In her keynote address to the conference, Mrs. Côté told delegates from more than 30 countries that industrial diversification and job creation are areas where the aluminium industry can help make a difference.

“The Middle East clearly possesses an enviable platform upon which to build a world-class aluminium industry. But going forward we must demonstrate that we also have the vision and the will to capitalise on these strengths by creating the conditions necessary to sustain growth.

“Judging by the success to date, of Sohar Aluminium and the other regional aluminium producers represented here and the determination of other stakeholders at the conference, I am confident that any challenges can be overcome and enormous long-term benefits can be realised,” said Mrs Côté.

The conference had been opened by a keynote speech from the Omani Minister of Commerce and Industry, H.E. Shaikh Saad bin Mohammad al Saadi who acknowledged the outstanding participation of the aluminium leaders in the Arab World.

He said there was an excellent opportunity to strengthen Arab commercial and technical cooperation and deepen knowledge of this industry.

His Excellency said: “There are currently five aluminium smelters in the Gulf region which alone represent over $30bn in Capital and create 20,000 direct and 30,000 indirect jobs.”

|In her speech Mrs Côté also discussed the proposed expansion of the Sohar Aluminium, which uses Rio Tinto Alcan’s benchmark AP 36 derivative – an environmentally friendly reduction technology.

Arabal is the annual gathering of the aluminium smelters of the Arab World and global industry leaders.

This year the event was hosted by Oman-based Sohar Aluminium for the first time.