India as Future Aluminum Hub: Reality or Horse Pucky?

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Does India have the potential of becoming an aluminum hub in the near future? At least a few of the participants at the international Metals & Steel Scrap Summit 2012 held recently in India seemed to think so.

Organized by SteelGuru, the conference’s main goal was to establish a neutral and robust platform for stakeholders in the metal and steel scrap import trade including government agencies to identify new solutions, technology and partners for sellers and users.

According to a report in The Times of India, one of the subjects for discussion was India’s aluminum production, and how it could attain full potential.

exact aluminum prices - MetalMiner IndXThe conference focused, where India’s aluminum production and consumption front is concerned, on the Indian government’s move to launch a ‘Mission Plan’ to enhance the per-capita consumption of aluminum.

If successful, the plan is likely to boost consumption from the current level of just 1.3 kg per capita, and turn India into a ‘powerhouse’ of aluminum production and consumption, some delegates opined.

S.K. Roongta, managing director of Vedanta Aluminium Limited, said the power and electrical sectors were consuming a major portion of aluminum, but as the economy grew, consumption in transportation, construction, consumer durables and packaging segments would also go up at a higher pace.

The former accounted for 41 percent of the aluminum consumption in the country, while the transport sector’s share was about 17 percent.  All this would hopefully change for the better, Roongta felt.

Roongta said India was home to one of largest reserves of coal and high-grade bauxite in the world. Realizing this potential, the three major Indian aluminum producers—Vedanta , Hindalco and Nalco—had lined up ambitious expansion plans, expecting India, together with China, to lead in aluminum production in the next decade.

India’s aluminum growth rate was expected to be 11 percent up to 2016, higher than that of China at 10 per cent, he said.

How Aluminum Scrap Weighs In

Delegates were also told how about 60 percent of the metal produced in the United States came from recycled scrap. India, one of the leading importers of scrap, buys 3 million tons a year from the international market annually — a figure that would climb soon, making India one of the leading global markets for metal and steel scrap.

Rajeev Kumar, the convener of the summit, told participants that apart from saving costs, metals scrap helped reduce greenhouse emissions by a significant margin. Using recycled scrap for manufacturing increased a company’s energy savings by about 74 percent, he said.

India was a major global market for metal and steel scrap, and imported about 3 million tons of scrap metal every year, most of it brought in by steel foundries, copper smelters, alloy manufacturers, he pointed out.

today's metal prices - MetalMiner IndXAnother delegate, VK Arora said scrap metal use had proved to be beneficial for India’s small-scale sector.

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