UC Rusal, one of the world’s major producers of aluminum and alumina, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. “At first glance, 20 years seems not long for the company to be in the place that it is currently in,” said Evgenii Nikitin, CEO of Rusal. “Nevertheless, over these years, Rusal has managed to achieve a lot and become a fully-fledged leader in the global aluminum industry.”
Rusal was founded in 2000, when Sibirsky Aluminium and Millhouse Capital joined their aluminum assets together. The company became an industry leader in 2007, when the company merged with SUAL and the alumina assets of Glencore.
Currently, the company has 64,000 employees with operations spread across 13 countries. The company’s assets include ten aluminum smelters, eight alumina refineries, and seven bauxite mines, as well as four foil mills, four aluminum powder plants, and two silicon factories. Most recently, the company launched production at its BEMO complex, which includes the 298,000 tpy BoAZ smelter and Boguchanskaya hydroelectric power plant.
The company has the capacity to produce 3.75 million tonnes of aluminum, 7.77 million tonnes of alumina, and 89 thousand tonnes of foil per year. In 2018 RUSAL accounted for approximately 5.86% of global production of aluminum and 6.2% of alumina.
“Although we broke onto this market relatively recently, today we are already an integral part of the global economy, and it is difficult to imagine current life without оur aluminum,” said Nikitin. “We have become reliable suppliers of metal to customers not only in Russia, but also in Southeast Asia, Europe, North America, and other regions of the planet. Every year, value-added products occupy an increasing share in the production structure, so today Rusal’s aluminum is present in state-of-the-art, high-tech and innovative products, devices and structures: aircraft and spacecraft, vehicles and ships, skyscrapers and sports centers, computers and smart-phones.”
In addition to its production activities, Rusal is active in research and development. The company has its own proprietary smelting technologies (RA-300, RA-400, RA-500, and RA-550) and is developing new ones, including a revolutionary inert anode technology. In addition, the company is constantly working to develop advanced alloys that have the potential to expand the scope of aluminum applications. A pilot casting complex was launched in 2019, which was designed to support the development of new alloys.
In recent years, the company has also been particularly focused on sustainability, enacting an environmental action plan spanning the years 2020-2024, which includes the installation of modern gas cleaning systems throughout its operations. In addition, Rusal introduced its ALLOW brand in 2017, which has been independently verified as having a carbon footprint lower than 4t CO2/t Al.
Nikitin emphasized that these achievements were all made possible by the dedication of the people who work within Rusal, whether it’s in production, research and development, or other business units. “It is a joy to know that the company has created a strong team of world-class professionals,” he said. “Almost all Rusal production facilities have famous labor dynasties and valuable accumulated experience and tricks of the trade, which are passed down from generation to generation. The company’s veterans are replaced by young specialists, who have got not only the latest metallurgical knowledge, but the ability to think outside the box in an unconventional way, which provides us with a fresh perspective on production and business processes.”
With 20 years of operation under its belt, Rusal remains confident about its future in the aluminum industry. “The created base, experience, knowledge, competencies and technologies [will] allow Rusal to confidently grow and develop further,” said Nikitin. “I am sure that Rusal has got many achievements ahead.”