AluNews - July 2016

Nalco Moves Planned Plant to Angul

Aluminium Insider - July 31st, 2016

India's National Aluminium Company (Nalco) intends to construct its second aluminium smelter and power station within the confines of its existing plant at Angul and not at Sundergarh as originally planned. The firm says building the plant at the new location will cost US$2.1 billion.

Nalco says that of the total cost, the 400 thousand metric ton per annum smelter will cost US$1.5 billion, while the associated 500 mW power plant will cost an additional US$600 million.

The firm initially targeted Sundergarh as the new plant's location, going so far as to obtain the necessary permits for building. However, the site lacked critical infrastructure, including (and most importantly)a consistent source of water. This led Nalco to reassess its commitment to the location, ultimately opting to return to Angul. The firm has operated a 460 thousand metric ton per annum smelter and a 1,200 mW power station at the site for over thirty years.

Nalco's Chairman and Managing Director T. K. Chand indicated that manpower and infrastructure is more than sufficient to take on another smelter. He explained further that the new smelter would be built with the latest and most efficient technology, using 600-amp average energy efficient smelting pots. This, he said, will help make Nalco's production costs competitive with the rest of the world.

The impetus for Nalco's new build activity (which is part of a US$4.5 billion investment plan being undertaken by the firm) is the mining leases the firm obtained over 4,300 acres of the Pottangi bauxite deposit.This new supply will fuel Nalco's Damanjodi alumina refinery, boosting its production by one million metric tons per annum to a total of three million metric tons per annum.

This expanded capacity will feed the new plant now to be constructed at Angul, explained Chand. He went on to explain that this increased capacity, coupled with efficient production practices, will boost both gross sales and net earnings.

IronRidge says new bauxite resource has big potential

Proactiveinvestors - July 29th, 2016

Bauxite is a commodity processed to produce aluminium "Resource scale potential, proximity to infrastructure and a premium DSO product, all point to an exciting, potential low capital intensity project with potential low stripping ratios and operating costs."

IronRidge Resources (LON:IRR) has unveiled an initial 4.9 million tonne (MT) resource of bauxite at its Monogorilby project in Queensland, Australia.

Bauxite is processed to produce aluminium and this maiden resource comes a time when major miners are approving significant long-term project expansions to meet growing demand, the group said.

Early test work has shown that good to premium quality DSO (direct shipping ore and the most desirable iron product) could be processed through simple crushing and screening.

Meanwhile, a fair quality DSO at 38% mass recovery could also be beneficiated by simple crushing and screening, the mining firm said.

The mineralisation is on slopes and atop hills meaning low stripping ratios.

Chief executive Vincent Mascolo said: "We are very pleased to report the maiden bauxite resource; not only does it confirm a newly identified bauxite province with significant scale potential, but it is also located less than 55km from a dormant rail system connected to the operational port of Bundaberg.

"Surface mineralisation beneficiates through simple crushing and screening up to a premium 52% alumina DSO, with desirable gibbsite mineralogy.

"Resource scale potential, proximity to infrastructure and a premium DSO product, all point to an exciting, potential low capital intensity project with potential low stripping ratios and operating costs."

Notably the project could be further enhanced by mining for titanium as high-grade results averaging 3.8% to 5% TiO2 consistently occur above and below the bauxite horizon, he added.

Bauxite prices are buoyant at around US$$49.5 per tonne.

Shares shot up almost 20% in early deals to stand at 15.875p.

Alpart sold for US$300m - UC Rusal seals deal with JISCO in Beijing

The Gleaner - July 20th, 2016

Russian mining company UC Rusal formally signed a deal Tuesday for the US$300-million sale of its 1.6-million-tonne Alpart alumina refinery in Jamaica to China's Jinquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO).

In a separate pact with the Jamaican Government, JISCO agreed to the rehabilitation and expansion of the plant and its conversion to 500,000-tonne-a-year aluminium smelter, industry sources say.

The inking of the agreements happened in Beijing, where Jamaica's mining minister, Mike Henry, and his energy colleague Andrew Wheatley have been having talks with Rusal, JISCO, as well as the Development Bank of China. The bank, according to Gleaner Business sources, has signalled a willingness to commit, over the next several years, up to US$2 billion to the project.

