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First alumina leaves Australia for Saudi Arabian joint venture
 
The first shipment of alumina, the feedstock for the Middle East’s first fully integrated aluminium manufacturing complex at Ras Ala Khair in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia (KSA), departed Alcoa of Australia's Bunbury Port facility in Western Australia in late October, arriving in KSA mid-November.
 
The shipment of around 47,000 metric tons of alumina marks the latest milestone in the aluminium Joint Venture’s establishment of the world's largest and lowest-cost integrated aluminium complex.
 
The Joint Venture's smelter will begin production in 2013; Alcoa of Australia will supply the alumina until the dedicated local mine and refinery come on stream in 2014.
 
Alan Cransberg, Alcoa of Australia’s Managing Director, pointed to the importance of the shipments for Alcoa's Australian operations and Alcoa overall.
 
"We're helping build a stronger, lower cost Alcoa," said Alan.
 
"Australian mining and refining operators are regarded as being amongst the best in the world. Working collaboratively with our Saudi Arabian counterparts will expand our experience and capabilities even further.  What we learn will have a direct benefit to Alcoa’s operations not only in Australia, but worldwide."
 
Ken Wisnoski, President of Alcoa Global Primary Products Growth, said that a supply of uniformly high-quality alumina is essential for efficient operation of a smelter at any time, but even more so during the critical commissioning and early operational periods.
 
"The ability to source alumina that can be relied on for its consistent quality, shipment after shipment, is a critical advantage to us as we work to bring this world-class smelter online in 2013," said Ken.
 
"It's reassuring for us that Alcoa's Western Australian operations are solidly behind us in this joint venture. The international team deployed on this project includes many Australians and it is pleasing to see that contribution now augmented by the supply of world-class feedstock for the new smelter."
 
The $US10.8 billion project comprises a bauxite mine inland at Al-Baitha and, at Ras Al Khair on the east coast, an alumina refinery, aluminium smelter and rolling mill. First production from the smelter and rolling mill is scheduled for 2013. The smelter will initially produce 740,000 metric tons of primary metal. The rolling mill will initially produce 380,000 metric tons of food grade can sheet and auto sheet. Both smelter and rolling mill are designed for significant expansion.

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Alumina pours into the MV Diamond Star at the Bunbury Port facility in Western Australia.



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Operator Graham Jeffery loads the first shipment of alumina for the Ma'aden Alcoa Joint Venture which arrived mid-November.