By Dr. Cameron Chai
Alcoa, a producer of primary and fabricated aluminum, has reported that it will reduce the yearly production potential of alumina by around 390,000 t in order to fine-tune the production with smelter curtailments.
The company’s refining potential in the Atlantic area will be decreased due to the curtailments by approximately 4%. The total refining capacity of Alcoa in the Atlantic region is approximately 50%, which is 18 mmt annually.
According to the President of Alcoa’s Global Primary Products, Chris Ayers, the company is taking steps to prevent aggravation of the over supply of alumina in the Atlantic area and to improve the refining system’s efficiency. The company will monitor the conditions of the market continuously and will take action if required additionally, he stated.
During January of 2012, the company reported about the curtailment of its smelting capacity of 531,000 t, wherein 291,000 t indicated the closing of capacity permanently in Texas and Tennessee that were inactive from 2009. Another 240,000 t indicated the curtailment of Alcoa’s smelting potential located in Aviles and La Coruña of Spain, and Portovesme of Italy.
The company has signed a contract with government unions and authorities in Spain and Italy regarding the curtailments. It has commenced the curtailment of 90,000 t in the Spanish smelters and has planned to finish the same by the first half of 2012. Alcoa will conclude the curtailment of the smelter in Italy, whose capacity is 150,000 t, by this year end.