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Saudi Arabia emerges as global mining hub, as Ma’aden announces major new venture and strategic partnerships


Jan 12, 2023

This week, at the Future Minerals Forum 2023, the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) has announced a major new venture with the Public Investment Fund (PIF). A new, jointly owned company will make significant investments internationally into upstream strategic minerals opportunities, securing value chains critical to industrial development and energy transition in the Kingdom.

Ma’aden has also signed strategic partnerships with leading mining companies, Ivanhoe Electric (IE) and Barrick Gold Corporation (Barrick) to develop globally significant strategic mineral resources in the Kingdom to fuel the development of the sector internationally. These agreements will play an important role in unlocking value from Ma’aden’s extensive exploration and development portfolio, expanding Ma’aden’s international reach and bringing new skills and technology into the sector in Saudi Arabia.

Ma’aden has also signed more than 20 agreements and MOUs with globally leading organizations to increase exploration and technical capabilities in mining operations.

Improving exploration capability through world-leading technology and expertise

Ma’aden also announced that it has entered into an agreement with Ivanhoe Electric that will give Ma’aden an increased international presence and access to cutting edge exploration technology.

IE is a NYSE-listed technology and mineral exploration company that combines advanced mineral exploration technologies, renewable energy storage solutions and electric metals projects. The agreement with IE will see Ma’aden subscribing to new shares in IE resulting in a 9.9% equity interest for $126 million. Ma’aden will obtain the right to appoint one independent director to the Ivanhoe Electric Board of Directors and will be issued with approximately 10.2 million new common shares in IE at a price of US$12.38 per share.

As part of the agreement, Ma’aden and IE will also establish a 50:50 joint venture to explore for copper, gold, nickel and silver in Saudi Arabia. Ma’aden and Ivanhoe will explore approximately 48,500 km2 of selected licenses areas that demonstrate excellent potential. The joint venture will provide Ma’aden with access to IE’s proprietary Typhoon™ technology, which conducts geophysical surveys using high powered transmitters to detect the presence of sulfide minerals containing copper, nickel, gold and silver. This will help accelerate, de-risk and advance exploration and development activities, enabling Ma’aden to realize value from its exploration assets.

This is a significant investment for Ma’aden giving it strategic presence in a leading international mining company with its own proprietary technology and increasing its international exposure to critical minerals.

Robert Wilt, CEO of Ma’aden commented: “Ma’aden’s strategic investment in Ivanhoe Electric is a critically important moment in our journey to becoming a leading supplier of strategic minerals, which will fuel global economic growth over the coming decade. Through Ma’aden Saudi Arabia is making an invaluable contribution to fast-developing new industries across the world characterized by technological advancement.”

Unlocking value from highly prospective copper licenses

Barrick Gold Corporation, a world leader in discovering and developing large-scale gold and copper mines, is strengthening its relationship with Ma’aden through two new joint venture agreements to explore and develop the Jabal Sayid South and Umm Ad Damar license areas. The close proximity of the new license areas to Jabal Sayid and the associated mine infrastructure will enable the partners to capture synergies between the three areas.

This agreement will strengthen Ma’aden’s copper production and advance its strategic drive for job creation and economic development in remote areas of the country.

A pipeline of agreements to transform the capabilities of the Saudi mining industry

Ma’aden is also entered into more than 20 agreements and memorandums of understanding with a number of high-profile market leading organizations to integrate new technologies and innovation into its exploration and mining operations. These will further reduce energy consumption, improve water and environmental management, advance decarbonization and improved health and safety. Partners include companies such as Nokia, Shell, Bechtel and Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) S.à r.l.

Robert Wilt, CEO of Ma’aden, commented: “By attracting new partners to Saudi Arabia and increasing the commitment of our existing partners, we are introducing new technologies into our operations, diversifying our upstream product mix and accelerating the development of our exploration portfolio. This will create opportunities for knowledge and technology transfer that will deepen the talent pool in Saudi Arabia and open up new opportunities to develop the Kingdom’s abundant mineral resources.”