February 22, 2011

Alcoa MD: Megatrends Signal Strong Future for Aluminium

'Megatrends' are securing aluminium's place as a critical part of our future, and Alcoa as its leading supplier, said Alcoa of Australia Managing Director Alan Cransberg at the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry today.

“We live in a constantly changing world that requires us to react and adapt quickly. As our world prepares to deal with 'megatrends' - a rapidly growing population, ever-expanding cities and an unprecedented demand for energy, Alcoa is finding ways to meet today's challenges with innovative aluminium solutions.”

Cransberg said aluminium's lightweight, durability, endless recyclability and high conductivity position it as a true “miracle metal” that can meet the demands of a new world.

“As the world emerges from the recent economic downturn, and as the threat of climate change becomes increasingly prevalent, we know we are facing a new reality, and we know we have to work harder to get it right for future generations – fiscally, environmentally.

“Alcoa has a critical role to play with our product – aluminium.

“Alcoa's solutions are evident in nearly every industry including packaging, ground transportation, building and construction, consumer electronics, and aerospace. In fact, Alcoa is ranked #1 or #2 in more than 90% of the businesses in which it operates,” he said.

“Alcoa first used aluminium to produce teakettles in 1890!! Since then, our metals have been used in everything from buildings and baseball bats to Ferraris and fighter jets.”

Cransberg reminded the audience that it was Alcoa that invented the aluminium-making process more than 120 years ago, saying it has been creating new and innovative ways for people to tap into the “power of aluminium” ever since.

“Today, we are using that experience in every corner of the globe to develop solutions that are more efficient, more sustainable and more appealing than ever before. From greener buildings and lightweight buses to strong aeroplanes and the iconic aluminium can, Alcoa continues to lead the way.

“Alcoa opened its first research and development centre in 1918 and we have never stopped searching for new, innovative ways to use aluminium!”

Fast facts
  • A six-story office building using aluminium sustainable product can drive up to 20% energy savings over a similar building - saving 157 tonnes of CO2 per year over its 50 years of use.
  • Laptops and mobile phones are incorporating Alcoa aluminium for the sleek, modern look that appeals to consumers – and the use of aluminium improves durability.
  • Consumers can get a 5 to 7% vehicle gas mileage increase for every 10% weight reduction by substituting high-strength, low-weight auto aluminium for heavier steel. And of course recycling aluminium conserves landfill space and significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Alcoa helped launched the aerospace age by developing more than 90% of the aluminium alloys used today in aircraft and space flight.
  • It was Alcoa's aluminium that helped the Wright Brothers take to the skies in the first flight in Kitty Hawk. We helped space exploration using aluminium during the Lunar Landing and making the launch of the Space Shuttle possible.
  • Alcoa globally has achieved a total direct greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 44% over 1990 levels - despite growth in production, and a 61% reduction based on per tonne/aluminium produced.
  • Alcoa's recycling activities in NSW avoid the generation of over 1m tonnes of greenhouse gases per annum.
  • A study by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Heidelberg, concludes that light-weighting passenger cars, trucks, rail vehicles, nautical vessels, etc. has the potential to avoid almost 700 million tonnes of CO2 emissions every year. (IFEU)

Media contact: Michaela Southby 0400 127 427

Read full speech at www.alcoa.com.au/cransbergsays.

Alcoa of Australia has been investing in Australia for over 40 years to the tune of more than $12 billion. It is a major employer of more than 6000, predominantly in regional Australia. One of Australia's leading exporters, Alcoa's operations contributed around $4 billion in exports in 2010. It operates the world's largest bauxite mine operation at Huntly and Willowdale that is world recognised for its rehabilitation processes. The alumina produced at the three refineries in WA accounts for around 11% of world demand. Two smelters in Victoria produce 513,000 tonnes of aluminium a year, and in Yennora in NSW, Alcoa operates the country's largest aluminium recycling facility.