Early indications suggest that Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden)is no longer planning a smelter for the bauxite, but is focusing instead on a refinery. The bauxite could then be sold to existing regional smelters that now use imports from Australia. Maaden surveys indicate that Al-Zabirah contains extractable bauxite reserves of 100 million tonnes, grading 58 per cent alumina.
Hatch will also examine the potential of kaolin extraction from Al-Zabirah. Initial studies are understood to have shown commercial quantities of the mineral, with brightness of about 80 per cent. If that figure can be increased through refining, kaolin could become the more valuable product of the mine. Kaolin is used to make high quality paper and ceramic goods.