Ma’aden subsidiary Ma’aden Bauxite and Alumina, has signed a financing agreement worth $1bn with the Public Investment Fund (PIF), for the second phase of its aluminium project in Saudi Arabia.

The PIF loan will be repaid over a 16-year period, starting in 2017.

The total cost of the second phase of the project is $3.58bn, and will include a bauxite mine at Al Ba’itha and an alumina refinery at Ras Al Khair.

Ma’aden holds a 74.9% interest and Alcoa holds the remaining 25.1% interest in the project, which is being developed in two phases.

The first phase comprises an aluminium smelter and rolling mill at Ras Al Khair, which are expected to begin operations in 2013.

The bauxite mine and the aluminium refinery are expected to begin operations in 2014.