BHP Billiton has sidelined its aluminium division, and put it under the control of company deal-maker Alberto Calderon. The move has intensified speculation that the assets may be sold
. So what are the division's assets?
Alumar refinery and smelter, Brazil
BHP owns 36% of the Alumar refinery and 40% of the Alumar smelter, located at Sao Luis in the Maranhao province of Brazil. Both facilities are operated by Alcoa. Alumar produced 174,000 tonnes of aluminium and 1.1 million tonnes of alumina, up from 709,000 tonnes, in the year ended June 2011.
Worsley alumina refinery and Boddington bauxite mine, Australia
BHP owns 86% of the Worsley alumina refinery and Boddington bauxite mine in a joint venture with Japan Alumina and Sojitz. Boddington supplies bauxite to the Worsley refinery, which produced 2.9 million tonnes in year ended June 2011. BHP announced further cost increases for its 1.1 million tpy expansion of the refinery in June 2011.
Mozal aluminium smelter, Mozambique
The Mozal smelter in Mozambique is a joint venture in which BHP has a 47.1 % interest. Its partners include Mitsubishi Corp (25%), Industrial Development Corp of South Africa (24%), and the government of Mozambique (3.9%). Mozal produced 264,000 tonnes of aluminium in year ended June 2011, up 5,000 tonnes year-on-year.
Hillside and Bayside aluminium smelters, South Africa
Hillside and Bayside are BHP’s wholly owned smelters located at Richards Bay, South Africa. They produced 808,000 tonnes of aluminium in the year ended June 2011. Operational problems at Hillside have recently caused a number of potlines to freeze and taken BHP into the market to buy material to cover.
Mineração Rio do Norte bauxite mine, Brazil
MRN is operated as an incorporated joint venture between BHP (14.8%), Alcoa and affiliates (18.2%), Vale (40%), Rio Tinto Alcan (12%), Votorantim (10%) and Hydro (5%). It has an annual production capacity of 18 million metric tons of bauxite. BHP’s portion of the bauxite offtake is supplied to the Alumar refinery.