Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) is angling at becoming the owner of the largest single-site aluminium smelting operation on Earth according to its CEO Tim Murray.
Murray made the comments in the course of a brief interview with a domestic media outlet earlier this week. He continued by noting that ongoing improvements to the facility, including the US$3-billion Line 6 Expansion Project, will culminate in a nameplate aluminium smelting capacity of 1.5 million metric tons per annum, which will account for fully one quarter of the Gulf region’s total aluminium output. In turn, once EGA’s new capacity comes online, the GCC’s total yearly output will stand at 6 million metric tons per year, equivalent to around a tenth of global aluminium production.
“The world is consuming around 60 million mt. China alone consumes 35 million mt. If you look at the production footprint, the GCC is the next biggest market, with 6 million mt out of 25 million mt consumed outside of China. A lot of it is being consumed in the GCC and a lot of it is being exported.”
Murray continued by pointing out that Bahrain is in a prime location for taking advantage of the boom in demand from Saudi Arabia, as its proximity makes significant transportation time and costs unnecessary.
“We are 12 percent of the GDP of the country and growing, so it’s a critical part of the economy,” Murray explained.
Contending that a growing aluminium sector provided Bahrain with “a steady manufacturing-base,” Murray also noted that aluminium smelters had a responsibility to develop and implement technology that promotes energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.
“We should be more encouraged to put in new smelters and maybe close down some of the older inefficient smelters,” he concluded.
Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C., or simply Alba, is one of the largest industrial companies in the Middle East and is one of the top 10 largest aluminium producers in the world. Originally incorporated in 1968, the company is based in Bahrain and 84% of its total workforce are Bahraini nationals. It began operations in 1971 with a 120,000 metric ton annual capacity. Modernization bumped the output up to 450,000 metric tons in 1992. In the spring of 2005, Alba opened Line 5, raising output by 860,000 metric tons per year. In 2016 Alba’s smelter produced 971,420 metric tons of primary aluminium.