An abundance of cheap energy is a critical ingredient in aluminium smelting, and its absence in Jamaica has, for decades, been a barrier to the country's ambition to convert its bauxite through all the stages to the production of the metal, contributing to caution, if not outright scepticism, that it can now be achieved, despite acceptance of Jinquan Steel's cutting-edge production technologies and its plan to use coal-fired power with which to drive the smelter.

"Put it this way, they are a highly efficient group, but moving to aluminium smelting (in Jamaica) is an objective that has to prove its economic and environment feasibility," said a source who is highly knowledgeable about the global industry, knows of JISCO's plans for Jamaica, and concluded that their facilities and technologies were "very impressive" when he visited them.

This analyst argued that Jamaica should approach any plan for the Alpart refinery - which has been mothballed for seven years in face of a soft market for alumina and its relative efficiency compared to global competitors - on a sequential basis. Jamaica, he said, should insist first on its rehabilitation and expansion to the proposed two million tonnes annually - a capacity for which Alpart controls bauxite reserves for 30 years.

"At that level, you are talking about alumina exports valued at around US$500 million a year," he explained.

But Jamaica, which in the 1970s unsuccessfully explored aluminium smelting arrangements, jointly with Venezuela, and Mexico, under a scheme dubbed Javamex, and separately with Trinidad & Tobago, is keen to have another go at pushing its industry up the value chain and has been having talks since last year across administrations, with Jinquan, which apparently seems that country as an ideal location for forays into markets in the Americas.

"Their idea is to establish a 1,000-megawatt coal-fired electricity plant to power that facility and to do the alumina reductions," according to another source who was close to the early negotiations with the Chinese company. "They also contemplate a plant to produce steel. They have the technology to do it economically, efficiently and cleanly."

CONCERNS

Apparently anticipating the environmental concerns that will accompany any proposal for coal-fired power plants in Jamaica, and especially such a massive one, officials from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) travelled with Ministers Henry and Wheatley for talks with JISCO and to review their technologies.

"NEPA will have to have a big role in ensuring that everything meets environmental specifications," said the independent analyst.

The pending sale of Alpart was previously disclosed at the top of this year. However the signing Tuesday comes a bit earlier than the current government signalled. In a one-liner in his Sectoral debate contribution this year, Industry, Commerce and Agriculture Minister Karl Samuda said a deal was expected by August.

On Tuesday, a release out of Beijing indicated that former mining minister Phillip Paulwell was also present at the signing.

Aluminium demand to touch five mn tonnes by 2020

Business Standard - July 18th, 2016

ided by power and automotive sectors and the government's 'Make in India' thrust, aluminium demand in the country is expected to touch five million tonne (mt) by 2020 and eight mt by 2025 up from 3.2 mt now.

According to data by Aluminium Association of India (AAI) and Crisil Research, the country's aluminium consumption clocked CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of eight per cent during 2011-16. The same trend is expected to prevail till 2020.

Aluminium usage would look up as power demand is expected to shoot up from 290 Gw currently to 360 Gw by 2020-21 whereas auto demand is projected at 38 million units by then, up from 25 million units by the end of FY16.

Building & construction sector is billed as the next growth driver as aluminium with its light weight quality finds enhanced application. Further, the Government of India's push for 'Make in India' especially in defence sector is expected to open up a gamut of opportunities for the white metal. Aluminium is widely used in defence equipment like military aircraft, ammunition hardware and missiles in the form of sheets, forgings and extrusions.

"The primary aluminium consumption increased by 23 per cent and total aluminium consumption increased by 13 per cent in last one year. This year, the projected growth in aluminium demand is 11 per cent. The consumption will be led by electrical & transport sectors and government initiatives on infrastructure, Smart Cities and Railways", said a senior executive with an aluminium company.

In developed countries, aluminium has over 3,000 applications whereas it is limited to only 300 applications in India. But, there is enormous scope to enhance usage as the country's per capita aluminium consumption is a measly 2.2 kg as against the world average of 10 kg and 25 kg for China with comparable population. Germany ranks first with per capita aluminium consumption of 42.1 kg followed by Taiwan at 33.3 kg.

