AluNews - September 2013

It’s critical for Nalco to set up a second smelter: CMD Anshuman Das

The Economic Times - September 30th, 2013,

National Aluminium CompanyBSE 0.78 % (Nalco), the country's third-largest aluminium producer, is facing a tough challenge to maintain its position. With global aluminium prices hovering at a low of around $1,800 per tonne on the benchmark London Metal Exchange (LME), Nalco's realisations have been hit, though the recent rupee depreciation has come as a breather.

While it has a 2-million tonne of alumina capacity, Nalco desperately needs to set up a facility to convert this alumina into high-value aluminium metal. Nalco is thus seriously looking to set up a smelter project abroad to expand metal capacity, even as the company's plan for a 0.5-million tonne unit at Sundergarh hinges on allocation of captive coal block.

Anshuman Das, Nalco's chairman and managing director, shared the company's plans and his outlook on the aluminium sector at large in a detailed chat in Bhubaneswar recently. Edited excerpts:

How crucial is your need to set up new smelter capacity? You are pursuing plans for a smelter-cum-power project in Sundergarh? What if it does not come up on time?

Anshuman Das: It is critical for Nalco to set up a 0.5 mt smelter capacity to use surplus alumina. But our plans for a second smelter at Sundergarh are vitally linked to getting an allocation for a captive coal mine. Smelting is energy-intensive and unless we have the coal for generation of power, we can't move ahead with the project. Hence, we are working on alternative plans simultaneously, in case the Sundergarh project fails to come up on time.

How much surplus alumina do you have?

Anshuman Das: We produce 2 mt of alumina, out of which we use 0.8 mt. The rest of it is surplus.

What is your plan B?

Anshuman Das: We are seriously looking at setting up a smelter project abroad, if the Sundergarh project does not happen on time. For this, we have zeroed-in on certain countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and possibly Vietnam in South Asia and the Gulf region, mainly due to availability of cheaper energy sources and their proximity to India. We are also in the process of appointing a top consultant, who will help us in assessing various geo-political risks involved in setting up greenfield projects in these countries. The consultant will basically do the job of hand holding in the initial stages of the project.

Nalco had outlined a corporate plan in 2009. With delays in the timeline of various projects envisaged earlier, are you reviewing it?

Anshuman Das: Yes. Our plan for an overseas project in case Sundergarh does not come up on time is one part of it. We are also reviewing other aspects of the corporate plan. We are taking a hard look at where we have grown and where we have not, in the last four years. We will not stick to the same projects in case they fail to maintain a timeline.

Which projects look possible in future?

Anshuman Das: Two projects that look possible in the near future include a. 5,500-crore greenfield alumina refinery of one mt capacity in Gujarat in joint venture with Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) and adding a fifth stream at Nalco's Damanjodi facility that will add another one million tonne of alumina refining capacity at an investment of. 5,000 crore.

The Damnajodi expansion is also subject to avialability of Nalco obtaining lease for Pottangi bauxite mines in Odisha. If big-ticket projects remain stuck, Nalco will take up a number of small-ticket projects, in the range of. 300-500 crore each, to keep up the momentum. There are three such projects in the pipeline. This include, a 14 MW wind power project, another backward integration project to produce caustic soda, a key input where prices are going up and a joint venture plant with Power Grid Corpopration to manufacture aluminium conductors. The latter project with PGCIL is estimated to have a high internal rate of return of almost 70%.

How do you see the domestic aluminium sector?

Anshuman Das: The two drivers for the domestic industry will be construction and automobiles. In construction, aluminium is gaining as a substitute for wood and its aesthetic value are also proven. In transportation, the thrust on fuel efficiency has given way to demand for lighter cars glob ally. Hence, the use of aluminium in the auto sector will only grow.

Prices have suffered historic lows this year. What is your outlook on global aluminium prices going forward?

Anshuman Das: Prices can't go below the level of $1,800 per tonne simply due to cost push factors and there will be resistance if prices breach $1,750 level. We estimate it to improve around Q4 of this year to around $1,850 per tonne. In 2014, the forecast is prices could reach $1,900 to $2,000 per tonne.

on Plan B

Anshuman Das: We are seriously looking at setting up a smelter project abroad, if the Sundergarh project does not happen on time. We have zeroed in on Indonesia, Malaysia and possibly Vietnam in South Asia, and the Gulf region, mainly due to availability of cheaper energy sources and their proximity to India

on Global Outlook

Anshuman Das: Prices can't go below the level of $1,800 per tonne simply due to cost push factors and there will be resistance if prices breach the $1,750 level. We estimate them to improve around Q4 to around $1,850 per tonne. In 2014, the forecast is prices could reach $1,900 to $2,000 per tonne.

Nalco rejected Request to Sell Surplus Alumina to Vedanta

Jagran Josh - September 29th, 2013,

Aluminium major NALCO on 28 September 2013 rejected a request to sell surplus alumina to bauxite starved Vedanta for its smelter at Jharsuguda. It stated that it was against the Navaratna PSU's policy to supply it in domestic market. As per the policy adopted by Nalco's board, the company does not sell either bauxite or alumina to other companies in the domestic market.

Vedanta had recently sought the Odisha state government's intervention to impress upon Nalco to sell its surplus alumina for its smelter at Jharsuguda. Stating that Nalco was exporting surplus alumina of over one million ton a year, Vedanta suggested that the diversion of this surplus alumina for VAL’s alumina smelter will generate extra revenue for NALCO at around Rs 200 crore annually over and above its export realization, thus helping improve its financial balance sheet.

As VAL's (Vedanta Aluminum Limited) refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district is running at a depleted capacity of 30-40 percent on outsourced bauxite from states such as Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, this has been hurting alumina availability for its smelter plants. VAL has two smelters at Jharsuguda. The 0.5-million ton per annum (mtpa) smelter plant, supported by a 1215 Mw captive power plant, produces downstream products such as wire rods and billets. This unit was in operation and meeting its alumina requirement through imports.

The other smelting facility of 1.2 mtpa capacity was installed as a special economic zone (SEZ) unit. This was yet to be commissioned due to non-availability of alumina. Overall performance of VAL’s smelter was hit after Lanjigarh refinery faced shutdown between 5 December 2012 and 11 July 2013 as bauxite sources dried up.

Nalco to invest Rs 33,000 cr for diversification and expansion

Business Standard Ltd. - September 28th, 2013,

Unveiling a new plan for high growth through diversification and expansion, aluminium giant Nalco is set to invest more than Rs 33,000 crore in a host of sectors including energy to boost its productivity and profitability.

"NALCO is embarking upon an ambitious growth plan involving a massive investment of more than Rs 33,000 crore in next three to four years, not only in aluminium sector but also in energy sector," chairman and managing director Ansuman Das told reporters.

"Nalco has begun a new odyssey to conquor the challenges of present and threats of future with its new Corporate Plan ... This will give a significant boost to the company's productivity and profitability," he said.

The plan encompasses expansion - both brownfield and greenfield, diversification into energy and non-ferrous metal sectors, backward integration, merger and acquisition, Das said after NALCO's annual general meeting held here on Friday.

Referring to greenfield projects, Das said the company is planning to set up a Rs 5,500 crore alumina refinery in Gujarat with one million tonne per annum capacity. Preparation of detailed project report for this has started.

Similarly, the company is also planning a Rs 16,450 crore smelter of 0.5 million tonnes a year (mtpa) capacity and power plant of 1,260 Mw capacity in Odisha's Sundargarh for which approval of the high level clearance authority of the state government has been obtained, Das said.

Site selection study and preliminary land survey for the proposed project is under way and the company is actively pursuing allocation of coal block in this regard, he said.

On Nalco's foray into energy sector, Das said the company had formed a joint venture with Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) to set up nuclear power plants.

Both the partners have selected Kakrapar Units 3 and 4 of 700 Mw each in Gujarat as their first joint venture project with an estimated project cost of Rs 11,500 crore, he said, adding construction work had already started and the project was scheduled to be commissioned by December, 2015.

In pursuit of harnessing renewable energy sources, Nalco has entered into new business of wind power generation with the establishment of 50.4 Mw wind power plant at Gandikota in Andhra Pradesh at an investment of Rs 274 crore.

Second wind power plant of 47.6 Mw is being set up in Rajasthan with an investment of Rs 283 crore. Another plant has been planned in Nalco's own mined out area at Panchpatmali in Koraput district of Odisha.

On brownfield projects, the Das said commissioning activities of capacity upgradation of 4th stream of alumina refinery from 5.25 lakh tpa to seven lakh tpa had commenced and the plant was in the process of stabilisation. At the same time the company had plans to go for 5th stream refinery based on medium pressure digestion technology, subject to availability of Pottangi bauxite mines, Das said. The capacity of the stream would be approximately one mt a year and investment would be around Rs 5,000 crore, Das said.

North Wales water treatment works had aluminium levels ten times the allowed amount

Daily Post - September 28th, 2013,

ALUMINIUM levels were found to be 10 times the permitted amount at a water treatment works which was at the centre of a Cryptosporidium scare five years ago.

Tests carried out by Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water) at the Mynydd Llandegai works near Bangor in August last year revealed the high level of aluminium.

Engineers found faults in a pump and a valve which was allowing sludge to seep from a lagoon into a watercourse.

The utility firm admitted a charge of contravening the requirements of an environmental permit condition at Caernarfon magistrates’ court yesterday.

Gwyn Jones, prosecuting on behalf of Natural Resources Wales, told the court Dwr Cymru staff took samples of water at the plant and sent it for analysis.

“The permitted level of aluminium is 1,000mg per litre.

“Samples taken on August 3 last year showed levels of aluminium of 10,100mk per litre, or ten times the limit.

