China's second-largest aluminum maker has got the green light for a five-billion-yuan ($651 million) joint venture with an Indian company to produce alumina, state media reported March 14. The National Development and Reform Commission, China's top planning agency, has approved Qingtongxia Aluminum Group's proposal to set up an alumina mining and processing joint venture in India, the Shanghai Securities News said.
Qingtongxia, based in north China's Ningxia region, will have a 50% share in the project with India's Ashapura Minechem Co. The project, which includes a one-million-ton alumina refinery in Kutch in the state of Gujarat, is the Chinese company's first investment in alumina, the main raw material for aluminum production, the report said.
"We are seeking financing and expect to start construction within this year," Li Kuichang, an executive with Qingtongxia Aluminum Group's supply department said. He added that the project would be completed in two phases within two-and-a- half year and the refinery's capacity in the first phase will reach half a million tons.
Qingtongxia has an annual production capacity of 430,000 tons of primary aluminum, which needs 900,000 tons of alumina a year, the report added.
With domestic alumina running short and the price surging, the government has been encouraging Chinese companies to seek overseas supplies. He said the domestic alumina price, which currently stands at 4,200 yuan per ton, jumped to 6,400 yuan in first half of 2006 before dropping to more than 2,000 yuan later last year.
India has reserves of three billion tons of bauxite, the principal aluminum ore, the fifth largest in the world, the report said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007