US-based Wagstaff has been awarded a contract to provide technology for the $2.5bn rolling mill project at Ras al-Zour in Saudi Arabia.

Wagstaff will provide a vertical direct chill casting complex with t-ingot, rolling ingot and extrusion billet casting equipment for the project, which is being developed by a joint venture between Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) and the US’ Alcoa.

“Now step by step they are placing the orders for the technology equipment,” a source tells MEED. “Wagstaff are specialists in the field for the vertical caster.

“This is encouraging for the other technology providers as it looks like a lot of the equipment will be procured by the end of September,” the source adds.

The exact value of the contract has not been disclosed and the source says that negotiations for the main rolling mill technology are still taking place.  

“Negotiations for the rest of the equipment for the rolling mill are still under discussion,” the source says. “There is no clear favourite at this time.”

The rolling mill is part of a $10.8bn aluminium complex and will have a capacity of up to 460,000 tonnes-a-year (t/y) when completed in the fourth quarter of 2013. The site will also include a 1.8 million t/y alumina refinery and a 740,000-t/y aluminium smelter, with a 4 million-t/y bauxite mine being built at Al-Baitha (MEED 29:7:10).

Maaden holds a 74.9 per cent stake in the aluminium complex, while Alcoa owns the remaining 25.1 per cent.