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Investing in aluminium

The regions oil producers are set to pump nearly US$22 billion into new aluminium projects and expansion of existing smelters in the next five years as part of an ongoing industrial drive to move away from reliance on oil exports, reports Emirates 24/7.

Official figures reveal that the six GCC countries, which control more than 45 per cent of the world's oil and 25 per cent of the global gas wealth, have spent more than US$15 billion on aluminium smelters.

"The GCC countries are expected to invest nearly US$22 billion until 2015 to set up new aluminum projects and expand their existing smelters," said the Doha-based Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting (GOIC), which advises on non-hydrocarbon industrial plans in the GCC.

The group said the investments would boost the GCC's combined aluminium production from around 2.2 million tonnes in 2009 to more than six million tonnes making the GCC a major global producer of the metal. The investments include funds of around US$5.8 billion in Qatar's new smelter, which has a production capacity of around 585,000 tonnes per year.

A further US$8 billion will also be invested by Emal in Abu Dhabi to increase output to 1.4 million tonnes while further expansions are planned in Dubai and Bahrain Saudi Arabia is also planning to set up a US$3.8-billion smelter while Oman has completed its first aluminium plant in Sohar.