Pittsburgh aluminium pioneer Alcoa Corporation announced this week the reopening of its Alumar aluminium smelter in São Luís, Brazil. The operation has been shuttered since 2015.
Alcoa says it is immediately restarting the facility, with the expectation that first metal will emanate from the plant in the middle of next year. The entire nameplate capacity of 268 thousand metric tons per annum is planned to be online by the end of next year, while Alcoa plans to have the plant run entirely on renewable energy two years later.
John Slaven, Alcoa’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, elaborated upon his firm’s reasoning for the restart in a related press release.
“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. 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.”
Otavio Carvalheira, Vice President of Operations and Alcoa’s President in Brazil, said his firm is looking forward to restarting operations at the plant.
“We are excited about the work ahead to safely and effectively restart the Alumar smelter, and we appreciate the collaboration from our government and community stakeholders as we begin this important, months-long process to build upon Alcoa’s leadership and further improve our global competitiveness.”
Alcoa estimates that the restart will cost around US$75 million, with US$10 million of it to cover capital improvements. Alumar will hire 750 new employees to run the site, augmenting the 850 who work at the co-located alumina refinery.
The Alumar aluminium smelter is owned jointly by Alcoa Alumínio and South32, with the Alcoa subsidiary owning 60 percent and South32 holding the remaining 40 percent.