Report

Sudan Participates in the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh

Minerals Present A historic Opportunity for the Region

Haffiya Abdalla

The Future Minerals Forum is an international initiative convened by Saudi Arabia and dedicated to advancing mining & unlocking opportunities.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, convened the inaugural Future Minerals Forum (FMF), in Riyadh from 11 – 13 January 2022 to advance the dialogue on future minerals, investment in mining, and collaboration across the region from Africa to Central Asia. The event began with a Ministerial Roundtable, attended by 15 Ministers and 25 representatives from across the region and beyond.

Discussions focused on three key themes. Ministers, representatives of multilateral organizations and agencies, mining leaders, and non-governmental organizations from 31 countries spoke of the important contribution that mining can and does make to their societies, and how they are working to ensure that they maximize the benefits of their mining sectors and supply chains in support of their societies’ sustainable long-term economic prosperity and resilience.

Contributions also centered on the critical role that metals and minerals will play in the just transition to a low-carbon energy future, and the role each country in the region can play in developing sustainable and responsible mineral value chains. Finally, Ministers discussed opportunities for deeper collaboration across the region. The discussions were framed by expert presentations from representatives from the private sector and international organizations.

Participants of the Ministerial Roundtable emphasized the importance of collaboration and coordination between governments and their partners from the private sector and civil society. Working together for progress in the sector is a foundation for sustainable, responsible, and inclusive mining developments that deliver shared benefits, extending past the mining site and beyond the lifecycle of the mine, to local communities, societies, national and regional governments, and beyond.

Participants agreed the global mining sector finds itself at a moment of both great challenge and opportunity. As the world economy emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, mining countries and companies continue to navigate the public health risks associated with the virus, and the economic turmoil that has resulted from the crisis. At the same time, supply chains are recovering, and consumer demand is growing. Compounding the challenge is the significant growth in demand for minerals and metals required to meet the goal of limiting global warming, a goal first established in the Paris Agreement in 2015 and reiterated at COP26 in Glasgow.

Minerals and metals are vital to achieving a low-carbon economy through new and emerging technologies, including electric vehicles, battery storage, and renewable energies. Demand for critical minerals is accelerating, and prospected to grow multifold in the next decades. The growth in demand for these minerals presents a historic opportunity for the region.

Considering this opportunity, participants highlighted the region’s potential to help meet the world’s mineral needs of the future. The region holds some of the largest reserves and resources of key commodities. With its unique geological endowment, the region has a high potential for mineral production growth.

Participants further highlighted that mining, and the minerals industry can be a major development driver for the region. Mining can increase the strength and effectiveness of communities, improve people’s quality of life, and enable people to participate in decision-making to achieve greater long-term control over their lives. Governments have a central role to play in bringing the mining sector and society closer together to create shared value.

As countries take steps to secure the supply of critical minerals and processing capacity, participants agreed on the need to establish a space for discussing current and future challenges on sustainable future minerals. They also agreed to a collaborative approach that brings together all stakeholders seeking to find common ground for developing resilient mineral supply chains, and that it is the right time for the region to convene this dialogue.

The conference succeeded in highlighting the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its future vision in leading this sector at the regional and international levels, where the success was seen in the participation of 15 ministers from outside Saudi Arabia and representatives of more than 32 countries in its various activities.

The conference witnessed distinguished participation at the level of governments, international organizations, major mining companies, financial institutions, academics, researchers, and concerned people from Saudi Arabia and the world.

The activities of the conference have witnessed enriching discussions that saw the participation of more than 100 government leaders and international mining companies through 40 panel discussions on the future of the mining sector and its contributions to developing societies, enhancing sustainability and clean energy systems, and attracting direct investments in the mining sector in the region.

The conference witnessed a big presence that reached 3,500 participants at the headquarters of the conference and 4,000 virtual participants from 100 countries around the world, in addition to attracting millions of people who attended the live broadcast and on social media outlets.

According to Sudan News Agency, the Minister of Minerals, Mohamed Bashir Abu Namou, and a high-level delegation from the Ministry participated in the International Mining Conference.

The Minister has presented a paper related to mining issues in Sudan and the efforts made to develop the sector and the investment opportunities.

The minister’s paper focused on Sudan’s vision for the advancement of the mineral sector in light of the country’s tendency to strengthen its leading position at the Arab and African regional levels in the mineral sector and gold production and to open investment channels in mineral activities and industries.

Sudan occupies an advanced position in the field of mining among the African countries, behind South Africa and Ghana, with its vast wealth that includes various types of minerals, with an annual gold export rate of about $1.5 billion.

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