The local Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) and the US’ Alcoa have broken ground on their $10.8bn Ras Al-Zour integrated aluminium project in Saudi Arabia.

Civil works have started at the site for the project, the partners said in a 21 June statement.

The project involves the construction of a 740,000 tonnes-a-year (t/y) smelter project, a 1.8 million t/y alumina refinery, a rolling mill with a capacity of up to 460,000 t/y and a 4 million t/y bauxite mine.

The US’ Bechtel won the engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM) contract for the aluminium smelter in 2009. The US’ Fluor and Australia’s WorleyParsons won the EPCM contract for the alumina refinery and the bauxite mine, with Fluor providing EPCM services for the rolling mill in early 2010.

Maaden holds a 74.9 per cent stake in the aluminium complex, while Alcoa owns the remaining 25.1 per cent. The complex will be fully operational by 2014.