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Aluminium Market Dynamics in Middle East

Contributed by: Anonymous
August 12, 2021

The aluminum industry in the world has been dominated by China, but the second continent that is growing up in the ranks quickly is – Middle East. The main driving force behind Middle East is the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The six countries that form the GCC are – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) or commonly called as Gulf countries. The transition from an oil economy to an emerging super power in aluminium has been an extraordinary story in the last decade.


In 2010, primary aluminium production in GCC was 2724 thousand metric tonnes, which accounted for 6% of the global aluminium production. ME was ranked 4th in the world, after China, North America and Europe. In the last decade, GCC has focused on improving primary aluminium production in a sustainable manner with innovation. This has resulted in rapid growth across the region, in 2020, primary aluminium production in GCC was 5833 thousand metric tonnes, which accounted for 9% of the global aluminium production. ME is now ranked 2nd in the world, only after China.


After oil and natural gas, aluminium has become one of the key economic drivers in the ME region. Expansion of existing smelters and launch of new projects are driving the primary aluminium production. 76% of the aluminium produced is exported in the primary form in ME. This % is expected to increase further to 85% by 2030. Local demand in GCC countries is lower compared to other developed countries like China or Europe, existing demand is primarily in the construction sector. Lately solar energy & Electronics & Telecommunication are also becoming key sectors in the growth of aluminium.


The primary aluminium industry in the GCC region is mostly driven by 5 key players – Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), Ma'aden Aluminium (KSA), Qatar Aluminium (Qatalum) and Sohar Aluminium (Oman). These 5 companies have focused on cost, efficiency, operational safety and environmental sustainability, by investing in advanced smelting and processing technologies. Recently, GCC has been one of the leading countries to promote Green aluminium and focusing a lot on reducing the energy consumption and carbon footprint of the industry.


EGA in UAE is the top primary aluminium producer in GCC and it is also among the top five aluminium producers in the world. Emirates Global Aluminium is owned equally by Mubadala Investment Company of Abu Dhabi and Investment Corporation of Dubai (Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) and Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) combined to form EGA in 2013) and they are primarily into bauxite mining/alumina refinery and primary aluminium production. EGA has current production capacity of ~3million metric tonnes of primary aluminium. A strong ramp up of EGA's alumina refinery and bauxite mine in Guinea, West Africa, cost controls and lower global prices for raw materials helped them to improve their business even during the pandemic in 2020.


the world's largest aluminium smelter ex-China, is known for its technological strength and innovative policies. Alba enforces strict environmental guidelines, maintains a high track record for safety, and is widely regarded as one of the top performers on a global scale. In 2019, the company set an all-time production record in its history with 1,365,005 metric tonnes.


Ma'aden Aluminium (MA) is a joint venture between Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden) and Alcoa that started operations in 2014. It is engaged in building a world-class and state-of-the-art aluminium industry at Ras Al Khair. It is stated to be the largest and most efficient vertically integrated aluminium complex in the world. It will use Saudi Arabia's bauxite resources to profitably produce aluminium for domestic and international markets as well as to facilitate the development of domestic downstream industries in the Kingdom


Qatalum is a JV between Qatar Petroleum and Hydro Aluminium of Norway and produces about 640,000 tons of high-quality primary aluminium products per annum. Qatalum's complex facilities include a carbon plant, port and storage facilities, as well as a captive power plant.


Sohar Aluminium was formed in September 2004 to undertake a landmark Greenfield aluminium smelter project in the Sultanate of Oman and is jointly owned by Oman Oil Company, Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC - TAQA and Rio Tinto Alcan. By implementing decades of industry insight in its design, specification and construction Sohar Aluminium has been created to ensure efficiency, environmental protection and the utmost safety of its workforce. The smelter has an annual production capacity of 375,000 tonnes of high quality Aluminium.