Alcoa’s Board of Directors recently approved investments that will total $1.6 billion in the company’s Brazilian upstream operations.
Projects that will benefit from the investment include a 2.1 million metric ton per year (mtpy) expansion of the Alumar consortium alumina refinery in Sao Luis; the creation of a bauxite mine in Juruti; and the modernisation of the Pocos de Caldas aluminium smelter, in the state of Minas Gerais.
The Alumar alumina refinery will expand from approximately 1.4 million mtpy to approximately 3.5 million mtpy. Through its Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC) venture with Alumina, Alcoa will have a 54% interest in the expansion and its total share of output will more than double to 1,890,000 mtpy.
The Alumar refinery expansion is expected to begin in November, 2005 and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2008.
Juruti possesses one of the world’s largest high-quality bauxite deposits, estimated at 695 million metric tons. The Juruti mine will initially supply AWAC’s needs at the Alumar expansion, with the ability for further expansions at low incremental investment.
Alcoa’s Pocos de Caldas plant is an integrated mining, refining and smelting operation. The smelting operations produce 93,000, mtpy of aluminium. According to Alcoa, the modernisation, which will begin immediately, will provide for world-class environmental controls, lower emissions and costs, as well as improved operational efficiency, enabling sustainable profitable growth.
Alcoa is celebrating its 40th anniversary in Brazil, where the construction of its first plant, in Pocos de Caldas, began in 1965 and started operations in 1970.