AluNews - December 2008

Government to split NALCO in three; stock surges
Economic Times - Dec 30, 2009
MUMBAI: Shares of public listed NALCO shot up after ET Now reported that the government plans to split the company into NALCO Aluminium, NALCO Power and NALCO International at an opportune time.

According to the government, NALCO will aim at revenues of Rs 25,400 crore by FY 2020 and Rs 5440 crore annual net profit by FY20.

The company will also be aiming to sell at 1000 MW power by 2016.
While speaking to ET Now, B L Bagra, Director, Finance, NALCO, said that the demerger plan is part of company’s 2020 vision and will take 2-4 years.

The power and other metal companies will increase the turnover by 30-40 per cent. NALCO International will be an investment vehicle.
The company is planning to raise production of aluminium and aluminia going forward. Bagra added that merchant and nuclear power plants are at nascent stage.

Alcoa Steps in Where Rio is Unable to Tread
MetalMiner - 29-Dec-2009
Alcoa hasn’t lost sight of the long term even as it juggles production capacities and investment projects around the world in an extremely tight financial investment climate. Where Rio backed out of its 49% stake in the Ras Azzour aluminum smelter earlier this year because it failed to raise the capital for what was then estimated to be a $8bn project Aloca has stepped in with a more imaginative, if somewhat smaller, involvement.

Now Alcoa and a number of western partners said by Reuters to include Flour, Bechtel, Canada’s SNC-Lavalin and France’s Technip are to take a 40% stake in the project with Saudi Arabia’s Maaden taking the other 60%. The project will include a bauxite mine, alumina refinery, aluminum smelter and rolling mill is reported to now be estimated at $10.8bn.

The plan is to mine some four million tons of bauxite from deposits near Quiba in the north of the kingdom and to refine 1.8 million tons of alumina on Saudi Arabia’s eastern seaboard. The plant’s smelter will have an annual aluminum production capacity of 740,000 tons and the complex will also house a rolling mill with an initial annual hot-mill capacity of 460,000 tons. The rolling mill was said by Alcoa to be designed for can stock, ends and tabs, although one unsubstantiated report suggested it may also make materials for the construction industry although that doesn’t logically fit with can stock gauges or grades.

According to the WSJ, the project will be developed and financed in two phases. The first output from the smelter and rolling mill is anticipated for 2013. Initial production from the mine and refinery is expected for a year later. Alcoa will arrange the supply of alumina to the smelter from outside Saudi Arabia until the project’s refinery is operating.

Alcoa no doubt sees this as a way to leverage their experience and expertise in the refining and production of aluminum products to gain a greater share of the off take from a new facility than they would otherwise be able to access from their minority 20% stake. For Saudi Arabian Mining (Maaden) there are obvious advantages to enlisting the involvement of the world’s most professional producer of aluminum if you are looking to sink over $10bn in an aluminum venture. For Maaden, this is just one of many ventures into metals, minerals and chemicals to diversify the country away from its reliance on oil.

–Stuart Burns
 

Largest aluminum plant to be inaugurated in Bandar Abbas
Tehran Times - 29-Dec-2009
Tehran Times Economic Desk

TEHRAN – Hormozal, the biggest aluminum plant in Iran, will be opened in the southern city of Bandar Abbas next week.
The Islamic Republic of Iran News Network quoted Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) as stating that about 400 million euros and 2 trillion rials (about $200 million) has been invested in the project.

IMIDRO added that Hormozal has an annual capacity of 147,000 tons and will produce 47 percent of the aluminum in Iran.

It said that some 700 jobs will be created directly and 7,000 jobs indirectly by implementing the project.

The most advanced technology in the aluminum industry, namely the 230 KA, has been applied in the project, it stated.

Hormozal plant has been built adjacent to Almahdi aluminum plant and the total aluminum capacity in the country will reach 457,000 tons when this plant comes on stream.

Bandar Abbas Province will be the aluminum hub of the country when this project comes on stream
 

Chinalco may build aluminium smelter in Gansu
Reuters UK - 30-Dec-2009
HONG KONG, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Aluminum Corp of China (Chinalco), the country's top aluminium producer, may build a greenfield aluminium smelter in Qingyang city, Gansu province, a senior executive said on Wednesday.
"(We) intend to use the energy resources in Qingyang for the aluminium smelter," vice-president Lu Youqing said in a faxed statement to Reuters.

An industry official at Qingyang told Reuters the city government and Chinalco had signed a framework agreement last week to build a 500,000 tonne-per-year aluminium smelter and develop a coal mine.

The state-owned company is the parent of Chalco (2600.HK) (601600.SS), which operates Chinalco's aluminium and alumina capacity. (Reporting by Polly Yam; Editing by Chris Lewis)

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved.

Guinea chaos helps knock bauxite output lower
Reuters South Africa - 28-Dec-2009 By Saliou Samb

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea's output of the aluminium ore bauxite fell by more than one fifth in the first nine months of 2009, according to a government document obtained by Reuters citing the impact of "institutional instability".

The paper showed the economic cost of a year of chaos in the world's top bauxite exporter that began with a December 2008 coup and ended in a failed assassination bid on its leader.

The document revealed similar falls in output of other resources such as alumina and gold, which together with bauxite form the backbone of the West African state's economy and public finances, already under pressure from a slowdown in global demand.

"Data for the first nine months of 2009, compared to the same period of 2008, show a fall of 22.9 percent in the total production of bauxite to 10,413,290 tonnes," said the finance ministry paper.

Output in the third quarter was hit "among other things by institutional instability and a review of mining project contracts", it said of moves by the junta to re-examine deals signed under late president Lansana Conte.

Income from projects run by mining majors including Alcoa, Rio Tinto and RUSAL accounts for 80 percent of Guinea's foreign currency reserves. Such revenues amounted to $149 million in 2007.

The Alcoa-Rio venture CBG (Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee), saw bauxite output of 8,299,780 tonnes in the first nine months, said the report, a figure that compares with the record 13.7 million tonnes it produced for the whole of 2008.

Output of alumina, which is refined from bauxite to make aluminium, fell 25.3 percent in the first nine months of the year to 361,410 tonnes, while gold production fell 26.4 percent to 359,610 ounces, it continued.

However diamond production rose 30.5 percent to 476,700 carats on the back of strong Chinese demand.

The document did not detail why output of key resources had fallen. Mining firms have repatriated some non-essential staff but have said operations are proceeding as normal.

A September court decision to rescind the sale of an alumina refinery to Russia's RUSAL reinforced the concerns of some investors about the security of existing contracts, and consultants are warning potential new investors to be cautious.

The data bears out expectations of a sharp fall in Guinean mining income. Citing the global slowdown, a CBG official who asked not to be named said in September revenues would fall some 60 percent next year as a result of lower demand and prices.

Junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara has made no public appearances since being evacuated to Morocco for treatment of head wounds sustained in a December 3 gun attack by an ex-aide. Junta officials say his health is steadily improving.

Camara has since been named by a U.N. report, on the September 28 killings by security forces of over 150 pro-democracy marchers, as being personally responsible for crimes against humanity and could face international prosecution.

Guinea, whose stability is seen as pivotal to that of the West African region, is currently in the hands of Defence Minister Sekouba Konate, a Dadis loyalist who has so far prevented the country sliding further into chaos.

CIC likely to invest in Rusal public float
China.org.cn -28-Dec-2009

China Investment Corporation (CIC) may invest up to $300 million in the proposed Hong Kong float of Russian aluminum producer United Co Rusal, a source close to the sovereign wealth fund said yesterday.

The $300 billion fund is, however, yet to take a final decision in this regard, as buying into the highly indebted company is still viewed as a risky investment, the source told China Daily on condition of anonymity.

Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska's aluminum firm's plan to raise between $2 billion and $3 billion through its Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) has been overshadowed by huge debt concerns.

The listing has been approved by the Hong Kong market regulator on condition that there would be no retail subscription.

Rusal had rescheduled its nearly $16.8 billion debt earlier this month. The proposed Hong Kong listing would value the company at between $16 billion and $22 billion with an indicative price range of $13.7 to $18.9 per share, according to Russian newspaper Vedomosti.

Apart from CIC, New York-based asset management firm BlackRock, Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank and state-controlled Sberbank have indicated willingness to participate in the IPO.

"Investment could be a tentative step for CIC, as it is still wary about the potential risks embedded in buying into a company with such a huge debt burden," said Wang Lixin, an analyst with Umetal Research Institute.

"Investment in the aluminum industry could bring decent returns, as aluminum prices have stabilized recently on the back of recovering global demand," she said.

CIC has accelerated steps to invest in energy and resource-related companies globally, including the $2.2 billion investment in Virginia-based wind generator AES Corp and HK$5.5 billion in domestic renewable energy company GCL-Poly in November, as well as the $500 million investment in SouthGobi, a Canada-based company that mines coal in Mongolia in October.

The fund, which was set up in 2007 to manage part of the nation's burgeoning foreign exchange reserves, appeared to have made a turnaround from a year ago when it faced criticism for its loss-making investments in Morgan Stanley and Blackstone.

Lou Jiwei, chairman of CIC, said in October, that the fund had invested half of its $110 billion available capital and had gained decent returns.

Sources indicated that the fund is likely to get another $200 billion capital infusion in the near term, partly due to its good performance during the financial slowdown.

China's aluminum melting mills may import alumina at the higher price in 2010
Alibaba News Channel - 25-Dec-2009
China’s aluminum melting mills agreed to import alumina at the higher price in 2010, and they have to reduce the profit space to ensure the raw material for the new capacity. The alumina price will rise 14.5%-15% of LME 3-month futures aluminum, currently, the aluminum futures price is U.S.$2,250 per ton. Pricing according to the FOB price, it is U.S.$326-337 per ton. Two tons of alumina can produce one ton of the refined aluminum.

It is expected that the aluminum melting mill with the increase of production in 2010 is eager to guarantee the alumina supply, because they consider that the international spot aluminum price significantly jumped to U.S.$340-350 per ton, while it in July was only U.S.$265 per ton. Chinalco claimed last week that the company has recovered all the idle production capacity of its subsidies’ alumina and virgin aluminum. Antaike foresees that the new increased capacity will boost the China’s 2010 virgin aluminum output will increase by 24.7% to 17mln tons year on year, far higher than 0.2% in 2009. China’s alumina consumption in 2010 will go up by 23% to 33.9mln tons on an annual basis, alumina production will upturn by 26% to 30mln tons on a yearly basis, which causes a 3.9mln-ton gap.

Venezuela cuts steel, aluminum output to save power
Reuters - 22-Dec-2009

By Fabian Cambero

CARACAS, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Venezuela will chop output at its leading steel mill and two aluminum smelters to reduce energy consumption due to falling water levels at the dam which supplies about 70 percent of the country's electricity, a government minister said on Tuesday.

In a televised announcement, Basic Industry Minister Rodolfo Sanz said that the country would save about 558 megawatts compelled by restricted power supply at the Guri hydroelectric dam.

The announcements followed the publication in the official gazette, circulated on Tuesday, of resolutions requiring business consumers to draw up plans to cut electricity consumption by at least 20 percent, compared with a year earlier, due to the fall in water levels at hydroelectric dams.

At the country's leading steelmaker, the government-owned Sidor, Sanz said two furnaces would be closed to save about 200 megawatts of energy, he said.

The company would take advantage of the closure to repair the furnaces in an investment requiring about $200 million, he said.

At the Venalum aluminum smelter, production would fall by about 37 percent to 40 percent, spelling a reduction by around 14,000 tonnes in monthly output, Sanz said.

"We're going to paralyze about 360 cells (at Venalum) which would be practically the equivalent of two lines of production but we're going to do it at different lines," he said.

Venalum has five production lines, he said.

Venalum is 80 percent owned by the government and 20 percent by a consortium of Japanese companies Showa Denko (4004.T), Marubeni (8002.T), Kobe Steel (5406.T), Sumitomo Chemical (4005.T), Mitsubishi Materials (5711.T) and Mitsubishi Aluminum.

At Alcasa, the government will shut two production lines permanently and focus on increasing production at two other lines via investment, Sanz said.

For the moment, the shutdown of the two production lines at Alcasa would cut production by about 1,600 tonnes a month.

Alcasa produced 10,200 tonnes of aluminum in November, according to the company.

The Alcasa cutbacks would reduce consumption by about 58 megawatts and by about 300 megawatts at Venalum.

Sanz said all foreign aluminum supply contracts would be met and domestic demand for the metal would be satisfied. (Writing by Walker Simon; Editing by Christian Wiessner)

National Aluminium to Triple Capacity on India, Overseas Demand
BusinessWeek - 23-Dec-2009
Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- National Aluminium Co., India’s second-biggest producer, plans to almost triple production capacity in the next six years as demand rises in Asia, Europe and North America.

Output of the lightweight metal may reach 1.25 million metric tons from 460,000 tons, Director of Production A.K. Sharma said in an interview. The company, which added 115,000 tons of capacity on Dec. 20, aims to put on another 180,000 tons in the next phase at its Angul plant in eastern Orissa state, he said, without specifying a timeframe.

Aluminum, used to make cars, aircraft and beverage cans, has climbed 45 percent this year in London as China, the world’s biggest producer and consumer, became a net importer and demand began to recover in the U.S., Japan and Europe.

“Declining capacities in North America and Europe because of rising input costs and expectations of an increase in per capita consumption of metals in China and India will help us,” Sharma said yesterday by telephone from Bhubaneshwar, where the company is based.

National Aluminium shares rose 1.6 percent to 375.1 rupees yesterday in Mumbai. The stock has almost doubled this year, compared with a 73 percent gain in the key Sensitive Index of the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Global Production

China’s imports of refined aluminum swelled 1,245 percent to 1.45 million tons in the first 11 months of this year, while exports slumped 71 percent to 18,609 tons, according to government data.

Aluminum production in North America fell 17.9 percent this year, according to data from the International Aluminum Institute. Output fell 19.5 percent in West Europe and 11.6 percent in East/Central Europe, while production in Asia, including India, rose 11.8 percent.

National Aluminium said yesterday it raised prices by 2.9 percent, the third increase this month, after the metal rose in London trading.

The company has sought 250 acres of land from the state government to expand its Angul facility, which will include a 240 megawatt power plant, Sharma said. Following the 180,000 ton capacity addition, it plans to add a further 107,000 tons, Sharma said.

Work on a 160 billion rupee, 500,000 ton smelter at Jharsuguda is expected to commence in June 2010 after a setback of more than a year because of delayed state government approvals, he said. The company may have to tap the market to fund the project that will include a 1,250 megawatt power plant, he said, without giving details.

“The state government may complete the environment impact study of the project in about five months after which we can expect an approval,” Sharma said.

Alcoa, BPA Reach Power Supply Accord for Intalco Smelter Helping Secure 528 Jobs
Autochannel (press release) -21-Dec-2009
FERNDALE, Wash.--Alcoa and the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) have reached an agreement to provide power for the Intalco aluminum smelter in Ferndale, Washington. The agreement will help secure 528 jobs at the facility, along with the associated economic benefits to the local and regional economy.

“I congratulate the Bonneville Power Administration and Alcoa for reaching this important agreement to keep the Intalco aluminum smelter operating. This agreement supports more than 500 living-wage jobs in the Ferndale area, jobs that are essential to our ability to make it through and recover from this recession”

The new contract provides Alcoa with up to 320 megawatts (MW) of power at the Industrial Power (IP) rate and will allow the plant to produce a total of 184,000 metric tons per year.

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire joined Alcoa employees and local leaders at an event earlier today to welcome the new Alcoa - Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) contract. "I congratulate the Bonneville Power Administration and Alcoa for reaching this important agreement to keep the Intalco aluminum smelter operating. This agreement supports more than 500 living-wage jobs in the Ferndale area, jobs that are essential to our ability to make it through and recover from this recession," Governor Gregoire said.

“Today’s signing is clear evidence of what can be achieved when federal, state and local partners work together in pursuit of a common goal,” said Bob Wilt, Alcoa’s President for US Primary Products.

