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Emirates Global Aluminum (EGA) and Ma’aden
EGA does not have a rolling mill: the company produces lithographic sheets and automotive high purity aluminum for electronics and aerospace (Sundarkani, Akvan, and Jasser, 2017).
In Ma’aden, the reduction consists of two potlines with 360 cells per line (720 cells). EGA has 1,200 reduction cells arranged in three potlines and 1,573 reduction cells arranged in 7 potlines (Sundarkani, Akvan, and Jasser, 2017). The number of potlines does not always correlate with their efficiency: the latter is sometimes more dependent on their quality, size, and management. For example, computer monitoring of potlines is associated with more efficient use of labor and electricity. To understand the efficiency of potlines at EGA, Ma’aden, and Alba, one would need data on actual hot metal production and theoretical hot metal production.
The integrated solar combined cycle (ISCC) power plant of Ma’aden uses a combination of solar power and natural gas (Ma’aden, 2018).
EGA’s power plant’s main source of energy is oil and natural gas (Sundarkani, Akvan, and Jasser, 2017).
Despite the difference within the plants’ technologies, both of them allow the companies to remain competitive within the energy-producing scope.
EGA was founded much earlier than Ma’aden: 1975 and 1993, respectively. Even though it took EGA four years to start production, in the meantime, it would not be able to buy from Ma’aden as it did not exist back then (Ma’aden, 2018). However, today, EGA sources alumina from Ma’aden. In turn, EGA helped Ma’aden with building the Al Taweelah refinery by providing its human resources. Aluminium Insider (2017) reports that EGA loaned a dozen engineers to Ma’aden to provide guidance on production, maintenance, and process engineering.
Ma’aden and Aluminum Bahrain (Alba)
Both Ma’aden and Alba pay substantial attention to sustainability and supply issues (Ma’aden, 2018; Alba, no date). However, their approaches to building value chains differ: while Ma’aden builds it upstream to downstream, Alba’s value chain descends from midstream to downstream. As reported by Middle East Logistics (2019), at present, Ma’aden is seeking to vertically integrate its mining chain. Alba, on the other hand, is not involved in exploration and production: its activities include processing, transportation, and sales.
Ma’aden sources bauxite at Al-Ba’itha, in Qassim province in the north of the kingdom; Alba sources bauxite from Bahrain and aluminum from Saudi Arabia.
The average price per aluminum ton for both Alba and Ma’aden is 1800$, which is affected by common economic trends in the region (Asaad and Davis, 2019; Alba, no date). As for alumina, the average cost for the analyzed companies (Alba, Ma’aden, and MAC) does not show much variation either: it oscillates between $350 and 400 per ton.
All the discussed companies have approximately the same opportunities to get energy – due to the involvement in the same GCC conditions (Alba, no date; Sundarkani, Akvan, and Jasser, 2017; Ma’aden, 2018). For Ma’aden, EBITDA reached SR1.4bn in the third quarter of 2019, which is an 11% increase from the previous quarter. Ma’aden’s EBITDA amounted to 35%, while MAC’s EBITDA stagnated at 30% (Ma’aden, 2019).
Since the 2000s, GCC has been focusing on encouraging energy-intensive industries as it was its primary source of enrichment. As seen from Table 1, gas prices at EGA, Ma’aden, Sohar, and Qatalum do not differ much: the most recent values are set at around $0.218 per liter.
No aluminum expansion programs were identified in the GCC.
Al-Uraik, K.F., Al-Taher, A.Y., Al-Taisan, A., Shaban, S., Silva, A. and Nagem, N. (2016) ‘Reduction Operating Experience on Power Shading at Maaden’, In: Williams E. (Eds.) Light Metals 2016. Cham: Springer, pp. 583–586.
Alba, Procurement. Web.
Aluminium Insider (2017) EGA loans first of over two dozen engineers to Saudi Arabia’s Ma’aden.
Asaad, R. and Davis, D. (2019) Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden): Earnings conference call – Q3 2019.
Ma’aden (2018) Building a mining giant.
Ma’aden (2019) Saudi Arabian mining company (Ma’aden).
Middle East Logistics (2019) Saudi Arabia’s Ma’aden vertically integrates mining supply chain.
Rauf, M. and Luomi, M. (2015) The Green Economy in the Gulf. New York: Routledge.
Sundarkani, B., Akvan, S. and Jasser, L. (2017) ‘Operations strategy and strategy transformation at Emirates Global Aluminium’, in Balakrishnan, M. S., Moonesar, I. A., Awamleh, R. and Rowland-Jones, R. (Eds.) UAE public policy perspectives. Bingley: Emerald Publishing, pp. 191–207.
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