Alcoa Dedicates Expanded Refinery in Brazil

Dec. 15, 2009
Alcoa has inaugurated the $1 billion expansion of the Alumar alumina refinery in Northern Brazil, where capacity more than doubled from 1.5 million to 3.6 million metric tons per year.

Alumar, located in Maranho state outside So Luis, Brazil, is jointly owned by Alcoa Aluminio and Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals/AWAC (54%), BHP Billiton (36%) and Rio Tinto Alcan (10%). Alcoa manages the facility.

Alcoa's share of the expansion will be 1.1 million metric tons per year, according to the company. The AWAC share of the Alumar refinery expansion will be supplied by the recently completed AWAC Juruti bauxite mine.

"Above all, the expansion of this refinery symbolizes a new moment being experienced by Brazil's North/Northeast, in its march toward economic emancipation," Brazilian President Lula da Silva said. "This region's economy has grown a lot in the last few years. That's why Alcoa, the world's main manager of alumina, and primary and fabricated aluminum, is transforming this Alumar complex here in Maranho into one of the largest in the world, simultaneously with the implementation of a bauxite mine in Juruti."

At the peak of the expansion construction, Alumar hired up to 13,000 workers -- approximately 70% of them Maranho natives, and 30% from the city of So Luis, according to Alcoa.

"We accomplished this expansion at competitive cost, employing local workers and suppliers and incorporating state-of-the-art technology, which places the Alumar alumina refinery as one of the lowest-cost refineries in the world," said Franklin Feder, president of Alcoa Latin America and Caribbean. "And our ramp-up activities are going extremely well, so this low-cost production will be utilized quickly."

Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals is a joint venture between Alcoa and Alumina Limited with Alcoa holding 60%.

About the Author

Josh Cable | Former Senior Editor

Former Senior Editor Josh Cable covered innovation issues -- including trends and best practices in R&D, process improvement and product development. He also reported on the best practices of the most successful companies and executives in the world of transportation manufacturing, which encompasses the aerospace, automotive, rail and shipbuilding sectors. 

Josh also led the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame, IW’s annual tribute to the most influential executives and thought leaders in U.S. manufacturing history.

Before joining IndustryWeek, Josh was the editor-in-chief of Penton Media’s Government Product News and Government Procurement. He also was an award-winning beat reporter for several small newspapers in Northeast Ohio.

Josh received his BFA in creative writing from Bowling Green University, and continued his professional development through course-work at Ohio University and Cuyahoga Community College.

A lifelong resident of the Buckeye State, Josh currently lives in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland. When the weather cooperates, you’ll find him riding his bike to work, exercising his green thumb in the backyard or playing ultimate Frisbee.  

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