“We are very grateful for the support we have received from everyone involved, including Governor Gregoire, Congressman Rick Larsen and Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. We are also grateful to our employees – union and management -- who have worked hand-in-hand on this issue, and to local community leaders,” Wilt added

Alcoa is a 70-year customer of BPA and this contract marks a return to direct power sales under the Northwest Power Act. Direct power sales were halted in 2006. The new contract has two phases – an immediate 17-month power supply for up to 320 MW and a second phase for at least an additional five years of power. The second phase would be implemented following clarification of a recent US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling and will depend on the state of future power markets.

Under terms of the agreement, the facility will maintain an average of 528 full-time equivalent jobs.

An independent study by Washington economist Dick Conway shows that each Alcoa job sustains around three additional jobs in Washington State. The results of the study indicate that over 2,000 jobs will be preserved as a result of this agreement.

“In addition, this decision has helped maintain the local tax base, expenditures with local businesses and the community contributions made by our organization and our employees,” Wilt concluded.

In the past three years, Alcoa and the Alcoa Foundation have contributed more than $500,000 to local organizations, including $10,000 to the Whatcom County Toys for Tots campaign as part of a plant safety campaign this month. And in October, Intalco employees contributed more than 1,000 hours of volunteer service to local non-profits as part of Alcoa’s Global Month of Service.

Saudi Maaden, Alcoa in $10.8 billion aluminum deal
Reuters UK -20-Dec-2009
RIYADH (Reuters) - State-run Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Maaden) and U.S. aluminum giant Alcoa agreed on Sunday to build a $10.8 billion aluminum complex in the world's top oil exporter, targeting the Middle East from 2013.
Under the deal, the companies form a joint venture to set up a 1.8 million ton-per-year refinery, a 740,000 ton-per-year smelter, a bauxite mine with an annual capacity of 4 million tons and a rolling mill with a capacity of up to 460,000 tons.
The firms have yet to raise the financing for the complex mainly planned to be built in Ras Azzour on the kingdom's Gulf Coast close to Maaden's phosphate fertilizer plants.
"We will go for financing during 2010," said Maaden Chief Executive Abdullah al-Dabbagh.
Last December, Rio Tinto Alcan abandoned its 49 percent stake in a 740,000 ton-per-year smelter project because it was unable to obtain financing due to the global financial crisis. The project was then budgeted at $8 billion.
The smelter and mill are slated to start production in 2013 while the refinery and mine would come online in 2014, Dabbagh told reporters in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
The project aims at "making Saudi Arabia and the Middle East a major hub for aluminum production and its downstream industries," Dabbagh added.
NO FUNDING YET
Alcoa Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld told Reuters the costs of $10.8 billion would be split, with the U.S. firm and its partners paying 40 percent while Maaden is to handle 60 percent.
He said a variety of funding options were being considered, when asked whether Alcoa could conduct a capital hike or go for debt.
Plans call for the expansion of the mill to 460,000 tons of aluminum sheets, ends and tabs stocks for the manufacturing of aluminum cans, the firms said.
Development will take place in two phases, starting with the smelter and rolling mill to be followed by the mine and refinery, Dabbagh said during a signing ceremony.
For the alumina refinery, Maaden has received four bids for a $1 billion engineering, procurement and construction management contract, industry sources said earlier this month.
U.S. Fluor Corp teamed up with Worley Parsons and Canada's SNC-Lavalin Group Inc joined forces with Hatch to submit proposals. France's Technip and U.S. Bechtel bid individually.
Maaden is investing about 60 billion riyals ($16 billion) to develop the kingdom's phosphate, bauxite, gold and industrial minerals and help reduce reliance on oil.
A phosphate and fertilizer joint venture with Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) is due online in 2011.

Atlantic Ltd signs MOU over bauxite mine
Sydney Morning Herald - 20-Dec-2009
Atlantic Ltd has signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a 25 million tonnes per annum bauxite mine in Vietnam.
The miner and a Vietnamese state-owned enterprise aim to access up to 1.5 billion metric tonnes of bauxite from the Lam Dong and Dak Nong bauxite provinces.
Under the plan, Atlantic will join with Vietnam Natural Resources and Environment Corporation (T-MV) for the mine and associated rail and port infrastructure.
Shares in the Atlantic leapt on the news, finishing up 0.6 cents, or 19.35 per cent, at 3.7 cents on Monday.
Atlantic said some of the world's largest aluminium companies have shown interest in mining bauxite in the region but an absence of key infrastructure has curtailed development.
"The parties have also agreed to undertake the downstream processing of bauxite in Vietnam, including alumina refining and aluminium smelting opportunities, on completion of a positive feasibility study," Atlantic said in a statement.
Atlantic said it had agreed to undertake the exploration of the bauxite areas, provide the funding for the project feasibility and procure finance.
"The joint venture interest of T-MV and Atlantic will reflect the contributions of the parties," Atlantic said.
The two groups hope to sign a definitive agreement in the first half of 2010.

Khakas aluminum smelter to produces 750000 tonnes in 3 years
SteelGuru - 20-Dec-2009
UC RUSAL announced that the 3rd anniversary of the Khakas smelter’s operations which have produced over 750,000 tonnes of aluminum since the start up. 99% of this output is high metal grades.
The cash costs of the Khakas aluminum smelter are 14% less than the average figures across RUSAL’s aluminum operations and is approximately USD 1,200 per tonnes which is the lowest among all the aluminum smelters globally.
For the eleven months of 2009 the KhAZ pots performed at 320 kA with a current efficiency of 95% whilst consumption rates of raw materials were minimal and the daily smelter’s output was over 800 tonnes. Such a notable performance came about due to the RA-300 technology developed by RUSAL’s in house R&D staff Engineering and Technology Centre. The RA-300, a cutting edge reduction process is also moderately energy consuming: KhAZ needs 11% less electricity than the average power consumption parameter across the company in general. Moreover, the technology implies a high level of automation bringing the total headcount to only 440 people, and a very lean labour management, which both helped achieve the world standard productivity level of 618 tonnes per person.
Mr Alexey Arnautov the head of RUSAL’s aluminum division said that “The construction and commissioning of the Khakas smelter were a challenge to RUSAL since this plant became the first aluminum production site to have been built in Russia in the last 20 years. Having demonstrated this project as a success, our company proved its capability to implement advanced smelting technologies, design and create new capacities, start them up and manage them in the most efficient way. Over the first 3 years of operations the Khakas smelter proved the efficiency of its technologies and a strong ability to compete with leading world class aluminum plants.”
The Khakas aluminum smelter was built and commissioned in a record short timeframe of 25 months producing its first batch of hot metal on December 15th 2006. As early as October 2007 the smelter reached its full design capacity of 300 kilo tonne per annum. The entire production process is based on the pre baked anode technology and is highly automated, which allows, if necessary any part of the process to be controlled and readjusted and equipment performance to be monitored on 24 hour basis.
While designing the smelter, close attention was paid to the compliance of the new facility with international labor standards on the shop floor and minimization of hazardous emissions to mitigate the environmental impact coming from smelting operations. The gas and fume treatment units on the production site capture no less than 99.5% of process emissions and surpass the corresponding international environmental norms. The Khakas smelter has the OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001 certificates.

Vedanta's Orissa alumina refinery facing bauxite shortage
Thaindian.com - 18-Dec-2009
Bhubaneswar, Dec 18 (IANS) The alumina refinery of London-headquartered metals and mining company Vedanta Resources in Orissa’s Kalahandi district is facing acute bauxite shortage for several months, a company official said Friday.
“Since the past four months, we are not getting adequate quantity of bauxite,” said Mukesh Kumar, head of the plant.
“We need at least three million tonnes of bauxite ore per annum to keep the refinery running at 50 percent of its capacity, but we are getting on an average only half of that,” Kumar told IANS.
The one million tonne per annum capacity refinery at Lanjigarh, some 600 km from here, has been running at about 50 percent of its capacity since it was commissioned in August 2007.
There are multiple reasons for this, Kumar said. “Several mines in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh have stopped operations and supply has come down from some states due to the Maoist problem. Some states have banned sending bauxite out.”
The company had initially planned to mine bauxite from the nearby Niyamgiri hills but is yet to get the final nod from the government. It is currently sourcing bauxite from other states at market rates to keep the plant running.
“It is a disturbing situation,” Kumar said, adding that the refinery did not have enough stock of bauxite to run the plant for four to five hours.
What has aggravated the situation, according to him, is that transportation cost has alongside increased by more than 40 percent.
The alumina refinery, part of the Anil Agarwal-promoted Vedanta Resources, was set up on an investment of $800 million.
The firm had issued a tender two months ago to buy four million tonnes of bauxite from the domestic sellers but was left dissatisfied with the response.
“We have issued another tender again this week to buy a similar quantity,” Kumar said adding that mining permission in the hills was essential for it to reduce cost of production
Read more: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/business/vedantas-orissa-alumina-refinery-facing-bauxite-shortage_100291252.html#ixzz0a7J2N0Nr

2008 Report on China's High-Purity Aluminum (HPA) Industry - Aarkstore Enterprise
PRMinds (press release) -18-Dec-2009
Aarkstore announce a new report""through its vast collection of market reserach report
High-purity aluminum (HPA), referring to the metal with its aluminum content beyond 99.999% (5N), can be used for the manufacturing of aircrafts and tanks, aluminum ceramics, high-grade aluminum foil, high-class decorative materials, compound plates for car radiators, and baffle boards. Compared to traditional primarily-processed aluminum ingots, HPA is much more useful and is able to deliver huge value-added and great profit rooms.
But with its small production capacity of HPA, China is unable to meet the demand in the home market. Specifically, the annual production capacity of HPA in China is only 50,000 tons, about 12,000 tons behind the demand. Since the demand for HPA by industries of electric household appliances, PCs, semiconductors, and others would keep growing rapidly in the next few years in China, HPA would still be undersupplied, and there would be great opportunities in the country's aluminum market.
The major HPA producers in China include Guanlv (Shanxi Province), Joinworld (Xinjiang Province), HEC Group (Shenzhen, Guangdong Province), and Guizhou Aluminum Plant, among which Joinworld accounts for about 80% of China's HPA market, and 20% of the world's. By the end of 2008, there will be eight companies able to produce HPA, with their combined annual production capacity of 57,000 tons. And by 2012, the similar number would be 11, with the total annual production capacity of 125,000 tons.
Figure: China's Production Capacities of HPA 2003-2008
For more information, please visit:
http://www.aarkstore.com/reports/2008-Report-on-China-s-High-Purity-Aluminum-HPA-Industry-13188.html

Rio's Alcan plans $2.8bn smelter in Paraguay
The Australian - Matt Chambers - 18-Dec-2009
RIO Tinto plans to build a $US2.5 billion ($2.8bn) aluminium smelter in Paraguay and hopes to start operations in 2016.
This week, Rio's Alcan unit said it had begun negotiations with Paraguay's national electricity company to source power for the project.

No details were given on the size of the smelter, but Alcan business development vice-president Sandeep Biswas told Reuters the project would cost about $US2.5bn.

Under a timetable agreed to with the government, the smelter is aiming for first production in 2016.

Separately, Rio has struck its first sizeable mining contract in the Pilbara region of Western Australia in a move designed to give native titleholders a bigger stake in the Western Turner Syncline deposit.

Rio has awarded a $200 million contract to build, mine and transport iron ore from the deposit to a joint venture between the Eastern Guruma people and listed mining contractor NRW Holdings.

The contract also includes $6m for training the Eastern Guruma with a view to the joint venture operating other Pilbara mines.

Unlike BHP Billiton, Rio has been an owner-operator of its Pilbara mines, rather than using contractors.

A spokesman said there was no change to this strategy.

Rio iron ore chief Sam Walsh said the joint venture would allow the Aboriginal owners of the land to develop mining services skills.

"It adds to the wealth of knowledge and experience we need to establish among indigenous businesses in the Pilbara to ensure sustainable operations for years to come," Mr Walsh said

Qatalum begins exports

Gulf Times -
In a landmark achievement, Qatalum yesterday made its first shipment of aluminium foundry alloys on Qatar National Day, marking the start of aluminium exports from the country.
Qatalum, the largest green field smelter project worldwide, is a joint venture by Qatar Petroleum and Norway-based Hydro. The first shipment is going to Mumbai, India. The accomplishment follows weeks of test production at the state-of-the-art plant’s Casthouse.
A Qatalum spokesman said the major milestone achieved amidst difficult market conditions, stood as a testament to the skill and effort of all involved in the project. “It was also strong evidence to the committed partnership between Hydro and Qatar Petroleum to bring online the prestigious project,” he said.

The first batch of remelted, 10kg ingots leaving the Casthouse for shipping

“The CEO, Jan Arve Haugan, and the deputy CEO Hassan al-Rashid encouraged the team to present Qatar with its first shipment of metal on the National Day. It is a symbolic gesture from Qatalum to the State and the people of Qatar as it introduces a new era in Qatar’s industrial diversification.”
The first shipment marks the beginning of aluminium exports from Qatar and confirms Qatalum’s ability to deliver its product on time, within budget and with an excellent safety record.
Qatalum’s Casthouse output will have value-added products like extrusion ingots and primary foundry alloys, made on order and according to customer specifications. The total capacity of the Casthouse in the first stage is 625,000 tonnes.
Main markets for the Qatalum products will be in the Gulf and the Middle East, Asia and later also in North America. All the products will be brought to market through Hydro’s marketing organisation, with Qatalum handling the logistics and shipping.
Extrusion ingots produced at Qatalum are used to make aluminium profiles that are used in a number of products and applications, such as buildings and construction, consumer durables, automotive and general engineering. Foundry alloys are used in aluminium castings with a big market in the automotive industry.

Alcoa invests in adaptable OE wheel forging technology
SteelGuru - 18-Dec-2009
Wheel manufacturer Alcoa believes that it has solved the problem of how to launch multiple new wheel programs quickly without repeat capital investment.
The company said that it has refined a process that generates an infinite variety of styles from a single forged tool through variations in design, machining and finishing. Using this process, Alcoa believes it can produce products that are amongst the strongest, lightest wheels available, but with the structural integrity to meet the toughest fatigue requirements. In terms of finishing too, Alcoa's patented Dura Bright surface treatment technology allows a wheel to be further differentiated not only by design and structure but also appearance and performance.

The company explains that in the current market crisis, OEMs need to revitalize the appeal of their cars and prompt new car sales, but with minimal or no investment to help reduce costs. Adding new wheel programs to a model range can often help improve the desirability of a car through cosmetic enhancements. Alcoa's flexible manufacturing process can now offer car makers the opportunity to launch these new wheels quickly and at low cost.

The base forging blanks are produced from billets of 6061-T6 aluminium, using the same metallurgy as the wheels Alcoa produces for the Boeing 747. An optimized forged wheel can be half the weight of a typical cast alloy wheel of the same diameter due to their superior material properties.

Mr David Yates commercial manager for Alcoa Auto Wheels Europe said that "We can vary the wheel style and finish options widely, within a given forging envelope, without changing the base forging, resulting in many different styles with a single forged tool investment. We are now using this principle widely for OEM customers in Europe and USA. Chrysler, for example, adopted this for the SRT family, wheels for the various models look quite distinctive yet share the same tooling. GM launched a range of wheels for limited edition models quickly, from a single tool investment and they have been very successful."

As well as styling freedom, forged wheels provide a fast to market, cost-effective weight reduction; in particular, the lightweight rim sections reduce the rotational inertia of the wheel which improves the fuel efficiency of the car and reduces CO2 emissions. Lower wheel mass also means less work for the suspension, tyres remain in better contact with the road surface as lighter wheel assemblies are easier to control when hitting bumps, particularly important when cornering. This translates into improved grip, traction and braking, better vehicle control and a smoother ride.
(Sourced from Tyre Industry Publications Limited)

Alcoa May Be Forced to Halt Brazil Mine on Pollution
Bloomberg - Dec. 17 2009 --
Alcoa Inc.’s bauxite mine operations in the Amazon may be halted because of pollution charges by a Brazilian state against the largest U.S. aluminum maker.
Para state prosecutors said in an e-mailed statement today that Alcoa hasn’t implemented environmental- protection measures that were required when the license to the Juruti bauxite mine was granted this year.
The mine, a 3.9 billion-real ($2.2 billion) investment financed by Brazil’s state development BNDES bank, will produce bauxite for the Alumar alumina refinery in Brazil’s Maranhao state. The refinery is a joint venture between Alcoa, BHP Billiton Plc and Rio Tinto Alcan Inc.
The company must monitor and control local water and other environmental conditions after muddying the streams that provide drinking water for local inhabitants through the use of earthmoving machines and tree cutting, the prosecutors said. Para state prosecutors carried out a survey of environmental conditions in the area, they said.
“Alcoa has yet to receive the filing from the ministry, but once we do we’ll review and address it properly,” Kevin Lowery, an Alcoa spokesman in the U.S., said in an e-mail.
Alcoa started up the Juruti mine in September. The mine has start-up output of 2.6 million tons a year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Diana Kinch in Rio de Janeiro at

Nalco's Rs4,400-crore expansion nearing completion: minister
domain-B -17 December 2009

The ongoing second phase expansion project of National Aluminium Company (Nalco) at an investment of Rs4,402 crore is nearing completion, minister of mines and development of North Eastern region B K Handique said today.

