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Rusal, Braidy Industries to build US aluminium rolling mill for automotive industry

The rolling mill’s annual design capacity will be 500,000 tonnes of hot rolled band and 300,000 tonnes of fully finished cold rolled products

Russia’s aluminum giant Rusal and US holding company Braidy Industries Inc. plan to fulfill a joint project on producing flat rolled aluminium products for the US automotive industry in Ashland, Kentucky, Rusal’s press service said on Monday.

Rusal will have a 40% share in the new project, while Braidy Industries’ share will amount to 60%. Both Rusal and Braidy Industries plan to approach financial markets for funding after signing the Letter of Intent. The binding documentation for the project is due to be signed during the second quarter of 2019 after the final decision about the project’s implementation is made.

The rolling mill’s annual design capacity will be 500,000 tonnes of hot rolled band and 300,000 tonnes of fully finished cold rolled products. This will be the widest US-based cold rolling mill with a width of 104 inches (262.16 cm), the company says.

"The output from the mill will aid towards rebalancing the anticipated deficit of the auto body sheet in the US market," according to Rusal.

The Russian company will supply aluminium both in slab alloys and as a primary metal for the new rolling mill from its new Taishet aluminium smelter currently under construction in Siberia’s Irkutsk Region. The mill will be in close proximity to a large number of automotive supply manufacturers and this will ensure efficient transportation of finished products.

"Delivering value added products (VAP) to the new Kentucky mill is consistent with Rusal’s commitment to increase the share of its VAP offerings as part of the Company’s total production and sales," the company says.

"The joint project with Braidy Industries is an excellent opportunity for Rusal to expand the company’s diverse expertise in one of the key areas of aluminium downstream products. It will also reinforce the company’s presence on the strategic market," it notes.

According to the company, the demand for flat rolled products in North America has shown a robust growth over the past five years. The key driver of this demand growth is the Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations (CAFE) that cause an increase and immediate switch from the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to aluminium-based components.

Rusal is the largest aluminum producer outside China and the only primary aluminum producer in Russia. In April 2018, the company was targeted by US sanctions, which froze its US assets and barred US citizens from doing any business with it. Before the sanctions, the company exported more than 80% of its products. In late January 2019, the sanctions against Rusal were lifted.

US holding company Braidy Industries manufactures aluminum alloys for automobile and aerospace industries. It unites scientific and technical companies Veloxint and NanoAl.

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