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First alumina shipment dispatched for Saudi Arabia's Ma?aden smelter

The first shipment to Saudi contained 47,000 tonnes of alumina. (Image source: Alcoa)

The first alumina shipment for the Maaden Alcoa aluminium joint-venture manufacturing complex has departed Alcoa?s Bunbury Port facility in Western Australia for Ras Al Khair in Saudi Arabia

The shipment of around 47,000 tonnes of alumina will pave the way for trial production at the Middle East?s first fully-integrated aluminium manufacturing to begin. The smelter and rolling mill will begin production in 2013 with the mine and refinery slated for commercial production in 2014.

Ken Wisnoski, president of Alcoa Global Primary Products Growth, said, "The supply of uniformly high-quality alumina is essential for the efficient operation of a smelter at any time, but even more so during the critical commissioning and early operational periods of a new smelter."

The US$10.8bn project comprises a bauxite mine inland at Al-Baitha and an alumina refinery at Ras Al Khair on the east coast. The alumina refinery will have a nameplate capacity of 1.8mn mt/year and will use bauxite transported by rail from the partners' four million mt/year mine at Al Ba'aitha.

The smelter will initially produce 740,000 mt/year of primary metal. While, the rolling mill will initially produce 380,000 mt/year of food grade can sheet and auto sheet.