Hydro to Expand Foundry Alloy Production in Norway

July 19, 2005
Sunndal operation targets 80,000-mt/year increase

Hydro Aluminium is about to expand its cast house at Sunndal, Norway, in its drive to gain a greater share of the European market for foundry alloys. The smelter at Sunndal (known as Sunndalsra) started operating early in 2004. The new project involves an investment of approximately $36 million and will get underway this summer for completion at the end of 2006.

The plan is to build a new casting center with a capacity of 80,000 metric tons/year, the equivalent of the existing casting operation there. The current operation was completed in 2003 and produces extrusion ingots as well as foundry alloys. Last year it produced 345,000 metric tons of metal products, from 305,000 metric tons of primary metal and 40,000 tons of scrap and other remelt material.

Hydro says Europe demand for aluminum foundry alloys has grown by about 7% annually and is especially strong for automotive-quality alloys. Already a leader in the region, Hydro states it plans to be a global force the foundry alloys market. A similar cast-house expansion is underway at the Hydro smelter in Kurri Kurri, Australia.

The original Sunndalsra plan called for it to produce 330,000 metric tons/year of aluminum, but when the project was brought online in 2004 Hydro explained that an increase in amperage would raise that output to 360,000 metric tons. Further incremental capacity increases are anticipated to raise molten metal and cast products output through 2010, according to Hydro. At the time of the decision in 2001 to modernize and expand the metal works in Sunndal, planned capacity was 330,000 tonnes. After the conclusion of the project in 2004, Hydro announced that increased amperage would make an annual yield of 360,000 tonnes possible from the electrolysis operation. Additional adjustments will allow the metal works in Sunndal to further increase production of molten metal and finished casthouse products until the year 2010.