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Hydro to upgrade casthouse in Australia

Hydro will upgrade its aluminium casthouse in Kurri Kurri, Australia, to meet the strong growth in demand for value added products in the Asia Pacific market.

Hydro will upgrade its aluminium casthouse in Kurri Kurri, Australia, to meet the strong growth in demand for value added products in the Asia Pacific market. The investment will enable the Hydro unit to supply up to 88,000 tonnes of foundry alloys and increase production of extrusion ingots up to 110,000 tonnes per year.

There is strong growth in the Asian aluminium foundry alloy market. In entering this market, Hydro will be able to build on its leading position in the high-end market segment in Europe.

Hydro has already developed a position in the extrusion ingot market in Asia, and the additional capacity from Kurri Kurri will be an important factor in further growth.

The main part of Hydro's project will be upgrading a casting centre in Kurri Kurri to a primary foundry alloys unit, which will make it possible to extend the product range beyond the present production of standard T-bars.

Concentration on the production of two product lines for primary foundry alloys and extrusion ingot will also bring about significant productivity gains. Simplification and automation will allow for a manning decrease of 64 man-years.

The capital expenditure for the upgrade will be 22.8 million Australian dollars (NOK 127.3 million). Project execution will start immediately and should be completed by the third quarter of 2006. In April this year, Hydro announced an upgrade of the potroom in Kurri Kurri to increase primary aluminium metal production and at the same time to reduce emissions significantly.

The potroom upgrade is estimated to cost 38 million Australian dollars (NOK 180 million) and will increase primary aluminium production by 6,800 tonnes to 160,000 tonnes. This project will be completed by November 2005.

“Our project in Kurri Kurri demonstrates how Hydro’s drive to optimize, combined with commercial innovation, enables us to develop the Kurri Kurri plant to become an important source for Hydro’s further growth in the Asian markets,” comments Arvid Moss, senior vice president for Hydro's Metal Products sector.

“We have ambitious targets for marketing in Asia. We can build on Hydro’s position as the market leader in Europe and can offer the same commercial and technical support concepts that we have developed together with our customers in Europe.”

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