Ras Al-Khair investments ‘highlight potential of Saudi mining sector’

Ras Al-Khair port, developed by the Saudi Ports Authority, is one of the most modern in the world and was built to serve as an export hub for petrochemical, phosphate and aluminum products created at nearby processing facilities.
Updated 26 November 2016

Ras Al-Khair investments ‘highlight potential of Saudi mining sector’

JEDDAH: The significant amount of capital invested by top firms such as Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), Alcoa and The Mosaic Company in Ras Al-Khair clearly demonstrates the quality and potential of the Kingdom’s mining sector, Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Maaden) CEO Khalid Al-Mudaifer told Arab News.

“Ras Al-Khair is the anchor of the Saudi mining sector and as such it will play a significant role in the economic diversification of the Saudi economy,” he added.
Ras Al-Khair, a $35 billion multi commodity minerals hub located in the Eastern Province, has been an ongoing initiative for over 10 years.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman will formally inaugurate Ras Al-Khair’s various key facilities on Tuesday.
According to Al-Mudaifer, Maaden is proud of the fact that Ras Al-Khair has already delivered 12,000 direct job opportunities and tens of thousands more indirect jobs for ambitious young Saudi nationals.
“The city now acts as the center of excellence for Saudi mining and our facilities here will ensure that in the future a diverse array of high quality Saudi mining products will continue to successfully penetrate local, regional and global markets,” said the CEO.
He asserted that Ras Al-Khair would continue to have a big role to play in achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020.
The CEO said: “Saudi Vision 2030 seeks to increase the industrial development of mineral resources in Saudi Arabia while ensuring that the entire mining value chain is captured within the Kingdom so we can deliver maximum value and job growth.”
Al-Mudaifer said: “Through facilities like those at Ras Al-Khair, the industry is continuing to grow production volumes, increase investment, and maintain a sustained focus on the development of skilled human resources.
He added: “Under the National Transformation Program, by 2020 mining activity in Saudi Arabia is expected to provide 90,000 direct jobs and increase its contribution to Saudi GDP to SR97 billion ($25.9 billion).”
A key part of the success of Ras Al-Khair is the world-class infrastructure facilities developed here by Maaden’s public sector partners, Al-Mudaifer pointed out.
In addition to Maaden’s integrated complexes for aluminum and phosphate production, Ras Al-Khair is supported by key infrastructure including a 1,400 km railway connecting to the main mines in the country, a major port supporting exporting operations, one of the world’s largest desalination and power plants and a fully functioning village for workers.
It is also home to a maritime complex that will establish local shipbuilding and related industries to be built by Aramco.
The Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources is a key stakeholder in the Ras Al-Khair project’s development.
“There is no doubt that Ras Al-Khair will play a pivotal part in helping the Kingdom move away from oil-based income,” said Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Minister Khalid Al-Falih was quoted as saying in a press release.
“We are confident that the city will help establish Saudi Arabia’s mining sector on the global stage and also contribute to the generation of multiple downstream investment opportunities,” he added.
Ras Al-Khair is key example of how the Kingdom’s leadership is delivering on the goal of Saudi Vision 2030 to reduce dependence on oil-based income and facilitate national economic diversification, the press release added.


Lebanon removes banking secrecy rules to fight corruption

Updated 13 min ago

Lebanon removes banking secrecy rules to fight corruption

  • The move opens the way for investigations into bank accounts of current and former officials such as Cabinet ministers

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s parliament approved on Thursday a law to remove decades-old banking secrecy rules in order to better fight rampant corruption that has pushed the country to the edge of economic collapse.
The move opens the way for investigations into bank accounts of current and former officials such as Cabinet ministers, legislators and civil servants, state-run National News Agency reported.
The restoration of stolen public money in the corruption-plagued nation has been a key demand of protesters who have been demonstrating since mid-October against Lebanon’s ruling elite, which they blame for widespread corruption and mismanagement.
The approval of the law came two months after the Cabinet approved a draft resolution to abolish the country’s banking secrecy laws, which have turned tiny Lebanon into the region’s Switzerland, attracting clients from around the Arab world who prized the anonymity its banks offered.
The new law gives powers to National Anti-corruption Commission and a Special Investigative Committee at the central bank to investigate bank account of officials, the report said.
For Thursday’s session, Lebanese lawmakers convened inside a Beirut theater so that they could observe social distancing measures imposed during the pandemic. Dozens of anti-government demonstrators briefly clashed with riot police outside as legislators met.
As lawmakers in face masks arrived at the theater, known as the UNESCO palace, paramedics sprayed them with disinfectant before they entered, one at a time.
Lebanon has been facing its worst economic crisis in decades, with unemployment figures soaring and the local currency losing more than half of its value against the dollar.
After the banking secrecy measure was passed, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri suspended the session until later in the afternoon when the legislators were to discuss a draft general amnesty law.
The amnesty issue has deeply divided parliamentary blocs, with Christian groups calling for pardoning Lebanese who fled to Israel after it ended its occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000, while former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and others want the release of hundreds of Islamists held as terror suspects.
Lebanon and Israel are at a state of war and some Lebanese who fled to Israel now hold Israeli citizenship. Scores of protesters demonstrated in Beirut and southern Lebanon on Thursday against pardoning those living in Israel.