Dubai: Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), one of the largest industrial companies in the UAE, announced yesterday that operations have started at its Al Taweelah alumina refinery, a project that expands the industrial giant’s business upstream in the aluminium value chain.

Once full ramp-up is achieved, Al Taweelah alumina refinery is expected to produce some two million tonnes of alumina per year, according to EGA, replacing some imports and securing EGA’s competitive supply of this raw material.

The UAE currently imports all the alumina it needs. Al Taweelah alumina refinery cost approximately $3.3 billion (Dh12.1 billion) to develop and is located in Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi.

It is the first alumina refinery in the UAE and its start-up marks the beginning of alumina refining as a new industrial activity in the country, the EGA said.

‘Transformative’ move

“The start-up of Al Taweelah alumina refinery is transformative for EGA and the first of two major milestones this year as we complete our strategic growth projects upstream in the aluminium value chain,” said Abdullah Kalban, EGA’s managing director and chief executive officer.

“Al Taweelah alumina refinery, and our bauxite mining project in Guinea where construction continues, secure our supply of raw materials at competitive prices and will strengthen EGA’s business for decades ahead. I want to thank every colleague who played a role in the safe and efficient completion of this important project.”

Construction of Al Taweelah alumina refinery took 72 million hours of work — the equivalent of one person working for more than 25,000 years. The construction workforce peaked at 11,542 people.