Aluminium, one of the world’s most versatile metals, is a fitting symbol of Ma'aden evolution as a company. Just as aluminium is shaped and changed into a wide range of goods, its development has transformed Ma’aden into a world-class, future-focused company.
After oxygen and silicon, aluminium is the third most abundant element and the most abundant metal in our planet’s crust. It is also the most widely used non-ferrous metal, its production exceeding that of every metal but iron. Its properties – including low weight, high strength and conductivity, corrosion resistance and adaptability – make it a staple in industry and commerce around the world, used in everyday objects from soda cans and frying pans to power lines and aircraft.
The vision behind Ma’aden’s move into aluminium is simple: to maximize the minerals and metals value chain. The company ‘mine-to-metal’ vision resulted in the development of a new homegrown and sustainable industry and transfer of knowhow associated with it, and positioning Saudi Arabia as a supply-side player in a global industry with strong prospects to grow and diversify in the future.
In 2009, Ma’aden established a joint venture with Alcoa, the world’s third-largest aluminium producer, to build the world’s most efficiently integrated aluminium project in Saudi Arabia. This USD 10.8 billion (over SAR 40 billion) project includes a bauxite mine, a refinery, a smelter, and the world’s most advanced rolling mills. Its product, aluminium of the highest international standards, is sold to both domestic and global markets and is encouraging the development of additional downstream aluminium-based industries within the Kingdom.
Integrated value chain
Ma'aden aluminium project involves the development, design, construction, and operation of two sites integrated into a single mine-to-metal network: Al Ba’itha in the northern Qassim province, and the company integrated aluminium complex in Ras Al Khair Industrial City.
Ma'aden feedstock comes from large bauxite deposits in Al Ba’itha, which includes the mine as well as the ore-crushing and handling facilities. The mine’s estimated production is 4 million tonnes per year of dry weight bauxite and is transported via the new North-South railway line to Ras Al Khair.
Ras Al Khair hosts the refinery, the smelter, and the rolling mills. Ma’aden’s refinery is the first alumina refinery in the Middle East; it can produce 1.8 million tonnes per year of alumina, all of which are processed in Ma'aden smelter. The smelter’s annual production capacity is 740,000 tonnes per year of primary aluminium.
The rolling mill has a capacity of 460,000 tons per year. It currently produces can sheet, end and tab stock for beverage can manufacturing and auto sheet for the automotive industry.
It’s also equipped with a Can Recycling Unit which has the capacity to recycle 120,000 metric tons per year of primarily Used Beverage Cans, and will help foster the beginning of the new recycling industry in Saudi Arabia.
Ma’aden has been gaining a strong reputation in regional and global markets as a supplier of high quality primary and flat-rolled product solutions. Ma'aden is continuously expanding the company's global market base. Proximity to local markets ensures tailored service and quick response times, while Ma'aden favorable logistics also ensures high-quality service for international customers.
Caustic soda is an essential feedstock needed for the refining of bauxite to alumina. Ma’aden Aluminium sources caustic soda from its joint venture Sahara and Ma’aden Petrochemicals Company (SAMAPCO). The SAMAPCO plant, based in Jubail Industrial City, also produces ethylene dichloride (EDC) as a by-product of its caustic soda output. It produces 250,000 tonnes per year of concentrated caustic soda and 300,000 tonnes per year of EDC.