Downstream mining activities and industrialization, which aims to satisfy the future needs of renewable energy, are encouraged in Saudi Arabia, the head of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program told Arab News.
Suliman Bin Khaled Al-Mazroua said laws and regulations in the Kingdom stimulate investments in the downstream mining sector, especially with the ongoing shift to renewable energy.
Saudi Arabia targets that by 2030 half of the Kingdom’s energy will be generated from renewable sources.
“That would require a lot of mining activities and downstream industry for silica, copper and others,” he added.
He indicated that copper is in short supply, while cobalt use needs to rise 13 times by 2040 to satisfy future needs of electric vehicles. Current production of EVs is around 3 million cars per year, but this is expected to go up to 71 million units in 2040.
“The priority, of course, is for the needs of copper, the needs of gold, and the needs of phosphate, silica and steel,” Al-mazroua said, adding that they are among the top 10 minerals targeted by his organization
In addition, mining in the Kingdom is done in compliance with environmental concerns. He noted that Ma’aden, Saudi Arabia’s national mining champion, carefully addresses these issues. The company preserves water and re-treats it using newly-built pipelines. It also uses renewable energy in powering facilities instead of opting for oil and other polluting sources.
When asked about how NIDLIP is enabling mining investments in the Kingdom, Al-mazroua said that, from the financial perspective, mining loans are now provided through the Saudi Industrial Development Fund with very low interest rates. Also, there has been an improvement in the provision of data for investors. The CEO of NIDLIP explained that the Saudi Geological Survey now supplies investors with the data they require.
Al-mazroua indicated that Saudi Arabia is endowed with many resources of varying kinds.
He said: “The beauty of Saudi Arabia is that if you go to the right side of Saudi Arabia, the Eastern part, you will see a lot of gas and oil. If you go to the left side, you will see a basket of all kinds of materials. We have gold, we have copper, we have phosphate, all types of materials.”