“As soon as the Environment Agency (as it was known then) were notified inquiries were made. It turned out to be a mechanical failure in a pump. A faulty valve in a lagoon was allowing sludge to seep into a stream,” he said.

Richard Kimblin, defending, said Dwr Cymru owned thousands of items of equipment which may fail

“They live with that on a day to day basis.

“There has been significant investment in this plant in recent years.

“As soon as the fault was identified repair work was carried out,” he said.

The court heard the work started on August 8 and was completed by the end of September.

Mr Kimblin insisted the water was not destined for human consumption and that no environmental harm or damage had occurred.

Magistrates imposed a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered the company to pay £1,800 costs.

In September 2008 more than 45,000 people were warned to boil their drinking water after the bacteria Cryptosporidium was traced to the works at Mynydd Llandegai.

The bacteria showed up during routine monitoring.

Customers received £25 in compensation for the inconvenience they endured.

After that outbreak a Dwr Cymru spokesman said the Mynydd Llandegai works was one of the sites included in a £150 million upgrade aimed at “reducing the risks of customers being asked to boil their drinking water in the future”. More than £11m was spent at Mynydd Llandegai during the upgrade.

Nalco to invest Rs. 33,000 crore for diversification, expansion

NDTV Convergence Limited - September 28th, 2013,

Bhubaneswar: Unveiling a plan for high growth through diversification and expansion, aluminium giant Nalco is set to invest more than Rs. 33,000 crore in a host of sectors including energy to boost its productivity and profitability.

"Nalco is embarking upon an ambitious growth plan involving a massive investment of more than Rs. 33,000 crore in next 3 to 4 years, not only in aluminium sector but also in energy sector," Ansuman Das, CMD of Nalco, told reporters after the company's annual general meeting held in Bhubaneswar on Friday.

"Nalco has begun a new odyssey to conquor the challenges of present and threats of future with its new Corporate Plan ... this will give a significant boost to the company's productivity and profitability," he said.

The plan encompasses expansion, both brownfield and greenfield, diversification into energy and non-ferrous metal sectors, backward integration, merger and acquisition, Mr Das said.

Referring to greenfield projects, the Nalco chief said the company is planning to set up a Rs. 5,500 crore alumina refinery in Gujarat with capacity of one million tonne per annum, preparation of detailed project report for this has started.

Similarly, the company is also planning a Rs. 16,450 crore smelter of 0.5 MTPA capacity and power plant of 1260 MW capacity in Odisha's Sundargarh for which approval of the high level clearance authority of the state government has been obtained, he said.

He said that site-selection study and preliminary land survey for the proposed project was underway and that the company is actively pursuing allocation of coal block in this regard.

On Nalco's foray into the energy sector, Mr Das said the company had formed a joint venture with Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) to set up nuclear power plants.

Both the partners have selected Kakrapar units 3 and 4 of 700 MW each in Gujarat as their first JV project with an estimated project cost of Rs. 11,500 crore, he said. The Nalco chief further said construction work had already started and the project was scheduled to be commissioned by December, 2015.

In pursuit of harnessing renewable energy sources, Nalco has entered into new business of wind power generation with the establishment of 50.4 MW wind power plant at Gandikota in Andhra Pradesh at an investment of Rs. 274 crore.

A second wind power plant of 47.6 mw is being set up in Rajasthan with an investment of Rs. 283 crore, while another plant has been planned in Nalco's own mined-out area at Panchpatmali in Koraput district of Odisha.

China's Xinfa to lift Xinjiang aluminum capacity by 69% to 1.35 mil mt/year in 2013

Platts, McGraw Hill Financial - September 27th, 2013,

China's Shandong Chiping Xinfa Group plans to raise the capacity at its Xinjiang aluminum smelter by 550,000 mt/year to 1.35 million mt/year by the end of the year, up 68.8% from 800,000 mt/year currently, a source close to the company said Friday.

"We have already completed the 550,000 mt/year expansion, but it is not operating as yet, and we've not confirmed when it will start up, probably after the holidays next week," he said. "But it should definitely be by the end of this year."

In 2013, the Xinjiang smelter is expected to produce 800,000 mt of aluminum, in line with the output in 2012. The company aims to produce 1.3 million mt in 2014, the source said.

The prevailing weak domestic aluminum market has not deterred the company from its expansion plans in Xinjiang as costs in the region were comparatively lower than other parts of China, the source said.

The smelter is expected to be expanded to a design capacity of 2.4 million mt/year, but the source could not give a time line for this.

The alumina feedstock for the Xinjiang smelter comes mainly from Xinfa's own refineries in Shandong and Shanxi.

The company operates a 6 million mt/year refinery in Shandong province, which currently runs at 4 million mt/year. In Shanxi, it operates the 2.4 million mt/year Jiaokou Feimei Aluminum refinery, which is running at 1.2 million mt/year, as well as the new 800,000 mt/year Shanxi Xinfa Chemical refinery.

In South China, Xinfa operates the 2.4 million mt/year Guangxi Xinfa Aluminum refinery, which is running at run rate of 2 million mt/year.

Romanian aluminum producer Alro spends EUR 10 mln on equipment to increase competitiveness

Romania-Insider.com - September 27th, 2013,

Romania’s aluminum producer Alro Slatina, controlled by Vimetco, has completed an investment worth some EUR 10 million (RON 43.6 million) to increase its competitiveness.

The project, which started in March 2011 and was co-financed by the European Union, focused on strengthening and upgrading its productivity via new equipment purchases, reads a statement of the company.

Under the terms of the project, Alro acquired equipment for finishing aluminum sheets, coils and strips: a tension leveller line, a cut to length line, a slitting line and an automatic packaging system.

The project was implemented at its factory in Slatina over a period of 32 months.

The total EU grant amounted to some EUR 4 million (RON 17.18 million).

“By implementing this programme, we are able to consolidate and improve our position on the international market, following the diversification of the products portfolio, for the high added value goods”, said Gheorghe Dobra, CEO of Vimetco and General Manager of Alro Slatina.

Alro is a subsidiary of Vimetco N.V., a global aluminium producer, and has an installed production capacity of 265,000 tonnes of aluminum per year, making it the largest aluminum producer in Central and Eastern Europe when measured by volume.

The town built on bauxite has plenty of challenges ahead

Herald Sun - September 27th, 2013,

IT IS on the descent into Weipa from Cairns that offers the first sign of what makes this far north Queensland town such a unique place.

The flat, dry, seemingly desolate scrub which stretches for hundreds of kilometres suddenly gives way to hectares of burnt orange dirt that could be mistaken as the start of a new housing development, albeit in the middle of nowhere.

But that dirt is the only reason Weipa exists. About 800km northwest of Cairns on the Gulf of Carpentaria, the township of about 3500 people lies on Albatross Bay, with the Mission River working its way to the north and the Embley River extending to the south of the township.

In three directions around Weipa lies the largest bauxite mine in the world. A physical land area of about 3800 square kilometres leased to mining giant Rio Tinto Alcan, which for the past 50 years has been skimming the topsoil off its tenements to reveal thick seams of bauxite the ore from which aluminium is produced which it has mined, cleaned and shipped to domestic and international customers and its Yarwun refineries in Gladstone.

It was 50 years ago in April 1963 when the Commonwealth Aluminium Corporation (Comalco) loaded its first shipment of bauxite from Weipa following the discovery of the ore by Harry Evans in 1955.

A few months later, Queensland police descended on the nearby northern town of Mapoon and forcibly removed about 24 Aborigines from their settlement, loaded them on to boats never to return and, as a final insult, set fire to their homes.

Both events continue to resonate today as both the mining operation has expanded to a forecast record 26 million tonnes this year and the relationship with traditional owners has evolved to a meaningful and workable platform.

Right now, Rio’s project and its future is nearing the crossroads and at stake is a community of thousands. Rio’s mining tenements at Andoom to the north and east Weipa are capable of producing enough bauxite until the mid-2020s.

But it is the construction of the aptly titled South of Embley (SoE) project which will drive both the project and the community forward for decades to come.

That $1.2 billion project promises to deliver hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of dollars to the region, not to mention significant royalties for the region’s traditional owners.

And that largely explains the frustration of hold-ups in gaining regulatory approval. The timeframe most recently blew out by 12 months after the company was forced to respond to claims by the Wilderness Society that SoE would mean hundreds of additional ships travelling down the east coast and threatening the Great Barrier Reef. The claim was rejected by the company, which successfully argued the society incorrectly included export ships that would in fact be travelling away from the coast.

The next sticking point is a Land Court objection, again by the Wilderness Society, which argues the state co-ordinator general did not have the authority to approve the project. A decision is pending.

If SoE goes ahead, Rio will need 950 workers for the 40-month build, after which it will be capable of ramping up production to 50 million tonnes of bauxite per year for 40 years.

The project will consist of port loading facilities; a beneficiation plant to clean the bauxite; a diesel-fuelled power station; barge, ferry and tug facilities and a 42km service road from the ferry to the port.

That expansion is critical to not only Rio’s future but to the town itself.

Of Rio Tinto Alcan Weipa’s 1000-odd employees, the vast majority are based in Weipa as are the hundreds of contractors and related service providers.

On the surface the town is part tropical paradise and part working man’s town.

The harsh weather belies a stunning bay where bright blue waters conceal deadly stingers and crocodiles, while the township offers glimpses of its development over the past half century, from the ``stubby hut’’-turned cultural centre to the old 1970s-style high-set housing and, more recently, new housing estates that wouldn’t look out of place in outer Brisbane.

The town centre consists of a handful of shops including a Woolworths, credit union, butchers, bakery, hairdresser, Video 2000 and newsagent.

At Weipa News and Sport you can buy pretty much everything you need to meet the favoured past times of many locals - fishing, shooting, camping - with rods, rifles and for good measure, The Courier Mail for sale.

