Saudi Arabia is setting new standards for a sustainable and ESG-compliant mining industry
As part of its efforts to transform its metals and minerals sector into an engine of sustainable growth and driver of the clean energy transition both at home and abroad, Saudi Arabia participated in Australia’s leading mining industry event, the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC).
During the event, it shared its vision to transform mining into a responsible and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) compliant sector.
Participating under the brand ‘Invest Saudi’, the Saudi delegation is led by Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Al Khorayef and included Vice-Minister for Mining Affairs Khaled Al-Mudaifer and other senior officials from the Ministry of Investment, National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP), Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) and the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS).
Speaking at IMARC’s opening, which was hosted in Sydney, Australia, Al Khorayef, said, “More than ever, we need strong, focused, and sustained international collaboration to address the collective challenges we face, primarily the urgent need to transition to a net-zero future.”
The minister emphasized that the world needed to rise to this challenge and substantially ramp up investments and innovation in mineral and metal technology to meet the increasing global demand for minerals.
He noted that geopolitical tensions, resource nationalism, weak supply chains and a lack of investment had placed hurdles in the mining industry’s pathway to growth.
Furthermore, he pointed out that Saudi Arabia is “strategically located” at the heart of the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe, with well-developed infrastructure and high domestic demand for minerals and metals.
“In Saudi Arabia, we have all the competitive advantages to become a center of excellence in sustainable mining development and growth,” he added.
As part of a swath of legal and regulatory reforms implemented in recent years to encourage more investment into the sector while ensuring that sustainability is at the core of its mining efforts the Kingdom’s introduced its Mining Sustainability Principle.
As a result, today, every mining application is assessed for its commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) to ensure that it leverages its rich mineral wealth in a sustainable manner in support of a brighter future for all.
“As the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals notes, minerals and metals can catalyze economic growth, strengthen employment, and create more resilient infrastructure. In Saudi Arabia, we are leveraging the sector’s growth in support of economic diversification and social transformation while supporting the sustainable development of mining both regionally and globally,” remarked Al Khorayef.
Since the reform of Saudi Arabia’s mining sector, the country has secured record-breaking mining investments. With $8 billion worth of FDI secured in 2021 and 145 licenses issued, the country’s mining revenue increased by 27% year-on-year.
Moreover, the Kingdom has an ambitious target to attract investments worth $32bn to the mining and minerals sector as it seeks to establish itself as an industrial powerhouse underlined by integrated green value chains, including green steel and electric vehicle (EV) battery production.
The minister concluded by inviting the attendees to the second edition of the Future Minerals Forum (FMF), which will take place between Jan. 10-12, 2022, in Riyadh.
“I invite you to join us in January, where we can continue our joint efforts to realize safer, more productive, sustainable, and energy-efficient mineral supply chains.”