Learn About Aluminum Production and Its Best Producers

The world's ten largest aluminum producers (by output) accounted for nearly 25 million metric tons of primary aluminum in 2012 or about 55 percent of total global output. Russia's UC Rusal again tops the list of producers, while the biggest movers include China Power Investment Corp., Shandong Xinfa Aluminum and Electricity Group and newcomer Weiqiao Aluminum & Power Co. The list below is based-upon output from primary refiners as prepared by Metal Bulletin Company Database. Production figures - shown beside each company name - are in millions of metric tons.

UC Rusal (Russia) - 4.173MT

Close up of newly poured metal ingots at aluminum recycling plant
Monty Rakusen/Cultura/Getty Images

Rusal was founded in 2000 and, following its merger with SUAL and the acquisition of alumina assets from Glencore, became the global aluminum industry leader in 2007. The company currently operates 15 alumina smelters, 12 alumina refineries and owns eight bauxite mines. Rusal increased its output by 1 percent over 2011 to 4,173,000 metric tons, roughly 9 percent of global production.

Website: www.rusal.ru/en

Alcoa Inc. (USA) - 3.742MT


The Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa Inc.) was founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1888 and now operates in 31 countries worldwide. The company has interests in 25 primary smelters, accounting for about 7 percent of global production. Although Alcoa's output decreased slightly in 2012 to 3,775,000 metric tons, it moved into second place from third among primary producers. Key aluminum assets include the Fjardaál smelter (Iceland), Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (Australia), the Baie-Comeau and Becancour smelters (Canada), as well as the San Cibrao smelter (Spain) and smelters in Newburgh (Indiana), Ferndale (Washington), and Rockdale (Texas).

Website: www.alcoa.com/

Aluminum Corp. of China (China) - 3.502MT


The Aluminum Corporation of China Ltd. (also known as Chalco or Chinalco) is China's largest refined aluminum producer. The company increased output 12 percent over 2011 to 3.5 million metric tons. Chalco is a state-owned enterprise that is listed on the Shanghai, Hong Kong, ​and New York Stock Exchanges. The company employs over 100,000 individuals and also has operations related to copper refining, carbon products, gallium, and rare earths. Major aluminum assets include the Shandong Aluminum Company, Pingguo Aluminum Company, Shanxi Aluminum Plant and the Lanzhou Aluminum Plant.

Website: www.chalco.com.cn

China Power Investment Corp. (China) - 2.693MT

China Power Investment Corp.

The biggest mover on the list this year, China Power Investment Corp. (CPI) increased its total output by 95 percent from 1.38 million metric tons to nearly 2.7 million metric tons. The state-owned company is a comprehensive investment group that holds assets in power generation, coal, aluminum, railways and ports. Founded in 2002, CPI has an installed aluminum production capacity of 2.77 million tons. Major aluminum assets include the Ningxia Qingtongxia Energy and Aluminum and CPI Aluminum International Trading Co. Ltd.

Website: http://eng.cpicorp.com.cn/

Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. (Canada) - 2.174MT

Rio Tinto

With production declining 9 percent over 2011, Rio Tinto's aluminum output dropped to just over 2 million metric tons. The company owns and operates bauxite mines and alumina refineries in Brazil, Australia, Guinea, and Canada. Its primary aluminum smelters are located in Canada (8 smelters), Cameroon, France, Iceland, Norway and the Middle East. In order to power its smelters, Rio Tinto owns 11 power stations, which supply 36 percent of the electricity the smelters consume. 

Website: www.riotinto.com

Norsk Hydro ASA (Norway) - 1.985MT

Norsk Hydro

Norsk Hydro grew output 16 percent over the year prior to 1,985,000 metric tons. The Norwegian company is a major producer of bauxite, alumina, and refined aluminum products, which employs 22,000 people worldwide. Norsk has plants in Rjuken, Raufoss, Vennesla, Karmoy, Hoyanger, Ardal, Sunndalsora, Holmestrand, and Magnor (all in Norway). However, its major bauxite and alumina refining operations are in Brazil, which it acquired from Vale in 2011. Qatalum, located in Qatar, is a 50-50 joint venture with Qatar Petroleum and Norsk Hydro and has an annual capacity of 585,000 tons of primary aluminum. 

Website: www.hydro.com

China Hongqiao Group Ltd. (China) - 1.821MT

China Hongqiao

China Hongqiao is the first new player to enter the top ten in 2012 by growing output 18 percent to 1,821,000 metric tons. The company was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Zouping, Shandong Province, China. China Hongqiao Group Limited is a subsidiary of China Hongqiao Holdings Limited whose aluminum products consist of molten aluminum alloy, aluminum alloy ingots and aluminum alloy processing products. The Group's total aluminum output capacity is roughly 2.2 million metric tons. 

Website: www.hongqiaochina.com

Shandong Weiqiao Aluminum & Power Co. (China) - 1.715MT

Shandong Weiqiao

Shandong Weiqiao is the second newcomer to the top ten. Increasing output 44 percent over 2011, the company produced 1,715,000 metric tons of primary aluminum during the year. Headquartered in Bizhou, Shandong, China, the company's current output capacity is roughly 1.8 million metric tons. 

Website: wqlygs.alu.cn

Shandong Xinfa Aluminum & Electricity Group Ltd. (China) - 1.63MT


Shandong Xinfa Aluminum Group Co. Ltd. is one of China's largest private aluminum companies. Founded in 1972, the company now has over 50 subsidiaries and 15,000 employees working in power generation, alumina and aluminum refining, carbon production and downstream aluminum product manufacturing. Total primary aluminum production capacity grew 60 percent between 2011 and 2012, but the company's position in the top ten remained unchanged at number nine. Major assets include Chiping Huaxin Aluminum Industry Co. Ltd., the Shandong Xinfa Hope Aluminum Co. Ltd. (East Hope Group) and Guangxi Xinfa Aluminum Co. Ltd.

Website: www.xinfa.cnal.com

Dubal Aluminum Co. (UAE) - 1.42MT


Established in 1979, Dubai Aluminum Corp. (aka Dubal) owns and operates the Jebel Ali aluminum smelter, one of the largest primary aluminum production facilities in the world. With an annual output reaching 1.42 million tons in 2012, the complex operates a 2,350-megawatt power station, a large carbon plant, a desalination plant and casting operations. The company also owns a 50 percent share in Emirates Aluminum (EMAL) in Abu Dabi where production capacity is expected to reach 1.3 million metric tons by 2014.