Oman’s first Aluminium Recycling forum was held on February 14, at JW Marritt Hotel, Muscat, under the auspices of Dr Abdullah bin Ali al Amri, Chairman of the Environment Authority.

The forum, hosted by Sohar Aluminium and endorsed by the Environment Authority, brought together key industry stakeholders in the country in an effort to examine the latest trends, challenges and business opportunities in in aluminium recycling.

Speaking at the event, Eng Said bin Mohammed al Masoudi, CEO – Sohar Aluminium, highlighted the significance of the forum, “This forum took shape based on the idea to bring together leaders from the aluminium industry in Oman along with the Environment Authority, Waste Management representatives, recyclers, academia, and other key stakeholders to discuss the opportunities which aluminium recycling presents and ways in which these can be utilised to everyone’s benefit.” He added, “Aluminium is inherently circular. It was circular long before we started talking about ‘being circular. Globally, more than 30 million tonnes of aluminium scrap are recycled every year, ensuring its status as one of the most recycled materials on the planet. Process improvements and break through innovations are increasing the availability of scrap, making recycling easier and more viable. It is time that we in Oman make the most of this opportunity that has environmental and economic benefits.

According to the CEO, aluminium scrap recycling, can offer several environmental and economic benefits including the conservation of natural resources, energy savings, reduced greenhouse emissions, and economic opportunities.

He shared that the production of recycled aluminium uses 95% less energy than producing aluminium from raw materials, and generates 97% less greenhouse emissions.

Additionally, he highlighted some of main economic opportunities that can be created from the industry. ”Recycling aluminium scrap creates economic opportunities. The recycling industry generates jobs in collection, sorting, processing, and manufacturing, and contributing to local economies. Additionally, it can also benefit businesses by reducing production costs and reliance on raw materials,” he stated The Director of the Environment Department in North Al Batinah Governorate, Nizar bin Salem al Araimi, emphasized the potential economic benefits of recycling in his keynote address. “Adopting a circular economy directly contributes to creating new job opportunities in various recycling sectors and enabling the private sector,” he said.

“Transitioning to a circular economy is a top priority both nationally and internationally, aiming to reduce waste, energy consumption, and raw material usage. Oman's Vision 2040 focuses on activating this type of economy in the near future to preserve resource value, maximize added value to the national economy, create job opportunities, address health and environmental issues, reduce pollution, and promote effective utilization of natural resources in support of the national economy.” According to Marlen Bertram, Director of Scenarios and Forecast at the International Aluminium Institute, one-third of global aluminium production is the result recycling aluminium scraps.

In her keynote address, she shared that the Middle East has experienced notable growth in primary aluminium production over the last ten years, however scrap recycling is still at it infancy. This can be due to the export of scrap materials, as well as the composition of scrap aluminium in the region, which is mostly post-consumer scrap that has reached the end of its life cycle and is often mixed with other alloy elements. Consequently, investment is required in better sorting technologies, she noted.

Similarly, Karima Saud al Raisi, acting Senior Manager of Material Recovery at Oman Environment Services Holding (be’ah), shared that the restriction of aluminium export is one of the key enablers of enhancing the local aluminium recycling industry.

During her presentation, she explained that the ban of exporting scrap aluminium is necessary to achieve enough feedstock at local facilities. This in turn would reduce reliance on the import of scrap aluminium.

She added that other enablers of the industry will include the creation of a digitized online platform for the buying, selling and transporting of aluminium scrap and digital monitoring.

According to the International Aluminium Institute, the GCC currently produces 11 tons of green house emissions for every ton of aluminium production. The adoption of aluminium recycling can drop this figure to 0.6 tons of CO2e, representing a 95 per cent reduction.

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