Full production at Norsk Hydro’s plant in Brazil may resume within weeks or months, according to the company’s CEO Svein Richard Brandtzaeg in comments made to Reuters on the sidelines of an industry event. However, there is neither an exact date nor are there any specific details on how the return to full operational capacity will occur.
Alunorte – the world’s biggest alumina refinery – has been operating at half capacity since early last year due to unlicensed emission of untreated water at a time of heavy rains and subsequent flooding in the area.
“We are talking about weeks or months before we go back to full operations,” Brandtzaeg explained. He added that while there is still a lot of uncertainty, the political developments in the country could accelerate the return to full capacity. The new president took office earlier this month and there was an election of a new governor for the State of Para where the refinery is located.
Alunorte’s alumina output is capable of sustaining annual aluminium production of more than three million tonnes. The production cut last year severely affected the global alumina supply chain sending alumina prices upwards. The country’s authorities and Hydro remained at stalemate as both sides were unable to reach an agreement until Hydro threatened to close the entire plant, which lead to the resumption of talks.
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