Saudi mining sector needs small, nimble firms to grow metals industry: Ajlan Bros official 

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Menaral companies of the future will need to have a different structure: SWCC governor 

RIYADH: As the world is witnessing rapid changes in the era of energy transition, digitalization and climate change, the mining industry will need to have a different structure moving forward, said Saline Water Conversion Corp. Governor Abdullah Ibrahim Al-Abdul-Karim. 

Speaking in a panel discussion during the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh, he said new mining companies will be able to find abundant resources from seawater if they have “the science, the reengineering and the economy-based structure” in place.  

He added: “I am representing SWCC as the largest desalination organization in the world. We are producing a very concentrated liquid, rich in minerals. By figuring out how we can extract precious salts and minerals from this brine water, we will be able to secure the demand for the future.” 

Speaking in the same panel, Pakistan’s Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Masood Malik added: “Nearly everything will have to change otherwise the industry would not survive.”  

He said the mining organizations of the future need to be “boundaryless,” adding that “right now, they are structured in a very discreet manner.”  

The minister explained that those discreet manners create silos of technology, silos of geography. “Whereas what you need are platforms. In order for somebody to create these cross-cutting platforms, one will be challenged to create a boundaryless organization.” 

Elaborating on this topic during the panel discussion, Rohitesh Dhawan, president and CEO of the International Council on Mining and Metals, said that the mining company of the future needs to have a few key elements. 

“The first thing is that it needs to be profitable,” he said. “Then it needs to be zero harm until we get to a point where everyone who works at a mining company goes home safe every day the work is not done.” 

“Next, it should be net zero – if our story to the world is that we supply essential minerals for decarbonization, we have to decarbonize our own operations completely,” Dhawan insisted. 

He continued: “It will also need to be nature positive; we have to move beyond doing no harm to nature to building nature-positive societies through the mining industry.”  

The mining company of the future will also need to be diverse and inclusive, the executive said, adding that “it should also be transparent.” 

Dhawan explained that these are things the society expects the mining company of the future to be. 

Robert Johnston, the executive director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, strongly feels that “leaders need to create a vision that is compelling to future investors and future employees and is something that people are excited to be part of.” 

Anthony Morgan, president, mining and metals at Fluor, concluded by saying that it is going to be vital for the mining industry to collaborate in a new way.  

“When we talk about the mining company of the future, I know the mining companies are the ones that are taking the risk and building the facilities, but we need to think about the ecosystem of the mining industry in general and holistic terms,” he summed up. 

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