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Saudi Arabia’s role in green energy: Harnessing precious metals and minerals for sustainable mining

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With a wealth of precious metals and minerals estimated at US$2.5 trillion, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Ma’aden is making significant strides in its mining operations. Recent discoveries of gold near its Mansourah Massarah gold mine suggest the potential for a major gold belt in the region, bolstering the kingdom’s position in precious metal production.

Ma’aden, a key player in Saudi Arabia’s industrial and mining ambitions, is expanding exploration efforts in Jabal Ghadarah and Bir Tawilah following promising gold resource findings. CEO Robert Wilt sees these discoveries as integral to the country’s growth strategy, envisioning the Arabian Shield as a hotspot for future gold exploration.

Aligned with Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the economy and reduce reliance on hydrocarbon revenue, the mining sector is expected to triple its contribution to the economy by 2030. As part of this vision, Saudi Arabia plans to generate 50% of its electricity from renewables, driving demand for precious metals and minerals essential for clean energy technologies.

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Gold, traditionally valued for its monetary worth, now plays a crucial role in green energy sectors. Its conductivity and efficiency properties make it indispensable in solar cells and electric vehicle batteries, supporting the global shift towards renewable energy. As such, Saudi Arabia’s abundant mineral resources position it as a key player in supplying metals crucial for achieving net-zero carbon emissions.

To leverage its mining potential, Saudi Arabia is fostering international collaborations and attracting foreign investments. Recent partnerships with Egypt, Russia, Morocco, and the Democratic Republic of Congo underscore its commitment to becoming a global mining hub.

However, gold mining’s environmental impact raises concerns. Pollution from gold mine tailings, land degradation, and deforestation pose significant threats to ecosystems and indigenous lands. Addressing these challenges is imperative for sustainable mining practices and maintaining biodiversity.

In response, mining companies, including those in Saudi Arabia, are committing to transparent and responsible operations. Pledges to minimize biodiversity loss and adhere to sustainability standards demonstrate a shift towards environmentally conscious mining practices.

Transparency remains paramount in Saudi Arabia’s mining industry. Stricter regulations and a commitment to publishing impact assessments and performance outcomes signal a push towards accountability and credibility in the global arena.

As Saudi Arabia navigates its transition towards green energy, transparency and sustainable practices will be critical in building trust and attracting international investments.

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