TREND: Growing Demand for Aluminum by Automotive and Airline Industries

“The amount of aluminium body sheet content in North American vehicles is expected to quadruple by 2015 and increase tenfold by 2025 from 2012 levels, Alcoa said in a statement issued during the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit…” Source: Jamaica Gleaner

“On the demand side, aluminum consumption is expected to improve on a global basis spurred by the automotive and packaging industries — the key consumer market. The automobile market is also becoming increasingly aluminum-intensive, given the metal’s recyclability and light-weight properties. The global push to improve fuel efficiency in vehicles is expected to more than double the demand for aluminum in the auto industry by 2025. The airline industry is also expected to boost demand for the metal.” Source: Nasdaq

“Automakers’ demand for aluminum is growing rapidly as they seek to improve fuel efficiency, developing vehicles like Ford aluminum-intensive next generation F-150 pickup truck,unveiled in January.” Source: Nightly Business Report

“Aluminum content in vehicles is rising about 5 percent a year and growth will accelerate in the next decade as drivers seek improved fuel economy and lower emissions, according to Gayle Berry, a London-based analyst at Barclays Plc.” Source: Bloomberg

“Global automakers may increase use of the light metal to 249.5 kilograms per car in 2025 from 148.3 kilograms in 2009, the Arlington, Virginia-based Aluminum Association said last month. The association gave its forecast as Honda Motor Co. presented an Accord with increased aluminum content and General Motors Co. unveiled the Cadillac ATS and the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado at the Detroit auto show.” Source: Bloomberg

Alcoa in Jamaica

Alcoa’s roots in Jamaica go back to 1959 with the formation of Alcoa Minerals of Jamaica, a wholly owned subsidiary of Alcoa. The company mined bauxite for export, with the first shipment in 1963.

In 1972, the company began processing bauxite into alumina at a new refinery in Halse Hall, Clarendon, with a production capacity of 500,000 metric tonne per year (mtpy), and exporting alumina from its port facility at Rocky Point. The refinery’s capacity was upgraded to one million mtpy in 1999, and then to 1.25 million mtpy in 2003. The completion of a further upgrade in March 2007 lifted the production capacity of the refinery to 1.425 million tonnes per year.

In 1988, the Government of Jamaica acquired a 50 percent share in the operations. The resulting company was name Jamalco, with Alcoa as the managing partner. Following the expansion completed in 2007, Jamalco is now owned 55 percent by Alcoa and 45 percent by the Government of Jamaica.

Jamalco mines bauxite and refines it into alumina before exporting the alumina from its port at Rocky Point, Clarendon. On average, 2.5 tonnes of bauxite produce 1 tonne of alumina. The alumina is exported to aluminium smelters where it takes around 2 tonnes of alumina to produce 1 tonne of aluminium metal. Source: Alcoa