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Saudi Arabia Releases Details of Global and Local Mining Updates Delivered During South Africa's Mining Indaba Conference
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 15 - 05 - 2022

A high-level delegation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources (MIM), led by Minister Bandar Al-Khorayef, concluded its visit to South Africa, which included participating in Mining Indaba, Africa's leading mining industry event, in Cape Town, South Africa, from May 9 – 12, to provide updates on its mining sector transformation, as well as information and insights about the global potential for mining to impact green energy development, and its efforts to foster partnership among all potential mining jurisdictions across Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
Participating under the brand 'Invest Saudi', the Saudi delegation included Vice-Minister for Mining Affairs Khaled Al-Mudaifer; Ibrahim Saad Almojel, CEO of the Saudi Industrial Development Fund; Abdullah Al-Shamrani, CEO of the Saudi Geological Survey; and senior representatives from the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources ecosystem.
On the sidelines of the conference, Minister Al-Khorayef, who heads the Saudi side of the Saudi-South African Joint Committee met with his counterpart, Ebrahim Patel, South African Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition. They discussed how to advance the work of the joint committee, as well as the promising opportunities the two countries have in mining and industry. Minister Al-Khorayef also met with his counterparts from Sierra Leone, Chad, Senegal, Mali, Angola and Niger to foster cooperation between the African and Saudi mining sectors.
During his keynote speech on the first day of the conference, Al-Khorayef provided details of eight key learnings the Ministry has taken away thus far from its mining sector transformation. He noted that governments around the world can and should play a role in ensuring that the following elements are in place for investors.The elements are Policy and regulation are fundamental to success, Geological surveys are critical to help de-risk mining investments, Quality infrastructure is an often-overlooked 'must-have', Links between mining and industry must be clear and efficient, True innovation requires valuable incentives, Talent attraction and development drive long-term mining success, Investors demand true sustainability from their jurisdiction partners, and supply chains must be viewed holistically and made more resilient – locally, regionally and globally.
Vice-Minister Highlights Trends Impacting Global Mining.
Al-Mudaifer delivered two keynote addresses, one to the full Mining Indaba conference and a second to an Intergovernmental Summit designed to foster government-to-government engagement in the sector.
During his first speech, the Vice-Minister outlined a number of developments he has overseen during the transformation of Saudi Arabia's mining sector, including:
- The country's General Survey Program is now fully operational, covering more than 600.000 square kilometers of the Arabian Shield that covers nearly one-third of the entire land area of the Kingdom, and providing invaluable data about the Kingdom's untapped mineral wealth.
- The ministry has received 930 applications for exploration licenses since January 2021, of which 145 are from fully foreign-owned companies. MIM has issued 169 exploration licenses and 12 exploitation licenses, with more on the way.
- One mining site – Al-Khunayqiyyah – has been put out for competitive bidding for exploration. It covers some 350 square kilometers and represents just the first of more than 50 sites that will be announced during the coming five years.
- The Ministry generated a record $8 billion in mining investments in 2021. A further $32 billion worth of investments in the midstream sector are currently in the pipeline with local and international companies.
He also commented on six 'mega-trends' shaping mining globally:
1- We need to navigate the current mining super-cycle.
2- We need to build integrated value chains.
3- We need to seize the opportunities of digitalization.
4- We need to focus on young talent.
5- We need to build sustainability into everything we do.
6- We need to achieve win-win situations, in which countries can benefit from their own resources, while at the same time sharing them with the rest of the world.
He concluded his remarks with a call for more collaboration, encouraging all Mining Indaba attendees to join Saudi Arabia and be an integral part of the country's journey toward developing mining sectors that are fit for the national and international mineral needs of today and the future.
Vice-Minister Al-Mudaifer's second keynote address was to the Intergovernmental Summit organized by Mining Indaba. In addition to highlighting the Saudi mining transformation and recent successes, he spoke about the great potential for mining across Africa, the Middle East and West and Central Asia to advance economic development while helping to meet the world's demand for critical minerals.
He noted the importance of building new supply chains to feed the energy transition and how those supply chains require that we continue multi stakeholder dialogues aimed at expanding the development of mining through new financial, regulatory and infrastructure solutions. He also committed to working with other governments to progress this dialogue in the months and years ahead.
The Vice-Minister concluded by defining MIM's goal for the region, which is to collaborate to develop the region into a global hub for minerals and mining, create more national champions that drive investment and establish local centers of finance to channel capital into new exploration.
He said: "By combining our areas of strength and resources, I believe our region can build more diverse, sustainable economies that ensure the prioritization of jobs, transparency, and care for the environment and people.
"Mining Indaba is a critical platform for the world's miners, and we are pleased to be a close partner with the conference," said Minister Al-Khorayef. "We had a successful week in South Africa and wish to thank all participants for engaging with us about our own mining transformation and how we can work together to create a more resilient, equitable future for the region through mining."
Vice-Minister Al-Mudaifer added: "To realize the true mining potential of the region, it is critical that we work together. For this reason, the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources invites everyone interested in developing a sustainable mining sector to Saudi Arabia next January for the Future Minerals Forum. We look forward to continuing the discussions we started during this year's event to continue to create a new mining super-region."
In conclusion, Yousef Alolayan, Acting Assistant Deputy Minister at the Saudi Ministry of Investment, said: "Saudi Arabia is responding to investor demands with a competitive proposition. Ideally located at the crossroads of three continents, we are blessed with abundant mineral resources, a well-developed logistics network, low-cost energy and the infrastructure to develop exploration, extraction and processing across different mineral value chains. We have proven ourselves to be a stable and responsible investment destination that offers competitive financing options. Additionally, we are looking to play a leading role on ESG, as it becomes increasingly central to the Kingdom's development, and we want to work with partners to develop green technologies for processing metals."

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