AluNews - October 2017

China's 2017 alumina output to rise 16%, capacity to expand 9.5%: Antaike

Platts - October 31st, 2017

China's alumina output in 2017 is expected to rise 16% from 2016 on anticipated new capacities and expansions, despite the planned 30% winter cuts over mid-November 2017 to mid-March 2018, an analyst from state nonferrous information division Beijing Antaike told S&P Global Platts Tuesday.

Alumina output in 2017 is now expected to reach 69.8 million mt by year end, up from around 60 million mt in 2016 and also higher than an earlier forecast of 67 million-68 million mt, the analyst said.

The country's alumina production capacity is also expected to increase 9.5% year on year in 2017 to 81 million mt/year, up from around 74 million mt/year at end 2016 and also up from a previous forecast of 80 million mt, the analyst said.

An estimated 6.1 million-6.2 million mt/year of new alumina capacity is expected to be completed by end 2017 across five refinery projects -- 2 million mt/year from Beihai Weiqiao, 2 million mt/year from Xinfa Xiaoyi, 1 million mt/year from Shanxi East Hope, 600,000 mt/year from Liulin Senze and 550,000 mt/year from Chalco's Xinghua refinery.

More new alumina projects and expansions are also expected in 2018, which could total around 5 million mt/year and bring China's overall alumina capacity to 11.1 million mt/year next year.

"But this is only a preliminary review; it will still depend on how the winter cuts pan out and what changes may happen next year," the analyst said. "Right now, the 2+26 regions have an estimated 31 million-32 million mt/year of alumina capacity. If Luoyang and Sanmenxia are included, that could mean 36 million-38 million mt/year ... and Luliang has another 12 million-13 million mt/year capacity. We must see how much is actually cut," the analyst added.

For 2018, Antaike currently expects alumina output to reach 74 million mt and capacity 86 million mt/year. China's consumption of smelter-grade alumina is expected to total around 73 million mt/year in 2018, compared with a forecast of 70 million mt/year in 2017.

LMEWEEK-Norsk Hydro may restart Norway aluminium smelter unit, CEO says

Kitco - October 29th, 2017

Aluminium maker Norsk Hydro may restart a mothballed Norwegian production line as global metals markets tighten following a Chinese clampdown on pollution, the company's chief executive told Reuters.

Hydro is considering boosting output at its Husnes plant by some 95,000 tonnes per year, raising the smelter's utilisation to its full capacity of about 185,000 tonnes of primary metal per year, Chief Executive Svein Richard Brandtzaeg said.

In total, Hydro expects China to cut its aluminium output by some 1.4 million tonnes next year due to stricter environmental measures to curb pollution during winter. "This has a big impact on the supply-demand balance. Not only in China, but the rest of the world," Brandtzaeg said in an interview at Hydro's headquarters in Oslo.

He said the firm was already producing at full speed at most of its aluminium smelters globally, but that it had available capacity at Husnes in western Norway.

The Husnes plant has been operating at 90,000 tonnes - less than half its capacity - since 2009, when one of two production lines was mothballed.

17,000 Tons of Alumina Exported in H1

Financial Tribune - October 29th, 2017

Iran Alumina Company exported 17,000 tons of alumina powder to Central Asian countries in the first six months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Sept. 22), announced the governor of Jajarm City where the plant is located.

Ali Akbar Mohebbi added that local alumina users' payment delays prompted the state-owned alumina company to move away from local market toward exports.

"Almahdi and Hormozal aluminum companies are some of the oldest clients of Iran Alumina Company, but their inability to clear their debts has created liquidity issues for the alumina plant," Mohebbi was quoted as saying by IRNA.

Established in 1996, Iran Alumina Company is located 150 kilometers south of Bojnord City, the capital of North Khorasan Province.

Iran exported about 358,000 tons of aluminum in H1, up 95% and 44% respectively year-on-year.

Earlier, Amir Sabbagh, the planning manager of state-owned mining holding company IMIDRO, told S&P Global Platts that Iran plans to add 336,000 tons of primary aluminum smelting capacity in 2018.

The country has a current aluminum nameplate capacity of 457,000 tons/year, of which about 437,000 tons/year are operational.

