Column: LME checks Russian aluminum play but is it game over? – by Andy Home (Reuters – May 7, 2024)

The London Metal Exchange’s (LME) warning shot to those looking to game the new sanctions on Russian aluminum appears to have worked, for now at least. Traders swooped on the LME’s stocks of Russian brand aluminum after the US and UK governments banned exchanges from taking delivery of Russian metal produced after April 12.

Over half of registered tonnage was cancelled over the ensuing week, destined for a creative run-around that would see it re-warranted under more restrictive trading conditions and locked into a lucrative rent-sharing warehouse deal.

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OPINION: Quebec has a lot riding on Rio Tinto’s green-aluminum project – by Konrad Yakabuski (Globe and Mail – April 24, 2024)

Since Rio Tinto bought Canada’s Alcan in 2007, the Anglo-Australian mining giant has been good at making big promises, but slow to fulfill them. This is especially proving to be the case with its plan to produce zero-carbon aluminum.

The Quebec aluminum operations that Alcan built up over more than 80 years until its US$40-billion takeover by Rio Tinto remain among the world’s most profitable. Rio’s eight wholly and jointly owned smelters in the province mostly rely on cheap and emissions-free hydroelectric power from dams that Alcan itself built, providing a competitive and environmental advantage over U.S., Chinese and Russian rivals that use coal-based electricity.

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One of nation’s only aluminum smelters set to close in Missouri Bootheel – by Allison Kite (Missouri Independent – January 25, 2024)

The Magnitude 7 Metals plant employed more than 400 workers in Marston.

One of the nation’s last primary aluminum smelters, which employs more than 400 workers in the Missouri Bootheel, will reportedly close its doors.

The Magnitude 7 Metals plant, in the southeast Missouri town of Marston, announced Wednesday it would curtail operations, according to Industrious Labs, an industry analysis group. In a press release, Industrious Labs said the plant represents about one-fifth of the nation’s aluminum production.

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Alcoa set to end 60 years of production at Kwinana alumina refinery, impacting 1,000 workers – by Amanda Jasi (Chemical Engineer – January 10, 2024)

ALUMINIUM producer Alcoa will fully curtail production at its 2.2 t/y alumina refinery in the Kwinana Industrial Area in Western Austria (WA) this year, after 60 years of operation. Matt Reed, chief operations officer and executive VP at Alcoa, said the decision was based on a variety of factors including age, scale, operating costs, current bauxite grades, and current market conditions.

It will see employees at the site phased down from around 800 at the start of 2024 to 250 by Q3, when all alumina production will cease. Alcoa said “certain processes” will continue until about Q3 of 2025, when the number of employees at the site will be further reduced to 50.

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Column: LME’s Russian aluminium dilemma set to become more acute – by Andy Home (Reuters – July 27, 2023)

The London Metal Exchange (LME) is coming under renewed pressure to exclude Russian aluminum from its warehouse system. Norwegian producer Norsk Hydro has called for the exchange to reconsider its decision last November to continue accepting deliveries of Russian metal.

With Russian brands accounting for 80% of warranted aluminum stocks at the end of June, the LME contract is at risk of losing its benchmark status, Hydro warned. There are no government sanctions on Russian aluminum and the LME said in response that “we note that all metals of Russian origin continue to be consumed by a broad section of the market.”

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China’s Maxed-Out Aluminum Industry Eyes Future in Indonesia (Bloomberg News – June 19, 2023)

(Bloomberg) — China’s aluminum producers are following in the footsteps of their nickel peers by setting up smelters in Indonesia.

After two decades of rapid growth, China’s aluminum sector is bumping up against a domestic capacity ceiling imposed by President Xi Jinping’s government. At the same time, Indonesia wants to do for aluminum something like what it’s done with its nickel: stop exporting raw ore and get foreign investors to build smelters.

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Rio Tinto invests $1.4-billion to expand Quebec aluminum manufacturing operations – by Nicolas Van Praet (Globe and Mail – June 13, 2023)

Rio Tinto PLC is investing $1.4-billion to expand its aluminum manufacturing operations in Saguenay, Que., breathing new life into the industrial centre after years of uncertainty.

The Anglo-Australian mining giant said Monday it will build out a smelter that uses lower-carbon AP60 technology at its Complexe Jonquière site, adding 96 new pots to the existing 38 and increasing capacity to about 220,000 metric tonnes of primary aluminum per year. Pots are deep shells lined with carbon and insulating bricks in which aluminum is made through electrolysis.

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From Wood To Composites: How Aircraft Materials Have Changed Over The Years – by Dr. Omar Memon (Simple Flying – June 11, 2023)

Over a century ago, in December 1903, Wright Brothers’ first human-crewed flight took place onboard the Wright Flyer in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It was the first powered, controlled, heavier-than-air airplane. The aircraft was built using wood, wires, and fabric on significant components. Since that time, major advancements in aircraft structural materials have been noticed. This article highlights the evolution of airframe materials and critical developments in recent times.

