With China, Brazil and India becoming the growth centres for aluminium-based products, the demand for primary aluminium is set to reach 75 million tonne by 2020, according the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), a UK-based global forum of aluminium producers.
In 2010, the production of primary aluminium reached 40 million tonne. In addition to this, 10 million tonne of the metal came from recycling industrial scrap material and another 10 million tonne was produced by recycling aluminium. The production of primary aluminium has doubled in the last two decades, according to a statement issued here by the organisers of the ongoing International Conference on Aluminium.
“The current supply of aluminium is 60 million tonne of which 20 million tonne is from recycling. However, these 20 million tonne will remain stagnant and reduce over the years There is a strong demand for primary aluminium from China, Brazil and India as construction, electrification and manufacturing sectors are growing at a healthy rate,” said Chris Bayliss, director of global projects, IAI.
China continues to remain the top aluminium producer and consumer in the world. The demand for aluminium reached the highest in India last year with an 11 per cent growth rate, as per person consumption here is among the lowest in the world.
However, there are concerns relating to producing 75 million tonne primary metal by 2020 as capacity addition was very poor for the last few years. “China had initially decided to cap the smelting capacity because of various reasons. But now we hear that they will reverse that decision to increase smelting capacity significantly. Only Chinese have the capability to add smelting capacity in quick time,” Bayliss said.
The IAI expects additional smelting capacity to be added in Western Africa (5 million tonne) and India (2 million tonne) in the next five years. The supply of bauxite, the primary mineral for producing aluminium, is another cause for concern. Australia supplies the bulk of bauxite along with China and Indonesia.
“Indonesia may not be in a position to supply bauxite to China as it has mega plans for smelting aluminium locally to meet the domestic demand. That can be a problem unless China finds new sources of bauxite,” the IAI said.
Aluminium bodies of India, US sign pact
The Aluminium Association of India (AAI) and its US counterpart, The Aluminium Association (TAA), on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding for exchange of information on effective recycling programmes in the transportation, packaging and building and construction markets.
The MoU will help increase the per person consumption of aluminium in India over the next few years, as several sectors are driving the growth. In the process, sustainability assumes paramount importance where the US can guide the Indian aluminium industry, according to KSS Murthy, honorary general secretary of AAI.
“The aluminium industries of the US and India are dedicated to promoting the benefits of the metal in three major markets —transportation, packaging and building and construction. A key benefit is aluminium sustainability and recallability. The two associations are also committed to developing and improving the end-use market demand information, and best practices," he said. The US is the fourth largest producer of aluminium and second largest consumer. In comparison, India is the eighth largest producer and fifth largest consumer.