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About the Ministry

About His Excellency the Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources

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Mr. Bandar bin Ibrahim AlKhorayef was appointed as a minster o the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources in August 2019 by a royal decree to found the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, and transferring competencies, tasks and responsibilities related to the industrial and mineral resources sectors. On 1/12/1441 AH, a royal decree No. 2064, was issued to assign the minister of industry and mineral resources to the presidency of the sectors councils under the Industry and Mineral Resources System (the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, Modon, the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, the Saudi Geological Survey, the Saudi Export Development Authority, National Program for the Development of Industrial Clusters (the National Center for Industrial Development) the former name. Also, he became the head of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program, and the head of the Board of Directors of the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority.

Scientific and practical life

The minister of industry and mineral resources holds a bachelor of agricultural economics from the College of Food and Agricultural Sciences at King Saud University. He has more than 27 years of experience in the industrial, commercial and investment fields, for example leadership positions in the private sector, as the presidency and membership of the boards of directors in many companies. In addition to many training courses in leadership, management and investment.

The Minister is a member of many government committees, and boards of directors of authorities and sectors, including:

  • Member of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs.
  • Member of the Strategic Committee.
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh.
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Military Industries Company.
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the General Authority for Military Industries.
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Special Economic Cities Authority and Chairman of the Executive Committee.
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the General Authority for Statistics.
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council.

A royal decree No. (A/472) on 29/12/1440 AH, 30 August, 2019, which adopted establishing the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources and transferring competences, tasks and responsibilities related to the industry and mineral resources sectors. As of 1/1/ 2020 the ministry shall begin its tasks.

According to the new development of the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources aims to promote the industrial and mining sectors and to contribute for achieving sustainable development according to Saudi Vision 2030. As it adopted these two sectors as strategic options to diversify the national economy and to raise the gross domestic product by implementing the initiatives of the national industrial development program and logistics services (one of Saudi Vision 2030 programs), which aims to transform Saudi Arabia into a leading industrial and mining powerhouse, also a global platform for logistics services.

Despite the recent independence of the new ministry that supervises the industrial and mineral resources sectors, each sector has a long history in supporting the national economy before its independence.

Saudi Industry Journey For the Period from Foundation to Vision

Saudi Vision 2030 focus on developing the national economy and diversifying sources of income. As industry is one of the main economic tributaries of this vision. In addition to the contribution of the industrial and mining sectors planned to exceed 15% of GDP by 2020.

The industry in Saudi Arabia has a long history, from the discovery of oil stage, which is the basis of the modern industry in Saudi Arabia. The development process in the industrial sector began its first steps after the discovery of oil and its export in commercial quantities because of oil revenues and their role in the possibility of improving economic conditions.

The country focus on industrial development, thus Saudi Industrial Development Fund was established in 1974 as a kind of support to finance, support and to develop the industrial sector by providing medium or long-term loans to establish new factories, or to develop, modernize and expand existing factories. In addition to advice in administrative, financial, technical and marketing fields for industrial establishments in Saudi Arabia.

In 1975, the industrial and petrochemical projects were transferred to the Ministry of Industry and Electricity at that time. In the same year the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu was established, which is concerned with developing the industrial cities “Jubail and Yanbu” to be examples to the industrial renaissance and a major transformation in the sector. Then, SABIC was established in 1976, one of its objectives was to adopt large industrial projects, also to support and develop Saudi industries. The company has now become a leading global company in petrochemical industry.

There have been continuous remarkable growth rates during the reign of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud - may Allah protect him. Saudi Vision 2030 was launched in 2016; to set a new economic trajectory in Saudi Arabia. As industry was integrated with energy and mineral resources. A royal decree was issued to change the name of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources to be (the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources). The number of Saudi factories was 7,741 factories, while the number of workers in factories was nearly more than one million. A royal decree was issued to establish an independent ministry called (Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources), to confirm adopting industry and mining sectors as important economic tributaries to show how it focus on developing and localization industry to be the basis in diversifying sources of income according to Saudi Vision 2030. One of results was the number of factories in Saudi Arabia exceeded 10,000 by 2021.

