AluNews - May 2013

Bauxite Resources Limited (ASX:BAU) Darling Range Resources Increase to 243.7Mt

ABN Newswire - May 28th, 2013,

Perth - Bauxite Resources Limited (ASX:BAU.AX - News) ("BRL" or "the Company") is pleased to announce a resource upgrade for the Felicitas bauxite deposit in the Darling Range Western Australia.
The Felicitas resource is contained within the Company's Bauxite Alumina Joint Ventures ("BAJV") with Yankuang Resources Ltd (Yankuang). The resource is situated on a small number of large private landholdings located approximately 60km north east of Perth, and 10km from the town of Wundowie. The resource is less than 5 km from existing rail infrastructure providing a direct link to Fremantle/Kwinana Port being approximately 120 km away.
The BAJV has identified well in excess of 90 million tonnes of refinery grade bauxite at Felicitas, a critical milestone for the joint venture for the undertaking of a bankable feasibility study into the viability of an alumina refinery in Western Australia.
The costs of the feasibility study, when undertaken will be borne 90% by Yankuang, with BRL funding the remaining 10% BRL. Subject to the feasibility study results, BRL and Yankuang will design and build a refinery, with BRL funding 9% of construction costs and receiving 30% of the alumina end product.
Mr Peter Canterbury, Bauxite Resources new Chief Executive Officer, commented on the resource upgrade: "The Company's recent upgrades have now created a very large localised bauxite resource similar to the other bauxite deposits used to supply Alcoa's and BHP Billiton's Western Australian refineries, the largest Alumina producing region in the world. The very high alumina to reactive silica content and the ability to process this gibbsitic bauxite at low refining temperatures make it very efficient bauxite to refine and is why Darling Range alumina refineries are in the lowest quartile cost producers in the world"
"We believe the resources are now of a sufficient size, quality and location that they can support the development of increased alumina refining capacity in Western Australia as well as the development of plans for shipping of bauxite out through existing rail and port facilities."
The previous BAJV resource stood at 127.5Mt, following an initial resource announcement in June 2012, and an upgrade in early May 2013 based on new specific gravity measurements, and an additional 729 drill holes. The current BAJV resource increase of 20.4Mt has resulted from the inclusion of an additional 1,421 drill holes, completed on a nominal 80m x 80m grid pattern. The Felicitas BAJV resource now extends over a strike length of 16.5km. Mineralisation remains open to the south; with the potential for the resource to be further increased with samples from approximately 940 holes awaiting analysis.
Close spaced drilling (at 5m spacing) conducted at two locations across the deposit and twinned drill holes has verified the continuity of mineralisation. This, combined with the use of a bulk density determined from the deposit, has enabled a substantial portion of the resource to be classified as Measured Mineral Resource
The Felicitas deposit comprises a bauxite horizon up to 16m thickness that is typically covered by 0.5m to 2m of loose overburden. The resource model was completed by RungePincockMinarco (RPM), based on data from 6,947 vertical holes drilled for 47,610 metres on a nominal 80 x 80m drill pattern. The available alumina and reactive silica results quoted are unbeneficiated, and based on low temperature caustic digest analysis (143C), to simulate extraction by the Bayer process. Drilling will continue to define the extent of mineralisation, with a further upgrade expected during the latter half of 2013.
The BAJV Felicitas resource now includes 100Mt in the measured and indicated category, considered to be a positive step in the advancement of the Joint Venture.
The BAJV Felicitas resource upgrade adds to the global resource base that BRL and its joint venture partners have defined within the Darling Range of Western Australia. Table 2 in link below provides a summary of the total bauxite resources and the bauxite resources that are attributable to the company in its own right or 100% and those resources it hold with its other JV partner HD Mining which is required to fund 100% of the exploration costs up to BFS and decision to mine .

Alcoa recognised for taking decisive action in aluminium industry

Mining Weekly - May 27th, 2013,

TORONTO - US aluminium refiner Alcoa was last week presented with the Industry Leadership Award for aluminium at the first ever Platts Global Metals Awards, for taking decisive action resulting in a substantial transformation or change of direction in the aluminium industry.
"It is extremely gratifying to be recognised for our leadership in the aluminium industry as we mark our 125th anniversary since our incorporation. This award is a tribute to our dedicated employees who have made Alcoa an industry leader," CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said.
Executives and companies from 11 countries were selected as finalists for the awards, which recognise exemplary performance in nearly a dozen categories. Judging criteria for the industry leadership category included financial results, innovation, product quality, safety and strategic vision.
Winners were announced during a black-tie dinner held in London last week.
Alcoa earlier this month said it would shutter two potlines with a combined capacity of about 105 000 t and push back construction of a new potline at its Baie-Comeau smelter, in Quebec, as part of a revised modernisation plan for the smelter.
Alcoa also announced at the start of the month that it would review 460 000 t of smelting capacity over the next 15 months for possible curtailment, in an effort to maintain the company's competitiveness, as aluminium prices have fallen more than 33% since their peak in 2011.
The company said the continued low aluminium price had forced it to permanently shut down the two potlines, which were among the highest-cost potlines in the company's portfolio of plants, by August, and defer construction of the new potline from 2016 to 2019, subject to board approval.
Alcoa had previously announced a $300-million expansion of its Davenport, Iowa plant, which was expected to be complete by the end of this year.

Target 20% volume growth in alumina in FY14: NALCO

Money Control - May 27th, 2013,

National aluminium company (Nalco ) expects around 20 percent volume growth in FY14. During the year gone by, the firm's alumina refinery produced 18.02 lakh tonne of alumina hydrate, which is an all-time high, against the previous best of 16.87 lakh tonne achieved in preceding year.
In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Ansuman Das, CMD, Nalco said that the firm is expecting 20 percent volume growth in alumina segment in current year.
Nalco reported better than expected performance in Q4 While its sales grew by 4.6 percent YoY to Rs 1,835 crore against street estimate of around Rs 1,650 crore. Its aluminium segment reported a positive EBIT of Rs 59 crore, compared to an EBIT loss of Rs. 6 crore YoY which led to improvement in the performance.
The firm reported an EBITDA growth of 37.6 percent Y-o-Y to Rs 421 crore due to lower power costs. "At least 40 percent of my total cost of production is from the power and fuel. In the last quarter, we are able to reduce the power and fuel cost by 16 percent."

India's tribes ready for historic verdict on mining project

Mining Weekly - May 24th, 2013,

KOLKATA - For the first time in Indian mining history, councils of villagers and tribals, known as Gram Sabhas, were readying to decide the fate of a mining project, the mega bauxite-mining project on Niyamgiri hills, in the East Indian province of Odisha.
In line with a verdict of the Supreme Court, the respective councils of the villagers and tribals of Niyamgiri would hold meetings over the next few months to decide whether to permit mining, as the provincial government of Odisha started the elaborate monitoring process of the conclaves, as laid down in the court verdict.
The estimated 150-million-ton bauxite reserves would be exploited by Vedanta Aluminium, an associate of resource major, Vedanta Group, to produce three-million tons a year of raw materials for the company's onr-million-ton-a-year refinery, shuttered since December owing to a shortage of bauxite.
The government of Odisha had already started issuing instructions to local administrations to arrange meetings of the village councils and has moved the High Court to seek nominations of district judges who would be part of the councils as observers. Notices would also be posted in all the villages where the councils would meet to decide on the fate of the mining project.
The Supreme Court order on the Vedanta mining project said that the village councils would determine the proposal against the backdrop of community, individual, cultural and religious claims of tribals and forest dwellers.

Deputy PM plays down bauxite project worries

Vietnam Net - May 24th, 2013,

Hai was speaking to the media on the sidelines of the current session of the National Assembly, easing public worries about the economic efficiency of the project.
The project has been given the green light from the Party's Political Bureau and the National Assembly, under which a Tan Rai bauxite plant will be built in Lam Dong province, and a Nhan Co alumin plant in Dak Nong province, both in the Central Highlands.
It has been implemented by the Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited (Vinacomin). The Tan Rai plant has churned out its first commercial products.
Vinacomin reported that the global economic recession has taken its heavy toll on the project, slowing down its implementation pace and affecting its economic efficiency. The payback period could last longer than initially estimated.
The Tan Rai project is expected to pay back over 12 years and the Nhan Co project is likely to clear its debt over 13 years. Vinacomin insisted that it has calculated the economic efficiency of the two plants over 30 years.
Deputy PM Hai quoted a Ministry of Industry and Trade report, saying rising global input prices and exchange rates resulted from the global economic slowdown negatively impacted the project's scheduled plans.
Not only the bauxite project, but many other development ones have borne the brunt of the global economic slowdown, he said. The crux of the matter is to keep its progress in check, and it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Vinacomin, Hai said.
Although the project is in its infancy, it will turn out to be efficient in the long run, taking into account future forecasts of global aluminium prices, the Deputy PM confirmed.
Vinacomin has also pledged to mobilise capital to incur losses of the project in the coming years due to global market price fluctuations.

