Pittsburgh aluminium pioneer Alcoa Corporation announced last week that its joint venture Portland Aluminium is scaling back production to 75 percent, citing operational stability as the motive.
The site’s nameplate capacity is 358 thousand metric tons per annum, but will be operating at around 268.5 thousand metric tons per annum once the cuts are complete. The site’s 408 pots have been operating at about 95 percent capacity up to now.
Alcoa said the instability and other hurdles in producing rodded anodes confronting Portland Aluminium are the reason for the drawdown. The anodes connect the smelting pots with an electrical source, which starts the smelting reaction.
Bill Oplinger, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, said in a press release that the plant’s main responsibility now is a safe shutdown.
“Our teams are focused on safely taking the production offline and working to restore stability across the facility. Completing this task in a controlled fashion is our priority as we work to improve operations.”
Portland Aluminium is a collaboration among 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 itself a joint venture, owned by Alcoa Corporation (60 percent) and Alumina Limited (40 percent).
Earlier this year Alcoa’s wholly-owned alumina operations at Kwinana cut production by 30 percent as a result of a lack of natural gas supply to the plant.
CORRECTION: a previous version of this article indicated that production would be cut by 75 percent instead of to 75 percent. We apologize for the error.