China’s aluminium smelting leviathan China Hongqiao Group Ltd. said last week it has begun the initial phase of production at an aluminium smelter in Yunnan that is powered via hydroelectricity.
The new aluminium plant is run by Hongqiao affiliate Shandong Weiqiao Pioneering Group and boasts a nameplate capacity of 2.03 million metric tons, per the company. The first phase began last Monday at the site in Wenshan prefecture, bringing 1 million metric tons per annum of aluminium production online.
When asked by Reuters when the remaining production would come online, the firm declined to give a specific timetable.
“Currently, the company does not have an exact timeline for the launch of phase two, but will complete by 2025.”
The CNY40 billion project is the first project of several aimed at relocating one-third of its annual aluminium production south from Shandong in order to take advantage of more plentiful hydropower. State sanctions and limits on coal use and growing international condemnation have pushed Hongqiao into finding new and better alternatives to the traditional coal-powered aluminium smelting paradigm.
Ultimately Hongqiao expects the project to yield up to CNY100 billion in sales per year.
China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association president Ge Honglin said the hydropowered aluminium smelter would boost the country’s level of sustainable aluminium production and enhance its reputation for world class aluminium production.