June 12, 2018 / 3:14 PM / 6 months ago

Brazil court rejects Alunorte bid to overturn forced output cuts

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 12 (Reuters) - A court in the Brazilian state of Para denied a bid by Norsk Hydro ASA to appeal the partial suspension of bauxite refining operations at its Alunorte unit in another blow to the world’s largest alumina refinery.

In February, the court in Para, where the Alunorte refinery is located, ordered the refinery to reduce its output by 50 percent, following allegations by prosecutors of a waste spill at one of Alunorte’s bauxite refuse deposits.

The company has since admitted it discharged untreated rain and surface water into a river, which it called “unacceptable,” but has denied many parts of prosecutors’ allegations and argued there was no evidence of a lasting environmental impact.

The state-level decision comes after a federal court also upheld the output cut.

In an emailed statement on Tuesday, Alunorte said it was evaluating potential next steps in the courts.

Alunorte transforms bauxite to alumina, which is turned into aluminum at huge smelters. Founded in 1995, Alunorte produces 5.8 million metric tonnes of alumina a year, according to the website of Norway’s Norsk Hydro. (Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Alexandra Alper Editing by Phil Berlowitz )

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