Iran has an agreement to import 4 million tons/year of bauxite from Guinea until 2040.

Major Guinea bauxite mine to start producing in 2019 -mines ministry

Kitco - October 26th, 2017

One of Guinea's largest bauxite mines will begin producing 5 million tonnes per year in 2019, the mines ministry said on Thursday, boosting the West African country's efforts to treble output by 2020.

Guinea has about a third of the world's bauxite reserves, which are refined and smelted to make aluminium, but annual output has lingered below 20 million tonnes for years, largely due to political instability.

Nimaga said production could eventually reach 10 million tonnes per year. The mine's reserves are estimated at 300 million tonnes.

Guinea expects bauxite output to surge this year to 31 million tonnes and is targeting 60 million tonnes by 2020. But operations at some of the country's largest mines have been repeatedly interrupted this year by riots, as local residents express anger about the country's chronic underdevelopment.

Indonesian bauxite exports to China rise in Sep to 288,593 mt

Platts - October 25th, 2017

Indonesian bauxite exports to China totaled 288,593 mt in September, which reflected a surge of 196% when compared with the 97,658 mt exported in the previous month, figures from the General Administration of Customs of China showed Wednesday.

The Southeast Asian country's exports have been rising since July, which saw its first shipment of bauxite since mid-2014, following its ban on mineral exports beginning that year. The July shipment stood at 50,295 mt.

Indonesia eased the ban earlier this year. It had previously exported around 3-4 million mt/month of bauxite to China before the ban.

Meanwhile, in September, China's total bauxite imports stood at 6.54 million mt, which was up a sharp 46.5% compared with the 4.47 million mt imported a year ago. The current imported amount was also up a marginal 0.2% from August.

In January-September, bauxite imports totaled 51.28 million mt, which was a gain of 35.1% year on year.

Australia was the top exporter to China in September with 2.83 million mt recorded, and Guinea a close second with 2.46 million mt. Brazil was in third place with 369,223 mt.

Iran to add 336,000 mt/year of aluminum capacity in 2018: IMIDRO

Platts - October 24th, 2017

Iran plans to add 336,000 mt/year of primary aluminum smelting capacity in 2018, the planning manager of state-owned mining holding company IMIDRO, Amir Sabagh, told S&P Global Platts last week.

South Aluminum Co. or Salco is building a 300,000 mt/year unit in Asaluyeh, a natural gas hub in Bushehr province, which is expected to start production in late 2018, he said.

Iran Alumina Co, or Iralco, is also boosting its aluminum capacity in the Jajarm region by 36,000 mt/year in 2018, he said.

Iran has a current aluminum nameplate capacity of 457,000 mt/year, of which about 437,000 mt/year is operational. Iralco can produce 220,000 mt/year and Almahdi Hormozal Aluminum Co. 237,000 mt/year.

Both have some idled capacity due to issues with pollution.

The country's only alumina plant is a 250,000 mt/year unit in Jajarm owned by Iralco.

IMIDRO is discussing with Chinese interests a 2 million mt/year alumina project in Asaluyeh, for which no timeline has been announced.

The plant is expected to use bauxite from Conakry in Guinea. Iran has an agreement to import 4 million mt/year of bauxite from Guinea until 2040.

In the first five months of the current Iranian fiscal year (April-August), Iran produced 101,520 mt of alumina and 128,679 mt of aluminum, and imported 201,122 mt of alumina and 8,299 mt of bauxite, according to data from the customs office.

Altech Boosts Planned High-Purity Alumina Plant Capacity to 4,500 Metric Tons Per Annum

Aluminium Insider - October 23rd, 2017

Australian innovator Altech Chemicals Ltd. announced last week that it has finalized an upgrade to the design for the planned high-purity alumina (HPA) plant in Malaysia, boosting the plant's capacity by 12.5 percent.

The capacity boost, which increases the plant's output from 4,000 metric tons per annum to 4,500 metric tons per annum, is part of an upgrade that included an overall optimization of the plant's flow sheet.

Russia's Rusal says Q3 aluminium output up, sales down

Kitco - October 22nd, 2017

Russian aluminium giant Rusal on Monday said third- quarter aluminium production rose 1.1 percent from the previous quarter, but that sales were cut by limited transport capabilities.

