plant hit by further delays
Gulf Times - 15-Jun-2011
Norwegian aluminum producer Norsk Hydro yesterday said its joint-venture aluminum plant Qatalum won’t reach its full production capacity until the end of the third quarter after suffering further delays.
Qatalum, a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and Norsk Hydro, was hit by a power outage in August last year and since then production has been reduced. It is currently producing at 70% of capacity, and the ramp-up to full production has been postponed due to a delay in commissioning of two steam turbines in the power plant that supplies energy to the smelter.
Norsk Hydro had previously said Qatalum would produce at full capacity from June.
Qatalum is Hydro’s most important smelter, representing about 15% of its aluminum production, and the company’s shares fell after news of the delay.
Carl Christian Bachke, an analyst at RS Platou Markets, said the delays at Qatalum are a “bump in the road,” which will hurt earnings for 2011 but are unlikely to be a worry further ahead

Automatic Collar Forming Systems Protect Stubs in Aluminium Smelters
Azom.com - 14-Jun-2011
High bath levels can result in ring erosion of anode stubs. The same effect also occurs when anode life is extended by lowering the rod further into the pot that would normally be the case. Smelters which buy their anodes from third parties have a good economic reason to extend anode life, minimising the quantity of butt to be returned or otherwise disposed.
Placing carbon collars around each stub is an accepted method to prevent ring erosion. VHE of Iceland has considerable expertise in the manufacture of automatic collar forming systems.
The VHE collar forming machine is fully automatic. The machine has a fast throughput and may be easily accommodated in existing rodding plants. The machine is able to handle card and aluminium, loaded as a coil and automatically fed, cut to length, then formed into a collar around the rod stub and securely closed.
VHE's collar filling machine accurately measures and dispenses carbon paste into the preformed collars. The filling system ensures even distribution of the carbon paste and provides a virtually dust-free operation to produce uniformly shaped and centered carbon collars.
VHE's Collar Forming Machine and Collar Filling Machine together comprise an integrated Stub Protection System facilitating maximum anode life without unwanted anode stub erosion.

jSuriname mega projects to create around 5000 jobs ? minister
Stabroek News - 13-Jun-2011
(De Ware Tijd) SCHIPHOL – In the coming three years, around 5000 new jobs will be created. Officially, some 1400 jobseekers are registered with the Labor Ministry (ATM). Yet ATM Minister Ginmardo Kromosoeto does not expect these new jobs to put unemployment levels at zero. The expansion of the aluminum refinery will create some 1500 new jobs and the construction of 18,000 new houses around 1000. Investments in the agrarian sector will also create some 1000 new jobs, while the start of the Newmont gold company and the infrastructure projects will add another 1500. “There are people looking for other types of work than in agriculture and mining”, the ATM Minister replies when asked whether the 5000 new jobs will mean an end to unemployment. “There will always be some unemployment.” DWT spoke with Minister Kromosoeto at Schiphol Airport on Saturday as he was on his way to Geneva to attend the 100th session of the International Labor Organization (ILO). He will address the ILO meeting today.

UC RUSAL starts environmental modernization at four Urals and Siberian plants
SteelGuru - 12-Jun-2011
UC RUSAL announced the launch of environmental modernization at 4 of its plants. The total investment into these projects is expected to amount to RUR 5.5 billion.
New environmental projects have started at three Urals plants the Bogoslovsky Aluminum Smelter, the Urals Aluminum Smelter the Urals Silicon Plant and at the Achinsk Alumina Refinery in Siberia.
At AAR gas purification systems of sintering furnaces 5 and 6 will be reconstructed and a new waste storage area will be created. After the reconstruction, gas purification efficiency will reach 99.8% and the new waste storage area will enable the refinery to extend the waste storage terms up to 20 years in compliance with all the environmental law requirements. Total environmental investment at AAR will exceed RUR 2.5 billion.
A dry gas purification system is to be implemented at the Company’s Urals Silicon Plant which is expected to result in 150 fold decrease in mineral dust emissions with SiO2 70%. The estimated project expenditures will amount to RUR 650 million. The Urals Aluminum Smelter is going to reconstruct the waste storage field 2 and reconstruct waste storage field 3 to prolong its service up to 2027. The cost of the project is expected to be RUR 750 million. An extended RUR 1.5 billion waste storage field will also be built at the Bogoslovsky Aluminum Smelter.
The realization of environmental projects will enable RUSAL to establish a base for future growth and potential production increase according to environmental standards as the world's demand for aluminum continues to rise.
Mr Andrey Volvenkin director of Engineering and Construction division of RUSAL said that “RUSAL is committed to reducing the environmental impact in all of its operations areas. During the global downturn some major projects were temporarily suspended. Since the market recovery, RUSAL has been able to focus on its environmental projects. I want to emphasize that these are the first post-crisis large-scale environmental projects started by the Company. Environmental programs are scheduled to take place at all of the Company’s subsidiaries.”