Electricals have the bulk share of aluminium consumption in the country at 40 per cent; transport comes next with 23 per cent share. This contrasts with the world consumption where auto sector has the biggest share with 28 per cent.

Indian aluminium producers have invested Rs 1.5 lakh crore on upstream and downstream facilities. While the primary aluminium capacity is two mtpa, the manufacturers have diversified to other capacities like wire rods, new extrusion apresses, rolling plants and foils.

Boyne Smelters could be sold in $5.2b sale prediction: 'I'm a realist'

The Observer - July 18th, 2016

BOYNE Smelters Limited could be put on the market again by Rio Tinto along with two other Australian smelters, according to analysis by UBS.

The concept behind the sales would be to sell off "non-core assets" such as aluminium smelters to focus on the tier-one businesses of iron ore.

Rio Tinto chief executive officer Jean-Sebastien Jacques took the top job on July 3 and was known for streamlining the business when he was head of the copper and coal division.

"Jean-Sebastien Jacques has delievered about 70% of Rio's divestments since 2013 as head of copper and coal, while other divisions have struggled," UBS analyst Myles Allsop told The Australian.

"We expect (him) to reinvigorate the clean-up of Rio's portfolio, to shy away from acquisitions and to keep the focus on balancing capital, cost discipline with organic growth."

The analyst tipped sales of $5.2billion in the next three years and highlighted aluminium smelters as ready to be sold.

Alcoa's Davenport Plant Receives Massive New Plate Stretcher

Aluminium Insider - July 14th, 2016

Alcoa Davenport Works are the proud new owners of a massive new machine that it says will improve the plant's aluminium production.

"These two big parts today are actually coming from South Korea so they came across the Pacific, went through the [Panama Canal], came up to New Orleans on an ocean-going ship, then they off loaded it onto a barge which you see here today," said Alcoa spokesman John Riches.

The parts are to be used to assemble a massive plate stretcher. First announced in 2014 and part of a US$190 investment in the plant by Alcoa, the plate stretcher will allow the plant to produce larger high-strength monolithic wing ribs than any other firm in the aerospace industry.

The plate stretcher will also allow the plant to make fuselage frames and aircraft bulkheads. Other applications include plastics molds and manufacturing chambers for consumer electronics and the semiconductor industry.

"It's just a huge piece of equipment and again it positions us to provide material competitors can't necessarily provide," explained Riches.

The entire project is being installed by Walbridge Industrial Process, and is comprised of a 350-short-ton pull head, 300-short-ton tail head, two 125-short-ton compression beams, a 75-short-ton transfer cart, and two hydraulic gearboxes. The whole machine weighs around 1,500 short tons when fully assembled.

"They want to be able to machine parts out of bigger pieces of plate," said Riches

The plant will now be able to produce one-foot thick plates of aluminum, which, according to Alcoa, is thicker than anyone else on Earth. Without the new machine, the plant's maximum is seven inches.

"It's coming off the ship today; It's still going to take a number of months to get installed and put together," said Riches.

According to Alcoa, the final piece will arrive in September, and the first production of pieces for sale to customers is expected to be at some point next year.

National Aluminium gains on bagging Pottangi bauxite mines

Business Standard - July 14th, 2016

National Aluminium Company (NALCO) was trading higher by 4% to Rs 50.10 on the BSE in an otherwise subdued market after the company announced that the government has granted Pottangi Bauxite Mines, in Koraput district of Odisha, where the company's 22,75,000-tonne alumina refinery is located.

"As per a recent order issued by Department of Steel & Mines, Govt of Odisha, NALCO has been granted the mining lease of Pottangi with an area covering 1738 hectares for a period of 50 years," NALCO said in a press release.

NALCO's expansion plans, including the proposed addition of 5th stream in its existing Alumina Refinery at an investment of Rs 5,600 crore, greatly depended on this additional source of bauxite, it added.

The stock hit an intra-day high of Rs 50.80 on the BSE so far. A combined 1.34 million equity shares changed hands on the counter on the BSE and NSE till 09:48 AM. The S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.02% at 27,819.

Hydro starts up its new plant in Germany

Recycling Today Global Edition - July 11th, 2016

Norway-based aluminium producer Hydro has commissioned its new €45 million ($51 million) secondary production facility in Neuss, Germany, which is equipped to melt up to 50,000 tonnes of used beverage containers (UBCs) annually.

