LONDON Alcoa Inc.s
Aluminerie de Beacancour Inc. (ABI) smelter in Quebec has
temporarily halted 6063 billet production, sources familiar
with the facility told AMM.
The short-term production
stoppage is due to the slow changing of anodes, which has led
to high iron content, sources said.
smelter is still producing 6061 billet, one source said.
T-bar production, which stopped
earlier in November (
amm.com, Nov. 19), also remains down.
"We are continuing to meet the
needs of our customers," an Alcoa spokeswoman said, declining
to comment further.
A consumer confirmed that
hes already received all of his December orders from
"Weve got most of our
deliveries this month (from ABI) because of the holidays.
Its the time of year when we get metal early. People
dont want shipments too close to Christmas," the consumer
said. "We have been told to watch out for off-grade material,
The market doesnt expect
the outage to affect prices, for now, since the plant has met
its order obligations.
"I know that all of ABIs
billet (shipments) for November and December have been
provided, so there (have) been no issues in terms of supply," a
Of the 400,000 tonnes of
aluminum produced at ABI, roughly 150,000 tonnes is made into
billet, sources said.
The North American billet market
is paying close attention to developments at ABI as
negotiations on a labor contract covering some 900 workers
there have been ongoing have been ongoing since Sept. 11. Talks
between the Pittsburgh-based producer and the United
Steelworkers union have yet to reach a conclusion despite the
contracts expiration late last month (
amm.com, Nov. 28).
"Talks are still going on.
(They) worked over the weekend. People are putting in a lot of
time and effort to come to an agreement," a USW representative
said, declining to offer details from the talks.
Producers and consumers fear
that if no resolution comes from the discussions and either a
strike or lockout ensues, North American billetalready in
tight supply for most of the yearwill be even more
limited in 2013.
In anticipation of either a
lockout or a strike, the union began parking trailers in front
of the smelter in November (
amm.com, Nov. 13).