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Fluor breaks ground on $10bn Saudi aluminium plant

Work begins on world's first fully integrated mine and aluminium plant

The Ma'aden-Alcoa joint venture is worth $10bn. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
The Ma'aden-Alcoa joint venture is worth $10bn. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

RELATED ARTICLES: Fluor lands key Saudi aluminium plant contractsAluminium demand sinks as prices rocket | Construction drives aluminium sector recovery

Alcoa and state controlled Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma'aden) have started work on a plant that will be the world's largest fully integrated aluminium complex

The $10 billion Ma'aden Alcoa joint venture will start by developing a fully integrated industrial complex, consisting of a bauxite mine at Ba'aitha and an alumina refinery, aluminum smelter and rolling mill at Ras Al Zour.

"Groundbreaking has now officially begun to pave the way for construction of the smelter and rolling mill that will serve the packaging and other industries" a statement from the company read.

The statement also said that the plant aims to become the world's "lowest-cost supplier of primary aluminum, alumina and aluminum products".

The Ma’aden-Alcoa joint venture, agreed in December, expects first production from the aluminum smelter and rolling mill in 2013, and first production from the mine and refinery is expected in 2014.

Winning contractors were announced last month, with American firm Fluor involved in all three key projects. The first contract with WorleyParsons and Fluor covers the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services for the bauxite mine and alumina refinery for SR758 million ($202 million); a second contract covers the $177m EPCM contract for the high-technology can sheet rolling mill, was signed with Fluor Enterprise; and the third, covering the contract for management of services at the complex and engineering works and supervision of infrastructure at the Ras Az Zawr Aluminium complex, was secured by Fluor Arabia for US$74m. Total contract worth is US $453m (AED 1.6bn).

Ma’aden President and CEO, Dr Abdallah Dabbagh said, “The signing of these contracts confirms the commitment of both Ma’aden and Alcoa to create an integrated aluminium industry based on the Kingdom’s considerable resources including bauxite and energy. The integrated nature of this project makes it unique and once completed, it will become a highly competitive long term supplier to both domestic and international markets.”

Fluor's track record in the industry is impressive. The company, in a joint venture with Raytheon Engineers and Constructors, designed and built a $1.5 billion grassroots refinery for the Rayong Refinery Company (Rayong), a joint venture of Petroleum Authority of Thailand, the Thai National Oil Company, and Shell International.

It also performed engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) on the world’s largest greenfield mining project at the time on the remote island of Sumbawa in Indonesia with no infrastructure, a sparse and unskilled workforce and amid economic and political turmoil.

Fluor provided environmental oversight, procurement, construction, commissioning, testing, and training on a 1,230-megawatt pulverised coal-fired power plant in Paiton, East Java, Indonesia - and recently announced that it was to design, build, operate, maintain and finance the Eagle P3 commuter rail project (Eagle Project) in the Denver, Colorado, metropolitan area.The Denver project is a joint venture with Macquarie Capital Group Limited.
 

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