Aluminum industry in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

US production of aluminum, 1940-2014. Data from USGS

The aluminum industry in the United States in 2014 produced 1.72 million metric tons of primary aluminum, worth 3.97 billion dollars, at nine aluminum smelters. In addition, the US produced 1.70 million tons of secondary aluminum from old (post-consumer) scrap, and 1.93 million tons of aluminum from new (manufacturing) scrap. The US was the world's 6th largest producer of primary aluminum in 2014.The industry employed 29,000 people. [1]

Primary production[edit]

In 2014, primary aluminum, which is produced from bauxite, was produced by three companies at nine smelters. Primary aluminum is preferred for high-quality uses such as aircraft. The leader in US production was Alcoa. Also operating multiple primary plants was Century Aluminum.

Primary Aluminum Smelters in the US

Name Location Owner Status and Date
Warrick Plant Evansville, Indiana Alcoa Closed
Intalco Plant Ferndale, Washington Alcoa Operating, April 2018[2]
St. Laurence Plant Massena, New York Alcoa Closed
Massena Plant Massena, New York Alcoa Operating, April 2014[3]
Mt Holly Plant Mount Holly, South Carolina Century Aluminum Operating, December 2014[4]
Rockdale Plant Rockdale, Texas Alcoa Closed
Wenatchee Plant Wenatchee, Washington Alcoa Closed
Hawesville Plant Hawesville, Kentucky Century Aluminum Reopened, August 2018[5]
Ravenswood Plant Ravenswood, West Virginia Century Aluminum Closed, July 2015[6]
Sebree Plant Sebree, Kentucky Century Aluminum Operating, May 2015[7]
Columbia Falls Plant Columbia Falls, Montana Glencore Closed in March 2015[8]
Noranda Plant New Madrid, Missouri Noranda Idled, March 2016[9]
Ormet Plant Hannibal, Ohio Ormet Closed, August 2014[10]

Secondary production[edit]

Secondary production is the recycling of metallic aluminum derived from scrap. Secondary production can be from either new scrap (from aluminum manufacturing), or from old scrap (post-consumer scrap such as recycled aluminum cans).

Raw materials[edit]

Proportion of US aluminum production from various raw materials. Data from USGS.

The principal raw materials for aluminum production are bauxite (for primary production) and scrap (for secondary production).

Primary aluminum production consumes a great deal of electricity, which makes up about a third of the cost. Making a ton of primary aluminum consumes at least 12,500 kW-hr, and most plants consume 14,500 to 15,000 kW-hr per ton of primary aluminum.[11]

Secondary production of a given unit of aluminum requires about 10% of the electricity of primary production.

The United States mined production of bauxite for primary aluminum production is insignificant. In 2013, the US mined only 1.3 percent of the bauxite it used, US mined production being less than 0.1 percent of world production.

International trade[edit]

The US imported nearly all the bauxite (the only commercial aluminum ore) used in producing primary aluminum. For years, the US has produced less than 1% of the bauxite used to make aluminum.

The US also imported 33 percent of the aluminum metal that was used in 2014. Of the imported aluminum, 63% came from Canada.[12]

