AluNews - November 2011

Orbite CEO touts ‘disruptive' Alumina technology in Quebec
Mineweb · 30-Nov-2011
After years of tests, including trials at a pilot plant, Orbite Aluminae (TSX: ORT) trotted out a scoping study that, for the first time, put meat to the bones of a patented process that it claims revolutionizes the extraction of alumina and other metals from aluminous ores.
"We have a disruptive technology," Richard Boudreault, Orbite president and CEO, said in a conference call and webcast on Wednesday. "That is the key to what we are trying to achieve."
In the conference call Boudreault, striking a celebratory tone, went over the details of Orbite's proposal to use its patented process to produce aluminum, silica, magnesium oxides, and rare earth from a aluminous clay deposit on Quebec's Gaspé Peninsula.
The numbers are eye-catching. In a scoping study put together by Genivar, an engineering firm, Orbite outlined a mining project that would cost C$499 million to build but deliver a whopping C$7.7 billion net present value, before tax and discounted at five percent.
From 1 billion tonnes in resources @ 23.3 percent Al2O3 plus silica and other metals, Orbite estimates it will produce an extensive list of products including: "539,700 tonnes per year of alumina, 189,000 tonnes of pure hematite, 1.2 million tonnes of high purity silica, 28,000 tonnes of magnesium oxides, 104,000 tonnes of other value-added oxides, and 820 tonnes of rare metal and rare earth oxides, including, among others, dysprosium, erbium, europium, yttrium, cerium, neodymium, praseodymium, and terbium, and rare metals such as gallium and scandium."
As for its "disruptive technology" Boudreault described how Orbite would remove multiple products from its aluminous clay in a way that is not only cheap - at about C$44 per tonne in production costs - but that also "doesn't create the infamous red mud," as Boudreault put it. Red mud is waste created through the Bayer process, which is the typical method used to extract alumina at processing facilities. Heavy in iron and silica, it needs to be impounded. But in Orbite's extraction process silica and iron are removed as saleable products - hence no red mud.
To do that, Orbite's patented technique depends on light crushing, separation using hydrochloric acid, which is recycled, and then extraction and crystallization of materials. Some products come out through acid recycling, Boudreault explained, including silica, iron and rare earths.
The potential of the production facility is only half the story, however. Clearly if the process works as effectively as Orbite hopes then many a company will be interested in licensing it - for a fee. Answering questions from analysts after his presentation, Boudreault said that Orbite had signed numerous non-disclosure agreements with "the largest groups in the world" from which there was interest in both Orbite's products and process.
He said the process has also been tested on typical bauxite, as opposed to the aluminous clays Orbite proposes to mine. Though Boudreault did not go into details, he hinted the process performed well. "We are under strict non-disclosure agreements," Boudreault said. "But the bauxite is giving us good results."
Also worth note, Orbite could become an important new source of rare earths production of which, as Boudreault noted, the Chinese have "a quasi monopoly."
The last question from an analyst was about whether the Chinese - as a major producer of aluminum and rare earths - had approached Orbite about its project and process.
The answer: "We'll beg the fifth," Boudreault said, undoubtedly referring to the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment which guarantees an individual's right not to have to make disclosures under certain circumstances. Though it was a joke, Boudreault was nonetheless mum on whether the Chinese had come knocking.
The next step for Orbite is a feasibility study due out in the first half 2012. Boudreault also said he expected the first of three processing plants comprising the alumina facility to be up and running in 2013. To that end Orbite has made headway in raising money; it completed a $58-million bought-deal financing in September.

Gujarat to decide on Nalco-GMDC tie-up soon
Hindu Business Line · 30-Nov-2011
With private sector companies out of the fray, the Gujarat Government is likely to take a call in the next two months on whether State-promoted Gujarat Minerals Development Corporation Ltd (GMDC) should form a joint venture with the National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco) or sign a long-term non-plant grade bauxite supply agreement with the Navratna behemoth for the proposed manufacturing facility in Kutch district.
“The expressions of interest (EoI) we received from many companies for an alumina and smelter plant based on non-plant grade bauxite reserves were technically examined by the Nagpur-based Jawaharlal Nehru Aluminium Research Development and Design Centre of the Government of India. After financial examination, only the Odisha-headquartered Nalco was found to fulfill our criteria,” Mr V.S. Gadhvi, Managing Director, GMDC, told Business Line.
He said now GMDC's Board of Directors would take a decision on Nalco's financial bid, submitted recently, before December 31 this year. This would be followed by the State Government's decision on whether GMDC should go in for a 26 per cent equity partnership with Nalco in a joint venture or, alternately, sign a long-term bauxite supply agreement with it.
Kutch has 63 million tonnes of non-plant grade bauxite reserves.
The capacity of the proposed plant would be production of five lakh tonnes of smelter and 10 lakh tonnes of refined alumina per annum. This would involve an investment of Rs 10,000-12,000 crore, he added.
Earlier, Ashapura Minechem, a bauxite miner and exporter, had signed an MoU with GMDC for the plant but did not execute it, and fresh EoIs were invited.
Last year, GMDC had signed an agreement with the Anil Agarwal-promoted Vedanta Resources for sale of 5.07 lakh tons of medium-grade bauxite for the latter's plant in Odisha. Vedanta shipped about 60,000 tonnes of bauxite per month to offset the shortfall caused by ban in mining in the Niyamgiri mines.
The Gujarat Government had, last year, banned the export of plant-grade bauxite outside the State.
As of now, Gujarat has 18.75 million tonnes of mineable high (plant) grade bauxite ore reserves in 10 locations and eight times the reserves of medium-grade bauxite.
With environment clearance awaited for some other proposed mining sites, its reserves are expected to double. At present, GMDC is mining about 1 lakh tonnes of plant grade and 8 lakh tonnes of medium-grade bauxite annually.

China aluminium capacity to rise 60 percent by 2015
Reuters -  30-Nov-2011
ZHUHAI, China, Nov 30 (Reuters) - China's annual production capacity of primary aluminium may rise by 60 percent in the next four years as smelters build new facilities in resource-rich provinces, a director at a state-backed industry association said on Wednesday.

Hu Changping of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association said capacity would jump above 40 million tonnes by 2015 from 25 million tonnes forecast for the end of 2011.

China, the world's top producer and consumer of aluminium, may see annual demand grow by an average 8.7 percent between 2011 and 2015, down from 17.3 percent in the past five years, Hu told an industry conference in Zhuhai city, Guangdong province.

The transport and building sectors would remain the major driving forces for aluminium consumption growth in the coming four years, he added.

China has completed the building of 2.75 million tonnes of new aluminium smelting capacity so far this year of which about one million tonnes has started commercial production, Hu said.

In 2012, about 4 million tonnes of new capacity is due to kick off production and the bulk will come from the resource-rich western provinces, especially Xinjiang, boosting the annual capacity to 30 million tonnes, Hu told the conference.

About 10 million tonnes of planned new capacity would be built in the northwestern region of Xinjiang by 2015 to take advantage of cheap solar and wind energy supplies, Hu told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference.

Electricity accounts for about 40 percent of production costs and the government will raise power prices for non-residential users by 0.03 yuan per kilowatt hour starting on Thursday, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.

"The year after next year, the difference will be obvious," Hu told Reuters, referring to the electricity costs in Xinjiang compared to other provinces.

Some existing, high-cost smelting capacity may be forced to close from 2013, including some in Henan province, China's top aluminium producing region, because of rising electricity costs, Hu said. But he said the scale of these closures would depend on aluminium prices and demand.

Domestic prices have fallen below 16,000 yuan ($2,500)a tonne, but competitive smelters were still making profits, Hu said. He said that these prices were below some smelters' production costs but they did not want to cut production alone to support prices.

Spot aluminium traded at about 15,960 yuan a tonne on Wednesday in China, down 14 percent from the year's highs of above 18,600 yuan AL-A00-CCNMM in late July-early August. ($1 = 6.3778 Chinese yuan) (Editing by Chris Lewis and Miral Fahmy)

Govt to retain its stake in Balco for now
Zee News - 29-Nov-2011
New Delhi: An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) today decided to maintain status quo with regard to its remaining 49 percent stake in aluminium maker Balco.
Vedanta Group firm Sterlite Industries holds 51 percent stake in Balco. According to sources, Vedanta chief Agarwal had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 4 regarding the government's residual stake.
In a meeting of the EGoM, called to discuss the government's response to a letter by Agarwal, it was decided that status quo will be maintained, a senior Mines Ministry official told media.
"The Prime Minister wanted the EGoM to approve the draft of the letter to be sent to Vedanta chief and the EGoM today approved it saying that the status quo will be maintained," the official said.
Last year, the government had said that it would sell its residual stake in Balco at a much higher price, adding that the strategic sale of equity in Balco was done in "haste" in 2001.
During the tenure of NDA government, Sterlite had snapped up 51 percent stake in Balco for Rs 551 crore in 2001.
In January this year an arbitration panel had struck down call option of Sterlite Industries to buy government's residual stake in the firm.
With the call option, Vedanta group firm Sterlite was looking to acquire the remaining stake in Balco. Call option is an agreement that gives the buyer a right to buy some part of an asset at a specified price at a specified time frame.
The Empowered Group of Ministers, headed by Finance Minster Pranab Mukherjee, also include Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Mines Minister Dinsha Patel and Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel

Alcoa bribes totaled $9.5 million, amended lawsuit says
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - 29-Nov-2011
Companies affiliated with Alcoa paid some $9.5 million in bribes to officials of the government of Bahrain and a government-controlled aluminum company, according to an amended complaint filed in U.S. District Court late Monday.
 The complaint filed by attorneys representing Aluminum Bahrain BSC, called Alba, marks the start of a new phase in a long-dormant lawsuit that spurred an ongoing international corruption investigation. Alcoa had asked the court to allow the suit, frozen since early 2008, to proceed, so it can seek to clear its name.
The first step, though, was Alba detailing its previously vague accusations.
 In the 47-page amended complaint, Alba said that Alcoa was its supplier of raw alumina for decades. Alba operates what it characterized as the world's biggest smelter for turning alumina into aluminum.
Alcoa was originally the direct supplier of alumina, but then began working through a London-based intermediary, Victor Dahdaleh, according to the complaint. It said he operated a series of companies that provided no actual services but served as middlemen in alumina deals and sometimes used Alcoa's logo on their correspondence.
The complaint detailed what it described as bribes from Mr. Dahdaleh to unidentified executives at Alba and officials of Bahrain starting with a $40,000 payment in 2002, including several payments of about $2 million, and ending with a $266,000 payment in 2005.
In return, according to the complaint, Alba paid more than market price for alumina supplied by Alcoa through Dahdaleh's firms. It estimated that from 1997 through 2009, Alba paid $419.8 million more for alumina to Dahdaleh's firms than those firms paid to Alcoa subsidiaries for the material.
It also said Alcoa made a bid, backed by Dahdaleh's bribes, to buy a large share in Alba for $600 million, which was a significant discount on the actual value of the stake in the smelter company. That bid fell through.
The complaint seeks $1 billion in damages.
It also notes that Mr. Dahdaleh was charged in October by the United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office with corruption in connection with his role in deals between Alcoa and Alba. It said that a former unidentified CEO of Alba has also been arrested, in Australia, in relation to the matter.
It named as a defendant William Rice, of Tennessee, which it said was Vice President of Marketing of Alcoa World Alumina during most of the period detailed. Alcoa confirmed that he continues to be an employee of the company.
It also said that a number of Pittsburgh-based Alcoa executives played roles in encouraging Alba to deal with Mr. Dahdaleh's firms.
"Alba's Amended Complaint is a patchwork of claims about the alleged misdeeds of Victor Dahdaleh and Bahraini officials," Alcoa said in a written response to the complaint. "The vague allegations against Alcoa personnel amount to no more than a series of guesses and overdrawn inferences. Alcoa has always been a company committed to the highest standards of business conduct.
"We look forward to filing our motion to dismiss, which is the next step in the process we started to put the case behind us. We have said consistently that Alba's claims are not supported by the facts and nothing filed yesterday has changed our view. We are confident that we will prevail in court."
Alba's original complaint spurred a U.S. Justice Department probe, and that agency sought the stay in the civil case. At a Nov. 3 hearing in Pittsburgh, Justice Department attorneys said their effort reaches into the highest levels of foreign governments and potentially implicates foreign leaders.
Alcoa has been in talks with the Justice Department, its attorney said at that hearing. Today an Alcoa spokeswoman said that the company has been cooperating with the government since 2008.
U.S. District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose allowed Alba to file the amended complaint, and a coming document detailing its charge that Alcoa and Mr. Dahdaleh constituted a racketeering influenced corrupt organization. Then Alcoa will be able to respond to the detailed accusations.

