Emirates Global Aluminium, the UAE’s largest industrial company outside the oil and gas sector, on Thursday signed agreements that could lead to industrial investments in the UAE worth more than Dh1 billion ($272 million).
The preliminary agreements were signed with Sunstone, the largest producer of carbon anodes in China, and VCI, an Indian disinfectant and carbo-chemicals producer, at the Make it in the Emirates forum in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and President-designate of Cop28.
The deal with VCI could result in the development of a pitch melting and processing facility in the UAE. Liquid pitch is a raw material in the production of carbon anodes for aluminium smelting, and is also increasingly used in the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles.
This facility would be the “first of its type in the region”, EGA said.
“We are committed to growing our economic contribution further in line with Operation 300bn, including by using our demand to localise our supply chain,” said Abdulnasser bin Kalban, chief executive of EGA.
The UAE's industrial strategy, Operation 300bn, aims to make the country an industrial centre by 2031. The 10-year strategy focuses on increasing industry’s contribution to gross domestic product to Dh300 billion by 2031, from Dh133 billion in 2021.
“These agreements are progress towards that goal, and I look forward to the development of these new industrial facilities in the UAE, creating jobs and contributing to prosperity," Mr bin Kalban said.
EGA, one of the world’s largest aluminium producers, has smelters in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, an alumina refinery in Abu Dhabi and a bauxite mine in Guinea.
It is jointly owned by Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company and the Investment Corporation of Dubai.
The UAE is the fifth-largest aluminium producing country in the world. EGA’s aluminium is the biggest made-in-the-UAE export after oil and gas, and is shipped to more than 50 countries.
The aluminium sector accounts for about 1.4 per cent of the UAE's economy, according to EGA.
EGA produces about 1.2 million tonnes of carbon anodes every year at its carbon plants in Jebel Ali and Al Taweelah, it said, with the remainder of the company’s need being imported.
Following EGA’s initial pact with Sunstone, production from the new carbon anode manufacturing facility in the UAE would entirely replace these imports, and additional capacity could supply other aluminium smelters in the Middle East, EGA said.
“The UAE is a strategic location for industrial investment, with industrial champion companies like EGA and access to the wider Middle East region. We look forward to progressing this project, growing our international operations and contributing to the UAE’s economy,” said Lang Guanghui, chairman of Sunstone.