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Ma’aden Alcoa Joint Venture Reaches First Hot Metal Milestone for Smelter


Dec 12, 2012

Project delivered in record time, within budget, and with zero injury record


The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) and Alcoa today announced the achievement of the First Hot Metal milestone today 12/12/2012 at their joint venture smelter project at Ras Al Khair in Saudi Arabia. This milestone marks the successful commissioning of the first of 740 smelting furnaces or “pots”, and is a key step toward the commercial production at the smelter.

At the ceremony marking the event in Ras al Khair, Ma’aden President and CEO Engineer Khalid Al Mudaifer said that the achievement of First Hot Metal in only 25 months from the pouring of first concrete is testimony to the vision of the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and to the dedication of Ma’aden, Alcoa, and their respective contractor teams.

“Today we see the first aluminium produced in Saudi Arabia, and the launch of a new industry and based on the natural resources and human talent of the Kingdom, the vision of the Government and the close friendship and collaboration of Ma’aden and our joint venture partner, Alcoa. The regional strength and expertise of Ma’aden and the technological leadership and global market reach of Alcoa is a winning combination,” Engr Mudaifer said.

Alcoa Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said that the ceremony in Saudi Arabia represents a momentous event for Alcoa and clear demonstration of the Company’s focus on disciplined execution.

“The Ma’aden Alcoa joint venture is the largest fully integrated project that Alcoa has embarked upon since creating the modern aluminum industry nearly 125 years ago,” Kleinfeld said. “It will be the lowest-cost producer within our global smelting system and in addition to lowering Alcoa’s overall cost base, will help establish Saudi Arabia as the regional leader in the global aluminium industry. Alcoa is pleased to play a role in creating new economic opportunities for the people of Saudi Arabia, and delivering profitable growth for our Company.”

Chairman of the Ma’aden Aluminium joint venture, Engineer Abdullah Busfar recounted some additional noteworthy statistics that have led to the First Hot Metal milestone.

“From the outset this has been a project that has been managed to achieve both cost and schedule targets. It is just 29 months since the joint venture issued Bechtel with a Notice to Proceed with construction. That is as we anticipated at the time and it is in keeping with the most advanced and disciplined project construction practices anywhere in the world.

“We want to congratulate Bechtel and its team of 46 different sub-contracting companies that employed the labor and expertise of about 14000 people from 25 different nationalities. They have worked almost 60 Million hours within world class safe-manhours record.

“More than 700 Saudi Arabian citizens have completed their initial intensive training and are ready to take their place as skilled operators within this smelter. That we can celebrate all this here today, in what was desert less than three years ago, is a great credit to everyone who has contributed to this project. This is exactly the safe and productive outcome that our JV committed to delivering, and we are very pleased that we are seeing it become reality.” Engr Busfar said.

About the Ma’aden Alcoa 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 producer 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 capable of producing food grade can sheet, as well as sheet for automotive building and construction applications, and will be one of the most technically advanced mills in the world.