Maaden steps up mining plans

21 July 2006

Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) is moving ahead with plans to develop the Al-Jalamid phosphate mine in the far northwest of the kingdom. Tender documents are expected to be issued imminently for the contract to operate the mine, while prequalification is due to be launched soon for the mine's 24-month beneficiation plant contract (MEED 2:6:06).

Ten international and local mining companies have been prequalified for the mining services contract, with a bid deadline date set for the end of September.

The estimated $200 million contract will have a duration of at least five years. It will cover earthworks, drilling and blasting to move about 25 million tonnes a year (t/y) of overburden and phosphate rock.

A tender for the estimated $150 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract is scheduled to be issued by the end of the year, with an award expected in the first half of next year.

The plant will treat 12 million t/y of phosphate rock, producing 4.5 million t/y of concentrate to be transported by rail to the planned Ras al-Zour fertiliser complex, 1,400 kilometres to the southeast. The plant's front-end engineering and design (FEED) is being carried out by Australia's WorleyParsons, the project management consultant (PMC) on Maaden's phosphate and aluminium projects (MEED 6:1:06).

Maaden will be the primary customer of the multi-billion-dollar minerals railway, which is being developed by the Public Investment Fund (PIF). A total of 30 international and local companies are understood to have applied for prequalification for the four main packages to build the railway. A shortlist, together with the invitation to bid documents, will be released soon (MEED 19:5:06).

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