Alumina plant in China's Chongqing restarts after 4-1/2-year hiatus

BEIJING, Feb 19 (Reuters) - An 800,000 tonnes per year alumina refinery in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing has restarted after 4-1/2 years, state media and an official with the plant’s new operator said, as the nation’s demand for the aluminium raw material grows.

China churned out 72.53 million tonnes of alumina in 2018, up 9.9 percent from the year before, according to official data, and is the world’s top producer of aluminium.

The Nanchuan plant, where Aluminum Corp of China Ltd , or Chalco, suspended operations in July 2014 due to low alumina prices, was restarted by the Chongqing-based Bosai Group on Jan. 28, the state-run Chongqing Daily and a Bosai official said on Tuesday.

Bosai has leased the facility from Chalco for 15 years, the official said, adding that the first refined alumina would come off the production line next month.

A Chalco spokesman said he did not have full details of the arrangement.

Bosai spent around 250 million yuan ($36.89 million) on inspection and repair work prior to restarting the plant, the newspaper quoted plant director Jiao Feng as saying.

As part of a deal agreed between the two companies in June last year, Bosai has also taken over Chalco’s Nanchuan bauxite mine, which has 29.09 million tonnes of reserves according to Chalco’s latest annual report.

$1 = 6.7765 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Joseph Radford