Oman’s Sohar Aluminium plant, which the new facility hopes to supply

A new aluminium fluoride plant in Abu Dhabi will meet demand from aluminium smelters in the UAE leaving a surplus for other applications and exports, it is learnt.

The $410 million facility, run by Gulf Fluor, a family-owned private firm, began production recently. Output will be 60,000 tonnes per year of aluminium fluoride and some other chemicals used in the aluminium, construction, agriculture and refrigeration sectors.

“Our target markets are aluminium smelters in the UAE, Bahrain, Oman and other places where demand is growing for the product which is brought from overseas,” said Owaida al Khyeli, chief executive of the plant, according to a Reuters report.

He estimated current demand for aluminium fluoride in the Gulf at around 70,000 tonnes annually, adding that demand is projected to reach some 106,000 tonnes per year by 2020.

The UAE’s Emirates Aluminium (Emal) and Dubai Aluminium (Dubal), now merged into Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), need a total of 45,000 tonnes of aluminium fluoride annually, all of which is imported from Tunisia and Italy, said Saeed Fadhel al Mazrouei, chief executive of EGA’s UAE operations.

“We will get a majority of our aluminium fluoride from Abu Dhabi now,” he said. Abu Dhabi, the largest and wealthiest of the seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates, is investing billions of dollars in industry, tourism and infrastructure to diversify its economy beyond oil.