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RIYADH: The mining sector is expected to contribute over SR88 billion ($23.41 billion) to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product and create more than 47,000 jobs by 2040, according to a top official. 

In an exclusive interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the Local Content Forum in Riyadh on Monday, Robert Wilt, CEO of Saudi Arabian Mining Co., known as Ma’aden, said that out of the projected SR88 billion, SR33 billion will come from local content alone. 

According to the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority website, local content is defined as the total spending on Saudi components within labor, goods, services, assets, technology and other such items within the Kingdom.

During the event, Ma’aden also launched its local content program named Tharwa which means “wealth” in Arabic. The program encompasses the company’s vision to create a wealth of resources in the Kingdom. 

Wilt said that Ma’aden aims to grow mineral resources and develop a local ecosystem in the Kingdom simultaneously. 

“Today we formally launched our Tharwa project which means wealth. Our ambition is to grow mineral resources and extract those from the Kingdom, and at the same time develop a local ecosystem and a local economy around all of our mines and projects in the mining industry,” Wilt told Arab News. 

Talking about the growth of the sector in the Kingdom, Wilt said: “The mining sector is growing. It was considered a dirty extractive industry. And now we aspire to become a role model for ESG (environmental, social and governance). We’re deploying technology that’s unheard of. We’re developing new techniques for extracting minerals which are better for the environment and decarbonizing (the) world.” 

Robert Wilt, CEO of Saudi Arabian Mining Co.

During his speech at the forum, Wilt revealed that Ma’aden’s capital program is equally ambitious, as it aims to spent SR246 billion on investments by 2040. 

He noted that most of these capital investments and expansions will occur in remote areas of the Kingdom, which are crucial to Saudi Arabia’s overall economic development. 

Wilt said that Ma’aden in partnership with international industry leaders and key local partners has already invested over SR120 billion to ensure Saudi Arabia is ready to capitalize on its tremendous mineral wealth. 

“This investment has resulted in the establishment of two industrial cities of truly global scale, Ras Al-Khair and Wa’ad Al-Shamal,” he added. 

Wilt further pointed out that strengthening local content is necessary for economic expansion. 

He noted that local content is also vital to the environment as it will help reduce carbon footprint. 


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