Follow-ups -eshrag News:
RIYADH: Finland’s “cutting-edge” mining technology can help Saudi Arabia achieve its excavation goals, a minister from the European nation told Arab News as she praised the opportunties available to foreign companies in the Kingdom.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh, Nina Vaskunlahti – Finland’s deputy minister for international trade – revealed she had met with the Gulf’s largest mining firm Ma’aden to discuss opportunities for closer working.
The meeting with the Saudi-based firm is one of a number of examples of the growing relationship between the two countries, following a visit from a 40-strong delegation from the Kingdom to Finland at the end of 2022, led by Minister of Commerce Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi.
“Finland has cutting-edge technologies in mining equipment, in machinery, in digitalization, in circular economy solutions,” said Vaskunlahti, adding that her country has “new technologies, new ideas that we think would fit the Saudi needs as far as the Vision 2030 is concerned.”
She highlighted a number of Finnish businesses already working in the Kingdom’s mining sector, including a firm with the technology to clean municipality wastewater so it can be reused in mining processes.
When asked about the number of memorandums of understanding signed between firms from the two countries, the deputy minister said: “This week, for instance, I can think of at least maybe around five or six, which is not too bad.
“The Finnish Geological Survey – they have five projects going on here already. Yesterday (Wednesday) we met with Ma’aden and we were discussing new opportunities. So our survey people will get in touch with Ma’aden relevant contacts over there and look what possibly can be done.”
When asked how much more the relationship can develop, Vaskunlahti replied: “Well, of course, for me it’s difficult to say how many more companies will be coming here.
“It also very much depends on the companies’ own decisions. It depends on the investment climate and the opportunities that Saudi Arabia can offer.
“What I have seen and witnessed in four days is that there are plenty of opportunities for Finnish companies and there are companies that have been operating here for the last 20, 30, 40 years.”
Vaskunlahti was keen to stress the changes she was seeing in the Kingdom, and said: “I am impressed at the speed that the country is changing.
“I am impressed by how many impressive women I have met and how their number in the workforce has increased and how influential they are and how they are pushing things forward.”
The second edition of the Future Minerals Forum began on Jan. 10 with a ministerial roundtable, followed by two days of meetings and addresses involving more than 200 speakers from around the world.
The forum came as Saudi Arabia was deemed to be on track to become a “global leader” in the mining industry thanks to the Kingdom’s “welcoming investment climate” according to a report from The Payne Institute for Public Policy at the Colorado School for Mines in the US, issued in December.
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