SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): Leading Russian aluminum producer RUSAL announced that it has halted alumina shipments from its Nikolaev refinery in war-affected Ukraine, said the recent research note published by Wood Mackenzie. Rusal declined to comment on the development.
The alumina from Nikolaev is normally transported to the Bratsk, Krasnoyarsk and Sayanogorsk smelters in Russia. These three smelters have a combined output capacity of 2.5 million tonnes per annum. The sudden halt in shipments is unlikely to lead to production cuts at the smelter, as the site is believed to have weeks of alumina stocks.
Also, indications suggest that Rusal is planning to divert alumina from its Irish Aughinish refinery to feed the smelters in Russia. It must be noted that the Irish refinery is the major supplier of alumina to European smelters.
The diversion of supplies to Russia may reduce alumina supplies to the European market, thus impacting aluminum production in the region, which is already facing shortage of the metal. The customers are forced to pay premium of around $460 per tonne over the LME price, which is a clear indication of the severe shortage situation.
Rusal is the largest aluminum producer outside China, accounting for nearly 6% of the global aluminum supplies.