Ma'aden Alumina Refinery

Saudi Arabian Mining Company and Alcoa | Saudi Arabia | 2010–2014

1.8 million tpa

capacity of alumina


digestion temperature achieved to process boehmitic bauxite


  • The project is the world’s largest fully-integrated aluminum complex.
  • Saudi Arabian Mining Company and Alcoa wanted to develop a greenfield integrated project, including a bauxite mine, alumina refinery, aluminum smelter, and “can sheet” rolling mill.
  • The alumina refinery was to produce 1.8 million tpa of smelter-grade alumina, with most product feeding an adjacent aluminum smelter.
  • Specific digestion technology was needed to minimize heater cleaning and maintenance commitments for the refinery located in sustained hot environmental conditions.


  • Detailed design and construction-support-services contract was provided for the integrated digestion and evaporation facility.
  • Hatch's patented, innovative, proprietary "multi-cell" jacketed pipe-heater technology was selected for the refinery's digestion plant.
  • Developed the flow sheet concept for the digestion and evaporation facility, their design, and that of ancillary facilities.
  • Process, mechanical piping, electrical, and instrumentation engineers worked closely together on the design of the process areas and the core proprietary-technology equipment.


  • Second-largest single-stream high-pressure Bayer plant in the world.
  • One of the highest-temperature plants of its kind in the world with digestion temperature at 270ºC.
  • Rigorous testwork program validated design improvements for jacketed pipe-heater mechanical design and fluid-dynamic performance of digesters.
  • In-house models balanced heat transfer, slurry and vapor flows, condensate quality, overall energy balance requirements, and more, to prevent highly erosive two-phase flow.

Project numbers

55 area-specific equipment management strategies
3,500 maintenance activities uploaded
585 work instructions and procedures for critical assets
15,000 refinery assets identified

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