Dubai: India’s Archean group of companies has formed a joint venture with Bahrain’s EBH Holdings to establish Pearl Industrial Chemicals company (PIC), a $100 million firm for manufacturing aluminium fluoride.
PIC will be located at the South Alba Industrial Estate and will start production in two years. The environment-friendly plant is set to hire about 150 technical and non-technical personnel, around 100 of whom will be Bahraini nationals, according to PIC chief executive officer C.George John.
Once fully operational, the plant is expected to produce 60,000 metric tonnes of aluminium fluoride annually, which is a critical chemical ingredient in the aluminium-smelting process, said Chennai-based Archean group executive director C.G. Sethuram.
“This chemical is currently being imported by Alba and other smelters in the region like Sohar Aluminium, Oman. Of the 30,000 tonnes to be produced by the Bahrain plant in the first phase, 18,000 tonnes will be bought by Alba,” he said.
The Gulf Co-ordination Council countries’ aluminium fluoride requirement is 140,000 tonnes annually. The Archean group has multinational operations in the field of salt, mining, shipping, construction materials and industrial chemicals, covering three continents.
One of the key raw materials, sulphur, is locally available and the company has been assured of its uninterrupted supply while other raw materials will be imported.
Apart from aluminium fluoride, the plant will produce co-products like gypsum, which will be supplied to cement units in GCC countries. PIC will help smelters like Alba to replace imports totally in the coming years.