Brazil Gives New Mines a Chance But Sets Tough Conditions

Bloomberg News - May 23rd, 2013,

Brazil's government has ended a roughly 18-month freeze on new mining permits, but harsh conditions attached to the licenses have left some of their recipients uneasy.
Between Thursday and Monday, the Mines and Energy Ministry granted concession licenses to seven companies that wish to operate new mines, the first permits issued since late 2011. But unlike licenses given before the hiatus, the latest permits require the companies to meet annual production targets, start mining within six months and seek approval from the government for any change in plans, among other conditions.
Joao Augusto de Castro, a senior analyst at political risk consultancy Eurasia Group, said the permits issued in recent days are essentially a stop-gap measure for companies that have already made investments in mining projects but haven't been able to begin producing. It isn't an effort to reduce uncertainty or draw broader investments back into the mining sector; that will come after the government presents and Congress approves new mining legislation, expected this year.
"Granting mining claims piecemeal and on a case-by-case basis will only marginally boost investment," Castro said.
The Mines and Energy Ministry wasn't available to comment on the conditions or why it began issuing licenses again. Press releases published along with some of the licenses attributed the decision directly to Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao.
While Brazil's government never formally explained the freeze on new concession licenses, industry insiders believe authorities were waiting for President Dilma Rousseff to propose a much-delayed overhaul of mining laws. Local newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported this week that Lobao now expects to introduce the legislation in June.
Company officials say the move caught them by surprise.
"It's marvelous to have this opportunity to return to work," said Luiz Antonio Vessani, owner of bauxite miner Mineradora Santo Expedito Ltda, which is located in the center-west state of Goias. "We should have begun producing from this project some time ago."
In an interview, Vessani said his company has little choice but to accept its license, conditions and all. Santo Expedito had been waiting awaiting the permit for more than a year and was beginning to face liquidity problems amid the lack of cash flow from its mine.
The Brazilian Mining Institute, or Ibram, estimated last month that the suspension of licenses had cost some $20 billion in delayed investments.
Companies that received the new licenses could have a harder time adjusting their production to changing market conditions than companies operating under the old system, Vessani said. His firm must produce 950,000 metric tons of bauxite ore, used to produce aluminum, per year regardless of market prices and request permission from the government to alter output. Like the other companies that received licenses, Santo Expedito must also start operating within six months and cannot halt production for more than six months at a time.
In addition, the seven permits published by the Mines and Energy Ministry say their recipients must "adhere to the conditions established by law or supervening sector regulations," i.e., the mining legislation that has yet to be introduced.
Vessani said he isn't happy about the conditions attached to his company's license, which amounts to "meddling" by the government.
"But we're going to accept it because it's the only path that we have for our survival," he said.

Australia OKs Mine on World Heritage Quality Cape York

News Wire - May 23rd, 2013,

CANBERRA - Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke has approved Rio Tinto Alcan's new South of Embley bauxite mine on Cape York, the Queensland peninsula that the Australian government intends to propose as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Announcing the approval May 15, Burke said with the 76 strict conditions he has placed on the development, he is satisfied that the bauxite mine and port project in western Cape York "can go ahead without unacceptable impacts on the environment."
"My decision comes after a rigorous environmental assessment, and the conditions I have placed on the project will ensure that the region is protected," Burke said. "My decision has taken into account public comments, the advice of my department and independent advice from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority."
The project calls for Rio Tinto Alcan to extend bauxite mining on an existing mining lease south of its current operations near Weipa. The Montreal-based company will build new infrastructure, including a power station, processing plant, warehouses, workshops, barge and ferry facilities and ship loading facilities.
The A$1 billion-plus project will underpin the continued operation of Rio Tinto Alcan's alumina refinery operations in Gladstone, support the expansion of the Yarwun alumina refinery and provide the ability to grow the company's bauxite export capability.
The government's original decision on the project was revoked in March 2012 to assess previously unidentified shipping movements through Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef.
"The inclusion of the shipping impacts on the Great Barrier Reef in the revised referral has meant that Rio Tinto Alcan provided a fundamentally more comprehensive environmental impact statement which addressed all the key environmental impacts on matters of national environmental significance," Burke said.
"The conditions I have imposed today will ensure that shipping activity arising from this project does not negatively impact the outstanding universal value of the Great Barrier Reef, and meets the highest international standards in its planning, regulation, assessment and operation," said Burke.
Rio Tinto Alcan operates under two Indigenous agreements that provide economic, education and employment benefits, as well as cultural heritage support and formal consultation processes between the company and the indigenous people of the region.

IMF urges Montenegro to close aluminum plant to cut debt

Reuters - May 20th, 2013,

Montenegro should shut down the loss-making aluminum plant that is the country's biggest single industrial employer to stem a sharp rise in its public debt, the International Monetary Fund said.
The partly state-owned Kombinat Aluminijuma Podgorica (KAP) factory produced 120,000 metric tons of the metal last year, accounting for 4.7 percent of the tiny Balkan country's economic output.
But its total debt of around 350 million euros ($449 million) is equivalent to one tenth of GDP, and it soaks up a further 3 million euros of state subsidies every month.
"In the last three years, KAP was the major problem for the economy. There should be a clear plan to liquidate the factory," the IMF's Nadeem Ilahi told a news conference.
Ilahi, the head of an IMF mission to Montenegro for the Fund's annual inspection, welcomed cuts to KAP's production and workforce but said the plant continued to rack up unpaid bills. It owes 60 mln euros for electricity alone.
It still employs 1,200, and lawmakers fear that shutting it down would provoke social unrest.
KAP, which lost 16.2 million euros in the first quarter of the year, is jointly owned by the Montenegrin state and the Central European Aluminium Company of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.
Montenegro's economy is expected to grow by between 1 and 2 percent of national output this year, a more meager pace than the boom years after independence in 2006 when growth was driven by property construction and foreign investment.
The onset of the global crisis reined in foreign direct investment and since 2009 Montenegro's public debt has surged from 37 percent to 54 percent of GDP.
Ilahi said that figure needed to fall over next decade to "near 30 percent", recommending a 2 percentage point rise in value-added tax to 19 percent. The government has already said it is considering raising VAT.

Australian Bauxite: the company name says it all

Finance News Network - May 20th, 2013,

With its first Tasmanian mining lease well on the way to being granted, Australian Bauxite (ASX: ABZ) is poised to take advantage of favourable developments in the global bauxite market.
Australian Bauxite's (ABx's) carefully planned success began in 2006 when chief geologist Jacob Rebek started looking for bauxite deposits on the eastern seaboard of Australia.
Rebek's discoveries and enthusiasm enticed Ian Levy to join ABx as managing director in 2008, who brought with him a wealth of bauxite project development experience from his time employed with CSR and WMC in Western Australia and Aurum in Fiji.
Then, in 2009 the Indonesian Government passed a raft of laws to preserve the country's limited bauxite resources for its own domestic industry, which it is now in the process of implementing.
"ABx floated in 2009, specifically to get a project up and running by 2014 to meet the foreseen peak demand," Levy told The Resources Roadhouse.
"We are now on schedule to be shipping bauxite to customers in China toward the end of 2014.
"It really is credit to Jacob Rebeck; he recognised there was good bauxite in eastern Australia, near existing infrastructure in areas free of socio-environmental constraints."
ABx secured core project areas along the Eastern Australian Bauxite Province extending from central Queensland, through New South Wales and Tasmania.
All 42 ABx tenements are 100 per cent-owned and free of obligations for processing and third-party royalties.
The company has discovered a number of new bauxite deposits and established global resources of 115.6 million tonnes of high-grade bauxite with a target of 200 to 300 million tonnes.
The Goulburn bauxite project in NSW has been advanced to pre-feasibility status and the Binjour bauxite project in Central Queensland is anticipated to soon follow.
However, it is from the 5.7 million tonnes already defined at the company's Tasmania-based projects its first shipments of bauxite will be produced.
ABx's first bauxite project development is now underway at Bald Hill, close to Campbell Town in the central northern Midlands of Tasmania, an area historically known for farming, quarrying, timber and industry.
"The response we have received from all avenues has been very positive," Levy said.
"We have consulted with all of Tasmania's political players, local councils, and the local opinion-setters and all of them have said we have chosen the site to commence our operations very well."
Selection of the site for ABx's first bauxite mine wasn't simple with 20 prospective sites to choose from.
"We didn't know for certain which would be the easiest to get started and which would be the most difficult," Levy said.
"Pitt and Sherry engineers went through every one of our discoveries and said Bald Hill was the easiest site to get started.
"So, having chosen the site carefully, we will now demonstrate how quickly the land can be rehabilitated - and we honestly believe we will leave the land in better than condition that how we found it."
The significant aspect of Bald Hill and ABx's other deposits is the Gibbsite-rich type of bauxite they possess, with elevated iron and also very low in reactive silica which is the main deleterious element in bauxites worldwide.
"It doesn't have any boehmite which is a refractory mono-hydrate alumina," Levy explained.
"With alumina minerals - there are two types - one is a tri-hydrate where there are three water molecules per molecule of alumina - and that's called Gibbsite.
"For example, Western Australian bauxites are Gibbsite rich, they are the lowest grade bauxite deposits being exploited in the world - by a long away - yet they are by far the lowest cost producer of alumina because Gibbsite bauxite is more easily refined at much lower temperatures."
Another important facet of Gibbsite bauxite is its current in short supply world-wide.
This shortage has been intensified by Indonesia, which has long been a major source of bauxite for China and implemented the first of two major cutbacks to exports in mid-2012.
Indonesia closed a dozen mines and imposed a 20 per cent export tax on bauxite.
In 2014 Indonesia is expected to shut more mines and increase export tax to 50 per cent.
As Indonesian imports wane, China's demand for seaborne bauxite grows, especially as its own domestic bauxite is deteriorating in quality and rising in cost faster than analysts had predicted.
Chinese bauxite imports reached an all-time monthly record of 6.3 million tonnes in May 2012 then fell to one million tonnes in June 2012 after Indonesia's first round of bans took effect.
Since then they have has steadily returned to between four and five million tonnes per month, which is insufficient for China's demand.
"China is looking more and more at importing bauxite from the Asia-Pacific area with Australia emerging as the most logical provider," Levy said.
Earlier this year, ABx executed a Term Sheet with major Chinese aluminium company, Xinfa Group in regards to early development and operation of the company's Tasmanian and Goulburn South bauxite projects.
"Xinfa is the second largest importer of bauxite into China, importing more than 10 million tonnes per year," Levy said.
"We anticipate initially supplying Xinfa with one million tonnes per annum and, hopefully growing that to more than three million tonnes per annum.
"2014 will probably see similarly high prices and we hope to lock-in a few million tonnes with a large operating profit margin."
Levy compared the likely 2014 Indonesian bauxite prices, which are due to rise through it increasing export taxes and will cost more than US$63 per tonne Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) to ABx's proposed cost figures.
"Our operating expenditure looks like being less than US$27 per tonne Free On Board plus US$19 per tonne shipping for a total of approximately US$46/tonne CIF to China," he explained.
"We are likely to sell at above Indonesian and Indian bauxite prices with operating margins of $10 to $20 per tonne.
"We hope to start at 750,000 to 1,000,000 tonnes per annum and grow to about 3 million tonnes.
"Eventually, we hope to develop a five million tonnes per annum project out of Binjour in Central Queensland via an expanded Bundaberg Port in 2017 onwards - to be our flagship project."
Bauxite has undergone a 'quiet revolution' in recent times.
One contributing factor to this has been the fall in seaborne bulk transport costs, bringing Australia closer to Asia than ever before.
In 1975, it cost US$35 per tonne to ship bulk to North Asia, or US$150 per tonne in today's money.
Today, the same shipment will cost US$18 per tonne - about 10 to 15 per cent of what it once cost.
"This is a technological revolution that has not been noticed by the investment community - Keating was wrong; we are not at the arse end of the world," Levy said.
"Similarly, aluminium production costs have benefited from major advances in smelting technology - and real costs of aluminium metal are falling faster than for all other significant metals.
"This means consumption of aluminium will rise faster than other metals as aluminium becomes increasingly cost competitive in transport, power, construction and consumer goods.
"The net effect will be consumption of aluminium will keep rising, leading to the demand and prices for seaborne bauxite to keep rising strongly.
"Australia is poised to be the main beneficiary."

Change to the scope of the production upgrade project of Rio Tinto Alcan in Iceland

News of Iceland - May 20th, 2013,

Rio Tinto Alcan in Iceland has informed Landsvirkjun of a change to the scope of the ISAL Production Upgrade project for the company's aluminium plant in Straumsvik, Iceland. The initial plan anticipated that the annual production capacity of the aluminium plant would increase by 20% from 190 thousand tonnes of aluminium to 230 thousand tonnes.
Rio Tinto Alcan has informed Landsvirkjun of a change to the original plan whereby an increase of 205 thousand tonnes is anticipated. In light of this, it is likely that the power needs of the aluminium plant will be less than originally expected.
A power contract is in effect between Landsvirkjun and Rio Tinto Alcan and is valid until 2036. In accordance with the contract Landsvirkjun will provide 3,590 GWh of electricity annually and 410 MW of power to the aluminium plant. The two companies have a longstanding business relationship and Landsvirkjun anticipates that discussions will take place with Rio Tinto Alcan in the near future and that a satisfactory solution can be found for both parties.
At present Landsvirkjun does not expect that this alteration to the initial plans will have any effect on the construction of the Budarhals hydropower station.

Smelter workers set productivity record

The Southland Times - May 20th, 2013,

Tiwai Pt aluminium smelter workers have broken records for production per person at the plant.
New Zealand Aluminium Smelters acting general manager Stewart Hamilton said the January to March quarter productivity reached 416 tonnes per person - the equivalent of 25 million aluminium cans.
He said the figure included fulltime and contract workers.
It was the first time workers at the 42-year-old smelter had achieved more than 400 tonnes per person, which was double the productivity in 1995, he said.
The old record was set in a three-month period in 2007, when workers achieved 390 tonnes per person. Total output in the 2007 quarter was 352,000 tonnes by 900 workers, including contractors.
Total production in January to March this year was 322,000 tonnes produced by 800 workers, including contractors.
"Times are tough here, and workers can do nothing about outside circumstances such as power prices, aluminium prices and the exchange rate but they can control productivity and that is something they are doing well," Mr Hamilton said.
Even though the plant was 15 per cent down in production, workers were still producing the purest aluminium in the world at the highest tonnage per person.
Workers were not doing more work, they were just more efficient, he said. A lot of effort had gone into improving the efficiency of the smelting process and fixing inefficiency in other areas.
The figures were part of a smelter performance presentation, which he recently gave to smelter owners Pacific Aluminium.
The figures also showed carbon burning at the plant had reduced.
The amount of capital spent since 1990 had gone up significantly in the past few years, with more than $100 million spent on machinery such as a new ship unloader and transformers .
"A lot of people say we are hasbeens at 40 years old and our time is done. These figures show we have had our midlife refurbishment and we can continue for many more years," Mr Hamilton said.
He was hopeful the smelter would strike a power deal with Meridian Energy and continue production for another 40 years. Meridian Energy is next off the block in the Government's asset selldown programme. It would be interesting to see how that plays out for the smelter, he said.
"They want to get something done and we want to get something done and its just a matter of time. They are complex negotiations but they are still talking, which is good".

Vedanta hopeful of restarting Lanjigarh refinery by July

The Economics Times - May 19th, 2013,

NEW DELHI - Diversified conglomerate Vedanta Resources expects to restart its alumina refinery in Odisha'sLanjigarh by July and is hopeful of securing approvals for doing mining at Niyamgiri hills in the state by September.
"Management expects that the mining approvals for mining and the statutory approvals for the expansion project would be received as per the timelines mentioned below -- restart of the existing (refinery) plant (by) July, 2013," the company said in its annual financial statements for 2012-13.

Vinacomin stands firm on bauxite projects

Vietnam.net - May 19th, 2013,

Vietnam Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) on Thursday stressed its determination to continue Nhan Co and Tan Rai bauxite mining projects in the Central Highlands, saying that the projects would fetch profits in long term despite much concern on their economic efficiency.
Speaking at a press briefing in Hanoi on Thursday, Nguyen Tien Chinh, head of the Department of Science and Technology of Vinacomin, said that the investor has calculated all possible costs. Besides, economic efficiency of the projects has been estimated in the 30-year outlook.
Chinh said that the group's latest review confirms that the Tan Rai and Nhan Co project will see capital returns in the next 12 and 13 years respectively, adding that Vincomin will bear all responsibility before the Party and the State if the two projects fail to bring socio-economic benefits.
However, Chinh admitted that the projects will suffer losses in the first three to five years due to depreciation, loan interest payments, economic slowdown and low sale prices at the start. The projects will then turn profitable given higher alumina prices in the coming time.
Over the past years, the two bauxite projects have drawn much criticism due to concerns on their adverse environmental and economic impacts. The total investment for the Tan Rai project in Lam Dong Province has jumped from VND11.3 trillion to over VND14.9 trillion while that for Nhan Co in Dak Nong Province has increased from VND11.6 trillion to VND16 trillion.
Chinh said Vinacomin has signed principle alumina consumption contracts with Japan's Marubeni and China's Yunnan Alumina. Chinh declined to tell about sale prices, saying that announcement of sale prices at the moment will cause disadvantages in negotiations with customers.

