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October 24, 2010

Ma’aden and Alcoa Pour First Concrete for Middle East’s First Integrated Aluminum Smelter and Can-Sheet Rolling Mill

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia & NEW YORK--Ma’aden, the Saudi Arabian Mining Company, and Alcoa, today poured first concrete for the Middle East’s first fully integrated aluminum smelter and food grade can sheet rolling mill, at Raz as Zawr in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The construction landmark came just ten months after the two companies signed agreements to establish the world’s lowest cost, fully integrated aluminum industry within the country.

First production from the smelter and rolling mill is scheduled for early 2013. Initially, the smelter will produce 740,000 metric tons of primary metal. The rolling mill will initially produce 380,000 metric tons of food grade can sheet. Both are designed for significant expansion.

In marking the occasion Engineer Abdullah Busfar, vice president Ma’aden Aluminium SBU and Project Management said, “Today we have begun laying the foundations of an entirely new industry for Saudi Arabia. This is an industry that will create value for the project partners and their shareholders, numerous different opportunities for Saudi and international businesses and thousands of new direct and indirect jobs. That we are able to do so just over 10 months after Ma’aden signed the joint venture agreement with Alcoa speaks volumes for the hard work, professionalism and dedication of the project teams.”

Ken Wisnoski, Alcoa’s president of Global Primary Products Growth said “the event represented an important step in fulfilling a commitment to a disciplined budget and project schedule.

“We thank the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its continued support, the leadership of our respective companies and, most importantly, the people who are turning the vision of diversifying Saudi Arabia’s economy into reality.

“This project, and future expansion, will be the region’s first, and the world's lowest cost, fully integrated aluminium complex. It is poised to fulfill a significant share of the growth in global aluminium demand in years to come,” Wisnoski said.

In addition to the smelter and rolling mill, the second phase of the joint venture will include a bauxite mine with an initial capacity of 4 million metric tons per year and an alumina refinery with an initial capacity of 1.8 million metric tons per year. First production for mine and refinery is scheduled for early 2014. Alcoa will provide alumina feedstock for the smelter in the interim.

Total capital investment in the joint venture is expected to be approximately SAR 40.5 billion ($US 10.8 billion). Ma’aden holds 74.9 percent of the joint venture; Alcoa 25.1 percent with provisions in place to enable an increase to 40 percent.

About Ma’aden

Ma'aden was established as a Saudi Arabian joint stock company in March 1997 to facilitate the development of Saudi Arabia’s non-petroleum mineral resources and to diversify the Kingdom’s economy away from the petroleum and petrochemical sectors.

Ma’aden is engaged in the development, advancement and improvement of all aspects of the mineral industry, mineral products and by-products and related industries in Saudi Arabia. In July 2008 Ma’aden offered 50 percent of the company’s shares for subscription in a successful SAR 9.25 billion IPO. Ma’aden has progressed towards realizing its vision of building a world class mineral enterprise and its mission of being a profitable, publicly owned, international mining company, while maintaining the utmost concern for human resources, health and safety, environmental and social issues.

About Ras Az Zawr

Ras Az Zawr is the location for Ma'aden's minerals industry complex, a 77 square km site, 90km north of Al Jubail on the Arabian Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia. In addition to housing the alumina refinery, aluminum smelter and rolling mill for the Ma'aden Alcoa joint venture aluminium industry, it is also the site for Ma'aden Phosphate Company's integrated chemical and fertilizer facility currently near completion. The phosphate complex consists of a phosphoric acid plant, a sulphuric acid plant, an ammonia plant, a DAP granulation plant, a co-generation plant and desalination plant, as well as related infrastructure. It will process phosphate concentrate brought by rail from Al Jalamid. This will produce about 2.92 million mtpy of granular DAP, plus approximately 400,000 mtpy of excess ammonia and about 200,000 mtpy of excess phosphoric acid. Ras Az Zawr also has 25 square kilometers of land set aside for industrial expansion and downstream industry.

About Alcoa

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) is the world’s leading producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina. In addition to inventing the modern-day aluminum industry, Alcoa innovation has been behind major milestones in the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation, consumer electronics and industrial markets over the past 120 years. Among the solutions Alcoa markets are flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, as well as Alcoa® wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment castings, and building systems in addition to its expertise in other light metals such as titanium and nickel-based super alloys. Sustainability is an integral part of Alcoa’s operating practices and the product design and engineering it provides to customers. Alcoa has been a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for nine consecutive years and approximately 75 percent of all of the aluminum ever produced since 1888 is still in active use today. Alcoa employs approximately 59,000 people in 31 countries across the world. More information can be found at