Alcoa to restart its idle aluminium smelter in Australia

PITTSBURGH – Alcoa Corporation has announced that the Portland Aluminium joint venture plans to restart 35,000 metric tons per year (mtpy) of curtailed capacity at its aluminium smelter in the State of Victoria in Australia.

The process to restart the capacity, which has been idle since 2009, will begin immediately, with metal production expected to start in the third quarter of 2022.

Portland Aluminium is an unincorporated joint venture with 358 000 mtpy of total capacity, and Alcoa Corporation has 197 000 mtpy of consolidated capacity. Once the restart is complete, Portland Aluminium will operate at approximately 95 percent of total capacity and Alcoa Corporation will have approximately 186 000 mtpy of its consolidated capacity at Portland operating.

“Restarting the idle capacity improves the smelter’s cost structure, competitiveness and longer term sustainability,” said Michael Gollschewski, Alcoa’s Vice President of Operations and President Alcoa Australia. “Portland Aluminium has long enjoyed the support of the local community and with this project we are pleased to be able to create further positive social impact through additional employment and local expenditure.”

The project is expected to create approximately 30 permanent roles at the smelter and about 50 temporary construction positions. The smelter currently has a workforce of about 680, consisting of both direct employees and contractors.

Energy to operate the restored capacity will be supplied under a new four-year agreement with power generator AGL. The restart’s total cost is anticipated to be approximately $28 million of which Alcoa Corporation’s share is approximately $9 million. Restart expenses are expected to be incurred between the fourth quarter of 2021 and the third quarter of 2022.

Alcoa Corporation also recently announced the restart of its 268 000 mtpy smelter in Brazil, which is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2022. When both projects are complete, Alcoa Corporation will have approximately 82 percent of its 2.99 million metric tons of global aluminium smelting capacity operating.

Portland Aluminium is an unincorporated joint venture included Alcoa of Australia Limited (55 percent), CITIC Nominees Pty Ltd (22.5 percent), and Marubeni Aluminium Australia Pty Ltd (22.5 percent). Alcoa of Australia Limited is owned by Alcoa Corporation (60 percent) and Alumina Limited (40 percent).

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