In 2020, the national strategy for industry adopted by the Council of Ministers the motto: (achieving a competitive industry and a knowledge-based economy), which aims to diversify the industrial and economic base, also to protect the national economy from global volatility in oil prices and revenues to ensure stability and balanced growth for all economic indicators according to Saudi Vision 2030 and the national transformation program through partnerships with the private sector.

The launch of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program, which is one Saudi Vision 2030 programs one of the most main developments lately. The aim of program to transform Saudi Arabia into a leading industrial powerhouse and an international logistics platform in many promising fields, by providing job opportunities for Saudi citizen, improving the trade balance, enhancing the local content, providing the required funding, developing the infrastructure and industrial lands, expanding applying digitization procedures, localizing technologies of industry, and adopting techniques of fourth industrial revolution, which will contribute to the transition towards a knowledge-based economy.

As any activities, Saudi industry is a natural product of economy development and expanding its activities. It has now kept pace with industries in countries with a long history of industry, but it has become better than them. Industry has contributed to provide many job opportunities for different segments of society over the decades. Also, it has been met local needs in many products. In addition to export to many global markets and a remarkable growth in many activities in Saudi Arabia, such as petrochemical sector, metals, and food industry too. Today, the national industry has been succeeded in the pharmaceutical industries, medical supplies and other sectors, as well as continues efforts to localize them to ensure health security to the country.

The procedures of the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources were one of the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to promote industrial investments by providing an attractive and stable industrial environment that enhances the competitiveness of industry locally and internationally, thus increasing the value of local content and supporting local manufactured products in all its kinds, thus increasing its exports. Also, industrial renaissance will have a major role in Saudi economy progress and its global competitiveness in the future.

Mining Journey in Saudi Arabia For the Period from Foundation to Vision

Since the launch of the Kingdom's Vision 2030, the Saudi mining sector has witnessed an unprecedented boom in its development efforts. Major investments were made not only in the field of mining itself, but also in developing and building any requirements that are necessary to make mining and mining industries the third pillar of the Saudi industry. And another rich resource of the national economy, along with the oil and petrochemical industries, which have become of global importance.

Since the launch of Saudi Vision 2030, there were remarkable efforts in development of Saudi mining sector. Large investments were implemented not only in the field of mining, but also in developing any necessary requirements to make mining and mining industries the third basis of Saudi industry. Also, another wealthy resource of the national economy resources, in addition to oil and petrochemical industries had thus become a significant and global level.

A comprehensive strategy for mining and mining industries was formulated and approved, and then a comprehensive and detailed review of the mining investment system was implemented. As regulations and requirements were formulated. Many initiatives were launched and implemented to digitize, facilitate the ease of doing business in the sector. Many major geological survey projects were launched. These were just steps, but are not limited to !

Thousands of years ago, Saudi government believed that one of the oldest industries in the country will be the start of a major developmental. The potential of mining sector cannot be ignored. Saudi leadership confirmed that the development of the mining sector will contribute to achieve one of the main objectives of "Saudi Vision 2030", which is to diversify the national economy resources, thus also enhance the Kingdom's efforts to stay one of the largest economies in the world.

Over the past 100 years since the unification of Saudi Arabia by the founding king Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud, may Allah be merciful to him. The Kingdom's leaders have continued focus on developing and exploiting the mineral resources of country. But the history of mining in this part of the world for more than the past 100 years.

For example, Mahd adh Dhahab mine has been about 5000 years, which is located in Medina. Historians, archaeologists and geologists confirmed that mining activities in Mahd adh Dhahab since the Prophet Suliman period, peace be upon him, about 3000 years. They also confirmed that mining in the mine has been for about 1300 years during the Umayyad and Abbasid periods.

