RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is ready to play a key role in bringing together governments, mining companies, and financial institutions to help tap into the mineral resources stretching from Africa to Central Asia, the Kingdom’s Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources has insisted.
In a speech opening the second day of the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh, Bandar Alkhorayef also said NGOs, service providers, and academia need to be brought into the process to ensure the world gets the minerals it needs.
Alkhorayef explained that from technology to renewable energy and to food security, minerals underpin all sectors of the economy today.
“The FMF was needed to address challenges of the industry, to explore opportunities, and discuss solutions for the future of minerals,” the Minister said, later adding: “We definitely need to address the quantity challenge but also need to ensure that the quantities have to be produced with quality.”
Alkhorayef added that in order to secure global security when it comes to minerals, stronger supply chains and integrated value chains from exploration to manufacturing will be required.
The minister said that while “we definitely have the quantities in the ground” adapting to new technologies of production and processing that are more efficient and sustainable will help address the quality challenge.
In addition to this, the Kingdom has designed one of the most competitive legal and regulatory frameworks aiming to accelerate and de-risk investments.
“This Saudi mining development experience can be considered as a model. As a region, we can and should build on these experiences as this will enable us to achieve our regional tremendous potential as a market and as an exporter to the world,” the minister concluded.
The Future Minerals Forum is being held in Riyadh from Jan. 10 to Jan. 12, with an estimated 200 speakers from around the world expected to attend the event.
The summit is set to tackle several topics, including sustainability, the future of mining, energy transition, the contribution of minerals to the development of societies, digital transformation, and integrated value chains.
The second edition of the FMF comes as Saudi Arabia’s mining sector is witnessing a rapid transformation and is attracting investors from around the globe.
According to geological surveys dating back 80 years, the Kingdom is thought to have an estimated reserve of untapped mining potential valued at $1.3 trillion.
However, with the prices of valuable minerals rising, especially gold, copper and zinc, the true value of the Kingdom’s current mineral wealth could be double that figure, CEO of the Saudi Geological Survey Abdullah Al-Shamrani said in September 2022.