Egypt's Aluminum workers continue Naga Hammadi sit-in
Ahram Online - Sunday 12 Jun 2011
Striking employees in Upper Egypt repeat the demands of April 2010 protests, asking for wage restructuring and the resignation of some senior staffBassem Abo Alabass,
More than 1,000 employees of Egypt’s Aluminum are continuing their sit-in at company headquarters in Naga Hammadi, Qena demanding concessions from Sayed Abdel-Wahab, firm chairman and CEO.
"The protests started on Saturday when we were just a few dozen," says Effat Bahig, one of the workers taking part.
Protesters are making several demands, among them an increase in bonus payments, a restructuring of financial allowances, jobs for their sons and the resignation of administrative managerial director, Abdel-Razak Morsy.
"There was a ministerial decision to raise wages of workers in 2003, we want to apply this decree retroactively," says Bahig, adding that the current chairman refuses to negotiate with them
"He is in Cairo not in Qena," he says.
Egypt's Aluminium management deny the protesters represent the overall will of their staff.
“We have more than 8,000 workers in the company and the majority of them rejected the invitation to the sit-in and kept up production,” says Yehia El-Maghrabi, director of the engineering department.
El-Maghrabi says that employee wages have been raised to an average of LE2,500 over the last nine months.
“The real problem I see in the company is not adding the bonus to the main wage. It's one of the workers' legal rights to ask for it,” El-Maghrabi told Ahram Online.
In April 2010, protests for the same demands involving 6,000 of the company's workers caused disruptions in factory production.
Egypt’s Aluminum more than doubled net profits of LE379.4mn during the first nine months of the 2010-11 fiscal year, compared to the same period of 2009-2010.
Adel El-Mouzi, commissioner at the Ministry of Public Enterprises, said that the cost of responding to demands from workers since the January 25 revolution is now LE1.5 billion and this will rise if further demands are met.
He added that the period from the 1 January to 13 March this year saw the total net profit of public sector-affiliated companies drop by 63 per cent compare to the same period the previous year.
With an annual production of 245,000 tonnes, Egypt's Aluminum's plant is the largest producer and exporter of aluminium in the the country. It is situated in Naga Hammadi, more than 600km south of Cairo.
Several factors were taken into consideration when Nag Hammady was selected as the site of Egypt's Aluminum's complex. One was its proximity to the High Dam and to the Naga Hammadi electrical substation, 326km from Aswan.
Also important was its easy access to the port of Safaga and the availability of skilled and semi-skilled labour in the area.
There was also a social consideration, with the development representing an attempt to raise the standard of living of this part of Upper Egypt through industrialisation and job opportunities.