But it is not a town in the traditional respect, with no mayor and a town authority instead of a council. In fact, the closest the town has to a mayor just might be the general manager of Rio Tinto Alcan Weipa, Gareth Manderson, although he politely suggests otherwise.

``Some people describe me as the local MP or the mayor and it’s not hard to align with those values,’’ he says.

``We need to take care of the environment and the region and we also need to create commerce and industry and opportunity for people to learn and develop and have jobs.

``We’re not a benevolent organisation but we’re a member of the community and we will play our part.’’

As in so many communities, it is the fundamentals education, housing and jobs that drive a stable environment and sustainable future.

For Rio, it is finding a balance of contributing towards those elements while operating a profitable mine.

Western Cape Community College is a key piece of the jigsaw. With high quality local education, the company not only retains workers who can bring their families to town, but through a ``forum’’ created between the two organisations, help foster a practical learning environment for local indigenous students.

By any standards the company has high targets for indigenous employment 27 per cent indigenous workers and a 17 per cent local indigenous workforce.

``Between Rio and the school, which has 1000 students, we affect more households than any other organisations here,’’ explains college principal Leon Proud. ``The key with the forum is trying to get better outcomes with local Aboriginal students.

``When I first started attending the forums, we would spend considerable time talking about individual students but that has evolved to high-level discussion on getting new systems in place to deliver quality outcomes for students.’’

And it has worked. Proud says the best example of this is that, in 2001, only three local indigenous students graduated from school. This year, 34 indigenous Year 12 students will graduate.

The other initiative which has helped focus the school on quality teaching has been a new service guarantee.

``We started doing a service guarantee where any students who come to our school, we will get you into uni, an apprenticeship or traineeship or full-time employment. We track you for two years after school and if you fall out in that time we will take you back and help you out,’’ Proud says.

``For us there is accountability, for Rio, they are getting better students entering the workforce.’’

Another pressing social issue in Weipa is housing affordability. Prices rival Brisbane in some areas and a soon-to-be-released second stage of its Golf Links project will only go partway to relieving the pressure.

The Rio housing development backs on to the state’s most northerly golf course and about 90 lots will soon be offered to Rio employees. Any remaining lots will then be offered to contractors before the open market. If two or more employees want the same lot, their names go into a ballot.

For the privilege, buyers will pay between $550,000 and $650,000.

``The quality of housing has been a big issue for us for some time, so we now require minimum build specifications. This is another way we go about trying to find and retain good workers,’’ Rio’s Scott McIntyre says.

It highlights the conundrums facing Rio in Weipa. The company isn’t a property developer, much like it isn’t a childcare centre operator (which is overbooked and means staff wanting to work are sometimes unable to return). But in Weipa, it is both and more.

But despite these extra demands, Manderson oversees a slick operation. The company has been increasing production and will this year produce a record 26 million tonnes of bauxite, more than 10 per cent on the previous calendar year.

For that to keep happening, dozens of 130-tonne Caterpillar haul trucks carry their 200-tonne payloads between the mine sites at Andoom to the north and east Weipa 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

From the north that bauxite is run through a beneficiation plant before being sent by rail 19km including over a 1.2 kilometre bridge across the Mission - the longest single lane bridge in the southern hemisphere to the Weipa port. There 83,000-tonne post-Panamax ships dock two at a time, usually taking 24 hours to fill.

Back at the mine site, each truck is serviced once a day and their 2000-litre fuel tanks refuelled. Drivers work 12-hour days on a rotating four-day roster.

A swap-over crew relieves drivers for their break by swapping at designated stops on the mine, thus allowing the operation to continue unabated.

Water trucks run constantly to suppress dust, spraying 160,000 litres of water nearly every hour during the dry season.

In the wet season, crew manager Lloyd Stainkey explains the challenges differ, but the work doesn’t stop.

``You can get five inches of rain creating 30 centimetres of slurry, which for these trucks is OK. But anyone who gets assisted has to bring in a cake the next day,’’ he says.

Stainkey has been working with Rio for the past 23 years and, like most others who have stayed the distance, loves the lifestyle.

Others, however, have just arrived simply because this is where the work is.

For Matt Kernshaw, Weipa was as much about opportunity as anything.

The Cairns local had been working two jobs, as a pool cleaner and pizza delivery, six days a week and was going nowhere fast. The few traineeships that opened up were hard to secure so he made a leap of faith and landed in Weipa.

``There was no real work in Cairns. The jobs I was doing weren’t going to go any further and so I was offered a job at Weipa and then applied for a traineeship with Rio which I got,’’ he says.

The plan is to complete the training and at some point begin an engineering degree.

Newcomers or old hands, as the dry season kicks in and temperatures hit 36 degrees and 90 per cent humidity at the end of a 12-hour shift, you can be guaranteed that they’re here because they want to be.

$250 million to build a Vietnam-Laos bauxite pipe

VIETNAMNET Bridge - September 27th, 2013,

VietNamNet Bridge – An underground pipeline of 240 km long will be built to link from the Sekong and Attapeu plateaus of Laos to Quang Nam province of Vietnam, with a total investment of approximately $250 million.

The Quang Nam Provincial People's Committee has allowed the Vietnam Import Export and Construction Corporation (Vinaconex) and its Lao partner – the Laos Minerals Company, to build a pipe to transport bauxite from the Laos to the Chu Lai Economic Zone.

According to Vinaconex, the bauxite mine in Sekong and Attapeu plateaus are at a height of about 1,150 m, with reserves of 300 million tons of ore. The pipe to transport bauxite to Vietnam will be about 240 km and will be designed at the highest standards of the pipeline manufacturing industry.

The control system will be computerized. Each year, the transmission capacity of this underground pipe is estimated at 7-10 million tons of bauxite ore, through the port of Ky Ha in the Chu Lai Economic Zone. Total estimated capital investment for this pipe is about $250 million (not including operating expenses and taxes). The pre-feasibility report will be completed in November.

Vedanta to remain raw material supplier: Agarwal

The Indian Express ltd. - September 27th, 2013,

Vedanta Resources would not venture into downstream industries and would remain as a supplier of raw material, its chairman Anil Agarwal has said in a post on microblogging site Twitter.

The decision of the London-listed group comes ostensibly after setbacks it has suffered in its Orissa aluminium project and the scarcity of bauxite for its India operations.

Vedanta recently executed a merger of group firm, Sterlite Industries, with its smaller firm, Sesa Goa, to create Sesa Sterlite. It has also demerged its oil and gas and aluminium businesses and incorporated them in the new entity.

"Vedanta Resources Plc will not go for downstream industries. The company will always remain as supplier of raw material. This will give avenues for entrepreneurs to develop downstream industries, thus creating millions of job opportunities," Anil Agarwal tweeted on Thursday.

Deal gets bauxite project under way

The Australian - September 26th, 2013,

CAPE Alumina is set to secure funds to progress its $396 million bauxite project under a merger deal with coal junior MetroCoal.

The companies have announced a scheme of arrangement merger that will create a $28m diversified resources house with the aim of developing the Pisolite Hills bauxite project, 50km northeast of Weipa on the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Cape Alumina chairman George Lloyd said it was difficult for junior companies to access capital markets to progress developments and the deal was an opportunistic move to enable the company to develop its flagship asset.

Shares in MetroCoal lifted on news of the deal and closed 15.38 per cent higher at 4c; Cape Alumina was up 1.43 per cent at 7c.

The deal will see MetroCoal offer about 1.12 of its shares for every Cape Alumina share. MetroCoal also will provide Cape Alumina with a $3m convertible note to help fund work on the Pisolite Hills project.

Resource Capital Funds, a major shareholder of Cape Alumina, also will convert its $5m convertible note into Cape Alumina shares at 12c a share before the merger proceeds.

MetroCoal is focused on thermal coal projects in the Surat-Moreton Basin in southeast Queensland, but with coal markets struggling these assets will be pursued more longer term.

"We see that the development of the coal assets is more likely to be six or so years into the future, whereas the bauxite assets are supported by a strong market," Mr Lloyd said.

"They are ready to go when the necessary engineering and environmental work has been completed."

Cuts foreshadowed at aluminium plant in NT

Radio New Zealand News - September 21th, 2013,

Rio Tinto is again considering reducing operations at an alumina refinery in the Northern Territory.

In a statement to employees on Friday, Gove operations general manager Ryan Cavanagh said the option of curtailing production is back on the agenda after the latest gas supply offer from the territory government.

He said the state government originally committed itself in February to release 300 petajoules of gas to the refinery, but has since since amended the volume to 175 petajoules.

Mr Cavanagh said the company was considering what this likely amount of gas would mean for its refinery operations.

He said no decision had been made and employees would be informed as soon as possible about the future of the refinery.

The ABC reports the refinery operator, Pacific Aluminium, a Rio Tinto subsidiary, earlier this year said that operating the refinery using expensive liquid fuels was no longer economical.

Iran to invest $11.4bn in aluminium industry

Gulf Daily news - September 21th, 2013,

GENEVA: Iran plans to invest around 8.5 billion euros ($11.4bn) in its aluminium industry as part of plans to nearly quadruple production by 2025, an official at mining group Imidro said.

Iran is the 20th largest producer of aluminium in the world, according to the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organisation (Imidro), and needs the extra supplies to meet demand which is growing by 10 per cent a year.

Aluminium is a lightweight metal used widely in transport, packaging and construction. It can also be used to make tubes for uranium enrichment gas centrifuges.

Iran's economy has been hobbled by western sanctions aimed at pressuring Tehran to stop efforts to enrich uranium to levels that could be used in weapons.

