Qatar's deputy premier and minister of Energy and Industry, HE Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah, witnessed the progress of the Qatalum aluminium plant first-hand during a visit to the site on Sunday. Not only is the construction more than 90 percent complete, about 90 percent of the employees are now in place, preparing for the start-up of the plant.
The minister was accompanied by Terje Varberg, Hydro's chairman of the board, Hydro President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg, Mr. Abdulla Salatt, chairman of the Qatalum board of directors, and other board members and general managers of industries based in Mesaieed.
Qatalum CEO Truls Gautesen and the company's deputy CEO, Hassan Al Rashid, hosted the site visit with the Qatalum management team.
The minister and guests saluted the excellent safety record of this mega-project. After completing 63 million man-hours, the lost-time injury rate is 0.4 (LTI, lost time injuries per million work hours), far better than the challenging target defined by Qatalum when the project began.
Qatalum is a 50-50 joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and Hydro, and is preparing to start production of primary aluminium by the end of 2009. As commissioning begins, Qatalum employees are beginning to take control of various operations from the contractors.
The state of preparedness of the Qatalum team can attribute much of its readiness to extensive training and astute recruitment practices readying them for the start of production.
To date, approximately 90 percent of the 1,100 target employees are in place with a strong focus on professionalism. Approximately 25 nationalities are represented at Qatalum with a strong showing of Qataris, many of whom hold senior positions in the company.
Qatalum considers 'Quality Qatarization' a top priority. By cooperating and coordinating with Qatar Petroleum and educational institutions in Qatar, Qatalum is strongly committed to national development at all levels.
Qataris will be working with the most experienced people in the aluminium industry. They will also be offered a chance to further develop through the various initiatives in place, one of which is Qatalum's sponsorship program.
The new Qatalum plant will include a number of innovations and new technological developments that will ensure the best environmental performance in the primary aluminium industry, such as low environmental impact electrolysis technology, laser guided pot tending machines in the potrooms and state of the art fume treatment plants.
Qatalum will be the largest greenfield smelter ever built in a single phase. The smelter comprises of two 1.2-kilometer-long potrooms containing 352 cells each, a casthouse that can produce 350,000 tonnes of extrusion ingots and 275,000 tonnes of foundry alloys per year. The adjacent carbon plant will prepare and supply 300,000 of baked anodes and recycle 63,000 tonnes of spent anodes per year.