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Aluminium set for resurgence

A resurgence in the aluminium market has been predicted as the worlds biggest beverage can maker, Rexam, prepares to convert its Berlin plant from steel to aluminium

Rexam's European and Asian can making operations sector director Tomas Sjolin said: "As well as generating a high scrap value, aluminium cans provide lower handling costs throughout the supply chain and are the most efficient to store and return due to the way they can be compacted. Add to this their excellent recycling properties and strong consumer appeal, and a can comeback next year is inevitable."

With aluminium 100% recyclable and able to enter the recycling process again and again without deterioration, the news is a boost for environmentalists and Rexam's many trading partners around Europe.

Novelis vice president of corporate affairs John Gardner said: "Its great news on two fronts. Firstly, it will generate more used beverage cans for us to recycle and secondly it should lead to extra sales and more business for both us and Rexam."

The project, which will cost 24 million euros, is a direct response to Germany's planned introduction of a nationwide return system for one-way containers in May next year.

The company points to aluminium's unbeatable economics in a deposit system and its environmental record as reasons for the switch.

Based on a 50cl pack, aluminium scrap is worth 1.5 eurocents while steel is worth just 0.3 eurocents.

This significant change in company strategy was announced at the Drinktec Fair in Germany last week with the conversion beginning in January 2006, creating an estimated 40 new jobs.

Production will increase from two lines to three, with the plant completed by the end of the second quarter of 2006.

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