Archive | Aluminium/Bauxite

UPDATE 2-France-based Miner AMR starts bauxite production in Guinea – by Saliou Samb (Reuters U.S. – December 12, 2017)

CONAKRY, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Paris-based miner AMR began production at its Guinean bauxite mine on Tuesday, aiming to produce between 6 million and 10 million tonnes a year of the aluminium ore, the company said.

Alliance Miniere Responsable (AMR) was founded by two French businessmen, and major shareholders include former Areva CEO Anne Lauvergeon and French telecoms tycoon Xavier Niel.

A company statement said the mine’s output will all be sold to Societe Miniere de Boke (SMB), a Guinean company whose main shareholders are Singapore’s privately owned Winning International Group and China’s Shandong Weiqao. Continue Reading →

Australia’s first Indigenous mine opens in NT – by Matt Cunningham (Sky News Australia – December 10, 2017)

The colour of the dirt might have been different, but according to the Gumatj clan, the moment was no less significant.

At Gulkula in Northeast Arnhem Land, Gumatj leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu poured a handful of bauxite into the hands of Rio Tinto workers Jim Singer and Ken Kahler, just as Gough Whitlam had done with Vincent Lingiari at Wave Hill 51 years ago.

‘I feel proud. I feel more proud than ever before,’ Dr Yunupingu said. The moment marked the opening of the Gulkula Mine, the first Aboriginal owned and operated mine in Australian history. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Is China’s aluminium sector too relaxed about U.S. dumping moves? – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – November 30, 2017)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 30 (Reuters) – It will be tempting for China’s aluminium market participants to dismiss as inconsequential the latest move by the U.S. Commerce Department to impose anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties on imports of aluminium alloy sheet.

The proposed moves would affect only a small amount of China’s aluminium exports, but the main issue isn’t the economic value of the U.S. action, but rather where it ultimately may lead.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in announcing the move on Nov. 28, said it was “one more step” in fulfilling President Donald Trump’s campaign against what he termed unfair trade practices. Continue Reading →

Russian Metals Billionaires Hope for Peace as ‘Shoot Out’ Looms – by Jack Farchy and Yuliya Fedorinova (Bloomberg News – November 22, 2017)

A shoot out is looming in Russian metals. That isn’t a reference to the industry’s blood-soaked history, but to a clause in a hard-won peace deal between two billionaire shareholders of MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC, Russia’s largest miner.

The 2012 agreement between Oleg Deripaska’s United Co. Rusal and Vladimir Potanin’s Interros Holding Co. provides a mechanism by which one man can buy out the other’s stake in Nornickel. That mechanism is called a “shoot out,” and becomes possible after a five-year lock-up period expires on Dec. 10, according to a Rusal letter to shareholders published in 2014.

Potanin, one of Russia’s richest men with an $18 billion fortune, told Bloomberg he has no immediate plans to initiate the so-called shoot out — a forced auction where the loser must sell his stake to the winner. Continue Reading →

China’s Quest for Clean Air Is Shaking Up Industry and Inflation (Bloomberg News – November 20, 2017)

(Bloomberg) — The great Chinese environmental cleanup, now in full swing, is shifting the corporate landscape in unexpected ways and even stoking inflationary pressure that may soon be felt in supply chains worldwide.

As President Xi Jinping’s government intensifies the fight against the country’s world-class pollution problem, companies are scrambling to adapt to tighter regulation while investing in cleaner energy.

In industries from steel to textiles and consumer goods, the resulting shakeout has left the survivors with far more pricing power. That in turn is reinforcing the already-resurgent factory prices that contribute to global inflation. Continue Reading →

Why Biggest Metals Rally of the Year May Have Further to Run – by Mark Burton and Jack Farchy (Bloomberg News – November 1, 2017)

In a stellar year for base metals, aluminum has led the pack. Now, producers say surging raw material costs could drive prices even higher.

Alumina, the raw material used to make aluminum, has jumped 56 percent since August after China shut down some production, triggering a wave of buying by traders and aluminum smelters. The rally is putting a strain on metal producers in China, where alumina accounts for 40 percent of the cost of making aluminum.

Cost pressures could worsen in the months to come as Chinese environmental reforms weigh most heavily on bauxite and alumina producers. That may give extra fuel for aluminum’s 28 percent rally this year, the biggest since 2009. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto adds alumina refineries to aluminum smelters sale: sources – by James Regan (Reuters U.S. – October 31, 2017)

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Rio Tinto is attracting renewed interest in selling its Pacific Aluminium smelting unit by adding two alumina refineries in Australia to the portfolio, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Rio Tinto had tried to sell the division minus the refineries in 2011 and again in 2015 without success. Switzerland-headquartered Glencore, Liberty House of Britain, and Russia’s Rusal have all expressed interest, according to the sources, who declined to be named because they are not authorized to speak to media.

By including the refineries, Rio could potentially double the original $1 billion price tag for Pacific Aluminium, the sources said. Continue Reading →

Column: Why China’s aluminum industry is praying for blue skies – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – October 24, 2017)

LONDON (Reuters) – Winter is coming in China and that means large swaths of industrial capacity in the regions around Beijing and Tianjin must cut production. Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised “blue skies” will replace the choking smog that envelops many cities in the country’s industrial heartlands, particularly over the “winter heating” months.

Heavily polluting industries in the targeted regions will therefore have to reduce output between November and March. If that means massive disruption to supply chains, so be it. Aluminum production will be cut by 30 percent.

Ironically, the “green” metal, used in ever greater quantities by automotive makers looking to reduce vehicle weight, is made using coal power in this part of China. And coal is enemy number one in Beijing’s eyes. Continue Reading →

Alcoa Sees Global Aluminum Market Balancing on China’s Curbs – by Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – October 18, 2017)

Alcoa Corp. sees Chinese cuts in aluminum production returning the global market to “relative balance” as the Asian nation’s supply-side reforms begin to bite.

The largest U.S. aluminum producer reduced its global surplus forecast for the lightweight metal this year as China appears to be holding to its promise to curb capacity to meet pollution-control targets.

“The improvement is mostly due to planned and actual curtailments in Chinese smelting capacity as well as increased Chinese demand,” Alcoa said Wednesday in its third-quarter earnings statement. Continue Reading →

Auto makers turn to lighter metals in bid to shed weight – by Greg Keenan (Globe and Mail – October 9, 2017)

Battery-powered vehicles may eventually deliver a knockout blow to the internal-combustion engine, but auto makers and suppliers are developing counterpunches that will extend the life of the more than century-old technology that put the world on wheels.

The internal-combustion engine (ICE) is getting help from a tactic that seems simple on the surface, but is complex in practice – putting vehicles on a diet.

Materials that are lighter than steel, but were once too costly to replace steel for major applications in vehicles, are becoming more common. The use of aluminum, magnesium and carbon fibre is expected to grow to represent as much as 40 per cent of the body structure and closures in a vehicle by 2030, compared with 14 per cent currently. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto boss lauds B.C.’s clean energy as trade advantage – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vancouver – September 26, 2017)

Kitimat aluminum smelter facing stiff competition from huge production in China

When Gervais Jacques was invited to speak to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade last week about the $6 billion modernization of an aluminum smelter in Kitimat in 2014 and 2015, the context of the discussion was free trade with the U.S. The U.S., after all, is a major customer for B.C. aluminum.

But Jacques’ talk ended up sounding more like a promotion for large-scale hydroelectricity for heavy industry and manufacturing – something Jacques called “the Canadian advantage.”

It was B.C.’s hydro power potential that drew Alcan to B.C. to build the Kemano hydroelectric dam, completed in 1954, and aluminum smelter. It was at the time the largest private investment made in B.C. With a workforce of 1,000, the smelter is Kitimat’s largest employer. Continue Reading →

Unfair Trade, Uncertainty Killing American Aluminum And Steel – by Leo W. Gerard (Huffington Post – September 26, 2017)

Kameen Thompson started his workday Sept. 15 thinking that his employer, ArcelorMittal in Conshohocken, Pa., the largest supplier of armored plate to the U.S. military, might hire some workers to reduce a recent spate of overtime.

Just hours later, though, he discovered the absolute opposite was true.

ArcelorMittal announced that, within a year, it would idle the mill that stretches half a mile along the Schuylkill River. Company officials broke the bad news to Kameen, president of the United Steelworkers (USW) local union at Conshohocken, and Ron Davis, the grievance chair, at a meeting where the two union officers had hoped to hear about hiring.

ArcelorMittal wouldn’t say when it would begin the layoffs or how many workers would lose their jobs or which mill departments would go dark. The worst part for everyone now is the uncertainty, Kameen told me last week. Continue Reading →

Pop open a can to toast — the aluminum can – by Tim Philp (Brantford Expositor – September 7, 2017)

We live in a highly engineered world. Virtually everything that we touch has been engineered to be the best it can be for its purpose. Perhaps nothing illustrates this better than the ubiquitous pop can. These marvels of engineering science seem to be such simple devices.

We produce, by one estimate, about 200 billion of such cans every year. That is about 6,700 cans per second. If you placed these cans end to end, you would produce enough to circle the globe in a mere 17 hours. Aluminum cans use about 2.8 billion kilos of aluminum out of a total world production of about 10,680 billion kilograms. So, it is a small — but significant — fraction of the total production.

Aluminum is also one of the most recycled materials on Earth, which is a good thing because aluminum takes a great deal of energy to produce. In terms of energy requirements to mine aluminum, to make four cans requires the equivalent energy of filling one of those cans with gasoline. Continue Reading →

[Australia Mining] Jobs bonanza in wake of granting of bauxite mine leases (North Queensland Register – August 29, 2017)

Hundreds of jobs in Far North Queensland are closer after the Palaszczuk government this week granted three mining leases for the Bauxite Hills Mine project to operator Metro Mining.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister, Anthony Lynham said the granted leases were critical for the $35.8 million bauxite mine project to proceed into planned production.

“Granting these leases allows Metro Mining to consolidate and unlock the potential of the significant bauxite reserve that exists on the western Cape York Peninsula, and generate hundreds of jobs for the region” Dr Lynham said. The three granted leases are part of Metro Mining’s Bauxite Hills Mine project. The project in total is estimated to have a resource of 144.8 million tonnes of bauxite. Continue Reading →

China Speculators Swarm to Aluminum as Cuts Spur Supply Bet (Bloomberg News – August 23, 2017)

With a week to go, it’s already the heaviest month ever for trading aluminum in China.

The metal has typically been one of the quieter contracts on China’s mercurial futures markets, but supply reforms in the top producer and consumer have caught the attention of the nation’s speculators and sent prices to the highest in almost six years. Trading in August has already surpassed the previous monthly record set in November.

While the frenzy is raising concern aluminum’s just the latest Chinese commodity bubble that will be deflated by regulators before it bursts, there’s also optimism that investors are tapping into a real shift in the fundamental outlook for the metal. The Shanghai Futures Exchange has already stepped in to calm trading in steel and zinc this month as a surge in volume propelled prices to multi-year highs. Continue Reading →