LONDON -(Dow Jones)- London-listed miner and commodities trader Glencore International PLC (GLEN.LN) plans to ramp up production at its Sherwin alumina refinery in the U.S. in the medium-term to its full 1.6 million metric tons a year capacity, the company said Thursday.
The company currently expects output of 1.52 million tons for 2011, a rise of 21% from last year.
Production at the Texas refinery in the first six months of the year was 751,000 tons, up 13% from the year-earlier period.
"The restart of the fifth digester unit at the beginning of 2011 was a key driver, while efficiency levels were also better on all fronts," said Glencore. "Sherwin continues to benefit from low U.S. natural gas prices and the relatively strong London Metal Exchange aluminum prices," it added.
Unit production costs for 2011 are expected to be lower than 2010, although will be higher in the second half due to increased input costs linked to LME prices--which include alumina--higher bauxite freight costs, as well as increased maintenance spend, Glencore said.
Glencore owns 100% of Sherwin, a refinery on the Texas Gulf Coast near to U.S. smelters and potentially in the path of approaching tropical storm Don. But it said it has no plans to shut down unless the storm strengthens, although it continues to make preparations to the plant.