In addition to its petroleum, natural gas and metallic mineral riches, Saudi Arabia is also blessed with industrial minerals – materials other than fuel, metal or gemstones mined for their commercial value. They are part of a diverse range of products that we use in our daily lives from construction to ceramics and paint to plastics.
Our industrial minerals are produced by the Ma’aden Industrial Minerals Company (MIMC), established in 2009 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Ma’aden. It specializes in extracting and adding value to the Kingdom’s extensive deposits of industrial minerals which include low grade bauxite (LGB), kaolin and caustic calcined magnesite (CCM). Our industrial mineral production is used to meet the needs of Ma’aden affiliates, with the remaining output supplied to Saudi and GCC customers. Our operations include:
- a kaolin and low grade bauxite mine in the central zone of Az Zabirah deposit in Saudi Arabia’s Hail province;
- a high grade magnesite mine at Al Ghazalah and
- a processing plant at Al Madinah Al Munawarah.
Ma’aden’s presence and growing capabilities in industrial minerals is a strong indicator of our readiness to engage in new and technologically evolving industries and businesses. Although industrial minerals make up a relatively small segment of our business, the versatility, specificity and newness of these resources and their applications require the most exacting efforts and challenge us to stay ahead of constantly evolving industries and emerging technologies.
Our industrial minerals business has grown steadily and consistently since its beginning with the start-up of LGB production in 2008. We added kaolin and CCM to our portfolio in 2011 and have posted year-on-year growth ever since.
Ma'aden operates a magnesite mine at Zargat and a processing plant at Madinah Industrial City which has a processing line with a Multiple Hearth Furnace (MHF) to produce Caustic Calcined Magnesia (CCM); a processing line with a vertical shaft kiln (VSK) to produce Dead Burned Magnesia (DBM) and a processing line for the production of monolithic refractories. The MHF Line has a design capacity of 39,000 tonnes per year of CCM and the product is primary used in the metallurgical industry and for animal feed, fertilizer and waste water treatment.
Low Grade Bauxite and Kaolin
Az Zabirah kaolin and low grade bauxite mine is located in vicinity of Hail District, which is 65 km north of Al-Baitha and 80 km north from Turbah. It consists of an open pit mine, in the central zone of the Az-Zabirah bauxite deposit and a processing facility. The mine started operation in 2008 supplying low-grade bauxite to local cement companies. Demand from the domestic cement industry is expected to increase as imports are replaced. Supply of kaolin to the phosphates industry for the production of phosphoric acid started in 2011.
Caustic Soda and Dichloride Ethylene Project
Caustic soda is an essential feedstock needed for the refining of bauxite to alumina. It is produced from the electrolysis of brine, along with chlorine which is later used in the manufacture of ethylene di-chloride (EDC). Ma'aden and Sahara Petrochemical Company concluded an agreement on March 2011 to produce caustic soda and dichloride ethylene through Sahara & Ma'aden Petrochemical Company, which is owned by Sahara and Ma'aden with 50% each. The production capacity of the project is 250,000 tonnes per annum of concentrated caustic soda and 300,000 tonnes per annum of ethylene dichloride. The plant is located in Jubail Industrial City to allow ethylene to be delivered by pipeline.