Alcoa permanently closed its Poços de Caldas primary aluminum smelter in Brazil on June 30. Production at the smelter had been curtailed since May 2014. “The closure of the Poços smelter permanently removes a high-cost smelting facility from the Alcoa system and is another step in creating a more profitable Primary Metals business,” said Alcoa Global Primary Products President Bob Wilt.
Closure of the Poços de Caldas smelter reduced Alcoa’s total global smelting capacity by 96,000 mt/y to 3.4 million mt/y. The Poços de Caldas mine, refinery, aluminum powder plant and casthouse are continuing normal operations.
The Poços de Caldas plant was established in 1965 and at the time was named Alcominas. Fifteen years later, it was renamed Alcoa Alumínio S.A.
On March 6, Alcoa announced that over the next 12 months, it would review 500,000 mt/y of smelting capacity and 2.8 million mt/y of refining capacity for possible curtailment or divestiture. The reviews could affect 14% of Alcoa’s global smelting capacity and 16% of its global refining capacity. At the time of the March announcement, Alcoa had already idled 19%, or 665,000 mt/y, of its smelting capacity and 7%, or 1.2 million mt/y, of its global alumina refining capacity.
On March 17, Alcoa announced it was curtailing 443,000 mt/y of alumina refining capacity at the Suralco bauxite mining and refining operations in Suriname. Suralco is part of the Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals group of companies owned 60% by Alcoa and 40% by Alumina Ltd. Suralco’s total alumina refining capacity is 2.2 million mt/y, of which 1.3 million mt/y has now been idled.
In early April, Alcoa curtailed the remaining 74,000 mt/y of smelting capacity at its São Luís (Alumar) facility in Brazil. The curtailment added to 85,000 mt/y of capacity curtailed at São Luís in May 2014 and 12,000 mt/y curtailed in October 2014.