Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) has received government approval for its Line 6 expansion project, which will cost $3.5 billion and on completion make it the world’s largest single site smelter.
The project is expected to boost the company’s annual output by 514,000 tonnes to 1.45 million tonnes a year, stated Shaikh Daij bin Salman bin Daij Al Khalifa, the chairman of board of directors at Alba.
The board had studied various options from the Line 6 bankable feasibility study (BFS) before finally opting for the largest expansion option of 514,000 tonnes, which will significantly improve Alba’s overall cost position, he stated.
By selecting the larger production capacity, the capex (capital expenditure) associated with the Line 6 expansion will be approximately $3.5 billion versus the prior estimate of $2.5 billion. Included in this capex is the construction of a fifth power station with a capacity of 1,350 MW, he added. Alba said the Line 6 potline will utilise Dubai Aluminium’s (Dubal) DX+ technology, which will bring state-of-the-art technology to optimise cost performance and reduce energy consumption. The construction is expected to start in 2016 and production to begin in 2019.
Welcoming the move, CEO Tim Murray said: “We are very excited to get the go-ahead for the Line 6 expansion project and look forward to the many opportunities it will present for both Alba and Bahrain.”
The project is the culmination of the 40 years of history that Bahrain has in the aluminium industry as it will allow the company to optimise both its cost structure and marketing strategy, he stated.
According to him, the Line 6 expansion will be an important milestone for Alba and will sustain the aluminium industry in Bahrain for many generations to come.
The proposed opening date for Line 6 is dependent on final approval for a gas pricing structure being received from the Bahraini government.
In another development, JP Morgan, Gulf International Bank (GIB) and National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) have been appointed the company’s financial advisers for the project.