Alcoa (NYSE:AA) and The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) today broke ground for construction of expanded rolling mill capabilities at their combined aluminum complex in Ras Al Khair, Saudi Arabia. The expanded capabilities will enable the facility to supply aluminum automotive, building and construction sheet and foil stock to the Kingdom’s developing new industry and other global markets beginning in 2014, positioning the project to capture growing demand for aluminum from the automotive, building and construction sectors. Ma’aden President and CEO Engineer Khalid Al Mudaifer said the new sheet products integrated rolling and surface treatment complex is an exciting step for Saudi Arabia as it enters the global aluminum industry and demonstrates the power of the partnership created by Ma’aden and Alcoa. “As we break ground today, we do so knowing that our joint venture with Alcoa has a vote of confidence from one of the most prestigious manufacturers in the global automotive industry. From this foundation we will see the growth of an industry that will create opportunities for career development and downstream business growth for Saudi Arabian citizens for many generations to come,” Engr Mudaifer said. Alcoa Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said that the addition of the new automotive sheet products capabilities was a natural extension of the government’s vision to develop world-class downstream manufacturing enterprises in Saudi Arabia, and further leveraged Alcoa’s expertise in the market. “Today we are seeing the tremendous potential of the Ma’aden-Alcoa joint venture become reality. Alcoa has been bringing innovative solutions to the automotive industry for 100 years and together with Ma’aden, we are now positioned at a new intersection of commerce in the Middle East to capture profitable growth. Every individual who has played a role in achieving this historic milestone today should feel proud of their contributions, and I thank them,” Kleinfeld said. Editor's Note: Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) issued a press release yesterday announcing it has signed a letter of intent to explore the possibility of setting up an automotive facility in Saudi Arabia. Although discussions between JLR and the Saudi Government are at a preliminary stage, opportunities have been identified in aluminum component production, an area where JLR has a leadership position. About the Ma’aden Alcoa joint venture In its initial phases, the joint venture will develop a fully integrated industrial complex which will become the world's preeminent and lowest-cost producer of primary aluminum, alumina and aluminum products, with access to the growing markets of the Middle East and beyond. The complex comprises:
- A bauxite mine with an initial capacity of 4,000,000 metric tons per year
- An alumina refinery with an initial capacity of 1,800,000 metric tons per year
- An aluminum smelter with an initial capacity of 740,000 metric tons per year
- A rolling mill that will be the first in the Middle East capable of producing food grade can sheet, as well as sheet for automotive, building and construction applications. Upon completion, the mill will be one of the most technically-advanced mills in the world.