Bahrain approves $3.5bn Alba expansion

14 June 2015

Long-awaited scheme now expected to be tendered in 2016

  • Complex will be world’s largest single-site producer when complete
  • New power plant will provide energy for scheme

The state-owned Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) has been granted government approval for plans to add a sixth potline at its smelter complex, making it the largest single-site producer of primary aluminium in the world.

The project will cost an estimated $3.5bn and will add an additional 514,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of capacity, meaning Alba will ramp up production to 1.45 million t/y.  Several options were looked at by Alba as part of a long feasibility study.

The scheme will represent the largest heavy industry project ever witnessed in Bahrain and is a clear indication that Manama understands the importance of primary aluminium production to the Bahraini economy. Alba and the downstream aluminium industries are responsible for about 10 per cent of Bahrain’s GDP.

According to Alba, work is due to commence on the scheme in 2016. The potline will be tendered on an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) basis.

“There has been talk of a sixth potline at Alba for well over five years, so it is encouraging to see it finally get government approval,” says a metals industry source based in the GCC. “Maybe [the Bahrain government] finally realised how important aluminium is to its economy.”

MEED reported in late May that six contractors were vying to bid for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for Alba’s new 1,300MW power plant, a vital part of the sixth potline scheme.  

Firms that are expected to be invited to bid for the project include:

The government announcement indicates that gas feedstock has now been secured for the power plant. The power plant is expected to be tendered within the next 12 months.  

Alba currently has four power plants, with a total capacity of 2,100MW, to provide power for the aluminium smelter.

In addition to the proposed fifth power plant, Alba is planning to increase the efficiency of its existing power plants by utilising newer technology.

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