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Bechtel’s Impact Report

Ras Al Khair Aluminum Smelter

Saudi Arabia
Ras Al Khair Smelter

Delivery of the largest greenfield aluminum smelter in the world

Ras Al Khair, which is also Saudi Arabia’s first greenfield smelter, is the cornerstone of the Ras Al Khair Industrial City, which is located 56 miles (90 kilometers) north of Al Jubail, and fast becoming the country’s aluminum and phosphate center.

Bechtel proudly partnered with our customers Ma’aden and Alcoa to provide engineering, procurement and construction management for the smelter, which was delivered safely, ahead of schedule, and under budget. The completed project included construction of two potlines that produce 740,000 metric tons of aluminum per year.

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An award-winning project completed without sacrificing safety

The emphasis placed on safety by the customers, contractor companies and Bechtel allowed the team to achieve over 25 million job hours without a lost work day injury. The project team included 46 different sub-contracting companies employing approximately 14,000 people from 25 different nationalities. They worked almost 60 million hours with a world-class safety record.

The achievements of these dedicated workers included construction of raw-materials handling equipment and storage; a carbon plant for anode production and baking; electrical installations providing power for an entire “mine-to-metals” program; the world’s largest integrated cast house (with 15 furnaces); maintenance, administration, and support facilities; and a rail line to transport bauxite feedstock from a mine at Al Ba’itha.

It took just 29 months from the moment Bechtel received the Notice to Proceed to achieve First Hot Metal at Ras Al Khair, which our customer said was in keeping with the most advanced and disciplined project construction practices anywhere in the world.

Ras Al Khair, which achieved mechanical completion in 2013, won Engineering News-Record's Global Best Projects Award of Merit in the Power/Industrial category.

What goes into building one of the world’s largest smelters

  • 740 smelting furnaces, or pots, comprising four pot rooms of 180 pots each
  • Each pot room is three-quarters of a mile (1.2 kilometers) 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
  • 157,000 pieces of mechanical equipment
  • 171,000 pieces of electrical equipment
  • 5,000 pieces of instrumentation 
  • 1,242 miles (2,000 kilometers) of electrical cables