PPG Raises Caustic Soda Prices
Daily Markets (blog) - 19 hours ago
Liquid caustic soda is used by the chemical industry for making aluminum and also in the paper and pulp industry, In October 2011, PPG Industries posted net income of $311 million or $1.96 per share for the third quarter of 2011 compared with $262 ...

Marubeni to double stake in Canadian aluminium smelter
Reuters UK - 29-Nov-2011
TOKYO, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Marubeni Corp said on Tuesday it would spend about $180 million to double its stake in Aluminerie Alouette, North America's biggest aluminium smelter, to 13.33 percent to tap growing demand in emerging economies.
Japan's fifth-biggest trading house said it will buy additional shares in the Quebec-based aluminium producer, which is 40 percent-owned by Rio Tinto Alcan of Canada and 20 percent-owned by Norway's Norsk Hydro, from the Canadian government company Investissement Quebec in early 2012.
The stake increase will double Marubeni's equity holdings in terms of aluminium output in the company to 76,000 tonnes a year.
Its global equity holdings in aluminum production will thus rise to 200,000 tonnes in 2016, from the current 160,000 tonnes, putting it on par with Japan's top aluminium producer Mitsubishi Corp's.
Aluminerie Alouette plans to raise its aluminum ingot output capacity by 60 percent to 930,000 tonnes in 2016 with investment cost of CA$2 billion. (Reporting by Yuko Inoue; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

Rio faces tough aluminium questions
Ninemsn - Nov 27, 2011
Rio Tinto tried to tell investors how strong their aluminium business was on Monday but instead faced a barrage of questions about how quickly they could get rid of it.
The aluminium division is expected to break-even in the second half of 2011 compared to a $US1.4 billion ($A1.43 billion) underlying earnings result in the first half
Rio Tinto chief financial officer Guy Elliott also signalled that the company would incur impairments on aluminium assets in its full-year financial results due to be published in February.
The global resources giant last month revealed plans to sell many of its aluminium assets, including all of its Australian smelters and its troubled Gove bauxite mine in the Northern Territory.
Analysts questioned the wisdom of Rio Tinto's actions in creating a second business, Pacific Aluminium, with new management separate from its other Rio Tinto
Alcan aluminium assets.
The company will try to sell the unwanted assets to one buyer and collect at least $US3 billion ($A3.06 billion).
Rio Tinto management was also asked whether it could lower operating costs at its energy intensive smelters enough to improve returns.
Mr Elliott said he was in no rush to sell the business, especially in the current economic climate.
"Of course we want to do it expeditiously, but it is going to be value determined," he said.
"The new management has just taken its seats, we want them to define what free cashflows they can get from this business ... that's going to take them a little bit of time."
Just because the assets did not fit into Rio Tinto's strategy of low-cost, expandable assets, it did not mean it was not a good business, he said.
Rio Tinto Alcan chief executive Jacynthe Cote said that although the aluminium business was facing macroeconomic headwinds from Europe, its exposure to Asia's economic growth gave it confidence it was well placed for when global markets recovered.
Rio Tinto paid $US38.1 billion to acquire Canada's Alcan in 2007 at the top of the market, in what is regarded as its biggest and most expensive mistake.

DJ Rio Tinto Says Won't Rush To Exit Aluminum Assets
Middle East North Africa Financial Network - 27-Nov-2011
MELBOURNE, Nov 27, 2011 (Dow Jones Commodities News Select via Comtex) - Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) won't rush to exit about a dozen targeted aluminum assets, and will consider options including a trade sale or initial public offering, the Anglo-Australian company's chief financial officer said Monday.
The key to identifying the assets as non-core was to remove them from the Rio Tinto Alcan portfolio, allowing executives to focus on improving margins, Guy Elliott told investors during a seminar webcast from Sydney.
"We're keen to move...but not at any price," Elliott said, adding the environment for a sale wasn't "benign" at the moment.
Rio said the short-term outlook remains challenging for the aluminum business as the industry experiences higher input costs and lower prices, which are currently well below the industry's marginal cost of production. At current prices, Rio Tinto Alcan's underlying earnings are expected to be around break-even in the second half of 2011, the company said.
However, it said the medium- to long-term fundamentals for aluminum remain strong, with demand forecast to grow almost 6% a year to 2020 and supply expected to remain in balance. It said the cost curve is expected to steepen, largely due to rising energy costs, which will benefit lower-cost aluminum producers.
Rio in October said it would streamline its aluminum division, and would divest 13 assets. Earlier this month it said it planned to close its Lynemouth aluminum smelter in England.

Resumes, crowd reflect interest in Nanshan aluminum plant
Journal and Courier - 26-Nov-2011
Construction of the Nanshan America Advanced Aluminum Technologies plant in Lafayette is expected to be competed by May, with production to start in July.
The $100 million aluminum extrusion plant eventually will employ between 150 and 200 people, with 60 employees starting during the first year.
The Nanshan Group, a global company based in China, held a meeting recently at Purdue University, in part to explain the project and discuss employment opportunities.
"The plant will initially run with two state-of-the-art extrusion presses and has the capacity to incorporate another two presses after startup," project manager Jamie Beardsley said. "A state-of-the-art casting facility is also planned to start in early 2013. The revolutionary extrusion and casting process will give them an edge on product and market capabilities."
Beardsley explained how the production process and emission control technology will combine to benefit employees when the plant is constructed.
"Our product may be aluminum, but the medium we work with is human," he said, vowing the Nanshan plant will be the "employer of choice" in Greater Lafayette.
Song Jianbo, chairman of the Shandong Nanshan Aluminum Co., held a question-and-answer session during the meeting that drew a standing-room-only crowd to a room at Stewart Center.
Nanshan Group offers worldwide employment opportunities in material handling, business management, hotels and tourism, textiles, real estate, education, aviation and other industries.
Lijun Du, president of Nanshan America Co. Ltd., the parent company of the 600,000-square-foot facility being built on the south side of Lafayette, is a 2004 graduate of Purdue.
He earned a master's of science degree in industrial administration from the Krannert School of Management.
"It is always a great honor to come back to Purdue and be among friends," Du said at the meeting last week.
"We have received several hundred résumés with 40 percent seeking an opportunity with our Lafayette plant."
Shaoyi Wen, a graduate student at Purdue, attended the meeting to explore future employment with the company.
"Firstly, for a job opportunity locally," Wen said. "But (I) will also consider opportunities back in China."

United Company RUSAL : USAL senior management team officially ...
4-traders (press release) - 25-Nov-2011
Moscow, 25 November 2011 - UC RUSAL (SEHK: 486, Euronext: RUSAL/RUAL, MICEX: RUALR, RTS: RUALR), the world's largest aluminium producer, is pleased to report on its senior management teams' recent official visit to the Republic of Sierra Leone, to explore new business development opportunities within the country.
During the visit, the delegation discussed the possibility of the Company's participation in  bauxite production, developing its transport infrastructure  and the estimated raw material and energy potential of the country. In addition, it entered into a dialogue with the authorities of the Republic of Sierra Leone, responsible for developing the natural resources sector and attracting foreign investment in the country.
RUSAL's delegation met with the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, E. Koroma, and joined constructive meetings with the country's Vice President, Ministry of Mineral Resources and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As a result of the visit, RUSAL has expressed its intention to undertake a feasibility study considering future bauxite mining projects, as well as the development of necessary transport infrastructure in the Republic of Sierra Leone
The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, E. Koroma, confirmed that RUSAL's participation in the development of the country's natural resources was of significant interest to its economic development and in line with its aim to attract world class foreign investors.
"Sierra Leone is of great interest to RUSAL due to its large reserves of bauxite, the key raw material used for the production of alumina and aluminum. The country currently has a favourable investment climate, which is especially important for foreign partners. We look forward to continuing a constructive dialogue with the Government of the Republic and a mutually beneficial relationship in the future that will allow RUSAL to build up its presence in Africa, as the Republic of Sierra Leone strengthens its own economic position and social stability in the region", said Yakov Itskov, Director of International Alumina Division of UC RUSAL.
The parties intend to develop a Memorandum of Understanding, to define RUSAL's future participation in the development of Sierra Leone's mineral resources and parties' mutual obligations to ensure favourable conditions for the Company's investments in the mining industry of the country.
The parties will begin working on the concession agreement shortly.

Canadian company to mine bauxite in Guyana
CBS News - 25-Nov-2011
GEORGETOWN, Guyana — A Canadian company has signed an agreement with Guyana to mine bauxite in a western region of the country.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds says the First Bauxite Corporation of Vancouver expects to mine more than 12 million tons (11 million metric tons) of refractory bauxite in unexplored deposits in the Essequibo region.
CEO Hilbert Shields said the company hopes to build a plant within 18 months. He said initial production levels will stand at 100,000 tons (90,700 metric tons) a year.
Hinds said refractory bauxite is in demand because it is used to manufacture products that can withstand intense heat for extended periods.
The western Essequibo Region has an estimated 1.6 million tons (1.45 million metric tons) of bauxite.

GDS (S) RUSAL : UNITED COMPANY RUSAL PLC: Voluntary Announcement ...
4-traders (press release) - 25-Nov-2011
The acquisition of a stake in Shenzhen North Investments, a Chinese trading company with more than 15 years of experience in selling primary aluminium in ...

Alcoa selects engineering firm for modernization plans
WatertownDailyTimes.com - 25-Nov-2011
MASSENA — Alcoa is progressing in its plans to modernize its Massena operations by selecting an outside engineering firm.
The aluminum company has selected Bechtel Engineering, a worldwide firm with a presence in Montreal, to move its modernization plans forward, according to Alcoa spokeswoman Laurie A. Marr.
Local management has been working all year on the engineering and site plans for the modernization. Alcoa’s board of directors will ultimately decide whether to commit to the modernization by March 31, 2013, and local staff are using that time to hammer out all of the details and make Massena as attractive as possible to corporate officials. Alcoa’s commitment to modernization could ensure the company’s future here for decades to come.
Retaining Bechtel is another part of drawing up the modernization plans, Ms. Marr said.
“As part of the engineering and design work, we’ve had a team of Alcoa engineers working on it. You get to a certain point in the project and you need a bigger firm,” Ms. Marr said. “This is all in preparation for when we take the project to the Alcoa board of directors for approval.”
Bechtel will help Alcoa’s Massena team hammer out more details of the project, including a final cost estimate, Ms. Marr said.
The power contract Alcoa has with the New York Power Authority indicates the modernization project will be at least a $600 million investment in the community.
“The point of this is to have the resources that can help us get the engineering and design to a point so that we can have a more precise cost estimate,” Ms. Marr said.
Bechtel’s team has already begun its work with Alcoa’s Massena engineering team. Alcoa selected the firm earlier this month, Ms. Marr said.
“You progress through certain stages in project planning,” Ms. Marr said. “This is an important step forward for us ... This is another step in the journey.”
Alcoa kicked off 2011 with news it was restarting its idled Massena east facility and redoubled its efforts at that point to work toward the plant’s eventual modernization. If the board approves the plans, construction would begin as early as that June, Ms. Marr said.

