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PRODUCTION TO START LATE 2016

Maaden inks $260m deals with US firms for new plant

Al Khobar, December 2, 2012

Saudi Arabian mining firm Maaden signed deals worth SR977 million ($260 million) with US firms Fluor Corp and Bechtel to help develop a new phosphate project in the country's north, it said.

Saudi Arabia, home to the world's largest oil reserves, is keen to develop its mining industry to diversify the economy away from relying on oil.

Under one contract, worth SR745 million, Fluor Arabia will provide engineering consultancy services and manage the construction of a new phosphate project for Maaden, called Umm Wual in Waad Al-Shimal City for Mining Industries, Maaden said in a bourse statement issued late on Saturday.

Maaden also signed two other contracts worth SR232 million with Bechtel Arabia to monitor and manage the project to develop the city as well as preliminary designs of the infrastructure of the Waad Al-Shimal city.

The contracts run through late 2016, when phosphate production is expected to start from the mega project estimated to cost SR26 billion.

The scheme will have a production capacity of 16 million tonnes per year of phosphate concentrate, sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid, as well as plants to produce calcium monophosphate and calcium diphosphate.

Saudi Arabia's cabinet approved in February the establishment of the new city.

The Umm Wual project would add nearly 1.5 million tonnes annually of phosphorus oxide to Maaden's planned phosphate capacity. – Reuters




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