Saudi Arabia’s Ma’aden to Look for Overseas Mining Assets with the Sovereign Wealth Fund

Saudi Arabia’s state-owned mining company Ma’aden said it would jointly look for mining assets abroad with the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund. According to the joint venture agreement, Ma’aden will own 51% of the venture and the PIF will own the remaining 49%. The venture’s initial capital will be $50 million but the companies said it could be increased to over $3 billion if required.

“This is a significant step for Ma’aden as we develop the mining sector in Saudi Arabia and position the kingdom as a key ally in securing the metals of the future,” Ma’aden CEO Wilt said.

The new fund aims to take equity stakes in existing assets and companies to supply the raw metals Saudi Arabia needs for development, with investments in iron ore, copper, nickel, and lithium. The company plans to make two to three deals this year.

“The global energy transition relies on the strategic minerals needed for renewable energy and battery storage, and our focus on these will give us a foothold in the global commodity value chain,” Wilt added.

Governments and companies alike have been scrambling to secure supplies of raw materials needed for energy transition technologies, including electric vehicles and solar panels.

Meanwhile, the British government said on Wednesday it had agreed with Saudi Arabia to deepen cooperation to diversify sources of critical minerals.

British government said the deal allowed it to “ensure critical mineral supply chains are not overly reliant on any one country, with supplies currently dominated by China”.

As the new partnership is announced, Ma’aden also said it would buy a 9.9 percent stake in Ivanhoe Electric, an American minerals exploration and development firm.

Ma’aden said the joint venture will allow it access to Ivanhoe’s proprietary technology, allowing them to conduct special surveys to detect the presence of sulphide minerals containing copper, nickel, gold and silver.

Maaden also formed another venture on Wednesday with Toronto-based Barrick Gold to explore minerals in western Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia sees mining as a key component of its Vision 2030 strategy to diversify its economy outside of fossil fuels. The kingdom values its mineral wealth at more than $1.3 trillion.

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