The minister said this while addressing the second meeting of the consultative committee attached to his ministry on the functioning of Nalco, in New Delhi, on Wednesday.

He said one of the two 120 MW captive power units, has been commissioned since August 2009. Similarly, 93 per cent of the pots in smelter expansion are already in service. The minister hoped that the commissioning of balance pots would be completed soon.

The company, he said, has substantial cash reserve as well as surplus alumina capacity. For value addition, utilising the surplus alumina and for strengthening its market presence, the company is working out the possibility of setting up a green field smelter and power plant in the country or abroad, he added.

Canadian company sees progress in Bonasika bauxite search
Stabroek News - 16-Dec-2009
A Canadian bauxite mining company says that it is achieving significant progress as it moves to establish an operation here at Bonasika, Essequibo.
First Bauxite Corporation in a press release on December 10 said that it is achieving significant progress in the preparation of a Feasibility Study for the development of the Bonasika Refractory Bauxite Project. The company has also commenced sonic drilling of the bauxite deposits contained in the Waratilla-Cartwright Prospecting License. “The aim of this drilling is to explore the extent, quality and continuity of the deposits and to prepare a NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate”, the statement said.
In relation to the Bonasika project, the company has done drilling and sampling at its Bonasika 1, 2 and 5 leases. Aluminpro (Aluminum Industry Professionals Inc.), which has been providing oversight of the Company’s drill programme since inception, has been contracted to prepare resource models and estimates for Bonasika 1 and 5 as a part of the current Bonasika Feasibility Study, the statement said. The Bonasika 2 results have yet to be finalized.
Another company, Met-Chem has the mandate to complete the Feasibility Study and current activities include mine planning, developing a bauxite beneficiation process flow sheet, site layouts and requirements for geotechnical work. “Golder and Associates have a team on site to undertake this geotechnical work. Met-Chem is also coordinating the work of its sub-contractor, Roche who are engaged in the tailings pound design, water management and related environmental aspects”, the statement said.
It noted that Met-Chem continues to advance the overall engineering design and is collating the various elements for operating and capital cost estimates. This will include engineering and cost data for the overall calcining stage that is being developed by Polysius Maerz. A draft of the Feasibility Study is expected to be available for the review of the Company in the first quarter of 2010, the statement said.
Meantime, in relation to resource drilling on the Waratilla-Cartwright PL, the company said that a recently purchased sonic drill rig has arrived at Waratilla, and after personnel training on safety and operating procedures an aggressive exploration campaign was started in late November. It noted that the Waratilla project is located some 6-10 km south east of the Company’s Bonasika 1 deposit and in March 2009, an initial five hole campaign in the northern part of the PL was done and the results yielded the best bauxite intersected by the Company to date in Guyana.
The company says that this campaign is intended to confirm and extend the resources identified in 1963 by DEMBA, a subsidiary of ALCAN within an area of 4km x 3km drilled by 64 holes. “This historical work had indicated approximately 12 million metric tonnes of high-alumina refractory (RASC) grade bauxite, as well as lower grade metallurgical bauxite”, the statement said. First Bauxite Corpora-tion is a Canadian natural resources company engaged in the exploration and development of bauxite deposits, through resource discovery and mining within a niche industrial market. Its website says that the company has its head-office in Vancouver. The company’s CEO and Director is Guyanese, Hilbert Shields, formerly of the exploration company Golden Star Resources Limited.

Saudi Maaden gets four bids to build alumina plant
Reuters - 16-Dec-2009

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Maaden) 1211.SE has received four bids for an $1 billion contract to build an alumina refinery it has recently retendered, industry sources said on Wednesday.
Maaden retendered after increasing the planned size of the plant to 1.8 million tonnes per year from 1.6 million tpy, they said.
"There were scope changes, new technology, they decided to retender to get better bids," an industry source said.
U.S. Fluor Corp (FLR.N: Quote, Profile, Research) teamed up with Worley Parsons (WOR.AX: Quote, and Canada's SNC-Lavalin Group Inc (SNC.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) joined forces with Hatch to submit their proposals, they said. France's Technip (TECF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) and U.S. Bechtel bid individually.
The due date for bids was Dec. 12, two bidders said.
Maaden aims to award the engineering, procurement, construction management (EPCM) contract by the end of March, two bidders said.
The refinery would be fully operational in the first quarter of 2014, they said.
Rio Tinto (RIO.L: Quote, Profile, Research) said last year it dropped plans to take a 49 percent stake in the smelter because of the global financial crisis. This has delayed the start-up date by three years.
It initially teamed up with Maaden in 2007 to build the project, which includes a 740,000 tpy aluminium smelter. The refinery would feed the smelter at Ras Azzour and the whole project was expected to cost around $8 billion.
Worley Parsons conducted the front-end engineering and design work (FEED) at the refinery.
Before retendering, Maaden had awarded the EPCM contract to Fluor Corp in late 2008 and valued it at around $1 billion, London-based MEED magazine reported last week (Reporting by Reem Shamseddine, Editing by Anthony Barker)

EXCLUSIVE-Guinea-Chinese deal rests on $100 mln deposit
Alibaba News Channel - ‎?15-Dec-2009
Published: 15 Dec 2009 05:47:31 PST
* CIF has deposited $100 million in Guinean central bank
* Funds unusable, meant to guarantee mining deal
* Future payments uncertain after assassination bid
CONAKRY, Dec 15 - A Chinese fund has paid Guinea's ruling junta a $100 million deposit to guarantee a mining deal but the vast future proceeds seen flowing from the accord remain uncertain, Guinean sources have told Reuters.
The deal, signed before the political crisis sparked by a botched Dec. 3 assassination bid on junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara, was initially valued at $7-9 billion and seen as a lifeline to a government facing international isolation.
But the wording of the accord stipulates that even the initial deposit cannot be touched by the junta, according to the sources, while any future revenues depend on whether the West African state can return to some sense of stability.
"They have made a deposit of $100 million into the central bank, but we cannot touch it," said a Guinean central bank source who requested anonymity.
"They (the Chinese) know there is a risk that if there is a change in power, their agreement will be cancelled," a separate government source said of questions hanging over the country's future leadership while Camara recovers in a Moroccan clinic.
Defence Minister and Camara loyalist Sekouba Konate has taken temporary control of the country, the world's top exporter of the aluminium ore bauxite and home to operations of major firms like Rio Tinto
The country is also believed to have untapped reserves of iron, gold, diamonds, and offshore oil and natural gas.
While there has been no move to impose a broad trade embargo in Guinea, it faces a ban on arms imports and junta members have been targeted with visa bans and other sanctions since a Sept. 28 crackdown on pro-democracy marchers that killed over 150.
ACCESS TO MINERALS AND ENERGY
China has boosted its resource investments around the world in recent years, particularly in Africa where it is seeking to lock up energy and minerals concessions to feed its rapid economic growth at home.
According to a source with knowledge of the accord, Camara allies clinched in June an accord with the Hong Kong-based China International Fund (CIF) to form a joint venture called Guinea Development Corporation .
Guinea would hold direct and indirect stakes amounting to 32 percent in GDC, with the rest held by CIF and majority-owned Angolan joint venture China Sonangol International, he said.
A copy of the accord seen by Reuters showed it was signed on June 12 by Energy Minister Mahmoud Thiam and two other Guinean officials.
Under its terms, GDC would have access to all the country's minerals and energy resources not currently being exploited by other companies. Some of the revenues realised by Guinea would be used to fund electricity, water and transport projects -- including a national airline, two government sources said.
It was not clear what conditions were attached to the release of the $100 million guarantee.
Thiam declined comment when reached by phone on Saturday and Monday, and has not responded to repeated calls since then.
Beijing has distanced itself from CIF's mining deal, but a U.S. Congressional report earlier this year said some of its members work for the Chinese government. When contacted by telephone, the Chinese embassy in Conakry was not immediately available to comment on the deal.
With Camara still out of the country, it is not clear how future provisions of the deal will be implemented.
A separate central bank source said that an additional $200 million was now expected from CIF, but he could not give details on the timing of the payment or conditions for use.

Huge challenges ahead says new smelter boss
Southland Times - ‎?15-Dec-2009
The new boss at the New Zealand Aluminium Smelter at Tiwai Point did not need directions to the office on his first day.
Ryan Cavanagh could have been forgiven for a feeling of deja vu as he headed down Tiwai straight.
The Englishman is a familiar and popular face on the site, having spent almost six years from 2001 in several management roles.
While his most recent role had him back in the United Kingdom, it took little persuading for him to uproot and bring the family back to Invercargill.
"It's a great role to be offered – I've come back to a fantastic site with great people. Invercargill is a great place to bring up kids and we enjoyed living here so much."
He and his wife obtained citizenship during their first stint, their eldest daughter was born here and they called their England-born daughter Tui to ensure she had a Kiwi connection.
Mr Cavanagh's 12-year career with mining giant Rio Tinto has taken him from Bristol in England to Zimbabwe as well as Invercargill, and London.
Originally from Cornwall, he obtained a bachelor of engineering in chemical engineering at the University of Birmingham. He swapped a planned year backpacking around Australia to embark on a PhD at a small aluminium smelter, before joining Rio Tinto's graduate programme.
Chemical engineers tended to gravitate into either technical work or leadership roles, he said.
"I've always had more of an interest in working with people than the technical side of things. I understand the technical side but I'm more motivated to working with people and getting the best out of them. But things come up and you grab the opportunity and it seems to work."
The smelter faced significant challenges, including an ongoing need to reduce costs while still producing high-quality and high-purity aluminium.
The smelter remained a "high-cost site" by world standards and there was always pressure to reduce costs through innovation, he said.
The Emissions Trading Scheme also brought challenges, with NZAS likely to be the first smelter in the world to have to deal with carbon emission costs, he said. "We accept that and will work with the Government to get the best result."
NZAS appeared to have weathered the economic storm of the past 15 months and he was optimistic about 2010.
Ad Feedback Unlike other smelters, there had been no need for forced redundancies, and it had been able to manage staff costs through various alternatives such as leave without pay, long-term absences and early retirements.
The smelter was working smarter with fewer people, which helped "keep us at the top of our game", he said.
The high New Zealand dollar continued to have a serious affect on export returns, but that was something out of the company's control so the long-term challenge was to continue to produce the right amount of high-purity aluminium for the market, at the right price.
"We need to look inside [the site] and see what we can control, how we can do things differently and to try to get a better outcome."
A damaged transformer affected production last year, taking a potline out for about eight months. It was gradually being returned to action and was at the planned production level. More sections would be brought online as the demand for aluminium increased, he said.
CURRICULUM VITAE
1991-1994: Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), University of Birmingham.
1994-1997: PhD in Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham.
1997: Joined the Rio Tinto graduate programme, Bristol.
1999: Rio Tinto's Empress Nickel Refinery, Zimbabwe.
2001: Process control engineer, NZAS. 2002: Promoted to Green Carbon superintendent, NZAS.
2003: Transferred to Carbon Bake superintendent, NZAS.
2004: Promoted to Carbon manager, NZAS.
January 2007: Mining executive, Rio Tinto Diamonds, London.
July 2007: Business resources executive, Rio Tinto, London.
January 2009: Chief adviser, Organisational Effectiveness, London.
November 2009: General manager, NZAS.

Aluar set to be top South America aluminum maker
Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Aluar Aluminio Argentino SAIC, Argentina’s biggest aluminum producer, plans to boost output by a quarter within two years to 520,000 tons, becoming the single largest smelter in Latin America as Brazilian demand surges.

The company, which now smelts 410,000 tons of the metal a year at its Puerto Madryn plant in Argentina’s remote Chubut province, will increase output to 460,000 tons next year before output climbs to 520,000 tons in 2011, Chief Executive Officer Javier Madanes said in a Dec. 1 interview in Buenos Aires.

Larger competitors including New York-based Alcoa Inc. and Rio Tinto Group cut production and scaled back investment plans during the worst recession since the Great Depression. Aluar is bucking the trend as economic growth accelerates in Brazil, fueling demand for aluminum in power lines and transportation.

“We didn’t stop producing a single ton during the international crisis,” said Madanes, 57, whose family started the business in 1974 and remains the majority shareholder. “The prices of metals are improving, not too fast, but improving.”

Aluar’s expansion plans will take the company past Latin America’s largest smelters in Brazil. Cia. Brasileira de Aluminio, known as CBA, currently produces 475,000 tons and has put on hold its own expansion plans. The Albras smelter in north Brazil, a joint venture between Vale SA and Nippon Amazon Aluminium Co., can produce about 460,000 tons a year.

Future Supplies

Concern over future electrical energy supplies and prices is causing some producers in Brazil to put expansion plans on hold, according to the country’s Aluminum Association. Power accounts for about a third of the cost of producing aluminum, prompting companies such as Rio Tinto and Alcoa to scour the world in search of inexpensive and abundant supplies.

Power will not be a problem for Aluar, Madanes said, since the company is the majority owner of Hidroelectrica Futaleufu, a dam and hydroelectric terminal located on the river Futaleufu in Chubut which has a capacity of about 1,220 megawatts, or 6 percent of Argentina’s total installed capacity.

“We consume around 720 megawatts and sell about 200 megawatts to the electric system,” of Argentina, he said.

The power required by an aluminum plant of the size of Aluar’s is equivalent to the electrical energy needs of a town with more than 1.5 million people, according to the company. The plant in Puerto Madryn is located 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) from Buenos Aires and had initial capacity of 140,000 tons.

Brazil Destination

Brazil will be the main destination for Aluar’s additional output. The company exports 70 percent of total production, with 12 to 14 percent going to Brazil, according to Madanes.

Aluar posted a profit of 76 million pesos ($19.9 million) for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with 98 million in the year-earlier period. Sales fell to 952 million pesos from 1.01 billion a year earlier.

Aluminum fell $8.25, or 0.4 percent, to $2,148.75 a ton at 1:33 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange. The metal has climbed 26 percent in the past year.

Aluar is listed in the Merval, the benchmark index of the Buenos Aires stock exchange.

The “recovering” demand for aluminum and existing cash generation will help fund the expansion, Madanes said.

Aluminum demand has been “gradually and slowly” rising since the end of the third quarter, Svein Richard Brandtzaeg, chief executive officer of Norsk Hydro ASA, Europe’s third- largest aluminum producer said yesterday. “There’s a positive sentiment, but we’re cautious because the situation is fragile; we don’t know what may happen in the next six months,” he said.

Aluar also has enough cash to finance investments after paring borrowing, Madanes said.

“Our short-term debt is now almost down to zero and the debt we do have is very long term,” he said. “So now, keeping up to date with our investment program depends of having a cash flow of 200 million to 250 million pesos a year and we are going to end the year with a decent balance.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Rodrigo Orihuela in Buenos Aires at rorihuela@bloomberg.net

China firm plans to invest US$8bil in Sarawak
Malaysia Star - Anita Gabriel - ‎?14-Dec-2009
PETALING JAYA: Power utility giant State Grid Corp of China (SGCC) plans to invest some US$6bil–US$8bil to set up one of the world’s largest aluminium smelter plants (estimated to involve US$3bil) and three hydro-electric dams in Sarawak through a joint cooperation with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The “package deal” for the joint cooperation agreement was privately signed recently between the two parties while a formal signing ceremony was scheduled for early next year, a source said.

1MDB, a strategic development company wholly owned by Minister of Finance Inc, will co-invest in the project via cash or “assets” or both.