Despite uncertainty in bauxite mining, aluminum project comes up in Vizag

Business Standars - May 16th, 2013,

Union Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo's singular opposition to bauxite mining in the forest areas of Visakhapatnam has a newly-built plant scouting for alternative sources.
Anrak Aluminium Limited, one of the two companies that had entered into an agreement with the Andhra Pradesh government for setting up alumina refinery and smelter plants in 2007, in the district. The company had made an investment of about Rs 3,000 crore in the project in anticipation of bauxite supplies, admit the officials in the state government.
With no resolution of the current stand-off in sight, Anrak has started operations by sourcing the raw material from Gujarat for the time being. "It started operations about 3 months ago but did not communicate anything officially to this effect to us," said an official in AP Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC).
Jindal South West Holdings Limited, a part of the Jindal group, however, has not made any moves though it signed an MoU for a similar project in 2005.
Deo, represents the Araku (ST) Lok Sabha constituency, which supposedly has one of the country's largest bauxite reserves of over 1,000 million tonnes. The minister had upped the ante against bauxite mining after the change in leadership in the state following the death of YS Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR). Last year, he had written to the mines ministry as well as the state governor to repeal the in-principle mining leases already granted to the APMDC in areas allocated for Anrak.
The state government too was wary of the project as the Indian partner of the joint venture company, Penna group, owned by YSR's friend Penna Pratap Reddy already figures in the CBI investigation related to the alleged quid pro quo investment case filed against Kadapa MP and YSR's son YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. The Government of Ras Al Khaimah was expected to hold a majority equity in the project.
The AP government recently wrote a letter to the Centre defending bauxite mining after the APMDC last year informed the government that there would be problems, legal and otherwise, if the supply agreement with Anrak was not honoured.
Besides, the failure to implement the supply agreement also comes at a cost for the corporation as it would have to reimburse the Rs 400 crore the company had spent on afforestation and on providing jobs and training to local tribals, according to the official.
Under the agreement signed in October, 2008, the APMDC was supposed to supply 3.8 million tonnes a year bauxite ore to the company, which had proposed to set up a 1.5-million tonne alumina refinery and a 0.25-million tonne capacity aluminium smelter project.
The company can seek legal remedies for any failure to supply bauxite by the APMDC only after it gets the stage-2 clearance for the bauxite mining from the Ministry of Environment, which is due, the official said.

Evaluation of Central Highland bauxite project necessary

Vietnam Net - May 14th, 2013,

The Central Highlands bauxite project includes Tan Rai alumina plant in Lam Dong Province and the incomplete Nhan Co alumina plant in Dak Nong Province.
Tu was speaking at a seminar hosted by Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) and the Ministry of Industry and Trade on the status quo and proposals for the Central Highlands bauxite project. OSEC is a unit of VUSTA. The public and scientists have recently expressed concerns about the effectiveness of the bauxite project and had asked to stop construction of the Nhan Co alumina refinery plant.
Nguyen Manh Quan, head of the Heavy Industry Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said such concerns were necessary but proposals to scrap the project were impractical. He expressed his firm belief in the effectiveness of the Tan Rai and Nhan Co alumina plants.
Sharing the same view, Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) said that the aluminum industry will recover from the current economic woes, and also believed in the economic and comprehensive socio-economic efficiency of the bauxite project in the long term. Several experts at the seminar said that traffic infrastructure has not been synchronously developed to promote effectiveness of the project.
Quan said that the Government has instructed the launch of a pilot project to build Tan Rai and Nhan Co Plants. By 2020, if these two plants operate effectively and the State budget allows for construction of a railway line there, other larger bauxite projects will find investors. He said that the railway plays a very meaningful role in transport of bauxite. However, the Government is unable to arrange capital for its construction at present.
Pham Quang Tu, director of the Office of Social Evaluation and Consultancy (OSEC), said that evaluation of the project should be done so as to decide whether to halt or continue with the project.
He proposed establishing a group of experts for the purpose and organizing trips for scientists to do field research. Afterwards, they can present their survey reports at a science seminar before officially giving a final proposal to authorized organs about the project. The evaluation process will require 3-6 months and will be complete by year end at the latest.
According to a report from Vinacomin, total investment for the Tan Rai Plant reached VND11,620 billion in March, an increase of 33.15 percent above schedule. For the Nhan Co Plant, it is VND14,889 billion, a hike of 31 percent compared to the initial plan.

UAE-developed aluminium technologies and products promoted at 18th World Aluminium Conference

WAM - May 14th, 2013,

Dubai - The key players in the UAE's primary aluminium industry Dubai Aluminium ("DUBAL") and Emirates Aluminium ("EMAL") will participate jointly at the Commodity Research Unit's 18th World Aluminium Conference ("CRU 2013"), which takes place in London, England, from 14 to 16 May this year.
Widely acknowledged as ?the world's authoritative aluminium events for senior executives', the annual series of CRU World Aluminium Conferences regularly attract senior executives from the aluminium industry across the world, ensuring a superb platform for DUBAL and EMAL to promote both their respective companies and DUBAL's proprietary world-leading DX and DX+ Reduction Technologies implemented respectively on industrial scale at EMAL Phase I and EMAL Phase II (currently under construction).
An entirely state-owned enterprise, DUBAL owns and operates a one million metric tonne per annum primary aluminium smelter at Jebel Ali, Dubai making it the largest single-site smelter using pre-bake anode technology in the world and in 2012 produced 1,025,266 tonnes of hot metal. DUBAL is renowned internationally for its premium purity, high quality products and services; as well as its commitment to sustainable development through conscious efforts to maximise the health and safety people, reduce the impact of its operations on the environment, and invest in the social and economic development of the community. Dedicated programmes support the Emiratization goals of the UAE, including targeted recruitment, skills development, management training and strategic career planning. Approximately 88 per cent of DUBAL's annual production is exported globally, the company's key markets being Asia, Europe, the Middle East North Africa ("MENA") region and the Americas.
Owned jointly by DUBAL and Mubadala Development Company (in equal shareholding), EMAL is a relatively new smelter development that is being built in two phases at Al Taweelah, Abu Dhabi. EMAL Phase I (756 cells in two potlines) was fully commissioned by the end of 2010, and the smelter currently has a capacity of 800,000 tonnes per annum.
The company already enjoys a strong reputation for sound safety management, wellbeing programmes for its employees and adopting global best practices to minimize its environmental footprint the latter entrenched through the implementation of DUBAL's in-house developed DX Reduction Technology, which offers enhanced energy efficiency and productivity levels yet lower environmental emissions than comparative technologies.
These attributes are complemented by initiatives to harness Emirati talent through job-creation, engaging the community in corporate activities and celebrating the national and cultural heritage of the UAE. EMAL Phase II was announced in July 2011. A new 444-cell potline is being built which, together with a technology upgrade of the existing cells (completed in 2012), will increase EMAL's annual production capacity to around 1.3 million tonnes by the end of 2014. The new generation, enhanced DUBAL DX+ Technology has been licensed for and will be installed in EMAL Phase II.
With regard to the European market, DUBAL made its first forays into the region in 1996. Since then, long-term partnership relationships with customers have driven consistent growth in the company's sales volumes into Europe, despite the 6 per cent duty payable on alloyed aluminium, reaching approximately 30 per cent of total production in 2007 (equating to more than 273,000 tonnes of aluminium products). Having experienced a reduction in the volumes shipped to Europe in 2009 (approximately 160,000 tonnes) as a result of the global economic recession, the level of metal DUBAL has historically sold into the region has since being restored. In 2012, almost 212,000 tonnes of DUBAL metal reached Europe's shores. A further 224,000 tonnes of metal produced by EMAL was also sold in Europe during 2012 (i.e. 436,000 tonnes in total from DUBAL and EMAL).

