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Oman’s Sohar Aluminium gradually restarting production

Thursday, Sep 21, 2017

Oman’s Sohar Aluminium said on Wednesday it was restarting production after an interruption in August, and was working to return to full production as soon as possible.

“Sohar Aluminium has confirmed it has re-energised the potline,” CEO Said Al-Masoudi said in a statement.

“The company is still working closely with a team of industry experts to progressively return to full production levels as early as possible,” he said.

But the smelter may need four to six months to get back to full operation, an industry source told Reuters on Wednesday.

“About 130,000 to 150,000 tons of supply will likely be lost,” the source said.

Sohar said last month an “incident” interrupted operations on Aug. 4, without giving more details.

Rio Tinto , which owns a stake in Sohar through its Canadian aluminum-producing unit Alcan, is trying to meet Asian customer requirements by sourcing metal from other smelters it operates or asking customers to change delivery schedules, the source said.

Rio was not immediately available to comment.

The supply reduction comes amid prospects for tighter supplies from China as producers cut output over winter to clear pollution, sending LME aluminum to its highest price in five years on Wednesday.

China has launched a campaign to curb choking smog in its northern regions, ordering a slew of output cuts by the steel and aluminum producers. Aluminum makers must cut capacity by more than 30 percent across 28 cities.

The $2.4 billion Sohar Aluminium joint venture is controlled by Oman Oil and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, which each hold 40 percent. Alcan owns 20 percent.

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