Iran produced 338,000 tonnes of aluminium last year and is aiming for 770,000 tonnes in 2016 and 1.5 million tonnes by 2025, Panthea Geramishoar, senior expert in Imidro's non-ferrous department, said at a Metal Bulletin conference in Geneva.

Geramishoar did not give a time frame for the eight projects involved in the programme, but added that bidding was underway for one plant and financing was being arranged for two others.

Iran could struggle to increase production so quickly given it is heavily dependent on importing the raw ore bauxite or the refined ore alumina at a high cost. Iran's aluminium output hit 119,560 tonnes in the first four months of the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 21. At this rate, the country would produce 358,680 tonnes for 2013, just 6pc above last year's output level.

Geramishoar said higher prices for alumina imports have already contributed to a rise in the cost of aluminium production to over $2,000 a tonne.

"The current conditions are obviously not favourable...as the raw material we buy is mostly on a barter basis. In more optimum conditions, the costs could be decreased to around $1,700 a tonne or even less," she said, adding that sanctions were one of the factors driving up raw material costs.

The US tightened sanctions on raw and semi-processed materials, such as alumina, to Iran at the start of July this year as part of a campaign to target Iran's nuclear programme. Tehran says that its atomic work is peaceful.

Western sanctions cut Iran's petroleum revenue by about $26bn in 2012 from a total of $95bn in 2011. Iran also had to contend with soaring inflation, and a devaluation of its currency, the rial.

Iran has increased purchases of alumina from China and India in the past two months to help replace former contracts impacted by sanctions.

The Iran Aluminium Company, which western sources believe has links to the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company, was recently awarded a tender to buy alumina from India's National Aluminium Company.

World Aluminum Supply Needs 40% Cut

24/7 Wall St. - September 20th, 2013,

In a little more than two weeks, Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) will report third-quarter results, and there is every reason to believe that those results will not be pretty. The consensus estimates call for earnings per share of $0.06 on sales of $5.74 billion. The earnings estimate has been cut in half over the past three months, and if comments today by another aluminum miner are any guide, the estimates for Alcoa are optimistic.

Read more: Rusal Exec: World Aluminum Supply Needs 40% Cut - Alcoa, Inc. (NYSE:AA) - 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com/commodities-metals/2013/09/20/rusal-exec-world-aluminum-supply-needs-40-cut/#ixzz2fn4d3Qna Follow us: @247wallst on Twitter | 247wallst on Facebook

A senior executive of the world’s largest aluminum producer, Russia’s Rusal, has said that 40% of global aluminum production is unsustainable at current prices. From around $1,900 per metric ton (tonne) a year ago, the price today is about $1,830. Global supply exceeded demand in the first seven months of this year by 773,000 tonnes; the surplus in all of 2012 was 506,000 tonnes.

BHP Billiton PLC (NYSE: BHP) produced 1.18 million tonnes of aluminum in its fiscal year ended in June 2013, compared with 1.15 million tonnes in fiscal 2012.

Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE: RIO), which paid $38 billion in 2007 to acquire Canadian producer Alcan, increased production by 14% in the first half of 2013, compared with the same period in 2012. Rio Tinto also gave up trying to sell its Pacific Aluminum division because no buyer could be found.

Century Aluminum Co. (NASDAQ: CENX) has shipped 4.4% more aluminum in the first half of this year.

Read more: Rusal Exec: World Aluminum Supply Needs 40% Cut - Alcoa, Inc. (NYSE:AA) - 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com/commodities-metals/2013/09/20/rusal-exec-world-aluminum-supply-needs-40-cut/#ixzz2fn4h7fTm Follow us: @247wallst on Twitter | 247wallst on Facebook

Alcoa has been closing smelters and restructuring. In the first half of this year, the company has taken $251 million in restructuring charges and closed smelting operations in Canada and Italy. The company’s base capacity is about 4.2 million metric tonnes, of which some 523,000 tonnes is currently idle. That is about 12.5% of capacity. The company said in May it is considering idling another 460,000 tonnes of smelting capacity over the next 15 months, an additional 11%.

Now Alcoa may be in better shape than Rusal. Its average realized price per tonne in the second quarter was $2,237. Costs of production totaled $2,230. That is a gross profit of just $7 a tonne, far below the gross profit in the second quarter of 2012 of $35 a tonne.

Alcoa managed to lower its costs by $64 a tonne in the second quarter, but the company’s realized price fell by $92 a tonne. And there is no reason to believe that prices have gone anywhere but down in the third quarter.

As with so many commodity metals, what China does will heavily influence the aluminum market. New smelters are being built in the country that can be profitable with prices as low as $1,500 a tonne, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Alcoa, Rio Tinto, BHP and Rusal cannot compete with that.

Shares of Alcoa closed at $8.44 on Thursday in a 52-week range of $7.63 to $9.37. Shares are inactive in premarket trading Friday morning.

Read more: Rusal Exec: World Aluminum Supply Needs 40% Cut - Alcoa, Inc. (NYSE:AA) - 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com/commodities-metals/2013/09/20/rusal-exec-world-aluminum-supply-needs-40-cut/#ixzz2fn4jXtod Follow us: @247wallst on Twitter | 247wallst on Facebook

Iran to invest over 8 billion euros in aluminium sector

Reuters - September 20th, 2013,

Iran plans to invest around 8.5 billion euros ($11.4 billion) in its aluminium industry as part of plans to nearly quadruple production by 2025, an official at mining group Imidro said on Thursday.

Iran is the 20th largest producer of aluminium in the world, according to the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organisation (Imidro), and needs the extra supplies to meet demand which is growing by 10 percent a year.

Aluminium is a lightweight metal used widely in transport, packaging and construction. It can also be used to make tubes for uranium enrichment gas centrifuges.

Iran's economy has been hobbled by western sanctions aimed at pressuring Tehran to stop efforts to enrich uranium to levels that could be used in weapons.

Iran produced 338,000 tonnes of aluminium last year and is aiming for 770,000 tonnes in 2016 and 1.5 million tonnes by 2025, Panthea Geramishoar, senior expert in Imidro's non-ferrous department said at a Metal Bulletin conference in Geneva.

Geramishoar did not give a timeframe for the eight projects involved in the program, but added that bidding was underway for one plant(Persian Gulf Alumina) and financing was being arranged for two others(Salco, Kalco).

Iran could struggle to increase production so quickly given it is heavily dependent on importing the raw ore bauxite or the refined ore alumina at a high cost. Alumina costs have been pushed up by the impact of sanctions.

According to Press TV, an Iranian news site, Iran's aluminium output hit 119,560 tonnes in the first four months of the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 21.

At this rate, the country would produce 358,680 tonnes for 2013, just 6 percent above last year's output level.

CHALLENGES AHEAD

Geramishoar said higher prices for alumina imports have already contributed to a rise in the cost of aluminium production to over $2,000 a tonne.

LME aluminium was trading at $1,827.75 per tonne at 1129 GMT.

"The current conditions are obviously not favorable...as the raw material we buy is mostly on a barter basis. In more optimum conditions, the costs could be decreased to around $1,700 a tonne or even less," she said, adding that sanctions were one of the factors driving up raw material costs.

The United States tightened sanctions on raw and semi-processed materials, such as alumina, to Iran at the start of July this year as part of a campaign to target Iran's nuclear program. Tehran says that its atomic work is peaceful.

Western sanctions cut Iran's petroleum revenue by about $26 billion in 2012 from a total of $95 billion in 2011. Iran also had to contend with soaring inflation, and a devaluation of its currency, the rial.

Iran has increased purchases of alumina from China and India in the past two months to help replace former contracts impacted by sanctions.

The Iran Aluminium Company (Iralco), which western sources believe has links to the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA), was recently awarded a tender to buy alumina from India's National Aluminium Company (Nalco).

The United States can dissuade countries from trading in sanctioned goods with Iran by threatening to cut their banks off from the U.S. financial system. It can also blacklist any company, local or foreign, that deals in sanctioned goods with Iran.

Antam’s Tayam Plant on Track to Open by Late October

THE JAKARTA GLOBE - September 19th, 2013,

Antam’s $490 million chemical-grade aluminum plant in Tayan, West Kalimantan, is nearly complete. The state miner expects to start operating the plant at the end of October, on track with its original target.

The Jakarta-based Antam said in a statement on Wednesday that as of the end of August, the engineering, procurement and construction work at the plant was 97 percent complete.

“Our team is currently focusing on preparing to commence the commissioning of the Tayan CGA plant by the end of October 2013,” Antam president director Tato Miraza said.

By building the plant, Antam is putting itself in a position to increase profits through the development of downstream value-added projects, Tato added.

Antam aims to use the plant to add value to its 473.8 million wet metric tons (wmt) of bauxite reserves.

Indonesia Chemical Alumina, a joint venture between Antam and Japanese chemical engineering firm Showa Denko, has been constructing the Tayan plant since June 2011. Antam owns an 80 percent stake in the venture and Showa Denko controls the remainder.

The project was financed by funds from the shareholders and loans from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and a consortium of other Japanese banks.

State builder Wijaya Karya, local boiler and steam specialist Nusantara Energi Abadi (Nusea) and Japanese builder Tsukishima Kikai were selected to construct the plant.

The plant will process up to 300,000 tons of CGA per annum from bauxite. The end product will be marketed to both local and export markets.

Chemical-grade aluminum, or CGA, refers to aluminum hydroxide that is used for applications other than for smelting.

The material is essential in the making of various products such as electronic parts, building materials, abrasives, refractories, integrated circuit packaging and materials for liquid crystal display glass.

Antam is also working on another project to add value to its bauxite reserves. The company is reviewing and doing a feasibility study for a possible smelter-grade alumina (SGA) plant in Mempawah, West Kalimantan.

The project cost is still being reviewed, but the production capacity is already set at 1.2 million metric tons. The plant, which will produce smelter- or metallurgical-grade alumina, is estimated to be completed in 2017.

