Ma'aden-Alcoa Joint Venture Completes Saudi Arabia's First Engineered Wetlands System to Treat Two M

Ma'aden-Alcoa Joint Venture Completes Saudi Arabia's First Engineered Wetlands System to Treat Two Million Gallons of Wastewater Daily

System Will Conserve Water and Save More Than US$7 Million Annually at the Ma'aden-Alcoa Joint Venture Project

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia & NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Alcoa (NYS: AA) and The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden) today announced completion of a first-of-its-kind engineered wetlands wastewater management system in Saudi Arabia at the Ma'aden-Alcoa joint venture project site. The newly constructed system will reduce water demand by nearly two million US gallons (7.5 million litres) per day and save more than US$7million (SAR 26 million) annually that would otherwise be used to purchase fresh water.

The Alcoa-designed and engineered technology - known as a Natural Engineered Wastewater Treatment system - collects sanitary and industrial wastewater and then cleans and disinfects the water without the use of chemicals or the creation of water discharge and odors associated with conventional tank systems. The water will then be reused in the manufacturing process and for irrigation at the Ma'aden-Alcoa aluminum complex at Ras Al Khair. The complex includes a refinery, smelter and rolling mill.

"Sustainable development is a core value for Ma'aden," said Abdulaziz A. Al Harbi, Ma'aden Aluminium's president. "It is also a critical component of our operating excellence that will enable Ma'aden Aluminium to become the world's lowest-cost producer of primary aluminum, alumina and aluminum products, with access to growing markets in the Middle East and beyond."

"This innovative waste management system demonstrates the value of combining Ma'aden's local knowledge and expertise with the technological depth and sustainability leadership that Alcoa brings to the Ma'aden-Alcoa joint venture," said Ray Kilmer, Alcoa's Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. "Together with Ma'aden, we are bringing to life this oasis in the desert which will safely treat and conserve water in a way that is good for the environment and the bottom line."

This sustainable technology, demonstrated via full-scale deployment at the Alcoa Technical Center near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is now being considered for other wastewater treatment applications throughout Saudi Arabia.

Alcoa technical experts developed the system to mimic the physical, chemical and biological processes of natural wetlands. In addition to saving water and money, the innovative design was constructed six months faster than a conventional tank-based system and eliminated an estimated 1,000 metric tons of steel for piping and tanks. The project is expected to be fully operational by the end of July this year.

Alcoa's wetlands system comprises three steps including (1) an anaerobic treatment tank which breaks down and separates organic material in the water; (2) a passive engineered wetland that utilizes vegetation for further treatment of organics and removal of nitrogen and metals; and (3) a cell housing bauxite-based technology that disinfects and polishes the water. The result is water treated to the same or better quality as that of a conventional system.

For more information on the Ma'aden-Alcoa joint venture project visit:

About Alcoa

Alcoa is the world's leading producer of primary and fabricated aluminum, as well as the world's largest miner of bauxite and refiner of 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 125 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 11 consecutive years and approximately 75 percent of all of the aluminum ever produced since 1888 is still in active use today. Alcoa employs approximately 61,000 people in 30 countries across the world. For more information, visit, follow @Alcoa on Twitter at and follow Alcoa on Facebook at

About the Ma'aden Alcoa joint venture

In its initial phases, the joint venture will develop a fully integrated industrial complex which will become the world's preeminent and lowest-cost producer of primary aluminum, alumina and aluminum products, with access to the growing markets of the Middle East and beyond. The complex comprises:

  • A bauxite mine with an initial capacity of 4,000,000 metric tons per year
  • An alumina refinery with an initial capacity of 1,800,000 metric tons per year
  • An aluminum smelter with an initial capacity of 740,000 metric tons per year
  • A rolling mill with initial capacity of 380,000 metric tonnes per year. It will be the first in the Middle East capable of producing food grade can sheet, as well as sheet for automotive, building and construction applications. Upon completion, the mill will be one of the most technically-advanced mills in the world.

Kelly Pasterick, +1 (212) 836-2674
Artur Tarnowski, +966 (1) 874 8124
Christa Bowers, +1 (212) 836-2605
Aqeel M. Alonazi, (966) 11 874 8045

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Saudi Arabia  New York  Pennsylvania  Middle East


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