571 sacked Bahrainis to be reinstated in their jobs
The National - 13-Jun-2011
Hundreds of Bahrainis who were fired following the country's demonstrations will get their jobs back after a government investigation found the dismissals were illegal.
A group of 571 sacked employees will return to their jobs as a "verification committee", chaired by the labour minister Jameel bin Mohammed Ali Humaidan, urged the employees be reinstated, the kingdom's state news agency reported on Friday.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the kingdom's prime minister, had ordered all ministries and government departments to submit reports on employees failing to turn up for work in March, at the height of nationwide political unrest in the Gulf's smallest economy.
Workers at companies including Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco), Gulf Air, Bahrain Airport Services and later the state-owned oil company Bahrain Petroleum were dismissed during the months of unrest that started in February, when members of the majority Shiite population took to the streets demanding governmental reforms.
But internal investigations by the verification committee uncovered hundreds of cases in which dismissals were not legally viable under the country's labour law.
Under the law, staff absent without official permission for more than 10 days are subject to legal action and face a cut in salary or termination of employment.
The committee has also been ordered to speed up processing all the remaining cases, to ensure the legality of their dismissals, the state report added, without specifying which companies were involved.
Ali bin Ali, the president of Aluminium Bahrain's (Alba) trade union, which represents one of the biggest companies in the federation, said 130 sacked employees would return to the smelter.
"The main problem for our employees was not that they participated in political activities," Mr bin Ali said.
"The committee was only looking at the failure of attending work and issues like misusing the company e-mail," he said, although he could not verify the total number of employees sacked.
Alba, the world's fourth-largest aluminium smelter and an important part of Bahrain's economy, was one of many state-owned companies that took part in investigations into absent employees.
Some 300 "non-essential" staff from the company had taken part in nationwide strikes called by the General Federation, Bahrain's largest trade union.
It called a general strike in March to back protesters from the Shiite majority demanding greater freedoms from the Sunni-led government. Sources close to the Bahraini ministry say the remaining batch of employees from the 571 who will be reinstated in their jobs are from Bahrain's main oil and gas company Bapco, the kingdom's leading aviation company Gulf Air and Batelco.
A source close to the labour ministry said 767 cases had been under review in total, but that this did not represent the more than 1,000 people who have been dismissed from their jobs.
Jasim Ali, a member of the Al Wefaq party, the main opposition group in the kingdom, welcomed the move by the government's labour department, but in a note of caution said: "We want to have assurance of real reinstatement for us to know for sure that they are serious. It takes one month to fire someone [and] what really happened is that sackings did not go through the normal channels of verbal warnings, written warnings, a cut in salary etcetera."
The labour minister was yesterday in Geneva in talks with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN labour rights agency, Mr Ali said.
The ILO has been vocal in its objection to Bahrain's mass sackings and "other repressive measures" throughout the upheaval.
Last week it urged Bahrain to give jobs back to at least 2,000 workers who were fired after striking in support of pro-democracy protests

Lighter, cheaper alloy to lift Alcoa's fortunes
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - 09-Jun-2011
Metallurgists and engineers in Alcoa Inc.'s Technical Center in Upper Burrell played a big part in developing a new generation of aluminum alloy that the company said Thursday will help it get a leg up in the aircraft-manufacturing industry.
Alcoa said the new aluminum-lithium alloy developed here provides 10 percent weight savings and 30 percent cost reduction compared with current carbon-fiber composites that had begun to show up in some large aircraft, such as Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, executives said in a conference call.
"These new structures give us a significant advantage when compared with composite," said Mick Wallis, president of rolled products for Alcoa.
The adoption of carbon-fiber composites by some aircraft makers in the last decade served as a "wake-up call" for Alcoa, a leading supplier of material to the aerospace industry, said Eric Roegner, president of Alcoa's forgings and extrusions business.
Alcoa's aerospace business accounted for $2.9 billion of the company's $21 billion in sales last year. The company, based in New York with its operations center in Pittsburgh, supplies components for many parts of a typical passenger airplane, including rolled aluminum for the fuselage and wings, aluminum fasteners to hold parts together, and castings used in jet engines.
There was concern among many industry watchers that the company might lose a high-profit segment of its aerospace business if airplane manufacturers began using carbon fiber instead of aluminum for fuselages and wings in order to achieve greater weight savings and improve fuel efficiency, said Charles Bradford, president of Bradford Research Inc. in New York.
"A lot of people were very concerned that Boeing announced that the 787 would be a plastic plane," Bradford said. "That's a significant business for Alcoa."
The new alloy, along with improvements in how the metal is engineered, provide weight savings without sacrificing strength, durability or corrosion resistance, the company said.
"I think it's very clear that Alcoa has a very attractive product," Bradford said. "It puts them at the table" with airplane makers deciding on materials.
Alcoa's Technical Center, which employs about 1,000 workers, began working on lighter aluminum alloys in the early 2000s when it looked like the company could lose business to carbon-fiber composites, said spokesman Kevin Lowery.
"It actually really began after the decisions were made to build some of the larger aircraft that are composite-intensive," Lowery said.
Alloys of aluminum and lithium have been around for decades, mainly used by the military because of the difficulty and cost in creating them, Bradford said.
"It's very difficult to combine lithium and aluminum," Bradford said. "They (Alcoa) have come a long, long way if they can make big sheets of it."
The alloy most likely would be made at Alcoa production facilities in Iowa or the United Kingdom, Lowery said. The company has not signed up new customers for the material yet.
Alcoa executives expect to be competitive with composites when it comes to designing the next generation of short-haul, single-aisle passenger planes, which may appear in the next five to 10 years.
"There is no doubt that our focus is on the next battlefield, which is single-aisle (aircraft)," Wallis said. "But we'll also have discussions around other upgrades. This technology can be used on major upgrades of any platform. But we believe the major opportunity over next 10 years will be with single-aisle."
One of those smaller aircraft could be a replacement for the popular Boeing 737 line of planes, Bradford said. Boeing has sold about 6,000 737s, which hold about 140 passengers, since the aircraft were introduced in 1960s.
"That's been their huge seller, but it's an old design," Bradford said.

