Head of the Saudi Arabian Mining Company ‘Maaden’, Abdallah Dabbagh, has announced that work will start in August 2005 on an industrial site at Ras Al-Zour on the Arabian Gulf north of Jubail for the construction of two plants to process bauxite and phosphate. The aluminum smelter is expected to produce 640,000 tons a year, and the di-ammonium phosphate plant 3 million tons a year of fertilizer. It is hoped to begin exporting by 2008. The raw materials will be transported by rail from mines in northern Saudi Arabia. Also planned are an ammonia plant, an aluminum refinery, and six factories producing sulfuric and phosphoric acid.
The total cost of the fertilizer project, from mining to production, is estimated at U.S. $1.9 billion; and the aluminum project, at $4.4 billion. Both are dependent on the construction of a $2 billion rail link from the phosphate and bauxite mines. The Ras Al-Zour site, about 40 miles north of the Industrial City of Jubail, is likely to attract additional investment, with a huge potential for downstream industries, and for the processing of other minerals such as silica, magnesite, dolomite and calcium carbonates.