AluNews - April 2012

Under the patronage of Minister of Energy and Industry Qatalum hosts the 16th ARABAL in November

www.ameinfo.com - 30th April 2012

Qatalum has announced that they would be hosting the 16th Arab International Aluminium conference (Arabal 2012) under the patronage of HE Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry and Chairman and Managing Director of Qatar Petroleum at the Grand Hyatt Doha, from 19-21 November 2012.
In preparation for hosting ARABAL, the only conference dedicated to the aluminium industry in the Arab World, Qatalum has formed a special taskforce, comprised of a number of the company's highly qualified personnel and chaired by Mr. Ibrahim J. Fakhri to supervise all aspects of the conference from planning through to execution. Qatalum is keen to ensure the event will be expertly organised and run to the highest standards.
In its statement on the occasion Qatalum, extended its heartfelt thanks to HE Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry for his patronage of Arabal 2012, which will be held in Doha for the first time.
"There is no doubt that the State of Qatar, its government and people, welcome all the meaningful and significant activities and events that are being run, in line with the directives of our wise leadership, to make Qatar the regional hub for business, thought, culture, art, sport and all other aspects of life. Therefore, Qatalum has been committed to aligning itself to extending this pioneering approach within its sector. It is our aim to raise awareness of the aluminum industry and the role of Qatar, as is represented by Qatalum, in supporting the aluminium industry, ultimately guiding it to a position of leadership and opening the door for related industries to develop and grow".
Speaking on Qatalum's role as host, Mr. Fakhri commented: "Qatalum is giving top priority to this event in terms of preparation, planning and execution. We have appointed the best, most highly qualified, and experienced personnel from within the Qatalum team to manage the preparations and have contracted leading agencies in event management and marketing to ensure that ARABAL 2012 will be a resounding success".
"Following consultations with the ARABAL member companies, Qatalum has developed a new identity for the conference, as part of their endeavour to present the conference with a new and updated look; consistent with the on-going development in the Arab aluminium industry. ARABAL's fresh new identity will be launched soon on the conference's new website," Fakhri added.
Fakhri affirmed that this year's conference would include key topics, discussion panels, and workshops related to the aluminium industry on both local and international levels. A select group of industry experts and academics will be hosted as speakers to share their experience and views with participants and attendees. Arabal 2012 will have a global promotional campaign with the aim to bring together the largest possible number of aluminium professionals and experts in order to enhance the conference's outputs, raise awareness, and open the door for all to exchange experience and information and to boost communication between all stakeholders in the industry.
Arabal 2012 is expected to attract a huge attendance due to the momentous development witnessed in Qatar across various sectors. The country has drawn the attention of numerous investors and companies seeking feasible investment opportunities in various sectors, particularly the industrial field, as Qatar has a wealth of natural gas resources, solid infrastructure as well numerous other positive investment factors and requirements at its disposal.
ARABAL is the only conference dedicated to the aluminium industry in the Arab World. It was started in 1983 by Kuwait Aluminium Company to bring together leading figures in Middle East Aluminium in order to strengthen ties and discuss the issues of the day. ARABAL is the only conference in the world attended by every single primary aluminium manufacturer in the Arab Region. The conference has evolved from being held every two years to annually as of 2011, in response to the increasing importance and on-going development of the aluminium industry in the region.

ABB wins $16m Qatar contract in Mesaieed

utlities-me.com - 29th April 2012

ABB has been awarded a US $16 million contract from Qatalum to upgrade the power distribution network at the Mesaieed Industrial City aluminium smelter. The deal will see ABB responsible for the design, engineering, supply and commissioning of work including the re-engineering and reinforcement of the installed distribution system. The company has previously worked on the site, providing the electrical equipment for the power plant together with the 220kV gas-insulated switchgear substation.
Oleg Alenikov, ABB's head of the substation business, said "the upgrade will enhance the efficiency, reliability and operational flexibility of the distribution system and help ensure high-quality power supply". Work will focus on improving the reliability of the station in areas including the substations, server rooms and workshop.
The project at the plant – which is run as a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and Hydro Aluminium – is scheduled for completion in 2013. The plant, located 50 kilometres south of Doha, is run from its own captive power plant and produces 585,000 tonnes annually from its aluminium smelters.

United Company RUSAL : Basic Element companies expand partnership with NORINCO Corporation

4-traders.com - 28th April 2012

BASIC ELEMENT COMPANIES EXPAND PARTNERSHIP WITH NORINCO CORPORATION Moscow, April 28, 2012 - Oleg Deripaska, CEO of Basic Element and UC RUSAL (SEHK: 486, Euronext: RUSAL/RUAL, MICEX-RTS: RUALR) and President of En+ Group, and Zhang Guoqing, President of China North Industries Corporation, signed a framework agreement on strategic cooperation providing for the joint implementation of projects in the engineering, mining and metal sectors. Under the auspices of the agreement Basic Element and NORINCO plan to boost the value of their economic and trade cooperation to over US$1 billion within three years of 1 January 2012.
In particular, UC RUSAL has undertaken to expand its export of aluminum products to China through sales to North United Aluminum (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd, a joint venture company established by the partners in China on the basis of Shenzhen North Investments, a NORINCO subsidiary trading company with 15-year experience in Chinese non-ferrous metals market. UC RUSAL will also study the feasibility of inviting NORINCO to supply anode production equipment for the Taishet aluminum smelter which is under construction.
En+ Group and NORINCO agreed to discuss NORINCO's participation in a project to create Russia's largest aluminum rolling mill on the basis of the Krasnoyarsk metal plant. In addition, the parties agreed to develop a long-term cooperation mechanism for resource development, including the joint development of nickel, copper and other resources in Russia and abroad.
NORINCO and Russian Machines have undertaken to enhance their cooperation in the field of engineering, in particular through sharing technological developments and their certification. This is expected to lead to a gradual extension of cooperation from the supply of components for railway wagons to the joint design, manufacturing and provision of maintenance services. The agreement also provides for the purchase of up to 15,000 sets of wagon components from NORINCO by Russian Machines.
Oleg Deripaska, CEO of Basic Element and UC RUSAL and President of En+ Group, said: "We are pleased to announce that we've reached a new level of cooperation with NORINCO, not only by means of expanding the scope of our joint projects, but also by investing in high-tech and innovative production which we intend to develop jointly. This agreement represents another step forward in the development of our economic relations with China, one of the most strategically important markets for Russia. Sino-Russian trade turnover is already worth over US$80 billion. I am sure our new projects will help this figure to grow further."
Zhang Guoqing, President of China North Industries Corporation, said: "We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Basic Element, one Russia's leading business groups. Sino-Russian cooperation has a great future: not only are we neighbors, we are connected by a long history of relations based on mutual understanding and respect. I believe that our projects, in sectors that are important for both countries' industries, will provide a solid foundation for the further development of mutually beneficial partnerships between our two countries."

Lanjigarh ban may spur Sterlite-Nalco alumina deal

DNA - 26th April 2012

Sterlite Industries is in talks with state-owned National Aluminium Company (Nalco) to source alumina for its Vedanta Aluminium plant.
The flagship company of Vedanta Resources Plc is also looking at importing alumina in order to ramp up the capacity of its Lanjigarh plant in Orissa to 2 million tonne (mt).
“Our first aim is to take the capacity to 1.2 mt this year and then, based on further approvals, we would like to ramp it up to 2 mt,” the company said in a conference call on Wednesday.
He said since bauxite mining is banned in Lanjigarh by the Union environment ministry, the company has no backward integration and is therefore talking to Nalco and some exporters for sourcing alumina.
Alumina is obtained from bauxite, which is further processed to make aluminium.
Roughly, it takes 2 tonne of alumina to manufacture 1 tonne of aluminium. Hence, for a 2 mt aluminium capacity, Sterlite would need 4 mt alumina.
Analysts felt sourcing alumina will not be difficult for the company.
However, the real benefit will come if it is able to source the required coal at reasonable prices both for Vedanta Aluminium and Sterlite Energy, which is the company’s commercial power generation arm.
Sterlite officials said the merger of Sesa Goa and Sterlite is on track and likely to be concluded by the end of this calendar year. For thefinancialyear ended March, Sterlite reported a 35% rise in revenues at Rs40,967 crore, a 26% increase in operating profit at Rs10,169 crore and a 6% rise in net profit at Rs7,761 crore over the previous fiscal.

UAE primary aluminium industry well represented at Metef 2012

ameinfo.com - 26th April 2012

The 9th Metef International Aluminium Exhibition (Metef 2012), held from 18 to 21 April this year in Verona, Italy, featured a strong presence by the UAE's primary aluminium industry, thanks to the joint participation of Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) and Emirates Aluminium (Emal) at this high profile event.
Says Sultan Al Sabri, General Manager Marketing & Sales: Europe & The Americas, who reports that the combined Dubal-Emal exhibition stand at Metef 2011 successfully promoted the two companies' extensive range of made-to-order, world-class, premium quality primary aluminium products of the highest purity being produced in the UAE and shipped across the globe; the smelters' adherence to the highest standards in environmental protection; and their foundation on sustainability principles.

EMAL Welcomes The World To Abu Dhabi For ’Aluminium Week’: For the first time three major aluminium events take place in the same week, in the same country

abudhabicityguide.com - 25th April 2012

The world’s leading figures in the aluminium industry will be in Abu Dhabi for what has been named as ‘Aluminium Week’. For the first time ever three of the industry’s most prestigious events will take place in Abu Dhabi over the next few days. Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) will play a central role in this global occasion as the major host.
EMAL is the host of the Gulf Aluminium Council’s (GAC) Annual Dinner being held at Emirates Palace on 29 April. This is followed the next day by the Annual General Meeting of the International Aluminium Institute’s (IAI). On the same day, 30 April, the CRU’s 17th World Aluminium Conference begins. EMAL is the host sponsor of the four-day World Aluminium Conference and the conference’s signature dinner.
EMAL President and CEO, Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, said: “It reflects our status in the aluminium industry as Abu Dhabi will be welcoming the world’s leading figures for‘Aluminium Week’. It provides the perfect opportunity for the capital to showcase the advantages of doing business here. I am proud that EMAL is playing a crucial role at the heart of events over the week.”
Al Mazrooei, a key note speaker at the World Aluminium Conference, added: “That we are able to host the global aluminium industry for these key events is recognition of the vision of our leaders. We will continue to invest in this industry, which is already providing benefits to the country in terms of both the economy and industrial diversification. In barely a few decades aluminium production in the Gulf region has grown to 7.5 per cent of world output with capacity set to expand in the future. By 2014 EMAL will almost double its annual capacity to 1.3 million metric tonnes to become one of the world’s largest single-site smelters.”

