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Thu 15 Jan 2009 02:10 PM

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Aluminium giant to open $7mn Qatar research centre

Hydro aims to use facility to help improve safety at plant in Gulf state.

Aluminium giant Hydro is to establish a $7 million research and training centre at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP).

Its brief will be to investigate how to improve the safety and productivity of an aluminium plant it is building in the country, it was revealed on Thursday.

Hydro, the third largest aluminium supplier in the world, will invest the money over the first three years of the Hydro Technology Centre, which will open early this year, QSTP announced on Thursday.

In a joint venture with Qatar Petroleum, the Norwegian aluminium producer is currently building the Qatalum aluminium plant, which will be the world’s largest aluminium facility ever built in one phase.

The centre will focus on both technology development and training, with its first projects involving research into hot-climate working conditions, the environment and cross-cultural technology management.

“Our Qatar tech centre will help us achieve the highest efficiency and output, combined with high environmental and safety standard at the plants,” said Tormod Bjork, Hydro Aluminium senior vice president, who will head the centre.

He said the centre will work closely with the universities at Qatar Foundation and Qatar University, with the collaboration providing study opportunities and creating technology-based employment for local graduates.

The centre will eventually grow to 500 square metres with a staff of ten.

Dr Tidu Maini, executive chairman of QSTP, said the centre will position Qatar as an innovator and not just a producer of aluminium.

QSTP is working to transform Qatar into a knowledge economy by attracting commercially-oriented research and development.

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