The company's Michael Peter Steffen says the new plant "is located in the heart of a growing can market, as Europeans now are using more than 30 billion cans a year."

"Hydro's facility in Neuss is the first to adopt a patented, advanced sorting technology for UBCs, able to process collected aluminium material with up to 20% impurities—making the new recycling line the best place to be for any used beverage can," says Hydro President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg.

Secondary production in Neuss using UBCs will save 350,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year compared with use of primary aluminium, Hydro says.

"With the new recycling line, we offer our international customers a closed recycling loop, literally turning old cans into new cans," said Executive Vice President Kjetil Ebbesberg at the 5 May 2016 opening ceremony.

Ebbesberg and Brandtzæg officially opened the UBC recycling line together with Federal Minister Hermann Gröhe and Northrhine-Westphalian Economy Minister Garrelt Duin.

Huge bauxite deposits to be exploited – MP

All Ghana News - July 7th, 2016

Kumasi, July 05, GNA – The New Patriotic Party's (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Atwima-Mponua, Mr. Isaac Kwame Asiamah, has promised that the party would take steps to ensure the extraction of huge bauxite deposits in the area to create jobs and wealth for the people, if elected to govern.

Nyinahin, the constituency headquarters, is estimated to have bauxite deposits that could bring in about US$17.5 billion and give close to 98,000 jobs.

Mr. Asiamah told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the industry held enormous promise for the nation and would be made a priority.

It has the capacity to generate more jobs for the people and transform the economy to keep it on the path of sustainable growth.

He said the government of the party led by Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo would go to every length to identify investors to lead the Integrated Aluminium Project, under which a refinery would be built in Nyinahin.

This would refine the bauxite into alumina, which would then be processed into aluminium by the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) and sold to downstream industries.

That, he noted, tied in with the policy of building a factory in every district to boost their economies, fight poverty and stop the drift of the youth from the rural areas to the urban centres in search of employment.

Mr. Asiamah said the NPP would deliver on every election promise made and that they would work to meet the expectation of the people, to make Ghana better.

The MP chastised the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) for what he said was the poor management of the economy, which had resulted in widespread suffering.

He called for voters to vote for change to rescue the troubled economy.

Iron Mountain Mining Ltd makes high grade bauxite discovery in Solomon Islands

Proactiveinvestors - July 7th, 2016

Iron Mountain Mining Ltd (ASX:IRM) has discovered extensive high grade, low levels of silica bauxite deposits from augur drilling in the Temotu Province of the Solomon Islands.

The first phase drilling and pit sampling returned lab results of 41.21% alumina (Al2O3) and 1.7% reactive silica (SiO2).

Should the tonnages be there, Iron Mountain has Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) potential, given the potential low cost of mining and proximity to markets.

With an eye to the potential scale of the deposit, the main target area presently defined by work to date is 12 kilometres by 2 kilometres and is still open to the east.

Interestingly, many of the samples included in this first batch of submitted lab samples are from areas now considered of lower prospectivity.

The deposit exhibits average depths of +3 metres, with some areas exceeding 6 metres.

Results to date indicate the tenor of alumina content is fairly consistent, with little variation throughout the soil profile.

Iron Mountain has the option to acquire a 50% interest in Au Capital Mining Pty Ltd, which owns the Nendo Bauxite Project prospecting licence.

Iron Mountain had a cash balance of $1.5 million as at 31 March 2016.

India's Vedanta Looking for Quick, Stable Bauxite Supply for Operations in Odisha

Aluminium Insider - July 5th, 2016

Mumbai miner Vedanta Resources plc is in search of a quick infusion of domestic bauxite resources these days. The firm is planning to raise alumina production at its Lanjigarh refinery in Odisha's Kalahandi district by 50 percent over the short term.

"We plan to enhance production in Lanjigarh refinery from 1 million tonne per annum to 1.5 mtpa, a 50 per cent increase. It will help in raising overall aluminium output," said Chief Executive Officer (Aluminium) of Vedanta Ltd Abhijit Pati.

