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Experts assess situation at Sohar Aluminium plant


Sohar Aluminium plant said it was assessing how soon production could resume from the 350,000-tonnes-per-year smelter after an ‘incident’ interrupted operations this month.

“On Friday August 4, an incident occurred at the Sohar Aluminium plant which interrupted normal operations and resulted in no injuries recorded,” Chief Executive Said Al Masoudi said in a statement.

“The company has put together a team of industry experts to assess how quickly metal production can be restarted and a return to full production levels be restored as early as possible.”

The $2.4 billion Sohar Aluminium joint venture is 20 per cent owned by Alcan, the Canadian aluminium-producing unit of Australia-based Rio Tinto. Oman Oil Co and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA) each hold 40 percent.

Sohar is among at least four main aluminium producers in the Gulf Arab region.

Sohar also operates an on-site anode plant and a casthouse that uses both ingot and sow casting methods. The firm’s smelter was the first ever to implement Rio Tinto Alcan’s energy-efficient benchmark AP36 smelting technology.

GCC aluminium production constitutes 10 per cent of the total world production and is considered one of the key economic drivers for the Gulf region. About 40 per cent of the total production are utilised by the downstream aluminium industries in the Gulf and 60 per cent exported to different parts of the world.

Collectively the five aluminium primary producers in the region UAE’s EGA, Bahrain’s Alba, Sauid Arabia’s Ma’aden Aluminium, Qatar’s Qatalum and Sohar Aluminium have produced 5.23 million tonnes of primary aluminium during 2016.