Utkal alumina refinery to commence trial production

News Track India - May 13th, 2013,

Bhubaneswar - The Utkal Alumina International Limited (UAIL), a unit of Hindalco Industries, plans to start trial production at its 1.5 million tonnes per annum alumina refinery in Odisha by the end of May, an official said Monday.
The green field project at Doragurha near the district headquarters town of Rayagada, 400 km from here, was earlier scheduled for commissioning in January.
However, it was delayed due to slow progress of works. "We have finally completed all preparation and by the end of this month we are going to commence production," the senior company official told IANS.
The plant will operate at 25 percent capacity in the beginning. Its capacity would be increased gradually, he said. The plant is receiving coal to start the 90 MW captive power plant that will feed the refinery. "Every day we are receiving 1,000 tonnes of coal," he said.
Similarly the company expects that it will start getting bauxite from its nearby mines within a week. A permit from the authority is mandatory to transport bauxite from the mines to the refinery.
The company has already applied for it and expects to get the approval in a few days, he said. The mine at Baphilimali Hills in Rayagada district has a bauxite reserve of about 200 million tonnes. Utkal Alumina aims to mine 4.5 million tonnes per annum initially.
The UAIL, a subsidiary of Kumar Mangalam Birla's Hindalco Industries, plans to send the alumina produced at the Rayagada refinery to two upcoming Hindalco smelter plants in Odisha's Sambalpur district and Mahan plant in Madhya Pradesh, he said.

2 bauxite plants in Lam Dong at risk of loss

Tuoitre News - May 13th, 2013,

Based on recently released figures, the two bauxite mining plants in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong are facing a risk of great losses, an official said.
Dr Nguyen Thanh Son, director of the Hong River Delta Project Management Unit under the Vietnam Coal and Mineral Group (Vinacomin), gave the warning in an interview with Tuoi Tre about the sustainability of the plants based on the latest relevant data announced by Vinacomin.
"According to the data, the Tan Rai bauxite plant, which was built in 2008, is unlikely to achieve its expected socio-economic efficiency, while the other, Nhan Co, which was built in 2010, is likely to suffer more loss than Tan Rai," Son said.
He added that for that reason, "the Nhan Co bauxite plant should be closed."
According to the latest calculations, the total investment in these two projects is about VND30 trillion (US$1.44 billion), but they can generate only 1,500 jobs. Meanwhile, if that amount were invested in growing industrial trees, it would create millions of jobs, Son said.
As of March 2013, the Tan Rai Project was calculated to gain an after-tax profit of VND896 billion ($43.04 million) per year, down by VND310 billion from a 2009 calculation. The period of loss is also extended by two years to five years.
The project's payable tax was reduced by VND117 billion to VND 422 billion, but the time of capital return is prolonged by 2.5 years.
As for Nhan Co, the plant's investment capital is adjusted to increase by 31 percent, while the period of loss is prolonged to seven years with a total loss of VND1,700 billion and its time of capital return period is also extended to 12.9 years.

Nalco shuts down 193 pots

The New Indian Express - May 13th, 2013,

Nalco has shut down 193 pots by Saturday due to short supply of coal. It had earlier decided to shut down 200 pots.
Official sources said more pots may be shut down in coming days, but right now the emphasis is on to stabilise the situation.
It has also cut down power generation in its captive a power plant to 650 MW from 800 MW by shutting down one unit. Of the total 10 units, it is running six units at present.
Members of trade unions, who earlier opposed shutting down of pots that produce aluminium, have now extended support to the management's decision.
President of the Smelter plant recognised union Ramesh Behera said this is a temporary arrangement and once coal supply improves, the pots will be revived. Under the present circumstances, Nalco cannot run all the pots until adequate stock of coal is available. Out of total 960 pots in the plant, 630 are operating now after the shut down.
Meanwhile, Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) in a release stated that it had supplied more coal than last year's requirement from January 1 to May 9. It has despatched 4.6 lakh tonnes of coal against the demand for 5.7 lakh tonnes during the period.
Sources said besides coal shortage, Nalco is facing problems as far as aluminium prices are concerned. The price of aluminium at international market has slumped to 1,800 dollars from 3,200 dollars raising concern over the highly profit making public sector.
Unless it gets cheap coal from MCL, it cannot use imported coal or procure power from outside to produce aluminium which will not be economically viable.

UAE-developed world-leading aluminium technologies and premium purity products promoted at 18th World Aluminium Conference

Zaywa - May 13th, 2013,

DUBAL and EMAL continue to target growth in European market share, raise profile of UAE aluminium sector, at CRU 2013. United Arab Emirates: The key players in the UAE's primary aluminium industry -- Dubai Aluminium (" DUBAL ") and Emirates Aluminium ("EMAL") -- will participate jointly at the Commodity Research Unit's 18th World Aluminium Conference ("CRU 2013"), which takes place in London, England, from 14 to 16 May this year. Widely acknowledged as 'the world's authoritative aluminium events for senior executives', the annual series of CRU World Aluminium Conferences regularly attract senior executives from the aluminium industry across the world, ensuring a superb platform for DUBAL and EMAL to promote both their respective companies and DUBAL 's proprietary world-leading DX and DX+ Reduction Technologies implemented respectively on industrial scale at EMAL Phase I and EMAL Phase II (currently under construction).
Acknowledging the inherent industry value of the forum, DUBAL and EMAL are the joint Platinum Sponsors of CRU 2013; and are also sponsoring both the CRU 2013 Registration Desk, and the Auditorium. The two companies will have a combined stand in the exhibition component alongside the conference; EMAL's Vice President Projects, Yousuf Bastaki, will deliver a presentation on "Aluminium Growth in the GCC Region" in the keynote session on Wednesday 15 May 2013; and DUBAL 's Senior Manager: Billet Operations, Fadi Al Awadhalla, will deliver a presentation entitled "Aluminium: The transportation material of the future" on Thursday 16 May 2013, during a session dedicated to trends in aluminium demand.
An entirely state-owned enterprise, DUBAL owns and operates a one million metric tonne per annum primary aluminium smelter at Jebel Ali, Dubai -- making it the largest single-site smelter using pre-bake anode technology in the world -- and in 2012 produced 1,025,266 tonnes of hot metal. DUBAL is renowned internationally for its premium purity, high quality products and services; as well as its commitment to sustainable development through conscious efforts to maximise the health and safety people, reduce the impact of its operations on the environment, and invest in the social and economic development of the community. Dedicated programmes support the Emiratization goals of the UAE, including targeted recruitment, skills development, management training and strategic career planning. Approximately 88 per cent of DUBAL 's annual production is exported globally, the company's key markets being Asia, Europe, the Middle East North Africa ("MENA") region and the Americas.
Owned jointly by DUBAL and Mubadala Development Company (in equal shareholding), EMAL is a relatively new smelter development that is being built in two phases at Al Taweelah, Abu Dhabi. EMAL Phase I (756 cells in two potlines) was fully commissioned by the end of 2010, and the smelter currently has a capacity of 800,000 tonnes per annum. The company already enjoys a strong reputation for sound safety management, wellbeing programmes for its employees and adopting global best practices to minimize its environmental footprint -- the latter entrenched through the implementation of DUBAL 's in-house developed DX Reduction Technology, which offers enhanced energy efficiency and productivity levels yet lower environmental emissions than comparative technologies. These attributes are complemented by initiatives to harness Emirati talent through job-creation, engaging the community in corporate activities and celebrating the national and cultural heritage of the UAE. EMAL Phase II was announced in July 2011. A new 444-cell potline is being built which, together with a technology upgrade of the existing cells (completed in 2012), will increase EMAL's annual production capacity to around 1.3 million tonnes by the end of 2014. The new generation, enhanced DUBAL DX+ Technology has been licensed for and will be installed in EMAL Phase II.
With regard to the European market, DUBAL made its first forays into the region in 1996. Since then, long-term partnership relationships with customers have driven consistent growth in the company's sales volumes into Europe, despite the 6 per cent duty payable on alloyed aluminium, reaching approximately 30 per cent of total production in 2007 (equating to more than 273,000 tonnes of aluminium products). Having experienced a reduction in the volumes shipped to Europe in 2009 (approximately 160,000 tonnes) as a result of the global economic recession, the level of metal DUBAL has historically sold into the region has since being restored. In 2012, almost 212,000 tonnes of DUBAL metal reached Europe's shores. A further 224,000 tonnes of metal produced by EMAL was also sold in Europe during 2012 (i.e. 436,000 tonnes in total from DUBAL and EMAL).
Going forward, the DUBAL -EMAL Marketing and Sales team anticipates selling about 490,000 tonnes of primary aluminium into Europe during 2013. Reflecting the flexibility of both companies' casting operations to produce a variety of value-adding world-class products, the EMAL product mix -- comprising remelt aluminium and standard commodity ingot and sow, as well as sheet ingot and billets -- complements DUBAL 's product portfolio of high purity sow and ingot, extrusion billet, foundry alloy, busbars and anode bars.
Confirming the strategic importance of the European market for both DUBAL and EMAL, Walid Al Attar (Executive Vice President Marketing & Sales: DUBAL and EMAL) says, "In terms of geographic, economic and freight perspectives, the Middle East is ideally located to serve Europe. We have already demonstrated DUBAL 's commitment to the region by building and maintaining a comprehensive infrastructure of discharge port facilities and warehouses that, together, enable timely deliveries to aluminium end-users across Europe. Also, DUBAL has opened offices in Zurich, Switzerland, and Milan, Italy and this infrastructure now benefits both companies."
Citing widely published statistics, Al Attar states that the European Union as a whole needs to import approximately 70 per cent of its primary aluminium requirements, and that this figure is increasing. "We foresee excellent opportunities to grow the individual and combined market share of DUBAL and EMAL in the region; and are confident that demand for our products will continue to increase. We also believe that our years of experience in the market, together with our well-established presence, will serve us well for many years to come," he says. "By promoting the two companies' facilities and our joint product portfolio to delegates, participants and other visitors to CRU 2013, we will effectively demonstrate the capacity of the combined production volumes of DUBAL and EMAL to meet demand for aluminium in Europe."

