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Posted on : Dec 14, 2008
The sharp decline in demand for aluminum, copper, zinc and a host of other
nonferrous metals has created significant challenges for smelters throughout the
world. Many of these companies had announced ambitious expansion plans when
markets were soaring. However now, as prices have sharply declined, many of
these same companies are opting to push back dates for when these new facilities
will come on line.

Adding to the short-term shortages, more producers are announcing plans to
reduce their existing production scheduled, either through closing lines or
plants, or operating at abbreviated schedules.

Over the past several days, several more companies have announced plans to cut
their schedules. Madras Aluminum, a part of the Indian company Vedanta Group,
recently announced that it would halt production at its Mettur facility in
Tamilnadu, India. The decision follows the company’s earlier decision to reduce
its production by 60 percent due to falling prices on the London Metal Exchange.

There also are reports that Hindustan Copper Ltd., also headquartered in India,
announced plans to close its copper smelter in Rajasthan for as long as six
months. The smelter has an annual capacity of 32,000 tons per year.

Another report finds Pan Pacific Copper Co. announcing plans to reduce its
copper smelter’s production by around 10 percent at its Japanese smelter. The
cuts will take place over the first quarter of next year.

Other copper producers considering production cuts include Sumitomo Metal
Mining, which, according to Bloomberg, is deciding on how significant a cut they
may push for at their Japanese operations.
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