Tasnee looks for Yanbu metals plant partners

23 March 2010

Partnerships for project in Yanbu could be technical or financial, says Tasnee official

Saudi Arabia’s National industrialisation Company (Tasnee) is looking for technical and financial partners for its planned copper, lead and zinc smelter project at Yanbu on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast, a senior company official tells MEED.

Ian Hesford, mining and metallurgy business development consultant for Tasnee, says that the metals complex will produce 300,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of metals split equally between copper, lead and zinc.

“This is a challenging project and we are currently looking for partners,” Hesford says. “[The partnerships] could be of a technical or financial nature or could be for a joint venture company. The project is still in the early stages and we have not entered into any serious discussions with anyone regarding a deal.”

A banking feasibility study for the project is underway and should be completed by mid-2011, Hesford says.

“The study has to say that you have 75 per cent of the materials sourced,” Hesford says. “It is not just a case of proving you can build and operate a smelter; you have to prove you have the materials in place too.”  

Tasnee plans to fast-track construction once the study has been finalised, with a view to completing the project by mid-2013, Hesford says.

The project is seen as a move by Tasnee to diversify from its core petrochemicals businesses although the company is already an investor in Saudi Arabia’s metals industry.

“Tasnee has always been a company that has been led by investment rather than policy,” Hesford says. “The company is looking to diversify [from petrochemicals], but in a planned way.”

Tasnee is a joint stock company listed on the Saudi Arabian stock exchange. It is the second largest industrial and petrochemical company among the list of top 100 Saudi Arabian companies.

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