Qatar’s Qatalum is set to join Top 10 club

Qatalum stepped into 2013 with the goal of becoming one of the world’s top ten smelters, by surpassing a number of targets set out in the Qatalum Improvement Programme (QIP), which aims to improve the cash cost of aluminium production over the next five years. By end-2013, the company surpassed its improvement target by 50%.

“The increase in efficiency was done without compromising on safety as part of its ongoing mission towards zero harm,” Qatalum said.

According to Qatalum’s HSE manager Deon Earle, a total recordable injury rate (TRIR) of 0.69 per million working hours, including directly supervised contractors, was achieved in 2012 amounting to a considerably better performance than the year’s target of 0.85.

“This indicates how serious the Qatalum management is about HSE (health, safety and environment) and shows its continued commitment to safety,” he said.

In comparison, the TRIR figures achieved by Qatalum was “the best” among GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) and Hydro smelters. Total recordable injuries at Qatalum are at 12.5% of the total recordable injury rate published by the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) for 2012.

With regard to QIP, Tom Petter Johansen, chief executive officer, urged employees to build upon the 2013 results and set new industry-leading standards in operational excellence, innovation and sustainability.

He said that over the coming year, Qatalum expects to meet some 10 strategic objectives, which include meeting shareholder expectations on financial returns, further improving its costs, fulfilling its CSR (corporate social responsibility) obligations, providing opportunities for Qatari employees, and enhancing the Qatalum brand.

Qatalum’s production system was instrumental in reaching the objectives and values, which represent a solid platform for leadership at Qatalum.

QIP initiates quarterly management meetings to evaluate and commend progress. The last meeting held in February this year included the ‘Qatalum Annual Excellence Awards’ to recognise individuals and dedicated teams who made significant contributions to Qatalum’s performance with outstanding commitment to the “Qatalum Production System.”

The awards cover four categories HSE, cost improvement, quality and innovation.

Qatalum Deputy CEO Khalid Laram reiterated the company’s commitment to achieving its QIP targets over the next five years by increasing productivity, growing production volumes and achieving continued reductions in cash costs.

Compared to 2012, Qatalum reduced its fixed costs by 11%. Global customer service levels rose by 16% reflecting very good product quality and customer relationships in comparison with other producers. On time delivery (OTD) was significantly improved due to impressive efforts by the logistics team.

Qatalum also celebrated it first year as a supplier to local industries. So far, domestic consumption is marginal as the Qatari aluminium downstream industry is in its infancy. Nevertheless, Laram remains positive and proactive, saying, “We would like to encourage local customers to buy our premium products regardless of quantity. Qatalum has the capability of selling liquid metal as well if required.”