RIYADH — The Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources announced the conclusion of the Future Minerals Forum, which was held in Riyadh between Jan. 11 and 13 under the patronage of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.
The ministry said: The conference succeeded in highlighting the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its future vision in leading this sector at the regional and international levels, where the success was seen in the participation of 15 ministers from outside Saudi Arabia and representatives of more than 32 countries in its various activities.
A ministry statement stressed that the conference witnessed a distinguished participation at the level of governments, international organizations, major mining companies, financial institutions, academics, researchers and concerned people from Saudi Arabia and the world.
The conference was also distinguished in the quality of speakers including ministers, experts and specialists in this field from various government institutions, mainly Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman; Investment Minister Eng. Khalid Al-Falih; Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Eng. Abdulrahman Al-Fadley; Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Al-Khorayef.
The speakers included: Governor of Public Investment Fund Yasir Al-Rumayyan; CEO of Sabic Yousef Al-Banyan; and CEO of Maaden Eng. Abdulaziz Al-Harbi; in addition to heads and CEOs of major international companies, such as President and CEO of Barrick Gold Corporation Mark Bristow and Founder and Co-Chairman of Ivanhoe Mines Robert Friedland.
Others included Chairman of the Electrum Group LLC Thomas Kaplan; Chairman of Vedanta Resources Anil Agarwal; Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Moelis and Co. Eric Cantor; President and CEO of International Council on Mining and Metals Rohitesh Dhawan; and President and CEO of Alcoa Roy Harvey.
The statement said that the activities of the conference have witnessed enriching discussions that saw the participation of more than 100 government leaders and international mining companies through 40 panel discussions on the future of the mining sector and its contributions to developing societies, enhancing sustainability and clear energy systems, and attracting direct investments in the mining sector in the region.
The exhibition accompanying the conference, which included a Saudi pavilion with 12 government institutions, saw the participation of some countries with special pavilions, in addition to the participation of more than 30 Saudi and international companies.
The ministry also said that the conference witnessed a big presence that reached 3,500 participants at the headquarters of the conference and 4,000 virtual participants from 100 countries around the world, in addition to attracting millions of people who attended the live broadcast and on social media outlets.
The ministry noted that the sidelines of the conference witnessed signing five agreements and memorandums of understanding, the most important of which are a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy in Tunisia, and another memorandum between Maaden and Aquapower.
The statement said that the first day of the conference witnessed holding the eighth consultative meeting of the Arab ministers concerned with the mineral resources affairs, which was organized by the ministry in partnership with the Arab Industrial Development, Standardization and Mining Organization, which reached the following:
• Ministers approved a proposal by the organization to prepare a mining guideline system for Arab countries to keep pace with the current international trends and adopt the best practices pertaining to the mining industries.
• Ministers praised the Arab initiative for minerals used in the clear energy fields, which was proposed by the organization in line with the international efforts to reach cleaner energy systems with fewer emissions to address climate change.
• Ministers also stressed the need to keep pace with the technological developments and utilize them to realize the sustainable development in the mining sector in Arab countries, enhance the status of mining, boost its value, best utilization, and enhance its value chain.
• Ministers commended the launch of the first digital platform specialized for application and supplies of Arab industrial and mining products with the support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, praising this important step that would help develop the mining sector in Arab countries.
• The ministry also noted that the sidelines of the conference witnessed round table meetings that saw the participation of Arab ministers and ministers and officials concerned with the mining sector from 32 countries with the aim of providing investors, mining companies and sides concerned with the mining sector an opportunity to meet and check on what interests them regarding the potential and opportunities in the mining sector in Saudi Arabia, Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.
• The ministry noted that discussions included means to find deeper cooperation across the region, enhance coordination and cooperation among governments and their partners of the private sector and civil community, for its being the basis to realize sustainable, responsible and comprehensive mining developments that offer joint benefits and extend farther than the mining sites to include adjacent communities.
The statement also highlighted participants’ affirmation that the international mining sector is characterized by challenges as well as major opportunities, especially in the recovery stage from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, where procedures of mining companies in dealing with public health risks related to the pandemic will lead to the recovery of the supply chains and increasing demand, noting that talks also went over the increasing demand on strategic minerals, which is expected to increase in a faster pace in the coming decades.
The statement also highlighted participants’ consensus on the importance of the region (Middle East, Central Asia and Africa) in contributing to providing minerals in response to the global demand, stressing the region’s ability to meet the world’s mineral need in the future for its having big amounts of reserves and resources of basic minerals due to its unique geological nature.
It also stressed the agreement on the need to establish dialogue forums to discuss current and future challenges on minerals, agreeing on a cooperative approach that brings together stakeholders who seek to find a common ground to develop flexible mineral supply chains.
The ministry also said that participants in the round table meetings stressed having a collective stance on the importance of minerals for future societies and economies, calling for preparing a roadmap to realize a progress in the dialogue of stakeholders regarding mining and mining industries in these regions.
The ministry also stressed that all participants commended what Saudi Arabia enjoys of huge capabilities in the mining sector and that it enjoys several elements for excellence in this sector to be a hub for mining service and a regional center for mining companies due to its centrality in an important mining region extending from Africa, the Middle East to Central Asia,,
The ministry praised the theme of the forum that stems from Saudi Arabia’s mining and mining industries strategy to be a stimulus for investment in the sector in a quick way in light of the increase of demand on minerals in the world in the present time, pushed by the modern industrial trends regarding renewable energy and electric cars, in addition to other industries that rely on several strategic minerals.