EGA completes a major section of Al Taweelah alumina refinery in construction milestone

Emirates Global Aluminium, the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside oil and gas, has completed a major section of Al Taweelah alumina refinery, in an important construction milestone for the project which will secure the raw materials the UAE’s aluminium industry needs. Construction has been completed on the calcination process facility of the alumina refinery after more than 2.4 million hours of work.

Al Taweelah alumina refinery is the first to be built in the UAE, and will refine bauxite ore into alumina. Sections of Al Taweelah alumina refinery will be completed in sequence to enable the carefully-planned pre-commissioning and commissioning of the thousands of pieces of equipment that make up the huge plant.

The calcination process facility alone contains more than 1,700 instruments, over 100 motors, and some 165 km of cabling.

First alumina from Al Taweelah alumina refinery is expected during the first half of 2019. More than 11,000 people are currently working on the project, which has a total budgeted project cost of approximately $3.3 billion. Overall construction completion of the project currently stands at 82%.

Completion of the calcination process facility was marked at a ceremony attended by Her Excellency Riita Swan, the Finnish Ambassador to the UAE, EGA’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Abdulla Kalban, and Kalle Härkki, Executive Vice President , Metals, Energy & Water of Outotec, the technology company that is the main contractor on the calcination process facility.

Construction work on the calcination process facility was completed without a single Lost Time Injury. The project as a whole recently passed 20 million hours worked without a Lost Time Injury.

Kalban said: “The first completion of a major section of Al Taweelah alumina refinery is a significant milestone in the development of this huge project, which will secure for EGA the competitive supply of the feedstock for aluminium smelters. We continue to make good progress on the project as a whole. I congratulate everyone who has contributed to this achievement.”
EGA operates aluminium smelters in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and is developing two major projects to expand its business upstream and internationally. Once full ramp up is achieved, Al Taweelah alumina refinery is expected to produce some 2 Mt/y of alumina, meeting 40% of EGA’s alumina requirements.

Some 490 people are working in the operations team, preparing to run Al Taweelah alumina refinery, including over 60 UAE Nationals. Over 400,000 hours of operational readiness work has been completed to date, including 13,600 days of training.

EGA has signed an agreement with Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée for the supply of bauxite for Al Taweelah alumina refinery from the Republic of Guinea in West Africa. EGA is also developing a bauxite mine and associated export facilities in Guinea, in one of the largest greenfield investments in the country in the last 40 years.

Calcination is the final stage in the process of refining bauxite ore into alumina, and is a roasting process to remove remaining water. The calcination process facility at Al Taweelah alumina refinery has two calciners, which are each 84 m long, 46 m high, and have stacks that reach 60 m high. Each calciner has a production capacity of 3,500 t/d.

The facility uses Outotec’s Circulating Fluid Bed technology. Outotec has installed more than 60 calciners using this technology worldwide.