The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) has awarded the US’ Bechtel a contract to carry out a feasibility study for two non-ferrous metals smelters in the kingdom.

Bechtel will carry out a study to gauge the potential viability of a copper smelter with a 500,000 tonnes-a-year (t/y) capacity as well as a zinc smelter with 200,000 t/y capacity.

Maaden is already constructing an aluminium smelter at Ras al-Khair in the Eastern Province that will have a capacity of 740,000 t/y when completed in 2013.