Ma’aden Alcoa aluminium joint venture pours first concrete for Middle East’s first alumina refinery at Ras al Khair: conservation of resources key design factor
Riyadh and New York: The Ma’aden Alcoa aluminium joint venture today announced that it has poured the first concrete in the construction of the region’s first alumina refinery at the fully integrated aluminium complex at Ras Al Khair. Once complete, the refinery will initially produce 1.8 million metric tonnes of smelter-grade alumina per year. In another first within the Kingdom, the refinery will utilize a technologically advanced, engineered natural system to treat, recycle and conserve significant volumes of water.
Speaking at the ceremony marking the pouring of first concrete, Engineer Abdullah Busfar, chairman of the board of directors of Ma’aden Aluminium Company, said that the refinery was highly symbolic of the Kingdom’s emerging strength as a competitor in the regional and global aluminium industry.
“We have everything we need to develop a fully integrated aluminum industry within Saudi Arabia,” Busfar said. “In Ma’aden itself we have the experience and local knowledge required to develop the bauxite reserves and the other natural resources needed for feedstocks. We have the support and leadership of the Government. And we have a partnership with Alcoa that is accelerating the development of the skills and technology required to build out this complex and the downstream opportunities it will create.”
Ken Wisnoski, Alcoa Vice President and President of Alcoa’s Primary Products Growth group, added that the joint venture’s commitment to world-class design and low operating costs was apparent throughout the complex.
“The refinery, as with the smelter and the rolling mill, will be based on best-in-class technologies and operating practices. Conserving resources is crucial to maintenance of low operating costs and, as with the other facilities within this complex, this refinery has numerous advantages designed to reduce its demand on energy and other natural resources, such as water. We’re pouring concrete today as the foundation for a long-term, highly competitive, low-cost and sustainable operation.” Wisnoski said.
Ma’aden President and CEO Khalid Al Mudaifer commended the project team for their ingenuity in applying measures to protect the environment. He also highlighted the project’s role in creating new careers for Saudi nationals and developing a local supplier program to benefit communities near the future operations.
The complex’s smelter and rolling mill are scheduled to begin production in 2013. The mine and refinery will follow in 2014.
About the Ma’aden Alcoa aluminium joint venture
In its initial phases, the joint venture will develop a fully integrated industrial complex which will become the world's preeminent and lowest-cost supplier of primary aluminum, alumina and aluminum products, with access to the growing markets of the Middle East and beyond. The complex comprises:
- A bauxite mine with an initial capacity of 4,000,000 metric tons per year
- An alumina refinery with an initial capacity of 1,800,000 metric tons per year
- An aluminum smelter with an initial capacity of 740,000 metric tons per year
- A rolling mill, with initial capacity of 380,000 metric tons per year. The mill will be the first in the Middle East and will be one of the most technically advanced mills in the world.
First commercial production from smelter and mill is scheduled for 2013, followed by first commercial production of alumina from the mine and refinery complex, scheduled for 2014. Alcoa will supply alumina to the smelter in the interim period.
Ma'aden was established as a Saudi Arabian joint stock company in March 1997 to facilitate the development of Saudi Arabia’s non-petroleum mineral resources and to diversify the Kingdom’s economy away from the petroleum and petrochemical sectors. Ma’aden is engaged in the development, advancement and improvement of all aspects of the mineral industry, mineral products and by-products and related industries in Saudi Arabia. In July 2008 Ma’aden offered 50% of the company’s shares for subscription in a successful SR 9.25 billion IPO. Ma’aden has progressed towards realizing its vision of building a world class mineral enterprise and its mission of being a profitable, publicly owned, international mining company, while maintaining the utmost concern for human resources, health and safety, environmental and social issues.
Ma'aden is engaged in the development, advancement and improvement of all aspects of the mineral industry, mineral products and by-products and related industries in Saudi Arabia. The company is committed to the best international and local standards in environmental regulations and values its role in Corporate Social Responsibility.
Ma'aden has progressed towards realizing its vision of building a world class mineral enterprise and its mission of being a profitable, publicly owned, international mining company, while maintaining the utmost concern for human resources, health, safety, environmental and social issues.
Alcoa is the world’s leading producer of primary and fabricated aluminum, as well as the world’s largest miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina. In addition to inventing the modern-day aluminum industry, Alcoa innovation has been behind major milestones in the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation, consumer electronics and industrial markets over the past 120 years. Among the solutions Alcoa markets are flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, as well as Alcoa® wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment castings, and building systems in addition to its expertise in other light metals such as titanium and nickel-based super alloys. Sustainability is an integral part of Alcoa’s operating practices and the product design and engineering it provides to customers. Alcoa has been a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 10 consecutive years and approximately 75 percent of all of the aluminum ever produced since 1888 is still in active use today. Alcoa employs approximately 61,000 people in 31 countries across the world. More information can be found at www.alcoa.com.
For further information please contact:
Mr. Bander M. Al-Aida
Section Head, Media Relations
Section Head, Media Relations