Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) has decided not to demolish two old potlines after completing a feasibility study into its $1-2bn modernisation and expansion plans, a decision that should put the construction of a new line at the lower end of that price range.

We are hoping that we get the go ahead [from the Alba board] in the first quarter of 2011

Mahmood al-Kooheji, Alba

Alba chairman, Mahmood al-Kooheji, says that building potline six and creating better efficiencies at the region’s oldest smelter will increase its capacity for 420,000 tonne-a-year (t/y).

“We have conducted research and found that we can debottleneck our operations with minimum capital expenditure that will add 100,000-t/y to Alba’s capacity. This has been approved and is going ahead.”

Al-Kooheji adds Alba’s potline six expansion plans to add around 320,000-t/y of capacity, and a feasibility study is almost ready to be presented to the board for approval.

“We are hoping that we get the go ahead [from the Alba board] in the first quarter of 2011,” he says. “If we get a positive reaction then we will press ahead immediately. We are not demolishing any potlines and most of the initial infrastructure work is complete.”

Alba was looking at a number of strategies for its expansion including demolishing old potlines to accommodate the new facilities in August (MEED 5:8:10). Alba’s modernisation and expansion is due for completion by 2014.