Rio Tinto, Chinalco JV to hunt for copper in China
Mineweb - 25-Nov-2011
SYDNEY (Reuters) - 
Rio Tinto said on Friday it would initially explore for copper in China under a newly-formed partnership with state-owned Chinalco before branching out into other commodities.
"The JV's initial priority will be exploring for copper, with plans to expand into coal and potash in the future," Rio said in a statement.
The partnership, called Chinalco Rio Tinto Exploration Co. Ltd, has been officially registered as a business in China, according to a statement on Rio's website.
China is the world's biggest importer of copper and is looking to reduce its dependence on overseas supplies.
Rio Tinto and Chinalco signed an agreement in June 2011 to form the joint venture
Chinalco holds a 51 percent interest and Rio Tinto 49 percent.
Chinalco has sought to diversify its business away from aluminium, and its listed unit Chalco has already agreed to invest $1.35 billion in the Simandou iron ore deposit in Guinea, another joint project with Rio Tinto.
For its part, Rio Tinto has been anxious to rebuild ties with Chinalco after rejecting a $19.5 billion investment bid from the Chinese firm in 2009. Rio Tinto has also been trying to repair the damage caused by the jailing of of four of its Shanghai staff last year for stealing commercial secrets and taking bribes. © Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved

Nigerian Senate panel wants sale of aluminium smelter to Rusal revoked
Platts - 24-Nov-2011
The Nigerian Senate's committee on privatization has called for the sale of the government's stake in the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) to Russia's Rusal to be revoked, according to the committee's report published Wednesday.
 The report was the outcome of a wider investigation begun last September of the privatization of government-owned companies by the state privatization agency, the Bureau for Public Enterprises, from 1999 to date.
 "The National Council on Privatization should rescind the sale of ALSCON...and re-advertise [the smelter] for sale," the report said.
The panel investigated the sale of the government's 77.5% stake in the 193,000 mt/year smelter, built at a cost of $3.2 billion but sold to Rusal for $250 million. The committee was told that Rusal only paid $130 million of its total bid.
 But the plant in southern Akwa Ibom state never operated up to average capacity and was shut down due to high production costs, inadequate gas supply and the lack of working capital.
 The Nigerian government retains a 15% stake in the plant while Germany's Ferrostaal AG holds the remaining 7.5%.

Guyana refractory bauxite costs placed at $211/tonne  study
Industrial Minerals (registration) - 24-Nov-2011
A bankable feasibility study prepared for First Bauxite Corp.'s refractory bauxite project in Guyana has confirmed that a new mine life of 36 years for its Bonasika 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 deposits could support sintered bauxite production ...

China agrees to loan Venezuela $4 billion
3News NZ - 24-Nov-2011
China has agreed to a new $4 billion loan to help Venezuela boost its oil output and will also help upgrade power plants and increase production of iron and aluminium.
China has swiftly become Venezuela's biggest foreign lender in recent years, and has previously agreed to more than $32 billion in loans. President Hugo Chavez's government is repaying the loans with oil shipments.
Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said during a meeting with Chinese officials that the new $4 billion loan agreement would be signed Wednesday. He said the purpose is to increase oil production involving Venezuelan and Chinese companies from about 100,000 barrels a day to about 330,000 barrels a day.
He said oil production involving Chinese companies should reach about 1.1 million barrels a day by 2014. That would be a big increase for Venezuela, which aims to raise its overall oil output from what it says is now roughly 3 million barrels a day to about 4 million barrels a day by 2015.
The infusion of cash from China has also provided key support as Chavez looks to boost spending ahead of next year's presidential election. Ramirez said Chinese companies are helping with upgrades to power plants. Chinese companies are also building public housing for the government, and are constructing railways.
Chinese and Venezuelan officials discussed not only plans to boost iron ore production, but also projects to expand a pier, dredge the Orinoco River and "expand our capacity of rail transport for transporting iron ore," Ramirez said at the televised meeting.
Another joint project aims to increase production of aluminium, Ramirez said.
Venezuela's oil exports to China stand at 410,000 barrels of fuel a day, up nearly 10-fold from the 45,000 barrels a day sold to China in 2005, Ramirez said.
In order to deal with increasing volumes of heavy oil from Venezuela, the two countries are moving ahead with plans to jointly build a refinery in China capable of handling up to 400,000 barrels a day, he said.
Much of the oil is to come from the vast reservoir of heavy crude in Venezuela's eastern Orinoco River basin. Ramirez said China will also be involved in developing a deep-water terminal in the eastern port town of Araya to enable increasing oil exports.
The long-term emphasis during this week's talks, Ramirez said, is "for us to supply all the oil that China needs for its development, and to obtain from China all necessary support in the transfer of technology and financing".
The oil-for-loans deals with China have drawn strong criticism from some Chavez opponents, who argue that so much debt isn't beneficial for Venezuela or for its state oil company.
Opposition lawmaker Miguel Angel Rodriguez said the loans effectively "mortgage the country." He demanded the government provide details of its deals, including the prices at which Venezuela is selling the oil to China.
Government officials have said Venezuela is reaping many benefits from its growing relationship with China.
"We don't have discounts with anyone," Ramirez said in an interview in August. "We sell at international prices."

Australia's mining tax bill excludes bauxite: aluminum council
Platts - 23-Nov-2011
Sydney (Platts)--23Nov2011/115 am EST/615 GMT
Australia's planned mining tax, passed by the lower house of parliament in the early hours of Wednesday, will not apply to bauxite, although authorities had earlier intended to include the aluminum ore, Australian Aluminium Council spokesman Miles Prosser said Wednesday.
Having passed the lower house, the bill will move to the upper house or Senate, where debate will take place early next year.
 The bill extends the petroleum resource rent tax to all onshore and offshore oil and gas projects across the nation and introduces a minerals resource rent tax on iron ore and coal mining from July 1, 2012.
 Under the new legislation, Australia's 40% petroleum resource rent tax, which previously applied only to offshore developments, will apply to all projects, including the rapidly developing coalseam gas industry.
The mining tax includes a 30% minerals resource rent tax that will apply to iron ore and coal miners which record annual profit of more than A$75 million ($74 million). As part of the reforms, the company tax rate for all businesses will be cut from the current 30% to 29%.
 Australia is the world's largest producer of bauxite, with output reaching 71.5 million mt last year, according to the AAC's 2010 sustainability report. More than 50% of the ore is typically processed locally to alumina, although Australia's bauxite exports are substantial in absolute terms, Prosser said. Australia produced 20.3 million mt of alumina in 2010, the AAC report said.
 There are currently five bauxite mines in Australia providing feedstock for seven alumina refineries, which in turn support six Australian aluminum smelters. The bauxite mines are operated by Alcoa, BHP and Rio Tinto.

Century Aluminum ex CEO was forced out
SteelGuru - 23-Nov-2011
Reuters reported that Mr Logan Kruger former chief executive of Century Aluminum Company was ousted after commodities group Glencore International took control of the US aluminum producer's board.
Mr Kruger's assertion is contrary to Century's announcement this week that said r Kruger had resigned. The difference could mean millions of dollars of additional pay due to him and he is suing his former employer in a bid to collect.
Mr Kruger said that "It's not true that I terminated myself. I was terminated involuntarily. I was ordered out of my office on November 11th 2011 by the chairman of the board and given an ultimatum to accept their offer by the end of November 14th 2011. I was left no choice but to pursue a legal remedy."
According to his employment contract, a voluntary departure would entitle him to USD 6.2 million package. But in the case of a change in control of the Monterey, California based company, he would be in line to receive USD 26 million.
Mr Kruger's lawyer said that Swiss based Glencore is arguing that there was no change in control, even though a Century shareholder meeting in June installed three of Glencore's representatives to the board, joining three others already on the 11 member board.
(Sourced from Reuters)

 Ormet's idled Burnside alumina site to restart
Industrial Minerals (registration) - 22-Nov-2011
US-based integrated aluminium producer Ormet Corp. plans to restart production at its idled Burnside, Louisiana refinery “within weeks”; Nabaltec flame retardant growth US-based integrated aluminium producer Ormet Corp. ...

Novelis Commissions Aluminum Recycling Centre at Alunorf
Sacramento Bee - 22-Nov-2011
NEUSS, Germany, Nov. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Novelis Inc., the world's largest producer of rolled aluminum and a global leader in aluminum recycling, today announced the commissioning of its euro 14 million recycling centre expansion at Aluminium Norf GmbH (Alunorf) in Neuss. 
Hannelore Kraft, Prime Minister of North Rhine - Westphalia, officially opened the new facility at a ceremony attended by company representatives, customers and local officials.  The event marked the commissioning of the twin-chamber melting furnace and processing plant designed to recycle 50,000 metric tons of aluminum scrap per year to feed the rolling mills of Alunorf.  The plant, which is a joint venture of Novelis and Hydro Aluminium, is the world's largest aluminum rolling complex with 2,170 employees.
The new Novelis recycling centre will process aluminum manufacturing scrap from Novelis' customers across Europe as well as from its own facilities.  It is the second phase of a recycling expansion project at Alunorf that began in 2009 with the construction of a similar recycling facility funded by the joint venture partner, Hydro.  With today's commissioning of this most recent expansion, the combined capacity of the plant's integrated recycling operations is 100,000 metric tons per year.
"Today's event marks another important milestone in Novelis' ongoing commitment to recycling and sustainable manufacturing," said Tadeu Nardocci, senior vice president of Novelis Inc. and president of Novelis Europe.  "This new facility brings benefits for the environment, our customers, our employees and the economy of the region  It also helps ensure a steady source of metal for our rolling operations here at Norf, while reducing our carbon footprint and that of our customers.  Investments such as this one are a key component of our global commitment to increasing recycled metal input to 80% by 2020."
Using recycled aluminum as input material expends only five percent of the energy required to make aluminum from raw materials, thus avoiding 95 percent of the greenhouse gases associated with primary aluminum production.
"The energy-intensive businesses in North Rhine-Westphalia are important to us as we want to remain an 'Energy state'," noted Hannelore Kraft.  "The last world economic crisis has clearly shown how important a good industrial basis is for us as an area.  For me it is also proof of the competitiveness of North Rhine-Westphalia that global companies such as Novelis make money available for investments at Alunorf here in Neuss."

United Company RUSAL : UC RUSAL and Gazprom Neft signed long-term coke supply ...
4-traders (press release) -  22-Nov-2011
Moscow, 22 November 2011 - UC RUSAL (SEHK: 486, Euronext: RUSAL/RUAL, MICEX: RUALR, RTS: RUALR), world's largest aluminium producer, and JSC Gazprom Neft announce signing of the five-year supply contract for up to 1,000,000 tonnes of electrode petroleum coke. The contract comes into effect on 1 January 2012.
The coke to be supplied by Omsk Refinery, Gazprom Neft subsidiary. It is the first long-term supply contract between the parties, the previous contracts did not exceed two years. The deal will provide stable high-quality coke supply for RUSAL and long-term committed sales for Gazprom Neft.
In mid-term perspective Gazprom Neft plans to upgrade Omsk Refinery coke production facilities. The company now considers raising coke production efficiency and constructing new capacities.
Pavel Ovchinnikov, UC RUSAL Commercial Director, said: «Gazprom Neft is our proved and reliable partner owing best-in-class technologies. Broadening cooperation with the strategic partner on high-quality production supplies opens new opportunities for RUSAL. Regarding our production expansion plans this contract will be an important supply chain element for our greenfields - Boguchansk and Taishet aluminium smelters».
Levan Kadagidze, Gazprom Neft Director of the Commercial Directorate, said: «The long-term contract with RUSAL, Gazprom Neft's strategic coke supply partner, provides the company with the efficient and guaranteed distribution channel for this product and proves parties' commitment to mutually advantageous cooperation».

Azerbaijan's Detal Ganja aluminium smelter produces first metal
Platts - Nov 21, 2011
Sydney (Platts)--22Nov2011/
Azerbaijan's Det AL Group, or Detal, has started producing aluminum from its new 100,000 mt/year smelter at Ganja, with the plant scheduled to turn out 50,000 mt during its first 12 months of operation, a company official said Tuesday.
 Detal was also in the process of returning online a 450,000 mt/year alumina refinery that has been idle since 2009 due to the global financial crisis, she said. The refinery is expected to start commercial production in December.
The official also said that Detal still intended to restart its Sumgait aluminum smelter despite weaker global metal margins in recent months. The 60,000 mt/year smelter has been shut since early 2009 as well. The source did not specify a timeline for its restart.

Embraer, Alcoa sign technology-sharing agreement
High Performance Composites - 21-Nov-2011
Aircraft manufacturer Embraer S.A. (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and Alcoa (Pittsburgh, Pa., USA) have announced a new technology-sharing agreement that will use Alcoa's proprietary aluminum alloys, advanced design and manufacturing techniques, and its fastener technologies, to support Embraer’s development of new high-performance metallic fuselage and wing solutions for its family of aircraft.
In June of this year, Alcoa launched a number of new aerospace solutions including new proprietary alloys and advanced structural technologies intended to reduce the weight, cost and maintenance of new aircraft. Following that launch, Alcoa secured major new supply agreements with airframers.
“Embraer is known for developing high-performance aircraft and we are pleased to have Alcoa join us to work on developing the next phase of solutions that will take performance to an even higher level for our customers,” said Jorge Ramos, vice president, Embraer Technology Development.
“Alcoa’s history of developing aerospace solutions dates more than 100 years to Kitty Hawk,” said Franklin Feder – President, Alcoa Latin America and Caribbean. “We look forward to building upon our latest metallic technology solutions to help Embraer build the best planes possible.”
Embraer S.A. is the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial jets up to 120 seats, and one of Brazil’s leading exporters. A global company founded in 1969, Embraer designs, develops, manufactures and sells aircraft and systems for the commercial aviation, executive aviation, and defense and security segments. It also provides after-sales support and services to customers worldwide.

