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Ma’aden buys $126m stake in US mining firm

Maaden mining surveying Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser
Ma’aden will use Ivanhoe’s Typhoon geophysical surveying technology to mine in an area covering around 48,500 sq km

Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma’aden) has bought a 9.9 percent stake in US minerals exploration company Ivanhoe Electric as part of a joint venture exploring an area in the kingdom that’s larger than Denmark.

The $126 million deal includes a $66 million joint venture where Ma’aden will use Ivanhoe’s Typhoon geophysical surveying technology to mine for copper, nickel, gold and silver in an area covering around 48,500 sq km.

The transaction, which will help realise Ma’aden’s plans to boost growth 10-fold by 2040, is expected to close by the end of June subject to regulatory approvals.

Ma’aden CEO Robert Wilt described the agreement as an “important breakthrough”.

The deal will also support Saudi Vision 2030, which places mining as a third pillar of the Saudi economy. The Saudi government believes it has unused mineral resources worth about $1.3 trillion, with vast quantities of aluminium, phosphate, gold, copper and uranium.

In February, Saudi Arabia invited local and international mining companies to bid for licences on five exploration sites across the kingdom. Opportunities worth $32 billion are on offer, according to Khalid Al Mudaifer, vice minister for mining affairs.

The ministry said it was planning to complete the licensing round by the third quarter of 2023.

In January Luxembourg-based Eurasian Resources Group revealed that it would be entering Saudi Arabia with an initial $50 million investment. Also in January the British government agreed to deepen its collaboration with the kingdom on diversifying sources of critical minerals.

Ma’aden is the largest multi-commodity mining and metals company in the Middle East, with revenues of more than $10.7 billion in 2022. It operates 17 mines and sites, has over 6,500 employees and exports products to over 30 countries.