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Mozal Smelter Expansion Officially Opened

9 October 2003

The Mozal smelter expansion, near Maputo Mozambique, was officially opened on 8 October 2003 by President Joachim Chissano of Mozambique in the presence of over 400 dignitaries and guests from around the world. Also present at the inauguration ceremony of phase II were representatives of the shareholders in Mozal: BHP Billiton (47% and the smelter operator), Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan (25%), the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC, 24%) and the Government of Mozambique (4%).

Mozal phase I was completed in record time of 31 months, from project go-ahead in May 1998 to full commissioning in December 2000, six months ahead of schedule and US$100 million below the budget of US$1.2 billion.   Mozal phase II, a doubling of capacity by constructing a second potline with a capacity of 253 000 tpa, has surpassed all expectations.  It was completed in 26 months from go-ahead in June 2001 to full commissioning of all 288 pots in August 2003, seven months ahead of schedule and US$195 million under the budget of US$860 million.  This potline is now producing 271 000 tons, annualised, which equates to a specific capital cost for phase II of less than US$2 500/ton.  

In terms of safety, a LTIFR of 1.07 was achieved, a benchmark construction record. The construction workforce, of which 70% were Mozambican, peaked at 5 033, while over US$94 million of the project cost was expended in the local economy.  Mozal sources its alumina from the 86% owned BHP Billiton Worsley refinery in Western Australia.

President Chissano of Mozambique said, “following our success with phase I of Mozal, I am delighted to be standing here again to witness our achievements on phase II.  Through partnerships, such as we have on Mozal with BHP Billiton, Mitsubishi and IDC, our country can continue progressing and developing for the well being of the Mozambican economy and our people.”

Chip Goodyear, Chief Executive Officer of BHP Billiton added, “our vision, as encapsulated in our Charter, is being realized before us.  Today, Mozal’s 506 000tpa nameplate capacity is comfortably being exceeded, the smelter is one of the largest of its kind in the western world, and the plant is acknowledged as one of the industry’s lowest cost aluminium producers. Together with Bayside and the expanded Hillside smelters in Richards Bay, this aluminium axis in southern Africa will have a combined capacity of over 1.3 million tpa, constituting some 7% of world aluminium production.  This is another testament to the continuing achievement of all the people who have worked on this project, particularly in the areas of safety, construction and the present operations team.  I honour you all for your contribution in making today’s ceremony possible.  I also pay warm tribute to President Chissano and his administration for their role in Mozal’s success.”

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