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Energy crisis affecting operations at refineries lowers European alumina production by 21% in 2023

AL Circle

According to the International Aluminium Institute survey, alumina production in Europe (including Russia) through 2023 amounted to 6.50 million tonnes, with an average daily production totalling 213,600 tonnes. The annual output decreased by 20.92 per cent from 8.22 million tonnes in 2022, while the daily output plunged by 55.9 per cent from 484,200 tonnes.

Energy crisis affecting operations at refineries lowers European alumina production by 21% in 2023

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The downtrend in Europe’s alumina production in 2023 was more prominent during the first six months, with the output totalling 3.2 million tonnes versus 3.34 million tonnes in H2. Thus,  the production in H1 was 4.2 per cent less than in H2 2023.

In H1, the lowest amount of production was in February at 492,000 tonnes. In H2, the output mostly hovered above 550,000 tonnes.

In December 2023, Europe’s alumina production came in 581,000 tonnes, up by 5.44 per cent month-on-month as well as year-on-year. The daily average output was 18,700 tonnes, experiencing an increase of 1.63 per cent from 18,400 tonnes in November 2023 and a hike of 5.06 per cent from 17,800 tonnes in December 2022.

In the fourth quarter of the year, alumina production in Europe (including Russia) totalled 1.69 million tonnes, up by 2.42 per cent from 1.65 million tonnes in Q3 but down by 1.74 per cent from 1.72 million tonnes in Q4 2022.

The severe energy crisis in 2023, with soaring electricity costs and natural gas prices, was the leading cause of Europe’s alumina production drop in 2023. Due to high electricity costs, many alumina refineries became unprofitable in continuing operations, forcing them to curtail production or shut down completely.

Europe’s alumina production in 2023 accounted for 4.58 per cent of the world’s output at 141.9 million tonnes, found IAI.

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