YAOUNDE, Cameroon, Feb 15, 2011 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- The Societe Camerounaise d'Aluminium, or Alucam, Cameroon's lone primary aluminum smelter, produced 63,000 metric tons of the metal in 2010, around 15% off its target for the year, a senior company official said Monday.
The output figure is steady with 2009 output, and the failure to increase it highlights the difficulties Alucam, which is 47% Cameroon government-owned, faces in securing enough energy to justify its plan to more than triple its aluminum output capacity within five years from the current capacity of 90,000 tons.
"We were unable to acquire the expected electricity supply to raise our production to between 73,000 and 75,000 tons of aluminum last year, so our aluminum production is still virtually unchanged at 63,000 tons," the official said, citing a company report.
Alucam entered a strategic partnership with world smelting consortium Tinto Alcan, a unit of Rio Tinto PLC (RTP), in 2005 as part of its push to increase aluminum production capacity to 300,000 tons by 2015.
Alucam signed a 30-year deal in November 2009 to secure electricity supply from AES-Sonel, the Cameroon affiliate of U.S. energy firm, AES Corp. (AES). AES was to supply 490 megawatts of electricity to Alucam from January 2010 and an additional 250 MW by 2015.
AES-Sonel wasn't able to fulfill its commitment, as its is still constructing a gas-fired 216-MW electricity plant to provide Alucam with part of the necessary energy it needs.