There are unconfirmed reports circulating here that Rio Tinto has decided to sell its smelter at Qingtongxia in Ningxia Province.
Previously known as Alcan Ningxia, the smelter sits inside/alongside the Qingtongxia smelter, and includes a part-share of the power station. The Alcan smelter comprises line 3, believed to be almost 200,000t in capacity. The relationship between the two companies has been testy at times. Alcan’s high standards of safety embarrassed the Chinese, but the rigid HR policies from the West allowed the JV partner to pick off the best local people with fat pay packets.
It is understood Qingtongxia has first right of refusal. Qingtongxia smelter was looking to expand, so it will be a question of whether they can find the capital to meet Rio’s price. Outside of Qingtongxia, it will be interesting to see who else would be interested at this time. Soon as we can confirm the story, we will publish an update here.