There are currently two world-scale aluminium rolling mill projects being planned in the GCC and after a relatively slow start, both are starting to make progress.

The $2.5bn mill being built by Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) and the US’ Alcoa at Ras al-Zour in the kingdom has seen considerable progress in the past few weeks. Most of the major equipment has been procured and the project manager on the project, the US’ Fluor, has developed a strategy that should fast-track the construction.

It is always good when a regional project such as the Maaden/Alcoa mill is being driven forward so aggressively. Everyone involved in the project is positive and it is likely that the plant will arrive both on time and on budget.

The $1.5bn rolling mill being planned by Abu Dhabi Basic Industries Corporation (Adbic) at Taweelah in Abu Dhabi is not moving at quite the same pace, but still has positive news to report.

India’s Novelis now seems to be the favourite to partner the company and while the companies declined to comment on progress, there is no doubt that the move would be highly beneficial to both parties.

Adbic would gain a world leader in rolled products in Novelis and the company’s expertise and experience would make the facility a competitive one in the market. In exchange, Novelis would be getting a share in a facility that is in an excellent strategic location and a forward thinking partner in Adbic.

When complete, both of these facilities will be welcome additions to the region’s manufacturing base.