Another thing to keep an eye on is what comes of this study by Rusal and a prominent Chinese aluminum company, a study that should reach its conclusions about joint venture opportunities that might work best for them, such as, "joint alumina and bauxite projects including ones in third countries," by the end of June. And I take "in third countries" to mean countries other than Russia or China, which could include not only bauxite rich equatorial countries - while making use of Orbite's process - but also Canada - while making use of Orbite's process.
It would be nice to hear, at some point, that Orbite's process would be their go-to process for these various joint ventures.
From a December, 2012 press release by Rusal:
UC RUSAL and Shandong Xinfa to study aluminium joint venture opportunities
Moscow, 6 December 2012 — UC RUSAL (SEHK: 486, Euronext: RUSAL/RUAL, Moscow Exchange: RUALR/RUALRS), the world’s largest aluminium producer, announces signing a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Shandong Xinfa Group, one of China's largest private aluminium companies, detailing the study of future possible cooperation areas, including joint ventures in the aluminium industry.
The Memorandum was signed at the day of Russian and Chinese heads of government meeting. RUSAL and Shandong Xinfa have agreed to establish a joint workgroup over the next three months from date of signing to study potential areas of cooperation. The parties will then examine the proposals from the workgroup until the 30 June 2013 to identify cooperation projects which offer the greatest potential.
Preliminary examined opportunities between RUSAL and Shandong Xinfa include the creation of Russian-based joint ventures in aluminium smelting, and joint alumina and bauxite projects including ones in third countries. The MOU envisages joint effort to secure investment for the future projects from Chinese lenders. The legal detail of any future cooperation is still subject to further, separate discussion.
Joint projects in aluminium smelting in the Russian Federation and further export of aluminium to China was discussed the previous day within the framework of the 16th meeting of Joint Commission for the Regular Meetings of Heads of Government and Sino-Russian Energy Dialogue, in the context of greater energy efficiency and rational industry development goals. The parties agreed to promote the cooperation in this area between Russian and Chinese companies.
“Russia and China are not only neighbors, but actively emerging countries, who have a lot to offer each other. Volatility in the metal markets and growing global demand for aluminium has caused production costs and energy prices to rise. China as one of the world's aluminium industry drivers has therefore, been forced to search for ways to transfer primary aluminium production abroad. Siberian regions of Russia are an obvious top pick not only because of its top-line aluminium smelting greenfields but the entire industrial clusters. We are ready to undertake all efforts to develop the Sino-Russian economic cooperation, favorable to both countries”, said UC RUSAL's CEO Oleg Deripaska.
“We welcome the signing of this Memorandum and hope that jointly, with RUSAL, in the near future will finalize a list of cooperation opportunities and move closer to action. I am confident that we can build a solid long-term partnership, demonstrating efficient Sino-Russian cooperation”, commented Shandong Xinfa Group Chairman Zhang Gang.
About Shandong Xinfa Group
Shandong Xinfa Group one of the largest aluminium producers in China. Xinfa Group operates own power generating capacities, alumina refineries, primary aluminium production, aluminium downstream fabrication lines, produces caustic soda, PVC, anodes and other products. The Group consists of more than 50 companies and employs 60 000 people.