His Majesty inaugurat’s the Alba Line 6 projects

His Majesty inaugurat’s the Alba Line 6 projects

Bahrain King opens Alba’s Line 6 project

December 2019

Aluminium Bahrain’s (Alba) brownfield Line 6 Expansion Project was inaugurated, last month, by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, making Bahrain the home of the world’s largest aluminium smelter outside China.

The elaborate opening ceremony was attended by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister and other dignitaries.

His Majesty underlined the importance of the milestone, which will enhance Bahrain’s global competitiveness in this important sector, support the national economic development, spur growth and create jobs for local people.

He underlined Alba’s vital role, outstanding achievements since the launch of its operations in the early 1970s as the first pilot project in the region in supporting the national economy.

In his speech, Alba chairman Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa said the project will lead to tangible shift in the country with the company now contributing 15 per cent of the kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP).  “From 12 per cent, Alba will now contribute 15 per cent to the country’s GDP. This is a powering and remarkable industrial achievement for the country,” Shaikh Daij said.

“Line 6 Expansion Project makes Alba the largest smelter in the world ex-China – a source of pride to the Kingdom of Bahrain – that will contribute to its transformation. Reduction Line 6 – one of the longest reduction lines in the world that comprises 424 reduction cells built over an area of 1,400 metres - will add 540,000 metric tonnes per annum to the company’s total production capacity bringing it to more than 1.5 million metric tonnes, from being a 120,000 mtpa aluminium smelter when it was commissioned back in 1971.”

One of the major accomplishments of the project, he said, was that the smelter has been able to achieve substantial savings of 16 per cent of the total budget.

“One of the largest brownfield projects in the Region, Alba’s Line 6 Expansion Project is a remarkable success in so many ways to include an achieved savings of more than $370 million in the execution of Reduction Line 6 – corresponding to 16 per cent savings of its allotted budget. Some of these savings were utilised to upgrade Alba Port for importing and handling more raw materials, as well as to finance other projects related to Line 6 Expansion Project,” added Shaikh Daij.

Reduction Line 6 was commissioned on December 13, 2018 with the delivery of the First Hot Metal, ahead of its scheduled date on January 1, 2019. This was the fastest construction ever-delivered in the aluminium industry, he said.

In addition, Line 6 Expansion Project has set benchmarks in sustainable aluminium production with both Reduction Line 6 and PS 5. Implementation of the proprietary Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) DX+ Ultra Technology in Reduction Line 6 enables Alba to increase its output with no increase in energy consumption, while adopting GE’s 9HA Gas Turbine technology in PS 5 has made it the most efficient Combined-Cycle power plant in the Gulf region

Reduction Line 6 was commissioned on 13 December 2018 with the delivery of the First Hot Metal, ahead of its scheduled date on January  1, 2019. This was the fastest construction ever-delivered in the aluminium industry.

The Line 6 Expansion Project also echoed Alba’s strong Safety culture by recording more than (60,893,000) working-hours without Lost Time Injury as at 21 November 2019 – a notable feat in the aluminium smelting industry.

Line 6 Expansion Project will also be transformational for Bahrain as it will significantly boost employment opportunities for Bahrainis at both Alba and the local downstream market, Shaikh Daij said. According to him, about 500 graduates have been employed by the smelter this year.

Starting-out as a 120,000 metric tonne per annum (mtpa) smelter in 1971, Alba’s production for 2018 stood at plus-1 million metric tonnes. The project will boost the smelter’s annual production by 540,000 metric tonnes this year, bringing its total production capacity to 1.5 million metric tonnes per year.

According to Shaikh Daij with the ramp-up of production, approximately 50 per cent of capacity which was added this year will be sold to the downstream aluminium sector in the kingdom, while the rest will be exported, predominantly to the US, Europe and Asia.

“We are willing to offer the half of 540,000 metric tonnes to the local downstream industry provided they are willing to use it,” he said at the press conference held after the opening ceremony.

According to him, currently 60 per cent of the total output is exported while 40 per cent is sold locally. “A lot of local industrial units are also expanding, we also supply to them,” he said.

The biggest export market will continue to be the US, which is growing very fast, he said. “Demand is mostly coming from the US. We plan to export about 120,000 metric tonnes to the US market,” Shaikh Daij said.

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