The information was contained in the Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting (GOIC) study. The report stated that Saudi Arabia is building a plant to process bauxite ore and establish an aluminium smelter in Ras Al Zour, north of Jubail on the eastern coast.

Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Maaden) signed a cooperation agreement with Rio Tinto Alcan to build the smelter and rolling mill as part of Phase 1 of the complex, located in the Minerals Industrial City at Ras Al Zour.

According to the GOIC study the Maaden and Alcan joint venture is part of a strategic project to obtain raw minerals in Al Zobaira mining region.

The project also includes a refinery with a capacity of 1.6Mt/y in addition to a huge port for exports. There will also be a power generating plant with a capacity of 1400MW. These projects will make electricity, steam and desalinated water available to the region.

The mining facilities in Al Zobaira will be linked with the refinery and smelter in the new mineral industrial city in Ras Al Zour via a north-south railroad, the study said, adding that the kingdom is also building a huge aluminium smelter at its prestigious King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh, on the western coast of Saudi Arabia.

It is expected that the project will create 2500 jobs and attract huge investment.

Source: Gulf News, Dubai; 21 Jan 2010