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China's primary aluminium output seen peaking in 2024

Monday, Jun 07, 2021

   Output of primary aluminium in China will increase until 2024, after which secondary, or recycled metal will start to claim a bigger share of plateauing consumption, state-backed research house Antaike said on Thursday.

  China is by far the world’s biggest aluminium maker, churning out a record 37.08 million tonnes in 2020. However, its government wants to cap annual smelting capacity at 45 million tonnes and producers, under pressure to reduce emissions, are looking to recycle more scrap metal instead.
  After years of rapid growth, China’s aluminium consumption has “entered the stage of slowing down” and is also expected to peak around 2024, Antaike chief aluminium expert Xiong Hui said on a webinar hosted by Bloomberg Intelligence.
  “There will be the growth in secondary aluminium production - the demand for primary aluminium will tend to decline.”
  Antaike sees carbon emissions from China’s primary aluminium sector peaking by 2025, versus 2024 for zinc and 2023 for lead.
  For aluminium, whose production is the most energy-intensive, the emission reduction task “is very difficult and the time is very urgent,” Xiong said.
  She nonetheless projected a 25.9% drop in emissions from China’s primary aluminium industry from 2025-2030 as smelters seek to reduce their reliance on coal and tap cleaner sources of electricity.
  State-run Aluminum Corp of China Ltd, known as Chalco, earlier this week sold 400 million yuan ($62.64 million) in green, or carbon-neutral bonds and said the proceeds would be invested in wind power projects.
  Xiong estimated that in 2035, emissions from primary aluminium production will account for 68.3% of China’s overall aluminium emissions, a drop of 6.8 percentage points from 2020.
  ($1 = 6.3861 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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