Arabal conference focused on aluminium sector’s role in regional growth

Arabal conference focused on aluminium sector’s role in regional growth

Arabal puts the focus on value creation

01 December 2016

Delegates from 40 countries took part in the 20th Arab International Aluminium Conference (Arabal), the Middle East’s premier aluminium industry gathering in Dubai, UAE.

Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, the event was hosted by Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) for the sixth time and was held at Madinat Jumeirah.

The conference and associated exhibition attracted more than 2,000 local, regional and international delegates, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and visitors from 40 countries enabling industry leaders to network, conduct business, discuss global challenges and identify suitable solutions.

Arabal is the only event of its kind in the region staged by all the primary aluminium producers in the Middle East comprising Aluminium Company of Egypt (Egyptalum); Aluminium Bahrain (Alba); Ma’aden Aluminium Company from Saudi Arabia; Qatalum from Qatar and Sohar Aluminium, Oman; and UAE-based EGA.

The event brought together leaders from the international aluminium industry to discuss global challenges to the industry and suitable solutions.

The conference kicked off with a keynote address delivered by Abdulla Kalban, MD and CEO of EGA, on the direction of the aluminium market in a volatile oil price environment. The audience was fascinated to learn about the impact on the region’s economy and, in particular, how the UAE has maintained a balanced budget. The region’s continued efforts to diversify the economy away from fossil fuels while simultaneously increasing efficiency and productivity was also highlighted, along with further opportunities for foreign investment.

The conference continued with top executives from the Arab aluminium smelters participating in the keynote panel discussion on market trends, as well as upstream expansion in the regional primary aluminium industry.

The panel comprised Jorge Vazquez, founder and MD, Harbor Aluminium Intelligence as the moderator, with Abdulla Kalban, MD and CEO, EGA; Tim Murray, CEO, Aluminium Bahrain; Abdulaziz Al Harbi president, Ma’aden Aluminium; Said Mohamed Al Masoudi, CEO, Sohar Aluminium; Khalid Mohamed Laram, CEO, Qatalum; and Abd Elzaher Abd Elsattar, chairman and CEO, The Aluminium Co Egypt as the panellists.

Another highlight on the first day of Arabal 2016 was the session dedicated to China’s influence in the market. Speakers Paul Adkins, MD, AZ China and Wan Ling, assistant chief representative, China Office and head of Asia, Aluminium, CRU, put the spotlight on China’s economic slowdown and how this affects the global aluminium industry in terms of the demand outlook, impacts on the rest of the world and increasing cost competitiveness.

Under the theme “Global Challenges – Seeking Solutions”, the 2016 Arabal conference sessions focused on Gulf aluminium industry perspectives; the market outlook; China’s influence on the market; sustainability; scrap and recycling; operations and technology; end-user perspectives; the future of the global aluminium industry, and more.

This year, the panel discussion explored the implications of fluctuating energy prices and corresponding policy changes; delve deeper into the downstream industry including expansions, product mix dynamics, financial elements; and upstream integration.

More than 50 players in the global aluminium sector showcased their products, services and technologies at the exhibition held alongside the conference.



Meanwhile, Qatari aluminium firm Qatalum was named as the recipient of the ‘Environmental Excellence Award’ bestowed by the Gulf Aluminium Council at the event.

According to local media, the award is in recognition of the firm’s “continual effort” to observe good environmental stewardship by using advanced technologies to lessen the environmental impact of its industrial operations.

“Arabal is a significant platform for Qatalum to highlight the company’s vision and aspirations, as a leading global smelter supported by advanced technology, and an ongoing commitment towards environment preservation,” explained Qatalum CEO Khalid Mohamed Laram. “By participating in such events, Qatalum aims to promote the industrial sector in Qatar, which comes at the forefront of the state’s efforts to diversify its economy,” he said.

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