Minister of Finance Ibrahim Al-Assaf yesterday signed contracts with a consortium of three national and international companies worth $1.9 billion [SR7.19 billion] to build a north-south railway project. The project will cover approximately 1,097 miles and will provide for the transportation of both minerals and passengers. It is expected to be completed in 42 months.
The first contract covers a 358-mile stretch of railway from Ras Al-Zoor to the Al-Zubairah bauxite mine. The second contract is for the 373-mile part of the railway from Al-Zubairah to the Great Nofood, and the third is for the 466-mile stretch from the Great Nofood to Al-Haditha, Hazm Al-Jalamid and Al-Basita.
The railway project is considered to be critical to the success of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious $3.5 billion downstream oil and gas project, the Arab News reported today. The railway project is also crucial for a multibillion fertilizer plant and and an aluminum smelter to be developed at Ras Al-Zour by Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden).