March 1, 2012
Smelter employees from Saudi Arabia trained in Iceland

Alcoa and the Saudi Arabian mining company Ma‘aden are now constructing one of the world‘s largest smelters in Ras Al Khair on the east coast of the Kingdom. This is Alcoa‘s first smelter in the Middle East. Production will start next year and for that reason a group of thirty employees from Saudi Arabia is expected to Iceland on Sunday. The group will be trained at Fjardaál for a few months under the leadership of experienced Fjardaál employees.

The people who will visit Fjardaál have already finished twelve months general studies in heavy industry in their home country and have been invited to come to Iceland for training. The group includes the potroom manager, production manager, production engineer, coaches, potroom production workers and tradesmen.

Janne Sigurdsson, Managing Director of Alcoa Fjardaál, says that the company is very pleased to welcome the Saudi Arabians, and that the visit shows how much trust and recognition Fjardaál enjoys as a leader withing the aluminum industry. „We are proud to have been chosen to provide this basic training.“

Different cultural worlds
The students from Saudi Arabia have little or no experience of Western culture and Fjardaál has prepared for the meeting of the two cultures, for instance as regards religion, social classes, the participation of women in the work market, etc. Janne says that the group has already been introduced to Icelandic culture and it is also important for Fjardaál employees to prepare themselves. For that reason, intended leaders from the smelter in Ras Al Khair have already arrived to Iceland to prepare for the group‘s arrival.
„We will not try to change the culture of Fjardaál because of this project, but it is important that every one of us joins in to show the utmost courtesy in order for their stay to prove both informative and enjoyable,“ Janne says.
One of the largest smelters in the world.
The smelter in Saudi Arabia is the first one in the Middle East where Alcoa is involved, and it will be one of the most technically advanced smelters in the world. The smelter is part of a larger integrated aluminum joint venture, consisting of a bauxite mine, a refinery, a smelter and a rolling mill. In the first phase, the smelter will have a 740,000 tpy capacity and Alcoa will provide it with alumina to begin with, until the refinery is ready.


Click image to enlarge.

A totally different landscape

This photo, taken on the construction site in Ras Al Khair, shows that it is surrounded by the desert. The landscape differs from the grass, sea and mountains that envelop the Alcoa Fjardaál smelter.