Cablegate: South Africa: State of Aluminun Industry

DE RUEHJO #0467/01 3211304
R 171304Z NOV 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

JOHANNESBU 00000467 001.2 OF 007

1. (U) The South African aluminum industry is well developed and
a major contributor to the economy. During 2005, primary and
semi-fabricated aluminum sales amounted to 920,000 tons valued
at about $1.7 billion, of which exports accounted for more than
70% by mass and value. All plants are currently working at full
capacity and plans are in place to expand production after 2010,
contingent upon electricity generation capacity simultaneously
expanding to keep pace with rising demand. Local downstream
manufacturers provide for nearly all the various market sector
requirements. Aluminum smelters and fabricators both have
active workplace programs to encourage testing and treatment of
HIV/AIDs for infected and affected employees.

2. (U) Additionally, local smelters provide most of the alloys
required by the automotive, building and construction,
engineering and fabrication, mining, packaging, and transport
sectors as well as for the wheel and cable industries and a
variety of other niche industries. Where local demand for
special alloys and/or semi-fabricated products cannot be met,
these are imported. Expansion opportunities exist for local
consumption in niche areas and in the automotive industry, and
for export of ingot and semi fabricated products, also for the
automotive industry. However, there is concern about whether
exports can remain competitive, given rising input costs, a
volatile currency and the availability of the requisite skills.
On the local demand side, threats are posed by cheap imports
from China and other Far East exporters. End Summary.

Aluminum Metal
3. (U) Aluminum metal has a unique combination of properties
that make it one of the most versatile materials for a variety
of applications. It is a strong light metal used extensively in
the packaging, automotive, electrical, engineering,
construction, metallurgical, and chemical industries. The
addition of small quantities of other metals (the major alloying
metals are manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, and silicon - a
wide range of secondary alloying elements as also added to tweak
characteristics), together with a variety of temperature and
mechanical treatments (cold - strain hardening - and hot -
solution heat treatment) enable metallurgists to impart specific
properties required for different applications. In addition to
the core markets products like aluminum powder, flake and paste
products are used in explosives, rocket fuel, metallurgy,
chemicals, inks, and decorative materials.

4. (U) Aluminum is a light highly reflective metal with a
density equal to about 35% that of steel and 30% that of copper.
Nevertheless, some of its alloys have strengths greater than
structural steel and are highly corrosion-resistant under most
service conditions. Aluminum is non-toxic, non-magnetic,
non-sparking, has good electrical and thermal conductivities,
can be easily worked into any form, accepts a wide variety of
surface finishes and does not become brittle under extreme low
temperatures. It has a relatively low melting point and cannot
be used where strength is needed at high temperatures -
practical sustained performance is limit to 200-300 degrees

5. (U) A major feature of aluminum is its ability to be recycled
and some 50% of annual production is from recycled material.
Scrap can be transformed into aluminum metal using about 5% to
7% of the electricity used in the original alumina-to-metal
conversion with all the attendant benefits attributable to
energy saving and recycling of an otherwise waste material.
There is no difference between primary and recycled aluminum in
terms of quality or properties.

Aluminum Production
6. (U) Aluminum ore, most commonly bauxite (a weathered clay
with a high aluminum content), is relatively plentiful in
tropical and sub-tropical areas of Africa, the West Indies,
South America and Australia. Some deposits also occur in
Europe. Bauxite is refined into an aluminum oxide (alumina) and
then electrolytically smelted to the metal. The basic
meta-production unit is known as a 'pot' in which one to three
tons of metal can be produced per day. Pots are usually
assembled in rows known as 'potlines' that contain up to 250

7. (U) Primary aluminum production facilities (to produce
aluminum metal) are located in many parts of the world,
particularly where there is sufficient inexpensive energy
available (hydro-electric, coal, natural gas or nuclear) - some
50% of aluminum is powered by hydro, 36% by coal, 9% by natural

