Saudi Arabia’s Al-Masane al-Kobra Mining Company (Amak) has almost completed its $166m mining project in Saudi Arabia and has only the underground mine package left to finish.

A source close to the project tells MEED that the above-surface facilities are now ready and the China Geological and Mining Corporation (CGMC) started work on the underground mine package in July.

“Around 95 per cent of the project, the above-ground packages are now finished,” the source says. “There is a very slight delay in regards to the underground mining package that will feed the mill, but CGMC are onsite now.”

The source adds that the completion date for the whole project is the second quarter of 2011, but the ramp-up should begin at the end of 2010.

The mine will produce around 700,000 tonnes-a-year (t/y) of ore when completed. The ore will be processed to produce 34,000-t/y of copper concentrate and 45,000-t/y of zinc concentrate. An undefined amount of gold and silver will also be produced.

The mine is located around 640km south east of Jeddah and the copper and zinc will be shipped from Jizan port in the south of the kingdom to customers in either China or Europe.

Amak is a Saudi Arabian joint stock company and its shareholders are the US’s Arabian American Development Company and eight unidentified Saudi Arabian investors.  The Saudi investors have contributed capital of $60m in cash and loaned the Amak another $12m. The Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) issued a letter of commitment for an $88m loan in June.