BSL's new smelter shows the future

The Observer - 23rd April 2012

BOYNE Smelters Limited (BSL) had a big moment on Friday when it officially opened its new, much-anticipated Carbon Bake Furnace 4 (CBF4).
The development is part of a $720 million upgrade at the plant, launched in 2008 and designed to improve productivity and environmental performance.
A carbon bake furnace is basically a super-sized oven that bakes blocks, called 'anodes', which are required in the aluminium production process.
The new furnace will typically produce 2500 carbon anodes per week, while burning less natural gas that the original Carbon Bake furnaces 1 and 2.
The 1.2 tonne anodes are loaded into the furnace by crane and heated at temperatures over 1200 degrees Celsius.
The heating and baking process takes about 18 days, after which time the blocks are removed from the bake and transported to the reduction cells for use as electricity conductors to make aluminium.
Hot results
CBF4 will reduce BSL's greenhouse gas emissions by 20,000 tonnes annually, the equivalent of 6000 medium cars.

Rusal’s $43 Billion Seven-Year Glencore Deal Feeds Fued

Bloomberg - 23rd April 2012

United Co. Rusal (486), the world’s biggest aluminum supplier, is locked in to selling $43 billion of the metal to Glencore International Plc (GLEN) over seven years in a contract that’s fueling a feud among billionaire investors, four people familiar with the accord said.
Glencore agreed to the deal in the fourth quarter as premiums paid by buyers reached near-record highs, according to the people, who declined to be identified as the terms aren’t public. Buyers in Europe paid an average $130 a metric ton more than the London Metal Exchange price in the final three months of 2011. Rusal will sell about 1.4 million tons this year as part of the accord, the people said.
Investor Victor Vekselberg’s Sual Partners Ltd. is seeking arbitration, saying the contract, which accounts for a third of Rusal’s annual output, breached a shareholder agreement. The deal turns the aluminum company into “Glencore’s production unit,” Sual told Bloomberg News last week. The spat has stoked a dispute over strategy, centered on owner Oleg Deripaska’s refusal to give up nickel holdings to pay down debt, leading Vekselberg to quit as chairman in March saying Rusal faced a “deep crisis.”
Rusal will sell about 14.5 million tons to Glencore over the duration of the agreement, which will protect the company against future price declines, the people said. Glencore pays the LME price plus a fixed premium, and can resell the metal or stockpile it in anticipation of higher prices.
Higher Premium
Spokesmen for Glencore and Rusal declined to comment on the details of the contract.
Rusal and Glencore, which holds about 8.75 percent of the aluminum producer, struck the agreement when premiums were near “multi-decade highs,” Jorge Vazquez, managing director of the Harbor Aluminum Intelligence Unit, said by e-mail. Premiums are currently about $140 a ton. That compares with $83 at the start of 2010, according to a Rusal presentation in March.
The contract will give Rusal “stable” cash flow to service its debt and finance working capital, said Kirill Chuyko, an analyst at UBS AG. Net debt totaled $11.05 billion as of Dec. 31.
The accord also helps Glencore, the biggest publicly traded commodities supplier, to increase its influence in the market, Vladimir Zhukov, HSBC Holdings Plc’s head of research in Moscow, said by telephone.
“Glencore will increase its market power, which should help to reduce price volatility and could be positive for the market balance via inventory management,” Zhukov said.
Netherlands Warehouses
Glencore holds aluminum at warehouses in Vlissingen in the Netherlands, which has the second-largest stockpiles globally after Detroit, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Glencore accounted for about 45 percent of Rusal’s aluminum sales in 2010, the Russian company said in its annual report. The Baar, Switzerland-based trader sold 3.9 million tons of aluminum in 2010, 9 percent of total world production, Glencore said in a prospectus for its 2011 initial public offering.
Rusal, based in Moscow, also awarded Glencore a contract to sell its alumina through to 2019, raising the value of the companies’ agreement to about $47 billion, the people said.
The accords prompted Vekselberg’s Sual Partners, a 15.8 percent stockholder in Rusal, to file for arbitration in London on April 4. Vekselberg claims Deripaska’s En+ Group, Rusal’s biggest holder, and Glencore breached a 2007 shareholder agreement that stipulated that a veto from just one of the four major holders should block any deal.
‘Too Dependent
The contracts make Rusal too dependent on Glencore, “turning the company into Glencore’s production unit,” Sual Partners’ press office said by e-mail. Rusal should have held a competitive tender among international traders including Trafigura Beheer BV, Noble Group Ltd. (NOBL) and Mitsubishi Corp. (8058), it said.
The seven-year contract also diverges from Rusal’s marketing strategy, which as recently as last year targeted 80 percent of direct sales to clients by 2015, Sual Partners said.
The aluminum company had “informal discussions” with other traders before choosing Glencore, three people with knowledge of the matter said.
Rusal’s marketing strategy needs to be flexible to respond to changing “market conditions,” said Vera Kurochkina, a spokeswoman for the aluminum producer. Rusal’s direct sales to aluminum customers remain at 60 percent, and the company will seek to increase those volumes when the market strengthens, she said in e-mailed comments today.
Vekselberg Resignation
Vekselberg quit in March saying Rusal’s refusal to sell its shares in OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel (MNOD), Russia’s largest miner, was hurting the company. The aluminum producer has been unable to start any large investment projects after lenders imposed limits on spending amid escalating debt.
Rusal’s 25 percent stake in Norilsk had a market value of $7.4 billion at the end of last year, down from $11.2 billion, it said last month. The revaluation led to a fourth-quarter loss of $974 million, according to Rusal’s financial report.
The drop in value came after Deripaska blocked several bids for the stake, saying it was a strategic long-term investment. Among those offers was a $12.8 billion bid to buy back a 20 percent interest in February 2011, which was supported by Vekselberg and fellow billionaire shareholder Mikhail Prokhorov. Rusal hasn’t paid dividends since 2008 when it bought the stake.
The company’s future investment and dividend strategy is “locked” by its insistence on holding on to the Norilsk shares amid “large” debts, UBS’s Chuyko said.
Diversifying Mining
The nickel holding allows Rusal to diversify its business, just as other global mining companies have added other metals to protect them in a volatile market, First Deputy Chief Executive Officer Vladislav Soloviev said in an interview in Moscow.
While Rusal could sell the stake, pay down some of its debt and seek alternative metals and mining assets, those would “surely be of poorer quality and smaller,” he said.
Once two new aluminum smelters in eastern Russia come on stream next year, Rusal doesn’t plan more “large” investments, according to Deputy CEO Oleg Mukhamedshin.
“We are spending about $500 million to $600 million a year on capital expenditure and don’t plan large investments in new projects,” Mukhamedshin said in an interview. The new smelters will reduce production costs because they’ll use cheaper energy from hydropower stations, he said.

Abu Dhabi's GHC Plans $1.58 Billion Industrial Investment

Kipp Report - 22nd April 2012

Investment in steel, aluminium and pipes; GHC 2011 net 1.5 bln dhs, up 15 percent; GHC appoints BNP Paribas to arrange $600 mln loan
Abu Dhabi government-owned General Holding Corporation (GHC) plans to invest 5.8 billion dirhams ($1.58 billion) in the short-term in three industries to boost manufacturing as the oil-rich emirate tries to diversify its economy, its chairman said on Saturday.
The plans include 3 billion dirhams to expand capacity at Emirates Steel, 800 million dirhams in downstream aluminium extrusion and 2 billion dirhams in manufacturing seamless pipes for the oil and gas industry.
GHC, which has industrial assets totaling 23.7 billion dirhams, has interests in sectors including steel, oil and gas fabrication, cables, food and building materials. It is eyeing new industries such as aluminium and copper.
“Our strategy is to help speed industrial growth in Abu Dhabi which is targeting a 25 percent contribution from industry to the emirate’s GDP by 2030. Today, it is below 15 per cent,” Hussain al Nowais told reporters.
Financing for the investments will be a combination of debt and equity, he said, adding GHC plans to raise $600 million in project finance over two years. It has appointed BNP Paribas as financial advisor.
Last year GHC borrowed 660 million dirhams ($180 million) from banks and invested 2.7 billion dirhams in various industries.
“Our debt-equity ratio is 1:1 and we have cash generated from profit. Debt could include bank borrowing, export credit agencies or even bonds,” he said.
GHC also said it made a net profit of 1.5 billion dirhams in 2011, up 15 percent on the previous year, driven by sales and cost control. The profit came largely from two of its flagship firms, Emirates Steel and National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC).
GHC, set up in 2004, owns a total of eight companies in the industrial sector, two others of which are listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Market (ADX).
It may consider one or two more companies for a public offering in the short-term, once they achieve their targets, said Al Nowais.
Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates an OPEC member, is investing billions of dollars in industry, tourism and real estate as it diversifies its economy away from oil.

Foreign NGOs now target Vedanta's expansion in Odisha

The Hindu Business Line - 22nd April 2012

Vedanta Aluminium's Lanjigarh project in Odisha may become another Kudankulam, as environment activists belonging to foreign non-Government organisations (NGO) have suddenly surfaced to show their concern.
Vedanta Aluminium's plan to expand its annual capacity from 1 million tonnes to 6 million tonnes has been halted due to environmental concerns. The company is now in the process of going for a fresh public hearing on the basis of new terms of reference.
Meanwhile, according to sources, two Australians have forwarded their environmental concerns regarding Vedanta's expansion through the High Commissioner of India in Australia. However, Government sources here refused to comment on the matter.
But, documents with Business Line show that one letter, signed by one Mr J.W. Peter of PF Trust Queensland, Australia, states, “We are writing to you concerning the ongoing threat of pollution from Vedanta Aluminium's red mud pond in Orissa to the downstream villages of Lanjigarh, Bundel and Basanpada.”
It said while the Orissa State Pollution Board had expressed concerns about the pond's design and maintenance during 2007-2009, remedial actions of the company had not been documented and there was continuing concern that a catastrophic failure could occur in the rainy season.
This, and a similar letter by one Ms Helen Findlay, also from Queensland, calls for stopping the expansion of the plan until additional pumping of red mud into the pond is stopped, all environmental issues are addressed and human rights fully respected. Vedanta's Version
When contacted, the Vedanta spokesperson said such letters are timed to surface just before the matter comes up for hearing in the court.
He added that after thorough investigation of the alleged overflow from the red mud pond in April 2011, the enquiry committee constituted by the Odisha State Pollution Control Board had submitted a report stating that ‘no discharge was observed from the red mud pond or water pond or any outlet of the industry to the Bansdhara river'.
These findings were also put up on Web site of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

