Aluminium summit to explore investments, technology

December 5th, 2011 - 5:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Dec 5 (IANS) The sixth international expo on aluminium in this Deccan city from Tuesday will explore investment opportunities and technology to boost consumption by foraying into new growth sectors, an industry expert said.

“The three-day, Dec 6-8, summit is to attract investments and facilitate technology transfers for increasing use of the light metal in diverse sectors, including transportation, packaging and infrastructure,” Aluminium Association of India (AAI) general secretary K.S.S. Murthy told IANS on the eve of the three-day convention.

Organised by the AAI in partnership with its overseas associations, the quadrennial conference-cum-exhibition (INCAL 2011) at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) on the city’s outskirts showcases latest technologies and advancements in the industry and provides a platform for stakeholders to interact with their counterparts, including experts and prospective investors.

“The expo aims to foster innovation for sustainable development, promote technology and exchange of expertise, streamline the industry and create awareness of the sector’s potential in the country’s economic growth,” Murthy said.

Though technological advances and development of new products with the green metal enabled other countries to use aluminium extensively in transport, aerospace, building construction, packaging and infrastructure sectors, its maximum consumption in India has been in the electrical sector as a good conductor of heat and electricity.

“We have to extend aluminium consumption to non-power sectors for the multiple benefits it offers due to versatility with excellent properties. Apart from being light, the metal is strong when alloyed and rust-proof. As it is recyclable, about 70 percent of the total quantity produced till date is still in use,” Murthy pointed out.

Ranked next only to steel among metals, aluminium is the third most abundant element in the earth’s crust, after oxygen and silicon. It makes up around eight percent by weight, of the planet’s solid surface.

With high growth in urban housing (residential and commercial), automobiles, food processing/packaging industries and other user industries, aluminium consumption has been steady and the slump in the manufacturing sector has not affected its growth during the first six months of this fiscal (2011-12).

“There is no impact of slowdown on our industry as supply is lower than demand, which is around 2.5-3 million tonnes per annum as against combined production of 1.8-2 million tonnes,” Murthy asserted.

On the contrary, the industry association is looking forward to fresh investments by existing and new players to expand capacity and diversify into making products for other sectors for increasing the per capital consumption this decade.

“High cost of finance due to double-digit interest rates, indiscriminate imports, especially from China due to lower tariff and inflationary pressures, are holding up additional investments in our industry, which has a potential to attract a whopping Rs.1.2 trillion (Rs.120,000 crore) by 2015,” Murthy observed.

With growth in the aluminium sector being faster than in other primary metals, including steel, copper, lead and tin over the past five decades, global consumption reached 56 million tonnes in 2010, with a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of five-six percent since 2001.

Consumption in India has grown at a CAGR of 15 percent since 2003 as end-users across traditional and emerging sectors witnessed aggressive growth during the last eight-nine years though per capita consumption is around 1.8 kg as against the world average of 8 kg, China 17 kg, the US 22 kg and Germany 38 kg.

“The global aluminium industry is going through a metamorphosis; mergers and acquisitions are gaining significance to achieve economies of scale. Ever-increasing power costs, coupled with scarcity, technological advancement, emission control and related environmental issues, have provided challenges and created opportunities for the industry,” Murthy pointed out.

A dozen domain experts from Britain, Canada, China, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the US will present papers on the latest technologies and challenges during the mega event where about 500 delegates from and over 100 exhibitors from India and overseas are participating.

“Apart from its potentially large growing market, India is endowed with large deposits of rich bauxite ore, resources for power generation and formidable pool of human resources. A high economic growth during this decade will expand its capacity in downstream sectors and increase per capita consumption,” Murthy added.

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