Emal is a 50-50 joint venture between Dubai Aluminium Company Limited (Dubal) and Mubadala Development Company, Abu Dhabi’s investment vehicle.

“It is virtually finished, in the next month, the first hot metal will be produced,” Waleed Al Muhairi, Mubadala's chief operating officer, told reporters on the sidelines of an energy conference.

He added it will supply two markets - China and Europe – and said the project will involve building an aluminium-based cluster of manufacturing companies around the facility.

The $5.7bn project, located at Al Taweelah in Abu Dhabi, will have a full production capacity of 700kt/y of aluminium from the first phase, expected to be reached by December 2010.

The second phase will increase capacity to 1.4Mt/y and is expected to be completed in 2013-2014.