Norwegian aluminium smelter Norsk Hydro ASA said late last week that power has been restored to Mineração Paragominas, allowing production to ramp up to previous levels at both the mine and Alumina do Norte do Brasil’s alumina-refining operation.
Hydro says it continues to work with local authorities to determine the cause of the power outage, which occurred on June 20. Initial reports indicate that a trio of towers supporting the power lines to the plant were weakened due to theft of materials from the structure that weakened the towers ultimately to the point of failure.
The firm reports that the event led to no injuries to people or harm to equipment.
The outage is not expected to render a significant impact upon customers. Paragominas delivers bauxite to Alunorte via a 151-mile pipeline, and Hydro said at the time of the incident that the Alunorte alumina refinery has sufficient bauxite ore on hand to continue limited operations until power can be restored.
Production at the world’s single-biggest alumina smelter ran between 50 percent and 70 percent capacity during the power outage in order to balance bauxite ore inventories.
Norsk Hydro, which was founded in 1905, financed by the Swedish Wallenberg family and French banks, began its life named Norsk hydro-elektrisk Kvælstofaktieselskab (literally, “Norwegian hydro-electric nitrogen limited”) by Sam Eyde. The Norwegian government owns approximately 40% of the company at the present time. Norsk Hydro is one of the largest aluminium companies in the world, with plants in Rjukan, Raufoss, Vennesla, Karmøy, Høyanger, Årdal, Sunndalsøra, and Holmestrand. Norsk also has several plants abroad, including in Germany and Brazil.