AS IT HAPPENED: Future Minerals Forum, Day 3

Update AS IT HAPPENED: Future Minerals Forum, Day 3
(The event discusses the role that each country in the region can play in developing sustainable and responsible mineral value chains. Future Minerals Forum)
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Updated 13 January 2022

AS IT HAPPENED: Future Minerals Forum, Day 3

AS IT HAPPENED: Future Minerals Forum, Day 3
  • A major theme of the previous day was the role of minerals in the global transition to clean energy

RIYADH: The Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh continues on Thursday for its last set of high-level discussions about the future of the mining industry.

The three-day summit, which gathers more than 2,000 participants at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Center, held back-to-back discussions on Wednesday spanning topics from attracting investments to responsible mining.

A major theme of the previous day was the role of minerals in the global transition to clean energy.

Major Saudi personalities, including top officials from the Public Investment Fund, Ma’aden, and the Minister of Energy, spoke in several sessions throughout the day.

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The third day will continue the previous insightful talks with topics on technology in mining, women’s participation in the industry, as well as industry outlook in the coming years.

Saudi Arabia’s environment, water and agriculture minister Abdulrahman Al-Fadley is opening the forum with a keynote address.

Follow our coverage (all timings in GMT):

11:00NEOM wants to convince the world that mining can be done in a sustainable manner, according to the CEO of the megacity being built on Saudi Arabia’s northwest Red Sea coast.

Nadhmi Al-Nasr said that the $500 billion project is starting with “no legacy” when it comes to excavations, but has ambitions to bring “technology and innovation” to the sector.

He acknowledged that mining has a bad reputation, saying: “No matter what we do, mining perception is not good enough yet.”

He went on to argue that “it is time for the mining industry to compete with the oil industry” as he called for the sector to move to “the next era.”

09:30 – Robert Friedland, chairman of Ivanhoe Mines, said demand for copper, which is used for electric vehicles, will rise 10 times by 2030.

He said the excavation of the mineral should “dramatically increase if the world wants to switch to electric vehicles.

07:45 – ‘Women in Mining’panel discussion saw calls for the industry to do more to attract female talent.

Christine Gibbs Stewart, CEO of Australia-based Austmine, said that just 9 percent of the global mining workforce are women, and even in her country which is a “very mature market” it is just 16 percent.

She added: “We need the best and brightest to join the mining industry because of the challenges that we face in the future.

“In order to do that, we need to think differently because of the perception of mining we have been talking about that it is not a woman-friendly industry, we really need to step up and we need to be leaders.”

07:00 – A keynote panel on the participation of women in the traditionally male-dominated mining space, which sees participation from the Saudi mining company Ma’aden.

“Only 7 percent to 8 percent of of women are working in the global mining workforce and that is a huge gap that needs to be filled, says Sheila Khama, the former CEO of De Beers Botswana.

06:30Saudi Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadley reiterated the government’s commitment to achieve a sustainable economy, as part of the Saudi Vision 2030.

He added the government is keen to limit desertification and preserve wildlife, and ultimately “increase community participation in such activities.”

“Achieving the national objectives to protect the environment comes only by participation of all segments, from both public and private sector,” the minister said, emphasizing the critical role of partnerships in the fight against climate change.

The minister also talked about the issue of funding major environmental projects, as well as the delicate balancing act between climate action and economic growth.