JOHANNESBU 00000467 002.2 OF 007

gas, 5% by nuclear, and less than 1% by oil. Based on 50%
alumina content two tons of bauxite produce one ton of alumina
(at 1,100 degrees C) and about two tons of alumina produce one
ton of aluminum metal (smelted at about 900 degrees C, but once
formed has a melting point of only 660 degrees C). In the case
of coal-generated electricity, some eight tons of coal
(dependent on the heat content) produce one ton of metal. The
production of metal from alumina is highly energy-intensive
requiring on average 15.7 MW-hours to produce a ton of metal.
Thus, a smelter the size of Hillside (700,000 annual tons)
requires a supply of some 1,000 MW of electricity.

8. (U) The basis for all modern primary aluminum smelting is the
Hall-Hiroult Process, HYPERLINK
" .html" invented in
1886. Inputs to the process include: alumina, cryolite (sodium
aluminum fluoride), a carbon- or graphite-lined steel container
(the pot) that acts as the cathode (negative), large quantities
of electricity at low voltage but very high current - typically
120,000 to 150,000 volts and 354 amperes - and a carbon anode
(positive) made of petroleum coke and pitch and consumed at the
rate of 400kg/ton of aluminum. During the process molten
aluminum is deposited at the bottom of the pot and is
periodically siphoned off, taken to a holding furnace where
alloying metals may be added, cleaned, and then cast into the
required shape.

9. (U) The smelting process is continuous. A smelter cannot
easily be stopped and restarted. If production is interrupted
by a power supply failure for more than four hours, the metal in
the pots may solidify, requiring an expensive rebuilding
process. Most smelters produce aluminum of 99.7% purity, which
is acceptable for most applications. However, super purity
aluminum (99.99%) is produced for some special applications,
typically those where high ductility or conductivity is
required. The marginal difference in the purities of smelter
grade and super purity aluminum results in significant changes
" ocessing/prope
rties.html" properties of the metal.

Aluminum Processing and Uses
10. (U) Aluminum can be alloyed with other metals to make a
variety of products with different properties. The main
alloying metals are manganese, silicon, zinc, copper and
magnesium but other metals are also used. Aluminum can be
rolled into plate, sheets, or wafer thin foils half the
thickness of a human hair. The rolling process changes the
characteristics of the metal, making it less brittle and more
ductile. Aluminum can be cast into an infinite variety of
shapes; extruded at about 500:C to form intricate shapes and
sections; forged by hammering to make stress-bearing parts for
aircraft and internal combustion engines; and joined by welding,
adhesive bonding, riveting or screwing. In general, the
properties of aluminum alloys can be modified either through
solution heat treatment or strain hardening and mechanical
working (rolling and drawing), and its appearance can be
modified by various surface treatments.

The South African Aluminum Industry
11. (U) The South African aluminum industry has no indigenous
supply of aluminum ore of which bauxite, an aluminum-rich
leached clay found mainly in a tropical belt around the equator,
is the major raw material. While there are known deposits of
bauxite in many parts of the continent they remain relatively
under-explored and the only producer of any consequence is
Guinea. South Africa imports raw material in the form of
processed bauxite or aluminum oxide (alumina) mainly from
BHP-Billiton's (BHP-B) plants in Australia and Brazil.

12. (U) The industry also imports other inputs to the process,
including petroleum coke (from the US Gulf and BP refinery),
pitch and aluminum fluoride. Two primary metal smelters and
four semi-fabricators are the cornerstone of the South African
aluminum industry and provide the basic inputs to numerous local
downstream manufacturers. Locally manufactured products ensure
that South Africa is virtually self-sufficient in its aluminum
requirements. Specialist products are imported where necessary.
The country has a thriving and growing export trade in primary
metal and in semi-fabricated and final aluminum products - some
90% of overall aluminum production is exported. Aluminum has
wide and growing applications across most of the countries
industrial sectors.

