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Rusal Seeks Outlet to Sea

Russian Aluminum (Rusal) intends to begin construction of specialized port terminals for the transshipment of alumina to meet the needs for additional raw material by 2012 when Rusal reaches full capacity. Analysts say that Eastern Port in the Russian Far East or Ust-Luga in Leningrad Region is the most likely place for them and that a single terminal will cost $30-50 million.

Head of the Rusal press service Vera Kurochkina said that the plan for the construction of the terminals has been approved by the company's strategic planning committee. She names the Ports of Novorossiisk, St. Petersburg and Vanino among those with which negotiations are now underway, adding that the choice will be made before the end of the year. Russia does not have any specialized alumina terminals at present.

VIKA analyst Alexey Pavlov said that Rusal will need an additional 3 million tons of alumina when its three plants reach their production capacity, and another 1.5 million tons will be needed for investment projects in the Russian Federation. Pavlov thought that the Far East was the most attractive location for the terminals, since they could handle shipments from Queensland Aluminia, Rusal's Australian subsidiary.

Other experts pointed out that the company will not receive permission to load alumina within the limits of a city, which rules out Novorossiisk, Vladivostok (Eastern Port) and St. Petersburg.

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