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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Middle East & Asia: December 12th 2005


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:: Alcan Gives Green Light to USD1.7 Billion Aluminum Smelter in Sohar, Oman

Alcan is taking a 20 percent stake in the 350kt per year smelter, which is expected to begin production in the third quarter of 2008. The smelter will be in the lowest quartile of the industry cash cost curve and add approximately two percent to Alcan's global smelting base.

"Today marks an important achievement for Alcan, its partners, and the Middle East Gulf region as we work together in creating sustainable economic, social, and environmental opportunities which will benefit all stakeholders, in particular the people of Oman," said Cynthia Carroll, President and Chief Executive Officer, Alcan Primary Metal Group. "This state-of-the-art smelter will demonstrate Alcan's technology and cost leadership, operational know-how and management expertise and will, over the smelter's life, promote the strong technical and economic development of the region," she added.

In June 2004, Alcan, OOC and ADWEA announced their commitment to the Sohar Aluminium Company L.L.C., which will own and operate the smelter. The smelter will be based near the existing Sohar Industrial Area, which will provide a major economic boost to the Al Battinah Region of Oman. With the construction of a new Sohar Aluminium-owned 1000MW power plant, the smelter will have long-term access to a dedicated power supply on competitive terms and in a quantity sufficient to meet its energy requirements.

The smelter's initial scope will be based on a single AP35 potline, but with provisions for adding a second pot line - of which Alcan has an option to acquire up to 60 percent. The use of proven AP35 technology represents the first time that it is being used in a newly constructed smelter. To date, AP35 technology has been used in the upgrade of three existing smelters around the world. "Under a technology transfer agreement, Alcan will provide Sohar Aluminium with a license and related technical services necessary to implement Alcan's AP35 technology. This is the most advanced, efficient and environmentally friendly technology available," said Marco Palmieri, President, Alcan Primary Metal Group, Asia Pacific.

Attending the announcement in Muscat were H.H. Sheikh Diab Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of ADWEA, H.E. Maqbool Ali Sultan, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of OOC, Tony Kinsman the CEO of Sohar Aluminium and Ms. Carroll.

"Alcan is proud to develop and expand the scope of its aluminum production to this growing and dynamic region of the world," added Ms. Carroll. "As demonstrated through today's official signing, Alcan has been very fortunate to have partners of such high calibre and we look forward to working with the OOC and ADWEA in realizing this unique opportunity for all stakeholders."




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