Pati went on to say that the overall plan was to increase production between smelters at Jharsuguda in Odisha and Korba in Chhattisgarh by 1.5 million metric tons per annum – the former bumping capacity up by one million metric tons, and the latter increasing it by half a million metric tons.

He further explained that such a move would require up to three million metric tons of alumina, spurring Vedanta's increase in production. What quantity of that amount couldn't be met domestically would be filled by overseas suppliers.

Though the Jharsuguda plant has permits in place to produce up to four million metric tons per annum, Pati laments the fact that "lack of raw material has been a major disadvantage for us as our kitty is almost blank."

Vedanta has been relying on overseas supplies for forty percent of its alumina requirements, while bringing in the rest from Indian states like Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat.

In order to weather the global decline in aluminium prices, Pati says his company has lately been focusing upon cost reduction, efficiency, and increasing capacity.

"Keeping all these in view, the government needs to take quick steps to resolve issues relating to bauxite supply to Vedanta at the earliest," the he said.

He also says he hopes that Odisha Mining Corporation will bring its two new bauxite mines online ahead of schedule as well.

"Speed is really important as far as the entire issue of supply of bauxite is concerned. The authorities need to act in time," he explained.

An uninterrupted supply of bauxite would significantly aid the firm in ramping up both smelters, and would also clear the way for new capacity at a proposed aluminium park at Jharsuguda, which would, in turn, attract significant investment and provide thousands of new jobs.

Vedanta seeks quick supply of raw material in Odisha

The Economic Times - July 3rd, 2016

BHUBANESWAR: With plans to raise alumina production at its Lanjigarh refinery in Odisha's Kalahandi district by 50 per cent, bauxite starved Vedanta today sought quick steps for raw material supply from within the state.

"We plan to enhance production in Lanjigarh refinery from 1 million tonne per annum to 1.5 mtpa, a 50 per cent increase. It will help in raising overall aluminium output," said Abhijit Pati, Chief Executive Officer (Aluminium) of Vedanta Ltd.

Stating that the target is to raise aluminium production jointly by the company's smelters at Jharsuguda in Odisha and Korba in Chhattisgarh to 1.5 mtpa, Pati said Jharsuguda would produce around 1 mt, while the rest would be contributed by Korba.

Around three million tonnes of alumina would be required in order to produce 1.5 mt of aluminium, he said adding that the company's move to increase production would enable Lanjigarh refinery would provide 1.5 mt alumina.

Regarding the rest, Pati said the balance requirement would have to be met through imports.

Though the refinery at Lanjigarh is already armed with the approval to run at 4 mtpa, non-availability of bauxite within Odisha has been a major hurdle since the inception of the plant, he said, adding "lack of raw material has been a major disadvantage for us as our kitty is almost blank."

In the absence of raw material supply within Odisha, Vedanta has been importing around 40 per cent of its bauxite requirement for Lanjigarh refinery, while the rest comes from domestic sources in states like Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat, Pati said.

Stating that the company is adopting a three-pronged approach to deal with sliding global aluminium prices and bauxite crunch, Pati said a significant focus was on cost reduction, effort to optimise use of alumina and also capacity ramping up of aluminium smelters.

"Keeping all these in view, the government needs to take quick steps to resolve issues relating to bauxite supply to Vedanta at the earliest," the CEO said, adding steps should also be taken to expedite the auctioning process.

At the same time, Pati also expressed hope that state-run Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) would speed up the process for ensuring long-term supply of bauxite from two mines earmarked by the state government for the purpose.

"Speed is really important as far as the entire issue of supply of bauxite is concerned. The authorities need to act in time," he said.

Uninterrupted supply of local bauxite would not only enable Vedanta to ramp up its Lanjiragh refinery but also play a significant role in putting in full steam the second smelting unit as well as the proposed aluminium park at Jharsuguda.

Stating that efforts at smelting capacity ramping up at Jharsuguda has received a boost following permission to utilise three units of the 2400 mw (3x600 mw) power plant there for captive use, Pati said it would certainly play a significant role in stepping up smelting capacity which was hit due to power requirement.

If Vedanta plants are able to run at full capacity, it would facilitate the proposed downstream aluminium park at Jharsuguda, which can attract investment of at least Rs 1,000 crore and provide direct and indirect employmentto around 17,000 people, he said.