Union OKs Ormet Deal
Wheeling Intelligencer - 08-Jun-2011
HANNIBAL - Ormet Corp.'s potlines will continue pumping out aluminum, thanks to union workers' Wednesday vote to accept a new five-year labor contract.
Members of United Steelworkers Local 5724 approved the deal by a vote of 517-184, with the remainder of the 871 members not voting. The vote ended a week of speculation that workers might walk off the job after they rejected the company's previous contract offer.
A statement from the union notes, "Our members will realize a pay increase each year of this five-year agreement, and our members will continue to receive excellent health care benefits.
"We have improved the standard of living for all of Ormet's USW-represented hourly employees," the statement adds.
John Puskar, staff representative for the USW, said union members took issue with the company's proposed drug and pension plans in explaining why they refused last week's offer, though he declined to be more specific.
Ormet shipped 13,860 more tons of aluminum during the first three months of this year than last, while gross profits were $5.5 million more than during the same period in 2010.
"The future looks pretty bright at this point because the entire aluminum market is very strong right now," Puskar said.
In 2004, Ormet had filed for bankruptcy protection, but it emerged from bankruptcy in 2005 in the midst of an 18-month walkout by union employees. The company closed and sold its former rolling mill shortly thereafter.
However, Puskar said union workers have "a lot better" relationship with the current management team, led by Chief Executive Officer Mike Tanchuk, than with the administration of 2004-05.
Tanchuk could not be reached for comment regarding the contract vote late Wednesday.
As union workers move forward to work with the company, Ormet said this week that it will sell its marine terminal and additional acreage located in Burnside, La.
The buyer is Trafigura Beheer BV, based in the Netherlands.
As part of the transaction, Trafigura will also provide terminal services to Ormet's nearby alumina refinery, the most important of which will be offloading bauxite and loading alumina.
Ormet is gaining about $28 million in gross proceeds from the sale, $10 million of which will go toward paying "down the company's long term debt at par."
"This is a step in improving Ormet's competitiveness in a worldwide market," Tanchuk said.

