HE the Deputy Premier, Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said he was ‘delighted’ at the progress made by the project so far.

“It is more than 90% complete. I can confirm that the first aluminium roll-out from our plant would be before December. We are on time and within budget,” al-Attiyah said.

Qatalum is the world’s largest green-field smelter ever built in a single phase. About 20000 people, mostly contractors’ workforce, are involved in Qatalum construction.

The Mesaieed plant will focus on producing aluminium casthouse materials such as extrusion ingots and primary foundry alloys.

The facilities include a 1350MW gas-fired captive power plant, a casthouse, carbon plant, and a port for unloading raw materials.

Hydro board chairman Terge Vareberg said Qatalum would attain capacity production within six months. At that stage, the plant will produce 585kt/y of aluminium. However, production can be ramped up at the facility to 609kt/y.

The smelter comprises two 1.2km long pot rooms containing 352 cells each, a casthouse which produces 350kt/y of extrusion ingots and 275kt/y of foundry alloys. The adjacent carbon plant will prepare and supply 300kt/y of baked anodes and recycle 63kt/y of spent anodes. Qatalum has been designed to accommodate further expansion.

QP will provide gas to Qatalum to operate the captive power plant whose generation will be about 35% of Qatar’s current power production and 10% of that of Norway.

The raw materials for Qatalum is being sourced from all over the world, particularly Brazil, where Hydro has captive alumina and bauxite sources.

Source: Daily Gulf Times, Doha; 5 Oct 2009