Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh to unearth potential of Saudi mining industry

Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh to unearth potential of Saudi mining industry
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Updated 10 January 2022

Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh to unearth potential of Saudi mining industry

Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh to unearth potential of Saudi mining industry

DUBAI: The inaugural Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh will mark the beginning of a new era for Saudi Arabia’s mining industry.

Key mining players across the globe are taking part in the event, which is hosted by the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources.

The ministry said that the event promotes three themes: Mining’s contribution to society, reimagining mining, and investing in new and emerging mining regions.

It comes as part of Saudi Vision 2030’s goal to diversify the economy.

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The Kingdom has identified mining as a key sector of the future, with an untapped potential of $1.3 trillion, according to recent data.

Saudi authorities have launched one of the world’s largest geophysical and geochemical surveys, on top of other reforms to fully take advantage of the growing industry.

Organizers are optimistic that miners and global investors will see the opportunities that the emerging region presents.

According to an event briefing document, the Middle East, West and Central Asia, and Africa “represent a blank canvas on which to develop modern mining industries.”

The ministry hopes that the Riyadh forum will kick-start a global conversation about the future of the industry, with minerals expected to play a crucial role in a global energy transition.

The future global economy is characterized by low-carbon technologies including electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines, organizers said, adding that these innovations are “powered by mined materials such as copper, zinc, tin, tungsten and lithium.”

More than 2,000 participants are expected to attend the three-day event at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Center.

More than 150 international investors will also attend, along with thought leaders and global speakers who will take part in speaking sessions.

Among the mining leaders and industry experts who have confirmed their attendance to the conference are Canada’s Mark Bristow of Barrick Gold Corporation, Robert Friedland of Ivahone Mines, Anil Agarwal of UK-based Vedanta Resources, Jeffrey Dawes of US-based Komatsu Mining Corporation and Roy Harvey of US aluminum producer Alcoa.

Major Saudi figures are also taking part in the event: Abdulaziz Al-Harbi, CEO of Ma’aden; Yousef Al-Benyan, CEO of SABIC; and NEOM chief Nadhmi Al-Nasr.

A key part of the event is showcasing investment opportunities, drawing major investors and sovereign fund leaders, including officials from Resource Capital Funds, Pacific Road Capital, Rousseau Asset Management, EMR Capital and Sprott.

The forum will discuss the “establishment or transformation of a new, modern and responsible future minerals industry in the Middle East, West and Central Asia, and Africa.”

Attendees will experience an in-depth look at the resource endowment of these regions as well as better understand legal and regulatory frameworks, the organizers said.

Another key theme of the summit is the application of environment, social, and governance principles in the industry. One session will discuss “building a sustainable mining future.”

A brochure said that the event will mark “growing societal expectations for a mining industry that protects the environment, contributes to community development and behaves ethically.”

The Kingdom is optimistic about the potential role of mining in its ambitious diversification strategy, and aims to “emerge as a major new player in global mining.”

 


US car makers and medical suppliers warn chip shortage will last for more than six months

US car makers and medical suppliers warn chip shortage will last for more than six months
Updated 26 January 2022

US car makers and medical suppliers warn chip shortage will last for more than six months

US car makers and medical suppliers warn chip shortage will last for more than six months

RIYADH: US businesses are worried that the global semiconductor supply shortage is set to last for at least six more months, according to report put together by the country's Department of Commerce.

The White House was urged to push ahead with a $52 billion plan previously submitted to Congress to stimulate semiconductor makers and encourage them to build factories in the US, Bloomberg reported.

The report, released on Tuesday, was based on information taken from more than 150 companies in the semiconductors supply chain, and stated that the global shortage of chips will persist until the second half of 2022 as: “there is a significant, persistent mismatch in supply and demand for chips.”

The most affected industries by the shortage include automakers, consumer electronic, medical devices, broadband, and auto industries.

Even though the government does not have many alternatives in hand to solve the current issue, US officials will focus on resolving bottlenecks in those supply chains, and investigate claims of chips price gouging for some types of semiconductors, the report said.

Average inventory level fell from 40 days to fewer than 5 days, resulting in no room for error, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a briefing with reporters discussing the findings of the report. The median demand for chips was 17 percent higher in 2021 than in 2019, coupled with disproportionate increases in supply.

Disruption in the supply of semiconductors, which plays a key factor in determining the country’s inflation level, could threaten to help swing Congress to Republican control in November’s midterm elections.

Many firms have been recently expanding their operations in the US, with Intel Corp. announcing it is building the world’s biggest silicon-manufacturing site in Columbus, Ohio, worth $20 billion, and expected to become operational in 2025.


Saudi, Iraq electrical connection to generate 1GW of power

Saudi, Iraq electrical connection to generate 1GW of power
Updated 26 January 2022

Saudi, Iraq electrical connection to generate 1GW of power

Saudi, Iraq electrical connection to generate 1GW of power

RIYADH: Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman announced that the electrical connection between Saudi Arabia and Iraq will generate one gigawatt of power initially, according to the Iraqi News Agency.

This comes after Iraq has signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the matter with the Saudi side.

