Saudi aluminium plant construction begins
Fluor starts construction on ME's first integrated aluminium plant
Construction work has started on the world’s largest fully integrated aluminium plant, a joint venture between Saudi Mining Company Ma’aden and Alcoa, the companies announced yesterday.
Work on the $10 billion plant, consisting of a bauxite mine at Ba'aitha and an alumina refinery, aluminum smelter and rolling mill at Ras Az Zawr, began with initial ground breaking services last week. The plant is due for completion in 2013 and will provide the kingdom with a supply of cost effective aluminium for the food packaging industry.
Main contractor, US firm Fluor, holds key contracts in all three phases of the plant development.
Ma’aden says the smelter and rolling mill will begin operations in 2013 with the mine and refinery coming on stream in 2014. Bauxite feedstock for the planned alumina refinery will be transported by rail from the new mine at Al Ba'itha, near Quiba, in the north of the kingdom
Speaking to reporters, Vice President Aluminium SBU and Project Management Abdullah Busfar, said, “The team has worked very hard over a long period of time to bring the project this far. It is a landmark day not only for Ma’aden and Alcoa but also for the aluminium industry in the Gulf and for the diversification of Saudi industry.”
Ken Wisnoski, President Alcoa Global Primary Products, GEBA pointed to the progress that has been made since the joint venture was formed.
“Little more than a few months ago, we had an empty space on a map, an ambitious idea of the future and a combined team of dedicated, energised people. We also had the visionary commitment of the Kingdom’s government to the establishment of world-class infrastructure at Ras az Zawr,” Wisnoski said.
“Now everything is coming together on schedule. In the near future, the place where we stand today will become the regional hub of the Kingdom’s new aluminium industry, and home of the Middle East’s first, and one of the world’s most technologically advanced, food-grade can sheet rolling mills.
“What we see here today is proof of what can be achieved through the true spirit of partnership that exists within our joint venture,” he concluded.
The site is also home to the Ma'aden Phosphate Company's integrated chemical and fertiliser facility, due to begin operation later this year. The plant is ready for trial run production, and includes a phosphoric acid plant, a sulphuric acid plant, an ammonia plant, a diammonium phosphate (DAP) granulation plant for fertiliser, a combined power and desalination plant, plus the infrastucture needed to run the site..
It will process phosphate concentrate brought by rail from Al Jalamid. The first phase of the project will give the plant the capacity to produce 2.9m tonnes of diammonium phosphate (DAP) for fertiliser when it comes on stream in late 2010. The second phase will give the plant the capacity to produce six million tons of DAP – almost half of that produced globally in 2006. Maaden intends securing a 15-25% share of the $25bn world DAP market.