Korea – Aluminium producer and processor Novelis is set to invest approximately US$ 400 million to expand its aluminium rolling and recycling operations in South Korea as a response to growing demand for its products in both Asia and the Middle East. The expansion project, which will include investments in both hot rolling and cold rolling operations, will increase Novelis’ aluminium sheet capacity in Asia to 1 million tonnes per annum.
The expansion will increase Novelis’ aluminium sheet capacity in Asia by more than 50%, and will include the construction of a state-of-the-art recycling centre for used aluminium beverage cans and a casting operation with an annual production capacity in excess of 220 000 tonnes of sheet ingot. Novelis obtains used aluminium beverage cans from across Asia and recycles them into new can sheet in partnership with third-party processors. The new recycling centre at Yeongju in South Korea will be Novelis’ first integrated recycling and casting facility in Asia; operations are expected to begin in late 2012.
‘The growing consumption of beverages in developing Asian countries, the conversion of steel can-making lines to aluminium, the expanding use of aluminium in consumer electronics, and China’s emergence as the largest automotive market in the world are all factors boosting demand for our products in Asia,’ states Tom Walpole, Senior Vice President – Global Manufacturing Excellence and President of Novelis Asia.
The expansion announcement follows a year-long company assessment of strategic opportunities to serve rapidly-growing markets in Asia and the Middle East. ‘Our analysis clearly shows that expanding our capacity in Korea is the best approach to serve increasing demand from our customers in these regions,’ says Phil Martens, President of Novelis. ‘The quality of our existing operations and assets in Korea, the expertise of our management there, the experience and stability of our workforce, a readily available metal supply, speed to market and return on invested capital all make this expansion the best strategic approach to serving customer needs.’