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Tue 23 Sep 2014 01:29 PM

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UAE to build $3bn alumina refinery by end-2017

Emirates Global Aluminium chief says feasibility studies have been completed for new refinery

UAE to build $3bn alumina refinery by end-2017
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

State-owned Emirates Global Aluminium plans to spend $3 billion to build the United Arab Emirates' first alumina refinery in Abu Dhabi, chief executive Abdulla Kalban said on Tuesday.

Feasibility studies have been completed and the refinery will be operational by the end of 2017, Kalban told reporters. Alumina, extracted from bauxite in the refining process, is used to produce primary aluminium.

"We are building the refinery to secure our own important materials," Kalban said, adding that the refinery would produce 2 million tonnnes of alumina annually in an initial phase and an additional 2 million tonnes in a second phase.

Emirates Global Aluminium, which has an enterprise value of about $15 billion, was formed by the merger last year of Abu Dhabi's Emirates Aluminium (Emal) and Dubai Aluminium (Dubal).

Aluminium production in the Gulf has been rising rapidly, partly because of the region's low energy costs and extensive port facilities, as well as its booming construction industry. The UAE is keen to diversify its economy beyond oil.

Emirates Global Aluminium currently produces 2.4 million tonnes of aluminium products per year. The UAE accounts for about 50 percent of the Gulf's annual aluminium production of 5 million tonnes and is the world's fourth largest producer of the metal, Kalban said.

He predicted that Emirates Global Aluminium would boost its production by only about 200,000 tonnes over the next six years, but said the outlook for rising demand was solid. About 90 percent of the UAE's aluminium production is exported to 68 countries, he said.

"Global demand growth is forecast to sustain at about 5.8 percent per year till 2020, so we are confident about demand."

The alumina refinery will be financed through a combination of equity and debt, Kalban added without elaborating.

Emirates Global Aluminium owns bauxite producer Guinea Alumina Corp in Guinea and a 45 percent stake in bauxite miner Cameroon Alumina Ltd. "We are looking at further international expansion," Kalban said, declining to provide details.

Also on Tuesday, Aluminium Bahrain said it had received approval from the Bahraini government for the gas allocation needed to support its planned sixth production line, which is expected to start operating in 2018.

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Gary McNeish 3 years ago

What is being done for the recycling of Red Mud? I have contacted EGA several times requesting information on the recycling of the Red Mud. As of today i still have not received an answer.

And why is it so hard to contact: Abdulla Kalban?