Alcoa smelter’s future in the balance

Original article by Matt Johnston
Herald Sun – Page: 5 : 30-Oct-20

The Australia Institute has released a report which warns that the closure of Alcoa’s Portland aluminium smelter would reduce GDP by $800m and result in the loss of 3,600 jobs. The report was commissioned by Ben Davis of the Australian Workers’ Union, who says the economic impact of the smelter’s closure would be "unprecedented". He adds that the smelter helps to stabilise the electricity grid during periods of peak usage during summer. Both the Victorian and federal government are holding talks with Alcoa about the plant’s future.

CORPORATES
ALCOA INCORPORATED, ALCOA OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN WORKERS’ UNION-FEDERATION OF INDUSTRIAL, MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING EMPLOYEES

Energy key to recovery, says Rio

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 8-May-20

Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques has told the resources group’s Australian annual meeting that its local aluminium assets are "very well run" and high power costs is their main problem. He emphasised the need for a "viable and sustainable solution" to this problem; he added that high energy prices will also be a key issue for the federal government in restarting the domestic economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Jacques also said it now appears to be ‘business as usual’ in China, which is Australia’s key iron ore export market.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, PACIFIC ALUMINIUM PTY LTD

Portland smelter survives cuts but future uncertain

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 15 : 24-Apr-20

Alcoa announced a review of its loss-making aluminium smelters in September, with its Portland smelter in Victoria one of the smelters under scrutiny. Alcoa advised on 22 April that it would be closing its Intalco smelter in the US, as well as indicating it will speed up its review of loss-making assets because of the economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Alcoa CFO Bill Oplinger said the pandemic was making it harder for the company to sell its unwanted assets, reducing the prospect of finding a ‘white knight’ for Portland should Alcoa’s review of it be unfavourable.

CORPORATES
ALCOA INCORPORATED, ALUMINA LIMITED – ASX AWC

ATO probes Rio on its pricing of aluminium

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 : 25-Feb-20

Rio Tinto’s Australian aluminium business is the subject of a transfer pricing assessment by the Australian Taxation Office. It is understood that the ATO’s investigation is looking at Rio’s Boyne aluminium smelter in Queensland, and the manner in which transactions between Boyne and Rio’s Singapore marketing hub have been structured in recent years. The ATO’s investigation comes at a time when Rio is holding discussions with governments concerning a possible rescue package for its loss-making Australian aluminium smelters. The ATO also launched a $212 million transfer pricing claim against Alcoa in December.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, ALCOA OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED

Alcoa owes $212m taxes, ATO claims

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 19 : 24-Feb-20

Alcoa has stated in its latest financial report that its Australian unit has been served with a $212 million tax bill by the Australian Taxation Office. Alcoa has stated that the ATO is of the view that Alcoa of Australia has underpaid tax on the sale of alumina, which it produces in Western Australia. A spokeswoman for Alcoa of Australia has stated that it disputes the ATO’s claim, and it plans to make use of the statutory rights available to it to challenge the ATO’s position.

CORPORATES
ALCOA INCORPORATED, ALCOA OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE

Rio cool on Albanese solar smelter talk

Original article by Brad Thompson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 21 : 16-Dec-19

Rio Tinto has indicated that it is considering all options to ensure the viability of its aluminium smelters in Australia and New Zealand, amid growing concern that they may be closed. However, the resources giant has downplayed suggestions that it may seek to switch the carbon-intensive smelters from coal to solar energy. Labor leader Anthony Albanese recently visited the Boyne smelter in Queensland, and said he had been told that Rio was looking at transitioning the plant to renewables.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

High energy prices force Rio to the table

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 17 & 20 : 26-Nov-19

The future of Rio Tinto’s Tomago, Boyne and Bell Bay aluminium smelters in Australia remains under scrutiny amid high energy prices and weak demand for aluminium. CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques notes that energy costs accounts for a third of the company’s cost structure, adding that energy costs in Australia are very high by global standards. He says Rio Tinto is holding talks with governments at federal and state level regarding energy costs. The future of Alcoa’s Portland smelter in Victoria is also uncertain, with a state government subsidy due to expire in 2021.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, ALCOA OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, CSR LIMITED – ASX CSR, RUSAL

Rio calm as Russia sanctions hit plant

Original article by Paul Garvey
The Australian – Page: 17 & 20 : 16-Apr-18

Rio Tinto has advised that its Queensland Alumina Limited business is unlikely to be significantly affected by a move by the US to impose trade sanctions on Russian companies. However, Rio Tinto has responded to the trade sanctions by declaring force majeure with regard to some QAL contracts. Russian companies that are affected by the sanctions include Rusal, which has a 20 per cent stake in QAL. Rio Tinto also has offtake agreements with Rusal regarding the former’s alumina smelters in France and Iceland, while Rusal also sources bauxite from Rio Tinto for its smelter in Ireland.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, QUEENSLAND ALUMINA LIMITED, RUSAL, GLENCORE PLC, LONDON METAL EXCHANGE LIMITED, UNITED STATES. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, UNITED STATES. DEPT OF STATE

Threat to strike as union job axed

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 4 : 29-Mar-18

Alcoa and the Australian Workers’ Union are negotiating a new enterprise agreement for workers at the Portland aluminium smelter in Victoria. However, the AWU is resisting Alcoa’s push to abolish the full-time position of union convener, which boasts an annual salary of $A123,000. The convener solely undertakes union-related duties at the smelter, and Alcoa contends that the position is not necessary given that the AWU already has a full-time organiser at the site. The AWU has warned of the potential for strike action over the issue.

CORPORATES
ALCOA OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN WORKERS’ UNION-FEDERATION OF INDUSTRIAL, MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING EMPLOYEES

Fears a Trump tariff will spike dumping

Original article by Andrew Tillett
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 11-Jul-17

Australian Steel Institute CEO Tony Dixon has welcomed reports that Australian steel and aluminium will be exempt from proposed new US import tariffs. However, Dixon has raised concerns that Australia could face an influx of low-cost imported steel from countries that are barred from the US market under the new tariffs regime. The Opposition has also stressed the need to protect local industries and jobs by ensuring that anti-dumping laws are enforced.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN STEEL INSTITUTE LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FINANCE, UNITED STATES. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, BLUESCOPE STEEL LIMITED – ASX BSL