Dubai Aluminium (“DUBAL”) is an operating subsidiary of Emirates Global Aluminium (“EGA”). Having produced its first hot metal in 1979, DUBAL celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2014.
DUBAL's roots stem back to 5 May 1975, when the late H H Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum (then Ruler of Dubai) signed a decree establishing DUBAL as a joint-venture company. The smelter complex would be built on a 475-hectare site near Jebel Ali village, 35 km south-west of Dubai alongside the then two-lane highway to Abu Dhabi.
Almost five months later, on 15 October 1975, H H Sheikh Rashid laid DUBAL's foundation stone. Construction of the smelter complex began in May 1976. Working under very tough physical conditions in the desert and salt flats of Jebel Ali, it took four years to complete the arduous task. At the time, it was the biggest basic industry development project in the world. The emerging DUBAL development was one of three major industrial and construction projects taking place simultaneously in the Jebel Ali area, the other two being the Jebel Ali Port - then the largest man-made harbour in the world, where DUBAL would have its own dedicated port facilities; and the Dugas gas plant - which was constructed adjacent to DUBAL. Together, the three projects made the Jebel Ali area, as a whole, the world's biggest building site.
The official 'birth' of DUBAL took place in 1979, and was marked by four key events:
- On 26 February 1979, Queen Elizabeth II turned on the tap at the DUBAL desalination plant, in the company of H H Sheikh Rashid, thereby officially commissioning the facility.
- On 31 October 1979, the first reduction cell (no. 2 in Line 1A) was powered up (the cell was nicknamed 'Hazel', after Production Manager Dick Black's secretary Hazel Pinto).
- On 12 November 1979, the first metal was tapped from 'Hazel' and poured into 20 kg moulds in the casthouse (the metal was used to make souvenir ingots).
- On 31 December 1979, the first green (pre-baked) anode was produced by the greenmill.
Commercial production of aluminium at DUBAL began in January 1980, the entire planned production volume of 135,000 tpa having been pre-sold to two companies in North America. The plant comprised 360 reduction cells in three potlines.
Through a series of successive expansion projects in the intervening years, DUBAL has evolved into one of the world’s largest single-site primary aluminium smelters. The DUBAL complex, built on a 4.75 square kilometre site in Jebel Ali, Dubai, comprises a 1 million tpa smelter, a 2,350 MW power station, a large carbon plant, extensive casting operations (more than 1.2 million tpa), a water desalination plant, dock and other facilities. A quality-focused, customer-centred and innovation-drive organisation, DUBAL holds ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO/TS 16949, ISO/IEC 20000-1, ISO/IEC 27001, ISO 22301, ISO 29990, ISO 50001 and OHSAS 18001 certification. DUBAL produces high quality aluminium products in three main forms: foundry alloy (automotive applications); billet (construction, industrial, transportation and automotive forging); and high purity aluminium (electronics and aerospace). Busbars and anode bars are also made for the electrolytic process used to produce primary aluminium from its ore.
DUBAL has played an instrumental role in the in-house development of EGA’s proprietary reduction cell technologies, DX Technology and DX+ Technology, which currently rank among the best reduction technologies available.