“The Chinese partner has the technical expertise and considerable capital. As for 1MDB, it can help facilitate the investment from the standpoint of the state and federal governments and power through all the bureaucracy,” the source said.

The massive investment by the Chinese state-owned enterprise, ranked third in China’s Top 10 Enterprises by Fortune magazine (it had sales of US$164bil in 2008), will no doubt give a major boost to the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score), a development initiative aimed at accelerating the state’s growth through its energy resources.

The corridor project, which up until now has yet to draw a major milestone investment, lists the aluminium industry as one of nine priority industries with the highest economic impact.

According to sources, the cooperation was initially discussed during Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s visit to Beijing in June. The plan was cemented in November during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s state visit to Malaysia. Then, Najib had mentioned that Malaysia would work with Chinese companies to build an aluminium smelter, and pulp and paper mill in Sarawak.

“When the Bakun dam comes up, there will be a need to find businesses that can off-take the electricity it generates. Details such as the power purchase price and so forth are being worked out now.

“Sarawak’s hydro power is also significantly under-tapped. So, there is a lot of opportunity for the Chinese company to come in and spearhead these future developments under the Score banner,” the source said.

According to sources, SGCC will be the main off-taker for the entire production capacity of the smelter plant in Sarawak.

As it stands, there is already a plan to build an aluminium smelter with an initial capacity of 720,000 tonnes by construction group Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd and Rio Tinto Aluminium Ltd.

The joint-venture company, Sarawak Alumium Co, has had protracted talks with Sarawak Energy Bhd on the power purchase agreement but to date, nothing has yet been finalised. Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary also has a licence to build an aluminium smelter plant in the state.

The tie-up with SGCC comes two months after 1MDB’s partnership with Saudi Arabia’s PetroSaudi International Ltd in a US$2.5bil joint-venture company.

1MDB, which started out as Terengganu Investment Authority Bhd in February, describes itself as a value investor in strategic projects with high multipliers. One of its key objectives is to catalyse long-term sustainable economic development in the country by wooing foreign direct investments.

Rio Tinto Alcan in talks in for power deal for possible smelter in Paraguay ...
Oilweek Magazine - ‎?14-Dec-2009
MONTREAL _ Rio Tinto Alcan said Monday it was in talks with Paraguay“s Administracion Nacional de Electricidad regarding a power purchase agreement for a potential aluminium smelter in the South American country.

Under the terms of this agreement, Rio Tinto Alcan will work with ANDE to develop an agreement that balances price and its contribution to Paraguay“s social and industrial development.

The global mining heavyweight has shares in both the Porto Trombetas bauxite mine and Alumar refinery in Brazil.

Rio Tinto Alcan signs Letter of Intention with Paraguay's Administracion ...
PR Newswire (press release) - 14-Dec-2009
MONTREAL, Dec. 14 /PRNewswire/ - Rio Tinto Alcan and the Administracion Nacional de Electricidad (ANDE) have signed a Letter of Intention to confirm that they will begin negotiations regarding a power purchase agreement for a potential aluminium smelter in Paraguay.

"We are very pleased to be taking this first step towards a project that would further both our goal of investing in top-tier projects and Paraguay's desire for sustainable economic development," said Sandeep Biswas, Senior vice president, Business Development and Growth, Rio Tinto Alcan. "This potential aluminium smelter project would benefit from both our clean, efficient, world-class technology, and our expertise in sustainable development. Our leading technology and production processes are respected throughout the industry."

Under the terms of this agreement, Rio Tinto Alcan will be working with ANDE to develop an energy and development agreement that balances a competitive electricity price for a state-of-the-art aluminium smelter and its contribution to Paraguay's social and industrial development priorities.

"Safety, environment, and ethical business practices are key commitments at Rio Tinto Alcan. Our operations would seek to contribute to long-term employment and industrial development in Paraguay," added Mr. Biswas.

Rio Tinto Alcan is the global leader in the aluminium industry. Its operations in Latin America include shares in both the Porto Trombetas bauxite mine and Alumar refinery in Brazil. Rio Tinto's regional experience includes a 30 per cent share of Escondida, the world's largest copper mine, in Chile and development of the wholly-owned La Granja copper project in Peru.

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.

SOURCE RIO TINTO ALCAN - EN

BHP Billiton, Rio JV could curb China's control on ore prices
Business Standard - Kunal Bose - ‎?14-Dec-2009
India, with exports of over 100 million tonnes of iron ore, must be keenly watching as to how soon the recently sealed joint venture (JV) between BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto to combine their mining operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia will cross the regulatory hurdles at European Union Competition Commission and also China’s competition regulator. However, sweetly the JV is now framed to placate raising of market dominance questions, iron ore buyers fear that pooling of knowledge about production volumes and demand by the pair in JV will put them at a distinct disadvantage.

That China accounting for over 90 million tonnes of our ore exports will loathe a $116-billion JV that combines the might of the world’s second and third largest miners is understandable. If the normally vocal director general of Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) RK Sharma avoids making a comment on the likely fall out of the JV becoming operational, the obvious conclusion is that he has started smelling better ore prices. And it is precisely for this reason that the joint BHP and Rio Pilbara outing has raised the ire of ore import dependent steelmakers of Asia and Europe.

Combining the Pilbara iron ore assets, the world’s second largest, have been engaging the attention of the two miners for nearly a decade. In fact, the reason why BHP, earlier to cementing the JV, first made a bid for the whole of Rio, which also has other interests including a large aluminium and bauxite profile, and then abandoned it citing the debt burden that would befall it was largely to get control of the combined Pilbara ore deposits.

Incidentally, since Rio has a bigger ore asset base than BHP at Pilbara, it has claim to a one-off payment of $5.8 billion from the JV partner and the money will be used to pay down its debts. The compensation designed to make it an equal partnership JV could, however, be down by up to $1 billion since BHP has a bigger capital expenditure programme for Pilbara than Rio.

At the outset of JV negotiations, joint marketing of up to 15 per cent of the ore to be mined at Pilbara was very much part of the scheme. But as the idea of combined marketing raised ire of ore importers and the partners themselves realised that the JV might very well get scuppered by EU and Chinese regulators, they dropped it in October. Attempts like these are designed to make the regulatory tests less stringent.

Much to the relief of JV partners, the EU Competition Commission will not be conducting a comprehensive merger enquiry where the highly sensitive market share issue figures prominently. The Commission’s review of the JV proposal will now be done under the less stringent Article 101 allowing avoidance of deadline defined European merger control regulation.

The dropping of joint marketing clause has not, however, stopped major importers from heaping scorn on BHP-Rio Pilbara initiative. Eurofer representing EU’s leading steelmakers, including ArcelorMittal and Corus has not lost any time to wave the red flag at the JV saying that BHP and Rio could keep “separate commercial entities” post commissioning of Pilbara venture is mere “fantasy.”

Ahead of the signing of binding agreements for the JV, Eurofer told the Commission why the deal should not pass its muster. What is particularly ominous for BHP and Rio is that Eurofer is holding discussions with China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) in an attempt to build a formidable opposition to the union of two giants whose combined production capacity of ore is about 350 million tonnes. Eurofer has also reached out to the Chinese competition authority where the JV will come for review.

That there is no love lost between China and Anglo-Australian ore producers became evident earlier this year when in the midst of protracted ore price negotiations, Beijing got some Rio officials arrested on charges of industrial espionage. Foreign miners signing deals with individual Chinese steelmakers bypassing CISA, the designated body to conduct negotiations, also angered China.

China started nursing grievances against Rio when in June it cancelled a $19.5-billion deal with Chinalco, which would have made it the single largest owner of the miner with 9 per cent equity holding. For the JV partners, the Chinese air is filled with suspicion and the deal will no doubt be seen as an attempt to curb competition.

China has too much at stake while the two mining giants join forces in a commodity in which it is hugely import-dependent. The country’s import of 444 million tonnes of ore last year constituted half the world seaborne trade in the commodity. This year will end with China importing around 600 million tonnes of ore. The JV could well curb the bargaining power of China in future ore price negotiations

EMAL fires up its Taweelah smelter
National - Chris Stanton - 13-Dec-2009

Kilometres of production lines have sprung to life at the US$5.7 billion (Dh20.93bn) smelter operated by Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) in Taweelah, giving the firm a cash flow early next year but also putting it at the mercy of volatile commodity and debt markets.

The firm’s chief executive, Duncan Hedditch, said it is in the final stages of raising $700 million from an export credit agency and would not face difficulties in funding what could become the world’s largest aluminium production facility. However, he backed away from a spring timeline for a bond put forward by another EMAL executive, saying the firm faced “no time or other pressure”.

“Currently we’re project-financed and now we’re moving into operations, so we need to set up the financial gearing to support the business and deliver the performance we want,” he said. “The bond is a market timing thing. You just watch and wait until the timing and prices suit.”

Asked whether EMAL’s financing would be affected by fallout from the debt standstill request by Dubai World, Mr Hedditch said he was confident that financiers “understand what this business is”.

“I guess we’re relatively insulated from a lot of things happening in the marketplace,” he said.

The company’s chief financial officer, Bill Campbell, said last week that EMAL would issue a $700m amortising bond in March or April next year and, in addition to funds from the export credit agency, would raise $600m from cash savings or from equity holders Dubai Aluminium and Mubadala Development.

EMAL produced its first aluminium on December 1 and will gradually increase production throughout next year as it activates each of the smelter’s 756 production cells. Ten were operating as of last Thursday, Mr Hedditch said.

“We’re still in start-up through next year. We’ll only produce, in total volume, half of our full capacity because you start from zero and ramp up,” he said.

The smelter can produce slightly more than 700,000 tonnes of metal a year. A second-stage expansion would double capacity and would be likely to cost less because it would be built more efficiently and probably on better financial terms, Mr Hedditch said.

“It’s quite different from phase one. Phase one, we were a project; phase two, we’ve already got an operating business,” he said. “We’ll have a track record.”

EMAL’s board is expected to make an investment decision on the project by the middle of next year. By then Mr Hedditch may have left the company as he has plans to return to Australia.

Prices for aluminium futures on the London Metal Exchange (LME) have gained 44 per cent this year, tracking price increases in crude oil and in other metals. The contract hit $2,245 a tonne last Thursday, the highest since October last year.

Analysts have warned in recent months that the price of aluminium is being inflated above its true value by speculators and is due for a correction. They point to the large amount of metal in storage and the start-up next year of several major smelters.

While metals analysts polled by Bloomberg expected the price to average $1,895 a tonne in the first quarter of next year, LME futures for that period are selling at $2,210.

Mr Hedditch said he was not concerned about a price bubble.

“It seems as if there has certainly been some use of metal as a financial hedge, but that’s also not unusual in this market,” he said. “The volume of it appears to be a little larger than historically, but there’s nothing about that, to me, which is terribly alarming.”

cstanton@thenational.ae

Smelters may be at risk
Sydney Morning Herald - Miles Prosser - ‎?13-Dec-2009
IT seems a long way from a pot room in one of Australia's
aluminium smelters to the often arcane discussions in Copenhagen's Bella Centre. ...

What possible link could there be?
Aluminium has a positive future in a climate-constrained world. Your next car, for example, will have more aluminium in it, making it lighter and easier on fuel. When the time comes to dispose of it, it will be recycled at a fraction of the initial energy cost. But where will that aluminium be produced?
Australian alumina refineries and aluminium smelters compete against plants in China, the Middle East and many other countries. We are now a global leader in this industry, based on our competitive advantages of skilled workforce, previous investment and natural resources.
If we get the Copenhagen outcome wrong, we will secede those advantages to others. Aluminium production will leak to countries that do not impose a carbon cost. The environment will not benefit, because the world will continue to consume as much aluminium as ever, no matter where it is made.
The daily briefings in Copenhagen with Australian Government officials are a chance to hear of progress in negotiations and provide feedback on trade issues.
The ultimate commitments made by developing countries such as China and the comparative contribution that Australia makes to a global target are crucial in determining the cost to Australia's economy and industry.
For us, involvement in Copenhagen has a second component: furthering international action within the aluminium industry, where the global emission intensity has already been cut by 22 per cent since 1990 for smelting.
When the final Copenhagen outcome is known on Friday - or early Saturday morning - we should look to see if the governments of the world have succeeded in developing a solution with a global scope - and if the Australian Government has ensured that we are maintaining the viability of our domestic industry.
Miles Prosser is executive director of the Australian Aluminium Council.

Maaden retenders $1bn refinery contract
Trade Arabia - ‎?12-Dec-2009

Al Khobar: Sun, 13 Dec 2009
Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Maaden) has retendered a $1 billion construction contract for its 1.6 million tonnes per year (tpy) alumina refinery, said a report.
Maaden originally awarded the engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM) contract to US Fluor Corp in late 2008, the London-based Meed magazine magazine reported.
At least five firms, including Fluor, have been invited to submit bids for the new contract for the alumina refinery by December 15, the magazine reported without citing a source.
Rio Tinto Alcan said last year it had dropped plans to take a 49 per cent stake in the $10 billion smelter because of the global financial crisis. This has delayed by three years the start of production at the aluminium smelter.
Maaden and Rio Tinto signed a heads of agreement in 2007 to build the project to develop a 720,000 tonnes per year aluminium smelter and the alumina refinery that will feed the smelter at Ras Azzour, according to Maaden's website. – Reuters

Hindalco to raise INR 4500 crore
Business Standard - 10-Dec-2009

In Madhya Pradesh, the company is setting up Mahan Aluminum a complex of smelters and thermal power plant with respective capacities of 359 kilo tonne per ...
Hindalco Industries, India’s largest aluminium maker, is in the process of raising over Rs 4,500 crore as debt to achieve financial closure for Utkal Alumina Refinery, a new 1.5-million-tonne per annum project in Orissa.
The refinery is expected to start production from July 2011 and the order for machinery has been already placed. It involves an estimated Rs 6,500 crore of planned capital expenditure, about 30 per cent of which is being put up as equity by the company, while the rest is being raised as debt.
“With interest rates hitting an all-time low, this is the right time to raise debt in Indian currency,” said a banker familiar with the development. Another banker with knowledge of the deal said the company is raising a term loan against the project. Such financing is usually called project finance in banking parlance.
The company declined comment. SBI Capital Markets, IDBI Bank and ABN Amro are doing joint syndication for the transaction, expected to be closed in about three to four weeks. The company has capital expenditure plans of over Rs 23,000 crore for the next three years, including other new plants in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.
Hindalco plans to fund 30 per cent of its total capital expenditure through equity infusion and internal accruals. It raised Rs 2,900 crore by selling fresh equity in qualified institutional placements last month. It is now tying up the debt component for the projects.
Its revenue for the last financial year was Rs 65,414 crore, while net profit was reported at Rs 485 crore — down from Rs 2,193 crore in the previous year, primarily due to Canadian subsidiary Novelis, which reported Rs 8,769 crore loss in that year. The subsidiary is expected to make Rs 5,000 crore of operational profit from the financial year 2012-13, according to the company estimates given in the annual general meeting a few months earlier.
In Madhya Pradesh, the company is setting up Mahan Aluminium, a complex of smelters and thermal power plant with respective capacities of 359 ktpa and 900 Mw. This is also slated for production in July 2011. Bankers say this would be the next one for achieving financial closure after Utkal Alumina.
Aditya Alumina and Aluminium is another new project planned as an integrated aluminium complex in Orissa. The project includes a 4.2 million-tpa bauxite mine, a 1.5 million-tpa alumina refinery at Kansariguda and a 359-ktpa smelter at Lapanga. The refinery is expected to produce 2 million tpa within three years of its startup. The smelter is expected to start production by October 2011, while the refinery is proposed to be completed by June 2013

Aluminium exporters hail tariff move
Manawatu Standard - Adrian Chang - ‎?11-Dec-2009
New Zealand aluminium exporters are celebrating new Australian trade barriers put up to block cheap Chinese products ...
New Zealand aluminium exporters are celebrating new Australian trade barriers put up to block cheap Chinese products entering the country.
In a speech to delegates at the first Aluminium Trade Expo, including Prime Minister John Key, Ullrich Aluminium chief executive Gilbert Ullrich said the past five years had seen significant amounts of aluminium products from China and other Asian countries flood the market.
Their dominance of the market prompted Australian Customs to impose a 16 per cent import tariff on aluminium extrusion products from China, joining Canada which already has a 39 per cent tariff.
"This is a real boost to our future success in the fiercely competitive Australasian market," Mr Ullrich said. The new Australian tariffs presented a wonderful opportunity to gain a share of the nearly 50 per cent of imported aluminium product into the country.
The move should also restore confidence in the local aluminium industry among bankers and other financial institutions.
Mr Ullrich said he was confident aluminium could be a sunrise industry and other industries in similar situations could take heart from Australia's "milestone decision" to erect new tariffs.
"Some of these industries ... have taken their cases to Customs and Governments in both NZ and Australia."