Primary Metal Production

JOHANNESBU 00000467 003.2 OF 007

13. (U) Africa has five aluminum metal producers, South Africa
(900,000 tons), Mozambique (505,000 tons), Egypt (244,000 tons),
Cameroon (90,000 tons) and Ghana (13,000 tons) - the latter two
probably from scrap metal. South Africa has two smelters that
together produce about 900,000 tons per year of primary aluminum
metal at 99.97% aluminum content. These are located on the east
coast of KwaZulu/Natal at Richards Bay, about 200 kilometers
north of the city of Durban. Both are wholly owned and operated
by BHP-B, which is the biggest diversified mining company in the

14. (U) The region hosts a third smelter at Maputo in
Mozambique, which lies about 150 kilometers north of Richards
Bay. The Mozal smelter has a capacity of about 506,000 tons per
year of aluminum metal, all for export. It is also operated by
BHP-B, but ownership is shared between BHP-B (47%), South
Africa's state-owned Industrial Development Corporation (24%),
Mitsubishi Corporation (25%), and the Government of Mozambique
(4%). The three smelters contribute 84% of BHP-B's world-wide
primary aluminum production and 4.4% of global output. Should
the mooted plant expansions and new 500,000 to 600,000 ton per
year Alcan plant at Coega materialize, this proportion would
increase to about 6.4%. Our BHP-B interlocutors noted that
among the BHP-B smelters, Mozal was the most cost-effective and
most likely to be expanded.

15. (U) The South African smelters, Bayside and Hillside, are
separate and different in technology and output and currently
produce above design capacity (as does Mozal). Output from the
smelters include rod casting used by the electrical and steel
industries, rim alloy bar used in the manufacture of wheels,
extrusion billet for architectural and engineering profiles and
for tubing, ingots for remelting and casting, and rolling slabs
for milling into flat products such as sheet, plate and foil.
Some 70% of smelter output is exported and, similarly, 70% of
downstream products are exported as value-added products.

16. (U) Bayside (previously Alusaf) supplies the bulk of the
common alloys required by the local semi-fabricators such as
extruders, rolling mills and casters. It is the older of the
two smelters and was established in 1969 as a so-called border
industry to provide employment to the apartheid Bantustan
(homeland) population. Its design capacity was 50,000 tons per
year of aluminum metal. Ownership of Alusaf was shared between
the state-owned Industrial Development Corporation (30.7%), the
Swiss aluminum company Alusuisse (23%), and Gencor, the
forerunner to BHP-B (46.3%). First metal was poured in 1971 and
since then the smelter has been expanded to the current annual
design capacity of 180,000 tons. While Bayside's annual
production is more than 200,000 tons, it also imports some
80-140,000 tons of liquid metal from Hillside. Because it was
initially South Africa's only aluminum smelter, it was designed
to produce a wide range of products for input to downstream

17. (U) Bayside products include rod for electrical conductor
applications and for de-oxidizing steel, billets for the
extrusion sector, rim alloys for wheel manufacturers (40,000
tons per year), and rolling ingots for slab, sheet and foil
producers. Bayside also has its own anode casting facility for
the manufacture electrodes to supply power to aluminum pots.
All Bayside's output goes to local semi-fabricators. In 2005,
the semi-fabricator's produced some 260,000 tons of value-added
products of which 70% was exported.

18. (U) Plans to expand Bayside's capacity to 250,000 tons are
awaiting the availability of a guaranteed supply of power.
South Africa's 4% growth in power demand has impacted on Eskom's
(power utility) ability to guarantee an uninterrupted supply of
electricity. The smelter currently requires a 350 MW
electricity supply. Bayside's expansion capability is limited
by old technology (1 ton aluminum per pot per day verses
Hillside's 3 tons per day) and high costs (in the third quartile
of global smelter costs). It probably needs to be totally
re-engineered and re-built or replaced by the proposed new
smelter (decision pending) at Coega on the Eastern Cape.
Bayside's product is priced at the London Metal Exchange (LME)
spot price plus local premiums.

19. (U) The Hillside smelter poured its first metal in 1996 and
had a capacity of 295,000 tons per year. In 2001, this was
increased to 507,000 tons and then to 705,000 tons in April 2006
by the addition of half a potline. Hillside (and Mozal) is a
modern, state-of-the-art plant and is the tenth lowest cost
smelter in the world (Mozal is rated the third lowest cost
smelter). It is currently producing in the range of 700,000
tons per year of T-bar, billet and ingot, most of which is
exported (140,000 tons to the United States and the rest to

JOHANNESBU 00000467 004.2 OF 007

Europe) with a small proportion going to local fabricators and
some 80-140,000 tons of liquid metal to Bayside.

20. (U) Hillside has two-and-a-half potlines, each requiring 400
MW of power (a total of 1,000 MW for the plant) and a total of
600 pots, each producing about three tons of aluminum per day
(compared to one ton per day at Bayside). The plan is to expand
production by 2010 but is dependent on the availability of a
sufficient and stable supply of power - during the past year
both Bayside and Hillside smelters have had forced power
interruptions. The current high demand for power has forced
Hillside into a load-shedding agreement with Eskom to go
off-power for one to a maximum of two hours per day during peak
demand. A power outage for longer than this causes
inefficiencies in production and beyond four hours could cause
metal to 'freeze' in the pots. Hence rumors that BHP-B is
looking to secure its own power supply - possibly a coal-fired
generation plant using fine coal discards from the Richards Bay
Coal Terminal. Hillside employs 1,160 permanent staff and 1,500

21. (U) South Africa's conversion profile for alumina is similar
to that of the western world, namely, 52% rolling products, 13%
secondary smelters, 13% extrusion profiles, 11% wheel plants, 7%
rods, and 4% deoxidizing products.

Semi-Fabricators and Manufacturers
22. (U) South Africa has four major companies that operate a
number of semi-fabricating plants. These produce aluminum metal
in the shapes and qualities required by downstream
manufacturers. Semi-fabricators include secondary smelters that
produce metal from scrap, and extruding and rolling plants that
produce profiles and flat products. Further processing is
carried out by a variety of downstream wheel casters,
manufacturers and service providers to produce value-added
finished goods.

23. (U) The country's major semi-fabricator is Hulett Aluminium
Ltd, 60%-owned by Anglo American, South Africa's biggest and the
world's fourth largest diversified mining company. Hulett owns
Hulett-Hydro Extrusions, which operates two extrusion furnaces
of different sizes and produces about 20,000 tons per year of
profiles. Other extrusion plants in other centers produce an
additional 33,000 tons per year. Hulett also owns Hulett
Aluminium (Rolling), which operates the only two rolling mills
in the country and produces 200,000 tons per year of hot- and
cold-rolled plates and sheets. For flexibility, the plant
operates seven furnaces in batch mode on a 362-day by 24-hour
schedule. Hulett is located in Pietermaritzburg, the capital
city of KwaZulu/Natal, and lies some 100 kilometers west of
Durban. Hulett also has an extrusion plant and manufacturing
facilities in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

24. (U) In addition to the smelters that produce metal from raw
materials, South Africa has fourteen secondary smelters that
produce aluminum from scrap metal. Some 60,000 tons of scrap
are collected annually of which about 50% is exported and the
rest melted locally. The resultant metal is of the same quality
and has the same properties and uses as primary metal.
Processing of scrap requires only 5% to 7% of the power input of
the original metal and is therefore in great demand and fetches
a high price. Consequently, the local industry has to pay
international prices for scrap and would like to see government
put restrictions on its export. Africa has a number of other
secondary smelters located in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria,
Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, but only Egypt has any
significant output.

