Under The Patronage of The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, convened the second Ministerial Roundtable, in Riyadh on 10 January 2023 as part of the Future Minerals Forum (FMF) with the aim of advancing dialogue on future minerals, investment in mining, and collaboration across the region encompassing Africa, West and Central Asia. The meeting was attended by 50+ Ministers and 30+ representatives of multilateral organisations and agencies, mining leaders and Non- Government Organisations from across the region and beyond.
Participants agreed the global minerals sector finds itself at a moment of great challenge and opportunity. As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, countries and companies continue to navigate the public health, supply chain and economic disruption that has resulted. Compounding the challenge is the significant growth in demand for minerals and metals required to limit global warming, a goal first established in the Paris Agreement in 2015 and reiterated at the recent COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Participants praised the Middle East Green Initiative and the convening of its second edition under the chairmanship of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and Prime Minister and the initiatives adopted by the Kingdom to address climate challenges. They also appreciated the efforts of the Kingdom›s Vision 2030, which identifies the mining sector to be one of the foundations of the Kingdom›s economy and a third pillar of its industry, and praised the role played by His Royal Highness in advancing the mining sector.
The Ministerial Roundtable discussion focussed on four themes. First, the potential of the region to meet global demand for critical minerals and develop their economies.
Participants discussed opportunities for collaboration in supporting technology development across the value chain and propelling the green mineral value chain; powered by reliable, affordable and abundant hydrogen and renewable energy sources.
Second, building societal trust through responsible mining, the application of high standards of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) performance and certification of metal production and supply. They highlighted the critical role minerals will play in the just transition to a low-carbon energy future, and the role each country in the region can play in developing sustainable and responsible supply chains.
Third, discussion of opportunities to engage and collaborate on critical minerals strategy development and what the world is looking for from the region. Perspectives were shared on critical minerals strategies, expectations of producer and consumer countries, and consideration of establishing regional or global strategic frameworks founded on agreed principles to ensure stability and reliability of supply.
Finally, participants discussed incorporating ‘centres of excellence’ into critical minerals strategies to enable the region to achieve its development potential focussing on workforce development, access to capital and innovation.
There was consensus on minerals and metals being vital to achieving a cleaner economy through new and emerging technologies, including electric vehicles, battery storage and renewables energies, and demand for these critical minerals is accelerating. The growth in demand for these minerals also presents an historic opportunity to transform the way mining and the minerals value chain are managed, placing people at the centre of consideration.
These challenges present the region and partners with enormous opportunity for technological advancement. Responsible sourcing is another transformational process that will drive sustainability and transparency across the minerals value chain. A pillar of sustainable future minerals will be their affordability and securing a fair share of the benefits for host countries, communities, miners, investors and consumer nation
Participants emphasized the importance of collaboration and coordination between governments and their partners from the private sector and civil society. Such collaboration will be a foundation for sustainable and inclusive mineral developments that deliver shared benefits to local communities, regional and national governments.
As countries take steps to secure supply of critical minerals and processing capacity, participants agreed on the need to establish a space for discussing current and future challenges on sustainable future minerals. They also agreed to a collaborative approach that brings together all stakeholders seeking to find common ground for developing resilient mineral supply chains, and that it is the right time for the region to convene this dialogue
In closing, participants agreed to continue collaboration and coordination among their countries and praised the role of the Ministerial Roundtable and the importance of its outcomes in the development of mineral industries. They also expressed their gratitude to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for convening the Forum and acknowledged its pioneering role in developing the minerals sector and related industries.
Roundtable participants in 2024 will discuss the overall challenges facing the minerals sector in the world, the Ministerial Roundtable focus areas of 2024 will include: