Official figures showed the Dubal smelter in Dubai will produce around 1.02Mt this year while the Emal smelter can produce 750kt/y. Emal’s output is expected to nearly double to 1.3Mt when an expansion is completed in 2014.

Nearly 90% of the UAE’s aluminium production is exported to more than 50 countries, mainly Asian markets.

Dubal, which jointly owns Emal with the Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Development Company, was one of the first aluminium producers in the Middle East. Dubai’s government built that smelter more than two decades ago as part of a strategy designed to ease reliance on oil exports.

According to the Doha-based Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting (GOIC), the UAE and other GCC nations are expected to pump nearly $25bn into new aluminium projects and expansion of their existing smelters in the next 12 years.

Its figures showed the GCC countries, which control nearly 45% of the world’s oil and 25% of the global gas wealth, has invested nearly $30bn in aluminium smelters, almost a sixth of their total non-oil industrial investments of about $180bn.

The new investments include around $5.8bn in Qatar’s smelter, which was inaugurated last year with a production capacity of 585kt/y.

About $8bn will also be pumped into Emal while more expansions are on the cards in Dubai and Bahrain, where the region’s first smelters were set up.

In a study on aluminium projects in the GCC, GOIC said regional states need to push ahead with such projects to face a rapid rise in domestic demand because of massive infrastructure projects.

External demand for their products is also expected to surge as global consumption will likely pick up in the near future following a slowdown due to the 2008 global fiscal crisis.