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)
DOMESTIC PRODUCTION 44 MINERALS YEARBOOK, 1978-79 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 1979. 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 1979. 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 expansion. 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 Reynolds. 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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