25. (U) The production profile for value-added aluminum products
produced in South Africa is 24% automotive, 24% light and heavy
engineering, 21% packaging, 14% electrical, 7% deoxidizing rod
and powder, 2% consumer durables, and 8% other uses. A major
difference - compared to most other countries where beverage
cans are entirely made from aluminum - is that in South Africa
the beverage can cylinder and bottom are made of steel and only
the top section is aluminum. The industry is striving to
capture this very lucrative market.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Industry
26. (U) The South African aluminum industry is well developed
and a major contributor to the economy. During 2005, primary
and semi-fabricated aluminum sales amounted to some 920,000 tons
valued at about $1.7 billion, of which exports accounted for 70%
by mass and value. All plants are currently working at full
capacity and have plans to expand production after 2010 when an
adequate supply of reliable power is seen as likely to be

JOHANNESBU 00000467 005.2 OF 007

available. Local downstream manufacturers provide for nearly
all the various market sector requirements.

27. (U) Additionally, local smelters provide most of the alloys
required by the automotive, building and construction,
engineering and fabrication, mining, packaging, and transport
sectors as well as for the wheel and cable industries and a
variety of other niche industries. Because of the relatively
small size of the local market and wide variety of products
demanded, the industry has developed the expertise to produce
efficiently over short production runs.

28. (U) The construction of large primary metal smelters in
South Africa (and the region) was predicated on the availability
of a cheap and reliable supply of electric power. During the
1980's and 90's, electricity utility Eskom had a surplus of
generation capacity and offered discount and risk-sharing deals
to bulk users. Since early 2000, the upturn in economic
activity increased electricity demand to 4% per year (from the
planned 2.8%). This caused a rapid depletion of the excess
capacity, to the extent that Eskom is currently battling to meet
peak demand. Eskom's supply/demand safety margin is currently
below 10% (desired standard is 15%) and this situation is likely
to continue until new capacity (under construction) starts to
kick in over the next few years. As a result, planned
expansions at the three regional smelters - and filtering down
to the semi-fabricators - could be delayed (or relocated

29. (U) Further weakness and threats include: cheap imports of
aluminum products from China and the Far East, rising price of
inputs and scrap metal, competition for new production from
Australia, Jamaica and possibly Guinea, where BHP-B is
negotiating the construction of a $100 million alumina refinery
project. While the ability of the South African aluminum
industry to export is well developed in niche and general
industry markets, the problems lies with its inability to
compete on price in certain export sectors (partly due to strong
Rand that prevailed until a few months ago) or to produce the
volumes demanded for certain products and components. This
limits the economic potential of the industry. Industry
believes that real volume growth depends on exports and
consequently on longer production runs in order to compete in
the export market.

Future Plans for the Industry
30. (U) As mentioned above, the future of the aluminum industry
in South Africa (and the region) depends on growth and exports.
Mooted plans include the addition of a new potline at Mozal
(250,000 tons), a half potline at Hillside (200,000 tons),
expansion by 50,000 tons at Bayside, the possible construction
of a new plant in the Eastern Cape (starting at about 250,000
tons per year), and the announced 50,000 ton expansion of the
Huletts rolling plant. Smelter capacity increases will likely
await the availability of guaranteed power from Eskom, which
could be at a higher price.

31. (U) Note: On November 15, the media reported that Alcan, the
world's second largest aluminum company, had concluded an
electricity supply agreement with Eskom to pave the way for the
establishment of a $2.7 billion aluminum smelter at Coega in the
Eastern Cape. Agreements with Eskom and the Coega Development
Corporation (as landlord), will be signed next week. The
project calls for the construction of a 700,000 ton per year
smelter, beginning in 2008 and with first metal poured in about
2011. The signing will conclude the drawn-out negotiations that
began with Pechiney of France at the turn of the decade and
continued with Alcan after the latter's takeover of Pechiney
three years ago. Financing and the ownership structure has
still to be finalized. End Note.

