Alcoa restarts aluminium smelter in Brazil

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Alcoa Corp. is restarting 268,000 tpy of aluminum capacity at the Alumar smelter in São Luís, Brazil, which has been fully curtailed since 2015.

The smelter restart at Alumar will involve the hiring of more than 750 employees and will add to the 850 direct employees at the site’s co-located alumina refinery.

The first molten metal is expected in the second quarter of 2022, and the full capacity is expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2022. By 2024, the Alumar smelter will be powered with 100 % renewable energy.

Alumar smelter restart: decision based on a competitive analysis

“Our restart decision is based on an analysis that shows the smelter can be competitive throughout all cycles, leveraging the co-located refinery, a strong workforce and competitive, renewable power arrangements,” said chief operating officer John Slaven. “With this planned restart, we’ll be able to build upon the strong capabilities at this site and capture benefits for our investors, customers, employees and the stakeholders in the state of Maranhão in Brazil.”

The smelter is jointly owned by a subsidiary of Alcoa and South32 and has three potlines with a total operating capacity of 447,000 tpy, which includes Alcoa’s share of 268,000 tpy. Alcoa Alumínio, a wholly owned subsidiary of Alcoa Corp., owns 60 % of the smelting and casting capacity; South32 holds the remaining 40 %.

The cost of the restart is anticipated to be USD75m, including USD10m in capital expenses. Restart expenses are estimated to be USD15-20m pre-tax. With this planned restart, Alcoa will have around 80 % of its 2.99m tpy of global aluminum smelting capacity operating.

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