Congo's Inga Hydropower Project May Need Phased Implementation
San Francisco Chronicle - 08-Jun-2011
June 8 (Bloomberg) -- Democratic Republic of Congo's plans to generate 40,000 megawatts by damming the Congo River could be staggered, making it easier to find funding and secure clients, research commissioned by the African Development Bank shows.
Congo's government estimates it needs $22 billion for the Inga power complex, which would harness the power of the world's second-biggest river by volume after the Amazon. Work on the project, which includes the $5.2 billion, 5,000-megawatt Inga 3 power plant, has stalled due to a lack of money and a firm implementation plan.
"Inga is a once-in-a-lifetime project," which the AfDB wants to support, Bobby Pittman, the Tunis-based lender's vice president for infrastructure, said in an interview in Lisbon yesterday.
The Inga complex would produce almost twice as much energy as China's Three Gorges dam and may meet the majority of power needs in Africa, where less than a quarter of the population has access to electricity. The project includes the Grand Inga dam that would be developed after Inga 3.
In 2008, the AfDB agreed to fund a $15.7 million study of the project. The research is due to be completed by September, with initial findings indicating that Inga's construction could be implemented in several phases, Pittman said, without giving details.
Congo's rivers have the potential to produce 100,000 megawatts of power, according to the World Bank.
BHP Talks
The central African nation completed the 351-megawatt Inga 1 hydropower plant in 1970, and the 1,424-megawatt Inga 2 plant came into operation 12 years later. In 2007, the AfDB agreed to give Congo a $58 million grant to refurbish the plants.
In October last year, Congo said it was in "very advanced" talks on the Inga 3 project with BHP Billiton Ltd., which was seeking electricity for a possible aluminum smelter. BHP, the world's biggest mining company, said at the time that the talks on the power plant and smelter were at an "early conceptual phase."
The AfDB intends helping Congo harness financing for Inga from private companies and other multilateral lenders, Pittman said. He was unable to say how much funding the AfDB would commit.
One of five major multilateral development lenders in the world, the AfDB funded infrastructure projects worth $4 billion last year. Energy projects accounted for $1.4 billion and transportation projects $1.9 billion, the lender said in a report released in Lisbon yesterday before its June 9-10 annual general meeting.
The bank's net income fell to $103.6 million last year from $107.4 million in 2009, as impairment provisions rose. Established in 1964, the AfDB has 53 member countries from Africa and 24 from outside the continent, including the U.S., the European Union and Japan. Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, has the biggest shareholding.
--Editors: Philip Sanders, Karl Maier

India Ministry of Environment: No Toxic Leakage From Vedanta Aluminium's Refinery
Fox Business - 07-Jun-2011
NEW DELHI -(Dow Jones)- The ministry of environment and forests late Tuesday said there is no evidence of toxic leakage from the alumina refinery of Vedanta PLC's (VED.LN) India unit.
The London-based miner's Indian unit, Vedanta Aluminium Ltd., operates a 1 million metric tons a year alumina refinery in the eastern town of Lanjigarh.
Concerns were raised by Amnesty International and allegations in a section of the press regarding a leakage from the red mud pond of the alumina refinery because of heavy rain fall which polluted nearby water bodies, causing a high acidic level, the ministry said in a statement.
But the ministry said an investigation of water bodies around the refinery didn't show any increase in levels of acidity nor was there any breach in the red mud pond, which holds toxic refinery waste.
The federal government had earlier rejected Vedanta's proposal to mine the Niyamgiri hills near Lanjigarh to supply bauxite for the refinery. It has also declined permission to expand the refinery's production capacity to 6 million tons a year.
- By Prasenjit Bhattacharya, Dow Jones Newswires; 91-11-4356-3358; prasenjit.bhattacharya@dowjones.com
Copyright © 2011 Dow Jones Newswires

