The slow-moving US$3Bn project, which was started in 2011, received a capital injection of US$2.7Bn last Christmas.

Work so far has included the demolition of pot lines seven and eight, the relocation of some of the plant’s facillities – to enable the existing smelter to operate during the modernisation programme – and the construction of a 3Km underground utilities corridor.

An anode pellets storage facility and a phase-one, 440-bed residential village for construction workers have also been completed.