Underlying earnings after tax were US$36.7M, compared with US$300k in 2009, the company said. Alumina Limited is a 40% stakeholder in the Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC) joint venture with Alcoa (60%), which produces around 17% of the world’s alumina and is a major supplier to independent smelters.

The AWAC results were impacted by costs of $135M before tax from ramp-up woes at the Alumar alumina refinery in Brazil. The 3.5Mt/y refinery was hit by power outages and equipment commissioning issues in 2010 but is now running at design capacity, the company said.

AWAC’s profit was also reduced by the strengthening of the Australian dollar, as the country accounts for 60% of AWAC’s global production.

“With the major investment in Brazil behind us and the outlook for alumina pricing continuing to strengthen, dividend flow from the joint venture has also significantly improved,” Alumina Limited CEO John Bevan said.

“The global alumina market is entering a growth phase due in part to the rising demand for alumina from independent, non-integrated smelters, including many in China.

“Global demand for alumina is forecast to increase 12% in 2011 and global supply and demand is expected to be in balance.”