Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) will launch the financing for its $7bn Ras al-Zour aluminium smelter in by May this year, according to a source close to the project.

The financing is expected to be split between a $1.5bn commercial debt tranche and an additional commercial loan from the Saudi banks, direct loans from the Export-Import Bank of the US, and Saudi government lenders, the Public Investment Fund and Saudi Industrial Development Fund The commercial bank loans will have a tenor of 15 years.

GCC Largest Aluminium smelters
Project Capacity Country
Dubal 981,000 t/y UAE
Alba 870,000 t/y Bahrain
Maaden (proposed)  740,000 t/y Saudi Arabia
Emal 700,000 t/y UAE
Qatalum 585,000 t/y Qatar
Source: MEED

“We are on track to launch the financing for the scheme soon, hopefully around late April or early May,” a source close to the project says.

Maaden is developing the project in a joint venture with US-based aluminium company Alcoa, which will have a 40 per cent stake in the partnership, split equally between itself and other investment partners. Alcoa and its partners will invest $900m over four years.

Local Riyad Bank and the UK’s Standard Chartered are acting as financial advisers to the sponsors on the project.

Once complete, the complex will have a refinery with capacity of 1.8 million tonnes a year (t/y), a 740,000-t/y smelter, and will be linked to a 4 million-t/y bauxite mine at Zubairih in the central Qassim province. The partners also plan to build a steel rolling mill with a capacity of up to 460,000 t/y at Al-Zour.