RUSAL to decide on cuts after Russia sets tariffs

Reuters Africa - 20th April 2012

* RUSAL to elaborate cuts after July 1
* Sees aluminium price in $2,200-$2,400 a tonne range
* Says a quarter of aluminium production operating at a loss
By Clara Ferreira-Marques
LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) - UC RUSAL , the world's largest producer of aluminium, will decide on the scale of planned capacity cuts once Russia details tariff increases delayed by the country's elections, Chief Executive Oleg Deripaska said on Friday.
Aluminium producers have been badly hit by soaring power and other costs, forcing major producers including U.S.-based Alcoa Inc to slash capacity in an effort to counter a supply glut and weak prices. Deripaska said a quarter of global production was operating at a loss.
RUSAL said earlier this year it could cut its aluminium output by up to 6 percent, but has not yet detailed the cuts, pending increases in energy and other tariffs expected in July, after months of freezes as price increases were kept on hold while Russians voted.
"They have no other option but to create a clear policy by July 1, and based on that we will see. We have two risk zones, the northwest and the Urals, where the power tariff is too high for us to run," Deripaska said. "Based on that, we will finalise a plan of shutdowns, which will be between 300,000 and 600,000 tonnes, and it will be a permanent shutdown."
He said the cuts would be made over 18 months, given "social aspects", but said RUSAL had already made progress in talks with local government.
Aluminium prices are almost 40 percent below record highs hit in the summer of 2008 but Deripaska said he expected the strength of demand to act as a floor.
HIGH DEMAND
"We believe the high physical demand creates enough incentive for the price to move up, as soon as the worries come out of the markets - Spain, Europe in general, China," he said.
"We can't see the China slowdown. A hard landing? We just can't see it. Our people are in China every day and we just can't see it," he said, confirming RUSAL's view that the aluminium price would trade in a range between $2,200 and $2,400 a tonne. Three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange is trading at around $2,083 a tonne.
Deripaska, whose holding company En+ owns 47.4 percent of RUSAL, is at loggerheads with minority shareholders led by former chairman Viktor Vekselberg over Deripaska's refusal to sell the company's stake in miner Norilsk Nickel.
RUSAL bought a quarter stake in Norilsk at the top of the market in 2008 for an estimated $14 billion, but Deripaska's hopes of merging the two firms were dashed by the crisis.
Deripaska has said he would discuss buying out Vekselberg's stake in RUSAL, but he said on Friday that the former chairman did not want to sell.
He added RUSAL had had "a lot of discussion" on its stake in Norilsk, the world's largest nickel and palladium producer, but the plan was to remain invested in the company.
"There is a mutual understanding there should be no more buybacks at Norilsk because it destroys shareholder value. It will be a normal practice of dividends and a proper investment programme," he said.
Deripaska declined to comment on the latest escalation of the feud, in which Vekseberg's investment firm Sual Partners, which owns 15.8 percent of RUSAL, launched legal action over a $47 billion supply deal struck between RUSAL and commodities trader Glencore.

Smelter furnace upgrade opens

ABC News- 20th April 2012

Boyne Smelters says more than $300 million spent on a new carbon bake furnace had been approved before its planned sell-off.
The furnace officially opens today and is designed to reduce the smelters' greenhouse gas emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year.
Last year, Rio Tinto Alcan announced it was selling off parts of its aluminium business, including the Boyne Smelters and Gladstone Power Station, to bolster its financial performance.
Smelters' spokesman Rob Craig says plans to replace the furnaces had been in the pipeline for several years.
"I think the decision to invest this money was actually taken prior to any decision of divestment," he said.
"So this project, which comprises the bake as well as other parts, was actually approved in January 2008."

Expansion concerns for Hindalco

Business Standard - 20th April 2012

Murphy’s law seems to be at play at Hindalco Industries. Almost everything that has to go wrong has gone wrong on its expansion plans. The company had crafted a well-laid out plan to increase its aluminium and alumina production capacities. Little did it expect that sourcing coal, which apart from bauxite ore, decides the profitability of a unit, will be hard to get.
Though importing is an option, given the depressed prices of aluminium at present, using this coal would make its aluminium costlier than the market price of the commodity.
Expansion blues
Analysts feel the market will, however, look at commissioning of its expanded capacity to re-rate the stock. Its Mahan smelter, a new 350,000-tonne aluminium project is now likely to fire in June 2012, a delay of three months. This is still not clear, as the Mahan block awaits environmental clearances. ICICI Securities believes even if the Mahan coal block is made available, the time taken to ramp up the block will be around 15 months. Hindalco’s 1.5-million tonne Utkal alumina refinery is slated to be commissioned by December 2012, though coal remains an issue.
Non-availability of captive coal will also impact the Aditya smelter, in the midst of an expansion by 350,000 tonnes. But, due to lack of captive coal, analysts expect only 20-25 per cent of this capacity to go on-stream. Though its current balance sheet is able to absorb the delay, analysts believe the plants need to start soon to avoid deterioration. Falling aluminium prices can aggravate the situation.
Aluminium is trading near the $2,000-per tonne mark on LME. With a global slowdown in construction, automobile and airline industries, analysts expect prices to remain volatile with a higher possibility of slipping lower.
Giriraj Daga of Nirmal Bang observes the aluminium surplus stood at a high of 1.72 million tonnes in January 2012, as compared to 1.24 million tonnes in August 2011. Ravindra Deshpande adds that with weak demand from China, the largest consumer of aluminium, growth in consumption would slow to around seven per cent in 2012, as against nine per cent in 2011 and 17 per cent in 2010.
Caution’s the watchword
Analysts are increasingly turning cautious. Consensus earnings per share (EPS) estimates for FY13 and FY14, which stood at Rs 16.45 and Rs 17.21, respectively, in January 2012 has now been trimmed to Rs 16.13 and Rs 16.74, respectively.
Compared to 86 per cent of analysts having ‘Buy’ recommendations at the start of the March quarter, Bloomberg data shows only 54 per cent maintaining the recommendation. The remaining is split equally between ‘Hold’ and ‘Sell’ calls. Irrespective of the view on the company, the one-year consensus price target for Hindalco stands at Rs 163, against its current price of Rs 128.

South Africans spearheading new Guinea bauxite thrust

Mining Weekly - 18th April 2012

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) –South Africans are spearheading a new bauxite thrust in Guinea, which hosts a quarter of the world’s bauxite reserves.
Adonis Pouroulis, better known as the initiator of Petra Diamonds – now listed on the main board of the London Stock Exchange – is leading Alufer Mining Limited’s thrust from London, where the company is set to raise up to $40-million and seek admission to London’s Alternative Investment Market (Aim).
Both chairperson Pouroulis and Alufer CE Danny Keating were formerly South Africa based.
The Pouroulis-founded Pella Resources, Alufer’s major shareholder, is an African mining house with more than 20 years exploration and mine development experience on the continent.
Alufer reports that new sources of bauxite are required as the industry faces potential supply constraints including declining quality from traditional suppliers, restrictions on exports of unbeneficiated ore from Indonesia and the lack of investment in new mines globally.
The RBC Capital Markets-advised Alufer intends becoming a bauxite producer by exploiting three-billion tons of compliant bauxite resources in Guinea, where Pouroulis notes investment in new mines does not match the country's high bauxite endowment.
A prefeasibility study has advanced its Bel Air project, located 15 km from the Guinean coast in West Africa and its Labé project, in the northwest of the country, is also earmarked for development.
First Bel Air production is expected in late 2013, or early 2014 and the company aims to ramp up annual Guinean production to 10-million-tons during 2015.
Capital raised will fund the completion of a bankable feasibility study for Bel Air, a prefeasibility study for Labé and asset acquisition and development.
Bauxite, the primary raw material used in aluminium production, is refined into alumina before being smelted into aluminium.
Alufer reports that China's alumina capacity increased to 37% of global capacity in the first quarter of 2012 from 11% in 2004, to meet demand from the aluminium smelting industry. China's bauxite imports have consequently increased from about three-million tons in 2005 to 45-million tons in 2011.
The company expects global bauxite demand to grow 6.9% a year, from 220-million tons in 2011 to 750-million tons in 2030.
Pouroulis makes the point that the closeness of Bel Air to the coast results in reduced infrastructure requirements and Keating describes bauxite’s supply-and-demand fundamentals as particularly attractive against the background of continued high demand from developing economies.
Alufer, incorporated in Guernsey in 2010, is set to be the first Aim-quoted bauxite company, with four bauxite exploration licences covering 2 977 km2, in the Boffa region, which hosts Bel Air, in the Labé region, which hosts the Labé project, and in the Kindia region.
Besides Petra, which has seven producing diamond mines in South Africa – Cullinan, Finsch, Koffiefontein, Kimberley Underground, Helam, Sedibeng and Star – and one in Tanzania – the Williamson mine, Pella Resources is also associated with the Aim-quoted Chariot Oil & Gas.
Petra, which produced more than 1.1-million carats in 2011, is targeting production of more than five million carats by 2019.

$396m-Oman Aluminium Rolling to start production by Aug. 2013

Times of Oman - 18th April 2012

Muscat: The work on building Oman Aluminium Rolling Company’s 160,000-tonnes per annum project in Sohar is progressing and the venture will be ready for commissioning by August 2013, said a top-level official of the EPC contractor.
“We are now pushing on completing civil and building works. The equipment have been purchased. We will start receiving shipments of equipment in May,” said Anthony Tropeano, Chief Executive Officer of FATA EPC. Tropeano was in Muscat to attend the Oil and Gas West Asia conference and exhibition.
“We have around 800-900 people on the site, which will go up to 1,500-1,600 at the peak of construction in September-October this year.”
Tropeano said partial hand over is scheduled for August 2013 and the initial production will be around 140,000 tonnes per annum (tpa). “Then we go to a process of production ramp up, which will take the production to ist full design capacity of 160,000tpa, after twelve months in 2014.” Teejan Construction is FATA EPC’s local partner for civil contract work for Oman Aluminium project.
The $396 million-venture envisages setting up of manufacturing facilities for 160,000 tonnes of aluminium per annum and will be the largest downstream buyer of Sohar Aluminium.
Continuous Casting, the latest technology in aluminium rolling will enable the project to use molten aluminium supplied by Sohar Aluminium for manufacturing rolled coils. This will enable the company to produce aluminium sheets of very thin gauges and high surface quality with shorter product delivery time and lower energy cost.
The FATA official also said that his company is seriously looking for contracting opportunities in Oman, especially in oil and gas field. “In two projects, we are one of the potential EPC contract bidders,” he said. One of the projects is for building a gas processing plant in Central Oman for a leading oil company. The company, in association with its local partner Teejan Construction, is planning to submit its bid by the end of May.
‘Business opportunities’ “We are now developing business opportunities in association with our local partner Teejan.” Elaborating on the company’s commitment for Omanisation, he said, “when we started our operation, our Omanisation target was 35 per cent. However, we have achieved 50 per cent Omanisation now.”
“FATA EPC is further aiming to strengthen our presence across the Middle East in view of the growing opportunities in the GCC’s biggest industry and is further expanding its Omani operations as an EPC contractor, operating in different industrial sector,” noted I Monaco, chairman of FATA group, which is based in Italy. Tropeano said his company has completed the second phase expansion (150,000tpa) of IMIDRO, a primary aluminium producer, in Iran.
The company also implementing two major EPC contracts for Qatar’s Qatalum, which are related to capacity expansion of smelter project.