Aluminum inventories well ahead of demand
Purchasing.com - Tom Stundza - ‎?11-Dec-2009

World aluminum inventories of 5.8 million metric tons at the end of October were 81% higher than the 3.2 million metric tons at the same time last year, ...
World aluminum inventories of 5.8 million metric tons at the end of October were 81% higher than the 3.2 million metric tons at the same time last year, the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) reports, indicating that global supply remains well out of balance with demand and explains the 36% slippage in annualized ingot prices.
According to the latest-available IAI data, inventory continues to be well above 50 days of supply at current rates of consumption. And, annualized production was running at a pace of 39 million metric tons, up 20% from the February low of 33 million metric tons. That's why the 2009 annual average price for London Metals Exchange spot aluminum of 75Ā¢/lb compares with $1.17 in 2008.
Analysts at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Research say they "continue to expect days of supply to remain elevated as Chinese production continues to increase and underlying demand in U.S. and Europe remains weak." Harbor Intelligence says "China already has restarted all of the 3.48 million metric tons/year of capacity that was cut during the economic crisis and has even brought on to the table 1.32 million metric tons/year of output from new capacity."
Analyst Paul Williams of CRU Groups writes, "We would caution against getting too excited about demand recovery outside China." Along the same lines, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Research's global commodities team expects aluminum to lag other metals in a recovery, it is forecasting a 2 million metric ton worldwide surplus in 2010.

Alumar Alumina Refinery Expansion Dedicated
FOXBusiness - ‎?11-Dec-2009
NEW YORK, Dec 11, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) ----Alcoa (NYSE:AA) has inaugurated the expansion of the Alumar alumina refinery in northern Brazil, where capacity more than doubled from 1.5 million metric tons per year (mtpy) to 3.6 million mtpy. Alcoa's share of the expansion will be 1.1 million mtpy. The expansion capacity at the refinery will be in the first quintile of low cost alumina production globally.
Alumar, located in Maranhao state outside Sao Luis, Brazil, is jointly owned by Alcoa Aluminio and Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals/AWAC (54 percent), BHP Billiton (36 percent) and Rio Tinto Alcan (10 percent). Alcoa manages the facility.
The AWAC share of the Alumar refinery expansion will be supplied by the recently completed AWAC Juruti bauxite mine. Alcoa's investment in the Alumar expansion, which totaled approximately $1.0 billion, will place Alcoa's global refining system in the lowest cost quartile on the global cost curve. Production at the refinery will be ramped up to reach full capacity by the end of the first quarter of 2010.
Brazilian President Lula da Silva participated in Thursday's inauguration, along with Maranhao State Governor Roseana Sarney and other federal and state authorities. At the ceremony, President Lula said, "Above all the expansion of this refinery symbolizes a new moment being experienced by Brazil's North/Northeast, in its march toward economic emancipation. This region's economy has grown a lot in the last few years. That's why Alcoa, the world's main manager of alumina, and primary and fabricated aluminum, is transforming this Alumar complex here in Maranhao into one of the largest in the world, simultaneously with the implementation of a bauxite mine in Juruti."
Franklin L. Feder, president of Alcoa Latin America and Caribbean, said, "We accomplished this expansion at competitive cost, employing local workers and suppliers and incorporating state-of-the-art technology, which places the Alumar alumina refinery as one of the lowest cost refineries in the world. And our ramp-up activities are going extremely well so this low-cost production will be utilized quickly."
At the peak of the expansion construction, Alumar hired up to 13,000 workers, approximately 70% of them Maranhao natives, and 30% from the city of Sao Luis. When the milestone of 20 million work hours completed with no lost day incidents was reached, the project became a global labor safety benchmark.
Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals is a joint venture between Alcoa and Alumina Limited with Alcoa holding 60 percent.

Italy says reaches Alcoa energy deal, company denies
Reuters - Svetlana Kovalyova, Carole Vaporean - ‎?10-Dec-2009

MILAN, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Italy's Economic Development Ministry said the government had reached a deal on energy supplies with U.S. aluminum group Alcoa Inc (AA.N) to keep its Italian plants working after a regulatory setback, but the company said it hadn't resolved the issues yet.
In November, Alcoa said it would temporarily idle operations at its Italian smelters with a total capacity of 194,000 metric tonnes a year, after the European Commission ordered it to pay back most of the state aid it had received in Italy since 2006.
The government has made "an exceptional commitment" to find "extraordinary instruments" to lower the cost of energy supplies for Alcoa, the ministry which held talks with Alcoa said in a statement on Thursday.
The ministry has not specified those instruments but said they would kick in at the start of January.
Alcoa spokesman Kevin Lowery confirmed Thursday's talks, but said that no deal had been signed and they were still negotiating.
"We're appreciative of the government's efforts...but we also told them that we reserve judgment on the effectiveness of these tools until we further review them," he said, without giving details of the tools.
"One of the key aspects is that the proposals they put forth, we want to make sure they are going to be consistent with the EC regulatory requirements," said Lowery.
Alcoa's management has recognised the government efforts to ensure energy supplies on competitive conditions and has pledged not to suspend the work of its Italian units until the next meeting with the government scheduled for Jan. 7, the ministry said.
It said the agreement has been backed by unions which protested last month against the possible closure of Alcoa's Italian smelters.
Alcoa has set a deadline of Dec. 21 to determine the cost of its power supplies in Italy in 2010. On the basis of that, it would take a decision on whether to stay in Italy. (Reporting by Svetlana Kovalyova; additional reporting by Carole Vaporean; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Aluminum fee in Japan rises to a 14-year high on demand
China Post - 10-Dec-2009
“Demand is recovering at a faster pace than we had earlier expected, led by government stimulus measures,” Kunio Ishikawa, director at the Japan Aluminium ...
TOKYO -- Aluminum buyers in Japan agreed to increase the fee they pay for supplies to the highest level in at least 14 years as an economic recovery boosts regional demand for the metal, four industry executives said.
Premiums for the three months ending March 31 have been set at US$125 to US$128 a metric ton over the London cash price in transactions agreed so far, said the executives, who are involved in the talks.
That compares with US$115 to US$125 a ton this quarter, the highest level since Japan began buying most of its aluminum through long-term contracts in 1996. The executives declined to be identified because talks are private.
Aluminum climbed 42 percent this year as China, the world's biggest producer and consumer, became a net importer under a 4 trillion yuan (US$586 billion) stimulus plan and economies in the U.S., Japan and Europe emerged from the worst postwar recession. The global surplus of the metal will narrow by 54 percent in 2010 from this year, trading company Marubeni Corp. has forecast.
“Demand is recovering at a faster pace than we had earlier expected, led by government stimulus measures,” Kunio Ishikawa, director at the Japan Aluminium Association, said Thursday by phone

A carbon-free smelter--for free
National (blog) - Chris Stanton - ‎?10-Dec-2009
Carbon capture and storage is great for business ... as long as you don't have to foot the hefty bill. That's the fortunate position of Emirates Aluminium (EMAL), which is working with Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Government's clean energy firm, to engineer a carbon capture system at the gas-fired power plant at its upcoming smelter in Taweelah.
Duncan Hedditch, EMAL's chief executive, said the company is "very keen to pursue" carbon capture in its bid to build the cleanest smelter in the world. The firm has left physical room in its design for the capture technology, whose design and engineering would be led by Masdar, he said. But EMAL won't have to pay anything towards the capture plant itself, he indicated.
"The final details aren't worked out, but it's not expected that EMAL will contribute capital to that," Mr Hedditch said in a telephone interview. "Effectively from a commercial point of view it would be totally independent of EMAL."
EMAL would provide Masdar with a utilities connection and sell it the carbon gas for "a small consideration", Mr Hedditch said.
Masdar hopes to build a network of carbon capture projects that would collect emissions from EMAL's smelter, Emirates Steel Industries, and one of the emirate's power stations. The gas would be piped to the Western Region where it would be sold to the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for injection into old oil wells. The scheme would squeeze out more oil, reduce emissions and displace valuable natural gas that is currently in the wells to maintain pressure

India's Hindalco raising $966 mln debt - paper
Reuters India - Jeanette Rodrigues, Ranjit Gangadharan - ‎?09-Dec-2009
MUMBAI, Dec 10 (Reuters)
Indian aluminium maker Hindalco Industries is raising 45 billion rupees ($966 million) in ...
debt to fund a new alumina refinery, the Business Standard reported on Thursday, citing unnamed bankers with knowledge of the deal.
The 1.5-million-tonne per year refinery, in the eastern state of Orissa, is expected to start production in July 2011 and involves about 65 billion rupees as capital expenditure, 30 percent of which is equity and the rest debt, the newspaper said.
Company officials were not immediately available for comment.
SBI Capital Markets, IDBI Bank and ABN AMRO are syndicating the term loan, expected to close in about three to four weeks, the paper said.
It also said a complex of smelters and thermal power plants in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, also slated for production in 2011, will be the company's next project for achieving financial closure.
Hindalco, part of the Aditya Birla Group, had raised $600 million through a sale of shares last month.
($1 = 46.6 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Jeanette Rodrigues; Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan

Alcan lays out the future
Northern Sentinel - Marcel Vander Wier -‎??09-Dec-2009
The Kitimat Modernization Project remains a top priority for Rio Tinto Alcan as it moves into the future.
“Given the economic recession and the challenge that we face as a company, we are extremely pleased that the Kitimat Modernization Project continues to be one of the highest-positioned projects for our company,” project director Michel Lamarre said at a supplier update session late last month.
“Rio Tinto is committed to preserving the Kitimat project as one of its key future growths.”
Approximately 80 local contractors gathered at the Kitimat Valley Institute on November 25 for a contractor-supplier information session hosted by Rio Tinto Alcan.
The contractors heard first-hand what opportunities will be available for bidding on at Alcan’s Kitimat operations in 2010, before getting an update on the KMP project from Lamarre.
“KMP continues to move forward, even though it is at a slower pace than any of us are thrilled about,” he told the group. “We all would like to go faster, but the economic situation doesn’t definitively allow us to do so at the moment.”
Lamarre explained that the company has used the extra time to improve the value of the modernization project.
The original layout contained six pot lines aligned east to west, while the improved design calls for four buildings aligned north-south.
Lamarre said the new layout will be easier to build and maintain, all the while providing the same number of pots and aluminum production.
“We think we have a better layout and a better project now,” he said.
For now, Alcan will continue to ready its site development into 2010, “to make sure when the starting gun is making noise, we are ready to go.”
Lamarre reassured the community that Alcan is committed to regional industrial development and diversification of the local economy by working with local contractors and suppliers, shown by the number of jobs handed out to contractors from Kitimat and Terrace this year – almost 80 per cent.
Mike Long, manager of BC power operations and engineering, said despite the economic recession making 2009 a “tough year” for Alcan, the company still spent nearly $17-million on upgrades and maintenance on the Kitimat operation.
Major projects completed in 2009 included: a transmission line catenary replacement, generator upgrades, transmission line insulator replacement and improving the casting in DC4.
“We had to reduce our costs in order to be a viable business,” he said.
“But it’s very important for us, that when we say we’re going to do something, we deliver on those initiatives.”
For 2010, work will focus around: generator upgrades, insulator replacement, Kemano PH crane control and upgrades to the pot control system.
Alcan will continue to ramp up momentum for the KMP project by working on site development and construction camp preparations.
“With KMP sitting on our doorstep, we need to be ready on the power side in order to deliver the reliable power that the new smelter will demand,” said Long.
“We’re taking advantage of this time to do the investments in Kemano to get our generators ready to go, all our systems moving, all the insulators on the transmission line replaced, so that work will be going on over the next five years. So you’ll see a high percentage of the capital investment will be related to the power side of the business.”
The project budget will be around $21-million next year.
“For 2010, we’re looking at about a 25 per cent increase,” said Long.
“We see a bit of a change in the economy. It’s starting to recover.”

Trimet Aluminum may decide to return to full capacity in 2010
Bloomberg - 04-Dec-2009
Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Trimet Aluminium AG, Germany’s largest producer of the metal, will decide next year whether to return to full output after keeping production at two-thirds of capacity for the past six months.
The company closed two of three pot lines at the start of 2009 at its 170,000 metric-ton-a-year plant in Essen as demand for metals contracted with the world entering its deepest recession since World War II.
Trimet raised production in May on expectations demand would rebound. Customers include rolling and extrusion mills making products for the auto, construction and packaging industries.
“We are running at two-thirds of capacity,” spokesman Mathias Scheben said by e-mail, responding to questions on behalf of Chief Executive Officer Heinz-Peter Schlueter. “We will decide early next year on our production output for 2010, depending on the stabilization of demand at a sufficient level.”
Output at a second plant in Hamburg remains 30 percent below its capacity of 130,000 tons a year, Scheben said.
Demand for the lightweight metal contracted 6.5 percent this year, spurring global production cuts of as much as 19 percent, according to Barclays Capital. Demand will grow 8.2 percent next year as manufacturing recovers, the bank forecast.
Rusal Capacity
Trimet’s comments echo those yesterday of United Co. Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer. The Russian company won’t restart idled capacity while demand is still on the mend, owner and Chief Executive Officer Oleg Deripaska told Bloomberg News.

Reduced demand has added to aluminum inventories. London Metal Exchange-monitored stockpiles almost doubled this year to a record 4.6 million tons on Sept. 16.
Supply will exceed demand by 1.63 million tons in 2010, up 29 percent from this year, Barclays Capital estimates.
Three-month aluminum rose 0.3 percent to $2,139.75 a ton by 12:33 p.m. in London. The contract reached $2,166 yesterday, the highest price since Oct. 30 last year.
To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Stablum in London at astablum@bloomberg.net

Russian Aluminum Company Alters Tactics
New York Times - Andrew E. Kramer -08-Dec-2009
MOSCOW — Rebuffed in its effort to offer shares on the Hong Kong exchange, the Russian aluminum company Rusal shifted tactics on Tuesday toward a longer-term strategy to win over regulators.
Rusal announced that it would appoint two senior Hong Kong officials to its board. The officials, the company said, will help steer Rusal through a share offering in Asia, while counseling executives on business tactics in the region.
On Monday, the listing committee of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing considered the Rusal listing but declined to make a decision, news agencies reported, most likely delaying the offering well into next year.
It was a blow to Rusal. And on Tuesday, the company appointed two directors: Elsie Leung, a former Hong Kong secretary of justice and current member of the National People’s Congress of China; and Barry C. Cheung, the chairman of the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange.
“Their expertise will be of great value,” the chief executive of Rusal, Oleg V. Deripaska, said in the statement. He said their acceptance of the appointments was “a strong vote of confidence in the company.”
It might also raise the confidence of Chinese regulators in a Russian company burdened with financial and legal troubles, some of which date to Rusal’s creation in the crime-ridden early years of post-Soviet capitalism.
One former owner, Mikhail Cherney, is suing Rusal in London. He claims he still owns 13 percent of the company in a case with roots in the violent episode of privatization known as the Siberian aluminum wars.
The case has cleared jurisdictional challenges and will go to trial next year.
Another concern with Rusal, as generally in Russian business, is possible nationalization.

