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UK to deepen alliance on critical minerals with Saudi Arabia

Stock photo of a copper mine. Saudi reported $8bn of foreign direct investment in mining last year Reuters
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The British government has agreed to deepen its collaboration with Saudi Arabia on diversifying sources of critical minerals.

Britain’s Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy department said the partnership could see Saudi investment in the UK’s manufacturing and mining finance sectors, and new opportunities for UK mining firms to do business in Saudi Arabia.

The British government said it was also important “in ensuring the UK’s critical mineral supply chains are not overly reliant on any one country, with supplies currently dominated by China”.

On Wednesday Saudi Arabian Mining Co, Ma’aden, the Gulf’s largest miner, 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 of the venture while the Public Investment Fund (PIF) will own 49 percent. The new company’s initial paid-up capital will amount to SAR187.5 million ($50 million).

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.