EGA, Japan’s ITOCHU to explore joint industrial projects in UAE

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Officials of EGA and ITOCHU signing the agreement.

Emirates Global Aluminium, the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside oil and gas, and ITOCHU Corporation of Japan, on Friday signed an agreement to explore joint projects in the UAE which would advance the goals of the nation’s Operation 300bn industrial growth strategy.

EGA’s relationship with ITOCHU stretches back to the 1980s, with the Japanese company marketing EGA’s metal to customers in Japan and Japanese companies’ operations abroad.

The two companies have now agreed to explore expanding this cooperation to leverage both companies’ industrial capabilities in opportunities that complement EGA’s existing operations in the UAE.

Potential projects include some that would be new industrial activities in the UAE, such as the further processing of EGA’s metal to produce super-high purity aluminium for specialised applications, and the recycling of copper that is used in EGA’s production process. The two companies will also explore cooperation in Industry 4.0 projects, and the development of new aluminium alloys with third parties for niche applications.

EGA and ITOCHU will also consider working together on EGA’s already-announced projects to develop the UAE’s largest aluminium recycling facility and a plant to produce silicon metal, which is a raw material for ‘premium aluminium’.

Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Global Aluminium, said: “EGA and ITOCHU have worked together for decades, and we are pleased to now explore how we can expand this relationship to new industrial activities and opportunities here in the UAE that would add value to our businesses. To more than double the size of the UAE’s industrial sector by 2031, our nation needs to develop new industrial capabilities. Working in partnership with other global companies like ITOCHU will help EGA accelerate our contribution to Operation 300bn.”

Kenji Seto, Executive Officer and President, Metals & Minerals of ITOCHU, said: “ITOCHU and EGA have a strong partnership and we are pleased to now be exploring joint projects in the UAE with the largest ‘premium aluminium’ producer in the world. Our aim is to leverage the strengths of each company to progress these projects and create value for us both as well as for the UAE as a nation.”

Since 1975, when it was founded as Dubai Aluminium by Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Global Aluminium has been innovating aluminium to make modern life possible.

Today EGA is the world’s biggest ‘premium aluminium’ producer and the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside the oil and gas industry.

EGA is equally-owned by Mubadala Investment Company of Abu Dhabi and the Investment Corporation of Dubai. It is the largest company jointly owned by the two Emirates.

EGA is an integrated aluminium producer, with operations from bauxite mining to the production of cast primary aluminium. EGA operates aluminium smelters in Jebel Ali and Al Taweelah, an alumina refinery in Al Taweelah and a bauxite mine and associated export facilities in the Republic of Guinea.

EGA’s aluminium is the second largest made-in-the UAE export after oil and gas. In 2021, EGA sold 2.54 million tonnes of cast metal. EGA is the only UAE producer and makes the UAE the fifth largest aluminium producing nation in the world.

EGA has more than 400 customers in over 50 countries. In 2021, value-added products accounted for 84 per cent of EGA’s cast metal sales.

EGA’s aluminium is primarily used in the construction, automotive, packaging, aerospace and electronics industries.

Around 10 per cent of EGA’s aluminium production is sold in the UAE to around 26 downstream aluminium companies that make products with EGA’s aluminium. The growing broader aluminium sector in the UAE supports 60,950 jobs. EGA itself employs over 7,000 of these people including almost 1,200 UAE Nationals.

EGA has focused on technology development for over 25 years. EGA has used its own technology for every smelter expansion since the 1990s and has retrofitted all its older production lines. In 2016 EGA became the first UAE industrial company to licence its core industrial process technology internationally.

As a corporate citizen of the UAE, EGA aspires in all its operations to be measured amongst the world’s leading metals and mining companies in meeting its environmental and social responsibilities. In 2017, EGA became the first Middle East headquartered company to join the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative, a global programme to foster greater sustainability and transparency in the aluminium industry. In 2019, EGA’s Al Taweelah site became the first in the Middle East to receive certification from ASI for its sustainability practices and performance.

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