From the desk of DPI’s Executive Director, 3 February 2022
My first visit to Saudi Arabia was for the Future Minerals Forum held in Riyadh last month. I’ve since been reflecting on some things I learned during that visit and its relationship to our work at the Development Partner Institute.
Minerals will make the future world possible
Our current and future reliance on technology and our global responses to climate change creates surging demand for minerals. For those of us who’ve been in the sector for decades, we are experiencing a mining sector today that is fast-paced and full of possibility.
Mining has a bright future as demand for critical minerals skyrockets. Copper, cobalt, lithium, and nickel are some of those metals where demand is climbing so sharply that we now talk about supply being outstripped. There are many challenges in fulfilling the growing demand.
Amidst the global conversation underway about future minerals, Saudi Arabia has created and expressed clarity and boldness of vision. This is in line with Vision 2030 for the Kingdom – of a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation.
Vision, Values and Partnerships in Mining
The Saudi Arabian vision is for a modern, progressive sector with cooperation between governments and the private sector. They foresee mining investment that is utilized to deliver the right return to the investors and the economy.
A vision that contributes positively to social and environmental goals; embedded in societal values.
The vision includes practical features for creating a stable investment environment built on an openness for business engagement. Oil and gas experience and wealth, combined with mining experience to date, provide a platform of confidence and understanding that translates well to this new vision.
An updated and progressive legal framework has been created. For example, there is ongoing release of exploration licenses, online access to the regional database of geological information, and growing transparency of access to investment opportunities.
There is a willingness to learn and create mutual benefit through partnerships. Under the vision, Saudi Arabia sits at the heart of a regional mining hub and a Green Middle East. More than 15 Ministers trekked to Saudi Arabia from across world, primarily the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia to discuss and shape ideas.
No consent – No future
ESG was spoken about with genuine commitment by almost every speaker. Governments and the private sector urged one another to also contribute to communities and to work hard to obtain their consent and support to operate.
Minister Adegbite, Minister for Mines and Steel Development in Nigeria said on one of my panels:
“As the mining company grows and prospers, communities must prosper also.”
He said that without community consent, there is no future, no mining.
At the Development Partner Institute, we are passionate about development partnership as a pathway to sustainable long-term development.
In our experience, this means the highest quality community engagement and community development plans. It especially means linking investors, entrepreneurs, and miners together so that partnerships can be identified and nurtured. Making it fit for purpose in this region will enable much to be learned and shared.
- Wendy Tyrrell, Executive Director, the Development Partner Institute
Part Two to follow next week - stay tuned!