Mideast on way to being leading aluminium maker
gulfnews.com - 19-Nov-2011
Muscat: The Middle East is well on its way to becoming the world's leading primary aluminium producer, according to Jacynthe Cote, chief executive of Rio Tinto Alcan.
Delivering a keynote address at the recent opening of the 15th Arab International Aluminium (Arabal) Conferfence, she said that the Middle East features prominently in global giants Rio Tinto Alcan's future plans.
"Among noteworthy brownfield opportunities is the proposed expansion of the state-of-the-art Sohar aluminium smelter here in Oman," she said.
"As has been reported, we are working with our Omani partner to explore how we could increase primary aluminium production in Oman and further contribute to socio-economic development and job creation," Cote added.
She pointed out the advantages for Middle East producers. "This region also has its advantages with respect to where aluminium is produced, such as ample supplies of competitively priced energy, ready capital and strategic proximity to key emerging markets throughout Asia, China and Europe."
She told a packed hall that in the past decade or so, Middle East producers have leveraged this competitive edge and set the Middle East well on its way to becoming one of the world's leading primary aluminium producers.
Robust growth
"A number of new greenfield projects have come on stream over the past year or so, making primary aluminium capacity close to 4 million tonnes, compared to 1.5 million tonnes in 2000," she said.
In his opening speech, Minister of Commerce and Industry Shaikh Sa'ad Bin Mohammad Al Sa'adi said: "There are currently five aluminium smelters in the Gulf region which alone represent over $30 billion [Dh110.1 billion] in capital and create 20,000 direct and 30,000 indirect jobs.
Cote also forecast that by 2015, the Middle East will be producing more than 5 million tonnes per year.
"To put things in perspective, that means the aluminium industry here will have grown at a robust compound annual rate of 9 per cent over the 2000-2015 period — far exceeding the 5 per cent annual growth rate of the global industry," she told delegates from more than 30 countries.
Talking about the challenges facing the Middle East industry, she pointed out the population demographics.
"The majority of the population in the Middle East-North Africa region is
"That youthful demographic is a terrific asset in many ways. But it also translates into demands for more quality job opportunities and better career prospects so as to harness the creative energy and drive of all those young people," the head honcho of global aluminium giant further said.
She also pointed out that Sohar Aluminium employs more than 1,000 people — more than 70 per cent of whom are Omani citizens — and is credited with creating an additional 2,500 jobs in the country.
Khalil Bin Abdullah Al Khonji, Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman, hoped that Sohar Aluminium would take ‘big' initiatives to create direct as well as indirect jobs for Omani youth. "We have to have big initiatives in Sohar. When I say big I mean really big," Al Khonji said on She added that the industries in Sohar must help the community and also help small and medium enterprises in the region. He advised big industries like Sohar Aluminium to procure their requirements from the local market.

Aluminium industry calls for hike in import duty
NDTV - 15 - 18-Nov-2011
Aluminium industry has requested the government to increase import duty on aluminium products to protect.
"We have requested the government to impose taxes on import in such way that the landing price of the product should be higher than that of the domestic price," said S S Murthy, General Secretary of the industry body Aluminium Association of India.
AAI has sought immediate government action on the request to protect the domestic industry from cheap imports, Murthy told reporters here, adding that the cabinet is expected to approve the demand.
The aluminium industry has planned major capacity expansion involving investments of over Rs. 1.2 lakh crore that would take production capacity to 5 million tonnes per annum by 2017 against 1.5 million tonnes presently.
Murthy said aluminium consumption is expected to come largely from packaging, automobiles, power generation and transmission, railways, aviation and telecom sectors.
According to AAI estimates, the packaging sector alone is estimated to onsume 15-20 per cent of the domestic aluminium production.
Meanwhile, AAI said Hyderabad will host INCAL 2011 -- the 6th international conference on aluminium, organised once every four years -- from December 6 to 8, AAI said.

Rio Lynemouth move signals aluminium's ailing health
Reuters UK - 18-Nov-2011
(Reuters) - Global miner Rio Tinto's decision this week to close its Lynemouth aluminium smelter in Britain has highlighted the poor health of an industry pinched by lower metals prices and high costs.
"We have been arguing for some time that aluminium prices are well into the cost curve and that eventually this will result in production cutbacks and closures," RBS analyst Nikos Kavalis said.
Citing data from consultancy Brook Hunt, the metals arm of Wood Mackenzie, he said current price levels made more than 40 percent of aluminium producers unprofitable.
Benchmark aluminium prices were around $2,111 on Friday, down almost 25 percent from $2,803 hit in March, its highest since August 2008.
"As such, it comes as no surprise that a relatively high (and potentially rising) cost operation like Lynemouth is being closed," Kavalis added.
In October Rio Tinto, one of the world's top producers of aluminium, put up for sale an estimated $8 billion (5 billion pounds) worth of facilities, across six countries, including Lynemouth, only four years after buying aluminium giant Alcan.
The speed with which it has decided to close Lynemouth has raised some eyebrows, and suggests it may struggle to find buyers for the other operations. But it is fair to say that the plant in northeast England had been under review for some time.
The decision to sell the selected assets in the first place is a clear sign of the rising costs facing this industry as the company chose to focus on its lower cost hydro-powered plants in Canada.
"The fact that they (Rio) decided to sell aluminium assets is reflecting recent cost pressures in the industry...It's becoming more difficult for companies to produce aluminium profitably," said Standard Chartered analyst Daniel Smith.
Power costs --accounting for 30 to 50 percent of the cost to produce aluminium -- are high, while at the same time weaker prices and slowing demand have squeezed companies' margins.
An inability to secure long-term cheap power recently prompted U.S. aluminium major Alcoa's decision to abandon long-held plans to build a new smelter in Iceland, citing an inability to secure long-term cheap power.
SMELTERS IN HIGH COST REGIONS
It is no coincidence that the other Rio Tinto smelters on the block are in regions where costs are high and will likely rise further.
The Australian Aluminium Council (AAC), for example, said the country's new carbon pricing plan would prompt a contraction in the country's aluminium industry.
"The assets to be divested are old smelters - hardly top-tier assets. I also wonder how this decision was affected by talk of a carbon tax in Australia," said an Australia-based consultant.
Over the next decade aluminium production costs there could rise to more than $200 per tonne, while in top producer China it was not expected to get any higher than $60, an AAC executive said.
Many industry experts are scratching their heads as to who would be interested in these mainly high-cost, ageing operations in areas where costs are set to rise further at a time when global demand worries dominate.
But it does not follow that any of the other operations on the block will close. The most likely to be singled out would be the Sebree smelter in Kentucky, although closure is not certain.
"I do not believe that one can infer from the announcement of Lynemouth's impending closure, that Sebree will be closed as well," said Olivier Masson, a senior consultant at CRU Group.
However, drumming up interest for any of the assets may prove to be drawn out, particularly in the current economic climate.
Firms in China, which already accounts for 40 percent of global output, do not seem interested.
"At this time of financial uncertainty which banks would be willing to lend for the buying of these assets?," a trader in China, familiar with Rio Tinto's operations, said.
China, the world's top aluminium producer and consumer, also has abundant smelting capacity. The country's production of primary aluminium hit a record of 1.591 million tonnes in June.
"In addition those assets are not cheap and are not too profitable," said one Chinese smelter executive.
The uncertain global economic situation has weakened aluminium's outlook and if the situation worsens over the next two years, demand is likely to be severely affected.
"Perhaps Rio's move indicates caution towards the future prospect of the metal," CITIC Newedge Futures trader Liang Haisan said recently.

Rio Tinto aims to boost aluminium production in Oman
AME Info -  18-Nov-2011
Jacynthe Cote, CEO of the world's largest aluminium producer, Rio Tinto Alcan has said the firm is working with its Omani partner to find ways to boost aluminium production in the Sultanate, Muscat Daily has reported. The company will focus on the Middle East in its future plans, especially the proposed expansion of the smelter at Sohar Aluminium, a joint venture between Rio Tinto Alcan, Oman Oil Co and the Abu Dhabi National Energy Co, he said. "We are working with our Omani partner to explore how we could increase primary aluminium production in Oman and further contribute to socio-economic development and job creation," said Cote.

Rio Tinto to close UK aluminum smelter, sell power plant
Vancouver Sun - 16-Nov-2011
Rio Tinto Group plans to close the Lynemouth aluminum smelter in Northumberland, England, because of increasing energy costs, and is in talks to sell the power station at the site.
Rio will hold 90 days of consultation on the shutdown with unions and worker representatives at the smelter, which started operations in 1972 and employs 515 people, the world's second- largest mining company said in a statement today.
Rio on Oct. 17 announced plans to sell 13 aluminum assets, including smelters and alumina plants in Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, the U.S. and U.K., to improve its financial performance. Rio stock fell 0.4 per cent to 3,446 pence at the close in London, bringing its decline this year to 23 per cent.
"This decision follows a thorough strategic review which explored every possible option for continuing to operate the smelter and power station," Jacynthe Cote, chief executive officer of Rio's Alcan unit, said in today's statement. "It is clear the smelter is no longer a sustainable business because its energy costs are increasing significantly, due largely to emerging legislation."
European Union aluminum producers are contending with rising energy prices, which account for 30 per cent to 40 per cent of smelting costs, according to Brook Hunt, a London-based research unit of Wood Mackenzie. Norsk Hydro ASA is among companies that have called for the EU to settle on measures to compensate for the costs of carbon emission policies before deciding whether to restart or shut high-cost smelters.
Norsk Hydro, Europe's third-biggest aluminum producer, told investors in a report Oct. 27 that it had no plans to restart shuttered capacity for now because of "macroeconomic instability and market uncertainty." Hydro cut smelter output by 26 per cent to 1.25 million metric tons in 2009.
© Copyright (c) Reuters

Accuride Establishes Aluminum Wheel Capacity in Mexico
EON: Enhanced Online News (press release) - 16-Nov-2011
EVANSVILLE, Ind.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Accuride Corporation (NYSE: ACW), a leading supplier of components to the commercial vehicle industry, today announced that it has completed its initial expansion of aluminum wheel production capacity in Mexico during the Expotransporte ANPACT 2011 show at Expo Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico. The company’s expansion, first announced in November 2010, involved the transfer of an existing machining line from its Erie, Pa., plant to its Accuride de Mexico facility in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon to support expanding customer requirements for aluminum wheels in the region.
“This expansion makes our Monterrey facility Accuride’s first plant capable of producing both steel and aluminum wheels. In addition to serving Mexico’s growing aluminum wheel market, the new capacity in Monterrey positions us closer to our customers’ expanding footprint in Mexico and the Southeastern United States.”
 “Accuride’s successful launch of new aluminum capacity at our Monterrey facility demonstrates our commitment to produce products our customers need, where they need them,” said Rick Dauch, President and Chief Executive Officer, Accuride. “This expansion makes our Monterrey facility Accuride’s first plant capable of producing both steel and aluminum wheels. In addition to serving Mexico’s growing aluminum wheel market, the new capacity in Monterrey positions us closer to our customers’ expanding footprint in Mexico and the Southeastern United States.”
Accuride de Mexico’s aluminum wheel capacity expansion began in early 2011 and was completed in June with the successful transfer of an existing machining line from the Accuride Wheels Erie, Pa. facility. The new line, which is now operating at full capacity, establishes Accuride de Mexico as the country’s only single-source supplier of both steel and aluminum wheels for the local medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicle market. The 226,000 square-foot facility is located on approximately 22 acres on the north side of Monterrey. It was built in 1999 and employs approximately 400 people.

