EGA starts production at UAE’s first alumina refinery

AlTaweelahEmirates Global Aluminium has announced the start-up of Al Taweelah alumina refinery, a strategic growth project that expands the industrial giant’s business upstream in the aluminium value chain

Alumina is the feedstock for aluminium smelters and is refined from bauxite ore. Once full ramp up is achieved, Al Taweelah alumina refinery is expected to produce some two million tonnes of alumina per year, replacing some imports and securing EGA’s competitive supply of this vital raw material. The UAE currently imports all the alumina it needs.

Al Taweelah alumina refinery cost approximately US$3.3bn to develop and is located in Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi. It is the first alumina refinery in the UAE and the second in the Middle East and its start-up marks the beginning of alumina refining as a new industrial activity in the country.

Abdulla Kalban, EGA’s managing director and CEO, said, “The start-up of Al Taweelah alumina refinery is transformative for EGA and the first of two major milestones this year as we complete our strategic growth projects upstream in the aluminium value chain. Al Taweelah alumina refinery, and our bauxite mining project in Guinea where construction continues, secure our supply of raw materials at competitive prices and will strengthen EGA’s business for decades ahead. I want to thank every colleague who played a role in the safe and efficient completion of this important project.”

Construction of Al Taweelah alumina refinery took 72mn hours of work – the equivalent of one person working for more than 25,000 years. The construction workforce peaked at 11,542 people.

Some 280 safety professionals managed onsite safety processes and systems. The total recordable incident frequency rate during the construction of Al Taweelah alumina refinery was less than 10 per cent of that in heavy industrial construction in the United States in 2017 (according to US Bureau of Labour Statistics’ published figures). There were zero fatalities.

Al Taweelah alumina refinery is expected to convert some five million tonnes of bauxite into alumina per year once full ramp-up is achieved. Bauxite for the project will be imported from Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée in the Republic of Guinea in West Africa.

EGA is also building a bauxite mine and export facilities in Guinea in another strategic growth project upstream. First bauxite exports are expected during the second half of this year and will be sold to customers around the world.

The plant is managed from a sophisticated control room which has three times the instrumentation of a modern airliner. Al Taweelah alumina refinery covers an area equivalent to 200 football fields. Equipment and supplies were sourced from 21 countries. More than 20 major contracting companies worked on the project and 80 per cent of the contracts by value were awarded to UAE-registered companies.

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