Dubai Aluminium Company Limited (“DUBAL”) – the world’s seventh largest producer of high quality primary aluminium – has achieved a major production milestone, having produced its ten millionth cumulative tonne of hot metal mid-July this year.
The company, which next year celebrates its 30th anniversary, began operating with three potlines offering an initial production capacity of 135,000 metric tonnes per year at its inception in 1979. Eight years later, in 1987, the first million cumulative tonne of molten aluminium was produced. The five million milestone was reached in 2001, some 22 years after DUBAL’s inception. The total production yield has now been doubled in less than seven years.
The accelerated production growth rate reflects a series of six expansion projects, the last of which was completed in February this year, which has seen the smelter complex grow to nine potlines with a combined production capacity of approximately 950,000 tonnes per year. At the same time, a commitment to advancing technologies, has enabled DUBAL continually to produce more primary aluminium than the plant’s design capacity.
Commenting on this most recent milestone, Abdulla J M Kalban, CEO of DUBAL, said: “This outstanding achievement is in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, the UAE Minister for Finance and Industry, and Chairman of DUBAL, to make our company one of the foremost players in the global aluminium industry. It is also a credit to his guidance and leadership.”
Kalban attributes the achievement to a combination of factors, the most important being progressive and visionary management; and a motivated workforce that persistently goes the extra mile. “Last year, DUBAL produced approximately 890,000 tonnes of molten aluminium in total, representing a 12.6 per cent increase on the prior year alone,” he says. “In 2009 we are targeting 970,000 tonnes.”
He adds that the growth trend is indicative that DUBAL’s ambitious vision to become the world’s fifth largest producer of primary aluminium by 2015, by producing 2.5 million tonnes of the metal per year is both realistic and achievable. Especially as the company has already begun to invest laterally in the development of green-field smelters in the Middle East/North Africa region; as well as in the upstream aluminium industry, so as to secure DUBAL’s future alumina requirements.
“The Middle East is one of the fastest-growing aluminium industry hubs in the world,” continues Kalban. “According to expert industry analysts, the region produced 7 per cent of the 38 million tonnes of the metal produced in 2007 (up substantially from 1 per cent in 1980). Moreover, they maintain that the region has the potential to produce up to 10 million tonnes of the 60 million tonne annual consumption predicted for 2020. As a regional leader in this international market, DUBAL is determined to set the pace for progress. The production of our ten millionth tonne of hot metal confirms that we are well on track to achieve this goal.”