Third-quarter aluminium output reached 931,000 tonnes, with Siberian smelters accounting for 94 percent of total output, it said in a release to the Hong Kong bourse, where the company's shares are traded.

Aluminium sales dipped 3.4 percent over the period, Rusal said, citing to a rise in volume of metal still in transit due to restricted port and vessel availability. The firm said the tonnage would be accounted for in the fourth quarter.

Rusal calculated that the world's aluminium demand grew 5.9 percent in the first 9 months of 2017 to 47.8 million tonnes versus the same period a year ago.

New owner for Delfzijl aluminium smelter

Dutch News - October 20th, 2017

US investor York Capital has completed the acquisition of Klesch Aluminium Delfzijl. York and Klesch's official receiver have reached agreement over the re-start of the aluminium company, the Telegraaf reported on Friday.

Chinese Government to Order Xinfa Aluminium to Suspend Almost 400 Thousand MTPA This Winter

Aluminium Insider - October 19th, 2017

Draft documents from the city government of Shandong Xinfa Aluminium Group's hometown reveal that the firm may be compelled by the government to curtail a significant amount of capacity over the coming winter months.

The documents, which were obtained by Reuters in draft form, were issued by the Liaocheng city government and authenticated by an official there, according to the news agency.

According to the document, Xinfa would be obliged to pause 381,900 metric tons per annum of aluminium smelting capacity between mid-November and mid-March. The official said that a final version would be published by the end of this week.

The smelter in question has a nameplate capacity of 1.58 million metric tons per annum. In addition to this smelter in western Shandong Province, Xinfa also maintains smelting capacity in Xinjiang which, as yet, is not subject to seasonal cuts.

To date the Chinese government has ordered Xinfa to shutter 530,500 metric tons per annum of illicit capacity this year. The company did not respond to Reuters' request for comment.

According to a survey carried out last week by Reuters, up to one million metric tons per annum of aluminium smelting capacity could be halted over the winter months. However, industry watchers have long questioned capacity numbers coming from the Middle Kingdom, especially from government sources.

The cuts in question come in addition to Beijing's call upon smelters in over two dozen Chinese cities to lower output over the winter months in an effort at lowering smog. The significant majority of aluminium smelted in China is powered via coal-generated electricity, and the winter months are a traditional high-water mark for overall coal use due to the important role the fuel plays in heating homes and businesses.

China continues to face a global backlash from the aluminium industry for continuing to subsidize superfluous smelting capacity.

China aluminium production slips in September

Kitco - October 19th, 2017

China's aluminium output fell a third straight month in September, official data showed on Thursday, although it remains on track to hit a record high in 2017 despite capacity cuts.

The world's top aluminium producing country churned out 2.61 million tonnes of the metal last month, down 1.1 percent from 2.64 million tonnes in August and 5.6 percent from 2.751 million tonnes in September 2016, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Year-to-date aluminium production still came in at 24.66 million tonnes, up 5 percent year-on-year, the NBS said.

Production has been falling since June's record high of 2.93 million tonnes, following the closure of illegal smelters. It is set to dip further in the coming months as China imposes its first-ever restrictions on winter aluminium output. Smelters in 28 northern Chinese cities must reduce production by at least 30 percent, although it appears top producer China Hongqiao Group will be allowed to cut by much less. China's overall non-ferrous metals output in September came it at 4.44 million tonnes. Production was up 0.5 percent from 4.42 million tonnes in August and down 3.1 percent from a year ago, but it is also set to post a record high for the full year. .

January-September nonferrous production stood at 40.73 million tonnes, up 4.1 percent from the same period last year.

Rio Tinto releases third quarter production results

BN Americas - October 17th, 2017

Quarterly bauxite production was 12.9 million tonnes for a second consecutive quarter, four per cent higher than the third quarter of 2016, driven by strong performances at Gove and Weipa. Third party shipments for the third quarter were 8.2 million tonnes. Bauxite production guidance is revised to between 50 and 51 million tonnes (previously 48 to 50 million tonnes).

Metro Mining's construction of the Bauxite Hills Mine is on time and within budget

Proactive Investors - October 16th, 2017

Metro Mining Ltd continues to makes strides towards becoming a leading independent Cape York bauxite producer.