2015 Imports for consumption by country[13]
No. Country Quantity Value
metric tons % k$ %
1  Canada 2,820,000 55.5 6,130,000 50.2
2  China 395,000 7.8 1,120,000 9.2
3  Russia 297,000 5.8 683,000 5.6
4  United Arab Emirates 294,000 5.8 665,000 5.5
5  Mexico 162,000 3.2 383,000 3.1
6  Bahrain 109,000 2.1 269,000 2.2
7  Argentina 85,900 1.7 187,000 1.5
8  Germany 78,200 1.5 324,000 2.7
9  Venezuela 68,900 1.4 128,000 1.0
10  South Africa 57,300 1.1 179,000 1.5
11  South Korea 38,400 0.8 109,000 0.9
12  Japan 27,800 0.5 122,000 1.0
13  Brazil 27,000 0.5 56,900 0.5
14  France 21,500 0.4 155,000 1.3
15  Australia 19,800 0.4 47,700 0.4
16  Italy 19,300 0.4 70,400 0.6
17  United Kingdom 17,100 0.3 59,300 0.5
18  Norway 14,000 0.3 32,100 0.3
19  Spain 9,360 0.2 21,400 0.2
20  Belgium 8,810 0.2 43,800 0.4
21  Panama 5,010 0.1 7,070 0.1
22  Netherlands 4,980 0.1 21,900 0.2
Other 496,000 9.8 1,390,000 11.4
Total 5,080,000 100.0 12,200,000 100.0
2015 Exports by country[13]
No. Country Quantity Value
metric tons % k$ %
1  China 882,000 29.3 1,570,000 18.6
2  Mexico 821,000 27.3 2,530,000 29.9
3  Canada 657,000 21.8 2,050,000 24.3
4  Korea, Republic of 205,000 6.8 532,000 6.3
5  Taiwan 46,700 1.6 106,000 1.3
6  Japan 38,200 1.3 275,000 3.3
7  Hong Kong 32,100 1.1 52,400 0.6
8  France 22,200 0.7 161,000 1.9
9  Germany 20,700 0.7 134,000 1.6
10  United Kingdom 19,200 0.6 164,000 1.9
11  Brazil 9,030 0.3 55,400 0.7
12  Thailand 8,090 0.3 32,900 0.4
13  Saudi Arabia 6,070 0.2 27,800 0.3
14  Singapore 5,010 0.2 41,200 0.5
15  Italy 3,080 0.1 39,800 0.5
16  Netherlands 2,290 0.1 12,200 0.1
17  Venezuela 1,240 0.0 11,200 0.1
18  Philippines 613 0.0 5,660 0.1
19  Russia 359 0.0 1,480 0.0
20  South Africa 202 0.0 2,010 0.0
21  Kazakhstan 65 0.0 463 0.0
22  Ukraine 4 0.0 36 0.0
Other 231,000 7.7 641,000 7.6
Total 3,010,000 100.0 8,450,000 100.0

History of US aluminum production[edit]

The US used to be a much more important factor in the world primary aluminum market. As recently as 1981, the US produced 30% of the world's primary aluminum, and for many years up through 2000, the US was the world's largest producer of primary aluminum. In 2014, by contrast, the US ranked sixth in primary aluminum production, and provided only 3.5% of world production.

US production of primary aluminum peaked in 1980 at 4.64 million metric tons. Since then, US primary aluminum production has fallen by more than half, but secondary production has increased, making up much of the difference. In the 1950s and 1960s, primary production made up about 80% of the aluminum output. In 2014, primary production made up 32%, while secondary from new scrap made up 36% and secondary from old scrap made up 32% of US aluminum production.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ E. Lee Bray, Aluminum, US Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summary 2015, Jan.2015.
  2. ^ [https://www.lyndentribune.com/news/alcoa-reacts-to-tariffs-on-foreign-aluminum/article_608323ae-3d8c-11e8-81f2-9fbdc51a3b5b.html
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ David Wren, "Century Aluminum completes acquisition of Mt. Holly facility," Post and Courier, 1 Dec. 2015
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ Greg Matics, "Century Aluminum announces permanent closure of Ravenswood smelting plant," Jackson Newspapers, 30 July 2015.
  7. ^ Associated Press, "Union workers locked out at aluminum smelter," Archived July 11, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. WBKO, 12 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Columbia Falls Aluminum Co permanently closed," Daily Interlake, 3 March 2015.
  9. ^ Noranda Aluminum, [3]
  10. ^ [John Milam, "Shutdown of Ohio aluminum giant Ormet appears final," People's World, 5 August 2014
  11. ^ Stuart Burns, "Power costs in the production of primary aluminum," Archived 2014-06-09 at the Wayback Machine. Metal mIner, 26 Feb. 2009.
  12. ^ E. Lee Bray, Aluminum, US Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summary 2015, Jan.2015.
  13. ^ a b "2015 Minerals Yearbook - ALUMINUM [ADVANCE RELEASE]" (PDF). U.S. Geological Survey. Aluminum Statistics and Information
  14. ^ E. Lee Bray, Aluminum, US Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summary 2015, Jan.2015.

See also[edit]