Alcoa may cut output as prices continue dive

May 01, 2013 | 05:16 PM | Michael Cowden

Tags  Alcoa, Chris Ayers, smelter capacity, production cuts, idling, permanent shutdowns, Lloyd O'Carroll, John Tumazos Charles Bradford

CHICAGO — Alcoa Inc. is considering cutting as much as 460,000 tonnes of smelter capacity over the next 15 months as aluminum prices remain stubbornly low.

The Pittsburgh-based aluminum producer said May 1 that it would focus its efforts on higher-cost plants, including those facing power issues or "regulatory uncertainty."

The possible curtailments could impact about 11 percent of Alcoa’s global smelting capacity, according to the company, which has already idled 586,000 tonnes, or 13 percent, of its smelting capacity.

"Because of persistent weakness in global aluminum prices, we need to review every option to maintain Alcoa’s competitiveness," Chris Ayers, president of Alcoa’s global primary products segment, said in a statement.

Options under consideration include discontinuing pot relining, plant closures and permanent shutdowns, Alcoa said. The company said it also is reviewing its alumina refining system.

Any decisions will be announced as facility reviews are completed, Alcoa said, without mentioning specific regions or facilities.....

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