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Key insights from the inaugural Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh

Robert Friedland, Founder and Co-Chairman of Ivanhoe Mines, speaking at the 2022 Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Credit: FMF

Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s oil powerhouses, boasting the second-largest proven reserve of the slick stuff. Still, as the inaugural Future Minerals Forum recently held in Riyadh heard, the kingdom is prepping for a pivot to embracing metals essential to developing the future global economy.

Saudi Arabia is looking to invest its massive capital potential to not only develop its industry, from exploration to downstream battery metal processing. Perhaps more impactfully, the country has an opportunity to become the hub for mineral knowledge and finance for the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia region.

Attendees were left to ponder whether the country could use its experience from OPEC to create something similar with mineral producers say in Africa? Or, are we seeing the emergence of an energy metals OPEC?

The Future Minerals Forum heard Saudi Arabia has committed to a low carbon economy. To this end, it is collaborating to build the new city of NEOM, in the Tabuk province of northwestern Saudi Arabia. It is planned to incorporate innovative city technologies and function as a tourist destination.

The kingdom has set aside $500 billion to build a city with no carbon footprint.