Rio Tinto Alcan declared force majeure in mid-January on supply of aluminum from Boyne Smelters Ltd. near Gladstone, Queensland as a result of the severe flooding that has impacted the state. “The floods have cut road and rail access between Gladstone and Brisbane, and the Brisbane port is closed, preventing deliveries to some domestic and international customers,” the Rio Tinto Alcan statement said. “Rio Tinto Alcan is investigating alternative arrangements for customers, including shipping aluminum directly out of the Gladstone port.”

The company was unable to provide an estimate of the full impact of the disruption or the duration of the force majeure.

Boyne Smelters Ltd. is owned 59.39% by Rio Tinto Alcan, 9.5% by YKK Aluminium, 9.29% by SLM Australia, 7.71% by SLMA No. 2, 6.46% by Ryowa Development II, 5.19% by Ryowa Development, and 2.46% by Sumitomo Chemical. The smelter has capacity to produce 558,000 mt/y of T-bar, ingot and billets.

The Queensland floods impacted vast areas of the state, including the state capitol, Brisbane, and crippled the state’s coal industry, which produced 195 million mt of coal in calendar year 2009. Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Xstrata, Wesfarmers and Macarthur Coal, among others, declared force majeur on some or all of their coal deliveries from Queensland.

The Queensland Resources Council estimated in mid-January that the state’s coal industry had lost A$2.3 billion in sales as a result of the flooding. At that time, about 15% of the state’s coal mines were in full production, 60% were operating under restrictions, and a further 25% had yet to resume normal operations.

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