RIYADH: Saudi mining company Ma’aden has announced a partnership with the oceans initiatives WAVE to contribute to the protection of the world’s sea and maritime assets.
Led by Princess Reema bint Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, this initiative aims to accelerate global ocean regeneration efforts. It focuses on building awareness, innovation, scientific support, and partnerships to combat ocean pollution and restore environmental balance.
The collaboration was disclosed by Ma’aden CEO Robert Wilt during the 7th Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh.
Talking to Arab News, Wilt said: “Thirty percent of our product ships across the ocean, so we want to be part of that. We’re headquartered in Riyadh, but we have significant operations along the Arabian Gulf, so we care deeply about that as part of our ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) agenda. So that’s the big signing today.”
An official statement revealed that WAVE had secured 22 partnerships, and Princess Reema invited organizations to “Join the WAVE” in making the planet’s health a top priority through collaborative and transformative efforts.
Princess Reema stated: “Oceans and seas play a crucial role in the lives, health, and well-being of humanity, directly impacting the overall health, well-being, and economy of the world. This initiative seeks to build connections and harmony among various international efforts, aiming to achieve its ambitious and yet attainable goal of environmentally regenerating the oceans within one generation.”
Ma’aden’s CEO emphasized that Saudi Arabia has been predominantly associated with oil and gas exploration, stating: “The Kingdom has been very well explored for oil and gas for 80 years, but it hasn’t really been explored for minerals and mining. And we’ve stood up the world’s largest exploration program in any single jurisdiction just in the last couple of years with significant discoveries on the horizon.”
To accelerate their exploration endeavors, Ma’aden has secured key partnerships with prominent international entities such as Ivanhoe Electric and Barrick Gold. Through collaborative efforts with these partners, the mining firm is tapping into its expertise and technology to unlock the Kingdom’s vast mineral potential.
The CEO added: “Our 2040 strategy is to grow the company by 10 times and to be a global mining, sustainable mining presence. That means exploring the Kingdom, but it also means being an ESG role model for the Kingdom.”
“We’ve got significant assets already in the Kingdom. We’ve got seven gold mines in the Kingdom, all of them are on a glide path to carbon neutrality by 2050, whether it’s by hooking up with Aramco or taking advantage of renewable energy sources,” he added.
The CEO emphasized the critical role of mining in the global energy transition, citing a 500 percent increase in demand for transition metals, including copper, nickel, lithium, and zinc by 2050 to meet climate goals. Ma’aden aims to play a pivotal role in supplying these essential materials.
In light of the FII7 theme “The New Compass,” Wilt noted: “We have a five-pointed compass if that makes any sense and it’s our values. I am absolutely convinced that if we can live our values, we can get this. We can make this company ten times as big or bigger.”
Moreover, Ma’aden is embracing technological innovation to enhance efficiency in exploration, data processing, and production. Collaborating with Ivanhoe, the company is implementing advanced technology to accelerate geographic scanning of the region, potentially reducing exploration time by half.
“We signed 20 agreements in the past year with technology providers to help digitize our operations, automate processes. So, we are giving out a full court press to take advantage of all the technology that’s available,” the CEO revealed.
Wilt added: “We have got to be better at everything we do every single day. So, if we do that right, we can solve a lot of challenges. But getting everybody in that same mindset, working to that same values framework is what we’re about doing as we grow modern this company.”
According to the CEO, Ma’aden’s commitment to Saudi youth is a cornerstone of its corporate philosophy.
Wilt said: “I’m a huge believer in Saudi youth. I started coming here in 1999 with the US Army and when I was leaving Saudi Arabia, I remember very well the kids were waving American flags on the streets of Khobar.”
Adding: “I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Saudi youth. And Ma’aden has also done an enormous amount of work to help educate and build the ecosystem around educating the youth for a mining profession.”
The company has established schools of excellence in the Northern region, won sustainability awards, and announced a new school for girls.
It also sponsored the Saudi Mining Polytechnic and partnered with King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals to establish a mining college.
These initiatives aim to equip Saudi youth with the skills required for a career in the modern and high-tech world of mining, which relies on automation and advanced digital technologies.