German Norsk Hydro smelter faces shutdown - paper
Reuters - Marilyn Gerlach, Wojciech Moskwa - ‎?08-Dec-2009
FRANKFURT, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Germany's biggest aluminium smelter plant, owned by Norway's Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL), is facing immediate shutdown due to high environmental costs, a German daily said on Tuesday.
The Rheinwerk plant in Neuss will have to close down immediately if the metal industries do not receive aid in the coming days, Die Welt newspaper cited Martin Kneer, managing director of the German Metal Federation WVM, as saying in an e-mail to the German Chancellor's Office.
A spokesman for WVM told the newspaper other aluminium and zinc smelter plants are facing the same risk of being shut down.
Kneer in his e-mail urged the German government to ask the European Commission in Brussels for the green light to provide compensation for CO2 costs incurred by energy-intensive companies, Die Welt said in an excerpt of its Wednesday edition.
Germany's previous ruling government coalition had decided to give extra aid of 40 million euros ($59.2 million) in 2009 to help the non-ferrous metal industry overcome the impact of the economic slowdown and high German power costs. [ID:nL6311896]
A spokesman for Rheinwerk declined comment to the newspaper. A spokesman for Norsk Hydro in Norway was not immediately available for comment to Reuters. ($1=.6752 Euro) (Reporting by Marilyn Gerlach and Wojciech Moskwa; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

Energy and mining investment projects in Cameroon
SteelGuru - 07-Dec-2009
The consortium said that it has found 550 million tonnes of bauxite and is targeting at least another 200 million tonnes. With start up planned for 2013, ...
Dec 3 (Reuters) - Cameroon hopes to triple electricity output to 3,000 MW by 2020 through a series of hydro and thermal generation projects.
The move is aimed at increasing public access to power in the West African coastal nation while also paving the way to expand the energy-intensive mining sector.
Below are investment projects in a country aiming to develop its energy and mineral resources and expand its ports:

ALUMINIUM, BAUXITE-

Rio Tinto Alcan (RIO.L) is a partner with Cameroon's government in Alucam, an operation scheduled to include a 1 million tonne aluminium smelter at Kribi. Rio has said the project, including a 1,000 megawatt hydroelectric dam to power the smelter, will cost 140 billion CFA francs ($317.6 million). Construction timeline is 2015-18.

Global Aluminium Industry Co-operating On Climate Change Actions
India Business Blog (blog) - 07-Dec-2009
The International Aluminium Institute (IAI) today called on negotiators at the UNFCCC Copenhagen Climate Change meeting to include industry in its discussions to ensure the significant and long term task of addressing climate changes will be based on a bottom up approach that encourages participation at all levels.
IAI Chairman and Deputy CEO of UC RUSAL, Mr. Artem Volynets said today “The biggest task for Governments is engaging and informing the community across all levels, from producer to consumer about the role they can play in improving the transformation of resources, including energy, from raw material to consumer goods and then to reuse.”
Mr. Volynets noted “our industry is committed to maintaining the position of aluminium as one of the most sustainable and preferred materials in building, transport and packaging.”
“Through its annual global surveys, the aluminium industry reports key sustainability indicators in greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, environment, health & safety performance, recycling and use phase benefits of aluminium applications. Some of our industry’s key achievements in reducing the environmental footprint, promoted by voluntary industry objectives and technology, process and product developments, include:
Cumulative GHG savings from recycling, 1990 – 2008 1 billion tonnes CO2e
Total PFC emissions (t CO2e) reduced by 70% – and no increase in total direct emissions – between 1990

& 2008, while doubling production
GHG intensity per tonne of semi fabricated product, including savings from recycling, reduced by 22% between 1990 and 2008
300 million tonnes CO2e GHG emissions potentially saved through aluminium vehicle light weighting applications in 2008
9 million tonnes of aluminium recycled from post-consumer scrap annually, saving 80 million tonnes CO2e, with additional savings from the 9 million tonnes of pre-consumer (process/manufacturing) scrap recycled every year
Mr. Volynets said “these are excellent achievements by any measure and demonstrate the value of governments engaging with industry. Industry has demonstrated that it is an integral part of the response to GHG mitigation.
Government can improve the effectiveness of its policy response to GHG by engaging with
industry early in the development process.”
Mr. Volynets emphasised the “the IAI is ready to work with UNFCCC and other international agencies to develop suitable programmes and mechanisms for the sustainable development of the industry. Importantly, we are ready to share our experience and achievements in developing cost-effective industry responses.”

Russian aluminium provider Rusal forced to delay $3bn flotation
guardian.co.uk - 07-Dec-2009
Rusal, the world's largest aluminium producer, suffered a humiliating setback today after it was forced to

delay its long-awaited $3bn (£1.8bn) share ...
Rusal, the world's largest aluminium producer, suffered a humiliating setback today after it was forced to delay its long-awaited $3bn (£1.8bn) share flotation on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
In a blow to Rusal's billionaire owner, Oleg Deripaska, Hong Kong's listing committee said today that it was not satisfied with the company's flotation plans. "Based on the company-provided information, the listing committee has not approved the deal ... until the firm can fulfil some conditions," a source confirmed today, according to Reuters.
Deripaska has been struggling to restructure Rusal's massive, complex debts against the backdrop of Russia's economic woes. Once Russia's richest man, he is the most high-profile oligarch victim of the financial crisis.
Rusal has little choice but to delay its initial public offering (IPO) until the spring. Last night, Russian banking sources close to the IPO plans said the company would not rush to carry out a flotation given that aluminium prices were rising, with prices currently at $2,116 a tonne and expected to hit $2,500 by the first quarter of 2010.
Deripaska has been seeking to float his aluminium empire for several years. In April 2008, he indicated that he would prefer to hold an IPO in Hong Kong rather than London, but denied suggestions that he was snubbing the London Stock Exchange because of the long-running political feud between the UK and Russia.
The economic crisis wiped 60% off the metal's value and left Rusal fending off numerous international creditors. Lenders have agreed to extend the length of repayments on money owed by the company, in what has been a protracted and complicated refinancing of $16.8bn of debt involving 72 international banks.
Despite the crisis, Deripaska can still count on his friendship with Vladimir Putin, Russia's powerful prime minister. Russia's state-owned VEB bank, which has Putin as chairman of its supervisory board, has indicated that it plans to take a $670m "cornerstone" stake when Rusal finally floats. Rusal has also marketed its share offering to Chinese investors.
Deripaska also faces other difficulties. They include a legal challenge in the UK high court from former business associate, Michael Cherney. Cherney, a former business associate, claims he is the beneficial owner of 20% of Rusal's stock that, he alleges, Deripaska held in trust for him. Deripaska denies the claim.
Today the head of VEB, Vladimir Dmitriyev, played down legal risks from the Cherney case.
The delay is the latest setback for IPO plans by a company in Europe, where the market for company flotations remains lacklustre compared with some other regions. Earlier this month, German builder Hochtief AG pulled the public listing of its Concessions unit, although some IPOs have succeeded.

Aluminum global glut to decline 54 pc
Financial Express Bangladesh - 06-Dec-2009
TOKYO, Dec 6 (Bloomberg): The global aluminum surplus will narrow by 54 per cent in 2010 from this year as China, the world's largest consumer, leads a gain in demand as economies recover, Japanese trading company Marubeni Corp said.
The surplus of primary aluminum will narrow to 1.19 million metric tonnes from 2.57 million tonnes, Marubeni, Japan's largest importer of the light metal, forecast in a report Friday.
Aluminum for delivery in three months advanced to $2,166 a tonne in London yesterday, the highest level since October 2008, as an economic revival improved demand for the metal used in cars and buildings.
Growth in China's economy, the world's third-largest, may accelerate to 9 per cent next year from 8.5 per cent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.
"Chinese demand will keep growing under the government's economic measures," Yutaka Ishibashi, general manager at Marubeni's light metals section, said at a briefing in Tokyo Friday. "The surplus in the global aluminum market will almost disappear in 2011."
Global demand for the metal will grow 7.6 per cent to 37.6 million tonnes in 2010 after contracting 7.4 per cent this year amid the global recession, according to Marubeni.

Metals man has a need to shine
Financial Times - Peter Marsh, Richard Milne - 06-Dec-2009
Told he was sitting in the same luxury hotel where Jade Goody, the British reality television star, held her elaborate wedding, knowing that she was shortly to die from cancer, Klaus Kleinfeld’s eyes widen. “So she was doomed for death? I didn’t know that story,” he says.

Alcoa says weak dollar is bad for US industry - Dec-06.Alcoa in surprise return to profitability - Oct-07.Alcoa rises 6% as cost-cutting blunts losses - Jul-08.View of the Day: Cyclical recovery for metals - Jul-07.Alcoa hurt by aluminium price slump - Apr-08.Lex: US yearnings season - Apr-08..Although we are meeting in a 14th-century hotel in the Essex countryside near London to discuss his first year in charge of Alcoa, the US aluminium company, Mr Kleinfeld is keen to indulge his curiosity in British popular culture.
As well as talking about Ms Goody – whose death in March triggered a frenzy of tabloid coverage and even an expression of regret from Gordon Brown, the prime minister – Mr Kleinfeld reveals his enthusiasm for The Boat that Rocked, a British comedy about a 1960s “pirate” radio station set in the North Sea. he 52-year-old German is flabbergasted that no one else in the room has seen the film. “Oh my God,” he says. “It’s the best movie that Britain has produced for probably 500 years, and you haven’t watched it.”
Tall and well-connected, Mr Kleinfeld is one of the few Europeans to have a top job in US industry, but only after he had to leave his post as head of Siemens following a €1.3bn ($2bn, £1.2bn) bribery scandal that led to explosive ructions at the German engineering group. Last week, he agreed to pay €2m in damages to Siemens but has not admitted any wrongdoing.
Mr Kleinfeld seems to have emerged from the affair in a reasonably robust state, and with his reputation largely intact. Lord Mandelson, the UK’s business secretary and an acquaintance, says: “He’s a great guy.
I feel sorry for the way he had to leave Siemens.”
Mr Kleinfeld has nonetheless had a turbulent time, dealing with the fall-out from the Siemens imbroglio at the same time as contending with the financial crisis that has had a particularly brutal impact on the aluminium industry.
On the surface, Mr Kleinfeld seems calm enough about his 20 years with Europe’s biggest engineering company. “I still have fond memories of many good things that we achieved [at Siemens],” he says. “It’s a great company, I had fantastic people to work with, and there was an unbelievably good innovation culture. I don’t look back in anger or even worse.”
Though a lot smaller than Siemens, Alcoa has a substantial international reach, with mining and smelting operations in 31 countries, and just over half of its $27bn sales last year in the US. Sales this year will be a lot lower, perhaps by as much as 40 per cent, with profits also hit.
The nine months of 2009 showed a net loss of $874m, compared with net income of $1.1bn in the equivalent period in 2008. Since 2007, the company has been forced to cut almost half its workforce – a total of about 53,000 jobs.
With Mr Kleinfeld cautiously hopeful that the company is starting to see some return to growth, he believes its international presence will help it take advantage of any upturn that emerges in 2010. In a sign of this global perspective, five of Alcoa’s 12-strong executive team, including Mr Kleinfeld, were born outside North America. “I like the international aspects to what Alcoa does,” Mr Kleinfeld says. “I’m curious and I like to go to other places in the world [that I’ve not been to].”
He says that both in his current job and in his time in Siemens he built a “really good network” of contacts. He sprinkles some of their names – such as the Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, and Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of General Electric – into the conversation. Discussing Lord Mandelson, a famed party-goer, Mr Kleinfeld says: “He’s a very late bird. I like him a lot.”
Others in Mr Kleinfeld’s circle include his “good friend” Henry Kissinger, plus Xiao Yaqing, a senior adviser to the Chinese cabinet and former chairman of Chinalco, a large aluminium company with which Alcoa has had a long partnership.
Mr Kleinfeld joined Siemens after a job in management consultancy, and he retains much of the terminology of this profession.

The CV
Born: November 6 1957
Education: Master’s degree in Business Administration and Economics, University of Goettingen; PhD in strategic management.
Career: Management consultant before joining Siemens in 1987, becoming chief executive in 2005.

Stepped down in 2007 following a corruption scandal. Later that year he joined Alcoa and became chief executive in 2008.
Personal traits: Gregarious with occasional lapses into management-speak. Confrontational style has irked some colleagues.
..He likes to talk about “rolling out” projects concerned with cutting costs or conserving cash, and assigning “additional hats” to managers – in other words, giving them extra work. “I’m a big believer in programmes, as you know from the Siemens days, that is always how I have run things,” he says. He rose to the top of Siemens after doing well in a number of jobs, notably its telecommunications unit. He also had a successful spell turning round its poorly performing US subsidiary between 2002 and 2004, in a period when he got to know a lot of top people in the US corporate world.
But his image as a process-driven manager without a technical background did not always fit in with the German group’s engineering-based culture and status, which comes close to national treasure.
There was also a certain brashness of style about Mr Kleinfeld that irked some in Germany – where leaders of Siemens have in the past been regarded as elder statesmen. Indications of Mr Kleinfeld’s approach included the episode at a press conference when he dunked a journalist’s mobile phone in a glass of water because it was made by Nokia and not Siemens, and the bright yellow Top Gun baseball cap that he kept in his chief executive’s office in Munich to show who was the boss.
But with the direct style comes a desire to scrutinise the inner workings of a company – not always seen in top executives. At Alcoa, for instance, Mr Kleinfeld says he has learnt a lot through going into “pot rooms” – places inside smelters where aluminium extraction takes place – to talk to operators.
“Going as deep as you can go in an organisation [through talking to people] is very helpful in terms of trying to affect culture and behaviour,” he says.
When he moved to Alcoa – where he had been on the board since 2003 – it was impossible to avoid the thought that he was stepping down a peg in the corporate world, joining a company with about a quarter of Siemens’ annual sales and a much smaller influence globally.
Mr Kleinfeld’s attempts to counter this idea are not altogether convincing. “Alcoa’s a fascinating company; not only is it a leader in the aluminium industry but it also has invented the industry. The aluminium industry didn’t exist before Charles Martin Hall, who was the founder of Alcoa [in 1888],” he insists.
However, there are some compensations to the move, both on the grounds of the technical challenges of the aluminium industry, which Mr Kleinfeld clearly finds engrossing, and also on account of the relative freedom from public and political scrutiny to which Siemens is subjected in Germany.
He appears, on the whole, to be positive about his new company. “Alcoa [is] a very apolitical environment, and we can do things that need to be done very, very fast,” he says.
On the subject of Alcoa’s strategy, Mr Kleinfeld is evasive. However, it is clear that China will figure somewhere in his plans. The country is now by some way the world’s biggest aluminium producer, so a deeper collaboration with Chinalco – or one of the other big Chinese smelters of this metal – could be an option.
“They have the advantage of 1.3bn people. You have a lot of fantastic, fantastic people there that will undoubtedly build a great future,” he says

Bahrain best country for expats: poll
Gulf Times - Adam Gonn -05-Dec-2009
A new poll commissioned by HSBC Bank International has rated Bahrain the top nation for expatriates in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region and among the top five globally.
The Expat Experience poll which is in its second year, surveyed 3,146 people working in 30 different industries and 50 countries, regarding their integration into local society, as well as their quality of life.
“In Bahrain, we have made a commitment to creating an attractive business environment for international companies looking to access the trillion dollar market of the Gulf,” Kamal Ahmed, chief operating officer of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) told The Media Line.
The EDB has the overall responsibility for creating the right climate to attract foreign investment.
“For those moving to our country, we know the factors they face when organising a new life,” Ahmed said, “and this report shows that Bahrain is not just the ideal location to do business in and from, but a great place to live as well.”
“We were really excited to have 12 new countries featured this year and Bahrain was one of the unexpected new entries,” Betony Taylor, corporate communications manager with HSBC Bank International told The Media Line.
“Expats living in the country rated it really highly for ease of integration,” Taylor said. “Overall it ranked as the best country to join local community groups and co-ordinate health care.”
“Respondents found it less easy to make local friends and learn the languages (Arabic, Farsi and Urdu),” Taylor said. “But the country ranked in the top five when it came to finding a home, setting up finances, and finding good schools.”
According to the survey some 81% of all expatriates in Bahrain are ‘expat-lifers’ meaning they stay for over five years, something often taken by analysts as an indication of satisfaction.
The survey included 23 parameters ranging from organising children’s schooling, finding somewhere to live and finding love.
Bahrain like many other Gulf countries is rich in natural resources such as oil and natural gas which currently provide 70% of the national income. Fears Bahrain’s economy may be overly reliant on these finite resources have prompted the government to work on diversifying the national economy.
The main fields under development are construction, Islamic banking and an emergent metal industry using the country’s cheap energy prices to establish aluminium and iron smelting plants.
While a large expatriate community has contributed to the country’s knowledge and skills base vital to its economic diversification, criticisms have been levelled at the policy for causing high unemployment rates as nationals are unable to compete with expatriates for jobs in the private sector.
The official unemployment rate in Bahrain stands at 3.5%, although the actual figure is believed to be much higher. In order to tackle this problem a new initiative has been set up to replace high numbers of expatriates with nationals.
The new programme aims to place 35,000 well-educated Bahrainis with high-skill levels in positions currently held by qualified expatriates and to train 150,000 nationals with high school degrees to take up entry level positions in the private sector. - The Media Line

Govt signs Alutrint deal despite court ruling
The Trinidad Guardian - 05-Dec-2009
Energy Minister Conrad Enill, left, and Marco Palmeiri, head,
aluminium business, Votorantim Metais, signs the Alutrint/Votorantim project agreement at the ...

