The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has signed a loan agreement for up to US$340mn with Alumina Do Norte Do Brasil (Alunorte) in Brazil. Proceeds will be applied to the expansion of the Alumina Refinery Project, of which Alunorte is an executing agency.
Part of the alumina manufactured will be supplied to Alumnio Brasileiro (Albras) – a Japan-Brazil joint venture operating an aluminium smelting plant – and the aluminium ingot produced will be supplied to Japan. The facility expansion under the project is expected to increase the stability of the alumina supply to Albras, thereby contributing to the stable supply of aluminium ingot to Japan.
Japanese demand for new aluminium ingot is met almost entirely by imports – 99% was imported in FY 2005. With prices of aluminium and other natural resources having jumped in recent years, securing access to aluminium has become a pressing issue with regard to Japanese industrial development.