The aluminium industry is directly responsible for 12 per cent of Bahrain’s GDP and about 28 per cent of all exports. Much of that is due to Aluminium Bahrain (Alba). The company employs almost 2,700 workers, with about 84 per cent of jobs held by locals.  

About 45 per cent of Alba’s aluminium output is sold domestically, with the rest exported to more than 25 countries around the world.

Construction on Alba’s aluminium smelter began in 1968 and it was commissioned in 1971. The initial capacity was 120,000 tonnes a year (t/y). The smelter has undergone four expansion projects and today comprises five potlines, three cast houses and a carbon plant.

Alba currently has the capacity to produce 971,000 t/y of aluminium products. Its products include standard ingots, rolling slabs, foundry alloy ingots and extrusion billets.

A further $3.5bn expansion is now under way. The US’ Bechtel was awarded a $2.5bn contract in April 2016 to build a sixth potline. A fifth captive power plant is also under construction by the US’ GE and Turkey’s Gama Power Systems Engineering & Construction. Once completed in early 2019, the expansion will add 540,000 t/y to Alba’s capacity, making it the world’s largest single-site aluminium smelter.