INTERVIEW - Novelis bullish on aluminum prospects
Reuters India - 08-Jun-2011
Philip Martens also expects the price of aluminum to remain around $2,600 to $2,700 per tonne for the foreseeable future, even as the global economy shows signs of strengthening.
"Demand is high -- we're sold out," Martens told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of an aluminum industry conference in New York.
"Our factories, in principle, are running at 100 percent (capacity), some of our factories are running at 120 percent. We're working feverishly to de-bottleneck, or increase throughput capacity in all of our major factories worldwide."
Novelis, a subsidiary of India's HindalCo Industries Ltd (HALC.NS), reported on May 26 a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $50 million on a 22 percent rise in sales to $3 billion. Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the full fiscal year rose 42 percent to a record $1.07 billion.
Asked to characterize 2012 results, Martens said he expected EBITDA to increase slightly to between $1.15 billion and $1.2 billion.
"The goal is to nearly double EBITDA to $2 billion by the end of 2015," he said. "We're extremely bullish on long-term prospects for aluminum."
The Atlanta-based company is expanding sheet metal capacity to handle an expected increase in worldwide demand from automakers. Currently, Novelis produces about 3 million tonnes of aluminum products, of which about 240,000 tonnes, or 7 percent, is for the automobile industry.
Martens said that amount will more than double to about 550,000 tonnes in four years, as carmakers use more aluminum in their models to lower the weight and increase fuel efficiency.
Novelis said it will build a new plant in North America to increase total North American aluminum capacity by 20 percent and is expanding its plant in Brazil to increase aluminum production for cans.
Asked if he saw the aluminum price reaching back above its pre-recession level of $3,000 per tonne, Martens said there was not enough capacity in place to support overall demand.
"If you look at can bodies, we could sell as much as we can make worldwide, but there just isn't enough conversion capacity.
"But look at the outlook for aluminum -- aluminum demand is continuing to increase."
Martens said there was a lot of metal held in warehouses by investment houses and those inventory levels were expected to hold steady at about 4-½ million tonnes.
"That's going to hold the price where it's at, around $2600 maybe $2700," he said,
Martens said the U.S. economy appeared stronger than a year ago.
"The underlying fundamentals are clearly stronger than they were 12 months ago and significantly stronger than they were 24 months ago," he said.
"So I think the United States will move along sideways with a slight increase in the back half of the year. Economic confidence worldwide is still strong."
(Reporting by Steve James; editing by Matthew Lewis and Andre Grenon)

New Alumina Index Pricing Winning Over Opponents-Aluminum Producers
Fox Business - 07-Jun-2011
Philip Martens also expects the price of aluminum to remain around $2,600 to $2,700 per tonne for the foreseeable future, even as the global economy shows signs of strengthening.
"Demand is high -- we're sold out," Martens told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of an aluminum industry conference in New York.
"Our factories, in principle, are running at 100 percent (capacity), some of our factories are running at 120 percent. We're working feverishly to de-bottleneck, or increase throughput capacity in all of our major factories worldwide."
Novelis, a subsidiary of India's HindalCo Industries Ltd (HALC.NS), reported on May 26 a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $50 million on a 22 percent rise in sales to $3 billion. Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the full fiscal year rose 42 percent to a record $1.07 billion.
Asked to characterize 2012 results, Martens said he expected EBITDA to increase slightly to between $1.15 billion and $1.2 billion.
"The goal is to nearly double EBITDA to $2 billion by the end of 2015," he said. "We're extremely bullish on long-term prospects for aluminum."
The Atlanta-based company is expanding sheet metal capacity to handle an expected increase in worldwide demand from automakers. Currently, Novelis produces about 3 million tonnes of aluminum products, of which about 240,000 tonnes, or 7 percent, is for the automobile industry.
Martens said that amount will more than double to about 550,000 tonnes in four years, as carmakers use more aluminum in their models to lower the weight and increase fuel efficiency.
Novelis said it will build a new plant in North America to increase total North American aluminum capacity by 20 percent and is expanding its plant in Brazil to increase aluminum production for cans.
Asked if he saw the aluminum price reaching back above its pre-recession level of $3,000 per tonne, Martens said there was not enough capacity in place to support overall demand.
"If you look at can bodies, we could sell as much as we can make worldwide, but there just isn't enough conversion capacity.
"But look at the outlook for aluminum -- aluminum demand is continuing to increase."
Martens said there was a lot of metal held in warehouses by investment houses and those inventory levels were expected to hold steady at about 4-½ million tonnes.
"That's going to hold the price where it's at, around $2600 maybe $2700," he said.
Martens said the U.S. economy appeared stronger than a year ago.
"The underlying fundamentals are clearly stronger than they were 12 months ago and significantly stronger than they were 24 months ago," he said.
"So I think the United States will move along sideways with a slight increase in the back half of the year. Economic confidence worldwide is still strong."
(Reporting by Steve James; editing by Matthew Lewis and Andre Grenon)

