The aluminium industry is necessary for development in modern countries, mainly because it supplies very different products, from the raw material, to semi-finished products useful in high-tech industries up to the final components.
The aluminium industry in the European Union
In total, there are over a thousand European companies which are specialized in primary and secondary production, as well as in semi-finished products process. The total value of the sector is about EUR 39.5 billion Euros, and creates direct employment for over 230,000 employees, generating about one million jobs connected. Primary processing is concentrated among a few large production plants, mainly located in northern Europe, such as Norway and Iceland.
Production of primary aluminium
At European level, production has fallen by about 30% in the last decade, as well as in North America, unlike China, which now holds 57% of total production, followed by the Gulf countries. This geographical shift is mainly caused by lower energy and processing costs. Production companies have therefore opted for relocation, so that European production capacity has fallen by 25% since 2008. To date, the largest producers in Europe are: Germany, France and Spain, accounting for 60% of total production.
Downstream aluminium industry
Germany and Italy are the countries with the highest share of secondary production, about 50% of the total. In general, the processing of aluminium and the production of alloys (such as extrusions, laminates and casting) has increased by 33%. In Europe, however, consumption has progressively reduced to 15% of total consumption in 2017. China and the Middle East are the main consumers of secondary products.
As far as the application sectors are concerned, the main compartment is transport, followed by construction and packaging.