There have been many researches on the rich history of mining in the Arabian Peninsula. Archaeological discoveries showed that Oman or “Magan”, which was the old name, had an intense mining activity for copper production, processing and export it at the end of 4thmillennium BC.

But mining operations to extract precious metals have not really flourished only in the recent millennia. It is believed that mining operations were major indicators of modern civilization development. As society develops, its abilities will develop to extract new minerals. During the Islamic period that prevailed in the Middle East from the 7th to the 13th century AD. The population of the region has made great efforts to extract minerals and precious stones to enhance their commercial capabilities. They also have made remarkable achievements in developing early chemical and geological tests to finding new mining areas.

For the Abbasid period that spanned from 750 to about 1258. It was the best period for the Middle East, because it was the center for science, culture, philosophy, invention, and wealth too. It was known as the Golden Age of Islam, because extraction, processing and use of large quantities of gold silver, copper, emerald, ruby and other precious metals

The exploitation of various mineral ores was an urgent requirement throughout the Arabian Peninsula, because of its unique geographic site, which was one of the main leading economies in the world. In addition, discovering hundreds of mining sites along trade caravan routes that crossed the region that is known today as Ad Dir Alarabi region in Saudi Arabia, surely one of these sites was Mahd adh Dhahab, and other sites in Al-Baha region, in the western region of Saudi Arabia.

As for the prosperous Saudi age, it was the start of the mining in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the 1930s of the past century AD.

In April 1931 AD, King Abdulaziz, may Allah be merciful to him asked “Karl S. Twitchell” an American geologist to explore water and minerals in Saudi Arabia, and it was the start of mining and mineral exploration.

In February 1931, AD, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Sulaiman, the minister of finance and Sheikh Fawzan Al-Sabiq, the Saudi ambassador to Egypt at the time, may Allah be merciful to him, held a meeting in Jeddah, so the American businessman and politician “Charles Crane” met King Abdulaziz, may Allah be merciful to him. King Abdulaziz spoke about his ambitions and hopes to explore water resources and natural resources places in his country, so Crane offered him to send geologist Karl Twitchell to help.

After Twitchell meeting king Abdulaziz, he started his geological field trips throughout the country in Hejaz, Najd and Alahsa, etc., to explore water resources and natural resources places. After the end of mineral exploration, he wrote the results of the exploration in a detailed report, and then he submitted it to the king.

In 1933, a contact office of oil and minerals sector was established by the Ministry of Finance to supervise the minerals exploration in Saudi Arabia.

In 1934, Saudi government was signed a mining agreement with Saudi Arabian Mining Syndicate (SAMS). It is a Saudi-British-American company, to explore minerals and to operate some old mines, such as Mahd adh Dhahab, Zalem and al-Souq. In February 1935, Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, may Allah be merciful to him, the former deputy king in Hejaz, agreed on the agreement with (SAMS). On March 1, 1935, the syndicate began operating the old mine in Mahd adh Dhahab.

In 1939, (SAMS) concentrated and extracted gold and silver from Mahd adh Dhahab mine, continued working for 15 years. Thus, more than 900,000 ounces of gold and more than one million ounces of silver were produced, which contributed to support the national economy and to provide job opportunities for Bedouins in that region.

In 1954, the Directorate of Oil and Mineral Affairs was founded in the Ministry of Finance to supervise the minerals sector and mining agreements in Saudi Arabia.

In 1956, there were regional geological surveys, and then 21 geological and geographical maps of the Kingdom were prepared, at a scale of 1:500,000, which was the start of the establishment of the geological infrastructure of Saudi Arabia.

In 1957, Saudi government agreed with British Steel Company to conduct studies to determine the size and type of natural sediment of iron ore in Wadi Sawawin, to know the possibility of commercial exploitation, and the suitability of this sediment. Also, to estimate the Kingdom's need for this ore.

