COLUMN-U.S. disrupts aluminium supply chain, but not where it counts – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – August 23, 2018)

LONDON, Aug 23 (Reuters) – In the United States, old aluminium smelters are being brought back to life. On Wednesday Century Aluminum held an official ceremony to celebrate the reactivation of the first of three idled potlines at its Hawesville plant in Kentucky.

The smelter, which first started production in 1969, has been running at just 40 percent of its 252,000 tonne annual capacity since 2015 and was teetering on the edge of full closure.

Hawesville’s life-line has come from the imposition of 10-percent tariffs on U.S. imports of aluminium and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was guest of honour at yesterday’s official bash. In Russia, meanwhile, old aluminium smelters are being closed down.

The Nadvoitsy plant, built in the 1950s, has been operating at just 20 percent of historical capacity since 2013 but will now be permanently closed because of U.S. sanctions on its operator, UC Rusal.

Such are the ripple effects of the Trump Administration’s impact on the global aluminium market. Untouched so far, however, has been the country that arguably pushed both Nadvoitsy and Hawesville to the brink of collapse in the first place.

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