AluNews - November 2016

Rio Tinto Outlines New $5B Productivity Push

E&MJ News - November 30th, 2016

Rio Tinto Aluminum remains globally the highest margin aluminum business, according to the company. The aluminum product group is on track to deliver 2016 cost savings of $300 million. Initiatives are under way in the aluminum business to further reduce costs and increase productivity, including more than 250 initiatives in bauxite and more than 500 initiatives in each of the alumina refining and aluminum smelting businesses.

The Amrun bauxite project remains on schedule and on budget. Production guidance for 2017: Aluminum 3.5 million to 3.7 million mt; alumina 8 million to 8.2 million mt and bauxite 48 million to 50 million mt.

US$35 BN Saudi Arabian Minerals Project to Launch Tomorrow

Aluminium Insider - November 28th, 2016

Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is scheduled to open a US$35 billion minerals project in the kingdom's Eastern Province on Tuesday. The project, in the city of Ras Al-Khair, includes an aluminium smelter, a port for the export of primary aluminium, and a facility for aluminium recycling.

The project is part of the kingdom's Vision 2030, which is a plan to diversify its economy and make it less reliant on the ever more volatile global petroleum trade.

Ras Al-Khair has been under development for a decade. The industrial "city" contains an alumina refinery, an aluminium smelter, and an aluminum rolling mill, all of which are to be operated by Madden Aluminium, a US$10.8 billion joint venture between Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Maaden) and United States aluminium giant Alcoa. The city also has supporting infrastructure, including an 870-mile railway to the country's mines, one of the largest desalinization plants on Earth, a power plant, and a village in which the plants' workers may reside.

The above-mentioned port is an US$800 million facility built by Saudi Ports Authority and is capable of exporting petrochemical, phosphate, and aluminium products.

"Ras Al Khair is the anchor of the Saudi mining sector and as such it will play a significant role in the economic diversification of the Saudi economy," explained Maaden CEO Khalid Al Mudaifer.

He went on to say that the entire operation has provided 12,000 direct jobs and tens of thousands more indirect jobs to Saudi nationals. "Saudi Vision 2030 seeks to increase the industrial development of mineral resources in Saudi Arabia while ensuring that the entire mining value chain is captured within the kingdom so we can deliver maximum value and job growth," said Al Mudaifer.

"Through facilities like those at Ras Al-Khair, the industry is continuing to grow production volumes, increase investment, and maintain a sustained focus on the development of skilled human resources," he concluded.

Nalco Senior Execs to Visit Iran Next Month

Aluminium Insider - November 19th, 2016

India's state-owned firm National Aluminium Co. Ltd (Nalco) is sending a study group comprised of senior executives to Iran next month. The group is tasked with examining the feasibility of building and operating an aluminium smelter and powering it with a gas-fired power plant.

An ease in sanctions on Iran and an increased emphasis on building strategic ties with the Persian nation has prompted India to explore further economic opportunities in the country. Nalco has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Iranian government over plans for the firm to build a 500 thousand metric ton per annum aluminium smelter in country, requiring an investment by Nalco of US$2 billion.

"A group of executives from Nalco will be visiting Iran early next month to discuss the location of the smelter and the gas price," revealed a senior Indian government official who was speaking to local media on condition of anonymity.

A second unnamed Indian government official divulged that toll-smelting is also on the agenda to be discussed with Iran, exploring the option of fueling existing aluminium smelters with surplus alumina from Nalco.

"Currently, market situation is not that good. Hence, we are also keeping the option of toll-smelting wide open and it will be discussed with Iran. It will also be assessed whether production of aluminium in the country will be cost-effective or not," explained the second official. He went on to say that Nalco plans to discuss prices of the gas required to fire the planned power plant.

Industry experts praised the idea of Nalco expanding into Iran.

Aluminium demand likely to grow in double-digits this fiscal

International Business Times - November 19th, 2016

After a spell of subdued demand, the aluminium industry is likely to register double-digit growth this financial year on the back of rising auto sales and an uptick in industrial activity.