Alcoa To Cut Alumina Production

Official Wire - 17th April 2012

Alcoa Inc, the U.S. aluminium giant, plans to cut alumina production by 4 percent, becoming the first producer to take measures aimed at cutting oversupply that has pushed prices close to $300 per tonne.
The move comes after a drop in prices of alumina, a key ingredient for aluminium production, to levels where many of the world's higher cost refiners are unprofitable. The aluminium producer said it will reduce alumina output by 390,000 tonnes in the Atlantic region, which represents 50 percent of its global refining capacity of 18 million tonnes per year.
"Alcoa is taking these steps to avoid aggravating alumina oversupply in the Atlantic region and to enhance the efficiency of our refining system," Chris Ayers, President of Alcoa's global primary products division, said in a statement.
The cutback equates to raw material feed to produce about 200,000 tonnes of aluminium. For every tonne of aluminium a producer would need two tonnes of alumina. Alcoa said it trimmed refining output to bring it more in line with smelting output after it closed or curtailed 531,000 tonnes of annual smelting capacity in January.
Alcoa is the first producer to announce cuts in alumina output, although Norwegian aluminium group Norsk Hydro announced last month it would delay building its planned CAP alumina refinery in Brazil due to concerns about the short and medium term demand.

Hindalco's Rs 7,500-cr alumina refinery to start production by Dec

Business Standard Limited - 17th April 2012

The Utkal Alumina project, a 1.5 million tonne per annum (mtpa) alumina refinery plant being set up by AV Birla owned Hindalco Industries at Kashipur in south Odisha's Rayagada district, is set to go into production by December this year.
“Around 85 per cent of the construction work for the Rs 7,500-crore project has already been completed. Construction work is expected to be completed in another six months. Work is going on in full swing with the engagement of 15,000 labourers,” a senior company official told Business Standard.
Several contractors including L&T and Gannon Dunkerley have been engaged for the construction, while the major engineering equipments needed for the project like boilers, evaporators and turbines have already been procured.
“The plant is expected to start its trial production in November, while actual production will begin in December,” said Surya Kant Mishra, project head, Utkal Alumina. Initially, the plant will operate at 50 per cent capacity.
“It would take another six months for the plant to achieve full capacity utilisation,” he added.
Utkal Alumina project has already got clearance for mining of 8.5 million tonnes of bauxite at Baphilimali and Podingamali in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts respectively. The bauxite reserve in the mines, owned by the state-owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), is estimated at around 200 million tonnes. The company aims to mine 4.5 mtpa initially to cater to the requirement of its alumina refinery.
It may be noted that the Utkal Alumina was conceived in 1992 to tap the huge deposits of bauxite in the area and produce alumina. The project was in the line of fire of the environmentalists and project affected people.
Worried over the implementation of the refinery unit, the two original joint venture partners; Tata and Norsk Hydro, had pulled out of the project earlier, while another foreign partner, Alcan, had also sold its stake in 2007.
Even though the plan was mooted to set up refinery two decades ago, actual work started from 2009, company officials claimed. The company has proposed to send the alumina from Utkal Alumina to its smelter plant at Lapanga near Sambalpur and also to Mahan Aluminium Project in Madhya Pradesh. Both these smelter plants are now under construction and nearing completion.

Novelis to Build $100 Million Plant in China

GlobalAtlanta - 16th April 2012

Atlanta-based aluminum products company Novelis Inc. is building a $100 million plant in China to produce aluminum sheets for the automotive industry.
The deal signed with the Changzhou National Hi-Tech District includes the rights to 160 acres of land. Changzhou is a growing manufacturing hub a few hours west of Shanghai by train.
Novelis expects demand for aluminum in the automotive industry to grow by 25 percent over the next five years as car makers stress fuel efficiency.
The Changzhou facility will be close to a port on the Yangtze River. In addition to manufacturing, it will be used to finish rolled aluminum coils made in South Korea before shipping them to customers in China and around the world.
Novelis counts the world's largest car makers - Ford, General Motors, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and many more - among its sheet aluminum customers.

EMAL pours concrete of world's longest potline

Construction Week Online - 16th April 2012

Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) has marked a major milestone in the construction of its $4.6bn Phase II smelter expansion at Taweelah, pouring the concrete for the first potroom in what will be the world’s longest potline when complete.
The pouring, which was carried out by contractors Al Futtaim Carillion and SNC Lavalin in the presence of EMAL’s president and CEO, Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, sets Phase II on track to its 2014 completion date.
“This important milestone has been completed on schedule and on budget, and demonstrates the hard work and strong capabilities of EMAL and its partners in executing a major expansion with all its attendant challenges,” said Yousuf Bastaki, EMAL’s vice president of projects.
Phase II adds 444 DX+ reduction pots and a further 1000MW power capability, boosting annual production to 1.3m tonnes and establishing EMAL as one of the largest single-site smelters in the world. Work on the Phase II expansion began in early 2011.
The smelter in Al Taweelah currently produces 750,000 tonnes of aluminium annually, powered by a 2000MW plant.
EMAL is a joint venture between Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) and the Mubadala Investment Company.

Aluminium Bahrain Production Rises 2 Pct In Q1

Kipp Report - 16th April 2012

Aluminium Bahrain's output rose 2 percent in the first quarter of 2012, while sales were steady despite sluggish growth in Europe slowdown, Alba said on Sunday.
Aluminium Bahrain’s output rose 2 percent in the first quarter of 2012, while sales were steady despite sluggish growth in Europe slowdown, Alba said on Sunday.
Production at one of the world’s largest aluminum smelters was 220,738 tonnes in the first quarter of 2012, compared to 216,792 tonnes in the same period a year ago. Sales were unchanged at 135,104 tonnes, Alba said in a statement.
Bahrain’s state-run energy supplier raised Alba’s gas supply costs by $0.75 per million British thermal units (mmbtu) to $2.25/mmbtu on Jan. 1, but Alba still enjoys cheaper fuel than many of its competitors.
The company plans to increase its production capacity from 881,000 tonnes to 1.28 million tonnes a year with the addition of a new production line in 2015.

Rio Tinto May Split Off Pacific Aluminium Unit, Independent Says

Bloomberg - 15th April 2012

Rio Tinto Group (RIO) may spin off its Pacific Aluminium unit and use debt secured with the assets to pay shareholders a special dividend, the Independent on Sunday said, citing a person close to the company it didn’t identify.
The payment may be for as much as A$1 billion ($1.04 billion), with the creation of a separate aluminum company traded in Australia scheduled for the end of the third quarter, the newspaper reported.
A spokeswoman for Rio said it’s not in a hurry to divest the Pacific Aluminium assets and may wait until the economic climate improves, the Independent said.

Nalco plans Rs 18Kcr investment in aluminium smelter in Odisha

The Economic Times - 15th April 2012

State-owned Nalco is looking to set up a new aluminium smelting facility of 5 lakh tonnes and 1,250 MW captive power plant in Odisha's Sundargarh district at an investment of Rs 18,000 crore, a top company official said.
"An independent consultant has confirmed that there is no problem of water in Sundargarh district. Their report came a month back. Now, we are hopeful of getting state government's approval for the project," National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco) Chairman B L Bagra told PTI.
He added the proposed plant will require Rs 18,000 crore investment and would be executed in phases.
The Odisha-based company, which currently has an alumina refinery capacity of 2.1 MTPA and an aluminium smelter of 4.6 MTPA, has been looking to set up another smelter in the state for last three years.
However, its plans were not approved by the state government due to host of issues, including issues related to sufficient and uninterrupted water supply for the project.

More electrolytic cells out of service

El Universal - 13th April 2012

State-run Venezuelan aluminum smelter Venalum is operating at 37.1% of total electrolytic cells
State-run aluminum smelter Venalum put out of service 26 additional electrolytic cells in the past two days. A total of 151 electrolytic cells had been previously taken out of service by the Venezuelan company between March 1 and April 10, for a total of 177 in less than two months.
Only 336 cells out of the total installed capacity of Venalum (905 cells) are still working. This accounts for 37.1% of total capacity.
Workers fear that the lack of inputs and pending operations cause the shutdown of all P-19 cells, which produce 1.2 tons of aluminum per day. Only 256 P-19 cells out of a total of 720 cells remain operational.
Venalum also reported via Twitter that Rafael Gil Barrios, the president of the state-run Venezuelan Guayana Corporation (CVG) met with the board of directors and top management to assess operating conditions of the Venezuelan smelter.

China March copper, aluminium output near record

MiningWeekly.com - 13th April 2012

HONG KONG – China's production of refined copper and primary aluminium rose in March to the second-highest recorded level, and analysts expect output to remain strong into April as large producers bank on buoyant demand in March to May despite the threat of oversupply.
March copper and aluminium production exceeded some analysts' expectations as smelters ramped up output. Newly installed capacity also lifted operating rates even though domestic demand has been lukewarm since January amid slower economic growth.
The domestic economy grew at the weakest pace in nearly three years in the first quarter, with the annual rate of expansion a lower-than-expected to 8.1% compared with 8.9% in the previous three months.
"Expectations of stronger demand during the peak consumption period have led to higher copper and aluminium production," said Fu Bin, analyst at Jinrui Futures, a subsidiary of state-owned Jiangxi Copper Corp, parent of top producer Jiangxi Copper.
Primary aluminium production rose 2% from a month earlier to 1.568-million tons in March, the highest level since a record 1.59-million tons in June 2011. March output increased 9.4% from a year earlier.
In the first quarter, primary aluminium production rose 12.1% from a year earlier to 4.592-million tons.
Unlike global aluminium producers such as Rio Tinto Ltd and Alcoa, which plan to cut output because of weak global prices, many large smelters in China are maintaining production as domestic prices are above cash production costs, said Yao Xizhi, analyst at state-backed research firm Antaike.
He forecast similarly strong output for April, estimating that nearly two-million tons of new aluminium capacity had come onstream since the second half of 2011.

BHP Billiton CEO: 'I Don't Like Aluminum'

Seeking Alpha - 12th April 2012

"I don’t like aluminum."
So said Marius Kloppers, chief executive of BHP Billiton (BHP), according to a recent article in the FT, and you can understand why.
Daniel Brebner, a metals analyst at Deutsche Bank, is quoted as estimating that the operating profit margin for a marginal aluminum producer has been 14% over the past decade, compared with 43% for copper - against a backdrop which saw one of the greatest commodity booms in history.
As prices slide again in recent weeks, producers have been reporting their results. Apart from Klopper’s BHP, which the FT reports made a pre-tax loss in aluminum in the six months to December 2011, Rusal, the world’s largest producer, saw a 72% drop in profits from its operating activities in the final quarter of last year; while Rio Tinto’s (RIO) top brass passed up their bonuses after the company took an $8.8 billion write-down on its aluminum assets. Only Alcoa (AA) appears to be bucking the trend at the moment, turning a Q4 loss into a Q1 profit on the back of improved aerospace and automotive semis sales offsetting continued poor primary numbers.
Quoting Kloppers again, “Our view is that aluminum has had a structural profitability downturn, as opposed to a cyclical profitability downturn.” Years of over-capacity have seen global inventory rise to some 12 million tons, according to the paper, as rising demand has been outstripped by rising output.
Much of this is in China. Despite many producers struggling to simply break even, aluminum production jumped to 53,000 tons per day in February; the paper quotes industry executives who estimate up to 10 million tons of new capacity will be added in western China over the next three years.
The hope has been poor profitability will force Chinese smelters to close and the country to up imports, creating the demand needed to eat into rising inventory levels, but that’s failed to happen. If the lure of cheap coal is realized the over-supply may actually get worse.
Alcoa Making Some Predictions
Alcoa announced back at the turn of the year that it would close some 12% of its capacity in a bid to improve profitability, but set that against global producer announcements of just 4% cuts, and it suggests over-production is here to stay.
Alcoa, in this week’s quarterly return, is again proposing an alternative view. Announcing a dramatic turnaround in results from the end of last year, Alcoa’s Klaus Kleinfield predicted 2012 would see a slowing of demand increases from 15% last year to 11% this year, but is still predicting a global demand deficit of 450,000 tons.
The main plank of Alcoa’s position appears to be that Chinese production is uneconomic and the planned $45 billion investment in new capacity in the west of the country just won’t take place. China’s aluminum industry has confounded the West before, even the normally well-researched resources of Alcoa.
We’d bet widespread closures of Chinese capacity are unlikely and a surplus is here to stay, at least this year and next. With so much inventory tied up in comparatively short-term 12-24 month deals, you can’t help feeling even if the market were to go into deficit, that inventory is like a reservoir behind a dam - just waiting to flood out if the conditions to retain it do not persist.

Novelis to close Canada plant

Economic Times - 12th April 2012

NEW DELHI: Novelis, owned by Indian conglomerate Aditya Birla Group's Hindalco Industries, today said it will close down an aluminium plant in Quebec, Canada.
Novelis said in a statement that it is closing down its Saguenay works facility in Canada and the plant will cease production in August 2012. The facility opened in 1971 and has a staff of 157.
"While the long-term growth potential of Novelis remains strong, we must continue to optimise our footprint to more efficiently support our overall business objectives to drive profitable growth," Novelis CEO Philip Martens said.
As a result of a comprehensive review of its manufacturing operations in North America, Novelis said it has determined that the Saguenay closure is necessary to ensure the organisation is well-positioned for the future.
"Our priority in the months ahead is to maintain safe operations while we manage the smoothest transition for our workforce, customers and suppliers at Saguenay," the company said.
Novelis operates in 11 countries, has nearly 11,000 employees and reported revenue of USD 10.6 billion in fiscal year 2011.

Alcoa says WA smelters its best performers

Trading Room - 11th April 2012

Alcoa says two of its alumina refineries in Western Australia have achieved record production and remain among its lowest-cost plants globally.
Alcoa, which is closing and curtailing smelter capacity across its global operations in response to weak market conditions, has singled out Wagerup and Pinjarra in WA as being the stand-out plants in its portfolio.
Alcoa global chief executive Klaus Kleinfeld said production at the facilities rose to record levels last year while their profitability had risen by 23 per cent.
"All of that was no extra capital," Mr Kleinfeld told a briefing on Tuesday after Alcoa posted an improvement in fourth quarter earnings.
"That's the best thing that you can get, right?"
Alcoa also operates an aluminium smelter at Kwinana, south of Perth.
The company did not provide an update on its stalled expansion of Wagerup.
WA's Environmental Protection Authority in February granted AWAC, Alumina and Alcoa's joint venture company, an extension until September 2016 to substantially commence the Wagerup expansion, which was first given environmental approval in 2006.
Alumina chief executive John Bevan in February rejected a media report citing an Alcoa spokeswoman as saying the expansion would not be revisited until the joint venture had a clearer picture of the full effect of the carbon tax, due to begin on July 1.
Mr Bevan said high construction costs and the need to secure energy supplies were reasons for the delay.

Norsk Hydro : Hydro's Matt Aboud elected to Aluminum Association’s Board of Directors

4 Trader - 11th April 2012

"I think there still is a lot of potential in promoting aluminium as the metal of the future, and I'm very much looking forward to taking on this challenge," says Aboud, who already holds the position of chairman of the Aluminum Association's Statistical and Market Research Committee.
The Aluminum Association, based in Arlington, Virginia, works globally to promote aluminium as the most sustainable and recyclable automotive, packaging and construction material in today's market.
The Association represents U.S. and foreign-based primary producers of aluminium, aluminium recyclers and producers of fabricated products, as well as industry suppliers.
Member companies operate more than 200 plants in the U.S., with many conducting business worldwide.
Aboud joined Hydro in 2003 and has served in several roles, including in strategy, sales and risk management. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Virginia.
Hydro is a major global supplier of primary aluminium and aluminium products.

Aditya Aluminium lines up Rs 10,000 cr expansion plan

Business Standard - 11th April 2012

Aditya Aluminium Ltd, a unit of AV Birla group company Hindalco Industries, has lined up Rs 10,000-cr expansion plan to ramp up capacity of its aluminium smelter and captive power plant (CPP) proposed at Jharsuguda in western Odisha.
The aluminium company intends to double smelter capacity from 0.36 million tonne per annum (mtpa) to 0.72 mtpa and scale up CPP capacity from 900 MW to 1650 MW.
“Aditya Aluminium has presented a capacity expansion plan to the state government. But the expansion has not been referred to the High Level Clearance Authority (HLCA) yet. The Single Window committee has asked the company to abide by certain conditions recommended by the state task force on aluminium at its last meeting held in January this year,” a top official source told Business Standard.
The task force on aluminium had urged the company to establish a campus of BITS-Pilani simultaneously along with the implementation of the project. It has suggested the company to bring in additional investments to set up industries in sectors other than aluminium for creation of employment opportunities and revenue generation. The company was asked to submit a detailed report to the state's investment promotion agency-Industrial Promotion & Investment Corporation of Odisha Ltd (Ipicol).
Moreover, the task force had recommended to the company to set up a 100-bed hospital, a quality school and an industrial training institute (ITI_ at a suitable location in consultation with district authorities.
Aditya Aluminium had signed MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Odisha government on April 8, 2005 for establishment of a one million tonne per annum alumina refinery at Rayagada and 0.36 mtpa aluminium smelter plant at Jharsuguda at an investment totaling to Rs 10,725 crore. In the aluminium sector, Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) is the lone company to have started operations, creating 4,285 jobs so far for people within the state which represents 72.35 per cent of its overall employment figure.
The company was operating a one mtpa alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district and a 0.25 mtpa aluminium smelter at Jharsuguda. RSB Metaltech was the other player to have committed investment in the aluminium sector. The home grown business conglomerate had proposed a total investment of Rs 6,800 crore towards setting up of 0.70 mtpa alumna refinery at Rayagada and 0.175 mtpa aluminium smelter cum 450 MW at Dhenkanal.

Alcoa continues to look for more capacity cuts: CEO

Malaysia Star - Apr 10, 2012

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Alcoa Inc. continues to look for high-cost smelting and refining capacity for potential capacity cuts, a goal that chief executive Klaus Kleinfeld called a "strong commitment." Speaking to analysts on Tuesday's conference call after the aluminum giant released its first-quarter results, Chairman and Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld said: "We continue to look at our portfolio and we continue to monitor the outside world. And by the way, the 530,000 tonnes that we've taken offline may not be the end." In early January, Alcoa announced it would slash its global smelting capacity by 12 percent, becoming the first producer to take direct action to cut costs amid a steep drop in metal prices. On Tuesday, Kleinfeld named as possible facilities for capacity cuts Alcoa's Point Henry smelter in Australia, which he called a high-cost aluminum producer, and its Brazilian smelters with high power costs. After discussions with the Brazilian government, Alcoa recently extended for 60 days a timeline that was originally set for March 31 to come up with a plan to reduce costs. Kleinfeld said Alcoa was also reviewing its alumina refining portfolio for potential curtailments. "That is a very strong commitment," the executive added. Last week, Alcoa said it plans to cut alumina production in the Atlantic region by 4 percent, becoming the first producer to take measures aimed at reducing oversupply that has lowered prices to around $300 per metric ton (1.1023 tons)

Govt wants more smelters for Riau Islands, W. Kalimantan

Jakarta Post - Apr 10, 2012

The government is encouraging the development of aluminum refinery plants in Indonesia’s two largest bauxite producing provinces; Riau Islands and West Kalimantan.
The provinces have a total bauxite reserve of 3.47 billion tons, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s data shows.
As a bauxite-producing nation, Indonesia does not yet have smelters to process bauxite into alumina and therefore all ore produced in the country is exported to Japan and China, while to supply alumina to aluminum plants in the country, material is mostly imported from Australia.
In Riau Islands, there are 32 companies holding mining licenses over 34,993 hectares. The estimated reserves in the province are estimated to be 180.97 million tons, scattered across four regions — Lingga (93.36 percent), Bintan (2.33 percent), Tanjung Pinang (1.61 percent), and two other regions (1.06 percent).
In West Kalimantan, 49 companies currently operate on 557,259 hectares. The province has total reserves estimated to be 3.29 billion tons.
The ministry’s data records that in 2010, Indonesia’s bauxite production was 10.29 million tons. From 2008 to 2010, the output grew by 2 percent a year.
A report from the economic team of the ministry’s minerals and coal directorate general, which is available on the ministry’s website, says that there is an indication of over-exploitation of mineral resources as many miners try to avoid the ban on exports of unprocessed minerals.
According to the new mineral regulation issued early this year, beginning in May this year the government will ban export of unprocessed minerals.
The government has said that the ban will be imposed to ensure that miners comply with the mining law, which requires them to process their production before being exported by 2014.
“If the government insists on banning exports in May, hundreds of people will lose their jobs and the regional economic growth and Indonesia’s export revenue may decline around 20 percent (US$46 billion) from the target,” the report said.
“The other negative impact that may come is the growing amount of bauxite smuggling which may be counter-productive for the country’s mining sector,” the report continued.
Publicly-listed state miner PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) has planned to build smelter grade alumina and chemical grade alumina with the capacity of 300,000 tons and 720,000 tons respectively in West Kalimantan.
The two processing facilities are estimated to be capable of absorbing a total of 3.42 million tons of bauxite a year. Antam’s mining site in Sanggau, West Kalimantan, will supply the raw material. The site has total reserves of 188.30 million tons.
To build additional smelters in West Kalimantan and the Riau Islands, the government suggests that mining license holders team up and create a consortium to set up processing and refining facilities for their ore.
On that idea, Indonesian Mining Association (IMA) executive director Syahrir Abubakar argued that persuading license holders to form a consortium would be a difficult job considering their limited financial and technical capabilities.
“It is more feasible if the government invites other investors to build smelters in the two provinces,” he told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
He emphasized, however, that there were several prerequisites the government had to provide, so that the investors would be interested in conducting business in the provinces.
“First, the government has to ensure energy supply for the planned smelters. Second, it has to be able to coordinate license holders in the provinces to supply their ore to the smelters. The last would be transportation infrastructure, such as roads and ports, which must be improved,” Syahrir said.

Orbite blasts research report criticizing company’s alumina production process

Windsor Star - Apr 10, 2012

MONTREAL – Orbite Aluminae Inc., the Quebec junior miner that struck a preliminary collaboration deal with Russian aluminum giant United Co. Rusal, says a research report casting doubt on the economics of its alumina-making processes is error-riddled and that the analyst who wrote it is “mixed up.” “This report is a bit far-fetched,” Orbite founder and chief executive Richard Boudreault said in an interview about the 8-page note published April 9 by Byron Capital Markets analyst Jon Hykawy. “There are an enormous amount of things that are erroneous in it.” The crux of Byron’s research report is that acid regeneration technology by SMS Siemag being used by Orbite may be unworkable, throwing the economics of Orbite’s Quebec alumina-making project into doubt. It recommends shareholders approach the shares with caution, initiating coverage with a “sell” rating and 90¢ price target. “We believe that the sentiment with respect to Orbite may be overly optimistic given the fact that the low-energy acid regeneration technology chosen by the company may be flawed,” Mr. Hykawy said in the report, adding he did not have a chance to speak with Orbite management before publishing his note. Orbite shares fell 3.6% to $2.15 in heavy trading Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Mr. Boudreault has developed a patented technology for producing alumina, the fine white powder used to make aluminum, by extracting it from clay. Unlike alumina-making with bauxite, Orbite produces the raw material with a method that starts by crushing the clay and then acid-leaching it. The company says it has succeeded in pulling alumina from traditionally used bauxite rock as well, leading Mr. Boudreault to believe that his method could become a viable and cheaper substitute for the existing Bayer process. Orbite has a test facility in Cap Chat, Quebec and last month signed a preliminary deal with Rusal that would see the two companies launch a joint venture to develop Orbite’s Grande Vallée clay deposit and build a new alumina refinery in the Gaspé region. Mr. Boudreault said an independent audit has validated Orbite’s entire technology and energy requirements. Rusal also did its own due diligence, which concluded with the partnership signing, he noted. “We’re very comfortable with where we’re at now,” the CEO said. “We don’t want to give too much importance to this [note]. The analyst mixed up all his baskets with this.” Orbite will be issuing a news release on Tuesday to set the record straight, Mr. Boudreault said. © Copyright (c) National Post

Boral Aluminyum to build new production facility in Doljevac

Emg.rs - April 10, 2012

Deputy Prime Minister for Economic and Regional Development Verica Kalanovic presented today in Doljevac the Contract on support to investment of Turkish company Boral Aluminyum, which will invest €55 million in this city and employ 300 workers.

Deputy Prime Minister for Economic and Regional Development Verica Kalanovic presented today in Doljevac the Contract on support to investment of Turkish company Boral Aluminyum, which will invest €55 million in this city and employ 300 workers.
Kalanovic said on this occasion that today conditions have been met for 300 citizens of Doljevac to have a secure job and salary, which will provide to their families a foreseeable future, security and human dignity.
She recalled that the Memorandum on investments with the Turkish company Boral Aluminyum was signed on 19 January this year and the contracts for the beginning of realisation of the investment worth €55 million were awarded today.
This investment is yet another proof that the Programme of support to direct investment is the best systemic measure against unemployment, Kalanovic reiterated and pointed out that owing to this measure, in the last five years when its implementation began, the conditions have been created for attracting more than 200 investments and the opening of 33,000 new jobs.
The investment project envisages that Boral Aluminyum build a production facility on the area of 40,000 square metres for the processing of aluminium, which will produce aluminium doors and side panels for truck trailers, as well as steel moulds for aluminium extrusion.
Boral Aluminyum is a Turkish company in the metallurgical sector, which is one of the leading companies for the extrusion of aluminium in Turkey. It mainly exports to EU countries.

Alcoa trains to outlast its aluminium industry competitors

The Wall Street Journal - April 10, 2012 9:10AM

ALCOA is eager to dispel myths about why its quarterly reports mark the unofficial start of earnings season.

Vimetco N.V. : Vimetco’s Henan Zhongfu reaches the most advanced level in energy efficiency

4-traders - Apr 10, 2012

Amsterdam, 10 April 2012 - Vimetco NV (LSE: VICO), the global producer of primary and processed aluminium products, today announces that its Chinese unit, Henan Zhongfu Industry Co., Ltd., has decreased its energy consumption to the lowest level worldwide, following a commercial test of new technology.
"We will be able to significantly reduce the power consumption of the aluminium electrolysis process under low temperatures and low voltage using this advanced technology", explained Gheorghe Dobra, CEO of Vimetco. "This is an extremely important achievement for our R&D team in China that will allow us to increase the efficiency of our aluminium smelters. This also secures our role as a leading innovation-oriented company, which was a pioneer in using 400 kA new generation effective electrolyzers on an industrial scale in 2008, and currently is successfully operating several smelters with 400 kA elecrolyzers, with a total capacity of 490 000 tons.
This new achievement was possible due to the consistent progressive strategy pursued by Mr. Zhang Honeng, CEO in China. We are very grateful to the Chinese authorities that offered us their full support in this project and to the group of Henan Zhongfu Industry experts, headed by Doctor Liang Xuemin, who have a strong merit in performing research and adopting technology commercially."
Mr Frank Mueller, Vimetco COO, added, "I would also like to note that Henan Zhongfu Industry initiated the creation of the Strategic Alliance for the Development of Aluminium Electrolysis Technology, which, with the support of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the PRC, Academy of Sciences of the PRC and the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNIA), is carrying out an important programme of research and adopting new technologies."
According to Antaike, a leading Chinese metals information provider (www.antaike.com), the Research and Development Department at Vimetco's Henan Zhongfu Industry has successfully achieved "low-temperature low-voltage aluminum smelting technology." As a result, the DC (direct current) consumption has decreased to 11,819 kWh/tonne of aluminium, down by 10.7% from 13,235 kWh/tonne.
The project was co-financed by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the PRC and passed the exam and appraisal of an expert team organized by the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNIA).

Nalco plans another nuclear power plant with NPCIL

ZeeNews - 10th April 2012

New Delhi: After Kakarapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) in Gujarat, state-owned aluminium major Nalco is looking to set up another nuclear power plant in collaboration with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).
An NPCIL-Nalco joint venture is already executing unit 3 and 4 of Kakarapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) in Gujarat of 700 MW capacity each, which requires a total investment of about Rs 12,000 crore.
"We are in talks with NPCIL for the second project. There are three options to set up the plant at West Bengal, Odisha and Rajasthan. We are looking at 1,500 MW atomic power project with 49 percent stake," National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco) Chairman B L Bagra said in an interview.
NPCIL would be the operator of the project with 51 percent stake.
He added that a final decision on the project would take some time as the site of the proposed plant is yet to be finalised.
Nalco, which has 26 per cent stake in the existing JV with NPCIL, is also looking to increase its stake in the venture to 49 percent and has sought approval from the government to raise its equity.
"We hope to get Department of Atomic Energy's (DEA) approval in next 2-3 months for raising the stake. Our total investment, for 49 per cent stake in Kakrapar venture, will be about 1,700 crore," he said, adding that the JV has held its first Board meeting last month.
In the current financial year, the aluminium major has kept a budget of Rs 1,000 crore to be invested on the venture that is to be operational by October, 2014, he further said.
Venturing into the nuclear power sector is part of Nalco's growth plans, under which it aims to become a diversified metals, mining and power producing company, with an estimated turnover of over Rs 25,000 crore by 2020.
As per the plan, the company would venture into power sector as an independent producer and once the generation capacity goes up substantially, the business will be hived off into a wholly-owned subsidiary.
The aluminium major generates about 1,200 MW electricity for captive uses and has been planning to bid for upcoming ultra mega power projects.
It had also announced setting up a 50 MW wind mill in Andhra Pradesh for about Rs 274 crore. Besides, it is looking to diversify into other metal segments like copper and uranium.
The company currently has an alumina refinery capacity of 2.1 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) and an aluminium smelter of 4.6 MTPA. It also has bauxite mining capacity of 6.3 MT.

Prime Minister urges bauxite workers to focus on the resurgence of bauxite mining operations

ncnguyana.com - April 10, 2012

Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds has urged bauxite workers to avoid conflicts and capitalize on the resurgence of bauxite mining operations. He noted that jobs and good wages come from profitable companies. It is the prime minister’s view that the decisions taken by government in relation to the bauxite industry are bearing fruit. Addressing workers at RUSAL’s Aroaima bauxite site on the Berbice River, Mr. Hinds stressed that investments be maximized to create greater dividends. Mr. Hinds said mind change in the industry is essential, since the country paid dearly for the nationalization of Bauxite. on Wednesday last, RUSAL commissioned equipment and vehicles valued at some 21 million u.s dollars to advance its operations. The Russian Aluminium company has plans to expand its production to five million tonnes by 2015 and 10 million Tonnes by 2018. Last month, the Chinese owned, BOSAI minerals group incorporated also announced plans to expand its operations in Linden, region ten by investing 100 million u.s dollars. Meanwhile, the first bauxite corporation will be establishing a mine at Bonasika on the Essequibo river, which is expected to yield production of 100,000 tonnes on an annual Basis.

Aluminium buckles under supply pressure

THE FINANCIAL TIMES LTD - 8th April 2012

“I don’t like aluminium.”
That may seem an unlikely statement from the world’s sixth-largest producer of the metal. But Marius Kloppers, chief executive of BHP Billiton, is putting his money where his mouth is. BHP will from now on run its aluminium division for cash, he announced in February.
Mr Kloppers can afford to dislike aluminium; the majority of his profits come from iron ore, oil and coal. But for the rest of the industry, his comments have sparked a debate: after a decade of sub-par profitability, is it still worth investing in aluminium?
Right now, at least, the industry’s report card makes grim reading. Beyond BHP, which reported a pre-tax loss in aluminium in the six months to December 2011, Rusal, the world’s largest producer, saw a 72 per cent drop in profits from its operating activities in the final quarter of last year; New York-listed Alcoa,which reports first-quarter results on Tuesday, swung to its first quarterly loss since 2009; and Rio Tinto’s two top executives passed up their bonuses after the company took an $8.8bn writedown on its aluminium assets.
“Financially speaking, aluminium has been challenging over the past decade,” Svein Richard Brandtzæg, chief executive of Norsk Hydro, the world’s fifth-largest producer, wrote in his annual letter to shareholders.
Daniel Brebner, metals analyst at Deutsche Bank, estimates that the operating profit margin for a marginal aluminium producer has been 14 per cent over the past decade, compared with 43 per cent for copper.
“While copper has been exceptionally profitable, aluminium has had an unremarkable performance during one of the greatest commodity boom periods in history in terms of demand,” he says. “This is a condemnation of the state of the industry that it can’t generate super-normal returns in an environment of super-normal demand.”
If Mr Kloppers is correct, the future is bleaker still for producers of the metal used in the manufacture of everything from drinks cans to cars and aircraft.
The argument underpinning his pessimism is simple: years of overcapacity have kept prices subdued and led to a huge build-up of inventories – now estimated at more than 12m tonnes, or enough to build 180,000 Boeing 747s.
And with the price of energy, which accounts for as much as half of aluminium production costs, rising rapidly, industry-wide profitability is flat at best.
“Our view is that aluminium has had a structural profitability downturn, as opposed to a cyclical profitability downturn,” Mr Kloppers told analysts recently.
However, not everyone agrees.
The most popular response among rival aluminium executives is to point to China which, as well as being the world’s largest aluminium consumer, is also the top producer.
With some of the highest cost smelters in the world, many executives and analysts argue that it is only a matter of time before China’s aluminium industry is no longer able to meet domestic demand, turning the country into a large importer and revolutionising the aluminium market.
“If you are the average Chinese producer you should probably quit this business right now or a few months ago,” says Oleg Mukhamedshin, head of corporate development at Rusal, predicting that many Chinese aluminium smelters will be forced to shut down in the next few months, pushing up global prices.
But China has a record of confounding forecasts. Despite low prices and rising costs, the rate of Chinese aluminium production jumped hit a record 53,000 tonnes a day in February, according to Barclays Capital.
Moreover, the Chinese aluminium industry is embarking on an enormous programme of expansion in the coal-rich Xinjiang province in the country’s far west. Industry executives believe that as much as 10m tonnes of annual production capacity – enough to meet nearly 60 per cent of China’s current demand – will be built in western China in the next three years.
That could mean the surge in Chinese aluminium imports that western producers are hoping for may not materialise any time soon. “We realise we can’t wait around for China,” concedes Klaus Kleinfeld, chief executive of Alcoa. “The west has to figure its structure out for itself, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
He adds that the aluminium industry in China is “struggling”. “They are pushing out capacity to the west to take advantage of low cost coal, but cheap coal isn’t infinite and the new plants will be challenged by lack of infrastructure and lack of water in the region.”
Alcoa has announced it will cut its global production capacity by 12 per cent this year; together, non-Chinese producers are set to cut production by about 1m tonnes, or 4 per cent, according to Mr Mukhamedshin of Rusal.
But some in the industry are sceptical of the announced production shutdowns. Despite the large inventory overhang, traders and banks are keeping prices elevated by buying aluminium to make a profit from storing it and benchmark prices have risen nearly 10 per cent from their December lows.
“The industry struggles with self discipline,” observes Julian Kettle, head of metals and mining research at Wood Mackenzie.
Indeed, at the end of March, Alcoa said it would postpone the closure of its smelter in Sardinia – now slated for December 31 at latest – as it seeks possible buyers.
It would not be the first time that supposedly closed smelters had risen from the dead, keeping the market oversupplied and prices depressed. The term “Lazarus smelters” was coined in the 1980s when several previously mothballed plants were reopened. The aluminium industry will hope it is not about to make a comeback.

Alcoa reducing refining capacity

Pittsburgh Business Times by Malia Spencer, Reporter - 5th April 2012

Ahead of next week’s earnings release aluminum maker Alcoa (NYSE: AA) said it is reducing its alumina production capacity to better match up with previously announced reductions in its smelting capacity.

Alumina, which is refined from Bauxite, is smelted to create aluminum.

Alcoa is reducing its alumina production by about 390,000 metric tons, with the curtailments coming in the Atlantic region. This will reduce the Atlantic region capacity by 4 percent. The move is already underway. The Atlantic region includes facilities in Brazil, Jamaica, Spain, Suriname and Texas. The company has not stated which facilities will be effected.

The Atlantic region represents 50 percent of the company’s global refining capacity of 18 million metric tons per year. The remaining capacity is in Australia.

“Alcoa is taking these steps to avoid aggravating alumina oversupply in the Atlantic region and to enhance the efficiency of our refining system,” said Chris Ayers, president of Alcoa’s global primary products, in a written statement. “We will continue to monitor market conditions and will take further action if warranted.”

Rusal plans mining operation expansion in Guyana

BusinessWeek - Apr 5, 2012

A Russian bauxite company is planning a $21 million expansion at its main plant in the South American country of Guyana.
UC Rusal is adding more than 130 pieces of equipment to its operation as it prepares to open two new mines in the southeast Berbice region. They will be managed by its subsidiary, Bauxite Company of Guyana.
General manager Ruslan Volokhov said Wednesday that he expects the new mines to supply bauxite for 30 years. Bauxite is the main source of aluminum.
Last month, China's Bosai Minerals Group announced a $100 million expansion of bauxite operations in southeast Linden.
The government is still investigating Rusal's dismissal of dozens of workers almost two years ago after they protested working conditions.

Exclusive - Glencore unit ramps up metal stores in Dutch hot spot

Reuters - 4th April 2012

(Reuters) - A warehouse company owned by commodity trader Glencore (GLEN.L) is rapidly expanding its lucrative storage facilities at a Dutch port that has become a hub for storing aluminium, a metal increasingly used by bankers and traders as a financing tool.
The move in warehousing comes as banks and trading houses face increased scrutiny for speculating on commodity prices while at the same time owning sheds that store a fundamental driver of price - metal stocks.
"Really a lot of warehouses have been added in one year. The biggest expansion is in aluminium (but) steel has also been growing a lot," Marcel Pater, commercial manager at Zeeland Seaports, which operates the Dutch ports of Vlissingen and Terneuzen, said in an interview.
He confirmed the new sheds were registered with the London Metal Exchange, the world's biggest industrial metals exchange, which has itself come under scrutiny for the long queues that have built up to get metal out of warehouses its monitors.
Glencore, its Pacorini warehousing unit and Verbrugge Terminals, who are helping build the sheds, declined to comment.
An LME spokesman confirmed that 14 new Vlissingen sheds have been registered with the exchange since the start of 2011, of which 12 are owned by Pacorini.
Storing aluminium, a metal in chronic oversupply, has become lucrative for investment banks and trading houses that own warehouses, especially ones where clients wait in queues to collect the metal, all the while paying rent to the warehouses.
In February, sources told Reuters that investment bank JP Morgan (JPM.N) was in the process of moving metal from LME-registered sheds in Vlissingen to its warehouses in Rotterdam as the race to expand the storage business heated up.
"You never know what traders do between them but I see the cargoes going up and down. The LME system (results in) freight to be moved around a lot from one warehouse to the other," said Pater.
REVENUE STREAMS
The growth and complexity of financial markets has resulted in aluminium, a metal traditionally used in transport and packaging, evolving to provide investment banks and trading houses with two favoured revenue streams.
One is the financing deal, where a bank buys nearby aluminium and immediately sells it forward at a profit, making money from the price spread and from striking a deal to store it cheaply in the interim.
The other is collecting rent direct by storing the metal for others.
Latest LME data shows that as of Monday, nearly 90 percent of the 1.04 million tonnes of aluminium in LME-registered warehouses in Vlissingen is set to leave the sheds, having been booked for delivery.
The data also shows that the warehouses have released the metal out at the LME-mandated minimum load-out rate - previously 1,500 tonnes a day, but raised to 3,000 as of April 1 for locations that hold over 900,000 tonnes.
Traders cite queues of about half a year in Vlissingen, where rents were raised by 10 percent as of April 1, in a move sources say was aimed at compensating for the revenue shortfall that the new load-out rates would otherwise have caused.
Glencore's financial reports don't break out profits from the warehousing unit, but the company previously revealed that the unit made $31 million profit in 2010 - the year in which it bought Pacorini.

Nalco all set to clinch bauxite sourcing deal from Gujarat

thehindubusinessline.com - 4th April 2012

Nalco is poised to clinch a crucial deal for bauxite sourcing from Gujarat. Its negotiations with Gujarat Minerals Development Corporation (GMDC) reached the “final stage”, the CMD of Nalco, Mr B.L. Bagra, told Business Line.
The GMDC board recently approved the arrangement for sourcing through a joint venture with Nalco. The public sector unit is to set up a smelter and a 10-lakh-tonne a year alumina refinery at an estimated cost of Rs 4,600 crore in Kutch district.
The project, however, is conditional on availability of local bauxite.
GMDC will have a minority stake in the project. “But the quantum of holding is yet to be decided,” he said. On March 29, the corporation recommended the proposal to the State Government.
The State Government's final approval was expected for the agreement within a month, he added. Nalco has opened a project office in Ahmedabad.
The developments marked end of a long negotiation process after a global bidding round. Though several bidders had cleared the technical evaluation stage, Nalco was the lone contender to pass the scrutiny for the financial bids.
Regarding the quality of the ore, to be made available by GMDC, Nalco CMD said: “the grade is prima facie usable for viable production of alumina”.
Gujarat had floated tenders for an alumina project based on its bauxite reserves. Kutch has 63 million tonnes (mt) of low bauxite reserves. There are smaller estimated reserves of medium and high grade ores of around 20 mt. GMDC currently mines a little over a lakh tonne a year of relatively better grade bauxite. Vedanta Group sources a portion of bauxite for Niyamgiri plant in Orissa.

