EGA’s under-construction alumina refinery moves closer to production as commissioning of first major section completed

Calcination section of the plant first to be ready for production, an important milestone for carefully-planned commissioning of EGA’s new plant

First alumina from Al Taweelah alumina refinery expected during the first half of 2019

United Arab Emirates: Emirates Global Aluminium, the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside oil and gas, today announced the completion of commissioning of the first major section of its under-construction alumina refinery at Al Taweelah in Abu Dhabi.

Commissioning is the carefully-planned process of testing equipment and systems in a new plant before start-up. The completion of commissioning of the calcination section makes it the first of the four major sections of Al Taweelah alumina refinery to be ready for production.

The commissioning of the other sections of Al Taweelah alumina refinery is ongoing and first alumina is expected during the first half of 2019.

Al Taweelah alumina refinery contains some 9,500 instruments, 222 tanks, enough piping to stretch from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, and cabling that would reach from Abu Dhabi to Cairo. Commissioning the entire plant requires some 82,500 separate actions to be completed.

The calcination section alone contains more than 1,700 instruments and over 100 motors.

Completion of the commissioning of the calcination section was marked at a ceremony attended by Her Excellency Riita Swan, the Finnish Ambassador to the UAE and Gustav Kildén, Senior Vice President of Outotec, the global minerals and metals technology company headquartered in Finland and the main contractor on the calcination facility.

Abdulla Kalban, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of EGA, said: “Commissioning is the last stage of this massive project to develop EGA’s and the UAE’s first alumina refinery. The safe completion of commissioning of the calcination section is an important milestone. In line with our plan we are making good progress commissioning other sections of the plant on our journey to first alumina production.”

Al Taweelah alumina refinery is the first alumina refinery to be built in the UAE and only the second in the Middle East. The plant’s construction is part of EGA’s strategic drive to expand its business upstream in the aluminium value chain creating new revenue streams and securing natural resources at competitive prices.

Alumina is the feedstock for aluminium smelters. Once production is fully ramped-up, Al Taweelah alumina refinery is expected to produce some 2 million tonnes of alumina per year and meet 40 per cent of EGA’s alumina requirements, replacing some imports.

The total budgeted project cost of Al Taweelah alumina refinery is approximately $3.3 billion.

EGA is also developing a bauxite mine and associated export facilities in the Republic of Guinea in West Africa. Bauxite is the ore from which aluminium is derived and is the feedstock for alumina refineries.

Calcination is the final stage in the Bayer process, which is used to refine bauxite ore into alumina. Calcination removes chemically-bound water and temperatures in calciners can reach 1,000 degrees C.

Al Taweelah is equipped with two calciners, designed and delivered by Outotec, which each have the capacity to produce 3,500 tonnes of alumina per day. The calciners are each 84 metres long, 46 metres high, and have stacks that reach 60 metres high.