Alcoa’s aluminum production plant in San Cibrao is moving forward with its planned restart, currently focusing on vat 104. This marks a significant step in the revival of the plant, which aims to have 32 of its 512 vats operational by March 31. The exact date for resuming aluminum production remains unspecified.
The plant’s Electrolysis department and its workers are engaged in a complex process known as “dry start-up.” This involves preparing and heating the vats for aluminum production – a meticulous and time-consuming task. As of December, four vats had been prepared for the restart, and this week, liquid bath is being introduced into two of them.
The introduction of the liquid bath into vat 104 is a crucial milestone in the restart process. The Electrolysis and Smelting departments have collaborated successfully to achieve this step, with the committee president José Antonio Zan emphasizing the need for calm and tranquility during this intricate phase.
Union’s Concerns and Future Plans
Despite progress, the CIG union expressed concerns about the absence of a definite date for connecting the vats to the electrical grid, a crucial step in the restart process. Alcoa has stated that the restart is proceeding according to plan. The company anticipates having 32 operational vats by April 2025, eventually reaching full capacity with 512 vats by October 31, 2025.
In related news, Alcoa announced the closure of its Kwinana alumina refinery in Western Australia. This decision, influenced by the facility’s age, operating costs, and market conditions, will see a reduction in staff from 800 to 250 by the third quarter, with production ceasing.
The restart of Alcoa’s San Cibrao plant is a critical phase in the company’s operational strategy, with careful attention to the complex procedures involved in reviving aluminum production. The progress in vat 104 serves as a blueprint for the remaining vats, paving the way for the plant’s gradual return to full capacity.