Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) has hit a milestone in its Line 6 expansion project, starting an additional 106 pots to bring the total number to 212 as of 18 April – equivalent to 50% of the project's total capacity.
The news, Alba said in a statement, brings the producer one step closer to its goal of becoming the world’s largest aluminium smelter.
The group said has said it is looking to fully complete Line 6 by early Q3 this year. The project is set to boost Alba’s per-annum production by 540,000 metric tonnes, bringing Alba’s total production capacity to 1.5 million metric tonnes per year.
Alba said Shaikh Daij bin Salman bin Daij Al Khalifa, chairman of the Board of Directors, attended a ceremony to mark the capacity milestone on 30 April. Tim Murrray, Alba's chief executive officer, the Line 6 start-up team, and senior officials from US contracting giant Bechtel also attended.
Bechtel is the EPC management contractor for Line 6, and is tasked with the design and construction of the potline, as well as the provision of support industrial services, as part of its contract.
A consortium of GE and Gama is delivering EPC services for Alba’s Power Station 5 (PS5), a crucial part of the wider Line 6 expansion project.
The news comes after, what Murray described three months ago, as a “challenging year” for the group in 2018.
He said an “unprecedented” spike in alumina prices contributed to Alba’s annual profit falling by more than third compared to corresponding 2017 figures, speaking on the group’s 2018 financial results released in February.
The price hike saw Alba’s income drop markedly from $245.9m (BHD92.5m) in 2017 to $158.9m (BHD59.8m) in 2018, representing an annual decline of 35%.