Government seeks strategic investor in smelter
New Europe -  16-Nov-2011
Speaking at a business lunch organised by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), Montenegro's Economy Minister Vladimir Kavaric said that the government invites a long-term strategic partner for investment in the aluminium smelter KAP and the Niksic ironworks, Montenegro Times reported.
The minister stressed that the government welcomes all to participate in the investment. On being asked whether the cooperation between the Niksic ironworks of Niksic and German company Scholz had ended, Kavaric said that Scholz has expressed its interest but reaction was not adequate. As a result, the German company decided to buy the Ironworks of Split. He went on to say that Ironworks and Scholz, were normal in their communication in the market and no problems in cooperation or potential termination of agreement is apparent. He added that the Commercial Court was conducting the privatisation and bankruptcy proceedings of the Ironworks, pointing out that the Niksic-based company had seen a considerable progress in the last several months, and it even started exporting to the EU market, as opposed to the previous several decades.
Kavaric expects the Ironworks to have long-term prospects with a good investor. He admitted there are certain constraints as the sale is going on in parallel with the bankruptcy proceedings, but the government expects an investment in the Ironworks to be commercially feasible.

Abrupt Exit for Century Aluminum CEO
Toronto Star - 15-Nov-2011
Century Aluminum's CENX CEO Logan Kruger has terminated his employment and resigned as a director after only six years with the company. The details surrounding his sudden departure are few, but he has filed a lawsuit against Century alleging breach of contract and wrongful termination. CFO Michael Bless will serve as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found. Century has had a turbulent year, with major operational difficulties at the Hawesville smelter, concerns about the Mount Holly smelter's viability in the absence of a new power contract, no progress toward a Ravenswood restart, and a wild ride in the price of aluminum, which has remained near its 52-week low for the past few weeks after falling more than 20% since spring, setting up a dismal earnings outlook for the fourth quarter. While the abrupt exit of a company leader is almost never a positive, we don't think the management shakeup will mark a change in direction for the company, which remains focused on its efforts to advance the Helguvik project in Iceland and return Hawesville to stable operations.

Alcoa Names William F. Oplinger COO, Global Primary Products
Citybizlist (press release) - 15-Nov-2011
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alcoa (NYSE: AA) announced today that William F. (Bill) Oplinger has been named Chief Operating Officer for Global Primary Products (GPP), effective December 1. The position has been vacant since Chris Ayers was named Executive Vice President​? and Global Primary Products President in May 2011. Oplinger has been Chief Financial Officer for GPP since August 2010.
Oplinger will focus on day-to-day operations in Alcoa's Primary businesses, including bauxite mining and refining and smelting operations, allowing Ayers to concentrate on strategic developments involving the business group.
Succeeding Oplinger as Chief Financial Officer for GPP is Roy Harvey, who is currently Director, Investor Relations. Harvey has extensive experience with the Primary business, having served as plant manager at Alcoa's San Ciprián, Spain, smelter and Director of Finance and Business Integration for GPP Europe prior to becoming Director, Investor Relations.
"Bill is a thorough, disciplined manager and talented problem-solver," said Ayers. "He has the drive and business knowledge to get top performance from our Primary operations as we continually assess the best strategic options for these businesses.
"I am also pleased to welcome Roy back to GPP. Roy brings a unique combination of international operating and financial experience to this assignment that will serve him well as CFO of Alcoa's Global Primary Products business."

Rusal Says Up to 15% of Global Aluminum Capacity May Be Shut
BusinessWeek -  15-Nov-2011
Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Aluminum output may drop in the first half of next year as producers increase idled plants to as much as 15 percent of global capacity, said United Co. Rusal, the world’s largest supplier.
China, Europe and the U.S. may shut down plants, Rusal First Deputy Chief Executive Officer Vladislav Soloviev told reporters in Moscow. Unless prices rise from current levels, 10 percent to 15 percent of capacity may be shut, Soloviev said after Rusal reported earnings.
A 22 percent slump in prices from their 2011 peak of $2,797 a metric ton means 30 percent of producers aren’t profitable, Rusal said yesterday. When demand and prices weakened in 2009, smelters curbed supply by about 5 percent in the first half of the year, according to the International Aluminium Institute. Futures rallied 37 percent the following six months.
Rusal’s production costs are in line with the industry average and the company is unlikely to reduce its own output, Kirill Chuyko, a UBS AG analyst in Moscow, said by phone. The Hong Kong-listed producer may benefit from a potential price rebound as the additional capacity shuts, he said.
Rusal has declined 42 percent in Hong Kong trading since its January 2010 initial public offering in the city. Even so, the so-called cornerstone investors in the IPO remain shareholders, Soloviev said yesterday. Russian state-lender Vnesheconombank, New York hedge-fund manager Paulson & Co., Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing, Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok and Nathaniel Rothschild were among those to buy stock.
“We always considered and continue to consider the stake in Rusal as a strategic investment,” VEB’s press-office said in an e-mailed statement last week, when asked whether the bank has any plans to sell its holding.
Rusal advanced 3.5 percent to HK$6.26 in Hong Kong yesterday, the biggest gain since Oct. 27, after reporting that third-quarter profit jumped almost 15-fold to $432 million.

Rusal Growth in China 'Guaranteed,' Soloviev Tells La Tribune
Bloomberg - 14-Nov-2011
United Co. Rusal’s growth in China is “guaranteed at two digits” because of the Asian country’s dense urban centers, so the Chinese market is a priority despite predictions of slower growth, La Tribune reported today, citing an interview with Vladislav Soloviev, Rusal’s first deputy chief executive officer.
Rusal’s partnership with Chinese aluminum producer Norinco will help the Russian company to grow in China, Soloviev said, according to the French newspaper.
To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith in Paris at hsmith26@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

China will dominate aluminium for next decade, says Macquarie's Lennon
Metalbulletin.com (subscription) - November 14, 2011
Chinese domination of the aluminium market is to continue on both the supply and demand side for another ten years, Macquarie director of commodities research Jim Lennon said at the Arabal Aluminium Conference in Oman. While costs are rising in China, newer capacity is emerging at the lower end of the cost curve, Lennon said. “The implications for aluminium prices remain unclear, since there is enough new capacity to force closures of 5-10 million tpy of existing high-cost capacity,” he said. “So long as demand continues to...

Aluminum price "more or less" at bottom: Rusal
MarketWatch - 14-Nov-2011
MOSCOW -(MarketWatch)- The aluminum price has reached its bottom point "more or less," Russian aluminum giant United Co. Rusal first deputy chief executive Vladislav Solovyov said Monday.
The prices for base metals have dropped in the last couple of months as fears mounted over the deteriorating global economic situation.
The aluminum price is expected to grow by at least $300 from the current level in 2012, Rusal head of equity and corporate development Oleg Mukhamedshin said at a press conference with Rusal's top managers.
At 1050 GMT, LME three-month aluminium was up 0.9% on the day at $2,181.25 a ton. It was down 1.7% on the start of November. Aluminum hit a 13-month low of $2,077.75/ton on Oct.20.
Rusal sees the aluminum price, as well as the metal's physical volumes and premiums at which it is traded, as flat until the end of 2011, Solovyov said.
The company said in a press release it sees the 2011 global aluminum demand growing by 13% to 46 million tons, while it sees the underlying demand growth in China at 15% this year.
Mukhamedshin said he sees 2012 aluminum demand in China up 10%-12%.
The car sector remains a key driver for aluminum demand, Rusal said in the press release. The demand from other consumption segments including aviation and packaging "remains firm," but the construction sector remains weak, the company said.
Solovyov said he saw the global economy "slowly returning" to 2008 levels.

Rusal Profit Jumps to $432 Million
Wall Street Journal - 14-Nov-2011
HONG KONG—Russian aluminum giant United Co. Rusal PLC said Monday its third-quarter net profit soared due to higher product prices, the appreciation of the ruble and lower operating and finance costs.
Rusal, which listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange in January last year, said its net profit for the three months ended Sept. 30 totaled US$432 million, based on international accounting standards, up from $29 million a year earlier, despite weak economic conditions that reduced aluminum demand. The result was higher than the average $386.6 million forecast of five analysts in a Dow Jones Newswires survey. The increase was partly due to lower finance expenses, which fell by 54% to $319 million in the third quarter from $699 million.
The net profit included a $178 million contribution from 25%-owned Norilsk Nickel Mining & Metallurgical Co., down from $270 million a year earlier. Third-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, excluding income from Norilsk, rose 25% to $705 million from $564 million a year earlier.
Finance income increased by $100 million to $104 million in the third quarter, compared with $4 million a year earlier, mainly due to a foreign-exchange gain as the Russian ruble appreciated against the U.S. dollar.
Chief Executive Oleg Deripaska said in a statement aluminium prices have reached the break-even point and that he expects demand for aluminum to remain strong despite challenging economic conditions.
Deputy Chief Executive Oleg Mukhamedshin said he expects global aluminum prices to recover in the fourth quarter because of demand for the metal in Asia and tight physical supply, given nearly a third of the world's production is currently unprofitable. He declined to give a forecast for aluminum prices.
Mr. Mukhamedshin said Rusal, which battled a crippling debt load during the financial crisis, in October refinanced $11.4 billion of debt and that the company could technically start paying dividends to shareholders, but it has no current plan to do so.
Rusal was barred by its creditors from paying dividends under its debt restructuring agreement.
"The priority of the company is continuing to reduce its debts," said Mr. Mukhamedshin, adding that the board hasn't discussed any changes to its dividend policy yet.
Rusal's third-quarter revenue rose 17% to $3.16 billion from $2.71 billion a year earlier, reflecting higher sales prices, in line with the survey's forecast of $3.10 billion.
Rusal's total aluminum output in the third quarter rose 0.3% to 1.041 million metric tons from 1.038 million tons a year earlier, while alumina output was flat at 2.05 million.

Alcoa Profit Trails Estimates as Europe Trims Aluminum Orders
BusinessWeek - 12-Oct-2011
Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Alcoa Inc., the first company in the Dow Jones Industrial Average to report earnings this quarter, posted profit that trailed analysts’ estimates, saying European customers “dramatically” cut orders on economic uncertainty.
The largest U.S. aluminum producer’s third-quarter earnings, excluding restructuring costs and tax benefits, were about 14 cents a share. The average of 15 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg was for 22 cents. Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld said yesterday European aluminum demand will decline 13 percent in the second half from the first.
Alcoa is grappling with rising production costs while the price of aluminum on the London Metal Exchange has fallen in the past two months. The company cut thousands of jobs and closed smelters after commodities plunged during the financial crisis in 2008. The New York-based company yesterday declined to forecast its fourth-quarter alumina and primary aluminum output.
“They are going through and trying to decide: Do they need to cut production somewhere and if so, when?” Lloyd O’Carroll, a Richmond, Virginia-based analyst at Davenport & Co., said in an interview. “If the LME pulls back enough, they will. I don’t know what their magic trigger number is, but I think there is one.” O’Carroll has a “buy” recommendation on Alcoa.
Net income rose to $172 million, or 15 cents a share, from $61 million, or 6 cents, a year earlier, Alcoa said. Sales increased 21 percent to $6.4 billion, beating the $6.23 average of nine analyst estimates.
Shares Drop
Alcoa dropped 2.4 percent to $10.05 in New York. The company fell 35 percent this year before today, the third-worst performer on the Dow after Bank of America Corp. and Hewlett- Packard Co.
“Fearful of a slowing economy, our European customers reduced their orders dramatically, even into September,” Chief Financial Officer Charles McLane said on an earnings conference call. That drove “a significant reduction” in profitability at the flat- and rolled-aluminum division, he said.
The three biggest euro-region economies will shrink 0.4 percent this quarter, the OECD said Sept. 8. European Union and International Monetary Fund officials are negotiating a 110 billion-euro ($151 billion) bailout. Alcoa received at least 24 percent of its 2010 revenue from European countries, according to company filings.
Rising Costs
The cost of goods sold -- excluding selling, general administrative and some other expenses -- increased 20 percent to $6.42 billion in the quarter, Alcoa said.
Primary aluminum production rose 8.2 percent to 964,000 metric tons while output of alumina, the raw material used to make the metal, gained 2.3 percent to 4.14 million tons. McLane said Alcoa is still evaluating fourth-quarter aluminum and alumina output ‘based on market conditions.’’
Aluminum for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.8 percent to $2,248 a ton as of 6:59 p.m. local time. It has declined 9 percent this year.
Improved productivity boosted earnings by $60 million from the second quarter, even as lower metal prices and currency moves reduced income by a combined $116 million. Cost increases in materials, energy and repairs cut earnings by $103 million. Income after one-time items fell to $165 million in the third quarter from $364 million in the second.
Growth Forecast
Alcoa yesterday maintained its 2012 global demand growth forecast of 12 percent and said the pace of expansion will slow in the second half. The company also reiterated its forecast that demand will double by 2020.
“The slowing markets have not changed the underlying fundamentals,” Kleinfeld said on the call. “The fundamentals are the mega-trends, the mega-trends of growing population as well as urbanization.”
China, the world’s largest user of aluminum, will see demand rise 17 percent this year, Alcoa forecast yesterday, compared with a previous projection of 15 percent.
Alcoa is a fully integrated aluminum producer. It mines bauxite, an ore that contains aluminum, and refines it into alumina, the raw material used by aluminum smelters. As well as selling aluminum to industrial users, Alcoa makes products such as can sheet and components for cars and aircraft.
Alumina Dividends
Alumina Ltd., Alcoa’s Melbourne-based partner in the world’s biggest producer of alumina, said yesterday it received $65 million in dividends from Alcoa World Alumina & Chemical. It fell 2.5 percent in Sydney.
Alcoa’s smelters will likely post a loss in the fourth quarter should spot aluminum prices average 99 cents a pound ($2,183 a ton) in the period, Brian Yu, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. in San Francisco, wrote in an Oct. 9 note.
Earnings were 66 cents in the second quarter of 2008, before the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and the financial crisis sent commodity prices tumbling. They haven’t exceeded 32 cents since. The company posted three consecutive quarters of losses through June 2009. It has cut 20,080 jobs since June 2008, according to Bloomberg data.
In 2010, Alcoa permanently shut 295,000 tons of capacity at smelters in Maryland, North Carolina and Indiana.

