Emirates Global Aluminium has announced it has signed an agreement to supply alumina to The Alumina Industrial Company, enabling the development of a new industry making speciality products from alumina and contributing to the achievement of the UAE’s industrial growth strategy Operation 300bn.

The Alumina Industrial Company, established by the Maithan Group and Bathwal Corporation, intends to develop the UAE’s first complex to make speciality products from alumina in Khalifa Economic Zone Abu Dhabi. These products have widespread applications in refractories and abrasives for industrial applications.

The project requires a local source of alumina, and EGA is the only UAE producer. The supply agreement is the first time EGA has sold alumina from its refinery to a third-party, extending EGA’s support to industrial expansion in the country. Alumina is the main feedstock for aluminium smelters. All the production from EGA’s Al Taweelah alumina refinery is currently used in EGA’s smelters.

EGA’s supply of alumina to the project is a further expansion of EGA’s local commercial sales that enable downstream industrial activity. EGA sells some 10 per cent of its metal in the UAE, to 26 companies that make everything from car parts to window frames for local use and global export.

Operation 300bn aims to develop the UAE’s industrial sector and enhance its role in stimulating the national economy. It aims to more than double the industrial sector’s contribution to the GDP to AED 300 billion by 2031.

Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Global Aluminium, said: “Driving sustainable economic growth is one way we fulfil EGA’s purpose - Together, innovating aluminium to make modern life possible. This commercial agreement to supply alumina to a new industry under development in the UAE further expands our contribution to industrialisation and prosperity in our nation, in line with the goals of Operation 300bn.”

Nikunj Bathwal, Director of The Alumina Industrial Company, said: “Enabled by EGA’s alumina supply and leveraging the world class infrastructure of UAE, we are creating a unique alumina derivatives platform that will support existing industries in the UAE, and potentially lead to the development of further new industrial operations in the country.”

The Alumina Industrial Company plans to develop a plant in KEZAD with a production capacity of 80 thousand tonnes per year of specialised alumina products, with the potential to expand to 150,000 tonnes annually.

The project is expected to create 200 jobs in construction and 150 permanent roles once in operation. First production is expected in 2025.

The plant’s production is expected to replace some imports required in supply chains of UAE industries ranging from steel, aluminium, petrochemicals, glass to cement. Refractories are ceramic materials that are resistant to very high temperatures, and are used to line hot surfaces in many industrial processes.

EGA itself requires refractories in some of its industrial processes. The Alumina Industrial Company’s project could potentially supply a significant proportion of this need, further increasing EGA’s local procurement.

EGA’s Al Taweelah alumina refinery began production in 2019, after an investment in its development of some $3.3 billion. The refinery converts bauxite ore into alumina, the feedstock for aluminium smelters.

In 2022, Al Taweelah alumina refinery produced 2.43 million tonnes of alumina, significantly exceeding its original design capacity and meeting 47 per cent of EGA’s total alumina needs.

EGA's already supplies some alumina hydrate, a precursor product of alumina, to domestic and international producers of aluminium fluoride, which is used in aluminium smelting, welding applications and ceramic glazes and enamels.

Refractories are insulating materials required for industrial processes that operate at above 800°C. Abrasives are form of high-purity alumina essential for metal production, industrial polishing and abrasive compounds.