EGA close to producing alumina in Abu Dhabi

Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) has completed commissioning of the first major section of its under-construction alumina refinery at Al Taweelah in Abu Dhabi.The calcination is the first of the four major sections of Al Taweelah alumina refinery to be ready for production. Commissioning of other sections of the 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 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 Mt/y of alumina per year and meet 40% 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 (see yesterday’s post on this.

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 1,0000C.

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