Archive | Aluminium/Bauxite

Queensland suppliers awarded $900M of Rio Tinto’s Amrun bauxite project contracts – by Leo Oliver (International Business Times – March 23, 2017)

Mining giant Rio Tinto has awarded contracts worth $1.38 billion for the development of the Amrun bauxite mine project. Of these, Queensland suppliers have received nearly two-thirds, amounting to $900 million, of the contracts. More than 500 companies have been associated with the project in the state.

The project, in Cape York Peninsula, includes the development of a mine, processing plant and bauxite stockpiles, warehouses, a power station and new barge, ferry and ship loading facilities. It is expected to substitute the East Weipa bauxite mine.

The volume of bauxite to be exported from Cape York following the development of the mine is forecast to surge by nearly 10 million tonnes a year. Production and shipping is expected to kick-off in the first half of 2019. Continue Reading →

China to slash steel, aluminium output in bid to check smog (Australian Financial Review/Reuters – March 2, 2017)

China has ordered steel and aluminium producers in 28 cities to slash output during winter, outlined plans to curb coal use in the capital and required coal transport by rail in the north, as Beijing intensifies its war on smog, a policy document shows.

The 26-page document dated February 17 and seen by Reuters did not include some stringent steps proposed in a draft policy to slash fertiliser output and introduce a full ban on coal being handled at Tianjin, one of the country’s busiest ports.

The government has called on steel producers to halve output in four northern provinces – Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong, Henan – as well as Beijing and Tianjin, during the peak winter heating months around late November to late February. The size of the cuts will depend on the level of regions’ emissions cuts. Continue Reading →

Russia proposes creating aluminum OPEC: Trade Minister (Reuters U.S. – February 27, 2017)

Russia is proposing the creation of an OPEC-like organization for the global aluminum industry, TASS news agency quoted Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov as saying on Monday.

Russia’s Rusal was overtaken by China’s Hongqiao as the world’s biggest aluminum producer several years ago, as Rusal cut back its production capacity due to a fall in prices. Manturov told reporters about the idea of an aluminum-making group on the sidelines of an economic conference in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi.

OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, unites some of the world’s largest oil producers. Its members, together with non-OPEC oil producers such as Russia, agreed to reduce oil production and support global prices in 2016. Continue Reading →

[Former Alcan CEO] David Culver was a devoted CEO who fought to preserve history – by Fred Langan (Globe and Mail – February 24, 2017)

David Culver was an athletic man who liked to keep trim by walking to work from his house in Montreal’s Westmount neighbourhood to his office at what was then the headquarters of Alcan Aluminium Limited, downtown in Place Ville Marie. When he became the chief executive officer of Alcan in 1979, one of the perks was a chauffeur to drive him to work.

Instead, Mr. Culver, who died on Feb. 6 at 92, would walk his two black labs over the mountain and have the chauffeur meet him on Pine Avenue – to pick up the dogs and take them home. Then he would continue down the hill on foot.

“It was the best 30 to 40 minutes I spent every day, giving me time to contemplate big issues and small and do it on my own,” he wrote in his autobiography, Expect Miracles: Recollections of a Lucky Life. He added that once in the office, life was taken over by phone calls, meetings and office politics. It was before the age of e-mail. Continue Reading →

Malaysia’s shooting-star bauxite industry faces burn up – by Emily Chow (Reuters U.S. – February 13, 2017)

KUALA LUMPUR – Already under fire for widespread environmental damage, Malaysia’s once lucrative bauxite mining industry is facing a likely death knell from neighboring Indonesia’s move to allow a resumption of exports.

This time last year, Malaysia was the world’s biggest supplier of the aluminum-making raw material to top buyer China, but its exports tumbled after government action aimed at reining in the little regulated industry.

