The $5.8bn Qatar Aluminium (Qatalum) smelter has been officially inaugurated in a ceremony attended by Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani at Mesaieed in Qatar.

The 585,000 tonnes-a-year (t/y) smelter is a 50/50 joint venture between Norway’s Hydro Aluminium and Qatar Petroleum (QP) and the complex also houses the world’s largest casthouse with a capacity of 625,000-t/y of extrusion ingots, foundry alloys and standard ingots.

The Qatalum complex is an attempt by Qatar to diversify its industrial base and utilise the Gulf state’s abundant gas supply. QP is providing 200 million cubic feet per day of natural gas to the facility’s 950 megawatt power plant.