RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s drive to establish a regional mining center of excellence aimed at meeting the increasing demand for minerals vital to diverse industries was the focal point of a conference attended by leading industry figures.
The “Role of Centers of Excellence in Establishing Mineral Supply Chains” conference, held at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, aimed to ensure market stability, enhance industry growth, and foster development.
The conference’s goal was the establishment of a regional mining center of excellence, with insights garnered from a ministerial roundtable at the upcoming international mining conference in January, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
Additionally, the event looked at charting a clear path for the center’s operations, benefiting Africa, the Middle East, and Western Asia.
It placed a significant emphasis on research, development, and innovation within the mining sector, recognizing their pivotal role in sustaining mineral supplies and overcoming regional challenges.
The conference was jointly organized by KACST, the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, and the Future Minerals Forum.
During the opening session, Saeed Al-Shihri, KACST’s vice president for energy and industry, underscored Saudi Arabia’s commitment to the mining sector as a cornerstone of the national economy, aligning with Vision 2030’s goal of increasing the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product.
Al-Shihri emphasized the vital role of a regional mining center of excellence in stabilizing markets and fostering industrial growth for sectors dependent on sustainable mineral supplies.
He further highlighted KACST’s dedication to promoting research, development, and innovation in the sector, including the establishment of an institute specializing in mining and hydrocarbon technologies.
Ali Al-Mutairi, the Executive Director of FMF, explained that the conference serves as a preparatory step for the forum, enabling discussions with international experts to identify the region’s critical needs and cooperative mechanisms.
The conference featured discussions among a diverse group of local and international experts and researchers.
Topics ranged from the role of research and development in sustaining mineral supply chains to addressing the surging global market demand and exploring opportunities stemming from urbanization and increased demand for mining industries in Africa, the Middle East, and Western Asia.