Concerns raised over aluminium plant in Limerick

THE IRISH TIMES - September 19th, 2013,

Plans by Aughinish Alumnia to extend height of bauxite residue deposits could harm River Shannon and its wildlife, councillor claims

The former mayor of Limerick has said he has “serious concerns” about plans by Aughinish Alumina to extend the height of bauxite residue deposits to 100 feet on its lands adjacent to the Shannon Estuary.

According to Fine Gael councillor Jim Long, the Russian-owned company, under terms agreed in its last licence renewal, is to raise its bauxite deposits from 20 metres to 30 metres, a height of 98.425 feet.

Aughinish, which extracts millions of tonnes of alumina, leaves huge amounts of distinctive red-coloured bauxite residue, which is stored as red mud on 450 acres of land at Askeaton, Co Limerick.

“It is a red island now. Raising the red mud deposits to 30 metres, that’s nearly 100 feet. We would be creating our own mountains of this stuff. What if there is freak flash flooding or increased rainfall in the area? I would be concerned about the River Shannon if vast amounts of this stuff got into it,” Mr Long said.

He described the red coloured landscape as “completely out of sync” with the estuary’s natural habitat, that is home to protected wildlife including dolphins, otters and birds.

“Are they prepared for mother nature? She can be very unforgiving,” added Mr Long, who is a member of Voice Ireland, a environmental awareness charity based in Dublin.

A number of years ago, the company was granted permission to expand its bauxite pond area and to raise the height of the dry-stacked red mud, despite objections from individuals and the local community.

However, a local farmer’s action group has brought the matter to the attention of the European Commission, arguing that the material should be classified as hazardous waste.

In 2010, a similar plant in Hungary, albeit one which stored the bauxite differently, had a spillage resulting in several deaths, and hundreds of people injured, when a dam broke destroying towns and villages.

The disaster also caused widespread pollution along the Danube.

Afterwards, Aughinish Alumina, which employs 440 people, said there was no danger of any spillage from its bauxite residue pile as it treats it in a totally different manner.

Aughinish Alumina is Europe’s largest alumina refinery, producing more than 1.6 million tonnes of alumina every year.

In May, the Environmental Protection Agency said it was satisfied with the design of the bauxite pond structures are in keeping with best international practice.

However, Mr Long said Ireland was witnessing increased incidents of flooding in recent years, along with mudslides or landslides.“I accept that there are safety measures at Aughinish but I want to know if they are sufficient to take on Mother Nature,” he said.

“We should be looking at a concerted effort, including the company, to a phased-in plan to remove this waste.”

Mr Long said this would create hundreds of jobs. He acknowledged Aughinish was a “stable provider of jobs”.

He added: “I think we can work together to eliminate any potential environmental hazards.”

Mr Long is to bring a motion before Limerick City Council “calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to carry out an inspection on the deposition of bauxite (red mud) at the Rusal’s Plant, Askeaton, Co Limerick.” The company said it had “no comment to make”.

AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, manufacturing and industry briefs

MENAFN News - September 18th, 2013,

Sep 18, 2013 (Menafn - AME Info - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --EMIRATES ALUMINIUM GLOBAL PLANNING WORLDWIDE EXPANSION: Emirates Aluminium Global (EAG), which is under formation, has said it plans to become an international aluminium conglomerate with interests from bauxite mining to aluminium refining and carbon production, Khaleej Times has reported. EAG will comprise several umbrella companies operating in different segments within the aluminium industry at global scale, said Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, the president and CEO of Emirates Aluminium (Emal).

GPIC RECORDS HIGHEST-EVER OUTPUT LEVEL: Bahrain's Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co (GPIC) has posted record export and production levels and profit that exceeded expectations during the month of August, thanks to improved employee efficiency and production processes, Gulf Daily News has reported. The petrochemicals firm said its total production during last month was around 135,523 tonnes, the highest since it launched operations in 1985. Total exports for the year so far reached of 764,742 tonnes, said GPIC.

TASNEE EYEING BIGGER STAKE IN DYESOL: The National Industrialisation Company of Saudi Arabia (Tasnee) has said it has completed due diligence on a further 16m strategic investment in Australia's Dyesol, a leading developer of dye solar cell technologies that can applied on buildings and rooftops to generate electricity, Saudi Gazette has reported. An original investment of 4m from Tasnee was announced in February. According to chairman Richard Caldwell the then 4m investment could increase up to 20m within 18 months, subject to due diligence. Tasnee is the second-largest producer of titanium oxide in the world. It also owns several titanium mines in Australia.

MB AL CONF: Rio will expand in bauxite, cut costs in alumina, aluminium

Metal Bulletin Ltd. - September 18th, 2013,

Rio Tinto Alcan’s expansion plans are centred on its bauxite operations, while its focus in its alumina refining and aluminium smelting operations will remain on costs, Nigel Steward, senior vp of technology and supply chain said. ”In smelting and refining we are focused heavily on costs, and have a very active programme to cut costs,” Steward told delegates at Metal Bulletin’s 28th International Aluminium conference in Geneva on Wednesday September 18.

“We want to be in the first and second quartile of the cost curve, to make sure we can still remain profitable,” he added.

The company has sold or closed some 15 smelting and refining assets in recent years, most recently the Shawinigan smelter in Quebec, Canada, and the Lynemouth smelter in Northumberland, UK.

But Rio will be more aggressive in its bauxite operations, and is in the feasibility stage of expanding the life of its Weipa bauxite mine in Australia by up to 40 years.

”We’re very well placed, with high-quality bauxite in Australia,” Steward said. “We see strong demand for our bauxite from China and the Middle East.”

Antaike raises China's 2013 alumina output forecast to 46.5 mil mt

Platts - September 17th, 2013,

Chinese nonferrous metals consultancy Beijing Antaike has raised its 2013 alumina output forecast for the country to 46.5 million mt, up less than 1% from the mid-year forecast of 46.3 million mt, an analyst said Tuesday.

"The higher forecast is mainly due to the startup of two new refineries in Shanxi -- the Xinfa Shanxi plant and the Chalco Xingxian plant," the Antaike analyst said.

The Shanxi Xinfa refinery, a subsidiary of Shandong Chiping Xinfa Group, saw first output in July, a company source said at the time. The plant started at an initial 800,000 mt/year capacity and is slated to have a final design capacity of 5 million mt/year.

Chalco's new 1 million mt/year refinery in Xingxian is expected to start partial production in October.

"The startups are late in the year and will take time to ramp up. Actual output won't be very high this year, so we've only revised forecast slightly," the analyst said. "There are also no reports of major refinery cuts this year."

Antaike figures showed alumina output of 42.14 million mt last year, down marginally from the expected 42.53 million mt for 2012.

By the end of the year, Antaike expects China's alumina production capacity to reach 62 million mt/year, up from about 58 million mt/year at the end of 2012.

The forecast for China's 2013 domestic aluminum production is 24.5 million mt, unchanged from a mid-year forecast, another Beijing Antaike analyst said Tuesday. The figure is 22.5% higher than the 20 million mt produced in 2012, according to National Bureau of Statistics data.

China's aluminum smelting capacity is expected to reach 30-31 million mt/year by end-2013, which would be a sharp increase from around 25 million mt/year in 2012.

The rise is mainly attributed to various new smelters and expansion projects in the western regions of China, particularly Xinjiang. An estimated 3-4 million of new capacity is available in the west, with most expected to be ready this year or next, Antaike said.

Press Metal sells off non-profitable aluminium smelting plant in China

Star Publications - September 17th, 2013,

KUCHING: Press Metal Bhd, which owns aluminium smelting plants in Mukah and Bintulu, is selling its loss-making facility in China.

Its 90%-owned unit Hubei Press Metal Huasheng Aluminium and Electric Co Ltd, had entered into a final asset settlement agreement with Hubei Hashing Aluminium and Electric Co Ltd (HHAE) and Qianjiang City Qiansheng State-owned Enterprise (QCQ).

Under the deal, Hubei Press Metal will dispose of all its assets to HHAE, except its wholly-owned subsidiary Press Metal International (Hubei) Ltd (PMIH) and the leasehold land occupied by PMIH and certain liabilities, Press Metal said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.

The assets to be transferred to HHAE include the aluminium smelter and power plant and the land occupied by them.

PMIH is principally engaged in the downstream aluminium extrusion products, and is located adjacent to Hubei Press Metal’s smelting plant.

In line with the disposal, QCQ will transfer its 10% share of equity in Hubei Press Metal to Press Metal, making Hubei Press Metal a wholly-owned subsidiary of the latter.

Hubei Press Metal acquired the aluminium smelting plant as well as its related assets and certain liabilities from HHAE in 2007. The company was principally involved in producing upstream aluminium products, namely aluminium ingots and billets.

“Throughout the years, Hubei Press Metal has significantly transferred the technical know-how and support to the group’s new smelting plants in Mukah and Samalaju (Bintulu) which commenced operations in 2009 and 2012 respectively,” Press Metal said.

On the rationale of the divestiture, the company said it was to discontinue the loss-making business. The one-off disposal loss is about RM50mil, comprising the assets impairment loss and certain liabilities assumed.

“The disposal will not have any material effect on the earnings per share and net assets per share of the company for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2013, in view of the savings arising from discontinuing the loss-making business from the group. Such disposal is expected to enhance the group’s profitability in the future,” it added.

Commenting on this, RHB Research said the move would certainly end Press Metal’s losses from this upstream unit while allowing it to enjoy stable, albeit minimal, earnings from the aluminium extrusion plant.

The research house said the facility was an important stepping stone for Press Metal, enabling it to gain access to electrolysis technology and the necessary experience in the general operation of a smelting plant.

