Venalum sees national aluminum prod. at 3Mt/y

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Venezuelan state-owned aluminum smelter Venalum foresees an increase in national production of the metal to 3Mt/y given the potential to hike bauxite and alumina output, the company reported.

The initiative, called the national aluminum development plan, includes the new Line VI at Venalum and Line V at Alcasa, CVG's other smelter, and new plants in the same region. Both smelters, the country's only primary aluminum producers, are in Bolivar state in eastern Venezuela.

The two new lines will increase production by around 200,000t a piece, thus boosting Venalum's capacity to more than 600,000t and Alcasa's to 410,000t.

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The plan is aimed at upping Venezuela's position in the ranking of world producers of aluminum to sixth from 11th at present, according to Venalum.

Venalum celebrated its 25 anniversary on June 10, in what is one of its better moments. Last year the plant reached a record production figure 436,558t, compared to its installed capacity of 430,000t.

Net profit in 2002 was 17.3bn bolivars (about US$10.8mn at today's exchange rates), thanks to a stabilization in operations resulting from investments leading to increased production, reduced costs and better sales returns, the company said in a report.

The plant, in Ciudad Guayana, is the largest primary aluminum producer in South America.

Venalum is 80%-owned by state heavy industry holding company CVG and 20% by a Japanese consortium made up of Kobe Steel, Sumitomo Chemical, Mitsubishi Materials, Mitsubishi Aluminum Company, Showa Denko KK and Marubeni.

Alcasa is 92% owned by CVG and 8% by US aluminum maker Alcoa (NYSE: AA).