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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 1 (1978-1979)

Kurtz, Horace F.; Moore, Christine M.
Aluminum,   pp. 43-61 ff. PDF (1.8 MB)

Page 44

 Primary.—Domestic primary aluminum 
production totaled 4,803,762 short tons in 
1978 and 5,023,098 tons in 1979. Production 
capacity increased from 5,193,000 tons at 
yearend 1977 to 5,282,000 tons at yearend 
 A strike by coal miners in the first quarter of 1978 forced several primary
aluminum producers to reduce production temporarily. Noranda Aluminum Inc.
shut down its 140,000-ton-per-year smelter at New Madrid, Mo., for approximately
1 month. Eastalco Aluminum Co. cut production by 30% at its Frederick, Md.,
primary aluminum smelter. Anaconda Aluminum Co. cut production at its Sebree,
Ky., plant by about 10%. The Aluminum Co. of America (Alcoa) shut down half
of one potline at its Evansville, md., smelter until April 
 Alcoa stopped primary aluminum production at its Point Comfort, Tex., smelter
in April 1978 due to the high cost of energy. Production was resumed in May
1979 because of increased demand for aluminum, and by yearend four of seven
potlines were in operation. 
 Reynolds Metals Co. resumed production at its Corpus Christi, Tex., primary
aluminum smelter in May 1979 and reached full capacity production at the
facility by yearend. 
 Anaconda Aluminum Co. began production of primary aluminum in June 1979
in a new 60,000-ton-per-year potline at its Sebree, Ky., smelter. The expansion
increased the capacity of the facility to 180,000 tons per year. 
 The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) began a 25% curtailment of interruptible
power on July 1, 1979, affecting three of the six primary aluminum producing
companies in the Pacific Northwest. By yearend, announced cutbacks totaled
167,300 tons per year of capacity. Alcoa shut down 34,500 tons per year of
capacity at Vancouver, Wash., and 42,000 tons per year at Wenatchee, Wash.
Reynolds reduced production at Troutdale, Oreg., and Longview, Wash., by
a total of 40,800 tons per year, and Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp.
slowed production by a total of 50,000 tons per year at its Mead, Wash.,
and Tacoma, Wash., smelters. In addition to the reduced operating rates resulting
from the power shortage in the Northwest, the Anaconda 
smelter at Columbia Falls, Mont., operated at only 86% of capacity, as a
modernization program was underway during the last half of 1979. 
 In 1978, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
approved permits for the construction of a 197,000-ton-per-year primary aluminum
smelter to be built by Alumax, Inc., in Berkley County. Startup of the $400
million facility was scheduled for 1980. Alumax stopped construction of a
third potline at the Eastalco smelter when Potomac Edison Power Co. informed
the company that it would be unable to provide the power required by the
 Martin Marietta Corp. announced plans to expand its Goldendale, Wash., primary
aluminum smelter by 65,000 tons per year to 177,000 tons per year. The project,
estimated to cost $125 million, was scheduled for completion in 1981. 
 Kaiser Aluminum announced plans to install 10 prototype reduction cells
at two primary aluminum smelters in an effort to improve energy efficiency
and lower emissions. Construction of the cells was scheduled to start by
yearend 1979, and production startup was planned for mid-1981. Should the
cells prove efficient, further modernization of the Chalmette, La., and Tacoma,
Wash., primary ~T aluminum smelters would be considered. 
 Alcoa reportedly encountered corrosion problems at its Palestine, Tex.,
experimental aluminum production facility. Production at the 15,000-ton-per-year
facility was cut by half until the problems could be resolved. 
 The Tennessee Valley Authority increased the rates charged for power supplied
to industrial customers to 23 mills per kilowatt-hour, effective July 2,
1978.~ Primary aluminum producers affected by the price increase included
Alcoa, Consolidated Aluminum Co., Revere Copper & Brass, Inc., and
BPA also announced a price increase for power supplied to industrial customers,
including six primary aluminum producers. The average cost per kilowatt-hour
for aluminum production in the Pacific Northwest was expected to increase
from about 3.2 mills per kilowatthour to 8.7 mills per kilowatt-hour, effective
December 1979. 
 Secondary.—Reynolds began expansion 

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