The Victorian and Australian governments and Alcoa Corporation (NYSE:AA) has announced the Portland Aluminium smelter will restart capacity that had been lost due to a December power outage.
In addition, Alcoa and energy provider AGL reached an agreement related to the electricity supply for the smelter.
The four-year agreements with the governments and AGL will better position Portland Aluminium against market fluctuations and help maintain more than 500 jobs at the smelter.
“The Victorian State and Australian Federal governments are strong proponents of the Portland Aluminium smelter, our employees, their families and the broader Portland community, and we thank them for their unwavering support,” said Roy Harvey, Chief Executive Officer of Alcoa. “Today’s government and energy agreements will help make the Portland smelter more resilient against market volatility, maintain hundreds of jobs and provide a bridge to a potential long-term energy solution.”
Alcoa of Australia Chairman and Managing Director Michael Parker added: “The recent displays of support have been outstanding, and our sincere thanks go to everyone who has worked with us to make these agreements possible. I acknowledge in particular the State of Victoria for its determination and tireless support and the Australian Federal government in helping us achieve this positive outcome for the Portland community. To our employees, your hard work to stabilise the plant and your flexibility in taking annual leave after the outage is greatly appreciated. Our focus now will be on restoring capacity quickly and safely.”
Alcoa will immediately begin work to restart smelting capacity that was lost due to the fault on the Victorian transmission network in December, which caused a five-hour power outage at the smelter. Restoring the curtailed production is expected to take approximately six months. Prior to the electrical fault, the smelter had been operating at nearly 85 percent of its nameplate capacity of 358,000 metric tons per year.
Terms of the electricity agreement with AGL were not disclosed.
As previously announced, the power outage at Portland Aluminium smelter is not expected to have a significant, unfavourable impact on fourth quarter results.
Portland Aluminium is an unincorporated joint venture between Alcoa of Australia Limited (55 percent), CITIC Nominees Pty Ltd (22.5 percent), and Marubeni Aluminium Australia Pty Ltd (22.5 percent). Alcoa of Australia Limited is owned 60 percent by Alcoa Corporation and 40 percent by Alumina Limited.
On November 1, Alcoa Corporation announced it had completed the separation from its parent company Alcoa Inc. (now named Arconic Inc.) and began operating as an independent, publicly-traded company.