ARABAL 2014, the 18th International Arab Aluminium Conference, had a successful three-day run in Bahrain with the participation of chief executives of all Gulf smelters and officials from various areas of specialisation in the aluminium and allied fields.
More than 600 delegates from across the global aluminium industry were present.
A highlight of the event was a panel attended by chief executives of all GCC smelters who spoke about their respective organisations, their plans and concerns.
Among topics discussed at Arabal were the role of the London Metal Exchange and the situation in the aluminium market, the latter a presentation by Emirates Global Aluminum’s chief marketing officer Walid Al Attar.
Other topics touched on the dynamics of alumina and refined bauxite deposits and sustainability and the environment. One of the talks related to education with the exciting title of “Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember” delivered by MBA executive director Cedomir Nestorovic of the École Supérieure des Sciences Économiques et Commerciales.
Among the workshops was one on hedging aluminium risks on the LME while there were presentations on the outlook for the global aluminium industry, the importance of aluminium in the automobile sector and renewable energy in aluminium production.
Robert Fig, senior business development executive, LME, noted that hedging risks was extremely important. “You cannot manage your business risks without managing your price risks successfully,” he said. He was referring to mining companies, smelters, refineries and consumers of the metal. “It’s not good enough simply to price your physical contract. You need to be able to understand what risks you are facing whether you are a producer or consumer and accordingly manage those exposures. A lot of companies do hedge and they find the experience very useful to their progress. Companies that are not hedging are speculating,” Fig said. He added that the attitude that hedging is speculating was erroneous whereas actually the reality was the reverse.
The next Arabal gathering will take place in Saudi Arabia. In remarks to mark the closing of Arabal, Ma’aden Aluminium president Abdulaziz Al Harbi remarked: “By the beginning of next year, Ma’aden Aluminium’s goal of commencing a fully integrated supply chain from mine to metal will have become a reality, Ma’aden looks forward to celebrating this achievement with its friends and business partners as the host of Arabal next year.”
Earlier, Arabal was opened by Bahrain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa. He was deputed by the Prime Minister, HRH Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
In his remarks, Sheikh Khalid said: “Thanks to HRH’s visionary leadership, Bahrain was the leading country in the Gulf in establishing the first aluminium smelter in the region. HRH provides further and continuous support through his initiative to host this leading event in the aluminium industry.”
Sheikh Khalid also emphasised that hosting Arabal – one of the leading Middle East aluminium events which witnesses the participation of industry leaders – for the fourth time pointed to the leading position of Bahrain, a pioneer in the industry since the 1960s and home to one of the largest aluminium smelters in the world – Alba.
“The wise leadership provides immense support to the development of this industry and the enabling of Alba to compete globally and meet the growing demand on its products.” Sheikh Khalid referred to the gas allocation for Alba’s Line 6, which will add 400,000 tonnes to the company’s existing production of 913,000 tonnes and increase capacity to 1.3 million tonnes.
The Deputy Prime Minister noted that the expansion would contribute to Bahrain’s national economy and create additional job opportunities for qualified nationals.
Alba’s chairman, Sheikh Daij bin Salman AL Khalifa, said: “I congratulate the Arabal Organising Committee for the special place that this event holds today in the aluminium industry. Our special thanks goes to Mohammed Al Naki, chairman of the Arabal Organising Committee for his leadership and efforts in presenting this leading industrial event with excellent organisation, and in bringing together the leaders of world-class smelters.”
Al Naki presented the history of Arabal since its inception in 1983 in his opening address. He also stated: “This year, as Arabal comes to Bahrain for the fourth time, we take a closer look at Alba’s role in the regional and global aluminium industry. Not to forget, the massive role played by Bahrain’s aluminium downstream sector, which is one of the most organised and leading industries in the region.”
GAC Environmental Awards went to Ma’aden for the smelter category and Midal Cables for the downstream, while the GAC Health and Safety Awards went to Alba for the smelter category and Gulf Extrusions for the downstream.