Alcoa Corporation plans to restart idled capacity at its Alumar smelter in São Luís, Brazil, which has been fully curtailed since 2015. Once fully operational, the restarted lines will be able to produce up to 268,000 tonnes of aluminum per year.
“Our restart decision is based on an analysis that shows the smelter can be competitive throughout all cycles, leveraging the co-located refinery, a strong workforce, and competitive, renewable power arrangements,” said John Slaven, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “With this planned restart, we’ll be able to build upon the strong capabilities at this site and capture benefits for our investors, customers, employees, and the stakeholders in the state of Maranhão in Brazil.”
The smelter is jointly owned by Alcoa Alumínio (60%) and South32 (40%). It has three potlines with a total operating capacity of 447,000 metric tons, which includes Alcoa’s share of 268,000 metric tons.
Restarting the smelter is expected to cost approximately $75 million, including approximately $10 million in capital expenses. As the restart moves toward completion, the plant will hire more than 750 employees in addition to the 850 direct employees at the site’s co-located alumina refinery.
In addition to restarting production, Alcoa noted that by 2024, it plans to power the Alumar smelter with 100% renewable energy.
“We are excited about the work ahead to safely and effectively restart the Alumar smelter, and we appreciate the collaboration from our government and community stakeholders as we begin this important, months-long process to build upon Alcoa’s leadership and further improve our global competitiveness,” said Otavio Carvalheira, vice president of operations and Alcoa’s president in Brazil.
The company has begun the process of restarting capacity, with the first molten metal expected in the second quarter of 2022 and full operation achieved by the end of that year.