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Monday, November 19, marks a milestone in the Qatalum aluminium plant project. HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Heir Apparent of the State of Qatar, helped us lay the foundation stone for the plant.

This important milestone marked the conclusion of the site preparation phase and the start of construction in the Mesaieed Industrial Park.

First metal is expected from the new plant in late 2009. When completed in 2010 the first-phase plant will be capable of producing 585,000 tonnes of aluminium a year.

JV with Qatar Petroleum

The Qatalum project is a joint venture with Qatar Petroleum. Our relationship goes back nearly 40 years, building a level of trust and experience that is essential in so big a project.

“This project is one of the new global growth projects for Hydro,” explains Truls Gautesen, CEO of Qatalum.

“We are here because of our relations and long history. I think that is a very important thing here. This closeness is a prerequisite you need to develop a project. We could not do the project if we were not able to join forces in this way.”

New opportunities

The plant isn’t just producing aluminium. It’s providing thousands of jobs and helping Qatar develop its natural resources and move into new areas of opportunity.

“We have a long, long relationship with Hydro, back to 1969,” says His Excellency Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiya, deputy prime minister of Qatar and chairman of Qatar Petroleum.

“So there have been a lot of opportunities to talk from time to time about how to develop our relationship, about how to create more projects – and this is the idea of Qatalum. We are focusing on how to build a modern country, a country that can go beyond oil and gas.”

Closer to the market

Adds Abdulla H. Sallatt of Qatar Petroleum: “Naturally, we look towards Hydro, with their experience, to make it the most efficient operation in the world. Hydro brings the know-how, the customers, and they are in the market. So I am being brought closer to the market.

“They know our capabilities, they know the way that we are doing business. We expect the best from both sides, to make a very successful, commercially viable joint venture.”