Aluminium production in the GCC expanded 7.2 per cent in 2012 driven by the ramping up of Qatalum’s smelter in Qatar, according to the Gulf Aluminium Council (GAC).

The region’s five smelter complexes produced 3.74 million tonnes of primary aluminium in 2012, compared with 3.49 million tonnes in the year before.

The largest increases came from the region’s newest smelters in Qatar and Abu Dhabi – Qatalum and Emirates Aluminium (Emal) – which both first recorded aluminium output in 2010.

Qatalum’s output rose 34 per cent to 628,000 tonnes and Emal increased production by 6.6 per cent to 800,000 tonnes, while Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) boosted production by 4.6 per cent at 1.06 million tonnes.

The GCC has used its advantage of low-price, gas-fuelled power to become the fastest-growing region in aluminium production, with smelters being used as a base to set-up downstream industries to create jobs.  

Expansion is continuing with Saudi Arabia’s Maaden commissioning the region’s sixth smelter at Ras al-Khair with a capacity of 750,000 tonnes a year (t/y).

The region’s oldest smelter, Bahrain’s Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), increased production by 1 per cent to 890,000 tonnes, while at Oman-based Sohar Aluminium output dropped by 3.5 per cent to 360,000 tonnes.

GAC is a Dubai-based coordinating body that represents, promotes and protects the interests of the aluminium industry in the Gulf.