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Power Failure at Qatalum Causes sudden Shutdown

Power was out for almost 5 h, leading to a significant drop in temperature in the reduction cells and making it impossible to resume metal production. The incident caused no personal injuries or any known uncontrolled emissions.   The cause of the power loss is yet to be determined. The failure affected both the connection to the national power grid and Qatalum’s own power plant. Even though power has been restored, the liquid electrolyte in most of the 444 affected cells in operation at the time of the incident is solidified, and these cells need to be prepared for restart. The remaining 260 unaffected cells are on track for normal start-up.   The ramp-up of the Qatalum aluminium plant, which was scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter 2010, will be delayed as a result of the incident. Qatalum is working on a revised start-up plan. Qatalum will investigate the cause of the incident in cooperation with local authorities.   Qatalum, with a design capacity of 585 000 t of primary aluminium, is a 50/50 joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and Norwegian aluminium company Hydro. (08/2010)

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