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An EGA production complex: the company has advanced to the top tier of global producers

An EGA production complex: the company has advanced to the top tier of global producers



EGA, a great model of diversification

A leading global producer, the company excels as a technological innovator, a green operation, a developer of Emirati skills and a great contributor to the economy

March 2016

The primary aluminium industry was one of the first sectors of economic diversification in the UAE away from dependence on oil and gas, which began in the mid-1970s. The industry has grown in parallel with, and contributed to, the growth of the UAE over the last 45 years or so.

Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) is the UAE’s sole primary aluminium producer and the country’s industrial flagship. Owned equally by Mubadala Development Company of Abu Dhabi and Investment Corporation of Dubai, EGA is the region’s largest primary aluminium producer and among the five largest in the world. With a hot metal production capacity of 2.4 million tonnes per year, EGA accounted for approximately 4.3 per cent of global production capacity in 2015, placing the UAE in the position of the fourth largest aluminium producing country. Value-added products, a niche focus at EGA, represented more than 76 per cent of finished product volume in 2015.

The business comprises two operating smelter assets – Dubai Aluminium (Dubal also known as EGA Jebel Ali Operations) in Dubai and Emirates Aluminium (Emal also known as EGA Al Taweelah Operations) in Abu Dhabi. EGA also owns Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC), a strategic bauxite mine and alumina refinery development project in West Africa; and intends developing an alumina refinery in the UAE. In addition, EGA has plans for significant local growth and international expansion.

A proudly UAE-owned and operated business, EGA is committed to creating an enduring legacy for the UAE. The business whole-heartedly supports the goals of government, evidenced by initiatives that contribute to the country achieving its strategic vision UAE 2021 – such as continual innovation, environmental protection and Emiratisation. Moreover, EGA is renowned for maximising the health and safety of people and the surrounding community, reducing the environmental impact of its operations and investing in social and economic development.

 

DRIVING INNOVATION

Fully supporting the innovation strategy of the UAE’s leadership, EGA has been involved in technology development for more than 25 years, using primarily in-house resources. The proprietary smelting technologies developed by EGA have made the company a respected provider of advanced technologies in the global industry.

Emirates Global Aluminium, comprising the operating assets of Dubal and Emal, is a major contributor to the UAE’s economy

Emirates Global Aluminium, comprising the operating assets of Dubal and Emal, is a major contributor to the UAE’s economy

For example, EGA has gained widespread recognition for its proprietary DX and DX+ reduction technologies, which rank among the most efficient in their class. In addition to offering the lowest investment cost per installed tonne of capacity available in the market, DX+ Smelting Technology offers several operating benefits in terms of current efficiency, energy consumption and environmental performance; as well as the added advantage of higher productivity per reduction cell (or pot). DX+ Technology has been implemented on industrial scale at Emal Phase II and has been selected by Aluminium Bahrain BSC for its Line 6 Expansion Project.

Efforts to develop lower Capex and even lower energy, high amperage reduction cells have led to DX+ Ultra Smelting Technology, which – by introducing various initiatives – will achieve substantially reduced specific energy consumption than earlier generation cells. Enhancements to overall cell design translate into lower Capex per installed tonne of capacity and higher production per building surface area. DX+ Ultra cells are designed to operate at above 440 kA, with specific energy consumption of less than 12.5 kW/kg Al. One of five DX+ Ultra Smelting Technology demonstration cells commissioned in 2014 has a heat recovery system in place and has, since start-up in May 2014, achieved a heat recovery of around 200 kW.

Moving forward, EGA is already working on a new smelting technology concept that will compete extremely well against other technologies of this class.  DZ Smelting Technology is expected to operate at amperages of above 600 kA and energy consumption levels of less than 12 kWh/kg Al. A pre-feasibility study to install DZ Technology in an EGA Demonstration Section is in process.

Employee involvement in the innovation process is a key enabler of EGA’s sustained competitiveness in a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive environment.

“To ensure market competitiveness, it is mandatory for us to involve our employees at every level of the organisation in the contribution of ideas, which help us to work better and safer,” said Abdulla Kalban, EGA managing director and CEO. “This philosophy is the inspiration behind the EGA Suggestion Scheme which encourages employee involvement and fosters a culture of creativity and innovation.”