Nevertheless, “the Iraqi-Saudi cooperation is not limited to the electrical connection only, but rather it is the beginning of a joint collective action,” Iraqi News Agency reported, citing the Prince.

Bilateral models need to be further developed and strengthened on a regional and Arab scale, he added.


Lebanon’s new electricity deal with Syria and Jordan is a long way from being switched on

Lebanon’s new electricity deal with Syria and Jordan is a long way from being switched on
Updated 26 January 2022

Lebanon’s new electricity deal with Syria and Jordan is a long way from being switched on

Lebanon’s new electricity deal with Syria and Jordan is a long way from being switched on

Plagued by constant power shortages, Lebanon’s new agreement with Jordan and Syria could be seen as a turning point for the energy-poor nation.

Yet the deal — which will see electricity flow from Syria — will not provide an immediate solution to the country’s energy problems, according to Lebanese oil and gas expert Laury Hatayan.

Speaking to Arab News, Hatayan says there are still plenty of hurdles to jump before the agreement — brokered by the US and expected to be partially financed by the World Bank — begins to help the country with its power outages.

“The deal doesn’t mean Lebanon will be provided with electricity tomorrow, as we are hearing that the World Bank has conditioned finalizing the arrangement on reforms to the electricity sector,” Hatayan said.   

The deal would supply Lebanon with 700 Megawatts of electricity in total: 250MW from Jordan and 450MW from Egypt.

With the Iraqi fuel supplies that have already kicked in and future supply by Egypt, Lebanon will be able to get a total of 10 hours of electricity per day.

This much-needed boost does not come without strings attached, according to Marc Ayoub, energy researcher and program coordinator at the American University of Beirut’s Issam Fares Institute.

“The World Bank is asking for a comprehensive reform plan of the electricity sector including loss reductions, improving bill collection and increasing electricity tariffs,” he said.

The World Bank’s regional director, Saroj Kumar Jha, has said that the exact amount of financing has not yet been determined, but the government’s initial request was $250 million, he told L’Orient Today.

Lebanon will also have to conduct repairs to the Lebanese side of a pipeline needed to import gas from Egypt, at a cost of $1million.

Additionally, Jordanian electricity to Lebanon will come at a cost of $200 million a year. 

Other hurdles are political in nature, such as US sanctions on Syria. Washington has so far ensured regional players that the deal does not fall under the Caesar Act sanctions or other US sanctions on Syria because the Syrian government will not receive any financial compensation but will be paid in kind.   

“The Egyptians are keen on getting guarantees against the Cesar Act. The Jordanians are not as wary given their strategic relations with the US,” adds Hatayan.

The deal and any electricity reforms must be approved by Parliament, which is known for its inefficiency and dissensions. 

The announcement by former PM Saad Hariri of his plan to retire from political life has cast doubt as to the fate of his current political bloc. Hariri heads the Future movement, the biggest Sunni bloc in parliament.

“For now, no reforms mean no money and deals can remain just deals (without being implemented),” highlights Hatayan.

If financing is finally secured Ayoub believes that Jordanian electricity is expected to flow to Lebanon by April or May.


Saudi Petrochem 2021 profits jump almost fivefold amid sector-wide boom

Saudi Petrochem 2021 profits jump almost fivefold amid sector-wide boom
Updated 32 min 16 sec ago

Saudi Petrochem 2021 profits jump almost fivefold amid sector-wide boom

Saudi Petrochem 2021 profits jump almost fivefold amid sector-wide boom

RIYADH: Saudi-listed National Petrochemical Co., better known as Petrochem, saw its profits surge almost fivefold in 2021.

As the Kingdom’s chemical sector grew, profits of the homegrown firm hit SR1.4 billion ($370 million), compared to SR230 million a year earlier.

The company attributed the hike in profits to higher product prices and drops in Zakat expenses, according to a bourse filing.

On a wider scale, data by Gastat earlier showed that outgoing chemical shipments picked up pace significantly, prompting Saudi non-oil exports growth to hit an annual rate of 26.1 percent in November.

Established in 2008, Petrochem operates in the Kingdom’s petrochemical sector. It owns 65 percent of Saudi Polymer Co., located in Jubail Industrial City.

 


Oman partners with Virgin Orbit for satellite launch platform 

Oman partners with Virgin Orbit for satellite launch platform 
Updated 26 January 2022

Oman partners with Virgin Orbit for satellite launch platform 

Oman partners with Virgin Orbit for satellite launch platform 

RIYADH: Oman-based International Emerging Technologies Co. signed an agreement with the US-based Virgin Orbit to prepare satellite launch platforms in Oman.

Oman’s Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology has supported the agreement to reinforce the Sultanate’s interest in the space science sector and related logistics services, it said in a statement. 

As per the agreement, the establishment of satellites in low Earth orbit will be studied to conduct scientific research, capture high-resolution images of space, and use the latest solutions to digitally analyse data and images collected from orbit.

The partnership will empower local talents and open investment opportunities for universities through academic exchange programs, according to the statement. 

This happens as Oman seeks to accelerate the space industry in the Sultanate.