GSP and Trade in Aluminum Products
32. (U) Hulett Aluminium Marketing Manager Lloyd Darby said
their products were highly competitive in the U.S. market and
that Hulett Aluminium had the option of growing this market.
Although its total output was just 2% of the global market,
Hulett had a market share of between 5% and 10% in some product
lines. He said that the U.S. was 40% of their export market,
and exports constituted roughly 70% of sales. Darby noted that
the local market tended to be more profitable for them, and more
advantageous in terms of lead-times, given that shipping to the
U.S. generally took four weeks. Additionally, 2005 exports to
Africa were less than 10% of total shipments and, according to
the Aluminium Federation of SA, are unlikely to increase

JOHANNESBU 00000467 006.2 OF 007

33. (U) Darby expressed concern that if South Africa was removed
from the GSP program, it would have an impact on their business.
He noted that Hulett had already made representations to the
Department of Commerce. Darby also said that there were no
duties on processed aluminum into South Africa. Hulett, said
Darby, was one of very few companies to have successfully
defended an anti-dumping charge brought by Alcoa in 2004, which
resulted in fines against Russian and Chinese suppliers. Alcoa
later purchased the Russian firm, according to Darby.

Occupational Health and Safety
34. (U) ConJoburg personnel were able to tour both Aluminum
fabrication plants in Pietermaritzburg, after donning a full set
of protective gear. The fabricating plants were clean, well
ventilated, and well organized, with walkways and off-limit
areas clearly marked. In both plants, workers were kitted out
in full protective gear, including safety glasses or visors and
ear protection. Hulett-Hydro Extrusions prominently posted
signs that indicated how many shifts it had managed since its
last workplace accident.

35. (U) Similarly, both BHP-B smelters were immaculate with
clearly defined levels of hazard by area, considerable signage
on safety, and minimal human exposure to metals being processed.
All employees wore extensive safety gear, and vehicles were
fitted with a variety of alarms. Bayside managers noted that
the recent incursion onto the plant property by two crocodiles
from a nearby wildlife preserve had posed a short-term safety
hazard, until a local wildlife officer was able to remove them.
Hillside managers noted that their plant, and Bayside, was
highly unionized with 85% of operators belonging to either the
National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (NUMSA) or to

HIV/AIDS and Corporate Social Responsibility programs
--------------------------------------------- --------
36. (U) Hulett-Hydro managers had no specific figures on
HIV/AIDS in their facility but noted that they ran HIV/AIDS
prevention campaigns and offered free ARVs. It was "not a huge
problem yet", but stigmatization was an issue, and adherence to
medication protocols was "not good." A manager at Hulett
Aluminium also emphasized that HIV/AIDS was a significant
concern, noting that they had lost a manager to the disease in
the past year.

37. (U) Both Bayside and Hillside Smelters had programs in place
to test and assist HIV/AIDS affected employees and assigned 1%
of their profits to community projects. Hillside General
Manager Gustav Griessel said that social responsibility programs
were focused on clinics, schools and crhches, as well as
projects encouraging job creation. Both smelters had HIV/AIDS
prevalence levels of about 13% of their tested staff, and
thought prevalence levels among their workers were stable
although the province is believed to have the highest prevalence
of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. According to Griessel, the
smelters together had spent in excess of R40 million
(approximate $7 million) on community social programs over the
past several years, in addition to spending on workplace
HIV/AIDs programs.

Skills Shortages
38. (U) Hulett-Hydro, which forecast 5-8% growth rates for its
sector, noted the "huge" skills shortage" for industrial
engineers in South Africa. Its comments were echoed by managers
at Hulett Aluminium, who had recently lost a number of its
engineers and managers to Australian competitors. Bayside and
Hillside also confirmed that poaching by Australian competitors
was having an impact on their ability to retain staff.

