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Ras Al Khair Aluminum Smelter Project

The world’s largest greenfield aluminum smelter and the first in Saudi Arabia

Bechtel extended its long heritage of megaprojects in Saudi Arabia by managing construction of the world’s largest aluminum smelter—and Saudi Arabia’s first. The smelter is the cornerstone of Ras Al Khair Industrial City, which is fast becoming the country’s aluminum and phosphate center, 56 miles (90 kilometers) north of Al Jubail.

The Ras Al Khair effort—delivered safely, ahead of schedule, and under budget—included the construction of two high-amperage potlines that use Pechiney technology to produce 740,000 metric tons of aluminum per year.

The project included construction of

  • raw-materials handling equipment and storage
  • a carbon plant for anode production and baking
  • the world’s largest integrated cast house (with 15 furnaces)
  • electrical installations providing power for an entire “mine-to-metals” program
  • maintenance, administration, and support facilities

A rail line transports bauxite feedstock from a mine at Al Ba’itha. The bauxite is refined at Ras Al Khair to yield alumina for smelting.

The project reached mechanical completion in 2013 by Bechtel’s Mining & Metals global business unit. Over 35,000 people worked more than 78 million job hours on the project, achieving an outstanding lost-workday case rate of 0.01. The project team worked two extraordinary stretches without a single workday lost to safety incidents: 32 million hours and 29 million hours.

Key facts about the Ras Al Khair project:

  • 720 smelting furnaces, or pots, comprising 4 pot rooms of 180 pots each
  • Each pot room is three-quarters of a mile (1.2 kilometres) long
  • 8.4 million cubic yards (6.4 million cubic meters) of bulk earthworks
  • 298,000 cubic yards (228,800 cubic meters) of concrete
  • 48,000 metric tons of structural steel
  • 1,242 miles (2,000 kilometers) of electrical cable
  • 157,000 pieces of mechanical equipment
  • 171,000 pieces of electrical equipment
  • 5,000 pieces of instrumentation
  • 35,000 workers—with a peak construction workforce of 14,000
  • More than 78 million job hours