Saeed Al Mazrooei, president and CEO of EMAL, said he was glad that the project was on schedule and that global aluminium demand is forecasted to have growth of five per cent year-on-year. "Our confidence in the market is reflected in our Phase ll expansion and the addition of a new product – foundry – to make our product portfolio reflect changing demand in the market," he told Gulf News.

Emal's end-2012 production will be 800kt and the company is exporting to more than 200 customers in 34 countries, including Japan, the USA, Europe, South Asia, the Middle East and the GCC countries.

Mazrooei said that Emal was producing around 100kt for the local market, claiming there was 'high potential' for local downstream industry.

On completion, the Al Taweelah facility will have an annual production capacity of 1.3Mt.

The Gulf's share of global aluminium production has risen from 2.8% to 7.5% in recent years.