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(AMM) Aluminum tight on Venezuela unrest

February 11, 2011 - 21:33 GMT Location: NEW YORK

KEYWORDS: aluminum , Venezuela , labor

Primary aluminum production at Venezuela's two state-owned producers has been hit hard by weeks of labor protests, sources said, disrupting shipments to South America and intensifying concerns about metal availability in parts of the United States and Mexico.

Union workers have been blockading entrances at CVG Alcasa for weeks, disrupting operations at the 200,000-tonne-per-year smelter, according to official government news reports. Fewer than 200 of the 680 electrolytic cells at Alcasa have been operating.

At CVG Venalum, which has a nameplate capacity of 440,000 tonnes per year, the blockades started just days ago but the impact has already been significant, according to a union leader.

"We have been producing at some 20 to 30 percent of our capacity, but today we will decrease this to 10 percent," Gerardo Jos? P?rez, general secretary of Sutralum, one of the company's two unions, told AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin on Friday. Only...

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