In recent years, Saudi Arabia has witnessed remarkable growth in the production of primary, midstream and downstream mineral and metals products for both local and export markets.
Now, Saudi Arabia strives to increase the mining sector contribution to the national economy as a part of the Kingdom’s 2030 vision. Accordingly, the Industrial Clusters, along with its strategic partners, is working to expand exploration and mining activities (upstream), primary materials industries (midstream), and to develop sustainable and globally competitive value-added semi-finished and finished metal industries (downstream) that support the Kingdom’s goals of diversification and development of advanced industries such as automotive, aerospace, ship building, machinery & equipment and others.
The Minerals and Metals Cluster is currently directing its efforts towards expanding the aluminum, steel and copper industrial base and developing titanium metal, tantalum, niobium, rare earth elements and quartz / silica industries.
The availability of competitive primary aluminum products in the Kingdom forms a solid foundation for developing high value aluminum products for automotive, aerospace and other advanced industries.
Further, the large and growing local demand for steel products presents exceptional opportunities for developing iron ore mining and pellets production, where large amounts of iron ore exist in the Kingdom. Additionally, the growing demand from the oil & gas, energy, automotive and ship building provides an opportunity for new steel products such as plate, rolled steel products and specialty steels castings and forgings.
The large existing demand for copper products (i.e. cables and rods) provides an opportunity for expanding copper mining, developing a copper smelter and also expanding the existing downstream industries into new products such as tubes, bars, plates and others.
Geological studies have indicated the availability of large tantalum, niobium and rare earth elements resources in the Kingdom. In fact, the Ghurayyah deposit is the world’s second largest potential niobium resource and it would supply a significant share of the primary tantalum metals market. In addition, it contains by-product zircon that could also be exploited. These products are used in several applications such as capacitors, carbide cutting tools, MRI wire and others.
Exploration work on several Quartz sites indicated that potential prospects exist that can be used for producing several advanced products including silicon metal, silicones, EMC fillers, optical glass and others.
The objectives of the Minerals and Metals Cluster include: