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State Unitary Enterprise

History of aluminum industry

Aluminum metal was first obtained in 1825 by the Danish physicist H.C. Orsted. In 1854, the French scientist Henri Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville opened a manufacturing mode of aluminum production, based on the displacement of aluminum by metallic sodium of the double chloride of sodium and aluminum NaCl-AlCl3. Over 36 years, from 1855 to 1890, it was obtained more than 200 tons of metal aluminum by the way of Sainte Claire Deville.

In 1856 at the factory of brothers Tissier in Rouen, Deville organized the first industrial plant for the production of aluminum. First, the cost of 1 kg of aluminum was equaled to 300 francs. In a few years the selling price was reduced to 200 francs per 1 kg, but it still remained exceptionally high. That time aluminum was consumed like a precious metal for the production of various goods. Hardware made of the metal was popular because of its white color and nice shine.

With the improvement of chemical methods of aluminum isolation, the price for it has dropped over the years. For example, in the mid-1880s, the plant in Albury (England) produced up to 250 kg of aluminum per day and sell it at a price of 30 shillings per kg, in other words, the price for aluminum has decreased by 25 times for 30 years.

Already in the middle of 19th century some chemists indicated that aluminum may be produced by electrolysis. In 1854, Bunsen received aluminum by electrolysis of molten chloride aluminum. More than 100 years the technology of Eru Hall is used to produce aluminum by electrolysis. Due to the widespread method, it has become possible to produce aluminum on a large scale, and prices for it have fallen more than tenfold.

Production growth was particularly rapid during and after World War II. Primary aluminum production (excluding production of the Soviet Union) was only 620 thousand tons in 1939. In 1943, it had increased up to 1.9 million tons. In 1956 the world produced 3.4 million tons of primary aluminum, in 1965, world production of aluminum was 5.4 million tons, in 1980 - 16.1 million tons, and in 1990 - 18 million tons. The growth of smelted primary aluminum at the end of XX century and the first decade of the XXI century reflects a progressive development trend of the industry. According to the International Aluminum Institute (IAI) in 2007 world aluminum production amounted to 37.41 million tons and continued to grow at a rapid pace: in 2012, the global aluminum output amounted to 47.78 million tons, and in 2013 - about 51.2 million tons.

Unlike bauxite and alumina industry, two important factors exert influence on the placement of aluminum metallurgy. The first is electric capacity, as even the most modern plant requires 15-16 MW / h of power to produce 1 ton of aluminum. That is why aluminum smelters often gravitate to the location of large hydroelectric power stations and thermal power plants. The efficacy of smelting plants increases proportionally with power consumption.

All this applies not only to individual enterprises, but also to countries which can be divided into parts: rich in cheap energy resources and poor in energy resources. In the first half of XX century almost all smelted primary aluminum was produced in Western Europe and in the United States, but then the share of both these regions went progressively down and now totals 2/5. The rest melt falls on foreign Asia, CIS, Latin America, Australia and Africa. The main geographical shift is that aluminum industry migrates from developed to developing countries. Now already thirteen developing countries have their own aluminum plants, and, as a rule, they are more powerful than Western smelting plants.

Another factor of geographical location of aluminum companies is their proximity to sea ports. The reality shows that 95% of the smelting productions are enough closely to the sea.

The concentration of aluminum production near ports was dictated by market conditions aimed at reducing the transport expenses both for the import of raw materials and components for aluminum production, and for the export of finished products, the implementation of which is carried by manufacturing companies through international metal exchanges only under the terms FOB. It means that the contract of sale obliges the seller to deliver and load the ship by means of its own forces.