Alba sets its sights on new production record

Record attempt is on track, with 25% of new line commissioned in 25 days

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By  Sean Cronin Published  April 9, 2005

Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) is aiming to set a world record by commissioning a new production line in just 100 days, as part of a US $1.7 billion expansion project. The record attempt is part of the massive industrial construction project, which is being project managed by US construction giant Bechtel. It is already well on course after 25% of the new ‘Reduction Line’ was commissioned in just 25 days. The company, which is majority-owned by the government of Bahrain, launched the 100 Day Safe Startup Challenge last month to mark the climax of Alba’s Line 5 Expansion Project. It will expand annual production at the plant by 307 000 tons to more than 800 000 tons per year, which will make it the largest smelter in the world outside Eastern Europe. The expansion is one of the largest industrial engineering projects in the region, with more than 4000 construction jobs created since work began two years ago. The commissioning challenge will require an average of four pots to be energized a day, to ensure that all the 336 pots spread over the 1.2 km reduction line — currently the longest in the world — are fully operational within the 100 day timeframe. The pots form the key part of the electro-chemical process used in the manufacture of aluminium. Chief executive, Bruce Hall said: “With 25% of the 336 pots successfully commissioned in less than 25 days, I am confident that we will realize the ‘100 Day Safe Startup’ challenge within the set timeframe.” Bechtel is providing engineering, procurement, construction and management services for the high profile project, where it has also pioneered a training programme aimed at increasing the number of Bahrainis working in the construction industry by using Alba’s Line 5 expansion project. The initiative is the first of its kind in the Middle East, and involved the contractor persuading local sub-contractors to hire locally trained workers in preference to cheaper expatriates from India, Pakistan and the Philippines. Over 450 Bahraini nationals have been placed in jobs over the course of the two-year project.

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