Emal, a joint venture between Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) and Abu Dhabi’s state-owned investment company Mubadala, plans to double capacity to 1.4 million tonnes-a-year (t/y) after completing the first phase 700,000 t/y part of the facility, due to start operating in the second quarter of 2010.

Duncan Hedditch, chief executive officer of Emal, says that a joint venture between Canada’s SNC Lavalin and Australia’s WorleyParsons is conducting the pre-feasibility study which he expects to be completed by early 2009.

In 2007, the two firms won the engineering, procurement and construction management contract to build the first-phase of the smelter (MEED 4:5:07).

“We started the study a couple of weeks ago and we are looking at a couple of execution options,” says Hedditch.

“The [option] I am looking at is just to roll straight through into the second phase to capitalise on the work we already have going.”

He conceded there could be a delay between the two phases but says it is too early to predict the outcome of the study.

“The whole point of the feasibility study is to answer these [timing] questions.”

Hedditch says he is unconcerned about the recent fall in aluminium prices, adding that changes in the value of key commodities would not affect the timeline of the smelter project.

“These projects are 50-year projects, so we take a long-term view [on prices].”