Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Maaden) and U.S. aluminum giant Alcoa have agreed to build a $10.8 billion aluminum complex that is scheduled to start production from 2013.
Under the agreement signed on Sunday, the two firms will build a 1.8 million ton per year refinery and a 740,000 million ton per year smelter in Ras Azzour on the kingdom's Gulf coast, Maaden's CEO Abdullah al-Dabbagh told reporters.
The smelter is slated to start production in 2013 while the refinery would come online in 2014, he added.
Last December, Rio Tinto Alcan abandoned its 49-percent stake in a 740,000 ton-per-year smelter project because it was unable to obtain financing due to the global financial crisis.
Alcoa Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld told Reuters the costs would be split between the two companies, with the U.S. firm and its partners paying 40 percent while Maaden handles 60 percent.
He said a variety of funding options were being considered.
The deal also includes the construction of a bauxite mine with a capacity of 4 million tons annually and a rolling mill with a capacity of 250,000.
Plans call for the expansion of the mill to 460,000 tons of aluminum sheets, ends and tabs stocks for manufacturing aluminum cans, Maaden said.
Development will take place in two phases. We will go to financing during 2010, Dabbagh said during the signing ceremony.
(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; editing by John Stonestreet)