In the wake of news that the world’s largest alumina refinery is facing imminent closure, American aluminium smelter Century Aluminum announced a deal with Noranda Alumina for supplies of the aluminium precursor from the company’s Louisiana plant.
The companies said in a statement that the agreement covers a term of 2019 through 2024, with delivery from Noranda to Century carried out by the London intermediary Concord Resources.
“The transaction demonstrates our confidence in the future of the US aluminium industry,” said Century Aluminum’s CEO Michael Bless.
David D’Addario, chief executive of Noranda Alumina, said that his firm looks forward to helping restore the domestic aluminium industry to prominence.
“As the last major smelter grade alumina refinery in the United States, we are intent on playing a major role in strengthening the American aluminium industry in the years to come.”
Separately, Concord announced a deal to become a minority stakeholder in New Day, Noranda’s parent company.
The global alumina market has been fraught with difficulties for the majority of the year. In February, flood rains led to fears of pollution from Alunorte’s bauxite waste retention ponds, leading to the state mandating a 50-percent shutdown of the plant. Though evidence of toxic emissions from the plant has yet to be produced, the partial shutdown remains, prompting Alunorte’s parent company Norsk Hydro to announce the plant’s entire closure earlier this week.
Shortly after Alunorte’s forced partial shutdown, the United States government announced sanctions upon Rusal, its part owner En+ Group, and founder Oleg Deripaska, placing even greater pressure on the global alumina market, as Rusal is among the world’s biggest ex-China refiners of the aluminium precursor.