Market impact of Sherwin closure and Alpart restart
Sherwin Alumina filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January this year and planned to continue operating its plant during the financial restructuring. Just 10 days before bankrupt Sherwin issued a WARN act notice that alerted employees to the possibility of closure by September, UC Rusal announced the sale of its 1.65Mt/a Alpart refinery in Jamaica to China’s JISCO. The expected restart of Alpart suggests excess ROW alumina supply and lower prices, posing added risks to Sherwin’s already difficult survival path. Should Sherwin close in September and Alpart begin its ramp-up in Q2 2017, the SGA market would be solidly in deficit of about 554kt in Q4. The Sherwin output loss could be replaced tonne-for-tonne by a restarted Alpart operation. However, a two-year supply gap is likely, thanks to the timing between the two events and risk factors associated with any planned restart.