3-Day Conference To Debate Role of the Gulf Smelters and their Vital Role in the future of the international aluminium industry in event hosted by Sohar Aluminium

Muscat, 1st November, 2011:  The first annual ARABAL conference to be held in Oman is attracting delegates from around the world as the international spotlight on the global aluminium industry is set to shine on the Sultanate of Oman.

During a three day conference between 14th and 16th November global industry leaders will gather at ARABAL that is being hosted by Sohar Aluminium, the world’s most modern smelter, for the first time demonstrating the growing importance of Oman’s growing aluminium manufacturing business.

As the conference gets closer, organisers are reporting that delegates from all over the world are signing up to attend this high profile event.  Sohar Aluminium says that delegates are already confirmed from over 30 countries.  

Meanwhile a special new offer has been announced to attract Oman SMEs and NGOs to attend thanks to a special offer delegate price of only US $500 that has been negotiated between conference organisers by the Oman Chamber of Commerce. The objective behind the move is to help provide a platform for Omani SMEs to meet large international aluminium producers and suppliers and explore prospective future mutually beneficial business partnerships.

The prestigious event will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Muscat with approximately 400 delegates from the region and internationally listening to presentations and taking part in debates that debate issues that impact both on the Gulf and the industry around the world.

Aluminium is a light, strong, flexible, non-corrosive and infinitely recyclable metal that is now becoming one of the most important products in the world for modern manufacturing industry, especially as compared to most other metals, less energy is required to manufacture and transport products made from aluminium.

The theme of this year’s ARABAL conference is “Global Challenges for sustainable growth in the aluminium industry and the role of the Gulf smelters” – issues affecting regional and global manufacturers, downstream industries and suppliers.

As production in the region is estimated to reach approximately 25 per cent in the near future – the Gulf is now seen as the fastest growing and most important production region in the world for this metal that is now used in the widest range of applications – with its use in the automobile industry for example leading to the production of stronger but lighter vehicles that help to reduce fuel consumption and protect the environment.

Among the industry leaders who will speak at the conference is the Chief Executive of the largest aluminium business in the world - Jacynthe Côté from Rio Tinto Alcan, who also has a very close existing relationship with Oman through its 20 per cent shareholding in Sohar Aluminium

ARABAL, which was first held in 1983, is now recognised as one of the world’s leading aluminium events, attracting delegates and industry leaders from around the world.

Commenting on the excellent response that the conference has already received internationally Dr Hilal bin Abdullah Al Hinai, Corporate Affairs General Manager at Sohar Aluminium, said: “We are delighted at the hugely positive response we have had to holding ARABAL in Oman for the very first time. The number of delegates who have already confirmed their presence is very encouraging but we still have space for more people to sign up and attend what is set to be a milestone event for the industry.

“This is the first year that the conference has become an annual event in the aluminium calendar that shows the growth and importance of the industry here in the Gulf region.  As the host for this year Sohar Aluminium is very proud to be able to show how far we have developed since production started at our smelter just two years ago and the role we are playing in this vital global industry.

“The fact that we have delegates now confirmed from as many as 30 different countries is a testament to the interest the global business has in our region and we are looking forward to welcoming them to the Sultanate and allowing them to enjoy traditional Omani hospitality for the very first time.”

Speakers from the aluminium industry’s global giants will be joined by speakers from the Government of Oman including H.E. Shaikh Saad bin Mohammad Al Saadi, Minister of Commerce and Industry and H.E. Nasser bin Khamis al Jashmi, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Oil and Gas. Other speakers will include senior executives from the region’s leading aluminium producers which include conference host Sohar Aluminium; Qatalum from Qatar; DUBAL and Emal from the UAE; Alba from Bahrain; Ma’aden from Saudi Arabia and Eqyptalum from Egypt.

ARABAL 2011 has also already attracted a broad spectrum of sponsors including many international and regional leaders in the aluminium and associated industry sectors. They include ABB, Alstom, FATA EPC, Oman Aluminium Processing Industries LLC, Oman Aluminium Rolling Company, Rio Tinto Alcan, Five Solios Group, R & D Carbon Switzerland, Petroleium Coke Industries Company , Morten Simonsen, Rotex, SGL Group, Clauser SAS, Fusiref Wahl Refractory Solution, Steinweg and Kuwait Industry Company in addition to the Gulf smelters.

Delegates visiting the conference will also be given opportunities to visit the Sohar Aluminium smelter – travelling from Muscat to Sohar via a high speed ferry – and also to enjoy some of Oman’s rich culture and heritage during the four day event.