The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is set to play host to an international minerals summit, following hosting the G20 summit, during the pandemic peak, in 2020.
Saudi Arabia has historically succeeded, in consolidating its position in terms of hosting largest international forums, even in the most difficult circumstances.
Though the mining industry has played pivotal role in some economies, no comprehensive investing summit was ever, namely, held for minerals, in general, as most of the conferences have focused on single source of mining or its related technologies.
Henceforth the “Future Minerals Forum” with the theme of “Investing in the Future of Mining” will be the first of its kind internationally integrated conference, with comprehensive coverage for all minerals.
However, the Future Minerals Forum aims to shape the future of mining and to connect global policy makers with investors, financiers, and business leaders, across the world mining value chain and its supporting industries.
This summit is an important initiative that confirms Saudi Arabia global ambition to advance mining objectives and prioritizing the mining sector, in terms of investments and development plans.
Saudi Arabia expects the valuation of its mineral resources to exceed previous estimates of $1.3 trillion, as the kingdom plans to triple spending on mineral exploration, over the next three years.
More than 5,500 mining sites have been pinpointed, across the Kingdom, for exploring as many as 48 minerals.
Mining is among the most crucial sources of non-oil revenues, which falls in line with the comprehensive economic reforms, and strategies objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030.
Therefore, it is high time for the mining industry to play a pivotal role, in the Saudi economy, as this conference would be favorable to the Kingdom’s orientation, aimed at exploiting its mineral resources.
Since the launch of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the Saudi mining sector has experienced an unprecedented boom, in its development efforts.
Major investments were made not only in the field of mining itself, but also in developing and building all related infrastructure aspects that deemed necessary to turn mining into a leading industry, as the 3rd pillar of the Saudi industrial make-up, and another rich resource for the national economy, along with the oil and petrochemical industries.
A comprehensive strategy for mining and relating industries was formulated and approved, as well as a detailed and at length review of the mining investment system, its implementing regulations and other related prerequisites.
In addition, many initiatives were launched and activated to digitize, facilitate, and enhance easing of doing business process, too, in the sector, and a set of major geological survey were carried out. These are just steps, to name a few!
Since the early 30s of the last century, there has been ambitions and hopes of the founder King Abdulaziz, in exploring deposits of the natural resources, in the Kingdom.
At the end of that decade, gold and silver had been extracted from Mahd Al-Zahab mine, where work continued for 15 years, during which more than 900,000 ounces of gold and over one million ounces of silver were produced, which contributed to supporting the national economy, settling, and employing people, in that region.
In the 70s and 80s of the last century, mineral, geological, and geographical surveys were conducted, too, across the Kingdom.
(Source: Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources).
On the other hand, King Salman bin Abdulaziz has inaugurated several mining industry’s projects, in Ras Al-Khair Industrial City, in 2016.
A host of gold mines were also inaugurated throughout the Kingdom, bringing the number of gold producing mines to six.
A year later, the comprehensive strategy for mining and mining industries aiming at achieving the goals of the Vision was approved.
In 2020, the Cabinet approved a new mining investment system, to regulate the investment environment, in the mining domain, with the aim of achieving sustainability, in the mining sector, to enhance the economic returns of the mining industry.
That means that the mining strategy is not just an extracting minerals oriented, rather it is looking forward to create an integrated mining base, through consolidating relating metal industries for the end user, instead of depending on the traditional mineral exports, that would not significantly add to the economic value or create promising job opportunities.
The Future of Minerals Summit will take place, following organizing the investment environment in the field of mining, which was among remarkable challenges, in the mining industry, especially on how to harmonize international investments.
Therefore, playing host to global investment leaders and leading companies specialized in the mining sector and value-added chains, came after the appropriate investment environment has been created.
Regulations for sustainability in the mining sector and benefiting from the Kingdom’s balance of mineral resources amounting to $1.3 trillion, have been secured, through cooperation with regional and international investors and partners.
All those steps have taken place, after re-evaluating the sector’s framework to align the mining industry policies, with internationally recognized best practices, especially to meet the increase, in the global demand for minerals.
Energy Adviser (former OPEC and Saudi Aramco)