The Wright Brothers’ era

Various types of wood, metal wires, and fabrics of varying densities were used to manufacture the Wright Flyer. The Wrights used spruce for straight parts of the wings, such as wing spars. The ash wood was used for curved surfaces, including the ribs of the wings. The wooden frame was covered with a finely-woven cotton cloth, sealed with paraffin-based canvas paint. The metal fittings on the airframe were made from steel.

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COLUMN-LME aluminium stocks battle comes with a Russian twist – by Andy Home (Reuters – June 5, 2023)

LONDON, June 5 (Reuters) – There was another raid on London Metal Exchange (LME) aluminium stocks last week. While headline inventory MALSTX-TOTAL fell by a marginal 1,475 tonnes over the holiday-shortened week, available stocks slumped by 19% thanks to 83,875 tonnes of net cancellations.

It was the second swoop on exchange stocks of aluminium in the space of a month after the mass cancellation of 132,700 tonnes of metal on May 10. LME on-warrant stocks have fallen from over 500,000 tonnes in the middle of April to a four-month low of 324,650 tonnes.

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Column: Aluminium is the West’s critical minerals blind spot – by Andy Home (Reuters – May 23, 2023)

LONDON, May 23 (Reuters) – Aluminium is classified as a critical mineral by both the United States and the European Union. You wouldn’t know it from the perilous state of primary metal production on both sides of the Atlantic.

High energy costs, particularly in Europe, have caused multiple smelters to close or curtail output with the result that run-rates are the lowest this century. Back in 2020 the World Bank identified aluminium as a “high-impact” and “cross-cutting” metal in all existing and potential green energy technologies.

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OPINION: Rio Tinto’s century-old Quebec aluminum smelter is living on borrowed time – by Konrad Yakabuski (Globe and Mail – May 10, 2023)

Canada’s aluminum industry got its start in the Quebec town that U.S. industrialist Arthur Vining Davis built in the 1920s. A century later, Arvida – its name derived from the first letters of its founder’s name – is living on borrowed time.

The life of the Arvida aluminum smelter that opened in 1926, now owned by Rio Tinto, has been repeatedly extended in recent decades as the Quebec government reissued its operating permits even though the smelter belches out pollutants that far exceed provincial norms.

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Why skinny soda cans are everywhere – by Nathaniel Meyersohn ( – March 30, 2023)

New York CNN — Suddenly, your beverage is taller. Beverage brands rely on packaging shape and design to draw in consumers. Now they’re counting on a new slew of skinny aluminum cans to subtly signal to consumers that their exotic new drinks are healthier than the beer and sodas in the short, round cans of old.

Topo Chico, Simply and SunnyD recently launched alcoholic seltzers and cocktails in tall, thin cans, while Day One, Celsius and Starbucks have debuted sparkling water and energy drinks in new slim cans. Coke with Coffee launched in a slim version last year, too.

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Canada bans Russian steel, aluminum imports as Joly raises ‘regime change’ in Moscow – by Dylan Robertson (CBC News/Canadian Press – March 10, 2023)

Canada is banning imports of Russian steel and aluminum as part of its sanctions regime, as Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly raises the possibility of regime change in Moscow. Joly made the remarks at a Friday press conference where she discussed the importance of maintaining a diplomatic presence in Moscow.

“We’re able to see how much we’re isolating the Russian regime right now — because we need to do so economically, politically and diplomatically — and what are the impacts also on society and how much we’re seeing potential regime change in Russia,” she said.

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Column: United States targets Russian aluminium and other metals – by Andy Home (Reuters – February 28, 2023)

LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – The United States has extended its punitive economic measures against Russia into the metals and mining sector. Aluminium will be hardest hit with penal tariffs of 200% on imports of Russian metal, effective March 10, and imports of any third-country product containing Russian metal, effective April 10.

Import tariffs on other metals such as copper and lead will double to 70% and nickel will be subject to a 35% duty. The full package of sanctions and trade measures, announced on the anniversary of Russian’s invasion of Ukraine, covers over 100 metals, minerals and chemicals.

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Malaysia set to gain from Indonesia’s ban on bauxite exports – by Zunaira Saieed (The Straits Times – January 1, 2023)

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia, once among the world’s top 10 biggest bauxite suppliers to China, is set to emerge as a beneficiary of Indonesia’s latest ban on its export.

According to Indonesia’s customs data, China imported 17.8 million tonnes in 2021 from the country, accounting for about 15 per cent of its total imports. China, the world’s largest consumer, imported 107.42 million tonnes of bauxite in 2021, according to data from Statista.

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