AS IT HAPPENED: Future Minerals Forum, Day 2

RIYADH: The second day of the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh kicked off on Wednesday, with major speakers ready to take the stage for high-level discussions on the future of the mining industry.

Held at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Centre, the three-day event opened on Tuesday with two closed-door ministerial meetings that focused on sustainability issues surrounding the sector.

READ: Indian miner Vedanta Resources to explore Saudi Arabia’s zinc wealth

Representatives from 31 countries gathered for the talks on Tuesday, where they agreed that deeper collaboration on mining in the region was needed to unlock the sector’s full potential.

The meetings discussed the role metals and minerals could play in the global energy transition, as well as the role each country in the region can play in developing sustainable and responsible mining value chains.

The event, organized by the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, aims to highlight the role of mining in the Saudi Vision 2030, after the government identified it as the third pillar of the economy of the Kingdom.

It consists of panel discussions, workshops and networking opportunities for key industry players, decision makers and investors.

Follow our coverage (all times in GMT):

10:55 – ACWA Power signs renewable energy MoU with Ma’aden at Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh.

10:45 – Former US Representative Eric Cantor talks about the role of critical minerals in the global energy transition. “We are starting to see the importance of critical minerals in the industry as some projects are underway, but we still have a lot to do,” he said.

Cantor said Saudi Arabia’s security is “inextricably linked” to US security and vice versa.

09:15 – The Saudi Ministry of Energy has signed an agreement with its Tunisian counterpart in the field of renewable energies, energy efficiency and the rationalization of consumption.

“I am honored to sign the first renewable energy agreement with Saudi Arabia, and we will work to implement the terms of the agreement on the basis of equality and abundance of opportunity” said Tunisian Energy Minister Neila Nouira Gonji.

She added that they had a “strategic partnership” with Saudi investors and financiers in the field of hydrogen and electric mobility.

08:50 – The keynote addresses how to position the mining industry as a leader in sustainability and partnerships, featuring Saudi Deputy Mining Minister Khalid Al-Mudaifer.

Ma’aden CEO Abdulaziz Al-Harbi spoke about the importance of sustainability in the operations of the Saudi mining company. “Ma’aden has focused a lot on the environmental impact of our processes,” he said.

08:20 – Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salam Al-Saud takes the stage for a fireside chat session. He reiterated the importance of energy security in the global transition to low carbon economies.

“We must not give up energy security in the name of energy transformation,” he said.

The Minister said that the world should be aware of developing countries, which have not had their own share of growth and development over the years, “they have to be given opportunities”.

Saudi Arabia has a large amount of uranium, Prince Abdulaziz said, and they will work to exploit and develop the resource.

READ MORE: “Our uranium is the key to energy transformation”: Saudi minister

07:48 – Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tareq El-Molla, said the country’s legislation does not attract mining investment and, as part of its 2030 Vision, has started working to develop flexible policies around of mining.

“Our strategy aims to develop mining towns and one of them will be dedicated to gold,” said the Egyptian minister.

He added that they aim to increase the mining sector’s contribution to GDP to 5% over the next two decades.

07:35 – The session opens with what governments are doing to maximize the contribution of mining to local economies and communities.

07:27 – Governor of the Public Investment Fund Yasir Al-Rumayyan addresses the forum. He said the mining industry “is becoming an important contributor to the world’s economic, social and environmental goals”.

07:22 – Mark Bristow, President and CEO of Barrick, emphasizes the importance of mining in “everyday life”.

Mark Bristow, President and CEO of Barrick

But the world has fallen behind in terms of investment in the minerals sector, “because of the obsession with the environment and anti-mining, we have become almost embarrassed to be miners”, said he declared.

READ MORE: Red Sea mining needed to quench global thirst for metals, says mining company chief

07:00 – Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar Alkhorayef, opens the second day of the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh.

He spoke of the challenges of meeting the growing global demand for minerals, which the Saudi minister said is being driven by more sophisticated industry, but most importantly by the global energy transition.

Alkhorayef highlighted the role of mining in the Saudi Vision 2030, which sets out an ambitious set of goals aimed at diversifying the economy away from oil.

“The value of mineral wealth in Saudi Arabia is estimated at around $1.3 trillion,” he said.

Melvin B. Baillie