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Saudi joint venture seeks global access to strategic minerals
PIF, Maaden will take minority stakes in mining assets to ensure supply security
Michael Marray 18 Jan 2023

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Riyadh-based mining company Maaden have agreed to establish a joint venture to invest in mining assets globally.

The JV aims to secure strategic minerals for the kingdom’s industrial development. It will initially invest in the iron ore, copper, nickel, and lithium sectors as a non-operating partner taking minority equity positions.

This will help provide physical offtake of critical minerals to ensure supply security for domestic mineral downstream sectors, and position the kingdom as a key partner in achieving global supply-chain resilience, according to a PIF press statement.

Maaden will own 51% of the JV company with PIF taking the remaining 49%. The company will have an initial capitalization of US$50 million. PIF itself owns 65% of Maaden, whose shares are listed on Tadawul, the Saudi stock exchange.

“The new company will significantly contribute to strengthening Saudi Arabia’s strategic position as an important link in the global supply chain in line with PIF’s strategy to further grow key industries," says Yazeed Alhumied, deputy governor and head of MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) investments at PIF.

“As a catalyst of Vision 2030, PIF continues to drive the growth of new sectors and companies while contributing to job creation, technology transfer, and localizing knowledge to build a prosperous and sustainable economy in Saudi Arabia.”

Maaden chief executive officer Robert Wilt adds: “This is a significant step for Maaden as we develop the mining sector in Saudi Arabia and position the kingdom as a key ally in securing the metals of the future. 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, where major supply constraints are combined with growing demand."

Maaden has also signed new JV agreements with Barrick Gold Corporation for two prospective copper exploration projects in Jabal Sayid South and Umm Ad Damar.

The partners already have a successful 50:50 JV at the neighbouring Jabal Sayid mine. From 2018 to 2021, production at the mine increased from 110 million pounds to 152 million pounds per annum as a result of improved mining performance and process plant optimization.

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