AluNews - May 2012

Ma'aden Alcoa Joint Venture Achieves Significant Safety Milestone

Business Wire - May 31st, 2012

Alcoa AA -0.35% and the Saudi Arabian Mining Company, Ma'aden have recorded a major safety milestone during construction of their aluminum smelter at Ras Al Khair, in Saudi Arabia: 25 million hours worked without a lost work day injury.
Part of the fully integrated aluminum complex being developed jointly by Ma'aden and Alcoa, the 740,000-metric-ton-per-year smelter is scheduled for completion in 2013.
The lost work day accomplishment was achieved by 39 construction companies employing a diverse multinational workforce that speaks more than 15 languages and represents upwards of 25 countries and cultures.
The number of workers including contractors grew from less than 200 to approximately 12,400 during this period.
"Achieving this remarkable safety performance on such a large and complex project requires team work, training and focus," said Ken Wisnoski, Vice President, Alcoa and President Global Primary Products Growth.
"While we are proud of this achievement, we know we cannot relax. Safety requires constant vigilance."
Engineer Abdullah Busfar, Chairman of Ma'aden Aluminium Company, said, "This is safety performance in keeping with the world-class facility we are building at Ras Al Khair.
There are many challenges to overcome to achieve an injury-free workplace in a project of this size, but we have the right people, focused on doing the right things, and the teams constructing the smelter are to be commended for achieving this milestone".
About the Ma'aden Alcoa joint venture In its initial phases, the joint venture will develop a fully integrated industrial complex which will become the world's preeminent and lowest-cost supplier of primary aluminum, alumina and aluminum products, with access to the growing markets of the Middle East and beyond. The complex comprises:
-- A bauxite mine with an initial capacity of 4,000,000 metric tons per year
-- An alumina refinery with an initial capacity of 1,800,000 metric tons per year
-- An aluminum smelter with an initial capacity of 740,000 metric tons per year
-- A rolling mill, with initial capacity of 380,000 metric tons per year. The mill will be the first in the Middle East capable of producing food grade can sheet, and will be one of the most technically advanced mills in the world.
First commercial production from smelter and mill is scheduled for 2013, followed by first commercial production of alumina from the mine and refinery complex, scheduled for 2014.
Alcoa will supply alumina to the smelter in the interim period.

Hundreds lose jobs as smelter reaches end of line

News Post Leader - June 1st, 2012

THIS week spells the end for Rio Tinto Alcan’s Lynemouth smelter as the main part of the plant closes its doors for the final time today.
About 290 workers were due to finish their last shifts this week, and many others have already left to take up other jobs or to use up holidays owed to them.
The aluminium smelter, opened 40 years ago at a cost of £54m, was given a £28m government grant back then to help it tackle unemployment in a part of Northumberland struggling to recover from a series of pit closures.
Now all that has come to an end as 515 jobs are being axed at the plant – a move some fear could have a catastrophic knock-on effect and lead to a further 2,500 jobs in the smelter’s immediate supply chain being lost too.
The closure was announced by Rio Tinto Alcan last year after it claimed no viable buyer could be found for the smelter.
The site had been the subject of a strategic review, and the multinational firm feared it would be crippled by new green taxes being phased in over the next few years.
There is still hope that the adjacent power station will be sold and converted from coal to biomass, safeguarding the jobs of those employed there, however.
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery has been campaigning for the plant to be saved, including handing a petition to Parliament backed by around 1,000 signatories, but to no avail.
He told the News Post Leader: “I’m truly, truly saddened and disturbed at the way Alcan has come to an end.
“It’s got the best technology around, the best trained workforce around and it’s making a profit.
“And why is it closing? Nobody has been able to give me an answer as of yet.
“I’ve had one response from the government and one from the company and yet they don’t add up. They both say something different.
“The government tried to help Alcan, but it refused their assistance. This is an absolute disgrace.
“Alcan has been at the forefront of industry in the county since the 1970s, and here we see it closing for no apparent reason.”
The company’s regional economic development director, John McCabe, said: “This week is when the contract of employment of almost 290 people come to an end.
“Originally, 232 were due to leave at the end of May, but we need to keep some of them a little longer than we first thought.
“Some have already left us because they have already got work elsewhere, and some people have taken holiday owed to them.
“The rest will be going when their shifts are ending, some today, some on Wednesday and some on Thursday. We wish them well.”
Mr McCabe said that as workers finish their last shifts they give feedback as to what they will be doing on leaving the plant, and those figures, as of Tuesday morning, indicate that 28 employees are retiring, 32 are going into self-employment, 40 are being employed elsewhere within Rio Tinto Alcan and 40 have found jobs elsewhere.
Limited operations will continue in the carbon plant until the end of July and in the casting plant until the end of the year.
After that, 68 workers will remain on site for the decommissioning of the plant.
“These are only the official figures, but we know of quite a large number of people who have jobs elsewhere who haven’t told us yet,” Mr McCabe said.
“By the end of this week, we’ll have a clearer picture.”
He added that around 130 people would be interviewed by an unnamed global aluminium company which he believes is willing to take on any workers prepared to make the move to the Middle East.

First Bauxite Corporation Announces Appointment of New Director and Option Grant

WDM Group PR Network - May 30th, 2012

First Bauxite Corporation (TSX VENTURE:FBX)(FRANKFURT:FBI)(BERLIN:FBI) ("First Bauxite" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has further strengthened its Board of Directors with the appointment of Mr. John W. Hick as a Director and Chairman.
Mr. Ioannis (Yannis) Tsitos has stepped down from the position of Interim Chairman to enable Mr. Hick to assume the Chairman role, but will continue serving as a Director.
Mr. Tsitos is thanked for his leading the Company as an officer and Interim Chair to date.
Mr. Hick brings over 30 years of executive management and board experience in the mining sector with operations encompassing the globe including Placer Dome, TVX Gold, Rio Narcea Gold, and Medoro Resources.
Mr. Hick holds a LLB degree from the University of Ottawa, was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1978, and currently serves on the boards of a number of other mining companies.
In connection with this appointment, the Company has granted incentive stock options for the purchase of up to 400,000 common shares of the Company at a price of $0.52 for a five-year period to Mr. Hick.
"I am extremely pleased that John has agreed to join our Board at this time," said Hilbert N. Shields, President & CEO.
"John's appointment adds valuable expertise to First Bauxite's Board to provide guidance to management to move forward with the next major milestones of the Company.
First Bauxite is increasingly well positioned to be the next major, long life, low cost, producer of refractory grade bauxite."

Australian Bauxite Limited (ASX:ABZ) Goulburn-Taralga Bauxite Resource up by 50% - 38 Million Ton

ABN Newswire - May 31st, 2012

Emerging bauxite exploration and development company, Australian Bauxite Limited (ASX:ABZ.AX - News) has 40 bauxite tenements totalling more than 8,700 km2 covering the core of the Eastern Australian Bauxite Province.
As announced on 30 May 2012, a discovery of extraordinarily thick bauxite at Mt Rae near Taralga, 40km north of Goulburn southern NSW in February-March 2012 has led to an expansion of the Pre Feasibility Study (PFS) for the Goulburn Bauxite Project and a resource upgrade has now also been undertaken as part of that expanded PFS.
ABx and Marubeni Corporation are conducting a AU$1.5 million pre feasibility study of the Goulburn Bauxite Project. This zone of thick bauxite increases the resource potential of the Taralga bauxite areas, near Goulburn NSW.
The district's deposits contain thick zones of premium grade bauxite, with good potential for more discoveries. All deposits are gibbsite-rich (trihydrate) bauxite, low in reactive silica and free of refractory mineral boehmite (monohydrate).
All horizons produce Direct Shipping or "DSO" bauxite.
Resource Estimation and Deposit Geometry
Areas of thick, good quality bauxite continue to be discovered across the Taralga - Mt Rae Areas and new bauxite target areas have been identified in new tenements that have been recently granted.
Over the last 12 months, bauxite resources at Taralga have increased by 50% from 25 million tonnes to the current estimate of 37.9 million tonnes.
Metallurgical Results Encouraging: Main Production is DSO Bauxite Metallurgical tests on large samples have been conducted as part of the Pre Feasibility Study, with METS Engineers of Perth coordinating and summarising the testwork.
The Goulburn Bauxite Project deposits typically have an upper half that contains nodules or "pisoliths" of a black, glassy material which is an emery, comprising mainly fused alumina and trace iron oxides.
Well-known bauxite mineralogist, Professor Eggleton of the Australian National University coined the term "PDM" for these black pisoliths which he found in bauxites from Weipa, Northern QLD. PDM stands for "poorly diffracting material" when subjected to X-ray diffraction.
Metallurgical tests on the PDM-bearing bauxite ("PDM-DSO Bx") from the Taralga area have been able to recover the PDM by gravity methods and the remaining bauxite is good-quality DSO bauxite, similar to the DSO bauxite that typically occurs in the lower half of the deposits.
This means that overall, DSO Bauxite will represent approximately 80% to 85% of total tonnes produced from the Goulburn Bauxite Project.
The recovered PDM emery material can be sold at good prices for industrial uses.

Bakun power sold

The Star Online - May 31st, 2012

Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) says it has secured sales for most of the electricity output from the Bakun hydro dam from companies in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).
Press Metal's new aluminium smelter in Samalaju is expected to start commercial production next month.
The new smelter will have a production capacity of 240,000 tonnes per annum when fully operational, which is double the capacity of its smelter in Balingian, Mukah Division.
The Balingian smelter also draws its power supply from the Bakun dam.
In a release, SEB said to cater to the increasingly strong power demand from new potential Score investors, it had embarked on its next phase of generation capacity expansion.
“This phase includes the development of the Baram dam project where studies, including soil investigations, and the relevant processes like community consultations have started.

Qatalum participates in Tenth International Aluminum Extrusion Technology Seminar & Exposition, Miami - USA

Zawya - May 30th, 2012

Qatalum, the state-of-the-art aluminium smelter, concluded their highly successfully participation in the Tenth International Aluminum Extrusion Technology Seminar & Exposition (ET), which was held in Miami, Florida, the USA from 15 to 18 April.
Qatalum's presence at ET '12 was in line with the progressive smelter's overall strategy to develop itself into a leading player in the aluminium sector on a global level.
The definitive seminar series for the aluminium extrusion industry, the International Aluminum Extrusion Technology Seminar & Exposition is a four-day educational event that attracts upwards of 1,300 industry professionals from all over the world.
Held every four years, ET brings together technical professionals, thought leaders, and decision makers in the aluminium extrusion industry from more than 50 countries.
Speaking on Qatalum's participation in ET 12, Mr Tom Petter Johansen, Qatalum CEO, said, "Our participation in the Tenth International Aluminum Extrusion Technology Seminar & Exposition formed an invaluable opportunity for Qatalum to strengthen its position as a global player in the field of aluminium extrusion.
Qatalum prides itself on being at the forefront of technological advancement in its field and as such ET was not only a perfect platform on which to showcase our abilities, but also an opportunity to explore even greater avenues for scientific development."
He went on to add that Qatalum made use of the opportunity to make contact with other industry leaders to explore mutually beneficial collaborations, discuss common issues and challenges, and investigate methods to further optimise and improve processes and operations.
Mr Johansen commented, "In line with the GCC region's progressively emergent role as a significant primary aluminium producer, Qatalum is constantly working to ensure that it remains at the head of the aluminium technologies development surge within in the region.
By taking part in events such as the International Aluminum Extrusion Technology Seminar & Exposition, Qatalum is not only working to make sure that it retains and builds on its own state-of-the-art position, but that the benefits from advancements in this field are also passed on to all of the aluminium adjacent industries within in Qatar, and so benefits the entire economy."
As a leader in operational excellence, high-quality aluminium products and environmental performance in the Gulf, Qatalum is actively working towards a future where the combination of Qatalum's primary aluminium production and other Qatari firms' utilisation of the aluminium to create value-added products, results in Qatar becoming one of the main centres of aluminium trade and production, not only in the region, but in the world.

Qatalum ‘working to remain leader

Gulf Times - May 31st, 2012

Qatar is all set to become one of the main centres of aluminium trade and production not only in the region but also in the world.
Qatalum is actively working towards a future where the combination of its primary aluminium production and other Qatari firms’ utilisation of the product to create value-added products, results in the country becoming one of the main centres of aluminium trade and production, it said in a presentation at the recently concluded 10th International Aluminum Extrusion Technology Seminar and Exposition in Miami, Florida.
“In line with the Gulf Co-operation Council region’s progressively emergent role as a significant primary aluminium producer, Qatalum is constantly working to ensure that it remains at the head of the aluminium technologies development surge within in the region,” said Tom Petter Johansen, CEO, Qatalum, a joint venture between Norsk Hydro and Qatar Petroleum.
He said Qatalum was not only working to make sure that it retained and build on its own state-of-the-art position, but that the benefits from advancement in this field were also passed on to all of the aluminium-related industries within in Qatar, and hence benefiting the entire economy.
Qatalum produces 585,000 tonnes of primary aluminum products per annum. Its complex facilities include a carbon plant, port and storage facilities, as well as a captive power plant.
Held every four years, the seminar brought together technical professionals, thought leaders, and decision makers in the aluminium extrusion industry from more than 50 countries.

US aluminium producer Aleris signs supply contract with Daimler

Platts - May 29th, 2012

US aluminium sheet maker and recycler Aleris has signed a four-year contract to provide molten aluminium to Daimler AG, the company said in a statement Tuesday.
The molten aluminium will be used for the production of cylinder heads for all Daimler vehicles.
Aleris chairman and chief executive officer Steven J. Demetriou said: "We have a longstanding relationship with Daimler and our partnership continues to be mutually beneficial. We are proud to provide a high-quality upstream product for Daimler's premium automobile brands."

Mubadala in talks on refinery for alumina

The National - May 30th, 2012

The owners of the world's largest aluminium smelter, which is being built in Abu Dhabi, are studying the addition of an alumina refinery to the site that could transform the emirate into a global hub for aluminium production.
Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, has issued a tender to study the feasibility of developing a refinery at its existing Emirates Aluminium (Emal) smelter site in Taweelah.
That would give the operation much greater control over its own supply chain by allowing it to convert bauxite ore into alumina.
"In terms of single-site smelters, Emal is going to be huge," said Olivier Masson, an aluminium consultant at CRU, a London-based metals intelligence company. "It shows that Abu Dhabi is looking at ways to put its gas to productive use. No other smelter in the Gulf has a refinery yet."
Emal, a joint venture between Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) and Mubadala, is building the world's largest single-site smelter at a 6-square-kilometre location at the Khalifa Industrial Zone in Taweelah, between the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
About US$5.7 billion (Dh20.9bn) has already been spent developing the first phase of the project, with $4.5bn being spent on the second phase, putting the country among the world's top aluminium producers. The second phase of the project is expected to be completed by 2014.
The plant will also be able to supply molten aluminium to processors based around the site, reducing the cost of transporting the metal in solid ingots and billets that have to be remelted.
"In the context of our continuing collaboration in the aluminium sector, Mubadala and Dubal are currently conducting preliminary studies as to the feasibility of constructing an alumina refinery in relative proximity to Emirates Aluminium," Mubadala said in a statement yesterday.
The business magazine MEED earlier reported a refinery could cost upwards of $1.5bn.
Gulf states continue to pump investment into aluminium production at a time when many global players are closing smelters and scaling back expansion plans.
Saudi Arabian Mining Company, better known as Ma'aden, this week awarded a contract to build an aluminium refinery in the Eastern Province. South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction won the $1.5bn order to build the 1.8 million tonnes-a-year plant.
However, a global supply glut has forced some of the world's largest producers of the metal to scale back. Norsk Hydro this week said it had shut its 180,000-tonne capacity smelter in Australia because of low prices and an uncertain economic outlook.
Rio Tinto closed a similarly sized plant in the United Kingdom in March and also scrapped plans to build a $2bn smelter in Malaysia.
The Gulf's six main aluminium producers produced about 3.1 million tonnes of the metal in 2010, or 7 per cent of global supply, according to Deloitte. But that is predicted almost to double to 13 per cent by next year as smelters such as the one being built in Taweelah add capacity.
Emal has been in talks with two metal processors interested in building facilities alongside its $10.2bn plant in Abu Dhabi, Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, the chief executive, said in an interview with The National this month.
"We are encouraging downstream industries to set up around Emal, and we have already committed with two companies and are in negotiations with another two," he said.

Bechtel and Ma'aden Aluminium Company Reach New Safety Milestone

World News Report - May 29th, 2012

Workers Surpass 25 Million Safe Job Hours at Ras Al Khair Project

Bechtel and the Ma'aden Aluminium Company have celebrated a major safe working achievement at the Ras Al Khair Aluminium Smelter project in Saudi Arabia: 25 million job hours without a lost work day injury. Ras Al Khair will be the world's largest aluminium smelter when completed in 2013.
The Ras Al Khair Aluminium Smelter project, which is being developed by Ma'aden in partnership with Alcoa, reached the safety milestone on May 14. Twenty-five million job hours worked without a lost work day case (LWDC) represents 269 LWDC-free days.
"This significant safety milestone is a testament to the leadership and commitment to safety shown by everyone involved with the project -- Bechtel people, Ma'aden people, Alcoa people, and the many contractors working at the site. It reflects the fact that zero harm is at the forefront of all work we do," said Russ Barretta, Bechtel's Mining and Metals general manager for North America, Europe, and the Middle East. "Bechtel, Ma'aden, and Alcoa share a dedication to a safe, environmentally sound, and healthy workplace for all employees."
Bechtel has 72 years of experience in Saudi Arabia and is a global leader in the mining and metals industry. The company has successfully delivered more than 40 mining and metals projects in the Middle East region and more than 2,500 across the world.

60,000 tonnes of bauxite for China

The Fiji Times Online - May 29th, 2012

LOADING of the 60,000 tonnes of bauxite in the province of Bua is expected to be completed next week.
Bauxite mine manager Basilio Vanuaca said the MV Yon Shun would load 60,000 tonnes of bauxite valued at $2.1 million a month.
However, he said it was not clear when the ship would leave for China.
"The ship is still being loaded and will complete loading by next week,"? Mr Vanuaca said.
"Actual dates are not clear as it involves Customs, Immigration and Quarantine to release the ship,"? he said.
The ship, which sailed straight from China for the first shipment, has a capacity of 60,000 tonnes.
It arrived last week and was cleared in Lautoka before sailing to Galoa Bay with the help of local pilot Captain Freddy Vollmer.
Mr Vanuaca said the Bua bauxite mine was expected to rake in about $25 million annually from the expected 12 shipments.
He said the mine would export an estimated two million tonnes of bauxite from Nawailevu over the next two years.
Two barges that arrived earlier this year from China will transport 2000 tonnes each of bauxite to load onto the mother ship anchored in Galoa Bay.
The Nawailevu bauxite mine in Bua has injected about $34 million to set up the operation and this includes social obligations costs, education, church aid and employment.

Brazil drafting laws to ease power concession renewals

Reuters - May 28th, 2012

High electricity rates have contributed to stagnant investment and production in energy-intensive industries.
Despite Brazil's bauxite and alumina resources, no new aluminum factories have been built in Brazil since 1985 and two have closed, keeping production levels stagnant, a study by the country's Getulio Vargas Foundation said. It said electricity accounts for an "insane" 35 percent of the industry's production costs.
U.S.-based aluminum producer Alcoa (AA.N) said in April it was considering big production cuts at two of its Brazil factories in part because of high electricity costs.
Hubner said the direct renewal of concession contracts would bring increased demands on concession holders, with Aneel taking on greater authority to intervene in the operation of struggling companies.
"The idea is to make it clear under which conditions you can, for example, withdraw a concession by decree," he said.
The government is also considering ending the right of utilities to build up tax credits on a levy known as PIS-Cofins. The government would likely compensate by reducing the cost of that tax. A tax used to subsidize the cost of power for low-income consumers could also be reduced.
Separately, the government is preparing a draft bill that would prohibit public service concession holders from filing for bankruptcy. Under study by the attorney general, it would allow regulators to intervene when service declines because of heavy debt.
Such concessions could be canceled and put up for auction, according to the proposed law, Hubner said.
(Additional reporting by Tiago Pariz and Peter Murphy; Writing by Peter Murphy; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

NUMBER CRUNCHING: MONGOLIA

Mad Investment Solutions - May 28th, 2012

The reason for this growth? Mining. Estimates suggest that Mongolia has $1.3tr (£820bn) worth of untapped mineral resources, although managing the country’s mineral resources is an ongoing issue.
In spite of any issues, there are clearly a number of foreign companies interested in investing in the Mongolian minerals market. For example, Aluminium Corporation of China (Chinalco), which is undertaking a number of mining projects in Mongolia, has owned a 12.9 per cent stake in Rio Tinto since 2008.
According to data compiled by Thomson Reuters, of the 85 deals that took place in the Mongolian market between 2009 and 16 May 2012, 66 were related to the mining and metals sector. Of the deals where values are given only two exceed the $100m mark. The largest was in May 2011, when Mongolia’s primary coking coal producer Mongolian Mining Corp (MMC) acquired QGX Coal from Kerry Mining for $950m.
Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy advised MMC, while Davis Polk & Wardwell advised the sellers.
Milbank, alongside Mallesons Stephen Jacques, Conyers Dill & Pearman and Mumbai-based Economic Law Practice (ELP), advised MMC on its first IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2010, with Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom advising the managers. For MMC’s follow-on offering in 2012, Allen & Overy and Mongolian law firm GTs Advocates acted for MMC. Hogan Lovells advised Macquarie.
Hogan Lovells has also been advising state-owned mining company Erdenes on developing the Tavan Tolgoi mining project in southern Mongolia.
One deal included in the data (but not listing legal counsel) is the recent $925m bid by Chalco (a subsidiary of Chinalco) to buy a 60 per cent controlling stake in Mongolian coal miner SouthGobi Resources from rival Vancouver-based copper and gold mining company Ivanhoe Mines. Clifford Chance, Chinese firm Jincheng Tongda & Neal and Fasken Martineau advised Chalco, with Goodmans acting for Ivanhoe, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advising SouthGobi and Ashurst acting for the independent committee of directors.
With the rising number of deals it is no surprise there has been a steady flow of foreign law firms into the capital, Ulaanbaatar. Hogan Lovells started the trend in 2010 when it entered into an alliance with local firm GTs Advocates. DLA Piper then announced in 2011 that it was entering Mongolia through a non-exclusive tie-up with local firm C&G Partners.
Allens Arthur Robinson (AAR) opened a representative office there in November 2011. AAR is a longstanding adviser to Rio Tinto, whose joint venture Mongolian Oyu Tolgoi project is the world’s largest undeveloped copper and gold mine.
Earlier this year two more firms took the plunge when Minter Ellison announced plans to open an office and Clyde & Co said it was setting up an association with local firm Khan Lex Advocates

World unwrought aluminum stocks up 63,000 mt in April: IAI

Platts - May 28th, 2012

Global unwrought aluminum inventories at the end of April increased 63,000 mt from March but fell 80,000 mt from April 2011, according to figures released Monday by the International Aluminium Institute.
Unwrought inventories totaled 1.454 million mt at the end of April, up from a revised 1.391 million mt a month earlier but down from 1.534 million mt at the end of April 2011.
Total aluminum inventories at the end of April were up 77,000 mt at 2.406 million mt from a revised 2.329 million mt in March, but down 181,000 mt from 2.587 million mt a year earlier, the IAI said.

The real trouble with aluminium

Climate Spectator - May 28th, 2012

The Australian aluminium industry is in the doldrums. A high dollar, low prices and Asian competition are threatening the industry, with older plants in New South Wales and Victoria under threat of closure.
The debate about the future of the industry often concentrates on the high energy usage associated with aluminium production. The joke description of aluminium as “congealed electricity” is never far away.
It is true that a lot of energy is required to make Aluminium. CSIRO calculate that the embodied energy (all the energy used to make the material) for aluminium is 211 GJ per tonne, compared to 22.7 GJ per tonne for steel. This huge difference in overall energy required to produce the metal helps explain the enormous difference in the scales of the two industries: last year, nearly 1500 million tonnes of steel was made in the world compared to 40 million tonnes of aluminium.
Of course, aluminium is over three times lighter than steel, which means that energy savings can be made over the lifetime of the metal’s use if aluminium replaces steel in transport. Also, the overall energy picture looks much healthier if your energy source is hydroelectricity.
Some argue that only countries with hydroelectricity should make aluminium. I would argue that would not be a very healthy economic solution for Australia and would reduce us to being a supplier of raw materials. I also think this analysis underplays the environmental impact of dams and ignores the part aluminium smelters play in providing consistent base loads for power generation. In many countries around the world, aluminium smelters provide the impetus for construction of power stations, as the investors know that the smelter will provide 24 hour base load, 365 days per year.

Why is so much energy required to make aluminium?

In simple terms, the strength of the chemical bond between aluminium and oxygen is significantly stronger than the same bond between iron and oxygen. As a result, much more energy is required to split the bond and form the metal.
There is another complication that makes the situation worse: the relative chemical stability of the two oxides (alumina and iron oxide) and carbon monoxide. Above around 700°C, oxygen prefers to be bonded with carbon than with iron. This means that if you put coal or charcoal with iron ore above 700°C, you can make metallic iron. This discovery was one of the greatest breakthroughs in the history of the human race and underpins a large proportion of the Australian economy, as Australia is blessed with plentiful and rich sources of iron oxide and carbon (coal).
Unfortunately, this is not the case for aluminium oxide. The same reaction needs around 2000°C before metal is made. And, in fact, at that temperature a lot of aluminium carbide and vapour – waste products – is also made. As you can imagine, operating a furnace at 2000°C with poor yield is not attractive and this route for making aluminium has never taken off. Alcoa is currently trying to develop this route but it is unclear whether the “carbothermic route” to aluminium will ever be economically feasible.
Aluminium is made by dissolving the oxide into molten salts, at around a more modest 960°C, and applying a current to help break down the oxide. This is the Hall-Heroult process, which dominates world aluminium production at the moment. The process typically loses around 50 per cent of the incoming energy as low grade heat, which is due in part to the fact that the salts required to dissolve the oxide are so corrosive that there no practical way to keep the heat in. There are also great challenges in the anode and cathode technology in the Hall-Heroult process that result in large resistance losses.
In general, high temperature electrolytic routes for making metals are the last resort for a metal producer. They suffer from low productivity and relatively high energy losses compared to standard pyrometallurgical processes. The aluminium industry would love to have the equivalent of the modern ironmaking blast furnace, which can produce around 3 million tonnes of metal per year in a small fraction of the volume, compared to the many acres of Hall-Heroult cells required to produce that much metal.
What can be done to lower the energy consumption of aluminium production? A combination of breakthroughs in materials science, developing advanced control systems and straight-out innovation could make a big difference. I and other researchers around the world have identified existing research projects, if developed and commercialised, could reduce the energy by up to 25 per cent of current usage.
For example, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Wollongong and CSIRO are currently working on new refractory materials that can withstand the corrosive conditions of the Hall-Heroult process and keep the heat in. Excellent progress is being made, and if successfully commercialised these materials could make a serious dent into the 25 per cent overall reduction goal.
At the University of New South Wales, new anode materials are being investigated that would allow resistance losses in the circuit to be lowered, as well as advanced control systems that are being trialled in collaboration with industry by Associate Professor Jie Bao. Joint research at Swinburne University of Technology and CSIRO is looking to reduce resistance losses in the cells using new designs and computational modelling of the electrical contacts. Mr David Molenaar at CSIRO has developed a unique laboratory system for testing new anode designs.
Even more radical research at University of Auckland and Swinburne University of Technology is looking to “bulldoze” the current technology and bypass the problems of the carbothermic route by developing new chemistry to crack this old chestnut. Dr Rhamdhani (Swinburne) and his team are investigating thsulphur route, whilst, Professor Mark Taylor’s team (Auckland) are looking seriously at a chloride chemistry route.
All of this research, and other projects around the world, are focused on lowering the energy associated with aluminium production. Naturally enough, I would like to see Australia take the lead on these developments.
The current business environment appears to be very negative. But opportunities for innovation abound in times of crisis. Given Australia’s great natural advantages in terms of raw materials, I see some light at the end of the tunnel.
The time to innovate has arrived.

Heyday sheds 500 jobs in wake of Hastie collapse

Business Day - May 28th, 2012

As many as 500 employees of NSW electrical contractor, the Heyday Group, are believed to be out of work following the collapse at the weekend of parent Hastie Group, making it the latest in a spreading round of corporate failures in the construction industry.
Union officials said the employees were told they were out of a job when they turned up for work today.
Heyday group is one of the largest data and electrical contractors in NSW and the ACT, with offices also in Wollongong and Newcastle. Advertisement: Story continues below
"Employees were told they didn't have jobs when they turned up for work this morning," one union official said.
"This has been on the cards for many months, following the company's exposure to questionable dealings in the Middle East."
Hastie Group, the parent of Heyday group, disclosed on Friday $20 million of losses following the discovery of accounting irregularities. The disclosure came amid lengthy negotiations with the company's financiers which were aimed at recapitalising the company following heavy losses.
The losses at Heyday group follow as many as 400 jobs which are expected to be lost with the planned closure of the Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter in the Hunter Valley announced last week. In addition, as many as 800 jobs are exposed to the anticipated shutdown of the Kurnell oil refinery, with a decision here due mid-year.

Maaden signs $1.5 billion aluminium refinery contract

Interactive Investor Trading Limited - May 27th, 2012

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) <1211.SE> has signed a $1.5 billion contract with Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. <000720.KS> to build an aluminium refinery in the kingdom's Eastern Province, a bourse statement said on Sunday.
The refinery will have an annual production capacity of 1.8 million metric tonnes of smelter-grade alumina and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014, the statement added.

UPDATE 1-Maaden signs $1.5 bln aluminium refinery contract

Reuters - May 27th, 2012

May 27 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) has awarded a $1.5 billion contract to South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. to build an aluminium refinery in the kingdom, a bourse statement said on Sunday.
The refinery, to be constructed in the Eastern Province, will have an annual production capacity of 1.8 million metric tonnes of smelter-grade alumina and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014, the statement to Saudi Arabia's stock exchange said.
"The contract includes completing detailed engineering, procurement, construction, pre-commissioning, commissioning assistance, start-up assistance and training services," Maaden added.
In March, the firm agreed a draft deal with Hyundai to build the refinery, part of a multibillion dollar complex in Ras Al Khair that is 74.9-percent owned by Maaden and 25.1 percent by Alcoa Inc.

Power deal sustains insolvent Voerde Aluminium

Reuters - May 26th, 2012

Insolvent German aluminium plant Voerde Aluminium has agreed a deal to maintain power supplies and is continuing production as the search goes on for a buyer, its provisional administrator said on Friday.
The Voerde smelter, which produces 115,000 tonnes of aluminium annually, declared insolvency on May 4.
Germany's metals industry association said the Voerde case illustrates the danger to German metal output from the country's high electricity prices.
Agreement has been reached with power utilities about continued electricity supplies to Voerde without the financial guarantees previously requested, provisional administrator Frank Kebekus said in a statement.
Continued power supplies were a "fundamental requirement" for continued operations, he said. The plant's main aluminium production units, the anode and electrolysis sections, are "continuing full operations," he said.
Kebekus said he hoped to find a buyer for the main plant, based in the central German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the "near future."
An unnamed Voerde Aluminium customer has signed an initial agreement to purchase the plant's casting shop which has 125 of Voerde's 410 employees.
Final terms of the cast shop sale are still being negotiated but should be completed before the opening of full insolvency hearings on July 1, he said. (Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by David Cowell)

End of power subsidies fried smelting sector

The Australian Financial Review - May 25th, 2012

Almost 350 workers at the KurriKurri aluminium smelter in NSW have become pawns in the shouting that masquerades as public policy debate in Australia in 2012.
The facts of the smelter’s closure and the cost pressures that this and other Australian businesses face are reasonably clear. Interpretation of the facts and the overlay of politics make things less clear, and shining some light might be useful.
Aluminium smelting in Australia, like other light metals manufacturing, has been politically charged for decades."
Electricity costs are the major driver of aluminium smelter plant profitability and location decisions.
Most Australian producers have generally had low costs by global standards because the price they have paid for electricity has been low and has also been subsidised by legacy state government contracts.
An example of such subsidies was the decision to support Alcoa for Point Henry and Portland, made by the Liberal government in 1979.
In 2009, Rob Maclellan, who was in cabinet for the decision, described it as a “collective moment of insanity”. This deal was inherited by new private sector owners of generation assets and added $2.45?to every MWh sold in Victoria.
As these contracts have approached their end dates, the smelters have found it difficult to negotiate new contracts, as the Kurri Kurri operation found in its negotiations with Delta Electricity.
Moving to commercial electricity prices would add about 50 per cent to the average wholesale price applying to these smelter contracts, the Grattan Institute estimated in a report in 2010.
A further and pending cost pressure is the impact of export parity pricing for thermal coal on domestic supply contracts with generators. These contracts were negotiated at the time of vertical disaggregation by governments and effectively protected households and businesses from volatility in global prices while they were in place.
Their unwinding in the next few years has been highlighted in submissions to the NSW regulator, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.
These cost increases will have a material impact on the competitiveness of Australian aluminium smelting businesses.
At the same time, new smelting centres have emerged in southern Africa, Iceland and the Middle East with very low-cost electricity. This has eroded efficiency advantages that Australian smelters had once held over plants in the United States, Europe and Russia.
The position is also complicated by Chinese producers, which have been accused of dumping subsidised aluminium on the world market.
An assessment of these market forces suggests that Kurri Kurri becomes a very high-cost producer, independent of a carbon price. The owner of the Kurri Kurri smelter, Norsk Hydro, has acted on this position, presumably judging that it is unlikely to improve.
Full carbon pricing would probably result in most Australian aluminium production moving overseas. In the medium term, with the exception of Tasmania’s Bell Bay, this would probably cut global carbon emissions, since Australian smelters emit more greenhouse gases than the International Aluminium Institute global average.
New global capacity is also likely to have even lower emissions, locating in countries where electricity is produced from hydro, nuclear or geothermal energy.
In some cases, such as the Middle?East, Canada and Iceland, there are few alternative uses for this electricity, making it relatively cheap.
An example closer to home could include the sort of large-scale hydro generation envisaged by Origin Energy for Papua New Guinea.
The owners of the Kurri Kurri smelter have indicated that “the carbon tax is not a major issue compared to other factors”, and the above assessment would support such a view.
It is equally clear that longer-term carbon pricing will be a global consideration for all big aluminium producers when locating new capacity. The short-term impact of the emissions trading scheme is not trivial for aluminium smelting and will add to other pressures.
In the absence of the basic loss of competitiveness from non-carbon factors, Norsk Hydro may well have waited to see the outcome of the next federal election and the approach that a possible Abbott government might take to climate change. However, the immediate bleeding of cash made the decision a no-brainer.
In the context of such pressures, and taking a long-term perspective that carbon pricing will be a reality beyond current political positioning, this decision is unlikely to be the first of a kind.

Why Paul Howes is wrong and BHP is right

Climate Spectator - May 25th, 2012

Paul Howes, the head of the Australian Workers Union, is misguided, as are many others who advocate for energy subsidies as part of a strategy of “value-adding” Australia’s minerals and energy.
Today, Paul Howes unveiled a five-point plan for saving Australia’s aluminium smelting industry involving:
1. Competitive energy supply contracts;
2. Stronger local content rules for major resource projects;
3. Co-investment from state and federal governments in more efficient plant and equipment;
4. Accelerated depreciation on capital stock investment for the aluminium sector;
5. Investment in ways to improve the energy efficiency of plants and process innovations.
While this might sound reasonable on face value, I suspect that what it means in practice is an extremely expensive job creation scheme with little lasting benefit after the subsidies are removed.
What exactly does competitive energy supply contracts mean?
At its core it is code for selling energy below its long-term market value. If you are an aluminium company I can tell you that means electricity supplied to your door at less than $25 per megawatt-hour because this is what other governments around the world are stupid enough to do.
This is well below the long-term price for electricity (ignoring the carbon price), which must ultimately be set by the cost of building and operating new power stations, which would be around $50 per MWh for dirt-cheap coal.
This issue is not isolated to Paul Howes and aluminium.
We are confronting exactly the same problem with gas supplies. A number of energy-intensive businesses such as Rio Tinto, Alcoa and Incitec Pivot (a fertiliser company) want the government to force gas producers to provide gas to them at prices well below market value – which will now be set by Asian markets because it can be exported via liquefaction.
Of course these companies don’t put it in those terms, instead they talk about “domestic reservation” of gas supplies or “resource value-adding”, but it is a subsidy by another name.
As an example of this argument see this article by Robert Gottliebsen.
They also try to roll-out spurious scare tactics such as Rio Tinto claiming (as reported uncritically in The Australian) that they can’t secure a contract for gas supply in Queensland and that Australia is overstating its gas reserves. The reality is there’s bucket-loads of gas, but Rio just isn’t prepared to pay the price that suppliers know the gas is worth now they can export it overseas.
Intuitively you would think Australia could capture greater wealth by not just exporting raw materials, such as iron ore or gas, but further processing them into things like steel or fertiliser. It is true that this might end up generating greater export revenue and employ more people along the value chain. But the question is whether that additional revenue outweighs the additional cost, and what other value you could have created with those people you employed.
If you want to know whether this approach generates greater economic value have a look at BHP Billiton’s strategy since the late 1990s and early 2000s.
BHP realised the key to making money was to concentrate on those sections of the value chain in minerals and resources that others could not easily replicate. So when it came to making steel it realised it was extremely easy for anyone to build a new steel mill, but low cost, long-lived coking coal and iron ore mines were rather rare. It closed and sold-off its steel business and it has been a disaster for those who bought into Bluescope. And the only thing that rescued OneSteel was that it got into iron ore mining.
Also BHP, unlike Rio Tinto, has studiously avoided getting any deeper into aluminium smelting in the last 10 years, but has continued to invest in its existing upstream bauxite and alumina assets. That’s also because aluminium smelters can be readily built by the Chinese, but they can’t replicate Australia’s large-low cost Bauxite reserves.
The end result is that Rio Tinto lost huge amounts of money on its Alcan acquisition, and now every Western aluminium business talks up how it has excess bauxite and alumina for its own smelters’ needs.
Marketing 101 dictates that profit and therefore high paying jobs are captured by those sections of the production value chain that are difficult for others to replicate. Let’s not squander our mineral wealth and unnecessarily increase carbon emissions by subsidising energy supplies to prop up businesses who’s only future is ruinous competition and ultimately low wages.
Far better to direct our effort towards endeavours with greater growth prospects requiring human capabilities that can’t easily be copied by others.

CMP buys Guizhou bauxite mine for abrasives, refractories

Industrial Minerals - May 25th, 2012

China Mineral Processing Co. Ltd has recently purchased a new mine at Xiuwen, in Guizhou province, southern China.
The new mine has proven reserves of 3m tonnes and the official mining licence was granted to CMP Xiuwen Mining Development in March 2011.
Open pit mining plus a single adit will initially be used to produce 100-200,000 tpa of non-metallurgical grade bauxite.
According to James Devlin, managing director of CMP Sales Europe, the mine is already producing abrasive...

Aluminium plan needed to save jobs

The Australian Workers' Union - May 24th, 2012

The Australian Workers' Union will tomorrow take a five-point plan to the Prime Minister's Taskforce on Manufacturing in Canberra.
AWU National Secretary Paul Howes today said the Australian aluminium sector was in crisis as it struggled to deal with the impact of the high exchange rate and low global price for aluminium.
"These two factors have been exacerbated by the failure of State Governments to finalise competitive, secure energy contracts with aluminium companies, and a lack of investment in better plant and equipment by the companies themselves," Mr Howes said.
"Australia is a major global producer of bauxite – the raw material for aluminium – so it is vital that we retain the ability to value-add this product locally.
"A plan is needed to help the industry through this difficult period, and to secure Australian jobs in the aluminium sector for the long-term."
Mr Howes said the AWU would take five key issues to the Prime Minister's Manufacturing Taskforce tomorrow:
  1. Competitive energy supply contracts;
  2. Stronger local content rules for major resource projects;
  3. Co-investment from State and Federal Governments in more efficient plant and equipment;
  4. Accelerated depreciation on capital stock investment for the aluminium sector;
  5. Investment in ways to improve the energy efficiency of plants and process innovations.
"The longer-term projections for the aluminium industry are very positive.
"There are a range of things which can be done to help the industry survive its short term challenges, but we need to take action now," Mr Howes said.

Writing on the wall for aluminium industry

www.theherald.com.au - May 24th, 2012

NORSK Hydro's decision to close the Kurri Kurri smelter came as a shock to all involved, but at the same time it was no surprise.
The drums have been beating louder over a cyclical industry for some years now, and both of the Hunter Valley's smelters had already taken the scalpel to their operations in recent months.
The aluminium industry is responsible for an estimated 15 per cent of Australia's electricity output and the federal government recognised this, offering the industry billions of dollars in carbon assistance as an "emissions intensive, trade exposed" industry.
The Tomago Aluminium smelter will receive its share of assistance, but the outlook has been so bleak for Kurri that Hydro has elected to close the plant before the carbon tax takes effect.
It is impossible to tell what impact the tax will have on the remaining Australian smelters, but Hydro insists carbon is only a secondary factor behind low metal prices and the high Aussie dollar.
A graph of London Metals Exchange aluminium prices shown to Kurri workers yesterday revealed a current price of about $US2000 a tonne. Since 2007 the price has been above $US3000 and as low as about $US1300, but the big killer, says Hydro, is the currency.
Hydro senior vice-president Olaf Wigstol said he expected the currency to stay long-term at $US1.00 or even higher.
Hydro's view is similar to that expressed in this month's American Metal Market magazine, which looks at why Australia is losing its place in the world aluminium market.
Much is said about China's role in the market - and there is no doubt Chinese production is heavily subsidised - but Hydro says the country's role is overstated in this instance.
Metal Market says aluminium prices have risen by far less than almost every other metal in the past decade, and cites "rapidly expanding Chinese production" as a major factor in global oversupply.
Documents in a 2009 anti-dumping case against China run by Capral say China has been dumping aluminium products in Australia since at least 1998, costing it $250 million in profits.

Carbon tax fight reignites after smelter closure

ABC NEWS - May 24th, 2012

The Federal Opposition has savaged the Government over the closure of an aluminium smelter in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, blaming the carbon tax.
Norsk Hydro posted a statement on its website saying, among other factors, its long-term profitability would be affected by "increasing energy costs and the carbon tax".
This prompted Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to launch a series of attacks on the Government in Question Time on Wednesday, calling on the Prime Minister to apologise.
Julia Gillard rejected the carbon tax was to blame, instead referring to other reasons cited by the company, including a plunge in global aluminium prices.
Politics aside, for Norsk Hydro workers the closure is a "slug in the guts".
The smelter at Kurri Kurri employs 344 people directly, but Australian Workers Union spokesman Richard Downie says many more will be affected by the closure.
"We've got 400 to 500 women and men up there and they're not all at a retiring age," he said.
"They need to keep working and putting bread on the table, and this is just a real slug in the guts for the Hunter Valley - Newcastle and the Hunter Valley."

On its website, Norsk Hydro says despite extensive efforts to improve the plant's cost position, it has been unable to improve profitability.
"The profitability of Hydro's Kurri Kurri plant has suffered as a result of the continued weak macro-economic conditions, with low metal prices and an uncertain market outlook, as well as the strong Australian dollar," it reads.
"Following a thorough review, it is clear that the plant will not be profitable in the short term with current market prices, while long-term viability will be negatively affected by a number of factors, including increasing energy costs and the carbon tax."

High costs bring smelter unstuck

Brisbane Times.com.au - May 24th, 2012

RISING power prices along with the strong dollar and low metal prices have been pinpointed as reasons for the closure of one of the two aluminium smelters in NSW. It comes as a review of Victoria's Point Henry smelter nears a conclusion.
Norsk Hydro yesterday said it would close the Kurri Kurri smelter in the Hunter Valley, reducing its aluminium production 120,000 tonnes a year. Earlier this year, one of the three potlines at the plant was closed, cutting output by 60,000 tonnes.
About 150 full-time employees lost their jobs at the plant as a result of the earlier shutdown.
The remaining 344 workers will now lose their jobs, and total job losses are expected to be pushed to about 500 with a large number of contractor and supplier positions also at risk.
Norsk Hydro's decision comes as Alcoa's review of the Point Henry smelter in Victoria moves closer to its end-June completion date, with the company tightlipped yesterday about progress. ''We haven't come to any conclusion,'' an Alcoa spokeswoman said.
Along with the weak aluminium and strong currency markets, Norsk Hydro pointed to the outlook for power prices and the impact of the July 1 carbon tax for the decision to close the plant.
''Thirty to 40 per cent of their cost is electricity,'' Miles Prosser, the executive director of the Australian Aluminium Council, said. ''Anything that raises power prices is an issue for smelters. They're vulnerable to rising power prices. It's a key issue. ''Looking forward, rising power prices comes into play'' for the decision to close the smelter.
Norsk Hydro had been locked in negotiations with its electricity supplier, Delta Electricity, for a new long-term contract, which had dragged on since 2010 with no conclusion in sight.
''The dollar is artificially high … and the price of electricity is going north because of the piecemeal solar scheme which wasn't priced properly, the 20 per cent renewables target … which in the end pushes power prices higher - and large users can't pay,'' said Garbis Simonian, who runs Weston Aluminium, which uses waste from the Kurri Kurri plant.
His company is looking to axe close to a third of its workforce following the smelter shutdown.
''I'd be surprised if there weren't more companies facing similar threshold decisions about where they go in the future due to rising power prices,'' Roman Domanski, the executive director of the Energy Users Association of Australia, said.

Queensland Govt approves Weipa bauxite project

Cairns.com.au - May 24th, 2012

RIO Tinto Alcan's $1.45 billion bauxite project near Weipa has been approved by the State Government but faces a more rigorous assessment before it can proceed, Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke warns.
The South of Embley venture will generate more than 2000 jobs and extend the life of bauxite mining operations near Weipa for another 40 years.
Queensland Co-ordinator-General Barry Broe yesterday announced the project had been granted conditional approval.
"I have imposed conditions which establish clear principles and procedures on matters including post-mining land use and rehabilitation, local and indigenous employment, training and skills development and mitigation of potential social impacts of the mine," he said.
Rio Tinto Alcan president and chief executive officer of bauxite and alumina Pat Fiore said the economic impact of the project would ripple throughout the region.
South of Embley would enable the company to extend bauxite mining to an existing lease and build new infrastructure including a power station, processing plant, warehouses, workshops, a barge and ship-loading facilities.
Mr Fiore said the project would generate employment for the region "for generations to come". "An average of 950 workers will be required for construction," he said.
"During operation, employee numbers will range up to 1200, depending on production rates."
But Mr Burke, who has raised concerns about the impact the mine’s shipping activity would have on the Great Barrier Reef, said the proposal would come under close scrutiny from the federal environment department.

Alcoa Defends $12 Value, Holds Back Alumina Refinery Expansion In Australia

Forbes.com - May 24th, 2012

Alcoa , the largest aluminum producer in the United States, has yet again decided to postpone expansion of an alumina refinery in Australia as aluminum prices continue to remain under pressure. The move followed its earlier announcement to curtail capacity at some of its smelters and refinery in the wake of falling aluminum prices and rising costs.
Alcoa is a fully integrated producer of aluminum; it mines bauxite, refines it into alumina, makes primary aluminum and also produces midstream products such as flat-rolled sheets and downstream engineered products. It competes with companies like Rio Tinto, ArcelorMittal and US Steel.
Our price estimate for Alcoa stands at $12, implying a premium of close to 35% to the current market price.
See Full Analysis of Alcoa Here
To cut alumina refining capacity
In 2008, the company had postponed plans to expand the Wagerup refinery in Australia. However, the company has secured another five-year extension of the permit, which expired last October. The refinery currently has a production capacity of about 2.6 million tons per annum of alumina. Expansion will take the capacity to as high as 4.7 million tons per annum, subject to approvals. Such expansion would enable the company to be in a prime position to ride continued growth from emerging markets in Asia.
But, alumina prices have also declined to a level at which the company would find it difficult to justify the expansion of its refinery. Alcoa has already announced that it will cut its alumina refining capacity in the Atlantic region – which contributes to almost half of the company’s alumina production capacity of 18 million tons. The company expects these steps to curb the oversupply of alumina while enhancing the efficiency of its refining system.

First Bauxite Corporation Announces Non-Brokered Private Placement

The WallStreet Journal - May 24th, 2012

First Bauxite Corporation CA:FBX 0.00% is a Canadian natural resource company engaged in the exploration and development of bauxite deposits in Guyana, South America. The Company has its head office in Toronto and is managed by experienced geoscientists and business development professionals with worldwide experience in the exploration and mining business across a number of mineral commodities. The mission of First Bauxite is to become a near term, medium size producer and supplier of high quality refractory grade sintered (calcined) bauxite. First Bauxite controls a large land package in Guyana's historical coastal bauxite belt, including the Bonasika Mining License, the Waratilla-Cartwright Prospecting License, and the Essequibo PGGS Prospecting Permit. The Company also holds the Tarakuli and contiguous Tarakuli North-West Prospecting Licenses in Northeast Guyana. The Company's Bankable Feasibility Study Update defines and confirms the economic viability of an operation based on sequential mining of the two (2) bauxite deposits (Bonasika 6 and Bonasika 7), and the construction of a washing plant facility, a sintering plant, and load out facilities, at Sand Hills. The Bonasika 1, 2 and 5 deposits are additional value and would increase the mine of life from 36 years to 44.5 years. For further information on First Bauxite Corporation, please visit our corporate website at www.firstbauxite.com.
On behalf of The Board of Directors of First Bauxite Corporation
Hilbert N. Shields, President & CEO

China's top aluminium province idles plants as demand slows

Reuters - May 23, 2012

* Seen cutting another 500,000 tonnes by year-end
* Spreading to whole of China if prices fall
* Some new capacity may be delayed to next year
By Polly Yam
HONG KONG, May 24 (Reuters) - China's top aluminium-producing province has idled about 700,000 tonnes of capacity in recent months, a senior industry official said, further evidence that slower growth in the world's No. 2 economy is denting the country's appetite for commodities.
The total reduction could rise to 1.2 million tonnes by the end of the year, Henan Nonferrous Metals Industry Association deputy chairman Liu Libin said, more than a quarter of the province's total capacity.
Slowing growth, along with a recent slump in prices, has sparked a string of deferrals and defaults on coal and iron ore deliveries to China and seen stocks of the minerals pile up in the country's ports.
Aluminium prices have joined a general slump for commodities, with London Metal Exchange metal down 15 percent from the year high hit in early March.
"Smelters that are still producing in Henan are big ones," Liu told Reuters.
"They are still able to maintain normal cash flows and are hoping the market will improve soon," he said, adding that local governments will support smelters as they want to maintain tax contributions and employment.
China is the world's largest producer of aluminium - used in the building, transport and packaging sectors - with a production capacity of more than 23 million tonnes a year.
Most of its smelting capacity sits at the high end of the global production cost curve, but many smelters have so far resisted closure, even though global producers Rio Tinto , Norsk Hydro and UC RUSAL have shaved output since the start of the year.
Norsk Hydro became the latest to announce a closure, saying on Wednesday it would shut its 180,000 tonnes a year Australian smelter.
Henan's move to shut plants illustrates how a combination of challenges, including sputtering demand at home and abroad, a production surplus and sliding prices are forcing smelters to bow to cost pressures.
State-backed research firm Antaike has estimated that less than one million tonnes of aluminium capacity in the country is currently shut, with capacity set to exceed real consumption by more than 2 million tonnes by the end of the year.
The supply glut has seen Shanghai exchange stocks of the metal AL-STX-SGH reach a near one-year high of 369,247 tonnes in April, before falling to 335,301 tonnes last week.
OTHER PROVINCES MAY JOIN
Henan, located in eastern central China, has 4.6 million tonnes of annual aluminium production capacity. Smelters there are among the most costly to run in China due to high electricity tariffs in the land-locked province.
Liu said some 700,000 to 800,000 tonnes of capacity in Henan was most vulnerable to production cuts as these smelters do not have their own power plants.
The price of front-month aluminium on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, which typically reflects spot prices in China, has fallen from a peak of over 24,000 yuan ($3,800) a tonne in 2008 to 15,950 yuan on Wednesday.
Smelters in other provinces may also join the production cull if domestic prices fall to 15,000 yuan a tonne for a prolonged period, Liu said.
For now, production cuts in Henan are being compensated by new smelters coming onstream, including some 600,000 tonnes of new capacity in the remote northwestern Xinjiang region.
However, sustained low prices could help balance China's supply, as more smelters idle capacity or delay the start of new production lines.
"The production cuts should peak at the end of the year. Imports may rise after that," said a source at large Henan smelter, which was also thinking of idling some capacity. ($1 = 6.3231 Chinese yuan) (Editing by Michael Urquhart)

Rio gets nod for Queensland bauxite expansion

The Sydney Morning Herald - May 23, 2012

Rio Tinto is a step closer to expanding its bauxite operations in far north Queensland, after a controversial $1.45 billion project was given approval to proceed by the Queensland Government.
While Federal Government approvals are still outstanding, the “South of Embley” project near Weipa was given the green light by Campbell Newman's pro-mining Queensland Government.
The project was controversially delayed when Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke stepped in over concerns about shipping numbers through the Great Barrier Reef. Advertisement: Story continues below
That intervention has delayed the project by at least one year, and the incident was cited by Rio boss Tom Albanese during his recent Australian visit as an example of the difficulties in doing business in Australia.
South of Embley will involve a new open cut mine, a power station, ship loaders and other infrastructure, and Rio said it could create up to 1200 jobs once operating.
But environmentalists remain opposed to the project, particularly given the state and federal governments are still considering the local area for World Heritage nomination.
“We don't think there should be any new development proposals until the World Heritage assessment is complete early next year,” said Wilderness Society spokesman Gavan McFadzean.

More than 300 jobs to go as Norsk Hydro smelter closes

The Australian - May 23, 2012

MORE than 300 jobs are set to be lost as a Norwegian company plans to shut its aluminium smelter in the NSW Hunter Valley.
Norsk Hydro will shut down its Kurri Kurri plant, as low metals prices and the strong Australian dollar impact its profitability, the company said today.
The smelter employs 344 people.
In January, Norsk Hydro made 150 redundancies at the smelter after cutting back its production.
A subsequent review of the plant has revealed it would not be profitable in the short term, and its long-term viability would be negatively affected by increasing energy costs and the carbon tax, Norsk Hydro said.
"Our Kurri Kurri workforce has worked intensively to improve the plant's cost position and no stone has been left unturned," vice president of primary metal Hilde Merete Aasheim said in a statement.
"The current cash losses are significant, with no sign of improvement anytime soon.
"We have therefore started to consult about full curtailment and will maintain a close dialogue with employees, unions and local stakeholders."

The politics of bauxite mining: Environmental hurdles cut short India's aluminium story

The Economic Times - May 23, 2012

BHUBANESWAR: The East Coast region, home to 74% of the total bauxite reserves, continues to be one of the most-neglected regions in the country, as not a single bauxite mine has been opened in the past three decades.
The East Coast region, part of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, where a staggering 2,600 million tonne of in-situ reserves of bauxite was discovered way back in 1970, that virtually promised to become a game changer in the world of aluminium, with India becoming the fifth-highest bauxite reserves nation in the world with deposits of about 3.5 billion tonne, or 5%, of global deposits.
"It is unfortunate that India could not leverage its strength by emerging as the epicentre of an aluminium revolution and that too at the lowest cost quartile. It is ridiculous not to utilise huge bauxite deposits in the name of environment and indigenous tribals. Bauxite mining is more ecofriendly than any other minerals," says PK Jena, former director general, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and chairman of city-based Institute of Advance Technology and Environmental Studies (IATES).
Odisha's poorest Kalahandi and Koraput districts have 10 bauxite deposits, accounting for a whopping 1,846 million tonne while Andhra Pradesh has nine deposits having 800 million tonne proven reserves. PSU Nalco operates only Panchapatmali bauxite mine in Koraput district - one of the biggest deposits in the world against nearly 200 operating mines in the country.
Consequently, the Indian aluminium industry today produces only a nominal 1.318 million tonnes of metal with a very low per capita consumption of 1.3 kg against the world production of 40 million tonnes and per capita consumption of 30-35 kg in the developed countries like Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada, the US etc, experts said.
Jena further asserts that bauxite deposits are always available at the top of the plateaus, which have sparse vegetation as the mineral is porous in nature and does not hold water which trickles down the mountain slopes.
"The dense foliage is invariably below the bauxite belt deposit and after mining operations, the reclamation process is very smooth and dense vegetation sprouts up easily the mined area can be suitably utilised for rain-water harvesting as well," he told ET on Tuesday.
Bauxite has one more fundamental advantage over other minerals. The value addition is invariably done close to the mining source.
The refinery and smelter generally come up within the state itself opening up huge opportunities for employment and development, Jena added. Bauxite production in the country has come down drastically from 22.6 million tonne in 2007-08 to approximately 14 million tonne in 2009-10, with Panchpatmalli bauxite mine of Nalco accounting for about 35%, according the latest data from Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM).
The production of bauxite from Andhra Pradesh in the past three years has been negligible while there is an increase of bauxite production from 0.5 mt to 1 mt in Madhya Pradesh. However, there has been a sharp fall in bauxite production in other states, mainly Gujarat and Maharashtra, due to some restriction imposed on exports.
Curiously enough, till the time bauxite was being exported, neither environmental activist/nongovernment organisation, nor any other politician had ever opposed bauxite mining.
The latest controversy on bauxite mining has been sparked off by the Union tribal welfare minister V Kishore Chandra Deo, who in a letter to AP governor ESL Narsimhan sought his intervention for a total ban on bauxite mining in the tribal area in AP.
Deo has linked the bauxite mining with increased Maoist attacks in AP and Odisha. Jindal Aluminium of JSW Group has closed down its proposed refinery project in AP recently. Anarac Aluminium is putting up 1.4-mt EOU refinery unit in AP and has entered into an agreement APMDC for sourcing of bauxite.
However, this project faces uncertainties, post Dev's move for banning bauxite mining.

Is UK destined to be an industrial basket case?

This is Hull and East Riding - May 22, 2012

THE demise of British industry continues at pace under the coalition government, emulating the destruction inflicted by the last Labour administration.
In the next few weeks the latest casualty of government neglect will close with the loss of 323 jobs, and a supply chain of 3,500 jobs due to the closure of the Lynemouth aluminium smelter in Northumberland.
Owners Rio Tinto Alcan are suggesting that the UK's high and increasing energy costs are to blame.
The plant had a reputation for being environmentally friendly after pursuing efficiency and lower emissions.
The pursuit of green energy is driving the UK towards a museum status.
In 2008, UK production of aluminium was worth £3 billion annually and 20,000 jobs. Today two of our three smelters have closed. Still we can always import aluminium so what does it matter?
The UK is at a crossroads now. We either pursue a sensible long-term energy policy promising a degree of security to industry, or we become an industrial basket case among developed countries.
Stephen Harness, New Waltham (details supplied).

Alcoa to Hold Back Alumina Refinery Expansion in Australia

Trefis - May 22, 2012

Alcoa (NYSE:AA), the largest aluminum producer in the United States, has yet again decided to postpone expansion of an alumina refinery in Australia as aluminum prices continue to remain under pressure. The move followed its earlier announcement to curtail capacity at some of its smelters and refinery in the wake of falling aluminum prices and rising costs. Alcoa is a fully integrated producer of aluminum; it mines bauxite, refines it into alumina, makes primary aluminum and also produces midstream products such as flat-rolled sheets and downstream engineered products. It competes with companies like Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO), ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT) and US Steel (NYSE:X).
Our price estimate for Alcoa stands at $12, implying a premium of close to 35% to the current market price.
See Full Analysis of Alcoa Here
To cut alumina refining capacity
In 2008, the company had postponed plans to expand the Wagerup refinery in Australia. However, the company has secured another five-year extension of the permit, which expired last October. The refinery currently has a production capacity of about 2.6 million tons per annum of alumina. Expansion will take the capacity to as high as 4.7 million tons per annum, subject to approvals. Such expansion would enable the company to ride the emerging market growth.
But, alumina prices have also declined to a level at which the company would find it difficult to justify the expansion of its refinery. Alcoa has already announced that it will cut its alumina refining capacity in the Atlantic region – which contributes to almost half of the company’s alumina production capacity of 18 million tons. The company expects these steps to curb the oversupply of alumina while enhancing the efficiency of its refining system.
Should it not succeed in doing so, the company may have to opt for further capacity cuts, which could significantly impact our price estimate given that alumina constitutes about 27% of our valuation for Alcoa’s stock.

Hydro is considering full curtailment of the Kurri Kurri aluminium plant in Australia

Reuters - May 22, 2012

After curtailing one of three pot lines at its Kurri Kurri aluminium plant in January, Norsk Hydro ASA is initiating consultation with the plant's workforce with a view to curtailing the remaining operations.
"Our Kurri Kurri workforce has worked intensively to improve the plant's cost position and no stone has been left unturned. Despite extensive efforts to improve profitability, we are faced with a very challenging situation at Kurri Kurri," says Hilde Merete Aasheim, executive vice president of Hydro's Primary Metal business area.
The profitability of Hydro's Kurri Kurri plant has suffered as a result of the continued weak macro-economic conditions, with low metal prices and an uncertain market outlook, as well as the strong Australian dollar.
Following a thorough review, it is clear that the plant will not be profitable in the short term with current market prices, while long-term viability will be negatively affected by a number of factors including increasing energy costs and the carbon tax.
"The current cash losses are significant, with no sign of improvement anytime soon. We have therefore started to consult about full curtailment and will maintain a close dialogue with employees, unions and local stakeholders," says Aasheim.
Customers' contracts will be supplied through Hydro's global metal products supply system, if the Kurri Kurri plant is fully curtailed.
The Kurri Kurri plant, wholly owned by Hydro, has three pot lines with a total annual production capacity of 180,000 metric tonnes. Following the curtailment of one pot line in January 2012, current primary aluminium production is 120,000 metric tonnes. The plant, located near Newcastle in New South Wales, currently employs 344 people. Book value of Kurri Kurri is around NOK 1.1 billion.
Certain statements included within this announcement contain forward-looking information, including, without limitation, those relating to (a) forecasts, projections and estimates, (b) statements of management's plans, objectives and strategies for Hydro, such as planned expansions, investments or other projects, (c) targeted production volumes and costs, capacities or rates, start-up costs, cost reductions and profit objectives, (d) various expectations about future developments in Hydro's markets, particularly prices, supply and demand and competition, (e) results of operations, (f) margins, (g) growth rates, (h) risk management, as well as (i) statements preceded by "expected", "scheduled", "targeted", "planned", "proposed", "intended" or similar statements.
Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, these forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions and forecasts that, by their nature, involve risk and uncertainty. Various factors could cause our actual results to differ materially from those projected in a forward-looking statement or affect the extent to which a particular projection is realized. Factors that could cause these differences include, but are not limited to: our continued ability to reposition and restructure our upstream and downstream aluminium business; changes in availability and cost of energy and raw materials; global supply and demand for aluminium and aluminium products; world economic growth, including rates of inflation and industrial production; changes in the relative value of currencies and the value of commodity contracts; trends in Hydro's key markets and competition; and legislative, regulatory and political factors.
No assurance can be given that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Hydro disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Bauxite Resources: new mineralisation builds on potential bauxite resource at Ceres

Proactive Investors - May 22, 2012

Bauxite Resources (ASX: BAU) has identified potential for a major bauxite resource at the company’s Ceres Prospect in Western Australia’s southwest.
A preliminary review of data collected in a 7,923.5 metre drilling program has been carried out, identifying thick, high grade bauxite close to the surface.
A bauxite horizon has been encountered over an area of 3,500 hectares, with seams up to 8 metres in thickness and at grades of up to 42.4% without beneficiation.
About 14% of holes drilled contained alumina grades of 25% or greater, in more than 2 metres thickness.
The mineralisation begins within 0.5 metres of the surface, with overburden of less than 2 metres throughout the majority of the mineralised area, reducing potential excavation costs.
Mineralisation identified on the private land has the potential to add to Bauxite Resources’ existing geological resources at Ceres. Importantly, the majority of the tenement area is untested for bauxite.
Bauxite Resources is aiming to define a JORC Resource in the June quarter of 2012, following the completion of geological modelling.
The 2011 drilling program focused on a number of large private landholdings which are located close to the Perth to Albany highway, and about 30 kilometres from existing heavy rail and associated infrastructure.

“Better than the original” promise on bauxite mining

Crookwell Gazette - May 22, 2012

Any areas mined for bauxite around Taralga and Crookwell will be returned to a condition “better than the original.”
This commitment was given at last Upper Lachlan Council meeting by Mr. Ian Levy, CEO of Australian Bauxite Limited, which is currently drilling over a wide area between Crookwell and Taralga.
Mr. Levy also stated that if bauxite mining goes ahead here it will affect less than 0.5 per cent of land area and less than 1 per cent of cleared farmland.
Rehabilitation of mined areas was a core factor in the company’s operations, he said.
The bauxite was located generally near the surface of dry, rocky land areas, and the quarries created would be smaller than existing gravel quarries, Mr. Levy said.
The biggest problem facing the development of bauxite mining in the area was transport, Mr. Levy said.
“How to get it to the rail at Goulburn with the least amount of inconvenience and dust problem for residents is the main problem,” he said.
The preference was to run a slurry pipeline alongside roads to Goulburn railway, where it would be de-watered and trucked to Port Port Kembla.
There would, however, be some effect on the water used.
Mr. Levy said it was anticipated that the mining operation would provide employment for 40 to 50 people drawn from the local area, and could also be of great importance to the continued use of Port Kembla loading facilities.
“We would support the local community, but we need a quid pro quo from the community,” he said.
“The key to the whole operation is landholder co-operation.”
In answer to a question from Cr. Malcolm Barlow, Mr. Levy said that if a landowner did not want mining on his property “we will not go there.”
To Cr. Mike Coley, Mr. Levy said that the presence of mining usually led to a big improvement in the standard of the roads used.
Mr. Levy said the company had about $2.5 million “in the bank” at the present time, which Cr. Brian McCormack suggested was a very small amount for the size of the prokect.
Mr. Levy replied: “We do have the money lined up, but don’t expect us to be loaded up for hand-outs.”
He added that only Australia and Indonesia had the high quality bauxite in demand from importers such as China, and India. .
Smelting would diminish in Australia because of costs, and the ore would be exported to areas with cheap electricity.
Queried on future demand by Cr. Paul Culhane, Mr. Levy said that China would face a crisis in bauxite imports by mid 2014.
“This is the best area to meet this demand because of the rail from Goulburn,”
From the gallery, Mr. Mark Selmes claimed any extra employment created by the mining could be offset by a drop in tourism jobs, and pointed out the environmental issues existing in the Mt. Rae forest.
Cr. Brian Moloney: “Mr. Levy has said that the bauxite lies in poor quality soil, but in wet years such as we’ve just had the best potato crops round Taralga come out of this kind of country.”
To a question from Cr. Moloney, Mr. Levy said this was a State Significant development that would be handled at State level, but that Council would be closely concerned in the final approval.
He added that the State Government had been supportive to date.
To Mayor Cr. John Shaw, Mr. Levy said the company hoped to gain approval in late 2013 and would “scale up” over a three year period.
And to Cr. James Wheelwright, he said the carbon tax would not affect the company as it was “too small.”
However, it would affect the smelting industries.
Mr. Levy said Australia and Indonesia would be the main sources of raw bauxite, with China and India the main importers for refining to alumina, and Russia, China, India, the Middle East and Iceland the principal destination for final smelting to the aluminium stage.
It would require 4 to 5 tonnes of bauxite to provide a tonne of the final product, and it was estimated there was 25 million tonnes of ore in this area.

Dollar's dip fails to bring relief as weak prices hit hopes for Alcoa plant

theaustralian.com.au - May 21, 2012

ADVERSE market conditions confronting Alcoa's ageing Point Henry plant have not improved since the company announced a review of its Geelong smelter three months ago, with any relief from the falling dollar offset by weakening aluminium prices.

Hindalco Ind to start alumina refinery in Orrisa by Jan

Business Standard - May 20, 2012

Non-ferrous metals producer Hindalco Industries plans to start its 1.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) alumina refinery in Orissa by January 2013, a senior company executive said on Saturday.
It also expects to start mining bauxite in the state from October this year, said Suryakant Mishra, chief executive of Utkal Alumina International Ltd (UAIL) a wholly-owned unit of Hindalco.
"We are planning to commission the refinery by December end or mid-January. Mining will start by October," he said.
Mishra said the company initially aims to mine 4.3 to 4.4 mtpa annum of bauxite to supply the refinery, though it has permission to mine 8.5 million tonnes.
Hindalco, part of the Aditya Birla Group, is trebling aluminium production capacity in India to 1.9 million tonnes by 2013 at a cost of about $5 billion. Novelis, its US-based subsidiary, is the world's largest producer of rolled aluminium products.

Hindalco Industries has target around Rs 180: Tater

Money Control - 18th May 2012

Hindalco Industries has target around Rs 180, says Aashish Tater, Head of Research, Fort Share Broking.
Tater told CNBC-TV18, "The basic issue with Hindalco is that globally companies in the aluminum space have been cutting down productions. Now our estimate is that by next quarter what will happen, companies in China would actually fall short because of Indonesia raising the import prices because of taxes."
He further added, "There will be a demand-supply mismatch and which will actually have a very positive trigger on companies because bauxite itself will contribute very high to the cost and will force even Chinese operations to shut down. So eventually by the end of Q2 what will happen there will be higher demand than supply equation and right now we are working with a higher (please check the sentence) supplies and demand equation. So things are going to reverse out and that’s why we have come out with a very bullish report on Hindalco for a target of close to Rs 155 to Rs 180 in a short span of time of next 6 months because of this positive development, which have been gone unnoticed by large players."

Vedanta FY12 net drops 46%; revenue rises 23%

Financial Express - 18th May 2012

London-listed Vedanta Resources, which controls stake in India’s copper to aluminium-maker Sterlite Industries, on Thursday said its consolidated net profit fell 46% to $387 million for the fiscal year 2011-12 as it took a $400-million mark-to-market hit on the volatile rupee, paid highest interest on loan taken to purchase oil refiner Cairn India and had to cut down aluminium production at its Orissa plant due to power shortages.
“The outlook for natural resources remains robust,” chairman Anil Agarwal told analysts after announcing the results in London. “Vedanta, with a low-cost structure and an Indian asset base, is well-positioned to serve the country.”
Operating profit or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) rose 13% to $4 billion with oil and gas contributing 18%, making up the drop in iron ore. Iron ore contributed only 18% to the Ebitda this year as it stopped iron ore mining in Karnataka following a Supreme Court order. Vedanta was trading at 975 pence per share, down 5% from the previous day’s close in afternoon trading on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday.
The company’s yearly revenue grew 23% to $14 billion from $11.43 billion in the same period last year. Vedanta’s net debt as of March 31 stands at $10.1 billion.
The group, which reported a net profit of $715 million last year, said it expects to complete the merger of its subsidiaries Sesa Goa — an iron ore miner — and Sterlite Industries, a zinc to aluminium metal producer, by August.
“Extraordinary meetings for shareholders in the subsidiaries will be held in June,” MS Mehta, Vedanta’s chief executive, told analysts. “This will be first step in the streamlining plan — a merger of Sesa Goa and Sterlite Industries into Sesa Sterlite forming the eventual umbrella unit for Indian operations.”
Vedanta is also keen to buy out the Indian government’s minority stake in its subsidiaries Hindustan Zinc and Bharat Aluminium (Balco). Mehta said the company is engaged in talks with the government, but refused to give a deadline.
“We maintain our view that the restructuring would be of transformational significance for Vedanta shareholders, removing considerable debt burden and improving cash flow,” analysts of London-based brokerage Liberium said in a note. “However, a number of hurdles remain and, therefore, the road to deal closure may not be entirely straightforward.”
Vedanta, the largest aluminium producer in India, expects a double-digit growth in demand in India. Mining majors around the world have been cautious about outlook for financial year 2012-13. BHP Billiton told investors on Wednesday that it expects commodity markets to cool down. The company also backed away from a major spending plan, putting its capital expenditure plans on hold.
Vedanta too is nearing the completion of its own $18 billion spending programme. The company’s chief executive Mehta said that it has reached an inflection point with its spending programme.
“We are very comfortable, having completed a large part of our journey,” he told analysts. “We have always maintained structurally low costs in most of the sectors where we are present.”

Special powers to be used to cancel Bauxite lease in Andhra Pradesh

The Economic Times - 16th May 2012

NEW DELHI: For the first time, the Centre has urged the governor to use his special powers in Scheduled Areas to cancel bauxite mining leases given in Andhra Pradesh's Vishakhapatnam district.
Linking the issue of bauxite mining to the growing Maoist violence on the Andhra-Odisha border, the Centre has asked Andhra Pradesh governor ESL Narsimhan to use special powers, bestowed to governors in Scheduled Areas under the Constitution, to cancel the leases.
The Centre is studying mining leases in Odisha to recommend a similar action. Speaking to ET, tribal affairs minister V Kishore Chandra Deo confirmed the move: "We have urged the governor to use his special powers, which he can for good governance and peace. He is examining the case and we hope he will take appropriate action to protect the interests of tribals."
The government views mining leases given out by government-owned Andhra Pradesh Mining Development Corporation (APMDC), between 2005 and 2010, as violation of constitutional provisions. The Alienation of Land Transfer Regulation Act prohibits a non-tribal from either purchasing any land or even leasing it in Scheduled Areas.
Schedule V of the Constitution vests an independent legislative authority in the governor. It "empowers the governor to make regulations for the peace and good government of a state or a part thereof including regulations relating to Land Alienation and Transfer Allotment of land, and money lending."
So far, the governor has never used these powers in Scheduled Areas. Before the Centre recommended action, the ministry studied Supreme Court judgements on governors' special powers and sought legal opinion of the Attorney-General.
"The projects have been undertaken without proper rehabilitation for tribals. The governor can use his special powers to even decide that certain laws of legislature or Parliament do not apply to a particular area. These leases are mere executive orders and not even enactments of legislature."
Interestingly, the leases recommended for cancellation were given during the tenure of YS Rajasekhara Reddy. Making a case for cancellation, Deo has written to the governor saying, "between 2005 and 2010, the government had signed MoUs with several companies which are neither owned nor controlled by people belonging to Scheduled Tribes.
This was further compounded when the then government of Andhra Pradesh recommended 13 more applications in favour of APMDC for prior approval of mining lease. It may be noted here that APMDC is not an organisation or undertaking that either belongs to or is controlled by Scheduled Tribe communities."
The Centre has pointed out that the entire region has become a hotbed of Maoist activities. Urging the governor to use his "unbridled and unfettered powers", Deo has written, "you will also appreciate the fact that extremist activities have now reached a point which is threatening our national security.
Your intervention at this stage will not only strike at the basic premise on which the Maoists have gained sympathy but will also send a strong message across the borders of Andhra Pradesh to other affected states like Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand..."

Aluminum production will exceed 400,000 tons

Zawya - 16th May 2012

Iran is expected to produce 1.5 million tons of aluminum by the end of 'Vision 2025', said the head of Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO).
Vajihollah Jafari added the figure will exceed 400,000 tons in the current Iranian year (started March 20).
He said to attain this capacity, Alumina Mine's 100,000-ton aluminum production project (North Khorasan province), the 276,000-ton South Aluminum plan and the 375,000-ton Khuzestan Aluminum scheme will be implemented, IRNA?reported on Tuesday.
Noting that Iran's aluminum production has improved by four ranks since 2005, he said Iran is expected to improve its global position by eight ranks to occupy the 14th position by the end of the Fifth Five-Year Development Economic Plan (2010-15).
He said more than $12.5 billion worth of mineral products was exported last year, indicating a 42-percent growth compared to the figure for the preceding year.
The official noted last year, non-oil exports exceeded $45 billion, adding the figure is expected to reach $70 billion this year.
He recalled that aluminum production grew by 8.5 percent in the past year, while worldwide aluminum production growth rate was seven percent.
He said energy, raw materials and hydrocarbon materials are the three main components of aluminum production to which serious attention should be paid.

HLCA meet soon to clear backlog

Business Standard - 15th May 2012

The High Level Clearance Authority (HLCA), the apex body to clear projects across sectors involving investment beyond Rs 1,000 crore, is expected to meet shortly to reaffirm the state's investor friendly image and fast track execution of major projects.
A string of investments, bulk of them in metals and power sectors, were awaiting the nod of HLCA which has not met since May 4 last year.
“The HLCA is set to meet soon to clear backlog of investment proposals. We have asked the concerned departments to compile reports expeditiously on decisions taken in the previous HLCA meetings,” said an industries department official.
As per data compiled by Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) under Union ministry of commerce & industry, Odisha had attracted investments of Rs 13.66 lakh crore till January 2012, beating other states in drawing investors.
Among the mega projects yet to be cleared include Rs 10,000-cr expansion plan of Aditya Aluminium Ltd, a unit of Hindalco Industries Ltd, to ramp up capacity of its aluminium smelter and captive power plant (CPP) proposed at Jharsuguda in western Odisha.
The aluminium company plans to double smelter capacity from 0.36 million tonne per annum (mtpa) to 0.72 mtpa and also scale up CPP capacity from 900 MW to 1,650 MW.
In the steel sector, Bhushan Steel has lined up Rs 1,280 crore investment to execute a couple of new projects in the state. The company intends to set up a 12 mtpa iron ore beneficiation plant at Kumundi in Keonjhar district, four mtpa pellet plant at Jalpaposi in the same district and a slurry pipeline project from Meramandali to Keonjhar.
Similarly, in power sector, Monnet Power Company Ltd, the wholly owned subsidiary of Monnet Ispat & Energy Ltd (MIEL), plans to augment capacity of its 1,050 MW coal-fired power plant in Odisha to 1,710 MW at an additional investment of Rs 3,630 crore.
In its last meeting, the HLCA had cleared nine projects worth Rs 1.36 lakh crore.
Two ambitious Coal-to-Liquid (CTL) projects promoted by Jindal Synfuels Ltd, a subsidiary of Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) and Strategic Energy Technology Systems Ltd, a joint venture of Tata Group and South African firm Sasol had got the nod of the HLCA. Both the CTL projects have already been allocated coal blocks by the Government of India.

Leaders to discuss bauxite mine options

The Fiji Times - 15th May 2012

TRADITIONAL leaders in the district of Wainunu in Bua will meet next month to discuss the options of having a bauxite mine in the area.
Tui Wainunu Ratu Orisi Baleitavea said the idea was a good one because it provided employment and income-generating opportunities but certain issues needed to be looked at first.
"We will also need to look into other areas of bauxite mining before we make a decision," he said.
"The most applicable and best decision will be made for the sake of our future generation and making sure the development does not affect the environment our future generation will live in.
"We feel that is very important and that is why all traditional leaders in Wainunu will sit together to discuss this issue. It's a good idea but we need to do some homework first."
Wainunu and Nasarawaqa are the other two districts in Bua already sighted for bauxite mining in Vanua Levu.
The bauxite mine at Nawailevu, Bua, has provided employment opportunities and small-income generating businesses for nearby villagers.
Villagers earn money through selling root crops and seafood to workers at the mine.

Global Aluminum Market to Reach 71.2 Million Tons by 2018, According to New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

Digital Journal - 14th May 2012

Demand for aluminum continues to rise, particularly in the emerging markets, in part due to lower per capita consumption of the metal in these parts of world. Additionally, aluminum use in various end-use sectors is increasing thanks to significant benefits offered by this metal as a replacement to conventional metals. Aluminum use in automotives is enabling manufacturers to reduce weight of the vehicles thereby enabling them to enhance fuel efficiency of their products, contribute to reduce CO2 emissions and conform to increasingly stringent emission standards. Likewise, aluminum represents a versatile metal with significant applications in diverse industries such as packaging, construction and aerospace among others. Emerging markets are witnessing rapid growth given the increasing use of the metal in these countries. However, these markets, excepting countries such as China, are yet to catch up with demand in developed markets.
Barring a few hiccups in between, global production as well as consumption of aluminum grew remarkably worldwide during the decade ending 2010. Beginning 2002, global growth in production and consumption of aluminum moved at a dramatic pace until 2008, before the world entered into the worst global economic recession in decades. However, aluminum production fell in 2009, pushing the industry into a crisis. Recovery, though, was earlier than expected with production as well as consumption levels rising again in 2010. Demand for aluminum worldwide is skewed more towards consumer applications than industrial applications, a characteristic different from markets for other metals such as Zinc and Copper. Consumer end-use markets such as consumer packaging & consumer goods and transportation segments account for a major chunk of aluminum applications worldwide. Other sectors such as Construction & Infrastructure and Machinery/Equipment & Electrical segments account for a relatively lesser share in the aluminum market, as compared to the market for Zinc and Copper. Aluminum in the transportation industry is primarily used in light truck and automotive applications. The metal is a preferred choice for manufacturers in their drive to reduce vehicle weight and in turn achieve better fuel efficiency, performance and minimize emissions.
Regionally, China, Europe and the US remained the production hubs for aluminum. As of 2011, there were around 120 smelters operating worldwide, excluding those operating in China. Rapid increase in demand resulted in increasing addition of capacity worldwide in the recent years. Consequently, the market witnessed an oversupply situation that in turn exerted a downward pressure on prices of aluminum. Reacting to this, significant aluminum capacity was pruned worldwide, especially in developed markets and China, which in turn normalized the supply situation leading to upward movement of prices beginning early 2012. However, production capacity has been increasing in the gulf region during this period, and continues to do so. Resultantly, the region is fast emerging as the next hub for aluminum smelter capacity, given the abundance of energy resources in the region. Transportation represents the largest end-use segment for aluminum worldwide.
The aluminum industry is presently reeling under the influence of high power costs and lower metal prices. Such is the extent of the problem that some major aluminum producers have already announced cuts in primary aluminum capacity, and further cuts are on cards if the scenario continues. The decision to cut unprofitable production capacity was in large part to ensure restoration of aluminum prices. Prices of aluminum have dropped by as much as 30% in early part of January 2012, from their peak levels in 2011. This price drop combined with higher energy prices render production of aluminum unprofitable for manufacturers, forcing production shut downs. Some of the announced cutbacks, however, have given some life to aluminum prices that rose marginally by mid January 2012.
Asia-Pacific represents the largest regional market for aluminum worldwide, as stated by the new market research report on Aluminum. China and India are emerging as the major drivers of global growth in consumption of aluminum. Europe represents the second largest regional market worldwide, followed by the US. Growth in the global aluminum market is projected to be driven by the Rest of World market, which includes the Middle East and Africa. The regional market is projected to post a compounded annual growth rate of 11.1% during the analysis period. Extruded Products represents the largest market segment for aluminum. However, Rolled Products are projected to spearhead growth in the global aluminum market.
Major players profiled in the report include Alcoa, Inc., Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C (Alba), Aluminum Corporation of China Limited (Chalco), BHP Billiton, Century Aluminum Company, Dubai Aluminium Company Limited, Hindalco Industries Ltd., Rio Tinto Alcan Inc., Hydro Aluminium AS, and United Company RUSAL, among others.
The research report titled “Aluminum: A Global Strategic Business Report” announced by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., provides comprehensive market overview, trends & issues, impact of recession on the industry, segment and end-use market analysis, production and export-import statistics, recent industry activity and profiles of market players worldwide. Analysis and overview is provided for the years 2010 through 2018, for major geographic markets, such as US, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Rest of World. Market analytics are provided in terms of thousand tons for segments including Extruded Products, Rolled Products, Castings and Others. The study also provides historic data for an insight into market evolution over the period 2004 through 2009.

Rusal mulls more aluminium cuts after 65% drop in Ebitda

Metal Bulletin - 14th May 2012

UC Rusal may cut as much as 600,000 tpy of aluminium capacity from the second half of this year to cope with “continued uncertainty” in the global economy.
The Russian producer “is currently considering” whether to idle 300,000-600,000 tpy of high-cost capacity, it said after posting a 65% slump in first-quarter core earnings. The reference to cuts underlines the challenge faced by aluminium producers to bring production in line with continued weak demand. “The first quarter of 2012 has proved to be a tough...

Enlargement plans for East Iceland Alcoa smelter

New Europe Online - 13th May 2012

Alcoa Iceland is looking into the possibility of enlarging the Alcoa Fjaroaal aluminium smelter in Reyoarfjorour, east Iceland, inviting representatives of pension funds to see whether they might help fund the project, Iceland Review reported.
Alcoa is preparing to increase electricity capacity in the smelter, which would up its production capacity from 350,000 to 370,000 tons per year. The pot rooms must be modified and the project is estimated to cost more than $96 million (€73 million). Magnus Þor Asmundsson, CEO of Alcoa Iceland, said the company is also prepared to launch constructions which would increase the smelter’s production capacity by 180,000 tons, provided agreements are reached on funding and electricity purchase. The smelter would then produce 550,000 tons annually.
The project could be launched next year—provided the conditions are fulfilled—with the enlarged smelter being fully operational by 2018. The enlargement is estimated to cost $724 million (€551 million) and the addition would require 270 megawatts of energy. Many jobs would be created during the construction phase and 120 future jobs once production starts, in addition to related jobs, Magnus said. Currently 480 people are employed by Alcoa Fjaroaal and 300 by subcontractors. No formal discussions have taken place with Landsvirkjun, the national power company, but Magnus said they are aware of his company’s plans; among energy options are expanded operations of the Karahnjukar hydropower plant.
The enlargement plans for the smelter, for which there is room in its current location, have been presented informally to local authorities but Magnus pointed out they must undergo conventional urban planning procedures before anything is decided.

Sesa Goa shareholders to meet on June 19 to decide on Sterlite merger

AlCircle. - 11th May 2012

Sesa Goa said its shareholders will meet on June 19 for approving the proposed merger of Sterlite Industries and other group firms as announced by its parent firm Vedanta Resources in February.
"A meeting of the equity shareholders of Sesa Goa is being convened and will be held on June 19, 2012, for the purpose of considering...the proposed arrangements embodied in the scheme of amalgamation and arrangement amongst Sterlite Industries, Madras Aluminium, Sterlite Energy, Vedanta Aluminium and Sesa Goa," it said in a filing to the BSE.
The meeting has been convened following a direction by Goa bench of the Bombay High Court on April 27, it added.
The merger, which will lead to creation of a new entity, Sesa Sterlite, is aimed at simplifying the group structure of London-listed Vedanta group and would create seventh largest natural resources company of the world (in terms of EBITDA).
According to the restructuring exercise, Sesa Sterlite will become the holding company of Vedanta's all group firms, except Konkola Copper Mines. Post merger, Vedanta will hold 58.3 per cent stake in Sesa Sterlite.
For the merger, Sesa Goa has secured approvals from the stock exchanges where it is listed (the BSE and the NSE) and the Competition Commission of India so far.
Besides, it also requires nod of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) as some of the group firms are registered outside India.
The Goa-based miner had said earlier that it expects to complete the merger process by December-end.
Post merger, Cairn India, Hindustan Zinc, Balco, Vedanta Aluminium, Madras Aluminium, Talwandi Sabo Power and Australian Copper Mines will become subsidiaries of Sesa Sterlite.
As per the scheme of arrangements, Sterlite shareholders will get three shares of Sesa Goa for every five shares held according to the swap ratio.
Shares of Sesa Goa were trading at Rs 177.20 apiece on the BSE at 1420 hrs, down 1.86 per cent from the previous close.

Indian primary aluminum price moves down 2.7 percent

AlCircle. - 11th May 2012

Yesterday saw Indian primary aluminum cash price move down 2.7 percent, following three quiet days. The LME primary aluminum cash price saw little price change yesterday at $2,048 per metric ton. The primary aluminum 3-month price saw little movement on Tuesday on the LME, closing out around $2,088 per metric ton.
Chinese aluminum closed mixed yesterday. Chinese aluminum billet fell 0.3 percent on Tuesday. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese aluminum scrap remained essentially flat, holding between $2,600 and $2,700 per metric ton. The price of Chinese aluminum bar remained essentially flat at above $2,200 per metric ton. On the SHFE, the cash price of Chinese primary aluminum showed little movement on Tuesday, hovering around CNY 16,170 ($2,570) per metric ton.

LME aluminum settles down at USD 2,054/mt: SMM Morning Review

AlCircle. - 11th May 2012

A European source disclosed that EFSF committee would decide whether to release the second batch EUR 5.2 billion loan to Greece on Wednesday, easing risk aversion due to obstacles for implementation of austerity measures caused by the Greek election. LME aluminum firstly dropped to a low of USD 2,025.8/mt, near the lowest of this year, then recovered most losses settling down USD 2/mt or 0.1% at USD 2,054/mt.
China will release preliminary import and export data of April today, which will affect market direction. Worries towards European debt are not likely to disappear for the near term, eroding momentum of commodities. LME aluminum is expected to test support at USD 2,050/mt and may exhibit a downside run if support is found to be weak. Its moving band is USD 2,020-2,080/mt. The most active SHFE aluminum contract for August delivery is expected to open near RMB 16,160/mt, seeking direction from trade data and may test pressure at RMB 16,200/mt. Its moving band will be RMB 16,140-16,240/mt. The bearish sentiment is strong in the spot market. Downstream will purchase on an as-needed basis. Goods holders are still unwilling to move goods at low-end prices, holding aluminum prices near RMB 16,100/mt. Deals will be done near the current-month SHFE aluminum price as delivery date nears. Discounts and premiums are seen within RMB 20/mt.

Bharat Aluminium Co. Demands Improved Smelter Condition, Threats Strike

AlCircle. - 11th May 2012

Workers at Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd. (STLT)’s aluminum unit plan to go on an indefinite strike this month, demanding better conditions at its smelter in the state of Chhattisgarh, a trade union leader said.
“The workers are supporting a plan to stop work later this month if the authorities don’t heed our demand,” G. Sanjeeva Reddy, president of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, said today in a phone interview. The union says 90 percent of about 2,000 permanent workers at unit Bharat Aluminium Co. are its members.
Bharat Aluminium, in which Sterlite bought a 51 percent stake from the Indian government in 2001, operates a 345,000- metric-ton smelter and two bauxite mines at Korba in the eastern state. Workers at Balco, as the unit is known, in 2004 had gone on strike in protest against the government’s plan to sell its remaining 49 percent stake, the Times of India reported on July 23 that year.
Production was normal after the union’s call for a strike yesterday failed, Balco spokesman Arun Bhatt said today in a statement.
Shares of Mumbai-based Sterlite fell as much as 3.2 percent to 95.75 rupees and traded at 96.85 rupees as of 2:08 p.m. in Mumbai. The shares have risen 8 percent this year, compared with a 6 percent gain in the key Sensitive Index.
Billionaire Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Group, which owns Sterlite, offered 170 billion rupees ($3.2 billion) to buy the government’s remaining stakes in Hindustan Zinc Ltd. (HZ) and Balco, Vishwapati Trivedi, secretary at the ministry of mines, said March 22.

Midal Cables seeks road upgradation for an aluminium plant in Tomago

AlCircle. - 11th May 2012

A Tomago business is urging the State Government to ensure a local access road is upgraded as part of the approval process for a $30 million aluminium plant.
Bahrain-based Midal Cables International wants to build the manufacturing plant at Tomago using molten metal from the nearby aluminium smelter.
The Environmental Assessment went on public exhibition earlier this year, attracting eight submissions, one from a local tyre firm that has been operating in the area for 30 years.
The firm's Manager Murray Ross supports the Midal development, but says planning authorities cannot ignore the poor state of the main access road, School Drive.
"This is going to be the main entrance," he said.
"If anyone came out and pulled up to the side of the road and had a look, you'd probably be amazed at the condition of it."
"It has for a long time not received any real upgrades or very minimal maintenance."
Midal insists it will only generate 18 heavy truck movements and just over 100 light vehicle movements a day and that Port Stephens Council is responsible for the road's upkeep.
Other submissions have called for more information about the method used to deliver molten aluminium to the new plant from the smelter.
Midal Project Director Mark Rukin says the delivery method will be a first for Australia.
"This is being done in many factories around the world, but this is the first time it's been done in Australia.
"A road will be constructed between Tomago smelter and the back of our factory, it's being designed by Tomago.
"There's special containments if for instance aluminium did spill, it'll be contained, but it's molten aluminium and if it did spill it virtually solidifies as it hits the ground."
Hunter New England Health's submission suggests there needs to be more detail on the procedures for dealing with scenarios like aluminium-water explosion and toxic exposure.
Midal says protocols for each scenario would be in place, including measures to inform the community.

Orbite Aluminae Inc. updates on its Key Appointments and Recent Business Developments

AlCircle. - 11th May 2012

Orbite Aluminae Inc. CA:ORT +6.67% (the "Company") is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members to its management team. The Company is also proud to announce that it has added another patent to its intellectual property portfolio and has filed five new patent applications. In addition, Orbite wishes to provide an update on the conversion of its Cap-Chat high-purity alumina production plant as well as the latest developments on its upcoming smelter grade alumina plant, with all of these milestones aligned to its business objectives for the current year. Finally, Orbite is the proud recipient of an Alpha award for the innovation of its technological processes and announces its upcoming participation in two rare earth conventions.

Alumina Limited Shares Face Continuous Losses

AlCircle. - 11th May 2012

Shares of Alumina (NYSE:AWC) traded today at $3.82, breaking its 52-week low. So far today approximately 470,000 shares have been exchanged, as compared to an average 30-day volume of 341,000 shares.
Alumina Limited is an Australian resource company that produces alumina. The Company owns about forty percent of Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals through a joint venture with Alcoa.
Alumina (NYSE:AWC) has potential upside of 129.0% based on a current price of $3.93 and analysts' consensus price target of $9.00. The stock should run into initial resistance at its 50-day moving average (MA) of $4.99 and subsequent resistance at its 200-day MA of $5.82.
Alumina share prices have moved between a 52-week high of $10.29 and the current low of $3.82 and are currently at $3.93 per share. Over the past week, the 200-day moving average (MA) has gone down 1.4% while the 50-day MA has declined 1.2%.

Alcoa Holds Refinery Expansion on Economic Ground

AlCircle. - 11th May 2012

Alcoa Inc. (AA)’s plan to expand an alumina refinery in Western Australia remains on hold because of unfavorable economic conditions, the largest U.S. aluminum producer said after gaining approval to increase capacity.
Alcoa received a five-year extension of an approval for the expansion of the Wagerup refinery, the Western Australia state government said in a statement today. The earlier five-year permit expired in October.
“The extension gives Alcoa the opportunity to continue evaluating market conditions and construction costs,” Alcoa’s Australian unit said in an e-mailed response today. “The project remains on hold because of the challenging economic environment and the need to obtain competitive and secure energy supplies in Western Australia.”
Aluminum prices in London have declined 21 percent in the past year as a slowing global economy curbed demand. Alcoa cut 12 percent of capacity in January and Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld said April 11 the reductions “may not be the end.”
The Wagerup refinery can produce 2.6 million metric tons of alumina annually, Alcoa said on its website. Subject to stringent environmental conditions, an expansion will enable as much as 4.7 million tons a year to be produced, the Western Australia state government said.
Alcoa suspended its proposed expansion of the refinery in November 2008 after the global credit crisis curbed demand.

Aabar signs $2bn contract with Chinese company

constructionweekonline.com - 11th May 2012

Aabar has signed a $2bn (AED 7.34bn) deal with China to develop 30 properties in Abu Dhabi, The National reports.
China State Construction Engineering Corporation has an agreement with Aabar, an Abu Dhabi Government investment vehicle, to develop the projects which include office buildings, hotels and apartments, the Chinese company said.
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) will provide Aabar with the funding, while China State Construction will be the contractor for the projects, China State Construction said in a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange, according to official Chinese media.

New castings venture launching at Subcon

engineeringcapacity.com - 11th May 2012

Thoni-Alutec, one of Europe’s leading castings producers, will be introducing its latest venture at Subcon – the acquisition of the Cinderford-based Cannop Foundry.
Building on the dynamic growth of the business since relocation to the current site in 2007, Cannop plans to further enhance capabilities at its Cinderford base, to provide customers with world class facilities for the production of low-medium volume, high integrity castings in both ferrous and non-ferrous alloys. The on-going investments will give Cannop the ability to design and produce tooling, carry out casting simulation, manufacture, heat-treat and verify all products produced in-house.
Through strategic partnership with selected machining companies, they will offer further added value stages to the manufacturing process, thereby enhancing the services supplied to their new and existing customer base.
This will enable Cannop to closely manage the whole process from design concept to fully finished castings all within the UK site, whilst also having the resource, support and volume production capabilities of the parent foundry group to satisfy demands from higher volume customers seeking to have their requirements supplied through a UK base.
Serving diverse markets across the UK and continental Europe, Cannop currently supplies high integrity ferrous castings in SG, grey, austempered ductile, compacted graphite, austenitic, wear resistant, Si-Mo and Ni-Resist high temperature irons, whilst the non-ferrous foundry manufactures sand castings in the full range of aluminium alloys typically available. The site currently holds approvals for the manufacture of castings to ISO9001:2008 along with several major worldwide customer based approvals.
With its headquarters in Poland, Thoni-Alutec specialises in the manufacture of aluminium and magnesium castings. It provides a full customer service from design stage to finished assembled components, using the latest technologies available. Processes used are high precision sand casting, low pressure and gravity die casting. Quality approvals include AS9100 and NadCap for aerospace, ISO9001 for general manufacturing and numerous specific approvals for dedicated applications.
Industries supplied by Thoni-Alutec include aerospace, automotive, energy (renewable and conventional), rail, robotics, medical, etc and its customer base extends throughout Europe and the USA to the Middle East and China.
Thoni-Alutec is exhibiting at Subcon on Stand D33

Petchem projects dominate Kingdom's industrialization drive

www.chicagotribune.com - 10th May 2012

JEDDAH —
Saudi Arabia's project market is buoyant with a string of petrochemicals and minerals projects being rolled out. The authorities are keen to vertically integrate their petrochemicals industry with a view to producing materials for a nascent domestic automotive industry (among other sectors). Elsewhere, corporate output growth has cooled, though retail sales are growing at a record rate. Bank mortgage lending is also brisk, according to Samba Economic Monitor released yesterday.
The Saudi project market continues to thrive. Latest data from Meed put the value of projects "planned or underway" at $745 billion in mid-April, around 13 percent higher than a year earlier. These figures need to be treated with some caution: The topline number is some 30 percent larger than the nominal size of the entire economy ($580 billion), while the number of "planned" projects that might actually be rolled out is far from clear. Yet the trend is undeniably positive.
The main drivers of project activity this year are likely to be utilities and petrochemicals. For the former, the Saudi Electricity Company is committed to at least one Independent Power Project (IPP) a year as it seeks to keep on top of domestic power demand that is growing by around 7-8 percent. This figure could well climb in the years to come as Saudi Arabia's industrial development expands and deepens.

Petrochemicals

The Samba report said cornerstone of this industrialization will remain petrochemicals, and in particular the authorities' efforts to develop the downstream product offering. This strategy is predicated partly on need: The scarcity of ethane feedstock (particularly in its non-associated form) is forcing producers to consider liquids such as naphtha. Ethane is the more profitable feedstock, at least for basic chemicals production, but naphtha has other advantages, most notably the diversified range of chemicals that can be produced. Naphtha can produce the same range of "building blocks" as ethane, but it can also produce xylenes, benzene and butadiene ("aromatics"). These in turn are the basis for products including polyurethane, solvents, nylon, styrene, polystyrene, synthetic rubber and polybutenes. These have far reaching applications, including for packaging, pharmaceuticals, construction and automotive.
The most prominent example of the enhanced role of naphtha is the $20 billion Sadara joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemicals. Sadara's cracker will be the first Saudi plant designed to run on a mixed feedstock of ethane and naphtha, but there are currently around $50 billion worth of petrochemicals projects planned or underway in the Kingdom with a chemical mix that is aimed at nurturing domestic industries rather than simply serving export markets with base chemicals. Both Sadara and PetroRabigh on the Red Sea coast are encouraging downstream investment by building industrial parks next to their facilities. For investors, the close proximity to raw materials producers negates the need for large inventories; for the authorities, fostering these domestic industries opens up the possibility of significant job creation.

Aluminum production

A vertically integrated approach is also being adopted in the aluminum sector, where there are plans to harness the country's bauxite reserves by constructing what will become the world's largest aluminum complex at Ras Al-Khair. The $10.8 billion project, which is a joint venture between Maaden and Alcoa, is designed to attract a large number of conversion industries to cluster around the site.
Aluminum clearly has a host of uses, but the authorities are most keen to foster a sizable automotive industry. Fluor has been awarded a contract for the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) of a 100,000-t/y automotive sheet plant at the complex, which will be aimed at producing body panels for cars and commercial vehicles. This comes on top of other initiatives, such as Petrochemical Conversions Company's plans to produce nylon 66, a product that could replace a number of metal components in automobiles, and SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corp.) and ExxonMobil's $2 billion elastomers jv at the Kemya complex, which will produce about 400,000 t/y of carbon black, rubber and speciality polymers. Carbon black is used by the automotive industry to add strength to plastic and rubber products used in car production.
Competing with established automotive manufacturers, such as China and India, might not be realistic, at least in the short- to medium-term. However, the Kingdom is keen to leverage its unique supply and product chain and already boasts truck assembly capability through the National Automobile Industry, which assembles Mercedes-Benz trucks. Investors are still likely to be cautious and will weigh up these advantages against the need to train up skilled production staff and develop a research and development base. The government's establishment of a higher institute for plastic fabrication in Riyadh; SABIC's 2011 investment in German automotive technology developer, Inpro; and Lotus's establishment of an automotive testing center in the Kingdom are all positive steps in this regard.

PMI falls back

The considerable amount of construction that these and similar projects will entail should help to support the contracting sector, which is a mainstay of the nonoil economy. The "new orders" component of the latest purchasing managers' index (PMI) declined in March, but at 66.9 it was still firmly in expansion mode, with 43 percent of respondents reporting an increase in orders and just 7.2 percent recording a decline (the overall PMI was at 58.7). Of some concern was the sharp downward move in the "new export orders" index, from 57.7 to 54.2 in March, with only a net 8 percent of respondents reporting an increase in export orders, the Samba report said.
Received wisdom is that Saudi Arabia's export profile will insulate it from the travails of the global economy: 55 percent of its exports head to East Asia, which remains the most buoyant region economically. It is unwise to read too much into one data point, but it may be that slumping demand in the euro zone is beginning to have an impact on Asia's export sector. Certainly, China's export growth has slowed sharply over the past 12 months, and this might be having an impact on Chinese demand for Saudi Arabia's oil and petrochemicals.
The PMI data also appear to indicate that profit margins remain tight for many firms. Despite some softening in the rate of expansion in March, input prices continued to climb, with a net 15 percent of respondents reporting higher input prices compared to February. Most of this was the cost of physical inputs, with higher cement and steel prices likely having some impact, at least for contracting firms, aggravated to some extent by a slightly stronger euro; staff costs remained subdued, with the rate of increase continuing to trend downward. However, output prices continued to track well below input prices, with only a net 6 percent of respondents reporting higher output prices. In general, this probably means that margins are continuing to be squeezed through increased competition, though for some (especially food producers) subsidization would also have played a role in keeping output prices down; it is also possible that some respondents are reluctant to confirm increases in output prices.

Retail sales

Monetary data show that retail sales have continued to surge. The volume of points of sale transactions in the twelve months to March was up 29 percent, following a 35 percent gain in February. This likely reflects the full impact of unemployment benefit, which was rolled out at the beginning of the year.
Meanwhile, bank lending has seen less spectacular, but steady growth. The value of commercial bank lending to the private sector was up almost 13 percent in the twelve months to March. New data are available showing the direction of this lending, though only to end-2011. In terms of corporate credit, the three dominant sectors-commerce, manufacturing and construction-all saw nominal growth during 2011. However, there were sharp variations between them, with manufacturing and construction growing by a brisk 24 percent and 26 percent, respectively, while commerce managed just 0.5 percent. The strong growth in credit to manufacturing and construction is no surprise given the rollout of industrial projects discussed above. The comparatively weak performance of commerce is a surprise given the buoyance of retail and wholesale trade, though it might reflect the overhang of capacity in the commercial real estate space.

Mortgage lending

In terms of personal lending, there was a notable 27 percent increase in mortgage lending during 2011, following 29 percent growth in 2010. Mortgage lending is now equivalent to 12 percent of bank personal lending, up from around 8 percent at end-2009. Lending has picked up despite the absence of a mortgage law: Banks have instead concentrated on lending to the upper income segment, where large deposits are the norm.
There is no sign of the law being approved, notwithstanding the priority that housing has been given by the authorities. It might be that the authorities are keen to expand the supply of housing before inducing fresh demand, in order to keep a lid on prices. Construction, especially of small villas on the outskirts of major towns and cities, has been stepped up.
If legislation were to reduce the lending risks for banks, it should increase mortgage supply to lower-income borrowers and reduce mortgage borrowing costs (currently the average APR is some 6 percent for a 15 year loan). Record low interest rates may limit any fall in mortgage rates, however.

Alba production up 2%

StockMarketWire.com - 9th May 2012

StockMarketWire.com - Aluminium Bahrain increased production by 2% in the first quarter with sales remaining stable despite a slowdown in Europe.
But it said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation as well as net income at US$115m and US$57m respectively were affected by lower LME levels and higher gas costs.
Chief executive Laurent Schmitt said: "Without LME effect, Alba was able to maintain its performance despite the significant impact of gas price increase.
"The overall financial performance was underpinned by a major focus on our 'continuous improvement programme' and 'operational efficiency initiatives.
"These measures enabled the company to maintain a momentum despite the downward trend of aluminium prices."

Odisha sets terms to reserve Pottangi mines for Nalco

www.business-standard.com - 9th May 2012

he state government has agreed to reserve Pottangi bauxite deposit in Koraput district in favour of National Aluminum Company (Nalco) provided the company fulfills certain conditions.
“The state government is willing in principle for reservation of Pottangi bauxite deposit area of Koraput district for undertaking mining operation through Nalco subject to fulfillment of conditions,” the department of steel and mines of Odisha government said today in a letter addressed to Nalco chairman and managing director (CMD)..
The conditions set out by the government included settlement of the water cess claims pending against the company and commitment to carry out peripheral development work in the Pottangi area.
It may be noted, the government has raised a claim of Rs 140 crore on Nalco towards water cess and the company has gone to the court against this. The matter should be settled either through an order of the court or out of court settlement before allotment of fresh mining lease to Nalco, the letter pointed out.
Besides, the government maintained that it will have no hesitation to recommend to the Centre for reserving the Pottangi deposits for Nalco if the company promises to develop the peripheral area surrounding the mine through Nalco Foundation. A five year perspective plan has to be drawn up for the purpose.
The government said, the Navratna PSU should contribute either two per cent of its net profit or Rs 20 crore, whichever is higher, to the Foundation every year starting from April 2010. This will be in addition to the one percent of the profit the company is set to spend through Rehabilitation and Peripheral Development Advisory Committee (RPDAC) and over and above the benefits likely to be accrued to the locals because of the proposed amendments in the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act.
Difficulties in acquiring mining lease for Pottangi bauxite mine, which has over 75 million tonne deposit, has made Nalco to put on hold its investment to the tune of Rs 6,500 crore for third phase expansion as its existing reserves will last only for over a decade. Nalco had applied for the Pottangi deposits about 20 years back.

Australian Bauxite Limited (ASX:ABZ) Inverell Resource Grade Improvement - 38 Million Tonnes Resource

http://abnnewswire.net - 8th May 2012

Sydney, May 8, 2012 (ABN Newswire) - Emerging bauxite exploration and development company, Australian Bauxite Limited (ASX:ABZ) discovered a thick layer of good quality bauxite in 2008-09 at its Inverell project in northern NSW (see Figure 1). Parts of that bauxite lie beneath a clay horizon and required further investigation. ABx conducts thorough evaluation programmes and results from 37 new holes into the concealed bauxite are generally consistent with previous Inferred resource estimates for those zones.
A rigorous selection of the bauxite intercept thicknesses and grades has been applied so that the grades of the resources better reflect the nature of the deposit, with A/S ratios increasing from 6.7 to 8.5 and Al2O3 increasing from 37.8% to 40.2%.
The Inverell deposit lies near the top of a plateau north of the city of Inverell, which has been widely cleared for farming and grazing.
The bauxite in the resource area is consistently medium quality, low silica gibbsite bauxite suitable for low temperature bauxite-alumina refineries.
New areas of bauxite in the Inverell-Stannifer-Guyra area of northern NSW have been discovered in recent months and are currently being explored to expand resource extent and to identify resource drilling targets.
Logistical Setting
The Inverell bauxite project is located approximately 430kms inland from Newcastle port and is not serviced by a heavy duty rail line. Therefore, this bauxite project is not considered a candidate for early development for direct export. However Inverell may form part of a sizeable bauxite province in northern NSW that has potential to justify a bauxite processing facility, possibly even a new bauxite-alumina refinery.
Further Work Planned
The bauxite deposit is open in many locations and many other deposits have been identified. New tenements containing high-grade bauxite outcrops have been secured in the region, especially at Stannifer halfway between Inverell and Guyra. These will be the next areas evaluated in northern NSW.
RESOURCE ESTIMATE METHOD
Reconnaissance and follow-up exploration drilling was done on a semi-random but systematic pattern governed by site availability across Inverell EL 6997 to test several of the many bauxite targets. By 30 November 2011, 233 holes had intersected a moderate quality bauxite layer, concealed in many places beneath a surface clay and soil layer 1 to 3 metres thick.
Drill samples were collected at 1 metre intervals from the aircore drillholes and analysed at ALS Laboratories in Brisbane including trihydrate (THA) available alumina ("Al2O3 Avl") and reactive silica ("Rx SiO2") measurements. Leach conditions to measure available alumina "Al2O3 Avl" and reactive silica "Rx SiO2" were 1g leached in 10ml of 90gpl NaOH at 143 degrees C for 30 minutes.
Estimation was done by geostatistical block modelling of bauxite intercepts, constrained within geological boundaries using Gemcom resource estimation software. The block size is 25m x 25m and drill spacing within the bauxite zones was typically at 75 to 150 metres spacings. Data interpolation of up to 350 metres was done, based on statistical assessments of continuity.
A tight boundary was drawn around bauxite intercepts in the new areas and the resources within these new areas were classified as Indicated because of the close-spaced drilling inside those boundaries. No Inferred Boundary has been drawn because of the high proportion of concealment. In the areas drilled in the past, blocks with less than 6 datapoints within that 350 metre search ellipse were classified as Inferred Resources and the more heavily drilled blocks were classified as Indicated Resources.
Bauxite density was conservatively assumed at 1.85 dry tonnes per cubic metre in situ even though this bauxite layer is generally unweathered due to protection from the overlying clay layer.

Guj govt to decide on Nalco's smelter project soon

ibnlive.in.com - 8th May 2012

Ahmedabad, May 7 (PTI) Gujarat government is likely to take a final decision on setting up of an alumina plant and aluminium smelter in joint venture with Navratna PSU Nalco soon, a top official said. State-run Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation's (GMDC) board had recently discussed the JV proposal with Nalco and forwarded it to the state government for final decision. "After having discussions on the JV proposal with Nalco in our board, the proposal has been sent to the state government which will take a final decision on it," a top GMDC official told PTI. Nalco, a leading aluminium producer, had recently qualified as the sole bidder for the over Rs 10,000-15,000 crore alumina and smelter plant project proposed in Kutch district. It also paid the deposit amount of Rs 150 crore upfront that was required. The project bids were technically examined by the Nagpur-based Jawaharlal Nehru Aluminium Research Development and Design Centre, a GMDC official said. The mega project is for one million tonne (MT) alumina and 0.5 MT aluminium smelter. GMDC will supply bauxite for the project from its group of mines in Kutch. The estimated Rs 10,000-15,000 crore alumina and smelter is expected to be set up on the lines of such units installed by the UK-based Vedanta group in Orissa, but will deploy more advance technology, he said. Earlier in 2005, Gujarat government had signed an MoU with Aashapura group to set up the plant and smelter unit in Kutch. But later the MoU was not extended by government, following which GMDC in 2010 invited EOIs for the project. Aluminium smelting is the process of extracting aluminium from alumina.

Mine injects $34m

The Fiji Times Online - 7th May 2012

THE Nawailevu bauxite mine in Bua has injected about $34million ($US20million) into the economy to set up local operation, says mine manager Basilio Vanuaca.
He said the mine was expected to excavate a million tonnes of bauxite over the next two years.
The total cost includes assistance to the local community in Bua ù from educating the children, employment opportunities, church obligations and other activities for development purposes.
Mr Vanuaca said the costs included paying freight and taxes for machinery and trucks brought in from China for mining work.
"We began operations in January this year after the mine lease was given to Aurum Exploration last year," he said.
Mr Vanuaca said a ship from China arrived last week and loading of bauxite had started at the jetty in Navakasiga.
He said two barges arrived earlier this year from China would transport 2000 tonnes each of bauxite to load onto the ship.
Mr Vanuaca said the ship would take about 17 to 20 days to sail from the Bua waters to China to offload the 60,000 tonnes of bauxite per shipment per month.
He said one of the social obligations by his team was repairing the church at Nawailevu which cost them $16,000.
"We funded the upgrading work from painting to replacing the roof and renovating the whole church.
"Education remains a priority for us when it comes to helping the locals and it is a huge project ù assisting locals with academic opportunities."
The $34m has also been used on the construction of new roads and the jetty in Navakasiga.

Chinese tycoons plan to take Guinea mine Simandou from Rio Tinto

www.theaustralian.com.au - 7th May 2012

A SECRETIVE group of Chinese tycoons is plotting to take away the world's largest undeveloped iron ore project from Rio Tinto.
The swoop by China International Fund (CIF), set up by a syndicate of Hong Kong traders and Sonangol, Angola's state oil monopoly, is the latest turn in the fight over Simandou, an ore reserve that will turn Guinea in West Africa into the world's third-largest iron ore producer after Australia and Brazil.

Union hopeful on Alcoa future

www.weeklytimesnow.com.au - 6th May 2012

A UNION representing 600 workers at the troubled Point Henry Alcoa aluminium smelter is optimistic the plant can be saved.
Hope comes after a meeting with US executives reviewing its future.
Australian Workers Union Victorian secretary Cesar Melhem and a delegate from the plant, near Geelong, met executives at the company's headquarters in Pittsburgh on Friday.
"I am somewhat optimistic but I am not counting my chickens until the final decision is made in the next four to six weeks,'' Mr Melhem said from Pittsburg.
Alcoa is reviewing the future of the smelter, which has been hit by the high Australian dollar and low metal prices.
The union official said they had received a good hearing from company heads. ''(Alcoa's) main focus now is how they can turn it around, how they can continue smelting,'' Mr Melhem said.
"It's not necessarily about looking how they can justify the closure, it's about how they could operate the smelter going forward and how they could put it back into a profitable position.''
He said Alcoa workers were willing to look at productivity improvements and other cost-saving measures but a significant investment in the Point Henry smelter was also necessary to revive it. Mr Melham dismissed earlier reports that a wage freeze was on the negotiating table
He said reducing wages and conditions was not up for discussion but other cost-saving measures could be generated.
"Our members are wanting to look at productivity improvements and savings but that has to be matched by significant investment because without significant investment ... that will just be a bandaid solution,'' he said.
Electrical Trades Union secretary Dean Mighell, who was unaware of Friday's US meeting, said the union conceded that some job losses may be unavoidable.
"If there are jobs to be lost due to genuine redundancy, well then that's something we have to wear,'' he said.

Union hopes high on Point Henry Alcoa aluminium smelter

www.heraldsun.com.au - 5th May 2012

A UNION representing 600 workers at the troubled Point Henry Alcoa aluminium smelter near Geelong is optimistic the plant can be saved after meeting the company's US executives.
Australian Workers Union Victorian secretary Cesar Melhem and a delegate from the plant met executives at the company's headquarters in the US for a fresh round of crisis talks yesterday.
"I am somewhat optimistic but I am not counting my chickens until the final decision is made in the next four to six weeks," Mr Melhem said from Pittsburg.
Alcoa is reviewing the future of the smelter, hit by the high Australian dollar and low metal prices.
Mr Melhem said the union had received a good hearing from company heads.
He said Alcoa workers were willing to look at productivity improvements and other cost-saving measures but a major investment in the Point Henry smelter also was necessary to revive it.
He said cutting wages and conditions was not on the table but other cost-saving ideas could be generated.

Qatalum to host regional aluminium conference

www.gulf-times.com - 5th May 2012

Qatalum will host the 16th Arab International Aluminium Conference (Arabal 2012) at the Grand Hyatt Hotel from November 19-21.
The event will be held under the patronage of Minister for Energy and Industry HE Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada.
Considered the only conference wholly dedicated to the region’s aluminium industry, Qatalum has constituted an organising committee, consisting of many of its key personnel headed by Ibrahim J Fakhri to supervise all aspects of the event from planning to execution.
“There is no doubt the State of Qatar, its government and people have welcomed 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 is 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 and ultimately guiding it to a position of leadership,” said Fakhri, while thanking minister al-Sada for his support.

Bosai will recover 8 tonnes of bauxite daily from dust extractors – Solomon - says EPA failed to make company honour commitment

www.stabroeknews.com - 4th May 2012

AThe promised investment by the Chinese bauxite-mining company Bosai in dust extractors for its operations at Linden will probably benefit the company much more than it will the community, Region Ten Chairman Sharma Solomon has said.
“While there is much doubt as to whether the new systems will bring that much relief to the people of the community, Bosai will be able to recover about 8 tonnes of bauxite per day from the systems,” Solomon said.
Linden has witnessed a number of protests in recent years over promises by the Chinese management of the company to install the dust extractor systems and Sharma said what struck residents of….

Germany's Voerde Aluminium declares insolvency

www.reuters.com - 4th May 2012

May 4 (Reuters) - German aluminium smelter Voerde Aluminium launched insolvency proceedings on Friday but said the business would continue to operate and it would seek to restructure.
The company, which produces around 115,000 tonnes of aluminium annually and has 410 employees, said it had hit liquidity problems because aluminium prices had fallen since July last year while production costs have risen it.
The smelter was sold by British group Corus in 2009 to BaseMet, owned in turn by investor Gary Klesch.
"I am confident that we will be able to find a suitable solution to continue operations which will be in the best interests of the company and creditors," Chief Executive Wout Kusters said in a statement. (Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

Dollar key to Alumina's long-term smelter plans

www.smh.com.au - 3rd May 2012

ALUMINIUM producer Alumina says the level of the Australian dollar over the longer term will be an important factor in deciding the future of the loss-making smelter at Point Henry in Victoria.
The chief executive of Alumina, John Bevan, said yesterday the aluminium price would go up and down but the level of the dollar over the long term needed to be considered before a decision was made whether to modernise or close the smelter.
He said the Point Henry smelter was an efficient but old smelter, built in 1963. Advertisement: Story continues below
Alcoa, which is the manager of Alumina and Alcoa's joint-venture company Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals, is reviewing the Point Henry smelter. The review is expected to be completed in June.
''The aim of the review is not about the short term: trying to fix things as it relates to the conditions today,'' Mr Bevan said after Alumina's annual general meeting.
''Clearly, making losses is something that we don't want to do. But it's more about to think through … how we can make it more viable. And for it to be viable, it ultimately needs to be modernised.''
Mr Bevan said 2012 had started with weak pricing and an uncertain market due to the poor economic outlook for Europe. Overall demand for aluminium was forecast to grow by 5 to 7 per cent in 2012, down from last year's levels. Growth outside China was expected to be about 3 per cent.
The chairman of Alumina, John Pizzey, said the bauxite, alumina and aluminium markets were experiencing change as China increased its share of world production. China was importing significant amounts of bauxite, mainly from Indonesia, to feed its expanding alumina industry.
Mr Pizzey said the Indonesian government had recently announced possible restrictions or tariffs on bauxite.
He said AWAC, the world's largest producer of bauxite, owned deposits in Australia, Brazil, Jamaica and Guinea, and the recently developed Juruti bauxite deposit in Brazil provided strategic opportunities to increase production.
Mr Pizzey also referred to the carbon tax, which comes into effect from July 1. ''In this global marketplace, any carbon price mechanism which increases the costs of producing alumina and aluminium in Australia, but not in other countries, will shift production and emissions from Australia,'' he said.
''It is highly likely that replacement production will be substantially coal-based and in China.''

Aluminium Week proves great success

MEED - 3rd May 2012

Emal President and CEO, Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei , declared Aluminium Week 'a great success for Emal and Abu Dhabi'. For the first time ever three of the aluminium industry's major events were held in the same place at the same time as Abu Dhabi hosted business leaders from around the world.

Unions criticise attempts to close plant

The Hindu - 3rd May 2012

Trade unions owing allegiance to various political parties came together here on Wednesday under the banner ‘Save Carborundum' calling for the protection of Carborundum Universal's Kalamassery unit against “allegations” raised by “vested interests”.
A statement issued by the trade unions here on Wednesday alleged that vested interests were raising allegations of threat to environment from the unit. The statement claimed that the allegations were baseless and came at a time when the company was facing difficult times owing to rising power charges and paucity of bauxite.
The meeting of the trade unions before the company gate was inaugurated by M. O. John, former chairman of Aluva Municipality. P. M. Beerankutty of the INTUC; M. P. Mohan, RSP and A. R. Mohan, CITU were among those who spoke at the meeting, said the press release issued by convener of Save Carborundum, M. Ramadas.

Smelter depends on long-term prospects

smh.com.au - 2nd May 2012

Bauxite miner and alumina and aluminium producer Alumina says the future of its loss-making aluminium smelter at Point Henry will depend upon its long-term prospects.
Alcoa, which is the manager of Alumina and Alcoa's joint-venture company Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC), is currently reviewing the Pont Henry smelter at Geelong in Victoria.
The review is expected to be completed in June. Advertisement: Story continues below
Alumina chief executive John Bevan on Wednesday said the Point Henry smelter was an efficient but old smelter, built in 1963, and it also was suffering from the high Australian dollar and low aluminium prices.
"The aim of the review is not about the short term: trying to fix things as it relates to the conditions today," Mr Bevan told reporters after Alumina's annual general meeting.
"Clearly, making losses is something that we don't want to do.
"But it's more about to think through what the long-term future is of it (the Point Henry smelter), and how we can make it more viable.
"And for it to be viable, it ultimately needs to be modernised."
Mr Bevan said the aluminium price would go up and down, but the company needed to consider where the Australian dollar would go in the long term and the costs associated with the smelter.
Mr Bevan earlier told shareholders that 2012 had started with weak pricing and an uncertain market, due to the macro-economic outlook for Europe.
Overall demand for aluminium looked to grow by five to seven per cent in 2012, down from 2011 levels, but was still growing strongly.
Growth outside China was expected to be around three per cent.
Alumina chairman John Pizzey told shareholders that the bauxite, alumina and aluminium markets were experiencing significant change as China increased its share of world production.
China was importing significant amounts of bauxite, mainly from Indonesia, to feed its expanding alumina industry.
Mr Pizzey said the Indonesian government had recently announced possible restrictions or tariffs on exported bauxite.
He said AWAC, the world's largest producer of bauxite, owned deposits in Australia, Brazil, Jamaica and Guinea, and the recently developed Juruti bauxite deposit in Brazil provided strategic opportunities to increase production.
Mr Pizzey also referred to the federal government's carbon tax, which comes into effect from July 1, 2012.
The Alumina board was focused on the long-term impact of the carbon tax on its competitive position.
"In this global marketplace, any carbon price mechanism which increases the costs of producing alumina and aluminium in Australia, but not in other countries, will shift production and emissions from Australia offshore," he said.
"It is highly likely that replacement production will be substantially coal-based, and in China."
Shares in Alumina were 0.5 cents higher at $1.15 at 1339 AEST on Wednesday.

Aluminium firms envision Gulf plants

www.thenational.ae - 2nd May 2012

International aluminium players are casting a keen eye on the Gulf as cheap natural gas provides the same investment rationale that attracted major petrochemical names to the region.
Governments have been promoting industrial development as a means to expand their economies and drive job creation, and they have turned to basic metals such as aluminium.
US and European chemical companies have already formed joint ventures with government-owned entities to create a thriving petrochemical industry. Foreign aluminium companies see the petrochemical industry as a valid model for their own entry into the region.
Jacynthe Coté, the chief executive of Rio Tinto Alcan, the division of the British-Australian company responsible for aluminium production, called the Gulf a "good platform for investment". Her company already has a presence in the region, holding a 20 per cent stake in the Sohar Aluminium smelter in Oman.
"The challenge for this part of the world is to maintain [competitive prices], and maintain predictability of prices, as well as the availability of gas," said Ms Coté.
Chinese companies are also on the lookout for the right investment opportunities. Demand for basic metals in China, a major importer of aluminium, is set to continue to rise. Domestic production is hamstrung by the constant struggle to keep up with mushrooming electricity requirements.
"Energy is a very important factor for aluminum production," said Yu Dehui, a vice president of the China Power Investment Corporation (CPIC). "In China, energy prices are high, in the Gulf they are relatively cheap. If we can find a partner for a [joint venture] - why not?"
While CPIC manufactures aluminium, the majority of its assets lie in power generation, and Mr Yu is only too aware of the importance of natural gas, one of the key feedstocks in the generation of electricity.
But investment opportunities might take some time to materialise. The regional aluminium sector is well developed; the UAE alone has two major players in Dubai Aluminium (Dubal), and Emirates Aluminium (Emal). The latter is based in the newly created Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad), where it is busy increasing its capacity, and is supplying downstream industry players that are starting to set up shop in the zone.
"If you look at the absorption of direct investment, it will probably take three to four years for another window for downstream investment," said Phil Martens, the chief executive of Novelis, a producer of flat-rolled aluminium products.

Alba sponsors top forum

Gulf Daily News - 2nd May 2012

ANAMA: Alba's sponsorship of a top aluminium conference in the UAE underlines the company's initiatives to engage in events that enrich knowledge-exchange in the industry as well as promote networking opportunities for its leaders. Billed as an authoritative event for senior executives, CRU Event's 17th World Aluminium Conference being held at Fairmont Hotel, Abu Dhabi, concludes today.
Alba also hosted a welcome reception for all participating delegates on the opening day of the conference. An exhibition stand at the sidelines of the conference provided Alba with a platform to showcase its extensive range of high-quality aluminium products.
"Alba's support for CRU's World Aluminium Conference emphasises our commitment to the growth of this industry we are part of, ensure its continued success and benefit from the available opportunities to learn of new technologies and innovations that will strengthen aluminium's role as the metal of the future," Alba chief executive Laurent Schmitt said.
"We are also looking forward to meeting other industry leaders during the conference, exchanging ideas, sharing concerns and looking for possibilities to turn business leads into potential partnerships," he added.
CRU is an independent business analysis and consultancy group focused on mining, metals, power, cables, fertiliser and chemical sectors.
Founded in the late 1960s and still privately-owned to ensure its independence, the group employs more than 200 experts in London, Beijing, Santiago, Sydney and key centres within the US.

Bauxite Resources confirms significant bauxite grade in Western Australian site EBR Staff Writer

EBR - 1st May 2012

Bauxite Resources has confirmed significant bauxite grades and thicknesses over a large area of its southwest Western Australian tenement area.
Preliminary view of the data in an exploration drilling program on private farmland north of Wundowie revealed bauxite grades with 55% of holes containing available alumina grades of equal to 25% over greater than 2m thickness.
The program included 3,406 vertical holes drilled for 22,941.5m across an area of 2500ha which was completed by the end of last year with the aim of defining additional bauxite resources.
This work was undertaken on tenements E70/3159, 3900 and 4021 within the Bauxite Alumina Joint Venture (BAJV) with Yankuang Resources, where the mineralization was observed from within 0.5m of surface and consistent bauxite thicknesses of up to 16m were intersected.
Final analytical data for the program was obtained by BAJV in February and a preliminary review of the data has revealed that the mineralization may add significantly to current geological resources.
BAJV has commissioned a resource estimation study on a small number of large private landholdings and hired an external consultancy which expects to provide a JORC resource estimate in June 2012 after geological modeling is completed.
Bauxite Resources said results from the bomb analysis for greater than 25% available received till date reported total alumina within bauxite of up to 57%, available alumina between 25 - 56.5 % and available alumina:reactive silica ratios between 2:1 to 319:1 with reactive silica ranges from 0.1 - 15.4%.

Emal seeks partners to forge growth in Abu Dhabi

The National - 1st May 2012

Emirates Aluminium (Emal) is in talks with two other metal processors interested in building facilities alongside its US$10.2 billion (Dh37.46bn) plant in Abu Dhabi.
It comes as the aluminium project increases production to almost 800,000 tonnes in its first phase and prepares to add 1,000 jobs over the next year.
"We are encouraging downstream industries to set up around Emal, and we have already committed with two companies and are in negotiations with another two," said Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, the chief executive.
The plant will also be able to supply molten aluminium to processors based around the site, reducing the cost of transporting the metal in solid ingots and billets that have to be remelted.
Emal is on track to boost first-phase production capacity by almost 50,000 tonnes by the end of the year after using energy-saving technology developed at Dubai Aluminium to produce the metal at a lower cost.
Emal is a joint venture between Dubai Aluminium and Mubadala Development, a strategic company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government. It is building the world's largest single-site smelter at a 6-square-kilometre location at the Khalifa Industrial Zone in Taweelah, between the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
About $5.7bn was invested in the first phase of the project, with $4.5bn spent on the second phase, putting the country among the world's top aluminium producers. The second phase of the project is expected to completed by 2014.
Global industry chiefs will gather in the capital tomorrow for the World Aluminium Conference, which producers including Rio Tinto and Novelis will attend.
The global aluminium industry is emerging from an inventory glut that has depressed prices and forced some producers to cut production. Alcoa, the largest producer in the United States, last month raised its global growth forecast in several sectors including the aerospace and automotive industries.
Gulf states have invested heavily in aluminium production to leverage their access to cheap gas to produce the power that forms one of the largest costs in making the metal.
Investment from global players has also been encouraged - most notable being Alcoa's venture with Maaden in Saudi Arabia.

Brazil's aluminium demand to triple by 2025, national assn says

Metal Bulletin - 30th April 2012

Aluminium demand is expected to surge in Brazil in the next few years, driven by development projects in civil construction and transport, as well as upcoming sporting events.
Brazil is expected to consume 1.5 million tonnes of aluminium in 2012. In 2025, the country will be consuming 4.5 million tonnes,” Adjarma Azevedo, president of Brazilian aluminium assn Abal, said during the opening of this year’s International Aluminium Congress in Sao Paulo. The main concern of the local industry, however, is the growing volume of imports. In 2011, Brazil imported 425,100 tonnes of aluminium, compared with 278,100 tonnes in 2010. The five main aluminium producers in the country – Norsk Hydro’s Albras, Alcoa, BHP Billiton, Novelis and Votorantim Metais – have together recorded a 6.8% decrease in production in 2011. Brazil’s aluminium output totalled 1.44 million tonnes in 2011, compared with 1.53 million tonnes the year before. Production is estimated at 1.48 million tonnes this year. Increasing production costs, largely due to the strength of the Real against the dollar, and the high cost of energy are among...

Nalco staff oppose alumina sale to Vedanta

Times of India - 30th April 2012

NGUL: Employees of Nalco here have threatened to launch protests against the reported move of the company to sell alumina to Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL). On Friday, a few employees under Nalco Sramik Congress Union organized a demonstration in front of the company's captive power plant. A day before, the Aluminium Mazdoor Sangha (AMS), had held demonstration in front of the smelter plant, while another demonstration has been planned on May 3 in front of Nalco's corporate office in Bhubaneswar.
Nalco produces 16.5 lakh metric tonne alumina at its Damanjodi plant. Of the total output, its Angul smelter plant gets about 8.18 lakh metric tonne annually, while the rest is exported through London Metal Exchange (LME). The Nalco authorities came under suspicion after its August 26, 2011 tender in which the company sought international bidders to sell nearly 300,000 tonnes of alumina.
As the product was meant for exports, the tender barred any domestic entity to participate. This was followed by the VAL chief executive director, Pramod Suri, writing a letter to the secretary, ministry of mines, seeking permission to participate in the bidding. The VAL's smelter plant at Jharsuguda is facing problems in sourcing enough alumina to run it.
Nalco employees, however, smell a rat in the whole move. Paresh Jena, general secretary of Nalco Sramik Congress Union (NSCU) alleged, "If the Nalco management sells alumina to Vedanta or to any domestic firm, the company will not only lose precious foreign exchange leading to fall in its profit, it would also pave the way for Nalco's privatization. We will not allow this to happen".
"VAL is a competitor for us. The deal would be unfair and not in the interest of Nalco. Angul's Nalco smelter plant consumes 2,200 metric tonne of alumina daily for its 840 pots and it would require 2600 metric tonne daily to run its 940 pots everyday," the NSCU vice-president Gobinda Chandra Mishra said. Contacted, the chairman-cum-managing director (CMD), Nalco was unavailable for comment. Most of the Nalco officers were tight-lipped. A senior official, however, maintained no final decision has been taken for selling alumina to VAL.

Rusal Guinea alumina plant yet to resume full operations, but port loadings start

Sydney (Platts) - 30th April 2012

Russia's Rusal resumed alumina loading operations Saturday at the port of Conakry in Guinea after extremists enforced a three-and-a-half week stoppage, a source close to the port said over the weekend.
But operations at Rusal's bauxite and alumina complex at Friguia have yet to fully restart, the aluminium company said in a statement late Friday.
Although bauxite milling has resumed and certain workers have returned to their duties at the complex and alumina port, "the complex is still controlled by syndicalist groups," Rusal said late Friday, adding that expatriate workers had yet to return due to security risks.
Rusal has lost more than three weeks of alumina production from the incident but the company said it had financial provisions in the form of a reserve fund created for force majeure circumstances.

Reduced Venezuelan aluminum production forces authorities to adjust exports

eluniversal - 30th April 2012

The decline in aluminum production in the Venezuelan industries located in Guayana (southern Venezuela) has obliged authorities to "adjust" aluminum supply quotas sold to multinational companies. .
Venezuelan aluminum smelter CVG Alcasa's failure to deliver the product is long-standing and it is due to the industry's operational decline. In the case of Venezuelan smelter Venalum, exports were reduced because of production has plummeted in recent weeks, and high levels of iron have been found in aluminum cylinders.
A source of the industry said that in a scenario marked by heavy losses and operational problems, futures contracts are risky for state-run companies, which have already used their reserves and have committed production for several years.
Henry Arias, a union leader of Venezuela s aluminum company CVG Alcasa (Sintralcasa), said that the smelter has not complied with its international agreements in the past two years because it is operating under poor conditions. Alcasa "should deliver 5,000 tons on a monthly basis to Noble Resources and Glencore, but we are now producing 4,500 tons per month," he stated.
“In 2010, 33% of Alcasa production was sold abroad, but last year the company only exported 0.6% of the smelter's production.

Rusal Is Still Considering Shutting Smelters as Aluminum Falls

Bloomberg News - Apr 26, 2012

United Co. Rusal (486), the world’s largest aluminum producer, is still looking at the possibility of closing smelters as prices decline.
“Decisions have not been made yet,” Vladislav Soloviev, Rusal’s first deputy chief executive officer, said today in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. “We’re still thinking what kind of smelters, which regions, could be closed.”
Aluminum for three-month delivery has declined 24 percent on the London Metal Exchange in the past 12 months. The metal averaged $2,219 a metric ton on the LME in the first quarter, 12 percent less than a year earlier.
Alcoa Inc. (AA), the largest U.S. aluminum producer, cut 12 percent of capacity in January and Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld said April 11 the reductions “may not be the end.” Rusal may lower output by 6 percent in the next 18 months, Chief Executive Officer Oleg Deripaska said in January.
Rusal today opened its aluminum trading venture in Shenzhen with China North Industries Corp., also known as Norinco. Rusal has an initial sales contract with the venture for 24,000 tons, mainly for ingots, Rusal’s Director for International Sales Steve Hodgson said today.
The company’s sales to China may be between 50,000 tons and 100,000 tons this year and may increase to as much as 500,000 tons in the “long term,” Hodgson said. China’s aluminum consumption will grow at an annual rate of 10.5 percent to 27.5 million tons by 2015, slowing from the 17.2 percent rate during 2005 to 2010, he said in Shanghai yesterday.
Rusal shares gained 2.6 percent in Hong Kong trading today, compared with the 0.8 rise in the benchmark Hang Seng index. The stock has advanced 14 percent this year.