Investment for global mining hub sought

An image depicting Khalid Al-Mudaifer, standing on a green podium delivering a speech at the Mining Indaba

KHALID AL-MUDAIFER Saudi Arabia was represented by a high-level delegation from its Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, which included senior representatives from the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, Saudi Geological Survey and Ministry of Investment

24th June 2022

By: Sabrina Jardim

Creamer Media Writer


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At this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba, Saudi Arabia was represented by a high-level delegation from its Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources (MIM), led by Minister Bandar Al-Khorayef, and including senior representatives from the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, the Saudi Geological Survey and the Ministry of Investment.

The MIM focused on promoting investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia, with geological opportunities also available across Africa for governments, companies and investors, says Saudi Arabia’s Mining Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources Vice Minister Khalid Al-Mudaifer.

He adds that the MIM showcased economic development opportunities available across Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Further, the Indaba enabled the MIM to highlight the potential to create new, responsible mining jurisdictions in Africa, and globally, to meet the global demand for minerals.

Hence, the MIM illustrated the opportunity to develop a regional mining sector that is focused on environmental, social and corporate governance issues that are driving investment and technology.

“We see the event as a great success, as we were able to conduct productive meetings with potential investors and delegations from several other governments from countries including, Sierra Leone, Chad, Senegal, Mali, Angola and Niger,” says Al-Mudaifer.

Mining Super-Region

The MIM updated attendees of the Indaba on the development of a mining super-region that spans 9 000 km – from the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Africa, through the Middle East to Kyrgyzstan, in Asia.

Al-Mudaifer explains that the region has “tremendous untapped mineral potential”, with 79 countries being represented and over 40-million square kilometres of underexplored and prospective geology, including the Nubian Shield, Arabian Shield and Tethyan Belt.

This includes, globally, 89% of platinum, 80% of phosphate, 67% of bauxite, 62% of manganese, 58% of cobalt and 25% of gold, making it home to some of the world’s largest mineral reserves and resources.

Moreover, the gross domestic product (GDP) in this region is growing 40% faster than the global average, and between now and 2040, he says no other region will match its industrial growth.

“Saudi Arabia has all the right ingredients to support the development of the regional mining sector and become a world-class mining hub. Strategically located at the nexus of the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe, the Kingdom has a well-developed economy, high levels of growth and security, well-developed infrastructure, high domestic demand and a firm commitment to develop the mining hub,” explains Al-Mudaifer.

The MIM aimed to highlight the mining investment potential of the region at the Indaba to encourage collaborative efforts as a way of addressing critical mineral scarcity while encouraging the development of a new and responsible mining hub capable of supporting the global clean energy transition and equitable economic development.

He says that, by planning together, nations from Africa to East Asia can better map processing facilities and original-equipment manufacturing, in accordance with infrastructure and energy, to ensure maximised shared value for every economy.

“In the Kingdom, we are keen to work with the countries that produce in-demand minerals. We are working with world-class international companies to make sure we leverage the Kingdom’s strength in terms of infrastructure, technology and accessibility to the market.”

He says the MIM continued its focus on the great potential for mining across Africa, the Middle East, as well as West and Central Asia, to advance economic development while helping to meet the world’s demand for critical minerals.

By building new supply chains to feed the global energy transition and holding multistakeholder dialogues aimed at expanding the development of mining through new financial, regulatory and infrastructure solutions, Saudi Arabia can promote economic revitalisation for a critical part of the world, adds Al-Mudaifer.

Further, by creating a new global hub for minerals and mining, the MIM can establish more “national champions” that drive investment and establish local centres of finance to channel capital into new exploration.

By leveraging countries’ areas of strength and resources, the region can build more diverse, sustainable economies that ensure the prioritisation of jobs, transparency and care for the environment and people.

“We are ready to share our insights with our regional partners – a process which has already begun. The time it will take for us to realise this super-mining region will depend on how successfully we, as a region, can cooperate and collaborate together to build the foundations for a successful, buoyant and responsible mining industry.”

The global mining industry faces challenges, including the need to navigate the mining supercycle, build integrated value chains, seize digitalisation opportunities, upskill talent and ensure sustainability.

He also notes that there is a need to balance mineral nationalism against the needs of the global economy.

“The region we are touting consists of about 45% of the global population, yet contributes only 11% of global GDP – we must do better. Collaboration across the sector is critical if we are to develop public policies and joint initiatives that address these challenges while advancing mining sector development and creating employment opportunities,” concludes Al-Mudaifer.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor




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