H.E. Vice-Minister for Mining Affairs Khalid Al-Mudaifer details the country’s mining transformation as it grows to become Saudi Arabia’s third pillar of industrial growth
In an interview this week during Mines and Money Online Connect, His Excellency Khalid Al-Mudaifer, Vice-Minister of Mining Affairs for the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, shared with a global audience of investors the reasons why Saudi Arabia is rapidly emerging as a major mining destination.
“Saudi Arabia is very much open for business, and we have taken many transformational steps to make investing in mining more attractive than ever before,” said Eng. Al-Mudaifer. “Plus, because of what investors have told us are critical success factors, we have a new national mind-set, deeper understanding of the complexities of mining and a greater focus on stability and predictability. Combined with a rich and diverse geological footprint, a transformed mining sector and a sharp focus on sustainability, we can make a compelling case that Saudi Arabia is a mining country in the making.”
The Vice-Minister highlighted three primary attractions for investors: Geology, Mining Ecosystem and Sustainability.
- The Arabian Shield is estimated to contain $1.3 trillion worth of potential mineral value, across numerous commodities, including gold, copper, phosphate, iron ore and rare earth minerals, 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 is now under way and will conduct geophysical and geochemical surveys and create detailed mapping of more than 700,000 square kilometers of the Arabian Shield.
- To meet the Paris Agreement goals on climate, the global supply of copper and rare earth minerals will need to increase by 40 percent, while nickel and cobalt needs will go up by 60 percent to 70 percent, and lithium requirements will expand by 90 percent. All of those pivotal elements feature in Saudi Arabia’s rich geology
- 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.
- Based on global best practice, a completely revised Mining Investment Law was issued late last year, and now supports a clear and transparent process for license applications and approvals
- The new “Ta-adin” web-based platform offers a single point of access for mining license applications, issuance and information
- New incentives have been implemented, including the provision of co-funding up to 75 percent of investment, a five-year royalty holiday for miners, discounts on royalties for local downstream production and support for Saudization costs
- 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:
- High domestic demand for mineral outputs
- Geographic placement in a key part of the world and proximity to end-user markets in major geographies, including MENA, Asia and Europe
- Safety and security, as ranked by the World Economic Forum’s security index
- Continuous progress in ‘ease of doing business’, with the World Bank placing Saudi Arabia in the top 10 in terms of an improving business climate
- Strong infrastructure, including roads, rail, ports and electricity networks, and significant investments in water utilization and infrastructure.
- The Mining Sustainability Principle aims to protect the environment and the health and safety of workers in the sector.
- 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.
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:
- Defining a New Mining Hub – Showcasing opportunities across the Middle East, Central Asia, and North and East Africa
- Lands of Opportunity – Outlining partnership opportunities across integrated value chains
- Reimagining Mining – Shining a spotlight on innovations that will support mining in the future
- Mining’s Contribution to Society – Highlighting the industry’s vital role in producing the inputs needed to create a circular carbon future, as well as attracting the workforce of the future
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.
For more information, visit www.futuremineralssumit.com.