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Ma’aden finalizes groundbreaking agreement with Ivanhoe Electric Inc. to explore major untapped resources in Saudi Arabia


May 15, 2023

Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) announced that it has finalized its agreement with Ivanhoe Electric Inc. (IE) to purchase 9.9% shares in the company and form a 50/50 joint venture to undertake one of the largest exploration programs ever conducted. The deal will provide Ma’aden, through the joint venture, with access to IE’s breakthrough Typhoon™ geophysical survey technology, which will accelerate the exploration of Saudi Arabia’s lands, estimated to hold US$1.3tn of untapped minerals.

Ma’aden’s unprecedented exploration program is driven by the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030, which positions mining as a third pillar of the Saudi economy. Under its new corporate strategy, Ma’aden aims to grow 10-fold by 2040 and to move into strategic minerals to fuel the growth of downstream industries in the Kingdom.

The joint venture (JV) with Ivanhoe Electric will explore at least 48,500 km2 of land, an area larger than Denmark, covering highly prospective license areas with potential for major new copper, nickel, gold, silver and other strategic mineral discoveries. The JV will deploy IE’s proprietary Typhoon™ technology and CGI software that will strengthen Ma’aden’s exploration capabilities and grow its resource base and production pipeline.

As part of the agreement, Ma’aden will acquire approximately 10.2 million common shares in IE, representing 9.9% of Ivanhoe Electric Inc., for US$126.5 million with a top-up option to maintain its 9.9% ownership. The JV will deploy US$66 million of the US$126.5 million to fund exploration activities and the purchase of three new generation Typhoon™ machines. Ma’aden has been granted the right to appoint a nominee to the IE board of directors.

The formation of the JV and the acquisition of 9.9% shares in IE will only be effective after fulfilling certain conditions.

Robert Wilt, CEO of Ma’aden, said: “We are launching one of the largest exploration programs in the world in partnership with Ivanhoe Electric. It’s great to see companies like IE recognize the scale of the opportunity here. We have only scratched the surface of the potential in the Kingdom, and we need to explore faster, smarter and cover more ground to meet our long-term growth objectives. IE’s Typhoon technology will enable us to accelerate our exploration efforts by six times, and de-risk and advance the development of a significant exploration hub in the Kingdom. This is going to help put us on track to meet our 10x growth targets and fast track development of the Kingdom’s mineral riches.”

Ivanhoe Executive Chairman, Robert Friedland commented: “We are excited to finalize our transaction terms with Ma’aden and begin the important work of minerals exploration in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Our joint venture will embark on the largest exploration program ever conducted using our highly powerful and disruptive Typhoon™ geophysical surveying system. With our TyphoonTM technology, our Computational Geosciences’ machine-based learning software, and the combined talents of our highly experienced team of women and men, we have all the tools necessary to conduct a transformational exploration program for electric and precious metals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The potential for future discoveries is extraordinary.”