According to major aluminium producers of the country, factors like increasing public investment in infrastructure, power sector reforms and robust rural demand will be other growth drivers.

"Indian demand is expected to witness a strong double-digit growth following the steps taken up by the government to boost industrial production, its investment in infrastructure and its thrust on power sector reforms. Good monsoons are expected to boost rural demand," Hindalco, an Aditya Birla Group company, said in a conference call with analysts.

Earlier, state-run National Aluminium Company Ltd.'s (Nalco) chairman TK Chand had also said that rise in auto sales was driving aluminium demand in the country.

Globally, demand is slowly improving after years of glut. "The Chinese demand has witnessed a strong recovery, which is surprising on the positive side. Buoyancy in the property market, infrastructure investment following stimulus and tax rebates and automobile industry have helped the demand pickup," Hindalco said.

In the past, the sector had faced many headwinds due to capacity addition in China, leading to oversupply in the global market. This in turn pulled down prices of the metal at the London Metal Exchange and pushed many aluminium producers out of the market. During last year, global production declined by around 4 million tonnes due to closure of many high-cost units in China.

But now, prices at the London Metal Exchange the benchmark for global pricing of the metal recovered a bit due to an improved demand-supply scenario.

The 3-month futures price of aluminium is now hovering around $1,700 per tonne at the LME and producers are of the view that it would improve further.

Alro Slatina's net profit down more than one third to RON 94.2 mln on nine months

Business Review - November 15th, 2016

The aluminium producer Alro made a net profit of RON 94.25 million in the first nine months of the year, which is 35.12 percent lower than a year ago.

The turnover was by almost 11 percent lower in the first three quarters, than the similar period of the last year. Although the deliveries in tonnes were relatively constant, the unfavorable evolution of the international pricing quotas of the aluminium brought this result with an impact on the company's profitability.

In the first nine months of the year, the aluminium production of Alro Slatina increased by 1.13 percent to 205,400 tonnes in the similar period of the last year, while the processed aluminium production was 57,500 tonnes, which is 3.84 percent lower. The revenues were RON 1.58 billion, a drop by by 10.73 percent compared with RON 1.77 billion in the first three quarters of the last year.

The aluminium price dopped on the Metal Stock Exchange from London (London Metal Exchange LME), to an average of USD 1.57/tonne in the first nine months of the year compared with the average of USD 1.71/tonne in the correspondent interval of 2015.

"The financial results of Alro in the first nine months of the year represent another proof of the business stability and of our strategy, that allows us to remain profitable in a volatile industry," says Marian Nastase, president of the Administration Council of the company, according to the release submitted to the Bucharest Stock Exchange this morning.

The total assets of Alro were worth RON 2.38 billion at September 30, an increase by 3.93 percent compared with RON 2.29 billion at the end of the last year.

The Alro Slatina company is controlled through the Dutch group Vimteco by Russian billionaire Vitali Machitski, holding an 84.19 percent stake.

Abu Dhabi Ports, Emiroll to build plant in Kizad

Gdn Online - November 15th, 2016

Abu Dhabi Ports has signed a 50-year Musataha Agreement with Emirates Aluminium Rolling (Emiroll), to set up a manufacturing plant with a total investment of Dh440 million ($120 million) in Khalifa Industrial Zone (Kizad).

Emiroll a joint venture between Dubal Holding, Dubai Investment Industries, a subsidiary of Dubai Investments, and Madar Aluminium Rolling Singapore (MARS).

Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), an existing investor in Khalifa Industrial Zone, will provide Emiroll with raw molten aluminium to produce aluminium rolled products, further boosting the UAE's aluminium downstream industries to meet global demand and contribute to Abu Dhabi's economic diversification plan.

The agreement was signed on behalf of Emiroll, by Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, CEO of Dubal Holding, and Mana Al Mulla, CEO of Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi.

