A plan by three mainland firms to build a US$723m alumina plant could help break the dominance of the Aluminium Corporation of China (Chalco) and bring down prices in the medium term. The plant with a capacity of up to 2.4m tonnes a year will be constructed in Liangyun, Jiangsu province by Gansu Liangcheng Aluminium, Shanxi Changxin International Trade and Liangcheng Port Authority. The first phase of the project will provide 500,000 tonnes of capacity with a 300,000 tonnes-a-year aluminium smelter also planned, reported South China Morning Post. The scheme, which will use imported bauxite, will add capacity gradually according to demand and is still subject to regulatory and financing approvals, the newspaper added.
The announcement was made two months after the unveiling of a 1.05m tonnes capacity Henan-based alumina joint venture involving East Hope Group, Huanghe Aluminium of Henan and US-based JD Metal Works and Pioneer Global Investment. The two projects together could add 3.45m tonnes of alumina smelting capacity to Chalco's existing capacity of 5.14m tonnes. Chal- co, which is currently China's only alumina producer, has plans to expand its own capacity to 7.27m tonnes by the end of 2005. Alumina prices have risen 60 per cent in the past nine months due to a worldwide shortage.