jExec sees RUSAL's aluminum production up by 1 mln tns in 3?4 years
PRIME-TASS (subscription) - 06-Jun-2011
MOSCOW, Jun 6 (PRIME) -- Russian aluminum giant UC RUSAL plans to increase annual aluminum production by around 1 million tonnes within the next three to four years because of the launch of additional smelters, Oleg Mukhamedshin, the company’s director for capital markets, said in an interview with the Russia Today television channel broadcast Monday.
“We plan to increase production in the future mostly because of new large-scale projects, new smelters which we are currently building in Siberia, in the Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk regions (BEMO and Taishet),” he said.
Mukhamedshin also said that aluminum production in 2011 was expected to remain flat on the year at about 4.1 million tonnes, adding that RUSAL also had no plans to revise its investment program.
The BEMO hydropower and aluminum project in the Krasnoyarsk Region is being jointly implemented by Russian hydropower monopoly RusHydro and RUSAL. The design capacity of the Boguchansky aluminum smelter amounts to 600,000 tonnes.
Construction of the Taishet aluminum smelter is expected to resume in July, Mukhamedshin said in mid-April. Construction of the smelter was suspended in December 2008 after both aluminum prices and demand for the metal fell. The projected capacity of the Taishet smelter amounts to 750,000 tonnes of aluminum per year.

Vimetco might sell 21 percent stake in Alro Slatina on stock exchange
The Diplomat Bucharest - 06-Jun-2011
Vimetco, a global producer of primary and processed aluminium products, has announced its intention to sell up to 20.96 percent of its shares in Alro Slatina, the largest aluminium producer in Central and Eastern Europe, via a Secondary Public Offering on the Bucharest Stock Exchange, targeting both local and international investors, a company release reads. The offer is being intermediated by UniCredit Bank, with brokerage firms UniCredit CA IB Securities Romania, Raiffeisen Capital & Investment and ING Bank.

Aluminum production drops by 85% after subsidy cut
Iran Independent News Service - June 5 2011
Aluminum production of Iran has dropped by 85% from February until the date comparing to the same period last year, the chairman of the Iranian Syndicate of Aluminum Producers announced here, Moj news agency reported.
According to Ali Sabbag-Sani the sharp production fall was due to economic reform and cut in subsidies introduced by the government in February. “Since the producers are, despite the price jump of energy carriers not allowed to increase their prices they have decided to cut back the production,” he was quoted as saying.
He added the power consumption bill of the industry has been increased eightfold after the economic reform and the producers have not yet received any support as foreseen by the relevant law.

Novelis to triple aluminum production in Brazil
SteelGuru - 04-Jun-2011
The US based Novelis announced to build a new plant in the US and expand the capacity of its Brazil’s production.
The new production in the US is expected to be finished in 24 to 30 months; the expansion plan for Brazil production is designed to triple the current capacity from 220,000 tonnes to 650,000 tonnes.
Mr Philip Martens CEO of Novelis said that the aluminum demands for automotive, electronic, and beverage sectors will grow by 25%, 10% and 10% to 15% respectively in coming five years. Present demand from automobile industry has returned to the level before global financial crisis.
Novelis, which produces nearly 20% of the world's flat rolled aluminum products, is a subsidiary of Hindalco Industries Limited, one of the global largest integrated producers of aluminum and a leading producer of copper.
(Sourced from www.yieh.com)

RSB Ind gets nod for alumina refinery in Orissa
Economic Times - Jun 1, 2011
PUNE: RSB Industries, the holding company of a low profile auto component manufacturing group headquartered in Pune, is planning to enter the aluminium refining and smelting sector in Orissa. The promoters appear unfazed by the delays other projects are facing in that mineral- rich state.
The group's main business is components manufacturing for the automotive and construction sectors through its flagship company, the over Rs. 1,000 crore RSB Transmissions. The company has three overseas locations, in Belgium for the construction and in the US and Mexico for auto component sectors.
"We are planning to enter the metals and energy, that is, power generation, sectors. Group company RSB Metals has an MoU with the Orissa government for an integrated aluminium project. We have also received preliminary clearances for the land at two locations totalling 2700 acres for an alumina refinery and an aliminium smelter. We could also set up a 450 MW captive power plant at the smelter unit since it is an energy-intensive activity," said RK Behera, founder-chairman, RSB group. The captive power plant could be set up by RSB Energy, a group entity which is currently looking to acquire a power plant