The latest move could spell the end for a sector that only sprang to life in late 2014 after Indonesia banned ore exports, and illustrates the risks facing miners across Southeast Asia from increasingly uncertain government policy. Continue Reading →

Aluminum’s parallel universes are colliding – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – February 14, 2017)

LONDON – There was a time when the global aluminum market could be seen as two parallel universes, to borrow a phrase coined by Klaus Kleinfeld, chairman and chief executive of Alcoa.

There was China. And there was the rest of the world. The great dividing wall was China’s 15 percent export tax, effectively preventing the flow of primary metal out of what was already the world’s biggest volume producer.

There was always an element of wishful thinking in Kleinfeld’s parallel vision, ignoring as it did the flow of semi-manufactured aluminum products out of China. But in terms of physical and paper trading of commodity-grade aluminum, the analogy just about held, until only a few years ago. Continue Reading →

China’s war on smog not seen as a game-changer for aluminum market – by Pratima Desai and Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.S. – February 2, 2017)

LONDON – Top aluminum producer China’s battle against pollution has raised the prospect of output cuts, causing prices to rise to 20-month highs, but the rally might have gone too far as oversupply remains a problem.

The market excitement was sparked by a Chinese government document proposing that about a third of aluminum capacity in the provinces of Shandong, Henan, Hebei and Shanxi should be shut over the winter months.

That would aid Beijing’s war on noxious smog, partly created by firms burning thermal coal to produce electricity, which in China could account for between 25 and 40 percent of the costs of producing aluminum. Continue Reading →

Aluminum’s dangerous dependency on China’s smelter sector – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – January 26, 2017)

LONDON – China produced 31.6 million tonnes of aluminum last year. National output in both November and December was running at an annualized 34 million tonnes, a fresh record.

The country’s share of global output last month was more than 56 percent, according to figures from the International Aluminium Institute (IAI). Ten years ago it was around 30 percent.

The build-out of capacity in the intervening decade has been explosive and is continuing, a new generation of smelters rising out of the deserts of the northwestern province of Xinjiang. China’s increasing dominance of the global supply chain has fueled resentment among other producing nations. Continue Reading →

WHY JAKARTA NEEDS TO READ UP ON 15TH-CENTURY ENGLAND – by Tom Holland (South China Morning Post – January 23, 2017)

Indonesia wants to build processing plants to add value to the nation’s copper, nickel and bauxite resources, but mining companies are not cooperating

Earlier this month the Indonesian government announced it would relax its ban on the export of raw mineral ores. Despite appearances to the contrary, officials claim they are not retreating from their hardline policy of resource nationalism.

Restricting the export of unprocessed commodities, they continue to insist, will create high-value jobs and spur Indonesia’s economic growth. Critics of the policy are less sure.

The reasoning behind the export ban, which was proposed in 2009 and came into partial effect three years ago, is simple enough. Indonesia is rich in deposits of minerals including copper, nickel and bauxite, the ore of aluminium. Continue Reading →

Indonesia eases export ban on nickel ore, bauxite – by Wilda Asmarini and Bernadette Christina Munthe (Reuters U.S. – January 12, 2017)

JAKARTA – Indonesia introduced new rules on Thursday that will allow exports of nickel ore and bauxite and concentrates of other minerals under certain conditions, in a sweeping policy shift from the key global supplier.

The broad changes cover areas including permit extensions, which can now be applied for up to five years in advance of expiry, and rules on divestment.

The changes also require nickel and bauxite miners to dedicate at least 30 percent of their smelter capacity to process low-grade ore, defined as below 1.7 percent nickel or below 42 percent aluminum. Continue Reading →

Excerpt: How Aluminum Revolutionized The Canoe – by Mark Neuzil and Norman Sims(Gear Junkie – December 26, 2016)

After World War II, the manufacture and performance of American-made canoes experienced a surge thanks to a new material: Aluminum.

Before man first wrought tools of bronze, before ancient Egyptians built the pyramids or even before written language, there were canoes. Despite newer, stronger, lighter materials, the canoe remained largely unchanged for the last 5,000 years. Canoes: A Natural History in North America reveals the evolution and design of this ancient watercraft.