“We believe its track record in running the smelter was the main consideration behind the state government’s approval for the group’s Mukah plant, followed by the one in Samalaju,” said RHB Research, which is maintaining its “Buy” call on Press Metal with a fair value of RM2.77.

Press Metal closed at RM2.10 on Friday.

At the moment, the company is carrying out restoration works for its Mukah smelter, which suffered damage due to the shutdown caused by the June 27 statewide power outage.

It hopes to resume the plant’s production before end of this year.

EAG to expand globally

Khaleej Times - September 16th, 2013,

Emirates Aluminium Global, or EAG, which is under formation, is aiming to become an international aluminium conglomerate with interests from bauxite mining to aluminium refining and carbon production, a top official said.

EAG will be an organisation which will comprise of several umbrella companies operating in different segments within the Aluminium industry at global scale, said Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, the president and chief executive officer of Emirates Aluminum, or Emal, while talking to reporters.

Hinting EAG’s plans, Al Mazrooei said EAG will run mega projects like Shaheen, an aluminium refinery, in addition to bauxite explorations in New Guinea and investment in carbon production in China.

He said there would be many companies with plans to expand on global level once EAG is established.

About the merger between Emal and Dubai Aluminium, or Dubal, Al Mazrooei termed it as a family already, maybe not on books. Emal’s marketing and procurements is managed by Dubal, which also provides training to its staff along with the technology, he added.

Dubal and Emal have a 2.3 million metric tonne capacity, out of which 150,000-200,000 metric tonnes is sold locally and the rest is exported.

Emal’s production, which is 800,000 metric tonnes, will get a huge boost in May next year when three of its production lines would be up and running to produce 1.3 million metric tonnes.

Speaking on the prospects of Phase III, Yousuf Bastaki, vice-president for projects, said that there is enough room for further expansion of a production line, but stakeholders have not yet taken any decision on it.

As part of expansion in its $4.5 billion Phase II project, he said “we are aiming at cost-saving” that cannot be quantified at the moment.

The Abu Dhabi smelter in its expansion has expanded its electric power generation capacity by 1,000MW to 3,000MW, which is equal to the one third of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s total generation capacity, said Bastaki.

Giving details on its power plant, he said it consists of five turbines in total, including three gas-run and two steam-run. The gas-run turbines will be ready by October, while the two machines that run on steam will start commercial generations by January and February next year, respectively, he added.

Emal has hooked up its electricity generation system with the Abu Dhabi Electricity and Water Authority’s power grid, which will enable it to import or export 500MW of electricity as and when required.

UAE's Emal aluminum smelter expansion produces first hot metal

Platts, McGraw Hill Financial - September 16th, 2013,

Emirates Aluminium's Phase II expansion project in Abu Dhabi, UAE, produced its first hot metal Sunday, three months head of schedule, Emal said.

At 1.7 km, Emal Phase II has the longest potline in the world, consisting of 444 reduction pots, and will raise total annual production capacity at the company's Al Taweelah smelter to 1.3 million mt from the previous 750,000 mt.

Emal is a joint venture between Dubai government-owned Dubai Aluminium and Abu Dhabi government-owned Mubadala Development.

In June, Mubadala and Investment Corporation of Dubai announced the creation of Emirates Global Aluminium, which will integrate the businesses of Dubal and Emal.

Once the Emal Phase II expansion is complete, Emirates Global Aluminium will be the fifth-largest global aluminum company by production, with an annual capacity of 2.3 million mt.

Emal’s Phase II To Create 1,000 Jobs

Gulf Business - September 15th, 2013,

Emal will ramp up aluminium production upon completion of its phase II expansion.

State-owned Emirates Aluminium (Emal) has announced that its phase II expansion, completed ahead of scheduled time, will ramp up aluminium production and increase jobs in the UAE.

Emal’s Al Taweelah-based phase II will boost the company’s aluminium production from 800,000 tonnes to 1.3 million metric tonnes per year and is expected to create around 1,000 new jobs, officials said. Its first phase currently employs around 2,000 people.

Emal’s phase I was completed within its allocated budget of $6 billion while the phase II expansion had a budget of $4.5 billion. While $3 billion has already been spent in funding phase II so far, efforts are underway to complete the project within the budget, the company said.

Completed in two years, the phase II expansion is around 1.7km long and brings a third line into production. The latest plant uses Dubal developed DX+ technology and operates with the highest amperage in the region at 440 KA that could rise to 460 KA in the future.

Phase II also achieved the First Hot Metal (FHM) record four months faster than Emal’s phase I, delivering 20 per cent more value in dollar per tonne investment, Emal said.

With phase II beginning production, Emal now has the largest single site production capacity in the world. The site in Al Taweelah currently includes a 2100 MW power plant, which will increase to 3000 MW by 2014, a carbon power plant and a falexible cast hous with a capacity to produce a variety of products.

A purpose built wharf at Khalifa Port will also shorten the supply chain of raw materials from the sea to smelter.

Emal has the world’s largest gas treatment centre, the world’s biggest anode baking furnace, the biggest single site captive power plant, the highest single-line capacity green anode manufacturing plant and is the first to use 2000 V rectifier/transformers.

Earlier this year, Emal and Dubai ALuminium (Dubal) merged to create Emirates Global Aluminium, which will be world’s fifth largest aluminium company with an enterprise value of $15 billion. The merger was planned to help the UAE better compete with rival aluminium producers in the region.

Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) Facing ‘hard times’ On Aluminum Plants

Basics Media - September 12th, 2013,

It is not all that good for Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) as it has been forced to close some of its aluminum plants to reduce the production of aluminum by 164,000 tons. These plans are aimed at ensuring a balance between supply and demand. The close of some of the plants will reduce the aluminum capacity by approximately 460,000 metric tons, this cut announcements were initially made in May

The closure of these plants has been precipitated by the increasing competition from China; the 15% slump in prices of Aluminum on the other hand has not done any good to the New York Based company. This outcome has made Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) fall into margins of worst performing companies in the Dow. Alcoa has been experiencing bad news over the past years, the worst being the credit rating cut by Moody’s investor’s service. After these revelations Alcoa was quick to express reservations that its earnings remained unchanged from the past financial year.

The hard decisions had to be made to meet the broader better good of the company to ensure long term sustainability. The latest move has been spearheaded by the newly appointed head of the company Bob Wilts. Wilt intends to review the 11% capacity of the company to ensure the company remains a float and competitive. The shutdown of plants has been preceded by the permanent shut down of plants in Quebec and Italy.

According to estimates compiled by Bloomberg, Alco looks set to post net income for the second quarter that will exclude one-time items of 6 cents per share. Alcoa shares have been on a downward trend with a decline of 10% for the first quarter of the year. The company has continuously refused to comment on these results. The company also intends to curtail 124,000 metric tons of aluminum of its smelter operations in Brazil.

The curtailment will be completed in October 2013 aimed at maintaining the competitiveness of the company. Aluminum prices have been dropping over the past four years pushing the company to a low time low. Over the past few months Alcoa has gone forth with curtailments totaling 269, 000 tones of its 460, 000 tons that was initially placed under review in May. This was also followed with closure of 105, 000 metric tons in its smelter base Baie-Comeau in Canada.

Alcoa prosperity has been overtaken in size by more diversified commodities from companies such as BHP Billiton Ltd and Glencore Xstrata Plc. Alcoa chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfelds promised to move the company in what is known in the industry as a cost curve in a matter of two years, this will ensure the company reaches the 41% of global capacity. For this to be achieved Alcoa Inc will engage in low cost smelter by entering into partnership with Saudi Arabian Mining Co.

In April the company announced a $247 million year on year productivity gains for the first quarter of the year. The company will go forth and cut its operating costs by $750million, this is a decline as compared to $1.3 billion in 2012. - See more at: http://basicsmedia.com/alcoa-inc-nyseaa-facing-hard-times-on-aluminum-plants-5967#sthash.BaeZ8YK4.dpuf

DUBAL, EMAL promote UAE aluminium industry at 28th International Aluminium Conference

WAM - September 12th, 2013,

WAM DUBAI, 12th September, 2013 (WAM) -- The role of the UAE's primary aluminium sector within the global industry is again to be promoted by Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) and Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) at the 28th International Aluminium Conference, organised and hosted by Metal Bulletin in Geneva, Switzerland, from 16th to 18th September.

The two companies will have a combined stand in the exhibition component alongside the conference, and Yousuf Bastaki, EMAL's Vice President of Projects, is among the line-up in the opening session's executive industry panel - the focus of which will fall on global industry challenges and strategies.

Touted as the premier international forum for understanding industry dynamics and uncovering market potential, the annual MBI events attract 500-plus key industry decision-makers from around the world, offering opportunities for networking and deal-making. Aiming to maximise exposure offered by the forum, the joint DUBAL-EMAL exhibition stand will showcase the two companies and promote their product portfolios.

Confirming the contribution of the UAE to the global industry, the combined 1.84 million tonnes of primary aluminium products manufactured in the UAE in 2012 represents almost 4% of the estimated 47.1 million metric tonnes of annual global production. It's also 50% of the 3.7 million metric tonnes produced in the greater Gulf region (itself equivalent to 7.8% of global production in 2012).

The location of MBI 2013 in Switzerland is a further motivator for the UAE smelter's participation in the event, as the European market has accounted for a sizeable (and growing) portion of annual sales since DUBAL first started selling aluminium into the region 17 years ago. In 2012, nearly 212,000 tonnes of DUBAL metal was sold to customers in Europe. In the same year around 220,000 tonnes of EMAL metal was sold - a combined total of 436,000 tonnes. The largest proportion of the metal sold comprises of billet and foundry re-melt products to customers in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, France and Greece. DUBAL and EMAL's commitment to the region has been firmly demonstrated by building the infrastructure to support on-time delivery to customers across Europe, and the establishment of dedicated marketing and sales offices in Switzerland and Italy.

