Alba mulls expansion options

05 August 2010

Bahrain smelter could demolish two potlines to accomodate newer technology

Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) is considering plans to demolish the two original two potlines at its smelter as part of its $1-$2bn modernisation and expansion plans.

“Alba is going to build the new line, but they will demolish the original two lines,” a source tells MEED. “Instead of running old lines with the old technology they are modernising the smelter and making it more efficient as well as raising the capacity.”

Alba is going to build the new line, but they will demolish the original two lines

Source close to Alba

Alba has plans to increase production at the smelter from the current level of around 870,000 tonnes-a-year (t/y) to 1.2 million-t/y.  However, the technology from the original potlines is now almost 40-years-old and newer, more efficient technology is available.   

“Alba has no comment about that for the time being,” Laurent Schmitt, chief executive of Alba says.   “We are conducting studies and looking at different options so I have nothing to say at the moment.”

The Alba modernisation and expansion is due for completion by 2014. MEED reported in May that Schmitt was not worried about fears over a lack of a gas allocation for the sixth potline.

Established in 1971, Alba is the oldest aluminium smelter in the Middle East region and is owned by the government of Bahrain who has a 78.5 per cent stake and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), which holds the remaining 21.5 per cent.  

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