Enill: Smelter viable, feasible
Trinidad News - Leiselle Maraj - ‎?05-Dec-2009
Alutrint is not backing down from an aluminium smelter plant in La Brea after signing a partnership agreement with Brazilian mining and processing company, Votorantim Metais Ltda, yesterday despite protests as well as a court challenge to the certificate of environmental clearance (CEC) awarded to Alutrint for the project.
Energy Minister Conrad Enill again defended the project saying the feasibility study done on the Alutrint project proved the smelter plant will be economically viable, technically feasible and environmentally compliant.
“One would get the impression from some of the commentary that the Government basically got up one morning and decided this was the preferred course of action and did not take into account any of the issues. We have and our proposal is that, insofar as this industry is concerned, on the matters of health, safety and environment the project as we have developed it to date, as we have conceptualised it, will take into account all of those issues,” he said.
Speaking to reporters after the official proceedings at Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, Enill said the signing of the agreement did not go against any of the issues raised in court.
“This particular signing does not in any way move the project forward. It simply puts in place something that was there before. There was a process which Alutrint went through and as a result, the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) granted that organisation a CEC so that there was a basis for going forward.
There are certain elements of the CEC the court considered not to be appropriate but on all other elements the court agree. Those two issues which the court has an issue with, representations are being made to address it,” he said.
In his prepared speech, the minister expressed optimism for advancement of the smelter project because of the present stabilisation of global markets after a period of volatility. He said Government is aware that the aluminium industry has recurring periods of highs and lows and Government’s investment in the industry is occurring while entry costs are low.
Enill explained an environmental impact assessment study (EIA) commissioned by Alutrint in July 2005 show the design engineering stage of the project will ensure the application of the best available pollution prevention and control technology to avoid potential major impacts.
He added that Alutrint’s other partner in the project, China, the world leader in primary aluminium production, is in charge of design and engineering of the project. The project’s engineering procurement construction (EPC) contractor is the China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation (CMEC).
A technical development centre will be established in Trinidad to develop new aluminium technology for wheels and parts for the automotive industry, Enill said. He commended the Votorantim Group for their new role as an equity investor in Alutrint and in the establishment of the integrated aluminium complex in La Brea which includes the controversial smelter.
Alutrint chairman Leroy Mayers said, “We parted ways with one partner due to its own internal issues but gained a new resilient an resourceful equity partner. That we are at this point today, is due to the enduring support of our many stakeholders, such as the La Brea community, the Government, our EPC contractor CMEC, our financers, the China Eximbank and the Government of the People’s Republic of China and our new equity partner Votorantim Metais.”

CONCRETE EXPLOSION HSE INVESTIGATION
Construction Health and Safety News - ‎?05-Dec-2009
Advice issued by regulator following foamed concrete ‘explosion’
HSE has issued interim advice following after an explosion that occurred during use of foamed concrete.
The incident is still under investigation.
The explosion in August 2009 injured two workmen after a pit had been filled with foamed concrete. Whilst the concrete was setting work started with angle grinders on steel and the explosion occurred.
It appears that hydrogen gas was generated producing a flammable/explosive mixture to develop in the confined space. HSE is investigating the means by which hydrogen was generated.
Aluminium is known to react with cement/concrete mixtures to form hydrogen. The particular concrete mix included incinerator bottom ash (IBA) which is suspected of being the source of aluminium. Tests on raw materials and the mixed concrete revealed the presence of aluminium. Tests to confirm the suspected mechanism have not yet been completed.
The supplier of the IBA has been asked to advise customers of the following:
.foamed concrete mixes containing IBA or other recycled materials should be poured in the open air;
.if such mixes are to be poured within a building or confined area, adequate ventilation must be provided and the entire surface of the poured concrete should remain visible until it has set;
.sources of ignition such as naked flames or spark-generating tools (e.g. disc cutters, angle grinders) should be kept away from the concreted area during the pouring and setting process.

NALCO sells aluminium at $82.25/T premium over LME
Reuters India - 05-Dec-2009
BHUBANESWAR, India, (Reuters) - Indian state-run National Aluminium Co Ltd (NALU.BO: Quote, Profile,

Research) sold 8,750 tonnes of primary aluminium ingots at $82.25 a tonne premium over the average LME cash price on a CIF basis, a company source said on Friday.
The buyer was UK-based Steeple Industries, said the source, who is close to the tendering process but could not be named due to company policy.
NALCO, whose tenders serve as an international benchmark, last sold aluminium ingots at $87.15 per tonne premium over the average LME cash price on a CIF basis, the same source had said.
(Reporting by Jatindra Dash) ((ruchira.singh@thomsonreuters.com; +91-22-6636 9287; Reuters Messaging: ruchira.singh.reuters.com@reuters.net)) ((If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to news.feedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com))

Deripaska Discusses Economy, Aluminum
The Moscow Times - ‎?03-Dec-2009
LONDON — Billionaire Oleg Deripaska said Thursday that Russia needed to reduce its reliance on foreign borrowing and exports and focus on building a more stable domestic market to stimulate economic growth.
"I don’t believe in export-engine growth,” Deripaska said in an interview. “It’s important for us to find a new growth model. In the past, we borrowed a lot from abroad. We need more stable growth on the domestic market.”
The government’s anti-inflation drive, which helped the Central Bank reduce rates nine times since April, will be key to reviving economic growth from next year alongside a revival in domestic lending, Deripaska said.
“There’s a lot of improvement in Russia,” Deripaska said, praising the work of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev since the start of the economic crisis. “Still, it will be a very challenging 18 months ahead of us.”
He also said his United Company RusAl, the world’s largest aluminum producer, would not restart shuttered capacity while demand for the lightweight metal is still recovering.
“Our policy is very responsible,” said Deripaska, RusAl’s majority owner and chief executive.
RusAl and competing aluminum producers cut output this year after commodity prices slumped. RusAl, which is seeking to sell shares in an initial public offering in Hong Kong this month, said in February that it would curtail 500,000 tons of annual output, or 11 percent of total capacity.
Aluminum has declined 36 percent from a record $3,380 a ton in July 2008.
But commodity investors have “realized that aluminum is the best hedge against the dollar and energy resources,” Deripaska said. “People don’t believe in the dollar, and commodities benefit.”
Russian aluminum demand is rebounding and will rise 15 percent to 20 percent next year, said Deripaska, who also controls automaker GAZ Group.
“There is a new stimulus program more or less, cash for clunkers, which will create a lot of demand for our commercial vehicles,” he said.
RusAl said in a statement that co-owner Mikhail Prokhorov agreed to exchange $1.82 billion of the company’s debt for a 6 percent stake as part of a $16.8 billion restructuring.
The deal with Prokhorov’s Onexim Group, boosting his stake to 19.2 percent, will cut the cost of servicing RusAl’s debt, the statement said. Deripaska will own 53.4 percent after the deal.
The accord values RusAl at $30.3 billion, Bloomberg calculations show.
The remaining $880 million of RusAl debt held by Prokhorov will be restructured on the same terms applied to international lenders — on a “pay-if-you-can” basis for the first four years and a refinancing over the following three.
RusAl’s restructuring is the biggest in Russian corporate history, involving more than 70 domestic and foreign banks. It cuts total debt to $14.9 billion and removes a barrier to the IPO.
Under the restructuring, RusAl said it would pay a reduced interest rate of 8 percent to 9 percent on $2.1 billion of loans with Russian banks including Sberbank, VTB Group and Gazprombank

Alcoa workers Scrooged with job cuts
ABC Online - ‎?03-Dec-2009
The Australian Workers Union (AWU) is angry about plans by Alcoa Australia Rolled Products plans to slash one-sixth of its Australian workforce.
The company, which is one of two Alcoa companies based in Australia, will sack 150 workers from its Geelong and Sydney plants.
It is blaming the global financial crisis, rising costs and high foreign exchange rates.
The Australian Workers Union's Caesar Melhem says it is shocking news so close to Christmas.
"The company has accepted to work through a process to try and avoid any forced redundancies, and certainly the AWU is pleased about that. However, it is alarming," he said.
"We're still questioning whether or not Alcoa's decision is wise. It is significant. It raises some questions about the long-term security in relation to the smelter operation."
Alcoa spokesman Brendan Foran says the timing of the job loss announcement is regrettable.
"It is unfortunate that the timing of this announcement is prior to the Christmas break," he said.
"But with our sales contracts expiring on New Year's Eve and being down 35 per cent for 2010, the timing's unavoidable."

ETS blamed

The AWU is blaming the job cuts on the continuing uncertainty over the cost of an emission trading scheme (ETS), after the Opposition blocked the Government's amended ETS in the Senate.
"We all know the ETS scheme will be passed sooner or later. Any delay is going to impact on jobs," he aid.
"They need to stop playing politics and stop playing with people's lives.
"150 jobs are going to be disappearing from Alcoa. That's not going to be the end of it.
"I think a lot of companies are going to be in the same position. If the legislation would have gone through, they're able to calculate those costs and take that into account."
But Mr Foran says while Alcoa is concerned about how it will grow in a low-carbon economy, the job cuts are not directly linked to the failure of the ETS.
"We've been calling on the Government and the Opposition to amend and pass the legislation addressing key design elements which we think are critical to protecting our international competitiveness," he said.
"Rising costs of manufacturing as a whole are an issue but because the CPRS [Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme] are still subject to a parliamentary process, it hasn't been a factor in this decision.
"But we still call on the Australian Government and Opposition to amend and pass the legislation."

Govt help needed

The Australian Industry Group's chief executive, Heather Ridout, says it is difficult for the government to protect local industry from the strong currency.
However she says there are some measures it can take.
"The budget's going to be very important in areas like export support and building industry capability, on the face of it there's not an awful lot that governments can actually do to dampen the exchange rate," Mr Ridout said.
"But I think they can be vocal about issues like the Chinese yuan exchange rate policy that a lot of our competitors that just peg their currency to the US dollar and follow it down."
Tags: business-economics-and-finance, international-financial-crisis, australia, nsw, sydney-2000, vic, geelong-3220

Hydro continues cost cutting
Norway Post - ‎?Dec 2, 2009
Norwegian aluminium producer Hydro is putting into effect new cost cutting measures, and is reducing new investments next year by 50 per cent, in an effort to meet the global financial crisis.
The company's announcement comes following what it calls a year of demanding markets and decisive corrective actions.
Hydro says its improvement efforts have resulted in positive downstream earnings, while upstream activities remain challenged by the weak aluminium market and a strong Norwegian krone.
“Hydro has reacted swiftly to the ongoing crisis by implementing a string of firm and efficient actions, which have improved our position considerably. But the weak demand for aluminium and aluminium products, combined with the strong Norwegian currency, call for even tougher measures to cut costs throughout the company and improve the upstream cost position,” says Hydro CEO Svein Richard Brandtzęg.
The Norwegian-based aluminium and energy company remains optimistic about the long-term prospects for aluminium, as the light-weight and endlessly recyclable metal is seen as a crucial part of the solution to the world’s climate challenges. In product application, aluminium makes cars lighter and buildings more energy-efficient, paving the way for business opportunities across Hydro's value chain.
”Our long-term view on aluminium is encouraging. Aluminium will play an increasingly important role in an energy-constrained world. Hydro's technological edge and leading metallurgical competence provide a solid platform to take advantage of promising upstream and downstream growth opportunities,” Brandtzęg says.
(NRK/Press release) Rolleiv Solholm

Bankers Say Deal Is Near to Restructure Rusal's Debt
New York Times - Andrew E. Kramer -02-Dec-2009
MOSCOW — Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer, which is struggling under $17 billion in debt, is close to an agreement with about 70 banks to restructure its loans on terms considered favorable to the company and its billionaire owner, bankers said on Wednesday.
Neither the banks nor Rusal, the company with the most distressed debt in Russia, have formally announced an agreement, though bankers at institutions that have lent money to Rusal said a deal was imminent. In addition, Rusal is planning to sell 10 percent of the company in a share offering.
While troubling for its scale, the deal is also thought to set a precedent within Russia for other companies deeply in debt to Western banks. The banks will allow Rusal to operate essentially under a pay-as-you-can agreement, though pegged to aluminum prices, according to terms made public this year. The company will be permitted to roll missed payments into the capital and begin repaying principal only when the global economy recovers, and with it prices for aluminum.
In exchange, Rusal pledged not to pay dividends until its earnings rise significantly in relation to outstanding debt.
For a company that was teetering on collapse, the terms were considered relaxed.
“In Russia, these things happen,” Yevgeny G. Yasin, a former minister of the economy and currently the director of the Higher School of Economics in Russia, said in a telephone interview. He compared implicit state protection that prevented creditors from bankrupting Rusal to direct government bailouts for favored industries in the United States, like General Motors.
Most Russian debtors that are a focus of concern globally, like Rusal, along with those in Middle East have succeeded in extending loans to avoid bankruptcy, Mr. Yasin said. This is delaying the process of sorting bad loans from those that may eventually be repaid, when commodity prices recover.
The foreign lenders for Rusal include the Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank, the Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Barclays, Paribas, Commerzbank and Natixis, Bloomberg News reported. The Russian state foreign trade bank, whose chairman is Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, is the largest single creditor, with $4.5 billion outstanding.
The final creditor to sign off on the restructuring is the British hedge fund BlueCrest Capital Management, the Russian business daily Vedomosti reported on Wednesday, allowing the agreement to take effect. The newspaper, citing a source close to Rusal, said a formal announcement was likely to be made this week.
Included in the restructuring was a debt-for-equity swap by the billionaire investor Mikhail D. Prokhorov, the oligarch who recently made an offer to buy the New Jersey Nets basketball team. Mr. Prokhorov agreed to swap $2 billion in debt for shares in the company.
Rusal also plans to float an initial public offering of 10 percent of shares in Hong Kong and Paris that would, if successful, further diminish the stake of the principal owner, Oleg V. Deripaska, who currently owns 53 percent of the company. Banks froze debt repayment in March after aluminum prices tumbled in the crisis. The offering will most likely be viewed favorably by creditors because it will reduce debt; the restructuring was a prerequisite for the rights offering.
After the offering, Mr. Deripaska will have slightly less than a controlling stake but would still own almost half of the aluminum maker.
“These guys had the upper hand,” a banker said of the Russians. This person works at a bank that is a former creditor to Rusal and was not authorized to discuss the debt talks publicly. “They were negotiating with banks that were on their knees
.

