Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa inaugurated the Alba Line 6 Expansion Project on Sunday at Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), the Bahrain-based aluminium smelter.

Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, also attended the inauguration.

The King said this project will enhance Bahrain’s global competitiveness in this important sector, support national economic development, spur growth and create jobs for the local people.

He underlined Alba’s vital role since the launch of its operations in the early 1970s as the first pilot project in the region in supporting the national economy, which reflected Bahrain’s drive to diversify its economy.

The King lauded the efforts of Alba Chairman, CEO and other employees, for the company’s performance. He also paid tribute to Bahrainis who run and operate the company, and urged the firm to further contribute to the development of local industries and bolster its global standing.

Alba’s Chairman of the Board of Directors Shaikh Daij bin Salman bin Daij Al Khalifa said, “The Line 6 Expansion Project which makes Alba the largest smelter in the world ex-China. A source of pride to the Kingdom of Bahrain — that will contribute to its transformation. Reduction Line 6 — one of the longest reduction lines in the world that comprises 424 reduction cells built over an area of 1,400 sq metres — will add 540,000 tonnes per annum to the company’s total production capacity bringing it to more than 1.5 million tonnes, from 120,000 mtpa when it was commissioned back in 1971.”

“One of the largest brownfield projects in the region, Alba’s Line 6 Expansion Project is a remarkable success in so many ways to include an achieved savings of more than $370 million in the execution of Reduction Line 6 – corresponding to 16 per cent savings of its allotted budget. Some of these savings were utilised to upgrade Alba Port for importing and handling more raw materials, as well as to finance other projects related to Line 6 Expansion Project. Reduction Line 6 was commissioned on December 13, 2018 with the delivery of the First Hot Metal, ahead of its scheduled date on January 1, 2019. This was the fastest construction ever-delivered in the aluminium industry,” the Chairman said.

Furthermore, Line 6 Expansion Project has set benchmarks in sustainable aluminium production with both Reduction Line 6 and PS 5. Implementation of the proprietary Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) DX+ Ultra Technology in Reduction Line 6 enables Alba to increase its output with no increase in energy consumption, while adopting GE’s 9HA Gas Turbine technology in PS 5 has made it the most efficient Combined-Cycle power plant in the Gulf region.

The Line 6 Expansion Project also echoed Alba’s strong safety culture by recording more than (60,893,000) working-hours without Lost Time Injury as on November 21, 2019 — a notable feat in the aluminium smelting industry.

With the commercial operations of Alba milestone, it will account for approximately 15 per cent of Bahrain’s gross domestic product.

(The writer is in Manama, Bahrain, at the invitation of the Bahrain Economic Development Board)