This excerpt explores the then-revolutionary advancement into the first aluminum canoes—made right here in the U.S.A.

THE FIRST OF THE POST-WORLD WAR II CANOES to hit the market successfully in a material other than wood were built of aluminum—not a synthetic material, but not an element with a huge market share in mass-produced boats. Aluminum had a brief history with watercraft, full of stops and starts and mostly dead ends. Continue Reading →

Jets stir up stronger aluminum, reduce casting waste – by David Szondy (New – December 10, 2016)

Aluminum is ubiquitous in our modern age, but it’s surprisingly hard to produce alloys for it without putting up with significant waste from bad mixtures. MIT researchers Antoine Allanore and Samuel R. Wagstaff have been studying how aluminum alloys harden and have come up with a way to use jets to produce more even distributions of copper and manganese in castings.

Direct-chill casting is a semicontinuous way of producing aluminum alloy ingots by quickly cooling the molten metal as it’s poured into chilled molds. It’s a very effective process, but according to Allanore and Wagstaff it leaves something to be desired in terms of quality control.

Though an ingot may look perfectly sound on the outside, it may have patches high or low in copper or manganese ranging in size from inches to feet, resulting in weaker slabs of cast metal. This can mean large amounts of aluminum being relegated to the scrap pile. Continue Reading →

Unfair Chinese practices put U.S. aluminum jobs at risk – by Garney Scott (Knoxville News Sentinel – November 27, 2016)

Because it’s so common in our everyday lives, it’s easy to overlook aluminum. Everyone is familiar with the ubiquitous soda and beer can or kitchen foil, but aluminum is also used to create materials for building construction, aircraft, automobiles and even cellphones and tablet computers.

And a lot of that metal is made right here. In fact, the industry represents approximately $75 billion in direct economic impact in the United States and more than $3.1 billion in Tennessee.

Virtually alone among the basic material sectors of the world, aluminum is experiencing a once-in-a-generation expansion in projected demand as firms move to engineered aluminum solutions, from fuel-efficient vehicles to green buildings. Continue Reading →

Traders Scramble for Aluminum in a World Saturated With Supply – by Mark Burton and Agnieszka de Sousa (Bloomberg News – November 24, 2016)

(Bloomberg) — The world is awash with aluminum, but on the biggest metals bourse it can be hard to get.

At one point this week, the metal was so scarce on the London Metal Exchange that traders paid the highest fee in four years to roll forward their short positions for one day. That shows the difficulty of buying back aluminum in a market where warehouse inventories are shrinking and one company controls at least half of the available stockpiles and short-dated positions.

The difficulty that metals traders experienced in finding aluminum on the LME may seem odd considering the abundant global supply of the metal. Harbor Intelligence estimates more than 13 million tons of aluminum are held in warehouses outside the LME’s network, enough to supply the U.S. for at least two years. Continue Reading →

Aluminium in Iran – can the potential be realised? – by Ken Stanford (Aluminum Insider – November 18, 2016)

Following the relaxation of sanctions, Iran, which has for many years been marred by political issues and civil unrest now has plans for fresh development of its infrastructure and industry – and the country’s aluminium sector in particular has been targeted for key support. However, the prospects for realising the considerable potential will be impacted by various challenges.

Aluminium is the world’s fastest growing industrial metal and Iran has the potential to be a major player in this accelerating, profitable sector, according to a recent presentation made in Iran by the London-based Commodities Research Unit Group (CRU). CRU’s raw materials expert, Michael Insulan, was speaking at a seminar staged at the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organisation (IMIDRO), headquartered in Tehran.

According to Insulan, demand for aluminium has been growing at a fast pace. In order to consider Iran’s potential, it is useful to take a look at the regional and global context. The metal recorded a nearly 6% compound annual demand growth rate for the 2000-15 period – even topping iron ore, the global commodity market’s most sought-after material. Continue Reading →