While European and North American smelters reduce capacity in line with rising energy costs, the GCC aluminium industry is buoyant with new and upgraded smelters coming on stream in 2013.

Emal's phase ll expansion will see annual capacity rise from its existing 750kt to 1.3Mt and while the bulk of production is for export, due to an under-developed downstream industry.

According to Frost & Sullivan, European customers are increasingly sourcing metal from the GCC.

In another report, entitled Aluminium Scrap and Recycling Market in the GCC, Frost & Sullivan, claims that a key trend in the GCC is the development and upgrading of smelters coupled with the parallel development of downstream industries.

"This has led to an increase in the scope of using more aluminium scrap in re-melting activities for downstream players," claims Frost & Sullivan, adding that the secondary aluminium market in the GCC will be a key contributor to the region's recycling industry.

Aluminium scrap and recycling in the GCC is set to grow. In 2010 it was estimated at 292kt and is expected to reach 593kt by 2017.

Frost & Sullivan believes that the GCC is one of the fastest growing aluminium markets in the world and that with the development of new smelters and the upgrading of existing facilities, more secondary re-melting opportunities will arise.

"The aluminium downstream industry is yet to establish itself as a major scrap procurer in this region," says Frost & Sullivan.