Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA)’s new refinery at Al Taweelah produced one million tonnes of alumina since it began operations in April and is expected to reach full capacity during the first half of 2020, the company said on Monday.
The refinery converts bauxite ore into alumina, the feedstock for aluminium smelters. Once full production is achieved, the plant would meet 40 per cent of EGA’s alumina needs, according to the company.
"We are pleased with the progress so far at Al Taweelah alumina refinery and we are on track to deliver a world-class ramp-up," said Abdulla Kalban, managing director and chief executive of EGA.
“Our preparations to operate Al Taweelah alumina refinery safely and efficiently began when the project was still on the drawing board. These plans are being effectively put into action by our operations team of global industry veterans and UAE Nationals specially trained for their roles in this new industrial activity for our country.”
EGA invested about $3.3 billion (Dh12.11bn) to build the Al Taweelah alumina refinery. Separately, it also began bauxite exports from its subsidiary Guinea Alumina Corporation in August.
The company invested $1.4bn in the bauxite mining project in the West African country as part of its strategy to control all parts of the value chain, reduce costs and secure raw materials for its aluminium production. EGA's mining project as well as its Al Taweelah alumina refinery are intended to create new revenue streams for the company.
EGA’s aluminium is primarily used in the construction, automotive, packaging, aerospace and electronics industries. In 2018, the company produced a record 2.6 million tonnes of cast metal and made a profit of Dh1.2bn on revenue of Dh23.5bn.
The company, which is jointly owned by Abu Dhabi's strategic investment arm, Mubadala Investment Company, and the Investment Corporation of Dubai, has more than 350 customers in about 60 countries. Majority of its sales going to South-East Asia, followed by the US and Europe.
The domestic market in the UAE accounts for about 10 per cent of EGA's sales. The company's expansion since production began in Jebel Ali in 1979 has made the UAE the fifth largest aluminium-producing nation in the world.