Dubal sees project delay

Dubal sees project delay

State-owned smelter Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) will not be able to start a $3.6 billion bauxite alumina project in the Indian state of Orissa in 2009 due to bureaucratic issues, a Dubal official said yesterday.

“Due to the bureaucratic shape in Orissa and negotiations and papers we have to go through, there will be a delay on the start-up of the project, but it is hard to say how long the delay will be,” Dubal general manager Khalid Essa Abdullah Buhumaid said.

“However, the team who is in charge of this project is working very hard to bring it up to the speed and not to cause any further delays.”

The bauxite mine and alumina refinery and smelter is a joint venture between Dubal and India’s Larsen & Toubro. The UAE firm will hold a 74 per cent stake in the project, while the Indian engineering and construction firm will hold the rest.

Phase one of the facility will have a 1.5 million tonne output capacity and cost $1.1bn to build.

Phase two, involving an aluminium smelter, will add another 1.5m tonnes per year of alumina at a cost of $2.5bn, but Buhumaid did not say when it would be finished.

Dubal aims to be among the world’s top five aluminium producers in five years. Its only competitor in the Gulf Arab region is Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) with an aluminium output capacity of 830,000 tonnes a year.

The smelter’s main source for alumina is Australia, but it is looking for more suppliers and also targeting joint ventures with low-cost alumina producers to protect itself from price fluctuations.

Information from: www.gulf-daily-news.com

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