Importantly, the European Commission in mid-July 2013 approved the integration of DUBAL and EMAL as assets of the newly-established Emirates Global Aluminium, jointly owned in equal shareholding by Mubadala and Investment Corporation of Dubai. Pending required approvals, the formal commencement of joint operations is expected to be completed within the first half of 2014. Further announcements relating to Emirates Global Aluminium and the integration of the two businesses will be made as matters evolve.

White Aluminum adds firm to growing branch divisions

Daily Commercial - September 8th, 2013,

White Aluminum has announced the acquisition of Jensen Beach Aluminum adding to an ever-growing list of branch divisions.

White Aluminum, headquartered in Leesburg, continues to expand service areas that now cover several counties across the middle, southwest and east coast portions of the state. For a complete list of showrooms and service areas go on to www.whitealuminum.com.

“We feel that the acquisition of Jensen Beach Aluminum is a good fit for our

overall strategy of growth,” said William "Bud" Dorman, CEO of White Aluminum.

“JBA has been servicing that region for 38 years. White Aluminum will build on that tradition by offering an expanded line of products and unparalleled customer service along the Treasure Coast.”

Rio Tinto Alcan celebrates the first metal produced from its leading-edge AP60 aluminium smelter in Quebec, Canada

Digital Journal - September 7th, 2013,

MONTREAL, Sept. 7, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Rio Tinto Alcan celebrates the first metal produced at its new US$ 1.1 billion Arvida Aluminium Smelter, AP60 Technology Centre, in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec. This important milestone marks the transition from a world-class construction project to a 60,000-tonne technology development centre unparalleled in the aluminium industry. The gradual ramp-up to full capacity will continue over the coming weeks.

"Rio Tinto Alcan is proud to commemorate the first aluminium produced in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, from the world's most productive reduction cells," declared Arnaud Soirat, President and chief executive officer of Rio Tinto Alcan, Primary Metal. "It is important to salute the ingenuity of Rio Tinto Alcan's Research and Development teams that first developed and tested this technology at the company's Laboratoire de Recherche des Fabrications (LRF) in Saint-Jean de Maurienne, France, which paved the way for the Arvida Aluminium Smelter, AP60 Technology Centre in Quebec."

Étienne Jacques, Chief Operating Officer, Rio Tinto Alcan, Primary Metal, North America, added: "I want to recognise the dedication and perseverance demonstrated by the Rio Tinto Alcan and Arvida Aluminium Smelter, AP60 Technology Centre teams throughout the plant's start-up process over the past several months. While much work remains before the Arvida Aluminium Smelter, AP60 Technology Centre can be brought to full capacity, this is a significant milestone showcasing Rio Tinto Alcan's technological advantage."

About the Arvida Aluminium Smelter, AP60 Technology Centre

The Arvida Aluminium Smelter, AP60 Technology Centre will produce 40 per cent more aluminium per cell than the previous generation of AP technology. The cells will also yield improved environmental performance and energy efficiency. The Arvida Aluminium Smelter, AP60 Technology Centre currently employs nearly 135 people and will have a capacity of 60,000 tonnes of aluminium. Rio Tinto Alcan's Arvida Research & Development Centre and R&D teams will continue supporting the new smelter and the further development of the AP60 technology platform.

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.

Outotec agreed to deliver a technology license for a potential alumina refinery in the United Arab Emirates

Euro investor - September 5th, 2013,

Outotec agreed to deliver a technology license for a potential alumina refinery in the United Arab Emirates

Outotec and Hatch, as an unincorporated joint venture, have been awarded a contract by Mubadala and Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) for the provision of a technology license as well as the basic and detail engineering of an integrated digestion and evaporation facility relating to the assessment of a potential alumina refinery development in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. The contract price will not be disclosed.

Outotec and Hatch have jointly developed tube digestion and integrated evaporation technologies and the related intellectual property is jointly owned. Mubadala and DUBAL placed the order to secure access to required process technologies and to support their feasibility study on an integrated greenfield alumina refinery targeting the provision of alumina to domestic aluminum smelters and for export.

"We are delighted that Mubadala and DUBAL chose the unique Outotec-Hatch alumina digestion technology for their assessment. As our mission is sustainable use of Earth's natural resources, we are very proud to be involved in this feasibility study," says Robin Lindahl, head of Outotec's Metals, Energy & Water business area.

China’s Chalco stalls aluminium smelter project in Malaysia

The Malaysian Insider - September 3rd, 2013,

Aluminum Corp of China (Chalco), the top producer of the metal in China, has suspended a smelter project in Malaysia worth more than US$1 billion, a company spokesman said today.

"The project is stalled now," the spokesman said.

Chalco signed a frame agreement with Malaysian company Gulf International Investment Group Holding in 2010 to jointly build the aluminium smelter in Sarawak using local cheap hydro-power. The plant was set to have 370,000 tonnes of capacity a year, according to Chalco's website (www.chalco.com.cn).

The agreement had not been proceeded since then because preparation work of the project was not done, the Chalco spokesman said. He did not give details or a timeframe for the suspension.

The smelter in Malaysia had been planned to start production in 2013, local media reported. – Reuters, September 2, 2013.

Capral to acquire Arrium’s aluminium business

Factory Equipment News (FEN) - September 3rd, 2013,

Capral Aluminium, an ASX-listed manufacturer of rolled and extruded aluminium products, has announced that it will have acquired OneSteel Aluminium for $19 million by September 30.

“Capral is acquiring the inventory and fixed assets of the business and all current OSA employees will be offered employment with Capral,” managing director Tony Dragicevich said in a statement.

Arrium’s OneSteel Aluminium serves markets including sheet metal fabrication, transport, marine and machinery. It sells both rolled and extruded aluminium, with about half of the latter product sold to them by Capral.

“There are substantial synergies available as a result of the Acquisition with the respective businesses having complementary channels to market and areas of expertise,” Dragicevich exmplained.

“Capral expects to realise synergies of between $2.5 million and $5.0 million p.a. over the next three years as a result of this Acquisition.”

Capral was established in 1936 and has operations across Australia, with eight operating presses, five major distribution facilities, five regional centres, 0 metropolitan trade centres and 800 employees.

Albanese in Vedanta talks: report

Business Spectator Pty Ltd. - September 2nd, 2013,

Former Rio Tinto Ltd chief executive Tom Albanese is in discussions about a senior board role at Vedanta Resources, The Sunday Times reports.

According to the British newspaper, Mr Albanese could take over as chief executive of the London Stock Exchange-listed global resources group.

Mr Albanese resigned from Rio Tinto after the group announced a $US14 billion writedown of its aluminium and Mozambique coal operations in January.

Norsk Hydro: Hydro's and Orkla's Sapa aluminium joint venture established

The Wall Street Journal - September 2nd, 2013,

Norsk Hydro: Hydro's and Orkla's Sapa aluminium joint venture established

OSLO, NORWAY--(Marketwired - Sep 2, 2013) - The transaction to combine Norsk Hydro ASA's Extruded Products business area and Orkla ASA's Sapa into a 50/50 joint venture has been completed as planned. Sapa, the new global leader in extruded aluminium solutions, was established on September 1.

Orkla and Hydro agreed in October 2012 to combine their respective profiles, building systems and tubing operations in a joint venture, owned 50/50 by the two companies. With the last outstanding approval from Chinese competitions authorities on August 19, the transaction was completed on ...

Utkal-E coal block likely to be operational by December 14: Nalco

The Economic Times - September 1st, 2013,

NEW DELHI: State-owned aluminium major Nalco is expecting to operationalise its much delayed Utkal-E captive coal block by December next year.

Allocated to the company 9 years back, in August 2004, to meet coal requirements of four of its captive power plant, the block has failed to meet several deadlines for want of various clearances.

Even today, the stage-I forest clearance is pending due to issues related to forest rights on nearly 71 acres out of 488.53 acres of forest land required for the project.

"Activities for acquisition of government as well as private land, forest clearance, construction of R&R colony and appointment of MDO (mine-developer-operator) are at hand. The project is likely to become operational by December, 2014," National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco) said in its Annual Report for the last fiscal.

The company has already achieved most of the other milestones, including approval of mining plan, wildlife and environment clearances and Coal Ministry's permission for mining lease and had spent Rs 118.72 crore till March.

Besides, it has also obtained forest rights certificate for 417.87 acres in June 2010 itself and only two major issues are remaining -- forest rights issues related to nearly 71 acres and acquisition of 13.07 acres of private land.

Owing to the delays, the Coal Ministry had asked Nalco to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 17.92 crore in February this year. The ministry had taken action while acting on the recommendations of an inter-ministerial group, which was constituted to review the progresses made by allocatees of various captive coal blocks.

The delays have also led to 21 per cent cost escalation for the project to Rs 338 crore (estimated at May, 2011 price level) from the previous estimates of Rs 280 crore.

In July, Mines Secretary R H Khwaja had written to Odisha Chief Secretary for expediting resolution of forest rights issues for the block, saying that due to this, stage-I forest clearance is pending and ultimately, operationalisation of the block is delayed.

The coal block, estimated to hold 67.49 million tonne reserves, is integral to Nalco's plans as it has already commissioned two out of four units of 120 MW each of its captive power plant and is running them by procuring coal either through e-auction or imports.

Nalco has plans to mine 2 million tonne coal from the block for over 30 years.

Dubal's growth story

Arabian Business Publishing Ltd. - August 30th, 2013,

In 1978, a small group of men stood on a dusty outcrop just to the south of Dubai in a meeting that would cement the emirate’s future as a trading hub. Front and centre in the group was Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who was quickly convinced of the idea of building a manmade port to serve the emirate’s brand new aluminium smelter.

