Saudi Arabia has several companies working in the mining sector with many making huge investments in the kingdom's northern region, said Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Engineer Bandar Alkhorayef.
Alkhorayef was speaking after inaugurating Future Minerals Forum at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Center in Riyadh.
Welcoming the gathering, he said: "The challenge of meeting the increasing global demand on minerals has become clear as a result of trends in the advanced industry fields and ambitions of clear energy and carbon neutrality, where the Saudi Arabia, through the “Future Minerals” forum, seeks to contribute to responding to the future needs of the mining sector by bringing together all stakeholders including the governments, investors, financial institutions, service providers and manufacturers, so as to provide them a cooperation platform to draw a future roadmap for mining industry that aims at realizing sustainable development for our societies and economies."
"Today, we have a great opportunity to contribute to providing vital minerals and benefiting from the mining sector to be a main economic driver in regional countries, especially as they face the same challenges of the need for increasing exploration, providing a proper infrastructure and attracting qualitative investments. Let our goal be seizing this opportunity and to push forward the mining sustainable development in our countries and the entire region," he added.
Alkhorayef said Saudi Arabia was witnessing a remarkable transformation at all levels with the launch of the Saudi Vision 2030 that sought to expand the economic base, and realize economic diversity, and focused on developing the mining sector through one of the biggest programs of the vision, which is the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP).
NIDLP programme is aimed at making Saudi Arabia a leading industrial powerhouse and a global logistics hub with mining being the third industrial pillar for the national industry.
According to Alkhorayef, the value of mineral resources in Saudi Arabia stands at more than $1.3 trillion, such as phosphate and bauxite in the northeastern part, and gold, copper and rare land-based deposits in the Arab Shield in the western parts of the kingdom.
He pointed out that Saudi sought to create laws and regulations that contribute to the growth of the mining sector and attracting qualitative investments, starting from the new Investment Bylaw that is characterized with high transparency and contribute to developing communities, reducing impacts on the environment and preserving it, stimulating industries pertaining to minerals, and reaching a stimulating environment that takes into consideration the needs of mining investments that require big capitals and long-term investment vision.
In addition to this, there is a need of fixed laws and regulations and clarity of financial policies in a way that guarantees reducing risks for this kind of investments to make it able to realize the envisioned change, he added.
Alkhorayef said the kingdom has big expertise in the field of oil and gas and mining is tied to the industry due to the fact that they are interrelated.
"Saudi Arabia cooperates with other countries and has several companies working in the mining sector," he added.
The government has been playing a major role in boosting the infrastructure for the mining sector such as opening roads and railways in Ras Al Kheir to connect the eastern part of the kingdom with its north, thus connecting logistical areas.
"We are keen on benefiting from the mining sector for its being full of big opportunities that yield huge revenues," he added. ■