Around 75 people are currently working on the Bauxite Hills Mine with indigenous employees holding 41% of the positions in all facets of the construction program.

Metro has already signed a binding off-take agreement with the Xinfa Group, one of China's largest integrated aluminium companies.

The agreement has a four-year term and provides for contract tonnage of 1 million tonnes of bauxite in 2018 and 2 million tonnes for each of the following three years.

Key Chinese aluminium city to shut 2.57 mln T of capacity for winter

Reuters - October 13th, 2017

The Chinese city of Binzhou, home to top global aluminium maker China Hongqiao Group , has ordered 2.57 million tonnes of annual smelting capacity to be closed this winter, according to Reuters calculations based on a government document.

The document, whose authenticity was confirmed by a Binzhou official, outlined more than 2,500 pot closures at 13 smelters from Nov. 15, 2017 to March 15, 2018, the main winter heating season in northern China.

Public Business Minister Urges Haste for Egypt Aluminum's Expansion Plans

Aluminium Insider - October 13th, 2017

Egypt's Minister of the Public Business Sector Asharaf El Sharkawy called upon state-owned Egypt Aluminum to slash the time the firm plans to take prior to launch its planned development project once feasibility studies have been completed.

Per a report released by the Ministry of Public Business Sector earlier this week, plans are in the works to increase Egyptalum's overall capacity via the construction of a new 250-thousand-metric-ton-per-annum smelter.

Vic Alcoa smelter completes restart

SBS - October 12th, 2017

Victoria's struggling Alcoa aluminium smelter has finally been restored to full capacity after a power outage 10 months ago severely damaged equipment.

Premier Daniel Andrews was in Portland on Thursday to celebrate the completion of the smelter restart after damage from the blackout brought the smelter close to closing.

Alba's Aluminium Production Volume Jumps 3 Percent in Third Quarter

Aluminium Insider - October 10th, 2017

Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) announced yesterday that the firm's sales and production volumes in the just-ended quarter both topped last year's totals.

For the third quarter the Bahraini smelter boasted a total sales volume of 247,540 metric tons, which was good for a 0.5% increase year-on-year. Alba's smelters produced 253,475 metric tons in the quarter, representing a 3-percent increase from last year's third-quarter numbers.

Vedanta logs record aluminium production in Q2

The Hindu Business Line - October 10th, 2017

Vedanta, a diversified metal and energy company, has recorded highest ever quarterly production of aluminium production.

Aluminium production increased 36 per cent to 4.01 lt with the ramp up of production at the Jharsuguda and Balco smelters.

Expanded Aluminium Capacity Under Consideration by Sohar Aluminium

Aluminium Insider - October 8th, 2017

The CEO of Oman's Sohar Aluminium told domestic media late last week that his company plans to increase its smelting capacity over the next several years.

Said Mohammed Al Masoudi said that Sohar is aligning its priorities with Tanfeedh, the Omani government's plan for economic diversification, which recommends a multi-million-dollar plan to increase production. The government anticipates that a production increase will lead to a rise in both industrial activity and overall employment.

Of Sohar's 375 thousand metric tons of annual aluminium production, forty percent of it is exported.

China Estimates Domestic Aluminium Demand to Increase by 6 Percent in 2018

Aluminium Insider - October 1st, 2017

According to numbers released by the state, the People's Republic of China will see a 6-percent rise in refined aluminium demand in 2018, rising from this year's estimated demand of 34.8 million metric tons to 36.9 million metric tons.

According to Antaike's numbers, domestic supply was sufficient to meet demand. Their numbers show a domestic aluminium supply of 18.59 million metric tons per annum through the first half of 2017, a rise of 19.8 percent year on year. Demand over that period was 17.5 million metric tons, an increase of 9.6 percent. Overall, the first half of the year saw China's domestic aluminium industry with a surplus of 1.1 million metric tons, a reversal year-on-year from last year's first-half deficit of 440 thousand metric tons.

Antaike's forecast for primary aluminium smelting capacity in the coming year to be below market expectations, saying that 7 million metric tons per annum of capacity was likely to be added in 2017-2018. All in, the agency predicts that China will have a smelting capacity of 47 million metric tons per annum by the end of next year.