Brazil Demand Girds Aluar to Be top South America Metals Maker
Bloomberg - Rodrigo Orihuela - ‎?02-Dec-2009
Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Aluar Aluminio Argentino SAIC, Argentina’s biggest aluminum producer, plans to boost output by a quarter within two years to 520,000 tons, becoming the single largest smelter in Latin America as Brazilian demand surges.
The company, which now smelts 410,000 tons of the metal a year at its Puerto Madryn plant in Argentina’s remote Chubut province, will increase output to 460,000 tons next year before output climbs to 520,000 tons in 2011, Chief Executive Officer Javier Madanes said in a Dec. 1 interview in Buenos Aires.
Larger competitors including New York-based Alcoa Inc. and Rio Tinto Group cut production and scaled back investment plans during the worst recession since the Great Depression. Aluar is bucking the trend as economic growth accelerates in Brazil, fueling demand for aluminum in power lines and transportation.
“We didn’t stop producing a single ton during the international crisis,” said Madanes, 57, whose family started the business in 1974 and remains the majority shareholder. “The prices of metals are improving, not too fast, but improving.”
Aluar’s expansion plans will take the company past Latin America’s largest smelters in Brazil. Cia. Brasileira de Aluminio, known as CBA, currently produces 475,000 tons and has put on hold its own expansion plans. The Albras smelter in north Brazil, a joint venture between Vale SA and Nippon Amazon Aluminium Co., can produce about 460,000 tons a year.
Future Supplies
Concern over future electrical energy supplies and prices is causing some producers in Brazil to put expansion plans on hold, according to the country’s Aluminum Association. Power accounts for about a third of the cost of producing aluminum, prompting companies such as Rio Tinto and Alcoa to scour the world in search of inexpensive and abundant supplies.
Power will not be a problem for Aluar, Madanes said, since the company is the majority owner of Hidroelectrica Futaleufu, a dam and hydroelectric terminal located on the river Futaleufu in Chubut which has a capacity of about 1,220 megawatts, or 6 percent of Argentina’s total installed capacity.
“We consume around 720 megawatts and sell about 200 megawatts to the electric system,” of Argentina, he said.
The power required by an aluminum plant of the size of Aluar’s is equivalent to the electrical energy needs of a town with more than 1.5 million people, according to the company. The plant in Puerto Madryn is located 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) from Buenos Aires and had initial capacity of 140,000 tons.
Brazil Destination
Brazil will be the main destination for Aluar’s additional output. The company exports 70 percent of total production, with 12 to 14 percent going to Brazil, according to Madanes.
Aluar posted a profit of 76 million pesos ($19.9 million) for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with 98 million in the year-earlier period. Sales fell to 952 million pesos from 1.01 billion a year earlier.
Aluminum fell $8.25, or 0.4 percent, to $2,148.75 a ton at 1:33 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange. The
Aluar is listed in the Merval, the benchmark index of the Buenos Aires stock exchange.
The “recovering” demand for aluminum and existing cash generation will help fund the expansion, Madanes said.
Aluminum demand has been “gradually and slowly” rising since the end of the third quarter, Svein Richard Brandtzaeg, chief executive officer of Norsk Hydro ASA, Europe’s third- largest aluminum producer said yesterday. “There’s a positive sentiment, but we’re cautious because the situation is fragile; we don’t know what may happen in the next six months,” he said.
Aluar also has enough cash to finance investments after paring borrowing, Madanes said.
“Our short-term debt is now almost down to zero and the debt we do have is very long term,” he said. “So now, keeping up to date with our investment program depends of having a cash flow of 200 million to 250 million pesos a year and we are going to end the year with a decent balance.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Rodrigo Orihuela in Buenos Aires at rorihuela@bloomberg.net

Brazilian firm partners with Govt on Alutrint
Trinidad & Tobago Express - 02-Dec-2009
A Brazilian industrial group will join the Government of Trinidad and Tobago as its equity partner in Alutrint’s aluminium smelter plant.
Votorantim Metais, the company which will sign the project agreement for the Alutrint smelter today, is the largest primary producer of aluminium in Brazil and is mainly focused on zinc and electrolytic nickel production in Latin America, the Ministry of Energy said in a statement yesterday.
In business since 1955, the company produces alumina from bauxite to the manufacture of primary auminium to downstream products.
These products include ingots, billets, slabs, floor plates, coils, rods and bars.
Earlier this year, Energy Minister Conrad Enill announced that the Venezuelan firm Sural had pulled out as a partner in the Alutrint smelter project.
The ministry said yesterday that in addition to the equity partnership, Votorantim Metais will work with Alutrint in the development of its downstream projects in the production of aluminium foil, sheets, cables, billets and rods.
The formal signing ceremony of the project agreement is scheduled to take place at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad hotel in Port of Spain today.

Guyana bauxite dispute deepens
radiojamaica.com - 02-Dec-2009
United Company Rusal's Bauxite Company of Guyana.A rift between Guyanese labour unions and bauxite company UC Rusal whose Guyana operations have been plagued by an almost two week old strike has deepened.
The Company has scrapped the bargaining agreement with the labour unions and has also spoken about severing links with them.
UC Rusal's decision to throw out its bargaining agreement with the unions brings an abrupt end to negotiations for work to resume at the company's mine southwest of Georgetown.
The strike started over a 10% retroactive pay increase in exchange for the retrenchment of 75 workers.
The layoff is a matter the unions refuse to have included in the terms of the resumption agreement resulting in the strike being prolonged.
The company has already fired 56 workers for alleged insubordination and other actions deemed to not be in the interest of United Company Rusal's Bauxite Company of Guyana.
The General Manager of the company has written to the unions terminating the little more than one year collective labour agreement with immediate effect.
The company accuses the unions of breaking the agreement three times between March and November by causing or directing industrial action that has caused the bauxite company to suffer severe loss and damge.
The Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Unions says the Bauxite Company of Guyana is engaging in union busting tactics

Alcoa, BHP to Start Output at Alumar Refinery Expansion in 2010
Bloomberg - Diana Kinch - ‎?02-Dec-2009
Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum maker, and BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, said the expanded Alumar refinery will begin operating in the first quarter of 2010, a director said.
The expansion, in the final stage of construction, will start test production of alumina in the first quarter of next year, said Nilson Ferraz, an Alumar production director, in an interview today. The companies are adding 2.1 million tons a year capacity to the plant in Maranhao state in northeastern Brazil. It now produces 1.4 million tons a year of alumina.
“Commercial-quality production will start in second-half 2010,” Ferraz said from Sao Luis.
The Alumar expansion, originally scheduled for 2008, was delayed partly because of cost overruns, BHP Billiton said earlier this year.
Rio Tinto Alcan Inc., the world’s third-largest mining company, has a 10 percent stake in the expansion project. Alumina is a raw material used in primary aluminum production.
To contact the reporter on this story: Diana Kinch in Rio de Janeiro at dkinch1@bloomberg.net

INTERVIEW-High power costs threaten European aluminium smelters
Forexyard - Karen Norton, Pratima Desai - ‎??02-Dec-2009
METALS-ALUMINIUM/EAA (INTERVIEW)
* Long term competive power deals needed to survive
* Copenhagen may be first step in long term solution
By Karen Norton
LONDON, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Two-thirds of Europe's primary aluminium smelters might shut in the near future, because they are struggling with high costs, the European Aluminium Association said on Wednesday.
Next week's climate change talks in Copenhagen could be a first step towards a long term solution, but they will not address the present critical situation of most of the region's aluminium industry, Patrick de
"A substantial fraction (plus or minus two-thirds) of the European smelting industry is seriously endangered in the near future as their long term electricity supply contracts end," de Schrynmakers said in an email interview.
Analysts also warn of multiple closures in western Europe, which produces around 4.0 million tonnes of the metal.
Plants there struggle with the highest power charges in the world, part of which comes from heavy carbon dioxide (CO2) costs, Schrynmakers said.
They will be keen to see commitments on emissions from major aluminium producing nations, which could at least help level the playing field.
But the main problem is that European producers are unable to get new long term competitive power deals.
"Europe's aluminium smelting industry can only have a future if there is affordable and competitively priced electricity ... EU producers strongly encourage global policy convergence, through a CO2 market in which competitors face equivalent measures."
Analysts say many European aluminium smelters sit at or near the top of the production cost curve due to high power costs. Power accounts for up to 40 percent of their total costs.
Aside from CO2 costs the key issue for many European smelters is that their long-term energy contracts have expired and they are unable to secure new ones at competitive prices.
Imperfect market liberalisation is to blame, Schrynmakers said.
"Unfortunately....there still is inadequate competition within electricity markets and it is very difficult to negotiate long term contracts referenced to base load prices."
In Europe the electricity price stipulated in new contracts for industrial users such as aluminium smelters ranges from 36.80 to 48.60 euros per megawatt hour (MWh), according to the EAA. This includes the CO2 cost pass through caused by the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS).
This price compares with 20 euros per MWh in most of Ukraine, Gulf States and Iceland. Only Chinese smelting average prices come close to Europe with an average of 36 euros per MWh.
CLOSURES
A number of European smelters -- in Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom -- have already been forced to close in recent years after their long term energy contracts ended.
High power costs continue to threaten others.
Major producer Alcoa Inc said last month it would idle its two smelters in Italy after the European Commission ordered it to pay back most of the state aid it had received in Italy since 2006.
Without the aid Alcoa said the plants were unviable at current Italian power rates.
The company has set a deadline of Dec. 21 to know how much power will cost it in 2010. It will then decide whether to stay in Italy.
If nothing is done in Europe to reduce electricity costs, inevitably primary aluminium companies will build new smelters in places where there are lower or no emissions costs.
This could lead to production and job losses in Europe for no global environmental benefit at all, a trend known as carbon leakage, de Schrynmakers said. (Additional reporting by Pratima Desai) (Editing by James Jukwey) ((karen.norton@thomsonreuters.com: +44 20 7542 3055))

DJ Norsk Hydro Sells Spanish Aluminium Rolling Mill
Trading Markets (press release) - 02-Dec-2009
Norsk Hydro said Wednesday it has entered an agreement to divest its aluminium rolling mill in Irurtzun, Spain, to German industrial holding company Bavaria Industriekapital.
MAIN FACTS:
-The transaction is expected to be cash-neutral and result in a book loss after tax of about NOK200M in 4Q results.
-Pending regulatory approval, Hydro expects the transaction to close by the end of 2009 or in early 2010.
-The agreement opens up for a more viable development of the small Inasa plant, located near Pamplona, while Hydro will continue serving its global customers of rolled aluminium products, including in Spain.
-By Stockholm Bureau, Dow Jones Newswires; +46-8-5451-3090; djnews.stockholm@dowjones.com

Investment projects ignite electricity plans
Business Report - 01-Dec-2009
December 2, 2009 By Reuters
Cameroon hoped to triple electricity output to 3 000 megawatts by 2020 through a series of hydro and thermal generation projects, the government said this month.
The move is aimed at increasing public access to power in the country, while paving the way to expand the energy-intensive mining sector.
Aluminium, bauxite
Rio Tinto Alcan is a partner with the government in Alucam, an operation scheduled to include a 1 million ton aluminium smelter at Kribi. Rio Tinto said the project, including a 1 000MW hydroelectric dam to power the smelter, would cost 140 billion CFA francs (R2.3bn). The construction timeline is 2015 to 2018.

Strike Paralyzes Venezuelan Aluminum Company
Latin American Herald Tribune - 01-Dec-2009
CARACAS – Workers at Bauxilum, one of Venezuela’s four state-owned aluminum companies, went on strike Tuesday to demand the payment of year-end bonuses, a union leader said.
The workers also staged the strike to reject reported government plans to “eliminate” private health insurance policies from collective bargaining agreements, Sutralumina union secretary-general Jose Luis Morocoima said.
President Hugo Chavez’s administration did not keep its promise to pay the year-end bonuses by Nov. 30 at the latest, Morocoima said.
The union leader, who did not say how long the strike would last, said the Basic Industries and Mining Ministry owed the workers some 400 million bolivares ($186 million) in bonuses.
Aluminum workers staged staggered strikes last week to demand payment of bonuses and safety improvements at state-owned companies Alcasa, Venalum, Bauxilum and Carbonorca, which, according to union figures, employ some 20,000 people. EFE

Health Care Pioneer Henry J. Kaiser Inducted Into The California Hall of Fame
PR Newswire (press release) - 01-Dec-2009
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- As health care reform takes the national stage and Kaiser Permanente is being hailed as a care delivery model, renowned entrepreneur Henry J. Kaiser will be inducted today into The California Hall of Fame. Kaiser's eldest granddaughter, Carlyn Kaiser Stark, will accept the Spirit of California medal on his behalf during a formal, private state ceremony in Sacramento this evening.

Kaiser's greatest legacy is Kaiser Permanente, one of the world's first prepaid health plans, which he co-founded with Dr. Sidney R. Garfield in 1938. Today, Kaiser Permanente is the nation's largest not-for-profit health plan. In addition, Kaiser was noted for his innovations in shipbuilding and engineering.

"Henry J. Kaiser was a true California innovator, so it is very fitting that he is receiving this honor," said Tom Debley, historian and director of heritage resources for Kaiser Permanente. "Kaiser wasn't afraid to take risks and plunge headlong into uncharted territory to improve the strength and vitality of American industry, as well as individual health. That's really what the Golden State is all about: driving for a better quality of life."

Kaiser was an entrepreneur who quite literally arrived in California by jumping off a moving train in 1921 to meet the deadline to place what became the winning bid for a section of historic Highway 99 near Redding. He became known for turning lost opportunities into new prospects. After losing a bid to construct the Shasta Dam, for example, he founded Permanente Cement and won the $6.9 million contract to supply the 5.8 million barrels of cement needed for the job. In 1931, Kaiser helped organize the Six Companies, Inc., consortium, which had a part in building some of the largest infrastructure projects of the 20th century, including the Hoover Dam, Grand Coulee Dam and the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge.

Kaiser's health plan was created during World War II when the shipbuilding tycoon sought a way to provide health care for the thousands of workers in his shipyards. Together with Dr. Sidney R. Garfield, Kaiser extended the plan to the general public after the war's end in 1945. Kaiser went on to establish the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to address the world's major health care issues.

During World War II, with no prior shipbuilding experience, Kaiser became one of the most prolific shipbuilders in history, setting records for speed and efficiency unmatched to this day. He established seven shipyards on the West Coast that produced more ships than any other in the United States and proved instrumental to the Allied victory of the war.

Kaiser entered World War II as a construction and engineering entrepreneur and came out of it with the acumen needed to help redevelop the post-war world. He built homes, cars and aircraft; manufactured steel and aluminum; pioneered tourism in Hawaii; and engineered projects around the globe. At its peak, Kaiser Industries had either enterprises or projects on every continent, including Antarctica. But of all of his endeavors, Kaiser hoped that his contribution to health care would be his legacy. Before passing away in 1967, he said, "Of all the things I've done, I expect only to be remembered for my hospitals. They're the things that are filling the people's greatest need -- good health."

At the time of his death, Kaiser Permanente had about 1.7 million members, with 1,630 physicians in 18 hospitals. Today, Kaiser Permanente is the country's largest not-for-profit health plan, serving more than 8.6 million members.

The other 2009 California Hall of Fame inductees are Carol Burnett, Andrew Grover, Hiram Johnson, Rafer Johnson, Joan Kroc, George Lucas, John Madden, Harvey Milk, Fritz Scholder, Danielle Steel, Joe Weider and General Chuck Yeager.

Nalco looks at hydel power to cut costs
Financial Express - 01-Dec-2009
Bhubaneswar: The Central-sector National Aluminium Company (NALCO) is keen to develop hydel power stations down Hirakud dam as running smelter with coal-fired power plants become costly.
“We have given a proposal to the state government to set up hydro power stations on Sindol sites,” NALCO director, finance, BL Bagra, told FE. Bagra, who is looking after the company’s future projects, said the company has also offered to develop hydel stations jointly with the Orissa government-owned Orissa Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC).
The Orissa government has identified three sites -– Sindol-I (100 MW) at Deogaon, Sindol II (100 MW) at Kapasira and Sindol III (120 MW) at Godhaneswar -– down the Hirakud dam on the river Mahanadi. The three projects have been approved by the government of India.
The world over power-intensive aluminium smelters are mostly fed with cheap power from hydel stations. Running smelter with power from coal-based thermal power plant is uneconomic, said Bagra. NALCO, which is running its smelter with thermal power, has seen costs escalating. The power cost has become high in recent times as the company had to depend on imported coal as coal supply from Mahanadi Coalfield became uncertain, said Bagra.
High power costs have started eating into NALCO margins at a time when aluminium prices are at a low. NALCO, in fact, finds it more profitable to sale alumina than selling aluminium.
“Though the hydel stations are not big in size, it will certainly reduce input costs," said Bagra.
NALCO, which has a smelter of 3.45 lakh tonne per annum (MTPA) capacity along with a 960 MW thermal power plant at Angul, is proposing to set up another green-field smelter project of 5 lakh MTPA at Brajarajnagar in Jharsuguda district. A 1,250 MW thermal power project is part of the aluminium complex.
Bagra said the Sindol hydel project will benefit the company as it is closer to Angul and also the proposed project site at Brajarajnagar.