Further setback at Alunorte in bid to resume full alumina production – sources

The process to resume full production at Hydro's Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil has hit a further setback, after an accident with an iron ore tailings dam at a mine from Vale prompted a round of inspections throughout the country, sources told Fastmarkets.

Market participants do not expect the Brazilian refinery to resume normal operations anytime soon. Traders and producers initially expected a favorable judge ruling to be issued between February and March. Now, the most feasible timeframe for the go-ahead is six months at least, according to one source familiar with the mining regulation. But Norsk Hydro, the Norwegian aluminium group that owns Alunorte, told Fastmarkets that there is no change to the refinery’s situation, since its waste deposit is not only extremely different from the one from Vale but also a solid material deposit, currently with low levels of water. In late February last year, heavy rainfall in Barcarena, a city in the northern Brazilian state of Pará where Alunorte is located, sparked an investigation into whether the company’s solid waste deposit 2 (DRS2) flooded or not. So since the beginning of March 2018, the refinery has been prohibited from using the deposit...

Published

Alice Mason

Renato Rostás

February 26, 2019

11:18 GMT

London, São Paulo