Emirates Global Aluminium has announced a milestone at its new Al Taweelah alumina refinery in Abu Dhabi, with 600,000 tonnes of alumina produced since the company began operations at the new refinery in April.

Al Taweelah alumina refinery is expected to produce more than one million tonnes of alumina in total by the end of 2019.

During August, average daily production of alumina was 88 per cent of Al Taweelah alumina refinery’s nameplate capacity.

Al Taweelah alumina refinery is expected to reach sustained production at nameplate capacity during the course of 2020.

Once fully-ramped up, production at Al Taweelah alumina refinery is expected to be some two million tonnes of alumina per year, enough to meet 40 per cent of EGA’s alumina needs.

Some 589 people work in the operations team at Al Taweelah alumina refinery, including seasoned experts recruited from around the world and UAE nationals trained for roles in this new industrial activity for the UAE.

Abdulla Kalban, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of EGA, said: “Ramping up production at a new alumina refinery is a complex and challenging task, and we have been preparing for the ramp-up of Al Taweelah alumina refinery since before construction began. We have a world-class team operating EGA’s alumina refinery, and they are making great progress on this journey.”

Preparations to operate Al Taweelah alumina refinery took more than 500,000 hours of work.

Alumina refineries convert bauxite ore into alumina, the feedstock for aluminium smelters. EGA is importing bauxite ore to process at Al Taweelah alumina refinery from the Republic of Guinea.

EGA began production in August at Guinea Alumina Corporation, its bauxite mining project in Guinea. Bauxite from the GAC project is shipped to third party customers around the world.

Al Taweelah alumina refinery and the GAC project expand EGA’s business upstream in the aluminium value chain. The projects create new revenue streams for EGA and secure the supply of natural resources the UAE’s aluminium industry needs at competitive prices.

Al Taweelah alumina refinery was the first to be built in the UAE, and only the second in the Middle East.

EGA invested some $3.3 billion to build Al Taweelah alumina refinery. The peak construction workforce was 11,542, from 20 countries. Construction took 72 million hours of work, equivalent to one person working for over 25,000 years.

The new plant contains some 9,500 instruments, 222 tanks, enough piping to stretch from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, and cabling that would reach from Abu Dhabi to Cairo. It covers an area equivalent to 200 football fields, and contains enough steel to build seven Eiffel Towers.

EGA’s aluminium is the largest made-in-the UAE export after oil and gas. In 2018, EGA produced more than 2.6 million tonnes of cast metal. EGA is the only UAE producer and makes the UAE the fifth largest aluminium-producing nation in the world.