Evaluation of Central Highland bauxite project necessary

Saigon - May 10th, 2013,

The Central Highlands bauxite project includes Tan Rai alumina plant in Lam Dong Province and the incomplete Nhan Co alumina plant in Dak Nong Province.
Tu was speaking at a seminar hosted by Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) and the Ministry of Industry and Trade on the status quo and proposals for the Central Highlands bauxite project. OSEC is a unit of VUSTA.
The public and scientists have recently expressed concerns about the effectiveness of the bauxite project and had asked to stop construction of the Nhan Co alumina refinery plant.
Nguyen Manh Quan, head of the Heavy Industry Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said such concerns were necessary but proposals to scrap the project were impractical. He expressed his firm belief in the effectiveness of the Tan Rai and Nhan Co alumina plants.
Sharing the same view, Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) said that the aluminum industry will recover from the current economic woes, and also believed in the economic and comprehensive socio-economic efficiency of the bauxite project in the long term.
Several experts at the seminar said that traffic infrastructure has not been synchronously developed to promote effectiveness of the project.
Quan said that the Government has instructed the launch of a pilot project to build Tan Rai and Nhan Co Plants. By 2020, if these two plants operate effectively and the State budget allows for construction of a railway line there, other larger bauxite projects will find investors.
He said that the railway plays a very meaningful role in transport of bauxite. However, the Government is unable to arrange capital for its construction at present.
Pham Quang Tu, director of the Office of Social Evaluation and Consultancy (OSEC), said that evaluation of the project should be done so as to decide whether to halt or continue with the project.
He proposed establishing a group of experts for the purpose and organizing trips for scientists to do field research. Afterwards, they can present their survey reports at a science seminar before officially giving a final proposal to authorized organs about the project.
The evaluation process will require 3-6 months and will be complete by year end at the latest.
According to a report from Vinacomin, total investment for the Tan Rai Plant reached VND11,620 billion in March, an increase of 33.15 percent above schedule. For the Nhan Co Plant, it is VND14,889 billion, a hike of 31 percent compared to the initial plan.

UAIL alumina refinery to go on stream this month end

Business Standard - May 7th, 2013,

The trial production of the 1.5-million tonne per annum (tpa) alumina refinery project of Utkal Alumina International Limited (UAIL) at Doraguha, near Kasipur in Odisha's Rayagada district, is all set to commence from the last week of the current month.
"Almost all the work is completed and the plant is expected to start trial operation by the end of this month," said a senior officer of the company.
The company, however, will take another three to five months to start commercial operation. The plant has been built at an investment of Rs 7,000 crore.
UAIL is currently a subsidiary of Aditya Birla Group's flagship Hindalco Industries and the implementation of the project has been delayed by nearly two decades due to nagging protests by the project affected people (PAP) and the environmentalists.
At a time when a pal of gloom is hanging over the industrialisation process in the state following closure of one million tonne alumina refinery project of Vedanta Aluminium (VAL) at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district due to raw material supply problems and local protests, the start of operation of UAIL plant is likely to provide some boost to the pro-industry sentiments.
UAIL, however, does not see any difficulty to access raw material to run the plant. The raw material will be procured from the company's captive mine at Baphilimali-spreading over Rayagada and Kalahandi districts, about 17-km from the plant site, sources said.
The mining operation involves opening a new mine with a capacity to produce 8.5 million tonne of bauxite per annum to meet the captive requirement of alumina plant. "We will apply to the government for a bauxite yard near the mining site," a UAIL official said. Utkal Alumina refinery was conceived in 1992 to tap the huge deposit of bauxite in the area and produce alumina. The project, however, was in the line of fire of the environmentalists and affected people since last 21 years.
Worried over the delay in implementation of the refinery, the two original joint venture partners, Tata Sons and Norsk Hydro, had pulled out of the project earlier, while another foreign partner, Alcan, had sold its stake in 2007.
The company proposed to send alumina from this refinery to two upcoming smelter plants of Hindalco at Rengali in Odisha and Mahana Aluminium Project in Madhay Pradesh, sources said.

UAE's Emal plans further expansion to meet global aluminium demand - CEO

Reuters - May 7th, 2013,

Emirates Aluminium (Emal), a joint venture between Abu Dhabi investment fund Mubadala and Dubai Aluminium, is planning a further smelter expansion around 2017, its CEO said.
The group is on track to complete its $4 billion phase two by the end of 2014, when it capacity will rise to 1.3 million tonnes from the current 800,000 tonnes a year, making it one of the largest single-site smelters in the world.
The global aluminium industry is already facing a massive stock overhang, which is growing each month as smelters produce more than the world economy needs.
Emal is still planning to build more capacity, however, as it expects demand for aluminium to rise from 46 million tonnes to 60 million tonnes by 2015, Emal Chief Executive Saeed al-Mazrooei told reporters during a visit on Tuesday to the smelter complex sited between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
"The international market is growing for aluminium in many countries - China, India, Brazil, the United States. This demands us to grow," he said.
Asked if a third phase could be launched around 2017, Mazrooei said he hoped so, adding that the company's state-backed owners would unveil details later. He declined to elaborate on the investment outlay or production capacity.
Emal exports the majority of its production to the United States, Europe, southeast Asia and the Middle East. Only about 200,000 tonnes is consumed locally, he said.
Emal, which burns vast quantities of natural gas to make the electricity it needs to operate the energy-intensive aluminium industry, has secured supplies for phase one and two from Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC), Mazrooei said.
Cheap gas supplied to state-linked industry has driven a boom of energy-intensive development in the United Arab Emirates over the last decade which, combined with rapid immigration, has turned the UAE from a gas exporter into a net gas importer.
Because there is not enough gas to go around, Dubai, which owns half of Emal, has to import increasing volumes of expensive liquefied natural gas (LNG) from around the world to meet demand for electricity.

