Abu Dhabi wants to create a downstream aluminium hub in its new industrial complex as part of the UAEs’ efforts to diversify beyond oil and gas, a senior official in charge of the strategy said.
Talks with prospective investors are under way, with automotive parts manufacturers in the United States, India, Japan and Europe interested in setting up shop in the massive Khalifia Industrial Zone (Kizad) in Abu Dhabi, said Khaled Salmeen, executive vice president, industrial zones at Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC). ADPC owns Kizad. The government hopes to woo them with zero taxes and import/export duty exemptions, ample and low-cost power supplies and molten aluminium from the nearby Emirates Aluminium (Emal) smelter, he said.
Using liquid aluminum saves downstream players, such as die-cast aluminium alloy makers, the cost of remelting ingots.
“The key element, especially for such a heavy-energy industry, is the natural gas and power and water, which are very competitive,” he said. The automotive industry has been pocket of strength for the otherwise lackluster aluminium industry since the global financial crisis.
Salmeen, who is in New York this week to promote the region to the North American aluminium industry, would not disclose the potential investors’ identities, describing them as “the usual suspects” among the major, international automotive product makers.
“We have seen interest, not only from the US but from Japan, from Europe ... we are working with a number of producers,” he said.
Spanning an area of land equivalent to about half the size of New York City, Kizad is the largest industrial area in the UAE serving industries such as steel, plastics, food and beverages, logistics, glass and paper.