Ma’aden Sponsors “Arabia CSR Network” Event and Outlines How it Embeds Sustainable Development Across its Operations
As a proud sponsor of the “8th Annual Arabia Corporate Social Responsibility Network Awards” recently held in Dubai, Ma’aden outlined how it works to help ensure the sustainable economic and social development of the communities near its operations, while minimizing environmental impacts.
In his keynote speech, Mr Nabil Al Fraih, Ma’aden Vice President for Human Resources and Sustainability, explained that as a mining company, Ma’aden embraces the notion that its operations can have a meaningful impact on remote communities.
By embedding sustainability in everything it does, Ma’aden works to provide local opportunities through employment, training and local contracting to ensure the sustainability of the local community even many years after the mine is closed.
Ma’aden’s focus on sustainable development has helped the company become one of the fastest growing mining companies in the world. “We are working hard to build the mining sector into the third pillar of Saudi industry, beyond oil and petrochemicals’” said Fraih.
“We’re producing gold, phosphate and bauxite and we’re building integrated value chains to ensure that value added minerals products - from fertilizer to aluminium - are developed inside the Kingdom, rather than sending raw materials out of the country. This allows us to provide significant economic opportunities throughout the Kingdom.”
Fraih noted that while working to achieve the vision of the government to develop the Kingdom’s vast mineral resources and diversify the nation’s economy, Ma’aden faces challenges working in remote areas where infrastructure and services are limited. Its strategy therefore is to consider local community participation across all of its activity.
For instance, in some Ma’aden mines, up to 70% of the workforce are made up of Saudis who live in the mine’s surrounding communities. To support the professional development of its workforce, Ma’aden has developed several education and training programs. “To ensure we’re developing well trained local candidates,’ said Fraih, “with our partners we’ve established the Saudi Mining Polytechnic where 360 youths living near our facilities can participate in a two year academic and on-the-job training program to become technically qualified mining engineers and operators.”
While sustainable development requires a deep commitment to economic and social advancement, Fraih emphasized the focus Ma’aden also puts on adopting international best practice in the protection and preservation of the environment.
“Because water is a significant issue in the arid desert environment of Saudi Arabia, we have taken steps to reduce our water usage. A first of its kind in the country, Ma’aden has built a 450 kilometer pipeline that will transport up to 13,000 cubic metres of treated waste water from Taif to our new mines, thereby allowing us to use recycled waste water for industrial purposes.”
On the east coast of the Kingdom at Ras Al Khair, Ma’aden operates an aluminium complex where Ma’aden has built the Kingdom’s first engineered wetlands wastewater management system. This unique system collects and cleans sanitary and industrial wastewater without using chemicals. It allows Ma’aden to reduce fresh water demand at its facilities by nearly two million gallons or 7.5 million litres annually.
Also at Ras Al Khair Ma’aden has developed the Kingdom’s first aluminium recycling plant. Aluminium is one of the most widely recycled products in the world but before this facility was built Saudi Arabia had not had a facility that could accept scrap aluminum metal for the purposes of recycling.
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