RUSAL wants cuts in global aluminium production

Russia & India Report - May 6th, 2013,

With the global aluminium market struggling with an oversupply crisis, the Russian aluminium giant believes manufacturers should scale back on production.
Skyrocketing aluminium output growth, predominantly in China, has led to a global crisis and market overheating. Prices have fallen (to $1800 per tonne), while global output shrank to a four-month low in March. The World Bureau of Metal Statistics estimated aluminium overproduction in January and February 2013 at 317,100 tonnes, despite a fairly rapid increase in demand by 472,000 to 7.6 million tonnes over the same period. China became the unrivalled dominant force in the aluminium market last year. According to various estimates, it accounts for between 44 percent and 50 percent of global output. What's more, throughout last year China remained a net importer of unrefined aluminium (to be fair, the difference between its imports and exports was only 7000 tonnes), after exporting more (by 433,000 tonnes) than it had imported the year before. Even though Chinese manufacturers incurred big losses due to overcapacity and falling prices, output of primary aluminium continued to grow in China at the beginning of this year (+15 percent). If it hadn't been for China, output of the metal would have dropped by 3 percent, according to International Aluminium Institute experts.
To be fair, Russia has not stood still either. Exports of unrefined aluminium from Russia rose 5.8 percent in the first quarter of 2013. However, the gain amounted to a modest 1.6 percent for the whole of 2012.
"Now we can already talk about an aluminium overproduction crisis, which is impacting prices negatively. Around 25 percent of the global aluminium capacity is losing money today, which obviously is forcing producers to slash output and shut down inefficient capacity," RUSAL Strategy and Business Development Director Oleg Mukhamedshin told RIR.
The Russian aluminium giant - number one in the world in terms of output - is planning to cut production by 300,000 tonnes as soon as this year. Overall, the company expects closures of 1-1.5 million tonnes of capacity worldwide, with the exception of China, which should help increase prices to $2200-2300 per tonne and see a real decrease in output as soon as in the second quarter. According to an earlier statement by RUSAL First Deputy CEO Vladislav Soloviev, China is expected to make a decision on aluminium production control in July or August.
"The entire world is approaching capacity expansion with caution: We can see that only two producers in the Middle East are planning to introduce new capacity within the next two years," Mukhamedshin said. Emal, which intends to increase its capacity by 350,000 tonnes by 2014, and Maaden, which is expected to launch a 700,000 tonne per year project, are taking this risky step.
The RUSAL representative believes that the world's largest producers need to slash production by 10-12 percent to create a situation where prices would within three years be driven by demand. "Otherwise, the crisis in the industry will only get worse," Mukhamedshin added.
To complicate matters further, aluminium prices are determined today not only by an equilibrium of supply and demand, but also by the large amount of financial transactions that involve the metal. About 60-70 percent of aluminium stored at the LME's warehouses is intended for financial transactions. "The amount in storage, at around 5 million tonnes, has remained virtually unchanged for several years. According to our estimates, we won't see a decrease in LME stockpiles before 2014," Mukhamedshin noted.
He also said that the desire of certain major mining companies to divest from their aluminium assets is a big mistake, because inefficient smelters simply change hands as a result of those deals, while their management issues remain unresolved. "Write-offs of previously acquired assets and ineffective investments in new capacity construction have already cost many CEOs of international metals and mining companies their jobs."
That said, the aluminium overproduction crisis has had a very beneficial effect on demand. RUSAL is only projecting a drop in consumption in Europe so far - by 2 percent for 2013. Asia will remain the key demand growth driver. Global aluminium consumption will increase by 6 percent to 50 million tonnes in 2013. The highest growth rates will be reported in China (9.5 percent), India (6 percent), other Asian countries (5.8 percent), North America (5 percent), and Russia and the CIS (4 percent), Mukhamedshin said.
All key aluminium consumers are expected to see increased demand. For example, RUSAL projects a 5-6 percent increase in demand from the transportation sector in 2013, driven by a combination of global aluminium production and its penetration into auto manufacturing. Aluminium content in American made cars reached 150kg per model in 2012.
Demand growth is also projected for construction, which accounted for 27 percent of primary aluminium consumption in 2012. China, the world's leading construction market, is expected to lead the way there too. RUSAL experts forecast 10 percent growth there. What's more, emerging markets in South East Asia are expected to post similar growth rates in 2013, according to RUSAL.
Positive changes are also expected for packaging and electric engineering. The aluminium can and foil sectors (which account for a combined 13 percent of primary aluminium consumption) will keep growing as a result of population growth and the increased use of aluminium in those sectors. RUSAL estimates growth there at 4-5 percent in 2013.
As far as electric engineering is concerned, producers are hoping for worn-out transmission lines to be replaced, the need to add 6000 miles of new lines in North America in 2013, a 7-8 percent increase in consumption by electric engineering sectors in emerging markets, including China, South America, India, and South-East Asia (including Indonesia), as well as the development of renewable energy sources in Europe, particularly in Germany, to compensate for a gradual phasing-out of nuclear energy. This will bolster demand even amid an adverse economic situation in Europe, the company said.

NALCO may cut output by 25%: Director

Money Control - May 6th, 2013,

NALCO may have to cut its daily aluminium output by 25 percent due to coal supply shortages caused by an accident at a mine that supplies fuel to the state-run aluminium producer, a company director said on Sunday.
The company has received just 10,000 tonnes of coal a day for the past 10 days from Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), a unit of state-run miner Coal India, against a daily operating requirement of about 16,000 tonnes.
Supply disruptions started when operations at the Bharatpur mine in Odisha were shut after an accident on April 21 in which one worker was killed. Authorities have suspended operations at the mine indefinitely, declaring it unsafe.
"We don't know when the full supply will resume. We have no other option but to cut production," S.S.Mohapatra, production director at NALCO, told Reuters.
NALCO normally operates seven power units, producing about 800 megawatts of power to feed its smelter, which has an output of about 1,050 tonnes of aluminium daily. But the company does not have enough coal stocks to continue its normal operations.
"The aluminium smelter was operating 823 pots. We are planning to shut 200 of them gradually in next few days", Mohapatra said.
NALCO, the country's third-largest aluminium maker, produced 403,000 tonnes of aluminium out of its sole aluminium smelter at Angul in Odisha in 2012/13.
The disruption may affect the company's output this quarter but the shortfall may be made up later by ramping up production if normal coal supplies are resumed, Mohapatra said.
"Production may decline by around 10,000 tonnes this quarter," Mohapatra said, adding that the company could not buy costlier imported coal or coal auctioned in the open, domestic market, as this would mean incurring heavy losses.
NALCO has already been cutting domestic prices of its aluminium products in recent months, during which global prices have fallen.

Future of Portland Smelter jobs unsure

The Standard - May 6th, 2013,

THE future of more than 500 workers at Portland's Alcoa smelter is uncertain after the US-based company last week revealed it was reviewing worldwide production cuts.
The company's owners issued a statement last week announcing global operations could cut 460,000 metric tons, or about 11 per cent, of its smelting capacity over the next 15 months.
The announcement follows the federal government-issued $42 million rescue package last year, with aluminium prices falling more than 33 per cent since its 2011 peak. An Alcoa spokeswoman was unable to comment about Portland specifically, saying it was too early to speculate what the review would mean for the smelter, which employs about 540 workers.
Details of how the cuts would impact the Portland site, as well as 500 workers at Geelong, will become more clear over the next 15 months.
Alcoa's global primary products president Chris Ayers said persistent weakness in global aluminium prices had given Alcoa reason to review options in maintaining its competitiveness.
"Any action taken will only be done after a thorough strategic review and consultations with stakeholders," Mr Ayers said.
Alcoa trimmed its Portland operation by 15 per cent in late 2010 and is the region's biggest employer.
The company last year warned Portland operations would need to be managed carefully to remain viable, amid talk of curtailing its Point Henry operation near Geelong.
A spokesman for Premier Denis Napthine last week told The Age the government had worked with its federal counterpart to provide assistance packages to Alcoa and set up an industry fund to help create jobs in western Victoria.

Rio Tinto to shed more jobs in Australia

The Telegraph - May 5th, 2013,

RIO Tinto boss Sam Walsh says more jobs will be shed in Australia as the global miner continues to make US$5 billion ($4.8 billion) in savings by the end of 2014.
Three months after the company announced its first ever full year net loss of almost US$3 billion, Mr Walsh confirmed more local job cuts were on the cards.
"There will be reductions," Mr Walsh told the Financial Review Sunday program.
"This is not easy. This is a process that is very very tough, but we need to get on top of our costs."
He said the energy and aluminium businesses were both going through very tough times and the company needed to have competitive businesses.
Mr Walsh was unable to specify how many jobs would be cut, following recent staff reductions at Rio's Sydney, Melbourne and London offices.
"We don't have targets for reductions in people," he said.
"We do have targets for reduction in costs and we're working thorough that and addressing that business by business."
It comes ahead of the company's annual general meeting in Sydney on Thursday.
He also predicts the global economy is in for more volatile times.
"The world is an uncertain place," he said.
"First quarter we saw a dip in China. We've seen increased commitment to infrastructure and an easing of credit and we expect that will flow through to steel production and iron ore demand," he said.
But Rio was "doing okay".