 

Norsk Hydro puts off restart of idled Sunndal capacity
SteelGuru - 12-Nov-2011
Reuters reported that Norwegian aluminum producer Norsk Hydro would not restart currently idled capacity at its Sunndal primary aluminum smelter in Norway until market conditions pick up.
As per report, the company's Sunndal 3 production line was idled in early 2009 in response to weak demand.
A spokesman said that we announced in April the restart of the first 15,000 tonne per year of the curtailed 100,000 line at Sunndal of Norway. The ambition was to restart the full line by the end of 2011, on condition of satisfactory market conditions.
He said that based on the current situation and market visibility we have not taken the decision to continue the restart of the remaining 85,000 tonne per year capacity. We will review this when market conditions improve.

Hindalco to seek coal linkage for Mahan project
Hindu Business Line - 11-Nov-2011
Mumbai, Nov. 11: 
Hindalco Industries will apply for a ‘coal tapering linkage licence' to feed its 359,000-tonne greenfield aluminium smelter project at Mahan, Madhya Pradesh.
The smelter plant has a 750 MW captive power plant catering to its requirement.
A tapering licence from the Government assures coal supply from other sources till such time the allotted coal block becomes operational. The quantity of supply starts tapering to extent of the mine output.
The Government had allotted the Mahan coal block at Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh to Essar Power and Hindalco for their 1,200-MW and 750-MW projects.
Eco clearance
Mr D. Bhattacharya, Managing Director, Hindalco, said the Government earlier threatened to cancel the coal block allotment if work was not expedited. Now, the project is nearing commissioning, while the environment clearance for the mine has not been given.
The coal mine was allocated in 2006, for which environment clearance was given in December 2008. Development work was halted after the area was declared a no-go zone in January 2010. The Forest Advisory Committee considered the proposal four times between July 2008 and December 2009, but it could not arrive at a final decision “given the complexity of the issues involved.”
“We will apply for tapering licence to ensure adequate supply at least for the first phase of 200,000 tonnes, which will go on stream by early next year,” he said.
Short supply
Many power projects with assured coal linkage through the country's largest producer Coal India are suffering from short supply. This has led to large-scale coal imports at a much higher price. The rupee depreciation against dollar has further added to their woes.
Essar has an offtake agreement for 60 per cent or 5.4 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of coal from the Mahan block to feed its power plant. Hindalco was to get the remaining 3.6 mtpa. The mine has proven reserves of 150 million tonnes of coal.
Raising concern over the spurt in coal prices, Mr Bhattacharya said despite crude prices falling globally, coal in India continues to move up defying all logic. Aluminium production is more dependent on power and alumina, which together account for about 70 per cent of cost.
Hindalco plans to invest Rs 10,500 crore in the Mahan smelter project. It has tied up Rs 7,800-crore debt and drawn Rs 4,400 crore as of the September quarter. The company has a debt of Rs 12,400 crore.

Hindalco net up despite cost pressures
The Hindu - 11-Nov-2011
Despite facing severe cost escalations and restricted raw material availability, Hindalco on Thursday reported a 16 per cent increase in its net profit for the second quarter of 2011-12 ended September 30, 2011, at Rs.503 crore against Rs.434 crore in the year-ago period. Net sales grew by 7 per cent to Rs.6,272 crore from Rs.5,860 crore driven by higher volume and improved realisation despite lower sale of value-added products.
The operating profit grew 8 per cent to Rs.845 crore from Rs.780 crore with higher volume and realisation in aluminium business and better refining margins and by-product realisation in the copper business. The performance was impacted severely by cost escalations and constrained bauxite and coal availability, Hindalco Managing Director D. Bhattacharya said.
Aluminium revenues grew 16 per cent at Rs.2,213 crore (Rs.1,911 crore) as a result of higher volumes and better LME aluminium prices. Alumina production dipped 4 per cent due to constrained bauxite supply. Metal volume was up 16 per cent. In the copper business, revenues were Rs.4,062 crore (Rs.3,951 crore) on higher LME and by-product credits. Copper volumes fell on account of shutdown of a smelter up to mid-July.
In terms of brownfield project status, the Hirakud smelter expansion from 1.61 lakh tonnes to 2.13 lakh tonnes will be completed by early 2012 and the company is evaluating further expansion to 3.60 lakh tonnes. It is also evaluating expansion of Belgaum's special alumina capacity from 1.89 lakh tonnes to 3.10 lakh tonnes.
The company has cautioned that the second-half will be difficult due to global uncertainties, falling LME prices and persisting cost pressures.

NPCIL, NALCO form JV to set up nuclear power plant
Construction Week Online India - 
10-Nov-2011
Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) have entered into a joint venture agreement for setting up nuclear power plants across the country.
 The agreement was signed by Dr. SK Jain, Chairman and Managing Director, NPCIL and BL Bagra, Chairman cum Managing Director, NALCO, at Mumbai.
NALCO is a PSU under the administrative control of Ministry of Mines. It has over 25 years of experience in mining, alumina refining, power generation and aluminium smelting.
NPCIL, a wholly-owned enterprise under the Department of Atomic Energy, involves in setting up nuclear power plants in India. Presently, NPCIL operates 20 nuclear reactors with a total installed capacity of 4780 MW. It has six reactors with 4800 MW capacity under construction.

Argentine Aluar says to miss 2011 output target
Reuters Africa - 09-Nov-2011
BUENOS AIRES, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Argentina's biggest aluminum producer, Aluar (ALU.BA: Quote), will not meet its expected output of 475,000 tonnes this year as recent heavy rains flooded its smelter, the company's chief executive said on Wednesday.
Aluar's primary aluminum production plant in the southern city of Puerto Madryn, will be fully operational in 90 days, Chief Executive Javier Madanes told Reuters.
"We're no longer on track to produce 475,000 tonnes (this year). This will, without a doubt result in a loss of production," Madanes said.
Electrical cabinets that flooded after torrential rains on Sunday night affected power reception and generation at the smelter.
"I'm upset about this but it's not catastrophic ... it's nature, no one was harmed and it will be solved in the short term," he said, adding that Aluar aims to have the plant normalized in 90 days.
Madanes said the flooding might have a minor impact on the company's results this year.
"With this situation that we're going through, we're going to have to do our math," Madanes said, adding the aluminum sector is having a rougher time in 2011 than last year due to the worsening global economy.
"We're resisting several onslaughts: a European economy in crisis, a cooler economy in the United States. Fortunately Asia and emerging markets maintain a positive activity level, but the world economic outlook is troubling.
"Prices are poor right now," he said. "They dropped to $2,100 from $2,600 in just four months."
The company, which exports about 75 percent of its total output, will continue with plans to invest in Brazil, Madanes said.
Aluar, 77-percent controlled by the Madanes family, is one of several companies in which the state pension administrator, Anses, has a stake after the government took over the private pension system in 2008.
The government holds a 10 percent stake in the company.

Aluminium Bahrain Racketeering Case Against Alcoa Reopened
BusinessWeek - 08-Nov-2011
Alcoa Inc. on Tuesday received another opportunity to defend itself against a Bahraini aluminum company's charges that Alcoa bribed government officials and company executives to win supply contracts from 1993 to 2007.
U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose in Pittsburgh agreed with Alcoa's request to reopen Aluminum Bahrain BSC's 2008 lawsuit. The Bahraini company alleges that Alcoa, a company executive and one of its agents orchestrated an international bribery scheme that defrauded the Bahraini aluminum company out of millions of dollars.
"After 3 1/2 years, we'll finally have our day in court. We look forward to filing our motion to dismiss" the lawsuit, said Lori Lecker, a spokeswoman for Alcoa.
Ambrose ordered Aluminum Bahrain to file a revised complaint against Alcoa within 20 days.
An attorney for Aluminum Bahrain -- a government-controlled company also known as Alba -- told the judge in a Nov. 3 hearing that its revised complaint would outline illegal activities that allegedly occurred at Alcoa's Corporate Center on Pittsburgh's North Shore.
The bribery complaint targets Alcoa, its Alcoa World Alumina LLC subsidiary, and co-defendants, William Rice of Knoxville, Tenn., who was vice president of mining for Alcoa World Alumina, and Victor Dahdaleh, a Canadian citizen who was Alcoa's agent with Aluminum Bahrain.
Those involved in the lawsuit must sign a confidentiality agreement with Alba to keep from the public certain information that Alba must file to support its claim of illegal activities. That statement must show a pattern of racketeering activity under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and be filed 30 days after Alba submits its revised complaint.
Alcoa argued at last week's hearing that the case should be reopened so that it could defend itself against the bribery allegations and seek to have them dismissed.
The Department of Justice, however, wanted to keep the case closed for six more months to continue its global investigation into whether Alcoa's alleged actions violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits the bribing of foreign officials and companies. Justice Department attorney Adam Sofwat said prosecutors would be able to decide in six months whether it has the evidence to indict Alcoa and its co-defendants.
The judge halted proceedings on the lawsuit in March 2008, about a month after it was filed, at the Justice Department's request. Prosecutors wanted to proceed with a criminal investigation without interference from attorneys questioning witnesses for a civil lawsuit.
Alcoa filed its request to reopen the case on Oct. 25, the day after Britain's Serious Fraud Office charged Dahdaleh with bribing Alba executives to overpay Alcoa for supplying Alba with alumina to make aluminum at its smeltering operations.
Alcoa, Rice and Dahdaleh also are accused of using the bribes to influence senior Bahraini government officials to sell to Alcoa 26 percent of the government's shares in Alba. Rice allegedly traveled to Bahrain in 2005 to facilitate the scheme, according to the 2008 lawsuit.

