Ma’aden Aluminium, a joint venture of the Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Ma’aden) and Alcoa, started production at the alumina refinery at its aluminum production complex at Ras Al Khair, Saudi Arabia, in December 2014. The refinery is the final link in an integrated, $10.8 billion, aluminum supply chain development project that includes a bauxite mine at Al Ba’itha, 600 km northwest of Ras Al Khair, and an aluminum smelter and rolling mill, as well as the alumina refinery, at Ras Al Khair on Saudi Arabia’s east coast.
The Al Ba’itha mine has initial capacity to produce 4 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of bauxite, which is transported by rail to the Ras Al Khair alumina refinery.
The Ras Al Khair aluminum smelter produced its first hot metal in December 2012 and has processed imported alumina since that time, while waiting for the alumina refinery to come into production. Once fully operational, the refinery will produce 1.8 million mt/y of alumina, which will be transferred via conveyor to the adjacent smelter to produce 740,000 mt/y of aluminum metal.
The rolling mill has an initial capacity to produce 380,000 mt/y of aluminum automotive, building, construction, can and foil stock sheet.
A power, steam, and water facility was a key infrastructure component of Ras Al Khair site development. Saline Water Conversion Corp. and Saudi Electricity Co. developed a joint power and desalination plant that generates 2,400 MW of electricity and 1.025 million m3/day of water. Of these totals, the aluminum complex uses 1,350 MW of electricity and 25,000 m3/day of water. The remaining electricity and water are supplied to the national grid.
Regarding the alumina refinery startup, Ma’aden President and CEO Khalid Mudiafer said, “We are building a minerals and metals industry in Saudi Arabia that maximizes the value of the nation’s mineral resources; contributes to sustainable economic diversification and shareholder value; provides high-value job opportunities for Saudis; and generates a reliable supply of quality products for our global customers. This milestone marks a significant moment for our industry in Saudi Arabia and the broader Gulf Cooperation Council region.”