Wayne Hale has resigned from Century Aluminum
biz.yahoo.com - May 12, 2011
Wayne Hale has resigned as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Century Aluminum Co. after entering into a separation agreement with the global aluminum producer, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The resignation was effective May 11, although Hale will continue to work for the company on a consultancy basis for $101,410 per month through the end of 2011 "in order to ensure a smooth transition ofhis duties" the company said, and also will receive a separation payment of nearly $2.3 million. Hale's duties and responsibilities will be assumed by existing members of Century's management team, the Monterey, California-based company said. Century did not give a reason for Hale's departure, and a spokesman declined to comment. Hale, who joined Century in March 2007, previously was senior vice president for the upstream division of OAO Sual Holdings, now part of United Co. Rusal, according to Century's Web site.

Ferndale Plant Adjusting Operations
KGMI - 02-Jun-2011
FERNDALE, Wash. -- The Alcoa Intalco Works aluminum smelter near Ferndale is adjusting operations in order to consume some of the extra power produced by the wet spring weather.
An agreement with the Bonneville Power Administration will help manage excess hydroelectric energy in our area due to melting snowpack.
Plant Manager Barry Hullett says Intalco will increase power consumption at night when energy use is at its lowest.
The adjustment comes after they recently restarted one of the plant’s aluminum potlines. Hullett says they are now running at 80% percent of its capacity.

Venezuela approves $70 million for CVG-Alcasa aluminum smelter
Platts - 01-Jun-2011
Venezuela's government has approved $70 million for badly needed raw materials and replacement parts at CVG-Alcasa smelter, a spokeswoman with the company said Wednesday in an interview.
"The money has been approved, but the allocation order still has to be signed by" President Hugo Chavez, she added.
Alcasa has been suffering with a cash-flow crisis that has prevented the Puerto Ordaz-based smelter from buying raw materials in a timely fashion to maintain normal, smooth-running operations.
Currently, only 170 of 398 cells are functioning at the 170,000 mt/year primary aluminum smelter but, a cell-reconditioning project is underway to recuperate 30 of the inoperative cells, the spokeswoman said.
Alcasa also remains mired in internal political problems. Fighting broke out between rival groups at its main entryway Tuesday and its Sintralcasa union still is occupying the office of company president Elio Sayago.
Sintralcasa wants to replace Sayago, who was voted down in a recent company-wide referendum, with one of its own members. "But today there was no violence and the workers have been able to freely come and go," the company spokeswoman said.
--George Soules, newsdesk@platts.com

Malaysia sets lower tariff on Bakun dam power-media
Reuters Africa - 01-Jun-2011
KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 (Reuters) - Malaysia's government has set a lower rate on power generated from the long-delayed Bakun hydro-electric dam on Sarawak state on Borneo island, local media reported on Wednesday, as it seeks to attract investments from energy-guzzling smelters.
The Sun newspaper quoted Prime Minister Najib Razak as saying his government will sell electricity to Sarawak's power firm Sarawak Energy at 0.0625 ringgit per kilowatt-hour (KwH) with an expected increase of 1.5 percent every year.
The agreement on the new tariff could prompt Rio Tinto to fully commit to building a $2 billion aluminium smelter in Sarawak with local firm Cahya Mata Sarawak.
Others like Australian manganese producer OMH Holdings , chemical maker Tokuyama Corp and China's top aluminium group Chinalco are now more likely to move forward with their announced investments in Sarawak.
The rate is lower than the federal government's initial asking price of 0.09 ringgit per KwH over 30 years as it seeks to rebuild political support in Sarawak after recording its worst performance in state polls in April.
The new rate is within Sarawak's offer to buy electricity at 0.05 ringgit and 0.07 ringgit per KwH in order to secure investments from smelters for whom energy accounts for a third of costs.
The lower power tariff for industries in Sarawak comes after the federal government raised power prices for the rest of the country this week in a bid to cut its budget deficit that has grown owing to fuel, electricity and food subsidies. (Reporting by Niluksi Koswanage; Editing by Michael Urquhart)