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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        29  April 2011

Aluminum smelter plant for Malaysia

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Gulf International Investment Group Holdings Sdn Bhd, headed by local tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary and UAE-based business leader Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar, has entered into a joint-venture (JV) agreement with Aluminium Corp of China to develop a US$1.6 billion (RM5bil) aluminum smelting plant in Sarawak.

The JV company, Smelter Asia Sdn Bhd, will develop, own and operate the private aluminum smelting plant with an annual capacity of 370,000 tonnes.

The smelter will be located in Samalaju Industrial Park, 60 kilometers from Bintulu and some 180km from the Bakun hydroelectric dam. The park has been earmarked by the state government for heavy industries under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy master plan.

Smelter Asia also executed the principal terms of the power purchase agreement (PPA) with Syarikat Sesco Bhd, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Sarawak Energy Bhd, for over 600MW of power supply to the proposed aluminum smelting plant. Smelter Asia and Sesco will jointly conclude the PPA by mid-year.

“The global demand for aluminum is projected to grow by an average 4 percent over the next five years, with Asia driving the demand. Our strategic collaboration will bring the best in class technology to create a modern aluminum plant that will contribute to the socio-economic growth of Sarawak state,” Syed Mokhtar said in a media statement yesterday.

Meanwhile, Alabbar said the plant would not only benefit the country but also support the Asean region's development thrust by providing aluminum, which is critical in driving the massive infrastructure projects that are being planned.

“This signing of joint-venture agreement marks a significant milestone in the course of project development. I believe Smelter Asia would become an indispensable driving force that dramatically stimulates Sarawak's economic growth,” Aluminium Corp deputy general manager Zhang Chengzhong said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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