Aluminum Slump Means 25% of Smelters Losing Money: Commodities
BusinessWeek - 09-Nov-2011
Nov. 9 (Bloomberg) -- The biggest decline in aluminum prices since the global recession means at least 25 percent of the world’s smelters may be unprofitable.
The metal fell 22 percent to $2,151 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange since May 1 and energy costs gained 16 percent in the past month. Twenty-five percent of production loses money below $2,350 and 50 percent under $2,000, according to estimates by Bloomberg Industries. About 10 percent of output may be shut by the first quarter, said Jochen Hitzfeld, the analyst at UniCredit SpA in Munich ranked by Bloomberg as the most-accurate price forecaster over two years.
Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. producer, said last week that a “significant” part of global capacity is marginal. Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. said in October that prices are close to output costs. When demand and prices weakened in 2009, smelters curbed supply by about 5 percent in the first half of the year, according to the International Aluminium Institute. Futures rallied 37 percent in the following six months.
“In the current environment, where in excess of 20 percent of the industry is losing money, it seems likely that cutbacks will be needed,” said Nick Moore, the head of commodity research at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in London. “The dividend from those cuts will be rising prices.”
Price Forecasts
Aluminum fell 13 percent this year, less than any of the five other members of the LME Index of industrial metals, which dropped 19 percent. Prices will trade at $2,000 to $2,350 in the next six months, according to the median estimate of 17 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The MSCI All-Country World Index of equities slid 6.9 percent this year and Treasuries returned 8.9 percent, a Bank of America Corp. index shows.
The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities fell 12 percent since the end of April on mounting concern that slowing economic growth will curb demand for raw materials. Aluminum consumption will expand 7.7 percent this year, compared with 19 percent in 2010, Barclays Capital predicts. The London-based IAI estimates global production reached a record daily rate in September and Morgan Stanley anticipates a 690,000-ton surplus this year, enough for more than 10,000 Boeing 747-400s.
Producers are also contending with rising energy prices, which account for 30 percent to 40 percent of smelting costs, according to Brook Hunt, a London-based research unit of Wood Mackenzie. Crude oil traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange rallied 25 percent since the start of October as aluminum dropped about 2 percent on the LME.
The Bloomberg Industries estimate of profitability includes alumina, power, transportation and labor and excludes depreciation and amortization.
Eight Analysts
“With LME pricing in the $2,200 range, we believe a significant amount of the industry’s global capacity is marginal,” Michael Belwood, a spokesman for Alcoa in New York, wrote in an e-mailed response to questions. The company will report a 57 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit to $110.3 million, according to the mean of eight analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Premiums paid by consumers for immediate supply in the U.S. Midwest rose 36 percent this year, a sign less metal was available, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Industries. While inventories in warehouses monitored by the LME reached a record 4.71 million tons in May, as much as 80 percent is tied into financing deals, according to Credit Agricole SA.
The transactions typically involve a simultaneous purchase of metal for nearby delivery and a forward sale to take advantage of a market in contango, when contracts with later delivery months cost more than nearer-dated metal.
‘Tight Range’
“Looking at aluminum, you realize that there is so much on stock, but there is so little available,” said Christoph Eibl, who helps manage $2.5 billion of assets at Tiberius Group in Zug, Switzerland. “It’s an engineered market, and that’s why the market is trading in such a tight range.”
Premiums also advanced because the rate of deliveries from the biggest warehouses was so slow that customers were waiting as long as seven months to withdraw metal from LME-approved warehouses in Detroit in July. The LME plans to increase the minimum rate at which metal must be delivered in April after some clients said the backlogs were distorting prices.
The smelter cuts during the recession may not be repeated now because prices haven’t fallen by the same amount globally and premiums are boosting revenue for smelters, said Nicholas Snowdon, a commodities analyst at Barclays Capital in New York.
Aluminum averaged $2,482 in London this year, compared with $1,705 in 2009. Prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange did even better, averaging 16,989 yuan ($2,677) a ton. Stockpiles monitored by the bourse in China, a nation which accounts for about 40 percent of global output, fell 72 percent this year.
Aluminum Consumption
The world economy will expand 4 percent this year and next, compared with a 0.7 percent contraction in 2009, according to the International Monetary Fund. China, accounting for two in every five tons of global aluminum consumption, will grow 9 percent next year, the Washington-based group estimates.
That would still be slower than the 10.3 percent expansion China saw in 2010, when aluminum advanced 11 percent. Shares of Beijing-based Aluminum Corp. of China, the country’s biggest producer, fell 38 percent in Hong Kong trading this year. Aluminum prices are close to production costs, President Luo Jianchuan said in a statement Oct. 24.
Smelters in China and Europe may be the first to cut back, RBS’s Moore said. Western European producers reduced output by 22 percent from December 2008 to June 2009, while China’s supply dropped 25 percent from August 2008 to January 2009, according to the IAI.
Norsk Hydro
Norsk Hydro ASA, Europe’s third-biggest aluminum producer, told investors in a report Oct. 27 that it had no plans to restart shuttered capacity for now because of “macroeconomic instability and market uncertainty.” Hydro, based in Oslo, cut smelter output by 26 percent to 1.25 million tons in 2009. Shares of the company fell 30 percent this year.
“There are signs that we are seeing a more disciplined approach from producers in balancing supply and demand,” said Peter Richardson, the chief metals economist at Morgan Stanley in Melbourne. “A price rebound has to be driven by a relatively disciplined supply position, but, more importantly, a strong recovery in demand.”
--With assistance from Firat Kayakiran in London and Andrew Cosgrove in Princeton, New Jersey. Editors: Claudia Carpenter, Nicholas Larkin
To contact the reporters on this story: Maria Kolesnikova in London at mkolesnikova@bloomberg.net; Sungwoo Park in Seoul at spark47@bloomberg.net; Jesse Riseborough in London at jriseborough@bloomberg.net.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

Australia aluminum sector to contract over carbon plan
Reuters - Nov 8, 2011
Australia's new carbon pricing plan will cause a contraction in the country's energy-intensive aluminum industry, already under pressure from cheaper Chinese output, the Australian Aluminium Council said on Tuesday.
"This puts us at more of a disadvantage than we were at without the scheme," the council's executive director, Miles Prosser, told Reuters.
"It is now difficult to envisage major expansion in Australia and this will certainly put a number of operations in Australia under severe pressure," Prosser said.
Australia's parliament on Tuesday said it will impose a A$23 per tonne tax on carbon emissions for 500 of the biggest polluters across mining, energy, heavy manufacturing and transportation from mid-2012.
Electricity comprises 30 percent of aluminum smelting costs. Predominantly powered by brown and black coal, Australia has some of the world's highest emissions-generating electricity.
Producers, which include Alcoa and Rio Tinto, argued against implementing a scheme at this time, saying the cost hikes would leave them struggling to compete internationally.
From a strictly environmental standpoint, some argue this is desirable on balance, because their output is likely to be replaced by facilities overseas with substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions intensity.
The world's biggest aluminum producer, Rio, last month formed a separate division to hold six Australian and New Zealand units being put up for sale, including Australia's Gove bauxite mine and alumina refinery and Tomago smelter and its New Zealand smelters.
The legislation imposes a carbon cost on Australian aluminum producers of at least $60 per tonne of aluminum compared to only $8 per tonne in China, according to Prosser.
Australia's carbon cost will rise every year of the scheme and over the next decade to more than $200 per tonne of aluminum while in China it is not expected to get any higher than $60, he said.
Aluminum is not in short supply. Power prices are high and, economically, aluminum is more like condensed electricity than refined bauxite.
Longer term, the metal's profit potential is limited by the ability of China, the biggest consumer and producer of aluminum, to use its abundant cheap energy to pursue self-sufficiency.
Aluminum prices have tumbled nearly 20 percent in the past three months. UBS rates aluminum as a "least preferred" commodity and sees prices falling another 8 percent in 2012.
The Australian scheme sets a fixed carbon tax of A$23 tonne on the top 500 polluters from July 2012, then moves to an emissions trading scheme from July 2015. Companies involved will need a permit for every tonne of carbon they emit.
Prosser said that based on the current European trading price, Australian industry would be better off with a floating price from the start. The contract last closed at 9.95 euros, equal to about A$13.
"If we were exposed to a market price today, then we'd be likely paying a lower price," he said.

Alcoa to beef up three Quebec plants
Globe and Mail - 07-Nov-2011
Quebec’s status as low-cost, global centre of primary aluminum production just got another boost with Alcoa Inc.'s (AA-N10.75-0.18-1.65%) confirmation of plans for a $2.1-billion (U.S.) expansion and modernization program at three major facilities in the province.
Pittsburgh-based Alcoa, the largest producer of aluminum in North America, said Monday it plans to proceed with a five-year project to expand production, cut costs, modernize operations and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at its smelters in Baie-Comeau, Deschambault and Bécancour.
The decision comes after Alcoa was able to secure a 25-year commitment from the Quebec government for preferential electricity rates from Hydro-Québec.
Last week, Aluminerie Alouette – a consortium led by Rio Tinto Alcan – and Quebec Premier Jean Charest reached an agreement for low-cost electricity that clears the way for a proposed $2-billion (Canadian) modernization and expansion of a massive plant on the Lower North Shore of the St-Lawrence River.
Alcoa’s investment is a vote of confidence in the province of Quebec as a source of low-cost electricity, massive amounts of which are needed to transform the raw material bauxite into aluminum.
The timing is right because the aluminum market is still weak and Alcoa will be well-positioned with higher capacity just as prices are expected to firm up over the next few years, one veteran industry analyst said.
“This demonstrates that even cyclical companies can improve their cost positions. It’s the kind of thing a cyclical company should be doing when it can,” said Charles Bradford of Affiliated Research Group LLC in New York.
Alcoa says the project will allow it to reduce costs at the three Quebec smelters by 13 percentage points. Production capacity will be increased by 120,000 tonnes per year. Total yearly production at the three smelters as well as at the Bécancour rod plant currently stands at about 1 million tonnes.
Quebec has agreed to provide Alcoa with a bloc of 325 megawatts of electricity at an undisclosed preferential tariff.
As part of the modernization of Baie-Comeau, the older smelting pots that use Soderberg technology will be replaced with an all-new electrolysis pot line, resulting in a 40-per-cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the company said in a news release.
Other improvements include an increase in the amperage at Deschambault, allowing for expansion of annual output.
“The government of Quebec has clearly envisioned the mutual benefits stemming from this new investment plan, and that’s what enables us to look to the future with confidence,” Pierre Morin, president of Alcoa Canada Global Primary Products, said in a statement.

Orbite Aluminae awards feasibility study
Montreal Gazette - 07-Nov-2011
MONTREAL - Montreal-based Orbite Aluminae Inc., developer of the Grande Vallée aluminous clay mining project in Quebec’s Gaspé region, has awarded the full feasibility study for the companion alumina processing plant to a consortium of Montreal engineers Genivar Inc. and Johnston-Vermette after an international competitive tender.
The aluminous clay has already been converted into alumina, the intermediate material for smelting primary aluminum, at Orbite’s Cap Chat pilot plant, using the company’s patented process technology. The full feasibility study covers future commercial production of metallurgical-grade alumina and is due for completion in the first half of 2012.
It will review everything from process validation to capital and operating costs, detailed plant engineering, marketing, environmental and health and safety issues.
“We’re taking another big step towards commercializing our unique extraction and processing technology to produce top-grade metallurgical alumina for the aluminum industry,” CEO Richard Boudreault said.
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Russia RUSAL registers metal with Shanghai exchange
Reuters Africa - 07-Nov-2011
MOSCOW Nov 7 (Reuters) - Russia's UC RUSAL , the world's biggest aluminium producer, said it had registered two brands of its metal with the Shanghai Futures Exchange to increase sales in China, the world's largest consumer of the metal.
"Growing urbanisation and industrial development will continue to drive China's dominant role in global aluminium consumption and RUSAL... is ready to meet this demand," Vladislav Solovyov, RUSAL's first deputy CEO, said in a statement on Monday.
RUSAL is the second foreign aluminium producer to register with the exchange after U.S. aluminium major Alcoa . China consumes about 40 percent of the world's aluminium output.

