Phosphate project moves ahead

16 November 2001

Saudi Ogerand the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden)are expected to present proposals for the exploitation of the Al-Jalamid phosphate reserves within the next three months. Both companies have signed a letter of intent with the government for the estimated $2,000 million project, which will involve mining phosphates at Al-Jalamid, near the Jordanian border, and constructing a 1,300-kilometre rail link to transport the minerals to processing facilities at Jubail on the Gulf coast. Maaden is also looking at the development of bauxite reserves in Az Zabirah, which will share transport infrastructure with the Al-Jalamid project (see page 16).

Saudi Oger and Maaden plan to set up a joint venture company to carry out the phosphate project. However, negotiations over the mining contract have been delayed as the government considers proposals for an alternative railway that would connect Al-Jalamid with Riyadh. Phosphate and bauxite supplies would then be transported via the existing track to Dammam. The alternative route would have the advantage of connecting to a proposed east-west railway linking Riyadh with Jeddah (MEED 24:08:01).

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