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Alcoa Wraps Up Aluminum Lithium Expansion

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Aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. (AA - Analyst Report) announced that it has completed the expansion of aluminum lithium alloy production capacity at its Kitts Green plant in the UK to meet the growing demand for aluminum lithium alloys. Alcoa expects revenues from aluminum lithium to rise four-fold over the next six years to nearly $200 million.

The Kitts Green expansion, which is the second phase of the three-part expansion, allows airframers to build fuel efficient and lower-cost airplanes versus composite alternatives. Alcoa stated that the Kitts Green expansion will allow the company to serve the growing demand for its third generation aluminum lithium alloys better. According to Alcoa, the new aluminum lithium alloys provide excellent performance in terms of stiffness, damage tolerance and resistance of corrosion.

At the last Paris Air Show, the third-generation aluminum lithium alloys showed that they have the potential to increase fuel efficiency, reduce inspection intervals, improve passenger comfort and lower capital costs for aerospace manufacturers. Alcoa received a very positive response, where the demand exceeded its production capacity. This encouraged Alcoa to take initiatives for expanding its aluminum lithium operations at three locations across the globe.

Alcoa’s third phase of expansion, which is a $90 million facility adjacent to its Lafayette, Ind. plant, is currently under construction. The expansion is expected to be completed and be online by the end of 2014. Alcoa expects the facility to produce additional 20,000 metric tons of aluminum lithium.

Alcoa, which is among the prominent players in the mining industry along with Aluminum Corporation of China Limited , Atlatsa Resources Corporation (ATL - Snapshot Report) and BHP Billiton Limited (BHP - Analyst Report), is a world leader with respect to production and management of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina as well as the world’s largest miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina.

Alcoa currently retains a short-term Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

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