Profile: Alumina Ltd (AWC)
9 Dec 2013
Alumina Limited (Alumina), incorporated in 1970, is an Australia-based company. The Company is the holding company of WMC Group. Alumina is engaged in investing in bauxite mining, alumina refining and selected aluminum smelting operations, through its 40% ownership of Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC). The Company’s partner, Alcoa, owns the remaining 60% of AWAC, and is the manager. The Company’s subsidiaries include Alumina Finance Limited, Alumina Holdings (USA) Inc., Alumina International Holdings Pty. Ltd., Alumina Brazil Holdings Pty Ltd, Alumina Limited Do Brasil SA, Alumina (U.S.A.) Inc., Butia Participacoes SA, Westminer Acquisition (U.K.) Limited, Westminer International (U.K.) Limited and Westminer (Investments) B.V.
In Australia, AWAC partners own 100% of AofA which operates integrated aluminium facilities, including mining, refining and smelting facilities. Alumina produced in Australia by AWAC is shipped either to its smelters at Point Henry and Portland in Victoria, Australia or to overseas AWAC customers, principally in South Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia, Russia, China, South America and North America. AWAC sources bauxite from its 100% owned Huntly and Willowdale bauxite mines located in the Darling Range south of Perth, Western Australia, which supply AWAC’s three alumina refineries in Western Australia. The Pinjarra, Wagerup and Kwinana refineries have capacities of 4.2 million tons, 2.6 million tons and 2.2 million tons, respectively. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company’s Australian operations produced 9.0 million tons of alumina and 357 thousand tons of aluminium. Bauxite is transported from the mines by overland conveyor to the Pinjarra and Wagerup refineries and by rail to the refinery at Kwinana.
AWAC produces primary aluminium in Victoria, Australia. The aluminium assets include an aluminium smelter at Point Henry, near Geelong, and a 55% controlling interest in an aluminium smelter at Portland, approximately 240 kilometres west of Geelon. The Portland smelter has an annual production capacity of 358,000 tons of aluminium and Point Henry has an annual capacity of 190,000 tons. A storage and loading facility at the port of Bunbury, near Wagerup, handles the majority of shipping for the Pinjarra and Wagerup refineries. Some Pinjarra production is also shipped through the port facility at Kwinana, south of Perth.
Point Comfort alumina refinery in Texas is 100% AWAC-owned and has an annual capacity of 2.3 million tons of alumina. The facility is located approximately 210 kilometres south of Houston on Port Lavaca Bay. Bauxite for the refinery is sourced from an AWAC affiliate in Guinea. Point Comfort uses gas-fired cogeneration facilities to supply process heat and power to the refinery, and gas is purchased from local suppliers under short term contracts.
AWAC has a 45% interest in a bauxite company, Halco (Mining) Inc. (Halco). Halco owns 100% of Boke Investment Company, which owns 51% of Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee. In Suriname, AWAC owns the Suriname Aluminum Company (Suralco). Suralco has interests in an alumina refinery at Paranam, bauxite mines in north east Suriname and south of Paranam and hydro-electric facilities at Afobaka Lake. The 2.2 million tons-per-annum alumina refinery at Paranam, in northern Suriname, sources bauxite from mines in Suriname. The refinery was owned by a joint venture held 55% by Suralco and 45% by an affiliate of BHP Billiton Plc (BHP Billiton), with Suralco as manager of the joint venture and operator of the refinery. The Suralco refinery’s sources of bauxite and additional bauxite supply from two successor mines, Kaimangrassie and Klaverblad in Eastern Suriname.
In Jamaica, AWAC owns Alcoa Minerals of Jamaica LLC, a United States based company, which holds a joint venture interest in Jamaica. The joint venture is called Jamalco is owned 55% by AWAC and 45% by Clarendon Alumina Production Limited (Clarendon), which is a Jamaican Government company. Bauxite for the refinery is sourced from leases in Harmons Valley and the Manchester plateau. The bauxite mines that feed the refinery are located 40 kilometers north of the refinery in the Mocho Mountains. The bauxite mining rights are owned by Jamalco. Bauxite is transported to the refinery on a railway and by a rope conveyor. Jamalco’s alumina refinery has a nominal capacity of 1.25 million tons per annum.
AWAC operates in Brazil through its company AWA Brasil, which holds an 18.9% interest in the Alumar alumina refinery at Sao Luis, north-east Brazil. Other participants are Alcoa Aluminio S.A. (35.1%), BHP Billiton Metais SA (36%) and an affiliate of Alcan Aluminio Do Brazil SA (10%). Alcoa World Alumina Brasil Ltda has special rights to 54% of any expansion of the Alumar refinery. Alcoa World Alumina Brasil Ltda holds a 9.6% interest in Mineracao Rio Do Norte S.A. (MRN) and the remaining interest in MRN is jointly owned by affiliates of Alcan, Companhia Brasileira de and Aluminio, Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, BHP Billiton Metais S.A., Alcoa Aluminio S.A., and Norsk Hydro Brasil Ltda. MRN’s mines produce approximately 18 million tons of bauxite a year. Bauxite is transported approximately 1,400 kilometers by ship to the refinery.
AWAC owns and operates the San Ciprian alumina refinery, which is located on the north-west coast of Spain. It has an annual production capacity of 1.5 million tons. Approximately 70% of alumina produced at the San Ciprian refinery is smelter grade, which is sold primarily to Alcoa’s smelters in Spain.
Alcoa Steamship Inc.
AWAC owns and operates a shipping operation that provides transport for AWAC's alumina business and to third parties, including Alcoa. Operating owned and chartered vessels, the shipping business transports dry and liquid bulk cargoes, including bauxite, alumina, caustic soda, fuel oil, petroleum coke and limestone. AWAC has a 25.1% economic interest in a mine and refinery of Saudi Arabia. AWAC’s alumina production during 2011 was 15.7 million tons. AWAC also has interests for bauxite deposits at Bougainville and Mitchell Plateau in Australia, Brownsberg, Coermotibo DS, Lely Mountains and Nassau, all in eastern Suriname.
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