Dubai today is well-known as a glitzy tourist hub, the gateway to the Gulf and home to the planet’s tallest tower, but the city’s success has in many respects stemmed from that fateful decision 35 years ago.

Jebel Ali swiftly became the world’s largest manmade port, and the implementation of a free zone in the area has attracted thousands of companies to set up base in the city. Jebel Ali now plays host to a series of industries, including manufacturing, utilities and logistics. Elsewhere, the growth of Emirates Airline has supercharged Dubai’s retail, tourism and property markets.

It’s sometimes easy to forget that aluminium is where it all began, but this sector is thriving just as much as any of Dubai’s other industries. A discreet exit off Sheikh Zayed Road highway in Jebel Ali, away from the shopping malls and residential areas, leads to a city within a city.

Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) has its base in a large area buzzing with machinery and workers in protective gear and warehouses, separated from the rest of Dubai by power lines and a few kilometres of desert. Dubal’s headquarters is structured like a fort, with a security point at the entrance and special vehicles that are cleared for transportation within the area.

It is here that Dubal runs a business that has blossomed into one of the largest aluminium producers in the world.

Aluminium is a popular metal, second in use to steel, that is found in a vast range of products from cars and planes to soda cans and foil. While specific producers and merchants used to deal almost exclusively with the commodity, the entrance of investment banks into this market in recent years has brought changes to normal operations that has affected the entire industry.

Data from Bloomberg showed that for the past eight years, global supply has exceeded demand, contributing to falling global aluminium prices. Now, investment banks have a hand in managing and restraining supply of aluminium to the market. The banks have set up warehouses at the London Metal Exchange where aluminium is stored, which gives them control over supply, and as a result, prices as well.

This makes nice returns for the banks, but it also means that the commodity has become pricier (and prices more volatile) for both producers and consumers.

As the $100bn industry grows, producers, consumers, banks, and regulators are now actively trying to give structure to the market for the commodity. Add to that the strain from the recession years and it’s clear that this hasn’t been an easy time for the aluminium industry globally.

Even some of the most successful companies in the industry, such as British-Australian giant Rio Tinto and American firm Alcoa, admitted to struggles openly this year. Alcoa reported a $119m net loss in the second quarter of 2013 and expressed concern over potential closures of some of its smelters. Meanwhile, Rio Tinto is entertaining plans of reducing local production as the costs of production continue to rise.

It is within this environment that Dubal has made decisions and structured its business in a way to not only stay afloat, but to perform relatively well.

Abdulnasser Kalban, Dubal’s general manager, Power & Desalination Maintenance, has his modest office in an unmarked building in Dubal’s busy headquarters, with wide windows where he can look out over the company that he has helped to manage costs, ride out the recession, prepare for growth, and brace for change.

“The last three years were very tough with the recession, for us and for the commodity market in general,” he says. “Our biggest development this year is the announcement of a merger with Abu Dhabi counterpart, Emirates Aluminium Company, to form a new entity.”

In June 2013, Abu Dhabi and Dubai joined hands by merging Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Aluminium Company with Dubal to create Emirates Global Aluminium. This took place after the Mubadala Development Company in Abu Dhabi bought a 50 percent stake in Dubal. The $15bn joint venture, Emirates Global Aluminium, is intended to form a new industrial giant in the United Arab Emirates by integrating the businesses of Dubal and Emal, with plans for significant local growth and international expansion. While approvals are still pending, joint operations should begin in the first half of 2014.

From the start, there has been a close working relationship between Dubal and Emal, according to Kalban. This has included a single marketing and sales function, collaboration in the procurement of strategic raw materials, technology transfer, and operator training.

“Greater unification is the next, most natural step,” says Kalban.

Dubal’s key markets will continue to focus on Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa region, and the Americas. The company is also capturing new market segments, with measurable success in penetrating the South American market recently. In 2011 and 2012, approximately 33,000 tonnes of Dubal products were shipped to South America.

Dubal manufactures an array of high-quality, premium products in three main forms: foundry alloy for automotive applications, extrusion billet for construction, industrial and transportation purposes and billets for forging applications, and high-purity aluminium for the electronics and aerospace industries.

More than 88 percent of Dubal’s total production volume is exported each year, with Dubal products being shipped to about 300 customers in nearly 60 countries across five continents.

Much of Dubal’s raw materials come from Australia and Brazil. The company is also involved in bauxite mine and alumina refinery development projects in Brazil, Cameroon and Guinea.

The new Khalifa Port (KIZAD) will also play a key role in the import of raw materials and export of finished products in higher volumes for Emal, which will increase Emal’s total production capacity to 1.3 million by 2014 – around the time the merger should be formally complete.

“Two ports like Jebel Ali and Khalifa Port will give us flexibility with shipping lines and make it easier to import raw materials and export goods,” says Kalban. “Many of our customers will be opening new facilities in KIZAD as well, which will help us improve our deliverability for finished goods and metals.”

Kalban explains that during the recession, a lot of aluminium producers curtailed production due to high costs.

“Where other competitors can’t reduce costs, some of them forced themselves out of the market, which created room for us,” he says. “The important thing is to produce high quality metal for our customers and uphold our brand.”

Cutting costs has been a key focus for Dubal. The company has had a stringent focus on cash generation, cash conservation, and cost reduction since 2008, an ethos which has contributed to Dubal’s sustained profitability and the company’s position in the first quartile of the cost curve for the global aluminium industry.

In 2009, Dubal entered into a $45m agreement with GE Energy to reduce the production costs of making aluminium and ensuring that the nineteen GE gas turbines that power the Dubal smelter complex are energy-efficient.

As Dubal has grown into one of the world’s most productive aluminium smelters, GE has helped Dubal to manage costs and maintain energy efficiency – which is no easy feat in the desert, particularly with regard to the necessary amounts of power and water that are needed to keep operations running smoothly.

In 1980, GE had installed nineteen gas turbines in Dubal’s complex, so when Dubal approached GE again in 2009, the company was prepared to make changes. GE replaced aging machines with new turbine technology and built a data monitoring system to maintain efficiency. The new GE system makes Dubal’s smelter 22 percent more efficient, reduces nitrogen oxide by almost one third, and saves $4m in annual fuel costs for Dubal. The upgrade actually paid for itself in three years.

“The aluminium sector is very challenging globally, and Dubal’s success is underlined by the visionary approach of its leaders to not only adopt the best-in-class technologies but also to invest in its professionals and on sustainable growth,” says Mohammed Mohaisen, CEO of Power Equipment and Services Sales of GE Power & Water, Middle East. “We are honored to have been a key partner of Dubal, supporting its objectives of maximising operational and cost efficiencies and conserving the environment.”

In fact, Dubal won top honours in last year’s Aluminium Summit in New York for the systems modernisation powered by GE technology. Since implementing the system, output has increased by 22.69 percent through upgrades of five GE 9B gas turbines. This boosted electricity capabilities by 75 million watts, which is enough to power more than 60,000 homes.

“Sustainable performance also depends on ensuring access to resources and maintaining a good image,” says Kalban. “This means ensuring safety for people and the environment, effective governance in the company, and acting in a socially responsible manner.”

Despite the cost cuts, the company has a clear growth strategy in place that is in line with the merger plans. Dubal develops much of its own technology in-house, with a dedicated research and development team, helping the company stay ahead of the game.

“We have invested heavily over the years in developing advanced technologies that increase productivity, but also reduce the impact of smelter operations on the environment through improved energy efficiency and minimised emissions,” says Kalban.

This culminated in Dubal’s in-house reduction cell technology, which is currently one of the most efficient reduction cell technologies currently available in the world. Developed in 2006, DX Technology has been operational in Dubal’s Jebel Ali smelter complex since 2008. The technology now offers higher productivity levels, an energy-efficient design that enables lower energy consumption, and reduced environmental impact and carbon consumption levels in areas of Dubal and Emal.

The new entity, Emirates Global Aluminium, will also be a source of new jobs; the company reports that there are currently 6,200 direct jobs in Emal and Dubal, with an additional 19,000 indirect jobs in the UAE’s aluminium sector. Once complete and operational, Emirates Global Aluminium is expected to create a further 2,000 direct and 6,000 indirect jobs by 2020. This will mean a total employment of over 33,000 people in the UAE aluminium sector by 2020 – a development that is in alignment with the government’s job creation agendas.

The company is also actively recruiting UAE nationals to be a part of the growth story. Some are recruited directly from school or at career fairs, while others are given scholarships to specialise in certain areas or enlisted in Dubal’s eighteen-month graduate training programme.

“The main challenge is how to make nationals able to adjust to the industrial culture, which is relatively new to the UAE, so this is not easy to do,” says Kalban. “With time, we’ll be able to help many people build a career in this important sector.”

The graduate training programme at Dubal has been in operation for about 30 years and is open to Emiratis only, with eighteen months of hands-on training for a trainee to learn how to become a supervisor. In total, 177 Emirati employees benefitted from Dubal’s training programme in 2012.

“We like to motivate people and find those who have a genuine interest in the field,” says Kalban. “We’ve sent some of our most promising trainees to universities like Harvard and Insead to specialise, because we really want to invest in our staff.”

Dubal also supports the efforts of the UAE to optimise energy utilisation and diversify energy sources. Dubal is a member of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and has invested AED20m ($5.4m) in the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park. The company is also focusing on improving the thermal efficiency of the Dubal Power Plant.

“Generally speaking, Dubal’s main competitors within the industry are the major global aluminium producers, as well as other smaller players such as those within the Gulf region,” says Kalban. “By implementing advanced technologies and continually seeking to improve processes and practices, Dubal’s environmental performance is consistently at the leading edge and, in many instances, sets the industry benchmark.”