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Saudi smelter project is on track and budget: Kleinfeld

Keywords: Tags  Alcoa, Klaus Kleinfeld, Ma'aden smelter, new capacity, aluminum smelter, rolling mill, bauxite mine, sheet aluminum

CHICAGO — Alcoa Inc.’s joint venture with Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Ma’aden) is on track, on budget and about 80 percent completed, according to Alcoa’s top executive.

The Ma’aden smelter began operations in December 2012 and should be "fully online" by the end of 2013, Alcoa chairman and chief executive officer Klaus Kleinfeld said during an earnings call July 8.

The facility’s aluminum rolling mill is about 82 percent completed and is expected to roll its first coil in December, according to Kleinfeld.

Ma’aden’s refinery is 57 percent finished, its mine "just started" and the "last piece" of the project is 20 percent completed, he said. "Totally on track."

The aluminum smelter at Ras Al Khair, Saudi Arabia, is forecast to have an initial production capacity of about 740,000 tonnes annually, and is expected to source bauxite and alumina from within Alcoa’s production system until initial commercial production from the mine and refinery in 2014 (, Dec. 13).

Alcoa has said the rolling mill will be the first in the Middle East capable of producing food-grade can sheet, as well as sheet for the automotive, building and construction sectors.

The project also includes a bauxite mine with a projected initial capacity of 4 million tonnes per year and an alumina refinery with an initial capacity of 1.8 million tonnes per year, the Pittsburgh-based company has said.

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