The Ma’aden-Alcoa aluminum joint venture has signed a contract worth SR5.6 billion (about $1.5 billion) with Hyundai Engineering & Construction for construction of its alumina refinery at Ras Al Khair in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. The contract includes completing detailed engineering, procurement, construction, pre-commissioning, commissioning assistance, start-up assistance and training services.

The alumina refinery forms part of the fully integrated aluminum project currently under construction by Ma’aden and Alcoa (E&MJ, March 2012, p. 20). The project also includes a bauxite mine at Al Ba’itha and an aluminum smelter and rolling mill, both at Ras Al Khair. The refinery will have production capacity of 1.8 million mt/y of smelter-grade alumina and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2014.

The plant will be the first alumina refinery in the Middle East. Designed for sustainable operation, it will incorporate Alcoa’s technologically advanced natural water system to treat, recycle and conserve significant volumes of water.

“The signing of this contract represents another milestone in the development of the world’s largest, lowest-cost, fully integrated aluminum complex, which will help make Saudi Arabia a major upstream player in the global aluminum industry. It also confirms our commitment to establishing strategic partnerships with leading international contractors having the proven experience and capability to build a world-class facility that we can be proud of,” Khalid al Mudaifer, Ma’aden president and CEO said. “The aluminum complex will produce a wide range of products suitable for further downstream manufacturing such as food-grade can sheet, automotive heat-treated and non-heat-treated sheet, building and construction sheet, and foil stock sheet.”