The EGA Suggestion Scheme has demonstrated that, by encouraging employees to share their ideas, significant improvements can be achieved in areas such as productivity, Environment, Health and Safety (EHS), quality and process. An integral part of the company’s continual improvement process, the Suggestion Scheme has been operating successfully since 1981. Inspired ideas that have emerged through the scheme have earned the company innovation awards regionally and internationally from respected bodies such as Ideas.Arabia, Ideas.UK and Ideas.America.

Aiming to protect its inventions, EGA has begun submitting patent applications, with nine patents already filed. Since 2014, EGA has worked closely with Takamul, a UAE innovation programme, to support innovative ideas – and has already received financial support from Takamul for several of its patent applications.

Providing a platform for the UAE’s innovators of the future, EGA has developed a Centre of Excellence where it partners with local and international universities and academic institutions to develop the company’s innovation projects. Students are given a brief on the objectives and solution required for a project, with representatives from EGA overseeing their progress and guiding them on a technical level.

“The aim of the Centre of Excellence is to build a strong knowledge base in the aluminium sector in the UAE and GCC region while promoting the UAE as a leader in technology,” said Kalban.  EGA currently has agreements with four universities for the Centre of Excellence, comprising the American University of Sharjah; Rochester Institute of Technology, Dubai; Masdar Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Most agreements cover a five-year period and 17 projects are currently underway at a budget of $1.5 million.

 

ENERGY OPTIMISATION

The company has successfully introduced new proprietory smelter technologies

The company has successfully introduced new proprietory smelter technologies

Acknowledging that aluminium production is an energy-intensive business, EGA devotes significant time and resources towards energy optimisation and environmental protection – the combination supporting the UAE’s energy abatement strategies and ensuring a sustainable future for the country. Although EGA’s captive power stations make its smelter operations self-sufficient in terms of power, the combined cycle configuration of the two utilities means that approximately 36.8 per cent of the power generated at Dubal is fuel-free (34.8 per cent at Emal). This not only reduces EGA’s fossil fuel consumption, but also helps reduce the volume of greenhouse gas emissions – together lowering EGA’s carbon footprint.

EGA also strongly supports national and regional efforts to find and adopt alternative energy sources as evidenced by the construction of a solar power field at Dubal (generating enough energy to power the residential area offices during working hours); and a substantial financial contribution to the development of Phase I of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park. 

EGA strives to maintain the highest standards in environmental protection: from optimising raw material usage and effective energy-use management (as mentioned above), to stringent management of air emissions, effluent discharge and waste  – the latter involving recycling to minimise waste to landfill and disposing of hazardous materials safely. The best available technologies are installed to ensure optimum containment of any impact on the environment, leading to EGA achieving benchmark environment performances in the global aluminium industry. Moreover, as part of its CSR strategy, EGA coordinates several activities each year to raise the environmental conscience of its employees and encourage responsible use of resources to help improve the UAE’s ecological footprint.

 

SUPPORTING EMIRATISATION

A proudly Emirati company, EGA says it is committed to hiring, growing and developing local talent to deliver a legacy of excellence for the UAE. Emiratisation is a key component of EGA’s efforts to maximise its impact on the social and economic development of the country and the business currently employs 1,200 UAE nationals.

In addition, EGA runs a variety of programmes aimed at recruiting and providing career growth prospects for UAE nationals along with offering skills development opportunities. These include a National Training Programme for high school leavers, a National Graduate Training Programme for university graduates, a Scholarship programme, Open Learning for UAE nationals, work placements and summer training schemes.

Further promoting the socio-economic growth of the UAE and the region, EGA invests time, financial resources and expertise to support a broad range of community-oriented events and activities. EGA works with local government bodies, sponsors sporting events and education initiatives, and donates funds and materials as part of a broader mission to make a meaningful difference to the communities in which it operates.

 

BUILDING THE UAE ECONOMY

EGA is one of the largest organisations in the country. The business provides direct employment for 8,000 personnel in the UAE; 10,000 indirectly in other companies (ie local suppliers); and 6,000 indirectly in downstream industries.

Shipping its high-quality, high-performance products to 65 countries internationally, EGA is a significant contributor to the UAE economy through international trade. With about 91 per cent of its annual production destined for markets abroad, EGA exported approximately 2.2 million tonnes through Jebel Ali Port and Khalifa Port; and the business contributed around $5.1 billion to the nation’s GDP in 2015.

“EGA’s global trade links and strong supplier and customer relationships have provided the UAE with a platform for global relevance,” says Kalban.




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