Some news from around the world’s aluminium smelters:
- Rio Tinto Alcan’s smelter in Cameroon may soon have a big brother. Despite ongoing power supply problems there, RTA is looking into the feasibility of building a 1 million tonne smelter in Cameroon, along with a 1,000mw hydroelectric power station.
- Also in Cameroon, a US company called Hydromine is reportedly looking at building a major hydroelectric power station, with a 500,000t smelter. Hydromine is coming at the project from the power station angle, but is allegedly already in talks with a major aluminium producer.
- It seems Dubal is still committed to long-term capacity expansion. At a recent conference in Dubai, one of their key executives confirmed they plan to be at 2.5 million tonnes capacity by 2015. They expect to produce a little over 1m tonnes this year.
- There is talk of a new enormous hydroelectric scheme for the southern part of Papua New Guinea, with power being transferred to large projects in Queensland Australia, possibly including alumina refiners, but with power also going to an aluminium smelter going into Papua New Guinea. As the cops say on TV shows, this one is “10 years to life.” it will be a long time coming.
- The Indians are getting restless. There seems to be a great deal of acimony building inside India’s aluminium industry. Vedanta stands accused of mining bauxite in restricted areas. Politicians are now jumping onto the case, calling Vedanta’s operations “illegal.” It seems that to get to the bauxite, Vedanta’s mining company has had to remove virgin forest, which also happens to be the spiritual and economic home of some local ethnic groups. The Indian Environmental Agency (NEAA) has rescinded its earlier clearance for Vedanta to mine there, and called for operations to stop immediately. Vedanta claims it is doing nothing illegal.
- Alumar alumina refinery in Brazil has been having operational problems recently. But management have come out and said that they hope to be at 9,000t per day by year end. The refinery recently went through a 2 milloin tonne expansion.
- Rusal is looking into returning to their project to build an alumina refinery in the north of Russia, in the Komi region. the plans were shelved in 2008 when the GFC hit, but the local government has invited Rusal back to the table. The project would commence in 2013, and be operational 4 years later. The proposal was for a 700,000t refiinery.