Expected to go on-stream by the third quarter of 2017, the new plant on the 83,554.58 sq m plot will produce 65,000 tonnes of aluminium coils per annum, including 45,000 tonnes of cold-rolled and 20,000 tonnes of hot-rolled aluminium for applications in downstream industries, such as automotive body parts, roller-shutters, garage castings, container trays, cans and aerosols.

Al Mulla said: "Abu Dhabi Ports' collaboration with Emiroll aims to bolster the UAE's downstream industries and expand the reach of the Capital's export activities. This venture will see more rolled products be produced with the support of EGA and is a great example of local entities joining forces to support the government's vision of economic diversification and further position Abu Dhabi as a hub of integrated industrial excellence.

"In 2015, the UAE was ranked the world's fourth largest aluminium producer, accounting for over 50 per cent of the Gulf region's aluminium output. We are proud to have played a role in facilitating the production of such a valuable metal that is in high demand across the globe."

Bin Kalban said: "Signing off the agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports for the long-term lease of the proposed plant site is a key milestone achieved within the agreed project timeline. I wish to congratulate the entire team for this significant achievement and also wish to thank the Abu Dhabi Ports management for their high-level professional support and necessary guidance."

"Emiroll is one of our projects aiming to boost the domestic consumption of EGA aluminium and thereby support the local economy through value addition, creation of more jobs locally and also support the promotion of an aluminium cluster in the UAE. I'm confident that Emiroll, once realised, will represent a shining example of cooperation among Emirati entities," he added. TradeArabia News Service

Industry welcomes new bauxite company

Jamaica Observer - November 14th, 2016

David D'Addario, CEO, DADA Holdings and Noranda/New Day Jamaica Ltd, greets employees seated (from left) Craig Thompson, Winston Gordon, and Richard Thompson at a function held in Discovery Bay, November 9, to introduce the new company. An highlight of the ceremony was the formal announcement by Government ministers and D'Addario that the partnership with Jamaica has been extended to a historic first-time twinning relationship between the local company and its alumina refinery at Gramercy, Louisiana, which secures a 17.3 per cent share in the profits of Gramercy for Jamaica, replacing the levy payments agreement attached to local bauxite production.

David D'Addario, CEO, DADA Holdings and Noranda/New Day Jamaica Ltd, greets employees seated (from left) Craig Thompson, Winston Gordon, and Richard Thompson at a function held in Discovery Bay, November 9, to introduce the new company. An highlight of the ceremony was the formal announcement by Government ministers and D'Addario that the partnership with Jamaica has been extended to a historic first-time twinning relationship between the local company and its alumina refinery at Gramercy, Louisiana, which secures a 17.3 per cent share in the profits of Gramercy for Jamaica, replacing the levy payments agreement attached to local bauxite production.

Kublalsingh warns Government: Uneconomic to restart smelter

Guardian - November 14th, 2016

Environmentalist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh says Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley would be hard pressed to get the Alutrint smelter going again because the matter is still "before the courts and would require years for recertification."

Rowley told a meeting in Point Fortin last Wednesday that an aluminium project might be restarted by the People's National Movement Government once the "economics looked good."

But he hinted that the project had nothing to do with smelter. He said "if any opportunity arises for us to import ingots, not smelting bauxite, but importing aluminium ingots, and the economics look good, this PNM government will go back to the business once the numbers look right."

The T&T Guardian had reported exclusively in April that Sural officials had come to Trinidad to lobby the government to restart the Alutech project at the E-Teck park in Wallerfield to make aluminium rims for motor vehicles. The downstream industry project was halted by the former People's Partnership government in 2010.

Kublalsingh told the T&T Guardian "the matter is buried deep in the court and if picked up it would require years for re-certification." He said "the Rowley government is now in serious financial difficulty over the smelter. The Chinese are making a case for fat compensation, they did not terminate the contract nor did the government, it was the courts."

He also argued that given the current state of global oil and gas markets pursuing smelter would be "uneconomic. No government, unless suicidal would go for it. It is clad in the iron coffin of history." Kublalsingh, a former University of the West Indies lecturer, had led several protests against the smelter plant.

During their visit in April, Sural's President Alfredo Riviere, Director of the Sural Group Edgard Romero and Alutech Director Dave Bhaijoo made a presentation to the Prime Minister and his team which included then energy minister Nicole Olivierre on the "production of high-quality aluminium downstream products."

On the political platform in Pt Fortin last Wednesday, Rowley said other countries had invested in aluminium plants and "their business is booming and expanding and they selling alloy wheels to the motor industry for the world and earning foreign exchange."

But while the government was looking to resume the Alutech project, government sources confirmed that the original planned smelter is "definitely off the table and will not be restarted." If the Alutech project is to be restarted it will use "imported ingots" for the production of the downstream products, one official said.

Alutrint was to have produced hot metal from the smelter for Alutech to make a number of downstream products, including rims for vehicles.

The Prime Minister said he was concerned that US$200 million owed to the Chinese firm connected with the failed Alutrint project had not been paid. A Chinese team met with the Finance Minister Colm Imbert last Wednesday and it is expected that there will be further discussions when the Prime Minster visits China in April next year.

Financing for the smelter project was sourced through the China Exim Bank which was providing the US$66.6 million dollar credit facility for the construction of the project. Efforts to get clarification from Imbert proved futile.

Background The smelter project was shut down by the High Court in 2009 after Justice Mira Dean-Armorer ruled then that the decision of the Environmental Management Authority to grant approval for construction of the smelter plant was made in a "procedurally irregular manner." She pointed to the lack of public consultation and the failure to find proper disposal for Spent Pot Lining a toxic by product of aluminium smelting.

The then Patrick Manning government appealed the decision of Justice Dean-Armorer, but the Appeal Court headed by Chief Justice Ivor Archie is yet to deliver judgment in the matter.

Germany's Trimet expects full-capacity aluminium output

Business Recorder - November 14th, 2016

Trimet Aluminium, Germany's largest aluminium producer, expects to operate at full capacity in the coming year on the back of firm demand from the automobile and other industries, executive board member Thomas Reuther told Reuters. Trimet produced 775,000 tonnes of aluminium and cast aluminium products in its 2016 financial year through June 30, up 5 percent on the previous year.

"We expect to achieve a similar level of output in 2016/17," Reuther said in an interview for the LME Week world metal industry meeting in London. "We are expecting stable demand which will enable us to continue output at full capacity level in our new business year," Reuther said. The company has aluminium smelters at Essen, Hamburg and Voerde in Germany, and at Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in France. It has no further acquisition plans after taking over the Voerde smelter in 2014 and two facilities in France in 2013, Reuther said.

Alba kick-starts upgrade project for Reduction Lines 4 & 5

Zawya - November 6th, 2016

Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba), the Bahrain-based international aluminium smelter, as part of its commitment to be cost-and-energy efficient, kick-started an upgrade Project aimed to increase the amperage of Reduction Lines 4 & 5 in September 2016.

The Project - new pot lining design and installation that will allow the increase in amperage on Reduction Lines 4 & 5 - will empower Alba to be aligned with its industry peers (aluminium smelters) in terms of amperage and productivity.

Alba's Chief Executive Officer, Tim Murray with acting Chief Operations Officer, Amin Sultan inaugurated the Project in the presence of Director Reduction Lines & Services Abdulla Habib and Department Managers.

Speaking on this occasion, Alba's CEO Tim Murray stated:

"At Alba, operational efficiency is an integral part of our growth strategy. This Project is in line with Project Titan - Phase II and will give us increased efficiency and productivity as well as boost our competitiveness in the challenging global market.

Upon the completion of the upgrade Project, Alba expects to further increase its per annum production by 35,000 metric tonnes, thus accelerating our target of 1 million metric tonnes by end of 2017."

Acting Chief Operations Officer Amin Sultan thanked all the teams working on the Project and urged them to sustain their efforts and achieve the objectives safely.