The world’s largest greenfield aluminum smelter delivered ahead of schedule and under budget

Bechtel extended its long heritage of megaprojects in Saudi Arabia by managing construction of the world’s largest, and Saudi Arabia’s first, greenfield aluminum smelter. The facility 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.

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

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Key facts

  • ​720 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

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 to transport bauxite feedstock from a mine at Al Ba’itha. The bauxite is then refined at Ras Al Khair to yield alumina for smelting.

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