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Miner Ma’aden reports $22m loss as commodity prices fall

Ma'aden aluminium plant in Saudi Arabia. The miner posted a Q3 loss Reuters
Workers at Ma'aden Aluminium in Ras Al Khair. Aluminium sales were down 29 percent in Q3
  • Loss of SAR83m in third quarter
  • Share price down 2% on results
  • Price drops for aluminium and phosphate blamed

Ma’aden, the Gulf’s largest mining company, posted a net loss of SAR83 million ($22.1 million) for the third quarter of 2023, compared with a profit of more than SAR2 billion a year earlier.

The Saudi company reported a SAR3.8 billion slump in sales on the back of declining commodity market prices of most of its products. Revenue in Q3 totalled SAR6.2 billion, down from more than SAR10 billion in the year-earlier period.

Sales fell by SAR740 million compared with the previous quarter, Ma’aden said in a filing to the Saudi Stock Exchange.

Its share price was down by nearly 2 percent in early trading.

Ma’aden is 67 percent owned by the Public Investment Fund, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund. It operates 17 mines and exports to more than 30 countries.

Earlier this year it launched Manara Minerals, a joint venture with the PIF, to invest in mining assets abroad.

Two of its three business units – phosphate and aluminium – were affected by lower prices that caused sales to drop by 37 percent and 29 percent respectively, despite production increases.

The company said the global phosphate market was expected to remain stable in Q4, supported by demand in the US and East Asia. Ammonia prices are also expected to remain at current levels, affected by weak industrial demand.

Ma’aden added that lower global demand for aluminium, associated with higher inflation and interest costs, continued to have an impact on prices. 

The mining giant’s other business unit – base metals and new minerals – reported double-digit sales growth on the back of sustained prices and higher production.

Robert Wilt, CEO of Ma’aden, said: “Even with commodity prices still off their 2022 peak and infrastructure challenges impacting ammonia production in the third quarter our production targets for the full year remain solid.”