Maintenance at two different plants in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region beginning this week is expected to put a dent into the overall alumina production by the People’s Republic of China.
According to a press release by Shanghai Metals Market, the Aluminium Corporation of China (Chinalco) took a roasting furnace at its refining plant in Guangxi offline for maintenance on Tuesday.
Per SMM, maintenance is expected to require the roasting furnace to be offline for 14 days. The plant, which was previously operating at full capacity, is expected to drop 20 thousand metric tons of production while repairs are carried out.
The site’s nameplate capacity is 2.5 million metric tons per annum, and SMM indicated that the plant was running at full capacity prior to the beginning of maintenance.
Meanwhile, Tiandong Jinxin Chemical began a week of maintenance at its Guangxi plant on Sunday. Few details were available about the maintenance plan, but SMM reported that these repairs are expected to impact the firm’s production by around 16 thousand metric tons.
The outages in question come as Chinese exports of the aluminium precursor appear to be slowly falling back to Earth. Though the year’s total exports of alumina will top 1 million metric tons, shipments in November fell dramatically on the month, dropping by 37.9 percent from October’s shipments.
China has historically been a reluctant exporter of alumina, as domestic smelters provide more than sufficient demand. However, turmoil in the alumina market, including a strike Alcoa’s Western Australia refinery, mandatory output curtailment at Rio Tinto’s massive Alunorte refinery in Brazil, and United States government sanctions on Russian Federation aluminium and alumina giant U.C. Rusal, have all shrunk demand and inflated prices to levels that made exports of the substance commercially worthwhile.
The strike’s resolution, a better outlook for Alunorte’s future, and the imminent end of sanctions on Rusal appear to be returning prices and supplies to the status quo ante, which may well make exports from the Middle Kingdom drop off significantly.