Ensuring responsible conduct in relation to society at large is an important element in restructuring processes. The financial crisis put Hydro's organization under severe strain, and our long experience in responsible restructuring was severely tested.
On February 28, 2011, we took over the majority of Vale's aluminium business in Brazil. We have become the majority owner of one of the largest bauxite mines in the world, the largest alumina refinery in the world and have substantial expansion opportunities in this critical part of the value chain. It also gave us 3,850 new colleagues in Brazil - or about 6,500 including apprentices and employees on long-term contracts. Germany and Brazil are now the countries where we have the most employees, followed by Norway. The transaction has also given us substantial presence in a geographical area with exposed societies and vulnerable ecosystems. We are working on the integration of the new organization while learning from their experience, and have just entered into dialog with our new neighbors.
Construction of the new aluminium plant Qatalum in Qatar was completed in 2011 with full production from September. Qatalum is a 50/50 joint venture between Hydro and Qatar Petroleum with 1,170 employees, of which the large majority are foreign citizens.