Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) has received bids for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the ammonia plant package at its proposed $7bn phosphates mining city at Waad al-Shamal in the north of the kingdom.

MEED reported in January that four South Korean contractors had been prequalified for the package. The technology being used for the plant will be provided by Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Uhde. Bids were submitted on 10 April.

The four contractors are:

  • Daelim Industrial
  • GS Engineering & Construction
  • Hyundai Engineering & Construction
  • Samsung Engineering

“The bids have gone in now and an decision is expected to take about two months,” says a source familiar with the scheme. “There is not as much EPC work available in the kingdom this year as there has been over the past three years so expect some extremely competitive prices.”

The US’ Jacobs Engineering is responsible for the front-end engineering and design (feed) and the US’ Fluor is carrying out the project management consultancy for the technical packages, worth a total of about $4bn, at the city.

The city is being built so Maaden can fully utilise the phosphates from its Al-Khabra mine.

In March Maaden signed an agreement with Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) and the US’ Mosaic that will see the companies come in as partners. Under the terms of the deal Maaden retains a 60 per cent stake while Mosaic will have a 25 per cent share and Sabic will take the remaining 15 per cent.  

The scope of works for the city will include a mining component, as well as eight different processing plants and a utilities and offsites package. The phosphate produced at Al-Khabra is low in heavy metal content and thus ideal to be used for food production, as well as fertiliser and animal feed. The measured reserves of the Al-Khabra deposit are estimated to be 236 million tonnes.

Riyadh also plans to use the city as a catalyst for the economic development of the area. Waad al-Shamal will become the major phosphates hub in the kingdom and a major downstream phosphates cluster for attracting international companies is also planned for the area.