NALCO reports record bauxite and alumina production in FY12

NDTV PROFIT - 2nd April 2012

State-run National Aluminium Company Ltd. (NALCO) has reported highest ever bauxite and alumina production for the year 2011-12.
The company has achieved the highest-ever bauxite production of 50.03 lakh tonnes, against the previous best of 48.79 lakh tonnes achieved in 2009-10, company sources said.
The company's refinery has produced 16.87 lakh tonnes of alumina hydrate, which is an all-time high, against the previous best of 15.92 lakh tonnes achieved in 2009-10.
However, during the year, the metal production of the company slumped from 4.44 lakh tonnes to 4.13 lakh tonnes.
"Besides coal shortage, the dwindling LME prices of metal, forced the company to cut down its production of metal to some extent. It was not commercially viable to produce more metal using expensive imported coal,? NALCO's CMD B L Bagra said.
However, Bagra said, the smelter has achieved a capacity utilisation of 90 per cent since remaining of pots are under shut down since September 2011, due to coal constraint.
The net power generation by company?s captive power plant was 6,200 million units, he added. On the sales front, during the fiscal, NALCO has recorded 415,916 tonnes of cast metal sale, against 438,952 tonnes in the previous year.
Moreover, during the year, the company achieved the alumina hydrate sale of 842,396 tonnes, against 681,917 tonnes in 2010-11, he said.
Bagra also pointed out that the aluminium export by the company stood at 98,399 tonnes this year, against 98,200 tonnes achieved in the last financial year.
The smelter plant of the company started production of Chequered Sheet, a new variety of rolled products and it was sold in the domestic market for the first time in 2011-12 fiscal, he said.

Tajik TALCO left without natural gas

Trend.az - 2nd April 2012

The largest aluminum producer in Central Asia, the state unitary enterprise "Tajik Aluminum Company" (TALCO) left without natural gas, CA-News reported on

Rusal loses aluminum plant but competitors should not rejoice

NASDAQ, 2nd April 2012

The government of Ukraine has seized the only alumina plant in the country from nominal owner Rusal -- the world's biggest aluminum producer -- but while Rusal is fighting to regain control of the smelter, the only impact this could have on the company's rivals is negative.
The Zaporozhye Alumina and Aluminium Complex goes back to the 1930s and even with a hydroelectric plant attached to it is extremely inefficient when it comes to power usage.
Rusal used to crush bauxite into about 227,000 tons of alumina a year at the plant, then further refine it into 113,000 tons of pure aluminum.
However, demand for aluminum cratered in the 2008 recession, taking prices all the way from $3,000 a ton to barely $1,300.
Given those fundamentals, Rusal shut the plant down and left it empty ever since while it concentrated on more modern and energy-conscious facilities.
So even though Kiev has now taken the plant into receivership -- effectively re-nationalizing it after spinning it out in 2001 -- it is not like Rusal is losing any revenue here, and competitors are not getting any kind of price advantage or chance to steal alienated customers.
Global supply/demand calculations remain the same after the seizure: bearish.
Along with India , China is still the main problem as state-run Chalco ( ACH , quote ) ramps up production capacity . Western operators like Alcoa ( AA , quote ) and Rio Tinto ( RIO , quote ), meanwhile, are struggling to shut down smelters and shift to more profitable operations .
As it stands, China is tracking to become a net exporter of aluminum soon as domestic supply needs -- nearly half the world's industrial demand -- are met.
It's also possible that Ukraine will try to get the plant running again as a state-run enterprise. Traders who know what this entails can only shudder at the prospect of bureaucrats with little concern for profitability dumping an extra 110,000 tons of finished aluminum a year on an already-saturated global market to claim the revenue and put people to work Rusal and its rivals would lose in that event, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Management at Rusal have promised to fight the seizure, which centers around Ukraine's claims that the smelter has defaulted on a $75 million debt owed to a state-run bank.
We saw Kiev make a grab for this plant last year, only to have a court throw the case out.
There is no reason here for RIO or AA, much less ACH or the newly minted Global X Aluminum ETF ( ALUM , quote ), to be celebrating at Rusal's expense.
Sentiment may be okay, but the only impact this can have on the industry's fundamentals is neutral to negative.
If anything, Rusal's 2% decline today may be a buying opportunity for those of you who can actually trade this Hong Kong / Europe-listed stock.
And a quick note on ALUM: while interest in this long-awaited vehicle has helped boost speculative interest in the physical metal and support prices, the fund itself is in bad technical shape.
Like a lot of commodity trades, ALUM lost its grip on the 50-day trend and is now facing some serious resistance.
Sentiment comes and goes in these markets, but right now the trend still points down.

China targets Mongtolia in SouthGobi move

beyondbrics - 2nd April 2012

China’s largest aluminium producer intends to acquire SouthGobi Resources, a Mongolia-focused coal company listed in Toronto, for up to C$925m, in the biggest investment yet by a Chinese mining company in Mongolia as China seeks to tap the vast resources of its next-door neighbour, the FT reports.

Kaiser Aluminum's Trentwood mill gets major upgrades

Spokane Journal of Business - 29th March 2012

As part of an effort to ensure it remains a competitive player in the growing global aerospace industry, Kaiser Aluminum Corp. is making ongoing investments to improve the efficiency and capacity of its Spokane Valley Trentwood Works plant that will total $160 million when completed later this year.
Trentwood plant manager Scott Endres says Kaiser began installing new equipment at the aluminum rolling mill here in 2005 as part of a broader $250 million companywide strategic investm...

Angola bides time in unstable Guinea-Bissau

Business Day - 27th March 2012

Angola Bauxite offices in Guinea-Bissau empty, few signs of activity meant to result in creation of deepwater port at Buba and mine
ANGOLA’s $500m plan to build a bauxite mine and deepwater port in Guinea-Bissau has stalled, with almost no work done since the project was officially inaugurated in July last year, officials said yesterday.
The project, first signalled by Angola in 2008 after it won rights to a mining concession in the southeastern Boe region, would be the single biggest foreign investment in Guinea-Bissau, an impoverished country plagued by turmoil since independence and whose main export is cashew nuts.
Guinea-Bissau’s former prime minister, Carlos Gomes Jr, who stepped down to run for president in continuing elections, said the construction of the port and mine by Angola Bauxite, part-owned by the Angolan state, was being held up by an environmental impact study.
"(Construction) will start soon. Angola Bauxite already has an office in Bissau, the technicians are in place. The only thing missing is the environmental impact study, and I think we’ll have that soon," he said.
But an adviser to Bissau’s Ministry of Industry and Planning said Angola was dragging its feet on the investment because of an uncertain political and security environment in the country, which has had a history of coups.
President Joao Bernardo Vieira was assassinated in 2009, and there have been several outbursts since by the notoriously unruly military, including a coup within the armed forces in 2010 and a shoot-out in the capital in December. "Maybe once security reform makes some headway and the election resolves smoothly, the project will start moving forward," he said, asking not to be named.
Angola Bauxite was not immediately available to comment.
A Reuters reporter visited Angola Bauxite’s offices in Bissau last week, but found them empty. A security guard said the director had been out of the country since before Christmas and local workers were taking half days.
The project, publicised in 2008 and inaugurated with a ceremony in July last year, would create a deepwater port at Buba and a 3-million tons a year mine in Boe. Officials say the Boe deposits are a continuation of bauxite reserves in neighbouring Guinea, the world’s leading exporter of bauxite — the ore from which aluminium is made.
Mr Gomes won 49% of the vote on March 18, well ahead of his closest rival Kumba Yala with 23%, but not enough to avoid a run-off loosely scheduled for next month.

Century enters power talks in bid to restart smelter

Reuters - 23th March 2012

(Reuters) - Century Aluminum Co (CENX.O) said on Friday it has resumed talks for a power deal with Appalachian Power, a unit of American Electric Power Co. Inc. (AEP.N), to supply its Ravenswood, West Virginia aluminum smelter as it moves closer to restarting the idled plant.
The 170,000-tonne-a-year aluminum plant was shut in 2009 due to low demand for the metal and falling aluminum prices.
AS the company moves forward with its plans to resume operations, its next steps are to negotiate an energy agreement and a labor contract with the local steelworkers union.
"So, those are the next two things that we're working toward in order to restart," Century's spokeswoman said on Friday.
On February 29, Monterey, California-based Century announced that it struck a deal with the United Steelworkers union to restore healthcare benefits for retirees of the Ravenswood aluminum smelter as part of its move to restart operations.
The company spokeswoman said striking the deal on retiree healthcare was the first step in the process to restart.
She added that the plant will likely start up at less than full capacity, but the operating rate will depend on terms of the power and labor agreements, as well as the aluminum price.
"It's really those three things. So, we're working towards the two that we can have more impact on," the spokeswoman said.
Restarting Ravenswood would also depend on the aluminum price, "because that's necessary to have a profitably running facility," she added.
Though she declined to put a level on it, she said Century, "Needs a reasonable expectation that aluminum prices will be sufficient to cover costs and be profitable. That will be determined by the energy agreement and the labor contract."
The London Metal Exchange benchmark aluminum price closed Friday around $2,175 per tonne, well up from the near $1,300 a tonne level when the plant was idled.
West Virginia offered Century an inducement to restart the Ravenswood plant by passing a bill to give the company a $20 million annual tax break. The aluminum producer plans to hire about 400 people to run the smelter.
Once progress has been made on the power and labor deals the company will determine a timeline to restart operations.
"We'd love to do it as soon as possible, but this all takes a long time," the spokeswoman said.

Abu Dhabi's Mubadala to Begin Evaluation of Guinea Bauxite Maker

Business Week - 23th March 2012

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co. plans to begin evaluating Guinea’s state-owned bauxite producer Cie des Bauxites de Guinee, according to a government official.
Guinea is seeking a $300 million investment to expand production, Mines Minister Mohamed Lamine Fofana told reporters today in Conakry, the nation’s capital. Fofana didn’t say when the evaluation is expected to begin.
Mubadala, an investment company controlled by Abu Dhabi, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Guinea, which has the world’s largest bauxite reserves. The ore is refined into alumina, a white powder that’s smelted to make aluminum.
Guinea owns 49 percent of Cie des Bauxites de Guinee and Rio Tinto Plc (RIO) and Alcoa Inc. (AA) own the remainder.
Mubadala is an investor in Global Alumina Corp. (GLA/U), which is part of a joint venture planning to construct an alumina refinery in Guinea.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ougna Camara in Conakry at ocamara@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeran Wittenstein at jwittenstei1@bloomberg.net

Ukraine Court Rules Against Rusal in Zalk Aluminum Plant Dispute

Bloomberg - 23th March 2012

Ukraine’s government won a court hearing as it seeks to regain control over the Zaporizhskyi aluminum smelter from Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s United Co. Rusal.
The Kiev Commercial Court ruled to overturn a sale agreement and return a 68.01 percent stake in the plant, known as Zalk, to Ukraine’s state property fund, the Prosecutor General’s Office, also based in the country’s capital, said today in a statement on its website.
The prosecutors filed the suit, saying Rusal refused to refinance the plant’s $75.5 million of debt, “violating the state’s property rights,” according to the statement.
Rusal, the world’s biggest producer of the light metal, said it has fulfilled all of its obligations as investor.
“The court’s decision has not taken effect yet, and the company will challenge the decision in upper courts,” Rusal said in an e-mailed statement. “Zalk currently generates losses now because of the unprecedented high price for electricity.”