RIYADH: Speakers in a panel discussion held during the Future Minerals Forum stressed the importance of investing in human capital to better exploit the opportunities available in the fast-developing mining sector in the Kingdom.
“Mining is about accumulating resources,” said Brian Hosking, CEO of Gold and Mineral LLC. He deplored that while building material resources, people tend to ignore the key aspect of developing and nurturing human capital.
“We can’t operate a mine without people,” he said. He laid emphasis on ensuring the proper development of human resources for better results and productivity.
“We are about to start building a mine at the end of this year. That mine will employ around 600 people a large portion of those people will be Saudi nationals who have no experience and no skills and we will have to make sure that they are ready to take their place in the workforce,” he added.
Rana Abdullah Mohamed Zumai, a senior director of corporate communications and knowledge at the Saudi Geological Survey, highlighted the changing career perceptions among the Saudi youth.
“The new generation has a different mentality,” Zumai said. In the past people preferred job security over challenges unlike today’s youth, the official added.
Zumai said the Saudi youth, male and female, will find the mining sector exciting.
Rawan Al-Shehri, a master’s student at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology’s chemistry department, gave media credit for the growing popularity of the mining sector among the Saudi youth.
“Media is very important in terms of glorifying mining (as a sector), even in the remote areas (of the Kingdom),” she said, citing the example of the fast-growing tourism sector, which is the cornerstone of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy away from oil revenues.