History of Aluminij
The history of Aluminij d.d. Mostar starts with the first years of the 20th century, with the discovery of bauxite ore deposits in Herzegovina and its exploitation.
A company called Bauxite Mines Mostar was organized after World War II, in 1945 with the aim to explore, exploit and transport bauxite. The first construction studies for an aluminium smelter were made within this company. A company The Bauxite Mines Mostar got merged with a company Energoinvest Sarajevo in 1969, and this newly established company was given a task by the Government of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to start and develop aluminium production. Regular production started in 1975 in the new Alumina Factory, based on cooperation between the local company Energoinvest and the French company Pechiney.
A new company called Aluminij Mostar was established in 1977 by merging Alumina Factory and Bauxite Mines. Aluminium Factory also became an integral part of it after the regular aluminium production start in 1981. The period between 1981 and 1990 was characterized by numerous political decisions which reflected economy, so Aluminij was renamed several times as well as its organizational structures and finally in 1990 it was separated from Energoinvest and it had been given a well recognizable name - Aluminij Mostar. Ever since then this company has become the bearer of aluminum production in Herzegovina and Bosnia as well, and it has also been the backbone of life in the Herzegovina, Bosnia and Dalmatian Region.
This company has grown up in an economical giant but horrifying events and unfair irony of destiny caused that Aluminij had disappeared in the flames of the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The company was not spared from the war destructions as well. During their attack on Mostar, the Serbo-Montenegrin aggressor (the so called Yugoslav National Army and paramilitary forces) also destroyed almost all vital facilities in Aluminij. In the period between April 9th and 23rd of 1992 the workers were doing everything to save the electrolytic aluminum potline. But on the very same April 23rd, 1992 at 7 a.m. there was a direct shelling of the electrical substation which led to a forcible breakdown of electric supply in the entire Smelter. For some period of time Aluminij d.d. Mostar was even under the military occupation by the Serbo-Montenegrin aggressor’s forces that burnt and destroyed the Alumina Refinery chimney, the water tower nearby the Cast House, Laboratory, the Aluminij Technical Building and water scooping points on the River Neretva. Entire chattel property of the company was stolen including the entire vehicle fleet. Nevertheless, thanks to a brilliant military operation (in those times it was called Operation Čagalj and today Lipanjske zore) carried out by the Croatian Council of Defence, the Croatian Army, and the Croatian police forces, Aluminij was liberated on June 12th 1992. The aggressor forces were pushed away from the nearby hills Hum and Orlac and the suburb areas Rodoč and Jasenica and that marked the beginning of liberation of the city of Mostar.
Aluminij was lying under the ruins and ashes, surrounded by the apathy of the war's wretchedness. In the darkness of 1992, the once busy production facilities and premises were filled with ominous silence, occasionally interrupted by the sounds of the rain pouring through the holes and cracks in the roofs of the robbed smelter. The war damage was estimated at more than 140 million euro. And then, Aluminij has risen! After the end of the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina those Aluminij employees who had decided to stay with their company even during a whirlwind of destructions, did everything in order to save, what had been left, from further destructions which required superhuman efforts. After hard work on the facilities reconstruction and thanks to the initiative fund of 9 million US dollars from the Republic of Croatia and through the Light Metals Manufacturing Company (TLM) from Šibenik, Anode Plant was placed into operation on the historical date - March 15th, 1997. Later, on March 14th, 1997, after a five-year standstill a first electrolytic cell was restarted in Electrolysis Plant. During September and October of the very same year, 64 electrolytic cells were put into operation, by the end of May 1998 the first half of el. cell capacity was operating and the full capacity of 256 el. cells was reached November of 1999. Besides the reconstructed facilities, buildings and machinery, the most recognizable symbol of Aluminij, and its rise from the dead, is the water tower that was destroyed by the enemy forces, and which today stands upright again with its slender outline, like a guardian of the entire smelter who never sleeps, watches over and admonishes - It is here to remain!