BEIJING, May 22 -- Chalco, the listing arm of China's top aluminum producer Chinalco, is preparing to resume production of its alumina project in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.
The alumina plant is scheduled to possess annual production capacity of 800,000 tons.
March saw Chalco Shandong branch restore 400,000 tons of alumina capacity, and its Henan branch restart almost one million tons of alumina capacity.
Data from ChinaCCM.com show that the country has totally resumed 5-6 million tons of alumina since March.
"Currently, about 21.5 million tons of alumina capacities are in operation in China," said Shan Xiangbing, an analyst with ChinaCCM.com.
Besides Chalco, some other large alumina enterprises have also started their suspended alumina production lines in the past two months.
Meanwhile, China's alumina import in April reached 650,000 tons, hitting a monthly record high since February of last year, up 140 percent over March. Its alumina import in January-April period went down 2.91 percent year on year to 1.67 million tons.
Aluminum prices in China had climbed from last year's valley of 10,040 yuan/ton to 14,900 yuan/ton on April 10 of this year, and then hovered over 12,000-13,000 yuan/ton from late April to now.
Despite the country planned to restore more than 1.9 million tons of electrolytic aluminum capacity in March, actually less than half have been resumed so far.
Therefore, the resumed capacity for alumina stays far higher than that for electrolytic aluminum if calculated with 1.9 tons of alumina for producing one ton of electrolytic aluminum.
Some small alumina producing enterprises had lowered their ex-factory prices in face of mass production resumption.
Now alumina prices in China are approaching 2,000 yuan/ton. Chalco quotes its alumina price at 2,300 yuan/ton.
Alumina stocks at Chinese ports now total around 1.5 million tons.
Shan believed that alumina import in May will definitely stand above 400,000 tons if lower than April import.
According to some traders, alumina prices are expected to keep slipping and likely to plunge to below 2,000 yuan/ton in the future.