I am pleased and honoured to be leading the Saudi delegation to this year’s IMARC Conference and Expo, where we will be updating the international mining community on the advances we have made in delivering the Kingdom’s mining strategy.
The Arabian Peninsula has long been known for its mineral richness. Building on that unique strength, we see an even brighter future for mining in Saudi Arabia. That is why our theme for IMARC is ‘Mining Vast Potential’: That is the goal for our country, and we welcome partners from around the world to join us on our journey.
Since Vision 2030 was released in 2016, when mining was singled out as one of the critical industries for diversifying and growing our economy, we have been working hard and fast to deliver against a strategy that is built around the development of integrated mineral value chains that will elevate the sector to become the third pillar of Saudi industry. We have made great strides against the critical success factors identified in our strategy.
- Leveraging the Kingdom’s unparalleled mineral endowment
- Harnessing its strong domestic demand for minerals
- Fostering a mining ecosystem that is attractive to Saudi and international explorers, investors and other stakeholders
Let's take each of those factors in turn.
- The renowned ‘Arabian Shield’ is estimated to house $1.3 trillion worth of potential minerals, including phosphate, gold, copper, silver, zinc, rare earth minerals and others.
- Saudi Arabia is the fourth-largest net importer of mineral products, many of which can be produced domestically.
- Much of our work during the last year has been focused in the area of transforming the Kingdom’s mining ecosystem.
In particular, we have identified four drivers of our strategy, each of which will help us unlock the true potential of the mining sector in Saudi Arabia.
- Improving sector governance by establishing a new overarching mining law – It has been benchmarked thoroughly against other such legal frameworks around the world and will be backed up by a regulatory system that is best-in-class.
- Digitizing critical processes and services
- Making the most accurate geological data accessible – By launching one of the largest geological surveys in the world – covering more than 600,000 kilometers in six years – we will accelerate exploration.
- We already have identified more than 50 exploration investment opportunities.
- Sustainability – We have mandated new mining asset rehabilitation guidelines and bolstered regulations to promote a safer and more environment-friendly sector.
We have committed nearly $4 billion to these strategic drivers, not to mention the human and other resources also required to create a thriving mining industry.
What excites me about our presence at this year’s IMARC is that we are here with our colleagues from the most critical and capable organizations in Saudi Arabia, aiming at enabling the transformation of the mining sector.
- National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP), which aspires to transform Saudi Arabia into a leading industrial powerhouse and global logistics hub
- Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA), the Kingdom’s investment promotion agency
- Saudi Geological Survey (SGS), which provides geological information and advice to the government and other stakeholders in all fields of the earth sciences
- Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF), the financial engine driving the Kingdom’s industrialization
In closing, I will return to our theme for IMARC 2019: Mining Vast Potential. As the table below illustrates, we have very aggressive goals over the course of the next 10 years to deliver a valuable, sustainable mining sector for Saudi Arabia.
To learn more, visit us at stand E27, near the IMARC Connect Lounge, in the expo hall.
Mr. Saleh Alaqili is the appointed Deputy Minister for Mining Investment Development and leader of Saudi Arabia’s delegation at IMARC 2019. He oversees the development and promotion of mining and mining-related investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia.