Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi visited the new industrial city in Ras Al-Khair in eastern Saudi Arabia and said it would contribute to strengthening the country’s industrial sector.
He said the giant industrial projects at Ras Al-Khair would support the Kingdom’s diversification drive and bring good returns to investors and stake holders. It will also help transfer technology to the Kingdom.
Al-Naimi, who was accompanied by Prince Faisal bin Turki, adviser at the ministry, and Khaled Al-Mudaifer, CEO of Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden), emphasized the mining sector’s role in developing new industries.
“Ras Al-Khair was established on the directive of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to support all phases of industrialization and achieve the highest possible added value inside the country,” he said.
Al-Naimi stressed that the development of the mineral sector would serve the Kingdom and its citizens in the long run. “It will create thousands of jobs for Saudis, especially technical jobs that provide good returns.”
Ras Al-Khair will also provide attractive investment opportunities for Saudi and foreign investors, the minister said.
During the visit the minister met with Maaden’s employees in Ras Al-Khair where the company employs about 4,000 people. Saudis represent about 70 percent of the workers and 300 of them were trained abroad.
Al-Naimi and other officials inspected the production lines at mining industries in Ras Al-Khair, including the aluminum smelter.
Bauxite ore transported by rail to Ras Al-Khair will be refined in the GCC's first alumina refinery to produce 1.8 million mtpy of alumina, which will in turn be processed in the smelter to produce 740,000 mtpy of aluminum.
The rolling mill with initial hot-mill capacity of 380,000 mtpy will focus initially on the production of sheet, end and tab stock for the manufacture of cans and other products including auto, construction and foil applications. The rolling mill will be one of the world's most technically advanced and will have the capacity to re-cycle aluminum scrap.
“About 56 percent of the project has been completed at Ras Al-Khair,” a Maaden official said, adding that the complex would supply new products to Saudi market, including aluminum plates required for the automobile industry.