x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

EMAL smelter halfway complete

The initial production target is 700,000 tonnes and will produce its first metal by next April.

Construction of the world's largest aluminium smelter is 50 per cent completed and on track to produce the first metal next April, a senior official from Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) said today. Initial production at the plant in Taweelah will be 700,000 tonnes per year, which could double if EMAL approves a second-stage expansion. A feasibility study on the second phase has been accepted by the company's board and front-end engineering and design will begin this year, Yousuf Bastaki, the project director, told a conference in the capital.

"This will be the flagship of the UAE's diversification and industrialisation," he said. EMAL is a joint venture between Mubadala Development and Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL). Once the second stage is complete, DUBAL and EMAL will together become the fifth-largest aluminium producer in the world, Mr Bastaki said. The plant's first phase had held costs below the budget of US$5.6 billion (Dh20.5bn), he said.

Mr Bastaki said the first phase required 60,000 tonnes of steel, equivalent to the quantity of steel needed for six Eiffel Towers and 44,000 tonnes of aluminium, equivalent to the quantity in 160 Airbus A380 super jumbo jets. cstanton@thenational.ae