Emirates Global Aluminium, the largest producer of the metal in the Middle East, has received its first shipment of bauxite ore from a Guinean mine, to be used as feedstock in its upcoming alumina refinery.
The import will be stockpiled for use in the 2 million-tonne capacity Al Taweelah alumina refinery in Abu Dhabi.
At a total budgeted project cost of approximately $3.3 billion, the refinery will run entirely on Guinean bauxite, EGA said in a statement on Sunday.
"Thousands of people are currently working hard to bring the construction of Al Taweelah alumina refinery to completion, and we look forward to producing our first alumina during the first half of next year," Abdulla Kalban, EGA managing director and chief executive said.
The refinery, which is set to export its first alumina in 2019 is at 82 per cent completion, according to an EGA spokesman.
Guinea, which is located in West Africa has the world's largest resource for bauxite, used to produce alumina, which is then converted into aluminium. The Middle East is home to a sizeable aluminium industry, which some of the oil-rich countries in the region have developed as part of their drive to create a substantial manufacturing base.
Aluminium, a base metal, whose price has been on the ascendant in recent weeks due to the tariffs standoff between the United States and China, has long been coveted as an alternative industry to oil in the Middle East.
EGA's agreement with the Compagnie des Bauxite de Guinee, with whom the producer has the offtake-agreement, will see the African company supply around 5 million tonnes of bauxite annually to the UAE. EGA recently completed a 450,000-tonne capacity shed to store bauxite required for refining. Such stockpiling can ensure availability of the ore, in the event of any disruptions to shipments. Violent protests in Guinea in March caused some disruptions to global shipments of bauxite ore.