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Turmoil Looms for Aluminum Again as Key Plant Shuts Down

Updated on
  • Aluminum jumped as much as 4% and Norsk Hydro shares sank
  • Alunorte was already running at just 50 percent capacity
Tanks stand at Norsk Hydro's Alunorte refinery in Brazil.

Tanks stand at Norsk Hydro's Alunorte refinery in Brazil.

Photographer: Paulo Fridman/Bloomberg

The aluminum market risks being thrown back into turmoil after the world’s largest refinery of a key raw material shut down.

Norsk Hydro ASA said it will temporarily close the Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil because the only area it can use for waste processing is already close to reaching its capacity. An alleged dam spill led to a series of legal troubles for the company, prompting authorities to order that it operate at 50 percent of capacity in late February. A prosecutor said Friday it may take at least a year for the company to gain approval to return to normal production.