Venezuela's CVG-Alcasa signs $403 mil modernization deal with Chalieco
Platts -  04-Nov-2011
Caracas (Platts)CVG-Alcasa and China's Chalieco have signed a $403 million contract to improve the performance of the Venezuelan company's primary aluminum smelters, Alcasa press sources in Puerto Ordaz said Friday.
"We don't know what the precise terms of the contract are quite yet, but in general it is for technological improvements and updates," an Alcasa spokeswoman said. The deal was signed by Alacasa's Elio Sayago and Chalieco's Niu Heng. Chalieco is a unit of the Aluminum Corp. of China.
The agreement follows months of negotiations between the parties in which the Chinese were said to be unhappy with the financial terms offered by the Chavez government. Chalieco was said to have been seeking at least $800 million to undertake modernization projects at Alcasa's foundry, reduction and lamination units, in addition to building a 40,000 mt/year aluminum extrusion facility.
But Alcasa official held firm on the $403 million amount, claiming that it could not ask for more money from the government. Although sources had speculated that Alcasa might seek to strike a deal with another company, it apparently never seriously considered such an option given that Venezuela has already established strong economic ties with China's government through a $20 billion loan. The $403 million for the Alcasa deal will be drawn from that loan.
Cash-strapped and raw materials-poor Alcasa has struggled lately to maintain primary aluminum output at even near-normal levels. Production at the 170,000 mt/year unit fell to 95,000 mt last year, causing concerns within the company and the government.
The unit is part of state-owned CVG's 600,000 mt/year primary aluminum complex in Puerto Ordaz. --George Soules, newsdesk@platts.com

Furukawa-Sky To Produce Aluminum Sheet In Thailand
NIKKEI.com -  04-Nov-2011
YO (Nikkei)--Furukawa-Sky Aluminum Corp. (5741) said Friday that it will spend about 40 billion yen to build a Thai factory for aluminum sheet used in beverage cans and automotive heat exchangers.
The move comes in response to the growing demand for locally sourced materials as car industry customers boost overseas production.
 Construction of the Rayong Province factory is expected to start in March 2012, with production to begin in January 2014 at an initial annual capacity of 60,000 tons. The company will transfer two cold-strip rolling machines there from a Tochigi Prefecture plant. And a third one, along with equipment for melting, forging and hot rolling, will be installed later to give the site start-to-finish production capability. This will also raise capacity to 100,000 tons in fall 2014, or roughly 22% of the firm's domestic capacity.
Furukawa-Sky has been exporting aluminum sheet from Japan but will switch to local production.
The product will be shipped not only within Thailand but to other parts of Southeast Asia, China and India. Furukawa-Sky will target 40 billion yen in annual sales in four or five years.
The Thai auto industry has been shaken by flooding, but Furukawa-Sky President Masateru Yoshihara says the impact will be offset by tapping demand across Southeast Asia.
He says the new factory will be safe from floods because it will be located 104 meters above sea level.

The Future is Here. Aluminium India 2011, Exhibition and Conference Opens Next ...
PR.com (press release) - 04-Nov-2011
Mumbai, India, November 04, 2011 --(PR.com)-- Over 120 exhibitors from all over the world will be on hand for ALUMINIUM India 2011, Exhibition and Conference, next week at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, Goregaon Mumbai. The show which brings together producers, processors, technology suppliers and consumers along the entire value chain - i.e. from raw materials through to semi-finished and finished products opens on 10 November 2011 and will continue through 12 November 2011.
Indian and global companies who have already confirmed their stands include Aluminium Valley, Associated Industrial Furnaces, Atherm, Castools, Dynamic Concept, ECL, Eural Gnutti SPA, Five Solios, FL Smidth, Granco Clark, Indo Foil, Innovatherm, Jiwanram Sheoduttrai, Manaksia, Mongia Tool Tech, Pyrotek, Rath, Selema, Shanghai Tianzhong Heavy Duty Machinery, Siddharth Industries, SMS Meer, Wagstaff, Wesman, Tomorrow Technology and ZPF Therm.
The accompanying conference, themed "Explore New Markets, Develop New Capabilities, Grow your Business," features a three day programme that will bring together leading global experts from industry, commerce and the political and institutional worlds. Mr. B L Bagra, chairman & managing director, National Aluminium Company, and Mr. P. Patnaik, chairman & managing director, Industrial Development Corporation of Orissa, will deliver the special address and the key note address, respectively, during the inaugural session.
Other speakers include Keyur Shah, partner - financial services, KPMG India; Shripad Ranade, principal, Tata Strategic Management; D C Galada, chairman & managing director, Galada Power & Telecommunication; Shanker Gopalakrishnan, president, Madras Consulting Group; Henrik Hammarnas, Sapa Profiles; R Ramaseshan, managing director & CEO, National Commodity Exchange; Chris Emes, managing director, Mechatherm International, UK; Anjani Sinha, managing director & CEO, National Spot Exchange, among other leading domain experts.
Topics will range from a discussion of the Indian economic outlook in the coming years to implementing MIS and project control systems in Greenfield smelters and downstream developments and investment opportunities in the Indian aluminum industry among others of particular relevance to the Indian companies with an interest in the aluminium sector.
Delphine Lemaire, managing director, Reed Exhibitions India wants to make it ALUMINIUM India’s mission to highlight India’s critical role in the global aluminium industry, by focusing on emerging opportunities in high growth manufacturing sectors in the South Asian region. “We’re very excited by the exhibitor turnout this year. We’ve grown fifteen percent over last year and believe this is a reflection of aluminium’s rightful place in the Indian economy. Aluminium is a metal whose time has come and ALUMINIUM India has found its niche as a trade show and conference that offers the entire value chain an opportunity to congregate, share ideas, discuss innovation and do business under one roof.

MHM Metals lands first U.S. contract for aluminium waste recycling technology
Proactive Investors Australia -  04-Nov-2011
MHM Metals (ASX: MHM) has reached a milestone in the development of its aluminium waste recycling technology by securing a contract for the supply of feedstock to its first U.S. salt slag and black dross processing facility.
The company's first overseas contract is for five years and has been structured as a tolling arrangement, where a fixed price per tonne is charged to the customer with MHM returning aluminium and flux to the customer while retaining ownership of recovered aluminium oxide.
The company said details of the contract must remain confidential and MHM must refrain from revealing the counterparty or contract terms due to the dynamics of the US aluminium industry.
Also, MHM cannot reveal tonnages to be processed but the completion of this contract provides sufficient volume for the company to commence with U.S. plant construction.
The company expects throughput of the first U.S. plant to remain 200,000-250,000 tonnes per annum.
The supply contract is subject to a satisfactory visit by the U.S. aluminium company to MHM’s Australian operations in the near future.
MHM stated the contract also contains "clauses that permit the contract counterparty to cancel the contract should information as to its identity become public prior to commencement of MHM’s US operations."
The company is continuing to engage with a number of other companies with substantial salt slag and black dross volumes and aims to secure additional processing contracts in the near future.
Black dross is a by-product from reverberatory furnace operations and has a similar composition to salt slag, though often with a higher aluminium content.
Black dross would be recycled in the same way as salt slag, using the same plant and equipment to recover aluminium, salt/potash and AL80.
MHM recently appointed industry veteran John Pugh as director of operations, North America, which subsequently led the company to investigate black dross recycling opportunities.The company said black dross recycling could be a potentially substantial additional revenue generator for MHM, with minimal investment of extra resources, as the recycling of salt slag and black dross

Noranda Aluminum mulls possible acquisitions
Metalbulletin.com (subscription) - 03-Nov-2011
Noranda Aluminum Holding Corp. continues to eye acquisition targets, with a focus on raw materials and smelting, the company's top executive said Wednesday, fueling speculation that the Franklin, Tenn.-based aluminum producer could be a contender for ...

Kurri Kurri smelter slashes jobs
Australian Mining - 03-Nov-2011
Around 50 jobs are set to be cut at the Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter as it struggles under a high Australian dollar, contract problems, the carbon tax, and falling aluminium prices.
The move, by Norwegian smelter owner Norsk Hydro, will see the facility cut its workforce by about ten per cent, according to the Newcastle Herald.
Staff and unions have raised fears that Norsk will no longer support losses at the smelter, however CEO Alberto Fabrini yesterday reassured employees.
"Kurri Kurri has the support of Hydro Primary Metal in Norway for the implementation of a broad spectrum of activities including operational efficiency and cost improvement, among others," he stated.
"Kurri Kurri is facing great challenges, hit by the strong Australian dollar and global aluminium prices.
The smelter has reportedly lost about $20 million in the last few years.
Fabrini went on to add that "management is working closely with the unions to develop an action plan that will help to guarantee the long-term sustainability of the smelter."
However, he did point to the carbon tax as a long term problem for the industry.
This downsizing has been part of a gradual workforce reduction at the facility from its 1980s heydays, where the workforce numbered around 1100.
It currently stands at just over 500.

President asks for development of relations with Sierra Leon
Islamic Republic News Agency - 03-Nov-2011
Tehran, Nov 3, IRNA – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad emphasized will for expansion of relations with Sierra Leon in his meeting with that country's Ambassador to Tehran Mohammad Bifofana on Wednesday.
Referring to good relations between Iran and Sierra Leon, the IRI president added that Tehran is ready to transfer his experiments to Freetown.
 “The development of relations between Iran and Sierra Leon in various fields, including in industrial, trade and cultural exchanges is in the interest of both countries,” Ahmadinejad expressed view.
 Sierra Leone’s new ambassador to Tehran, too, submitting a copy of his credentials to the Iranian president, for his part emphasized the necessity of expanding bilateral ties in all spheres.
 Mr. Bifofana in a meeting on Saturday submitted a copy of his credentials to Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
 During the meeting, the two sides discussed the Tehran-Freetown relations and Sierra Leonean ambassador declared Sierra Leon President Ernest Bai Koroma's desire to pay a visit to Tehran in the near future.
 Regarding the rich mines of bauxite in Sierra Leone, Iran has expressed its readiness to dispatch technical experts for negotiation.
 In the same context the Iranian side has expressed interest in utilizing the Sierra Leone’s experience in the field of gold mining.
 Regarding the rich mines of diamond in Sierra Leone, the Iranian side has expressed willingness to encourage the Iranian private enterprise for making investments in diamond exploitation from Sierra Leone's mines.
 Both sides have also expressed willingness for exchange of technical experience and expertise in different fields of interest, such as mining, as well as training of expert personnel of both countries.

Grade issue halts ingot production at Alcoa smelter
Reuters Africa - 02-Nov-2011
Nov 2 (Reuters) - Alcoa Inc has temporarily stopped producing certain ingots at its Becancour smelter in Quebec because of a quality problem, the aluminum producer said on Wednesday.
A spokesman said the company suspended production of its P1020 aluminum billet in late October as a result of high iron content and was talking with customers to mitigate the impact.
"We are making good progress and hope to completely resolve the problem soon," the spokesman said.
Alcoa owns 74.95 percent of the smelter by the St Lawrence river in Quebec, with Rio Tinto Alcan owning the rest.
Becancour produces 400,000 tonnes per year of aluminum billet, foundry alloy, and P1020 and sheet ingot.

Iran in talks with Russia for investment on aluminum industry
Iranian Students News Agency - 02-Nov-2011
TEHRAN (ISNA)-The Head of Iranian Mines, Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization Khodamorad Ahmadi said the company has held talks with Russia for investment on Iranian aluminum industry.
"We have held dialogues with Russians for funding Iranian aluminum industry. Russia does not accept Iran's gas price. We will hold sessions with Iranian Oil Ministry and inform Russians of the ministry's view on gas price," he told ISNA.
He added Iran's aluminum production should total 1.5 million tons by 2025. So far the fund for 800,000 tons of which has been provided and we have started negotiations with Russians for the remaining 900,000 tons.

UAE's Mubadala to build petroleum coke facility in China
Middle East North Africa Financial Network - 02-Nov-2011
Al Muhairi added that Suyadi, the joint venture with the Chinese firm, would boost the company's business growth and the UAE's aluminum industry, moreover, it would help supply aluminum smelting plants in the UAE. He also said that construction of the ...

Alcasa reaching out to private investors again - Venezuela
SteelGuru -  01-Nov-2011
BNamericas reported that workers at Venezuelan state aluminum reducer Alcasa are once again making contact with private investors to help return operations to normal.
Mr Robert Donatti Sintralcasa union's science and technology representative said that "We're open to receiving offers and want to integrate companies that have worked with us in the rolling and smelting areas into the talks."
Recently, Mr Henry Arias director of labor relations said that the company was looking for investors to help return plant operations to normal and that many of the company's 89 customers had expressed interest in providing financial support.
Mr Donatti said that "We're looking for other options. Several international companies interested in investing in Alcasa have approached us but since the national government has a commitment with the Chinese that possibility was taken off the table."
He said that now, since Chinese owned Chinalco's recovery plan for Alcasa turned out not to be viable workers have resumed the search for investors. The proposal Chinalco is drawing up in terms of its economic and technological structure does meet the technical requirements for Alcasa to become fully operational.
Mr Donatti said that Chinalco is offering very little of its own technology and in general is offering to combine production with companies such as Rio Tinto Alcan and Reynolds. The problem is that the government does not want to give the transnational a chance but they have the best technology in the world.
He said that nevertheless, we're looking at all of the offers and technical bids we receive and trying to select what is most useful for us. In July, Alcasa workers approved a document called the emergency proposal that established the urgency of seeking resources from public and private companies. The move came after Alcasa declared an operational and financial emergency in April due to the lack of resources to continue operating.