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The Al Taweelah tube digestion facility

Al Taweelah alumina refinery

The first alumina refinery in the United Arab Emirates

Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | 2013-2019

One of the largest industrial projects in the UAE

Innovative tube digestion technology

Global response team

Diversified services across multiple engagements

Challenge

The Al Taweelah alumina refinery is a key part of EGA’s strategic expansion upstream in the aluminium value chain, creating new revenue streams, and securing a competitive supply of raw materials. Operated by Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), the 2.0 Mtpa refinery located in the KIZAD industrial zone will feed EGA’s two aluminium smelters in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The Al Taweelah alumina refinery is the first alumina refinery to be built and commissioned in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the second in the Middle East. This project is of strategic importance for EGA as the UAE currently depends on imports for all its alumina needs.

EGA’s goal was to develop a flexible alumina refinery capable of processing various types of ore, guaranteeing the long-term supply of alumina to its aluminium smelters at competitive prices. In addition, the refinery is expected to meet the stringent local environment regulations and statutory requirements. The project scope covered the basic and detailed engineering of the tube digestion facility, quality surveillance during equipment fabrication in the UAE, field engineering throughout construction, and commissioning services.

The operation was brought to life through safe and efficient precommissioning, commissioning, and then ramp-up to reach stable operations. Process commissioning (1st bauxite) commenced to Digestion Unit 1 in March 2019.

Solutions

EGA's initial engagement with Hatch included annual operational reviews as the lender's advisors on the project. Following the success of this advisory mandate, our scope was expanded to provide technology, engineering, construction, and operational support for the refinery.

In 2013, Hatch (in JV with Outotec) was awarded the feasibility study work. A key reason for this contract award was our multi-cell heating technology’s ability to maximize alumina extraction from the bauxite relative to the bauxite transportation costs as well as bottom quartile energy use. EGA selected Hatch’s patented tube digestion technology for the refinery. The use of the innovative high-capacity, single-stream tube digestion technology reduces refinery complexity and improves energy efficiency.

Hatch also deployed an operational readiness planning-and-execution solution to effectively develop, execute, budget, and resource the operational readiness activities. The execution of the plan was facilitated and supported by leveraging the Hatch Operational Readiness Management System (ORMS), an intuitive, robust, and secure cloud-based application to easily track deliverables and manage progress.

Concurrently, Hatch was the EPCM contractor integrating a new power block into EGA’s Al Taweelah power plant to provide power and steam to the new refinery. By adding 220 MW of power, the expansion brought the total generation capacity of the captive power plant to 3,100 MW. It also provides power to the aluminium potlines and EGA’s other industrial activities at the Al Taweelah smelter.

In addition to these larger projects, Hatch signed a three-year master services agreement in 2015 with EGA that covered engineering and project delivery services.

Highlights

  • Built on a six-square-kilometer site, EGA’s Al Taweelah complex is one of the world’s largest single-site aluminium smelters.
  • The Al Taweelah alumina refinery has a nameplate production capacity of 2 million tonnes of alumina per year and is expected to meet 40 percent of the UAE’s alumina requirements.
  • In operations, the refinery contributes about AED 1 billion per year to the UAE economy, with 600 permanent jobs in the operations team.
  • To complete this greenfield project and achieve the desired cost and schedule goals, Hatch utilized a global work-sharing model with teams in Abu Dhabi, UAE; Johannesburg, South Africa; Gurgaon, India; and Brisbane, Australia.
  • We successfully created a partnership with EGA, diversifying our work and expertise in the development of their alumina refinery operations, aluminium smelting, and the expansion to their 3,100 MW combined cycle power plant.

“I just wanted to take a moment to express how happy and proud I am of the results you all have achieved in the past couple of months…Everyone worked as a team to get us where we are today. And we are in a good place, with the majority of equipment meeting or beating our schedule requirements.”

Deputy Project Director | ATA

Project numbers

2 million tonnes of alumina per year
220 MW expansion to their combined cycle power plant

Read more about Al Taweelah's operational readiness program  and the power and steam integration project.

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