Aluminium – a sustainable, recyclable and environmentally-friendly metal – is the most used material worldwide after steel for endless applications, from beverage cans to car chassis. Here are the crucial figures that define the sector at a global level: in 2019 the global production of primary aluminium was almost 64 million tons. China holds the leading position with over 36 million while the EU countries exceed 2 million by little and the extra-EU European market hits approx. 6 million, the Gulf countries are just above 5 MIO, North America is little under 4 as the rest of Asia and last come South America, Oceania and Africa respectively that are under 2 million. When considering the largest producers, China still plays the leading role: China Honggiao Group boasts a 7.8-million ton capacity, UC Rusal comes second with 4.4 million tons followed by the other Chinese giant Shandong Xinfa Group with almost 4 million tons. The Chinese companies as a whole account for 63% of the global primary aluminium production capacity. As for the European Union, the top 5 producers of primary aluminium are Germany (600K tons), France, Spain, Romania and Greece (180k tons).
The outlook for this light metal points to a path of very positive growth but the rampant dumping of semis from China seriously menaces the production chain in Europe and jeopardises its competitiveness.
Mario Conserva, President of Metef and Secretary General of FACE – Federation of Aluminium Consumers in Europe – explains: “We at FACE have been long reporting the damage China causes to the aluminium sector and now cheer the choice of the EU Commission for conducting an investigation on extruded profile import trade from China, a country that has been promoting for year an industrial policy willingly oriented to foster production overcapacity in order to undermine the European manufacturing system and flood it with Chinese products. We also have to keep in mind that the Chinese primary aluminium isn’t that environmentally-friendly since it’s produced using elevated carbon-footprint energy.”
In fact not all primary aluminium is the same: this is why FACE supports any proposal to allow the London Metal Exchange to check and certify the carbon footprint level of the aluminium placed on the market with the aim of awarding the most virtuous producers such as Rusal, that produces clean metal under the ALLOW brand. The same does the Norwegian Hydro Aluminium with its REDUXA brand. FACE has also launched the Green Aluminium project, an opportunity that offers to the users of light metal the chance to select certified low-carbon products complying with the standards of the entire chain of application.
Aluminium is the material for the future: it will be increasingly crucial to the manufacturing sector for its top performance in terms of environmental values. Aluminium is sustainable, 100% recyclable, doesn’t harm the environment, and it contributes to produce lightweight vehicles and means of transport, solve the problem of food preservation, transmit energy and to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
METEF 2021- ALUMINIUM FOR THE NEW MANUFACTURING SECTOR