Hydro Expands Casthouse Capacity to Secure Market Position for Foundry Alloys in Europe

Hydro is to expand its casthouse capacity in Sunndal, Norway to secure its market position for foundry alloys in Europe.

The investment programme totalling NOK 240 million is expected to return good profitability. Production is expected to reach 360,000 tonnes this year, nearly 30,000 tonnes more than the original target set for the expansion.

Demand for aluminium foundry alloys, which are particularly in demand in the car industry, has grown by approximately seven percent per year over the last five years. Hydro is market leader in Europe for aluminium foundry alloys with production from its own and cooperating works in Norway, Slovakia and Slovenia. Hydro intends to become a global supplier of foundry alloys and the upgrade work currently taking place at the casthouse in Kurri Kurri, Australia, is part of the process to achieve this goal.

Demand for aluminium foundry alloys has grown by approximately seven percent per year over the last five years. The alloys are particularly in demand in the car industry.

The Sunndalsøra project in western Norway involves the building of a new casting centre for foundry alloys and will provide 15 new jobs. The centre will have a capacity of 80,000 tonnes, the same as the first centre for foundry alloys in Sunndal which was completed in 2003.

The casthouse in Sunndal has two primary products, extrusion ingots and foundry alloys. Last year 345,000 tonnes of metal products were produced, comprising 305,000 of electrolysis production and 40,000 tonnes of scrap and other remelting.

At the time of the decision in 2001 to modernize and expand the metal works in Sunndal, planned capacity was 330,000 tonnes. After the conclusion of the project in 2004, Hydro announced that increased amperage would make an annual yield of 360,000 tonnes possible from the electrolysis operation. Additional adjustments will allow the metal works in Sunndal to further increase production of molten metal and finished casthouse products until the year 2010.

Rebuilding and expansion work of the casthouse in Sunndal will begin in August 2005 and will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2006.

http://www.hydro.com

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