Mr Al Naqi was speaking at a press conference in Doha, Qatar, that marked the launch of the ARABAL 2012.

The 16th ARABAL event, hosted by Qatar and held in the Grand Hyatt, Doha, has attracted over 600 participants.

According to Mr Al Naqi, the economy of Qatar has moved away from dependence upon the energy sector and has become much more diversified. Industry, he said, was now a key component and aluminium has a big role to play.

This year's conference, which officially kicks off today, will include several topics, panel discussions and workshops focusing on the aluminum sector at a local and global level.

Among the prominent speakers was Martin Abbot, CEO of the London Metal Exchange (LME) who, outside of the main event, presented a special workshop on the workings of the LME.

Abbot discussed the LME's sale to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which should be finalised, he said, by the end of 2012.

One key reason behind the sale is the LME's intention to get to grips with the Chinese market. He said that the LME conducts a lot of business in China, but needs help dealing with the workings of the Chinese in terms of regulations. The Hong Kong deal, therefore, gives the LME a strong strategic advantage.

Once the deal is finalised, the LME will remain in London and, on the face of it, won't change in terms of the way it is run. "We're hoping you'll hardly notice it," said Abbot, adding that critical elements of the LME would be protected under its new ownership.

The LME, said Abbot, remains focused on aluminium, which is '40% of everything we do'.