$10.8 Billion Rolling Mill Breaks Ground in Ras Al Khair, Saudi Arabia

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Construction has reportedly begun at a $10.8 billion aluminum rolling mill in Ras Al Khair, Saudi Arabia. The joint venture between Saudi Arabia’s Ma’aden and Alcoa is for an integrated aluminum plant with an initial capacity of 380,000 tons per year, and will be the region’s only aluminum operation with a captive supply of alumina, the company said in a press release.

Citing Engr. Abdullah Busfar, Ma’aden Vice President & Board Chairman of Ma’aden Aluminium Company, the company noted that the joint venture will “create a platform for numerous new industries in the Kingdom, creating tens of thousands of employment opportunities over and above those in the operations themselves.”

Bloomberg confirms that Ma’aden owns 75 percent of the venture and that Alcoa owns 25 percent, citing a spokesman for Alcoa.

The statement issued by Alcoa said that the joint venture’s “rolling mill and smelter constitute the first phase of the project, due to become operational in 2013 while the mine and refinery as the second phase will come on stream in 2014. The interim supply of alumina will be furnished by Alcoa.” The joint venture is officially called the Ma’aden Rolling Company.

King Abdullah only recently changed the name of the area that will play host to the new plant, according to this July 6 report in Arab News. President of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Thunayan said that HRH King Abdullah changed the name from Ras Al-Zour to the current Ras Al Khair.

The report also put the official figure for the amount of new infrastructure work being done surrounding the new plant in Ras Al Khair by the Royal Commission at SR1.6 billion ($426 million).

The Ma’aden Rolling Company earlier this year signed an EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) contract worth $590 million (SR2.2 billion) with Samsung Engineering for the rolling mill plant at Ras Az Zour in Saudi Arabia. “Samsung Engineering will handle the Rolling Mill EPC on a lump-sum turn-key basis with first production scheduled for early 2013 within a project execution period of 32 months,” Ma’aden said in a statement from May 8th, 2011.

The area of Ras Al Khair is rich in mineral deposits of phosphate and bauxite, and the creation of a massive aluminum venture in the area could pay dividends for the two partners in this venture.