Alcoa cuts put Geelong jobs at risk

The Age - May 2nd, 2013,

The future of the troubled Point Henry aluminium smelter in Geelong is again under a cloud after its American owner Alcoa revealed it was considering deep production cuts worldwide.
The smelter, which employs about 500 people, has been struggling under plunging global aluminium prices and a high dollar. Alcoa considered shutting the smelter last year, before it received a $40 million bailout package from federal and state governments. A condition was for Alcoa to keep the plant open until at least mid-2014 as it worked on restructuring its operations.
But Alcoa said on Wednesday that with aluminium prices falling by more than a third since their 2011 peak, it was reviewing its global operations and would look to cut 460,000 tonnes - or about 11 per cent - of its smelting capacity over the next 15 months.
''Because of persistent weakness in global aluminum prices, we need to review every option to maintain Alcoa's competitiveness,'' Chris Ayers, president of global primary products, said. ''Any action taken will only be done after a thorough strategic review and consultations with stakeholders.''
Alcoa said the review would focus on higher-cost plants and plants that are deemed riskier due to factors such as energy costs or regulatory uncertainty. With smelting operations in Australia, the US, Brazil, Canada and Europe, Alcoa said it would consider a wide variety of options, including ''permanent shutdowns''. The steep fall in the price of aluminium has been precipitated by a shift in production to China and the Middle East, and a resultant glut of supply.
Rio Tinto has worn $US30 billion in write-offs on its aluminium business Alcan since 2007 - seen as a big factor in Tom Albanese's departure as chief executive.
Point Henry is considered at risk because of its unprofitability and review last year, but Alcoa also owns a newer and larger smelter in Portland in Victoria, which employs about 540 people. Production at Portland is already curtailed by about 15 per cent.
The Alcoa announcement comes at a difficult time for manufacturing jobs in the Geelong region. Ford slashed more than 200 jobs from its engine plant in April last year despite also receiving extensive government assistance. Boral cut 90 jobs at its cement plant and 600 jobs hang in the balance as Shell looks to find a buyer for its oil refinery by the end of next year.
Alcoa is also considering cutting its alumina production, which could impact its Australian joint venture partner Alumina. When asked whether it would stump up further cash to keep the Point Henry plant operating if required, a spokesman for Industry Minister Greg Combet said it was important to recognise that this was a review of Alcoa's global operations, and was not specifically aimed at the group's Australian operations. ''The federal government remains committed to its agreement with Alcoa regarding the Point Henry smelter,'' the spokesman said.
A spokesman for Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said the Coalition government was a strong supporter of industry in Geelong and had worked with the federal government to provide assistance packages to Ford and Alcoa, as well as setting up an industry fund to help create jobs in the region. ''The Coalition government has a good working relationship with Alcoa and will continue to work positively with all Geelong manufacturers,'' the spokesman said.

Chinese heat bends aluminium out of shape

Business Spectator - May 2nd, 2013,

Aluminium is the metal that missed the commodities boom and caught the bust. Alcoa's announcement overnight that it was considering mothballing or cutting another 11 per cent of its global smelting capacity is further evidence of the industry's struggle to come to terms with the structural changes in the sector.
Alcoa, which produces about 10 per cent of the world's raw aluminium, already has about 568,000 tonnes of capacity idled, so if the latest review does lead to the removal of another 460,000 tonnes, nearly a quarter of its capacity will have been withdrawn from the market. It is also considering cuts to its alumina production, which could have implications for its local alumina joint venture partner, Alumina.
The announcement of the review and its likely conclusions contrast with the more optimistic view Alcoa had of the outlook for demand for the metal and for its pricing at the start of this year. It foresaw an acceleration in demand driven by a rebound in China's growth rate - a rate which has since faltered.
Alcoa cited "persistent weaknesses" in aluminium prices for the latest review, saying prices had fallen more than 33 per cent from their 2011 peak. In fact, since their pre-crisis peak in 2008, they have slumped nearly 50 per cent and Alcoa's share price by about 80 per cent.
Alcoa, of course, isn't alone. The giant Russian producer, United Company Rusal, plans to cut 300,000 tonnes, or 7 per cent, of its aluminium production this year and permanently withdraw most of that capacity by 2015.
Rio Tinto has written off nearly $US30 billion of the value of its aluminium business, most of it relating to the disastrous acquisition of Alcan in 2007. Rio Tinto is still contemplating the fate - probably a spin-off of its Pacific Aluminium vehicle - of its higher cost Australasian aluminium assets.
In the lead-up to the financial crisis, demand for aluminium had been growing quite strongly - at a rate of about 8 per cent a year - on the back of surging demand from China. The crisis punctured the price but didn't produce quite the structural response the big Western producers like Alcoa, Rusal and Rio Tinto, and to a lesser extent BHP Billiton, had anticipated.
The steep fall in the price should have pushed higher-cost production out of the market but didn't. Chinese producers in particular, as well as smelters in the Middle East, continued to increase their output. Chinese production has roughly doubled since the middle of the last decade, to about 20 million tonnes, or nearly 45 per cent of the global production of the metal.
With China's production still rising, that may not be sufficient to produce a better balance between supply and demand and firmer prices. There may have to be more restructurings, more writedowns and more closures of capacity if the industry is to be put on a more sustainable footing.

Bauxite Resources Limited (ASX:BAU) Upgrade of Darling Range Bauxite Resource, Felicitas Project

ABN Newswire - May 1st, 2013,

Perth - Bauxite Resources Limited (ASX:BAU.AX - News) is pleased to announce a resource upgrade for the Felicitas bauxite deposit in the Darling Range Western Australia. The resource is situated on a small number of large private landholdings located approximately 60km north east of Perth, and 10km from the town of Wundowie. The resource is less than 5 km from existing rail infrastructure providing a direct link to Fremantle/Kwinana Port being approximately 120 km away.
The Felicitas resource is contained within the Company's Bauxite Alumina Joint Ventures ("BAJV") joint venture with Yankuang Resources Ltd ("Yankuang"). BAJV is managing the project.
The BAJV has now identified in excess of 90 million tonnes of refinery grade bauxite at Felicitas, a critical hurdle for the joint venture to develop an alumina refinery. Under the joint venture agreement, BAJV is obligated to complete a bankable feasibility study into the viability of building a refinery in Western Australia capable of producing 1.1 million tonnes per annum of alumina. The costs of the bankable feasibility will be borne 90% by Yankuang and 10% BRL.
Bauxite Resource Details
The previous Felicitas bauxite resource stood at 73.3Mt, as announced in June 2012. The resource upgrade has resulted from an increase in specific gravity (SG) utilised for modelling, and from 729 step out drill holes, completed on a nominal 80m x 80m grid pattern. The SG was determined on drill core collected from drilling completed at Felicitas during March and April 2013. An SG of 2.17 was determined at Nagrom laboratory Perth, based on the lower quartile value taken from the results of 89 samples from across the modelled bauxite zone.
The previously used SG of 1.6 was based on historical measurements from largely unconsolidated material, and as such, under called resource tonnes in the earlier resource estimate.
The Felicitas deposit comprises a bauxite horizon up to 16m thickness that is typically covered by 0.5m to 2m of loose overburden. The resource estimate, completed by RungePincockMinarco (RPM), was based on 3,350 vertical holes drilled for 13,975 metres on a nominal 80 x 80m drill pattern. The available alumina and reactive silica results quoted are unbeneficiated based on low temperature caustic digest analysis (143C), to simulate extraction by the Bayer process.
The extent of the bauxite mineralisation has not been fully determined and additional drilling is underway. An additional resource upgrade is expected during the current quarter.
The Felicitas resource upgrade adds to the global resource base that BRL and its joint venture partners have defined within the Darling Range of Western Australia.

Glencore looks forward to CFAC restart

Hungry Horse News - May 1st, 2013,

Glencore looks forward to CFAC restart.
Lucke, Zach Mayer and Patrick Wilson met with Columbia Falls city councilors, city manager Susan Nicosia, state Sen. Dee Brown and state Rep. Jerry O'Neil on April 25 in the city council chambers.
Lucke acknowledged that Glencore planned to visit the plant in April to see if it was ready for a restart, and the visit happened to coincide with recent media reports about the plant possibly becoming a Superfund clean-up project. Lucke characterized the reports as "bad press and bad facts." "What got it all started was a lack of communication by Glencore," mayor Don Barnhart pointed out. "Suddenly we were cut off - that's what created all the angst."
Saying they couldn't fix what already happened, Lucke promised to provide locals with phone numbers and try to be more available. "We're very frustrated, too," he said, noting the "conservative approach" the Bonneville Power Administration took toward contract negotiations in 2011.
Raw materials
A big factor in a restart decision is metal prices. Primary aluminum has been selling for about $1,900 a ton compared to $2,500 several years ago, Lucke said. Demand is high now in the 40 million ton global metal market, but the market is plagued by high inventory. He noted that China's smelting capacity has grown from about 1 million tons in the 1990s to about 22 million tons today.
Lucke also put down the idea that the CFAC plant is too run down to restart. Other smelters around the world shut down for years and restarted. He acknowledged that CFAC uses old smelting technology and that an upgrade would be cost-prohibitive, but he noted that the plant restarted after completely shutting down during the 2001 West Coast energy crisis.
With the alumina off-loading facilities in Everett and Vancouver, Wash., no longer available to CFAC, Lucke said Glencore has looked into shipping facilities in Portland, Ore., and Longview, Wash. "Finding ways to move commodities, that's what Glencore is good at," he said, noting that weak smelters around the world don't have Glencore's trading network behind them.
An example of Glencore's strength as a global trader is its 2007 acquisition of the Sherwin Alumina Co. alumina refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas. The 50-year-old former Reynolds Metals plant can convert 3.5 million tons of bauxite into 1.4 million tons of smelter-grade alumina a year. Alumina from the Corpus Christi plant could be shipped by rail to CFAC. Lucke noted that some aluminum smelters in China and India are also far away from alumina supplies.
"We compete in a global market," he said. "The BPA power deal is the big change."