Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: In an appearance at MINExpo® International 2021, Las Vegas, Khalid Al-Mudaifer, Vice-Minister of Mining Affairs for the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, outlined the unique opportunities for investors, explorers, miners and service providers to get into a dynamic sector that is at the heart of the Kingdom’s rapidly evolving industrial economy.
“Saudi Arabia is very much open for business. We have a demonstrable track record of success with our international partners, offering a best-in-class experience benchmarked against global standards,” said Al-Mudaifer. “Additionally, the government continues to support the development of mining through major infrastructure transformation, including roads, rail, ports and electricity networks. Now is the time for international organizations to be part of the mining sector’s exponential growth in the Kingdom.”
As well as hearing directly from the Vice-Minister, attendees were given deeper insight into the experiences of operating in the mining sector, with Willem Jacobs, Chief Operating Officer, Africa and Middle East, Barrick, saying: “We enjoy an excellent working relationship with the Saudi government, and we find the country easy to work in. The biggest challenge for a miner is access to infrastructure. Saudi is blessed with good infrastructure; it has excellent roads, airports, railway, and port structures. The country is well positioned for export markets to the east and west. We find it very easy to reach export markets from where we are.”
The Vice-Minister was joined by Musaed Al-Daood, Deputy Minister for Mining Development, as well as Hall Delano Roosevelt, President & CEO U.S.-Saudi Business Council.
In addition to informing MINExpo attendees of Saudi Arabia’s value proposition as a world-class mining destination, the delegation participated in high-level bilateral meetings with companies interested in doing business and investing in the Kingdom’s mining sector.
Finally, Vice-Minister Al-Mudaifer announced details of the inaugural Future Minerals Summit (FMS), the first-ever event to offer a “one-stop-shop” for investors, miners and other industry stakeholders interested in learning more about the mining potential of the Middle East, Central Asia, and North and East Africa.
Planned for January 11 to 13, 2022, in Riyadh, FMS will welcome attendees from around the world, including governments, investors, and mining majors and corporates. The Summit program is being built around four pillars:
In addition to the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, FMS has been endorsed by the Ministry of Investment, Public Investment Fund and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mining Ecosystem and Infrastructure
Saudi Vision 2030 singled out mining to grow to become the third pillar of the country’s industrial growth, which led to the development of a comprehensive Mining and Mining Industries Development Strategy, which has identified nearly 40 initiatives, most of which already are up and running.
Saudi Arabia’s legal and regulatory framework for mining is being transformed and is now designed to ensure efficient and transparent licensing; simplify doing business; and support a dynamic, sustainable mining industry.
The Kingdom already has attracted significant amounts of domestic and international investment in mining commodities like gold, phosphate and aluminum.
To a degree, this prior success has been based on a variety of “baked in” advantages for prospective investors, such as:
The Arabian Shield is estimated to contain $1.3 trillion worth of potential mineral value, across numerous commodities, many of which are critical to the technologies that will drive a sustainable future, and which are in high demand.
The recently launched National Geological Database provides online access to 80 years’ worth of national records of geological, geophysical and geochemical information, including thousands of detailed reports on mining targets and prospects.
Also recently announced, a major Regional Geological Survey Program (supported with government investment of more than half a trillion dollars) is now under way and will conduct geophysical and geochemical surveys and create detailed mapping of nearly 700,000 square kilometers of the Arabian Shield.
The Kingdom has launched the Mining Sector Sustainability Assurance Initiative, which aims to create a sector that is focused on balancing economic value and environmental protection.
The country’s new mining law ensures that sustainable practices are a foremost priority for new mining operators as they apply for licenses.