Hanwha Engineering-Saudi order

SEOUL, March 20 (Yonhap) -- Hanwha Engineering & Construction Corp., a South Korean builder, said Wednesday that it has signed a US$270 million deal to build facilities to produce gold bars in Saudi Arabia.

Under the deal with Ma'aden, Saudi Arabia's state-owned mining company, Hanwha E&C will construct the facilities as well as a residence and research center near Al Humiyah, about 450 kilometers southwest of the kingdom's capital Riyadh.

The facilities, to be built in two years, will be capable of processing 2 million tons of ore per year to produce bullion, according to the company.

Khalid Al Mudaifer, Ma'aden's president and CEO, said last month that the gold processing plant will produce about 180,000 ounces of gold per year and is a key part of Ma'aden's program to develop several new gold mine facilities in the central western region of Saudi Arabia, which contains much of the kingdom's gold rich ore deposits.

"The signing of this contract represents an important early milestone in our program to expand the development of Saudi Arabia's gold ore deposits, and this project will make a substantial contribution to Ma'aden's overall gold production capacity," Al Mudaifer said in comments posted on the Web site of his company.

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