The Future Minerals Forum, which concluded in Riyadh on Thursday, stressed the importance of adopting a road map to support smart mining, while reducing the costs of green hydrogen and developing the use of hydrogen to reach a carbon-free mining sector.
Participants in the conference emphasized the role assumed by Saudi Arabia to promote the sector and its endeavor to transform the region into a global center to stimulate and maximize the added value of green minerals, as well as to encourage innovation and create carbon-free minerals.
Prince Sultan bin Khalid, CEO of the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF), pointed to the Kingdom’s major investments in hydrogen and solar panel facilities, pointing that the mining strategy included many initiatives that encourage sustainability.
During his participation in a session entitled, Developing and Promoting Investment in Mineral Value Chains, Prince Sultan bin Khalid noted that mining was the third pillar of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
He revealed that since the launch of Vision 2030, the funding dedicated to this sector has been increased to reach SAR 10 billion ($2.7 billion).
New and updated mining legislation uses a transparent regulatory framework, based on appropriate sustainability and social impact principles, the CEO of SIDF said. He noted that since its establishment in 1974, the fund has played a pivotal role in industrial finance, and contributes to supporting many sectors, including mining, logistics and energy.
Farah Ismail, Undersecretary of the Saudi Ministry of Economy and Planning for Sectoral and Regional Development Affairs, highlighted the growth of major opportunities in the Kingdom’s mining industry, expecting the sector to provide more than 250,000 jobs by 2030.
Ismail said that Saudi Arabia has developed an adequate regulatory and legislative framework and launched economic and social reforms to achieve its vision, in addition to reviewing the plan to align the sector integration with its investment strategy.
For his part, Eng. Saad Alkhalb, Executive Director of Saudi EXIM Bank, pointed to the opportunities provided by the Kingdom’s mining sector and emphasized the importance of strengthening partnerships with investors, suppliers, exporters and financial institutions.
Experts and heads of international companies in the field of mining underlined on Thursday the power of hydrogen and green minerals, the importance of using clean energy in industry, and the need for concerted efforts for discovery and exploration, as well as human capital planning.
Moreover, the participants stressed the importance of promoting research and integration across industries to reach zero emissions by 2060, and activating the role of the private sector in this context.
The conference featured two sessions on hydrogen and alternative energy: the first was entitled, The Region as a Power for Hydrogen and Green Minerals…Integration of Alternative and Renewable Energies in the Value Chain, while the second session was entitled, Hydrogen and the Value Chain.
The first session called for the importance of adopting a roadmap to support smart mining, while the second discussed the analysis of the commercial feasibility of hydrogen applications, costs of green hydrogen, and means to use hydrogen to decarbonize the mining sector.
Participants in a dialogue session on Thursday shed light on the need to overcome challenges facing alternative and renewable energy and supply chains in light of the current crises and the Russian-Ukrainian war. They stressed the importance of offering new solutions to revitalize and develop carbon activities, while valuing the incentives and enablers provided by the Kingdom in direction.
In the session titled, The Region as a Powerhouse for Hydrogen and Green Minerals…Integration of Alternative and Renewable Energies in the Value Chain, the speakers noted that the market would allow the adoption of modern technologies and activate the role of the private sector, stressing the pivotal role of governments in accelerating initial experiments of new technologies.
Participants acknowledged the importance of Saudi initiatives and their role in facilitating the mining process, in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, starting with hydrogen production in NEOM, energy programs and activities, and the manufacture of electric vehicles.
Highlighting the potential
The second edition of the Future Minerals Forum, which concluded on Thursday, highlighted the potential of participating countries, specifically the region extending from Africa to West and Central Asia, to discover key minerals, in a way that contributes to a sustainable energy transition.
Participants pointed to the importance of using clean energy and achieving zero emissions by 2060, while activating the role of the private sector in this context.
Eng. Khaled Al-Jasser, Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics, said that his country has an advanced infrastructure in terms of ports, railways and road networks.
For his part, Abdessalam Ould Mohamed Saleh, Mauritania’s Minister of Petroleum, Mines and Energy, stressed the importance of the conference, which he said brings together officials and major companies to highlight the possibility of countries in the region to discover their mineral wealth and achieve an energy transformation that guarantees the continuity of life on the globe.
For his part, Eng. Osama Al-Zamil, Deputy Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, stated that work was underway to maximize the value of mineral resources to obtain manufactured final products through the integration of efforts, starting from mineral exploration to production and export.
He added that a quantum leap can be made in social benefits and the exploitation of existing resources, pointing to huge potentials and capabilities in the sector.
Eng. Khalid Al-Mudaifer, Deputy Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources for Mining Affairs, stated that one of the Kingdom’s most prominent efforts was to invest $700 million in developing the national geological database that will cover the Arab Shield, which extends over an area of 700,000 square kilometers and will be completed by 2025.
He added that his country was making great efforts to enhance the legislative environment for investment in mining by introducing new laws and regulations, which take into account the interests of investors, enhance transparency, and provide access to national geological data, as well as providing incentives and infrastructure to establish a pioneering mining sector at the global level.
Al-Mudaifer added that confidence in the future of mining was important for developing a mining strategy, in addition to maintaining dialogue and cooperation to create processes that enhance the trust of local communities and ensure environmental protection.