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Largest of its kind

The Qatalum aluminium plant, now under construction in Qatar, is the largest of its kind ever built in one phase.

When on stream, the plant will be able to produce 585,000 tonnes of primary aluminium.

"It takes time initially to position the electrolytic cells as everything has to be prototype tested,” says Project Director Erik Smith, "but our speed gradually increases so that two cells can be installed every day. There are 706 cells in total, so it will take almost a year to position the cell shells."

That gives an indication of the size of the Qatalum project in Qatar.

Potrooms taking shape

The potrooms themselves are beginning to take shape; all the concrete work is more or less completed and more than 25 percent of the steel constructions have now been erected. Roughly 20 percent of the potroom cladding is now in position.

Activity will remain at this level for the next two months, before the number of people working on the site gradually starts to decline.It’s all systems go at Qatalum, with over 17,000 workers on site, and the project has entered its most hectic period.

At the gas-fired power station, two of four turbines are in place on the foundations. The power station will be completed in January 2010. The first cells at Qatalum will actually be started up using electricity from the grid before the gas-fired power station comes on stream.

The construction village is now finished and 10,000 people live there.

First metal is set for around the end of this year.


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