Rio Tinto Alcan announced that it has signed two key agreements with Ma'aden, Saudi Arabian Mining Company, to further its mine to metal aluminium project in Saudi Arabia. The technology transfer agreement provides Ma'aden with Rio Tinto Alcan's industry-leading AP smelting technology, while the cooperation agreement will provide for various other types of project support. The technology transfer agreement represents the first industrial application of AP37 technology in a Greenfield project, with provisions to upgrade the Ma'aden facility to AP39 technology in the future. AP technology is recognized throughout the aluminium industry as the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly smelter technology commercially available. The technology transfer agreement is also expected to further the feasibility planning phase for the aluminium smelter at Ras Az Zawr.
Under the terms of the cooperation agreement, Rio Tinto Alcan will offer various types of support at Ma'aden's request, including technical services, secondment of key personnel, research and development assistance, management services and aluminium offtake support. Rio Tinto Alcan will also be involved with procurement and supply of alumina and other raw materials. Mr Sandeep Biswas senior vice president Business Development of Rio Tinto Alcan said that "With these agreements in place, Ma'aden will have access to AP technology, which has been successfully implemented in aluminium smelters worldwide. We are pleased to further our strong relationship with Ma'aden and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and to offer both our proven technology and our extensive operational expertise. These agreements strengthen our presence in the Middle East and will enable Rio Tinto Alcan to explore opportunities in this important region."