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Ma’aden pairs with PIF to invest in mining assets abroad

Ma'aden's deal with PIF will allow it to invest in the iron ore, copper, nickel and lithium sectors Unsplash/Artyom Korshunov
Revenue fell 27 percent year on year to SAR29.27 billion in 2023 due to lower prices for all commodities except gold

Saudi Arabian Mining Co, Ma’aden, the Gulf’s largest miner, said on Wednesday it has agreed to form a joint venture with the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund to invest in mining assets globally.

Ma’aden will own 51 percent in the venture while the Public Investment Fund (PIF) will own 49 percent. The new company’s initial paid-up capital will amount to SR187.5 million ($50 million), the company said in a regulatory filing.

Ma’aden said the new venture’s strategy “will initially be to invest in the iron ore, copper, nickel and lithium sectors as a non-operating partner taking minority equity positions”.

In a separate statement, Ma’aden also said it agreed to acquire a 9.9 percent stake in American minerals exploration and development firm Ivanhoe Electric, as well as form a separate joint venture with Ivanhoe to explore and develop mining projects in Saudi Arabia.

The partnership will provide Ma’aden with access to proprietary technology for conducting geophysical surveys to detect the presence of sulphide minerals containing copper, nickel, gold and silver, Ma’aden said.

Riyadh’s efforts to build an economy that is not dependent on oil include a shift towards mining to explore the country’s untapped reserves of resources from copper to phosphate and gold.

The Saudi government believes it has unused mineral resources worth about $1.33 trillion, with vast quantities of aluminium, phosphate, gold, copper and uranium, according to mining minister Bandar bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef.

Speaking at the International Mining and Resources Conference in Sydney, in November last year, he said: “In terms of ability to finance a lot of projects, Saudi Arabia is quite good. But we are always seeking partnerships because we are a great believer that it’s through collaboration that we can succeed.

“We want to encourage people who offer services to mining companies to come to Saudi either directly or through partnering with some local people. Everyone out there should be looking at Saudi as a potential market.”