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Aluminum
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 12:17

U.S.Geological Survey (USGS): Aluminum

 

Statistics and Information: Aluminum is the second most abundant metallic element in the Earth's crust after silicon, yet it is a comparatively new industrial metal that has been produced in commercial quantities for just over 100 years. It weighs about one-third as much as steel or copper; is malleable, ductile, and easily machined and cast; and has excellent corrosion resistance and durability. Measured either in quantity or value, aluminum's use exceeds that of any other metal except iron, and it is important in virtually all segments of the world economy. Some of the many uses for aluminum are in transportation (automobiles, airplanes, trucks, railcars, marine vessels, etc.), packaging (cans, foil, etc.), construction (windows, doors, siding, etc), consumer durables (appliances, cooking utensils, etc.), electrical transmission lines, machinery, and many other applications.

Aluminum recovery from scrap (recycling) has become an important component of the aluminum industry. A common practice since the early 1900's, aluminum recycling is not new. It was, however, a low-profile activity until the late 1960's when recycling of aluminum beverage cans finally vaulted recycling into the public consciousness. Sources for recycled aluminum include automobiles, windows and doors, appliances, and other products. However, it is the recycling of aluminum cans that seems to have the highest profile.

Aluminum (1)
(Data in thousand metric tons of metal unless otherwise noted)

 

U.S. Domestic Production and Use: In 2008, 6 companies operated 14 primary aluminum smelters; 4 smelters were temporarily idled and 1 that was idled since 2000 was demolished in 2007. Based upon published market prices, the value of primary metal production was $7.9 billion. Aluminum consumption was centered in the East Central United States. Transportation accounted for an estimated 37% of U.S. domestic consumption; the remainder was used in packaging, 23%; building, 13%; electrical, 8%; machinery, 8%; consumer durables, 7%; and other, 4%.

Recycling: In 2008, aluminum recovered from purchased scrap was about 3.6 million tons, of which about 60% came from new (manufacturing) scrap and 40% from old scrap (discarded aluminum products). Aluminum recovered from old scrap was equivalent to about 30% of apparent consumption.

U.S. Import Sources (2004-2007): Canada, 55%; Russia, 16%; Brazil, 4%; China 4%, and other, 21%

U.S. Tariff:

Item

Number

Normal trade relations 12/31/2008

Unwrought (in coils)

7601.10.3000

2.6% ad val.

U.S. Depletion Allowance: Not applicable. (1)

Events, Trends, and Issues: During the first half of 2008, domestic primary aluminum production increased substantially owing to smelter restarts after new power contracts were obtained by producers in late 2006 and early 2007. However, in the second half of the year, production was curtailed at two smelters owing to high electricity prices, power supply issues, and a sharp drop in the price of aluminum that took place in August. Domestic smelters operated at about 72% of rated or engineered capacity.

Net import reliance as a percent of apparent consumption continued a decline that began in 2005, as domestic primary production increased while imports for consumption decreased and exports increased, resulting in the United States becoming a net exporter of aluminum in 2008. Canada and Russia accounted for almost three-fourths of total imports. U.S. exports increased by 34% in 2008 compared with the amount exported in 2007. China, Canada, Mexico and Taiwan, in descending order, received approximately three-fourths of total U.S. exports.

The price of primary aluminum generally rose through July 2008 before declining significantly. In January, the average monthly U.S. market price for primary ingot quoted by Platts Metals Week was $1.136 per pound; it reached a high of $1.426 per pound in July, but in September, the price was $1.192 per pound. Prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME) followed the trend of U.S. market prices. The monthly average LME cash price for September was $1.138 per pound.

World primary aluminum production continued to increase as capacity expansions outside the United States were brought onstream. World inventories of metal held by producers, as reported by the International Aluminium Institute, increased through the end of August to about 3.0 million tons from 2.8 million tons at yearend 2007. Inventories of primary aluminum metal held by the LME worldwide increased during the year to 1,380,000 tons at the end of September from 930,000 tons at yearend 2007.

World Smelter Production and Capacity: World primary aluminum production continued to increase as capacity expansions outside the United States were brought onstream. World inventories of metal held by producers, as reported by the International Aluminium Institute, increased through the end of August to about 3.0 million tons from 2.8 million tons at yearend 2007. Inventories of primary aluminum metal held by the LME worldwide increased during the year to 1,380,000 tons at the end of September from 930,000 tons at yearend 2007.World primary aluminum production continued to increase as capacity expansions outside the United States were brought onstream. World inventories of metal held by producers, as reported by the International Aluminium Institute, increased through the end of August to about 3.0 million tons from 2.8 million tons at yearend 2007. Inventories of primary aluminum metal held by the LME worldwide increased during the year to 1,380,000 tons at the end of September from 930,000 tons at yearend 2007.

Production

Yearend Capacity

2007

2008(e)

2007

2008(e)

United States

2,554

2,640

3,620

3,620

Australia

1,960

1,960

1,950

1,950

Bahrain

873

870

830

830

Brazil

1,660

1,660

1,700

1,700

Canada

3,090

3,100

3,100

3,100

China

12,600

13,500

14,000

15,000

Germany

50

590

600

600

Iceland

398

790

790

790

India

1,200

1,300

1,500

1,800

Mozanbique

564

550

70

570

Norway

1,330

1,100

1,350

1,200

Russia

3,960

4,200

4,400

4,400

South Africa

895

900

900

900

Tajikistan

419

420

515

515

United Arab Emirates, Dubai

890

920

890

950

Venezuela

610

550

625

625

Other countries

4,460

4,700

5,360

5,770

World Total (rounded)

38,000

39,700

42,700

44,300

World Resources: U.S. domestic aluminum requirements cannot be met by U.S. domestic bauxite resources. U.S. domestic nonbauxitic aluminum resources are abundant and could meet U.S. domestic aluminum demand. However, no processes for using these resources have been proven economically competitive with those now used for bauxite. The world reserve base for bauxite is sufficient to meet world demand for metal well into the future.

Substitutes: Composites can substitute for aluminum in aircraft fuselages and wings. Glass, paper, plastics, and steel can substitute for aluminum in packaging. Magnesium, titanium, and steel can substitute for aluminum in ground transportation and structural uses. Composites, steel, and wood can substitute for aluminum in construction. Copper can replace aluminum in electrical applications.

(e) Estimated.
(1) See also Bauxite and Alumina.


U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries, January 2009

 
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