The UAE’s Emirates Aluminium (Emal) is still in talks with several export credit agencies (ECAs) about a loan of up to $700m.

According to sources at several ECAs involved in the deal, talks are still ongoing despite having started in mid-2009.

The talks include the Export Import Bank of the US (US Exim), which is looking to make a direct loan to the project, and France’s Coface and Germany’s Hermes, which will provide guarantees on loans provided by banks.

A source at one of the ECAs looking to fund the project says it has yet to get internal approvals for the loan.

Emal raised $4.9bn for the smelter project at Taweelah in December 2007, but was left with a $2bn funding gap when plans to issue a bond were dropped later in 2008. The ECA deal is part of the attempts to fill the funding gap.

In early February, the project sponsors, Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Company and Dubai Aluminium (Dubal), began seeking a financial adviser for the second phase expansion of the project (MEED 09:02:10).