Russia’s UC Rusal, a leading global aluminium producer, has announced the start of its metal powder business modernisation programme with a total investment set to reach US$52 million. The programme will see the upgrading of its Powder Metallurgy plants in Volgograd and Shelehov, and aims to increase production of aluminium powder from 20,000 to 25,500 tonnes per year.
Rusal hopes to expand its market share in the Russia and CIS markets from 54% to 76%. The company stated that as part of the programme it is investing in the development of modern dry and wet grinding technology that will allow it to penetrate the aluminium paste segment. Alongside this, the company will also invest in the development of new technology to reduce powder production costs, to produce new types of gas developing agents used in the manufacture of aerated concretes and high-tech pigments for coatings.
“Our powder business has good prospects and the announced long-term investment programme will enhance its efficiency. Modernisation and new equipment will allow Rusal to increase its market share in powders and to take advantage of the potential that the market offers,” stated Alexey Arnautov, UC Rusal’s Deputy Director for New Projects.
Acquisition of Timan Bauxite
UC Rusal also announced that it has completed a transaction with JSC ‘Fund for support of investment projects in the Republic of Komi’ to obtain the remaining 20% stake in OJSC Boksit Timana (Timan). Following the completion of this transaction, Rusal now owns 100% of the mine.
The transaction was carried out as part of Rusal’s asset consolidation programme, which is aimed at securing safe supplies of raw materials to the company’s aluminium plants.
“Currently, RUSAL is implementing a strategy to become self-sufficient in raw materials. Timan is a strategically important Rusal asset in Russia, that makes 30% of the country’s bauxite deposits. Moreover, Timan bauxite is of high quality and can be mined at low cost in an open pit. This deal has been accomplished following several years of negotiation and addresses the requirements of both parties,” stated Yakov Itskov, the head of Rusal’s Alumina division.
OJSC Boksit Timana is located in the Republic of Komi, Russia. The mine has a rich Vorykvin deposit of bauxites, estimated at 260 million tonnes, with annual bauxite production capacity estimated at around 3 million tonnes per year. The bauxite is used for alumina production at the Urals and Bogoslovsk refineries. Timan employs more than 500 people.