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Ma'aden/Alcoa smelter in Saudi Arabia reaches key milestone

The ceremony to mark the first hot metal milestone was held in Ras Al Khair. (Image source: Maaden)

The first of 740 smelting furnaces has been commissioned successfully at Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) and Alcoa?s joint venture smelter project at Ras Al Khair in Saudi Arabia

Reaching what the companies dubbed the ?first hot metal milestone'  is seen as a key step toward commercial production at the smelter.

The achievement comes just two years after construction of the project started.

"Today we see the first aluminium produced in Saudi Arabia, and the launch of a new industry and based on the natural resources and human talent of the Kingdom, the vision of the Government and the close friendship and collaboration of Ma'aden and our joint venture partner, Alcoa,? Ma'aden president and CEO, engineer Khalid Al Mudaifer, said at a ceremony to mark the occasion.

?The regional strength and expertise of Ma'aden and the technological leadership and global market reach of Alcoa is a winning combination.?

Alcoa chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld added, ?The Ma'aden Alcoa joint venture is the largest fully integrated project that Alcoa has embarked upon since creating the modern aluminium industry nearly 125 years ago.

"It will be the lowest-cost producer within our global smelting system and in addition to lowering Alcoa's overall cost base, will help establish Saudi Arabia as the regional leader in the global aluminium industry."

Chairman of the Ma'aden Aluminium joint venture, engineer Abdullah Busfar, said, ?It is just 29 months since the joint venture issued Bechtel with a notice to proceed with construction.

?We want to congratulate Bechtel and its team of 46 different sub-contracting companies that employed the labour and expertise of about 14,000 people from 25 different nationalities.

?They have worked almost 60mn hours within world class safe-manhours record.

?More than 700 Saudi Arabian citizens have completed their initial intensive training and are ready to take their place as skilled operators within this smelter.?