World leading aluminium producer China Hongqiao Group abruptly quit the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) this week, leaving only four years after joining the body.
The IAI accounted for almost two-thirds of the bauxite, alumina, and aluminium mined, refined, and smelted throughout the world. However, with Hongqiao’s departure, the firm takes with it around 6.5 million metric tons per annum of licensed aluminium-smelting capacity.
There has been a fair amount of cross-pollination between the two entities during their association, with former IAI secretary-general Ron Knapp employed as an adviser to Hongqiao’s chairman Zhang Bo. Knapp confirmed the move to Reuters, but he did not elaborate upon the reasons behind the breakup.
“What Hongqiao is about is increasing its engagement internationally and we are looking at a number of vehicles to assist in realising that goal,” Knapp stated to the wire service.
Knapp continued by stating that Hongqiao is interested in striking up an association with the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative in the near future.
Similarly, the IAI did not comment on the situation when queried. The association’s website has already been modified to reflect its new membership of 26 firms. Remaining among the over two-dozen members is compatriot Aluminium Corp of China (Chinalco), Rio Tinto Group, U.C. Rusal, and Norsk Hydro.
Its current chair is Ben Kahrs of Alcoa Corporation, and its offices are housed in London, England. The association’s purpose is to act as a forum for the exchange of ideas and as a vehicle for collaboration among global producers on subjects of a common concern.