Environmental Impact
39. (U) Environmental controls seemed to be in place and working
well. Air quality in Pietermaritzburg, where the two Hulett
fabrication plants are located, appeared excellent, and managers
confirmed that monitoring systems were in place. Monitoring
systems were also used and publicly reported on in Richards Bay.
Hillside GM Griessel noted that the agreement reached with the
community prior to constructing Hillside required that total
emissions of both smelters not exceed those of Bayside prior to
its renovation; both smelters now produced well under Bayside's
prior emissions levels. Because Hillside still had problems in
meeting sulfur emissions targets, it currently imported
low-sulfur pet-coke from the U.S Gulf and India.

International Aluminum

JOHANNESBU 00000467 007.2 OF 007

Production of Bauxite and Alumina
40. (U) During 2005, more than 160 million tons of bauxite were
mined and reserves estimated at about 23 billion tons from a
resource base of 33 billion tons. Of these, some 70% of
reserves and production occur in only four countries. The major
deposits of bauxite are found in a wide belt around the equator.
According to the USGS, the major resources are located in South
America (33%), Africa (27%), Asia (17%), Oceania (13%), and
elsewhere (10%). Recorded United States bauxite production was
nil with reserves of 20 million tons. Major bauxite-producing
countries were:

Country Production Reserves
(tons x 1000) (tons x 1000)
Australia 56 4,400
Jamaica 14 2,000
Brazil 20 1,900
Surinam 4 580
Venezuela 6 320
Guyana 2 700
Guinea 19 7,400
India 9 770
China 15 700
Russia 5 200
Others 12 4,300
Total 162 23,000

41. (U) While the bulk of bauxite production takes place in some
five countries, global production of alumina is more widely
distributed in more than 30 countries, mostly using imported
bauxite. Global production for 2005 was 56.2 million tons
verses plant capacity of 59.4 million tons. Production for 2006
is projected to be 63.4 million tons, an increase of nearly 13%.
Regional production was from:

Region Alumina Production Percent
(tons x 1000)
Africa (Guinea) 740 1
North America 6,930 12
Latin America 13,190 23
Asia 5,390 10
W Europe 6,560 12
E and Central Europe 5,430 10
Oceania (Australia) 17,920 32
Total 56,160
Note: Independent statistics show Chinese production (grouped
under Asia above) as 8.51 billion tons.

Production of Aluminum
42. (U) During 2005, primary aluminum production was recorded
(according to the USGS) by 44 countries. However, this number
could decrease in the future as aluminum smelters, which require
huge amounts of energy, could succumb to increasing fuel
shortages and rising prices. Only producers with access to
abundant, cheap and reliable electricity are likely to survive
in a high-cost energy environment. The top ten producers
accounted for 75% of the total aluminum output. Since 2001,
total production has increased at an average annual rate of 7%
and could exceed this for 2006. Global prices have increased by
about 60% over the past two years, from $1,700 per ton to the
current $2,700 per ton. Most smelters produce aluminum of 99.7%
purity for most applications. However, a super purity product
of 99.99% aluminum is used in special applications requiring
high ductility or conductivity. The top eleven primary aluminum
producers are:

Country Tons(millions) Percent Rank
China 7.80 24 1
Russia 3.65 11 2
Canada 2.89 9 3
United States 2.48 8 4
Australia 1.90 6 5
Brazil 1.50 5 6
Norway 1.37 4 7
India 0.90 3 8
South Africa 0.85 3 9
Bahrain 0.75 2 10
Dubai(UAE) 0.75 2 10
Rest 7.06 22

43. (U) Note: On September 18 and 26 to 28, Labor, Minerals and
Energy Officer and FSN Resource Specialist visited the Aluminium
Federation of Southern Africa in Johannesburg, Hulett Aluminium
Limited's semi-fabrication facilities in Pietermaritzburg, and
BHP-Billiton's aluminum smelters at Richards Bay (both in
KwaZulu/Natal). End Note.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>

Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>