Point Henry smelter

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The wharf and unloader at Point Henry

The Point Henry aluminium smelter is located near Geelong, Victoria in the suburb of Moolap. The smelter has a production capacity of 185,000 tonnes of aluminium a year.[1] It is operated by Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals Australia, a joint venture between Alcoa (60%) and Alumina Limited (39.25%).[2] Alumina is brought in by ship and unloaded at a dedicated pier, and approximately half of this finished aluminium is sold to the neighbouring Alcoa Australia Rolled Products plant, where aluminium is rolled into sheet for can manufacture.[1] The remainder of the aluminium is despatched by road as ingots. Around 1000 people are employed at the Point Henry plant.

Construction of the smelter at Point Henry commenced in 1960 by the Cavalier Construction Company. Smelting commenced in 1962, with full production commencing on 4 April 1963.[3] The initial electricity supply to the smelter was a 220 kV transmission lines from the Geelong Terminal Station direct to the smelter. When production started, the maximum power demand of the smelter was 39.76 MW. By June 1964 it was 68.38 MW, and by October 1964 76.6 MW—more than the entire Geelong region's demand. November 1965 it was 78.88 MW, February 1967 79.84 MW, and 140 MW by 1969.[3] On 20 March 1969 Alcoa's own brown coal fired Anglesea Power Station was brought on line.[3] Of 150 MW capacity, the power station is connected to the smelter by around 30 km of high voltage transmission lines, and is used to augment the supply from the Victorian electrical grid.

The current power demand of the smelter is 360 MW for a 185,000 tonne annual production capacity, of which approximately 40 per cent is met by the Anglesea power station.[2] The Point Henry smelter, along with the smelter at Portland, use 18 to 25 per cent of Victoria's electricity production.[4] In March 2010 it was announced that the operators of Loy Yang A power station (Loy Yang Power) had signed a contract with the smelter operators for the supply of electricity to power aluminium smelters at Portland and Point Henry until 2036, the existing power contracts expire in 2014.[5]

View of the smelter from the East

Closure[edit]

In December 2013, the eletricity hedge agreement between Loy Yang A and Point Henry was mutually terminated as a result of a court ordered mediation (http://www.agl.com.au/about-agl/media-centre/article-list/2013/dec/agl-reaches-agreement-with-alcoa).

Following a board meeting in February 2014, Alcoa Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld announced that the smelter—along with two rolling mills—would close at the end of 2014.[6] Kleinfeld explained, "These assets are no longer competitive and are not financially sustainable today or into the future." The company stated that its Portland smelter, also in the Australian state of Victoria, will remain operational, while a coal mine and power station that power the Point Henry facility will be put up for sale.[7] Power to the potline was turned off on Thursday 31 July 2014.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Alcoa - About Point Henry". Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  2. ^ a b "Hal Turton - 'The Aluminium Smelting Industry' - January 2002." (PDF). Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  3. ^ a b c R. Arklay and I. Sayer - 'Geelong's Electric Supply' - September 1970
  4. ^ Birnbauer, William; Dowling, Jason (21 May 2006). "The Age - 'Greenhouse showdown over smelter' - May 21, 2006". Melbourne. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  5. ^ Royce Millar, Ben Schneiders and Adam Morton (2 March 2010). "Alcoa deal locks in jobs - and emissions". Sydney Morning Herald (www.smh.com.au). Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  6. ^ "Aluminium producer Alcoa confirms decision to close Point Henry smelter, rolling mills". Australian Broadcasting Corporation (abc.net.au). 18 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
  7. ^ James Regan (17 February 2014). "UPDATE 2-Alcoa to close Australian smelter as aluminium markets reel". Reuters. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "500 workers clock off at Alcoa reel". Retrieved 2 August 2014. 

Coordinates: 38°08′03″S 144°25′31″E / 38.13417°S 144.4254°E / -38.13417; 144.4254