In 1957, Saudi government agreed with British Steel Company to conduct studies to determine the size and type of natural sediment of iron ore in Wadi Sawawin, to know the possibility of commercial exploitation, and the suitability of this sediment. Also, to estimate the Kingdom's need for this ore.

In 1961, Saudi Arabia was signed an agreement with the Canadian Hunting Survey Company, which is located in Toronto, to implement the first geophysical aerial survey for the regions, for geological survey purposes and locating mineral places.

On September 23, 1963, the College of Petroleum and Minerals was founded in Dhahran to qualify Saudi competencies specialized in the fields of petroleum and minerals. In 1975, its academic status was changed to the University of Petroleum and Minerals. In 1986, after the visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, may Allah be merciful to him, the name of the university was changed to King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.

In 1963, the first mining system was issued in Saudi Arabia, during the reign of King Saud bin Abdulaziz, may Allah be merciful to him, consisted of 53 articles. It included that the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources was responsible for exploration operations or by consulting companies to find out the facts of various minerals to be invested.

In 1968, a royal Decree No. 1006 was issued to establish the system of owning the Red Sea wealth, which adopted by the Council of Ministers. In 1974, the Saudi minister of petroleum and mineral resources and the minister of mining and industry in Sudan were signed an agreement to found the Sudanese-Saudi- Authority for exploiting the Red Sea wealth. Then, studies lasted for 15 years and many deep mineralized places were discovered, deep in (Atlantis 2) between Saudi Arabia and Sudan. Gold, zinc, copper ores and manganese nodules were also discovered in the deep of the Red Sea. In 2009, a license was granted to one of Saudi private sector company to exploit mineral ores in the Red Sea.

In 1968, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources was signed an agreement with Arabian Drilling Company, owned by both French CGG and the General intuition for Petroleum and Minerals (Petromin), which was established for diamond drilling as needed to explore minerals. The agreement ensured that the diamond drilling done by the company three years to determine the amount of minerals in Saudi Arabia lands. In the same year, ARGAS was signed an agreement between Petromin in Saudi Arabia and the French CGG Company. This company focused on the geophysical exploration of minerals and petroleum using geophysical methods. This company contributed to prepare many reports and completing geophysical surveys on minerals in Saudi Arabia.

In 1970, the Applied Geology Center was founded in Jeddah under UNESCO, in cooperation with the General Directorate of Mineral Resources and the College of Petroleum and Minerals to qualify Saudi competencies in technical fields related to earth sciences. The center offered programs leading to master's degree and applied diploma in geology and mining science to meet the need for technical staff that had master's degree or a higher degree. In 1977, the Department of Geology in the College of Science at King Abdulaziz University was integrated with the Applied Geology Center and the name has become the College of Earth Science.

In 1972, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources decided to make necessary amendments to some provisions of the mining system and to keep up with developments in the field of mining at that time. So, the modified mining system was issued, consisted of 63 articles during the reign of King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, may Allah be merciful to him.

In 1974, Saudi government and WGM a Canadian company were signed an agreement for providing consulting services of the General Directorate of Mineral Resources by many Canadian geologist experts and other foreigners with high position to ensure Saudi staff gaining experience from them.

There were many important agreements were signed in the mid-1970s to the end of 1980s, thus many industrial and metallic sediment in Saudi Arabia, such as the agreement with British Reuvenex Company, which contributed to evaluate and explore many important metallic and industrial mineral resources. Reports prepared by the company were important references in the field of mineral exploration. Also, the agreement with the German Brusk Company was aimed to explore economic cliffs in the north of Red Sea.

The period between 1973 and 1986 was very important in setting the base for mineral exploration and geological survey in Saudi Arabia. Many geological and geographical surveys were implemented, and geological maps were preparing (topographic, geophysical, biochemical, head and geological). More than 2,800 maps at different scales were produced in that period, which was the second stage of Saudi Arabia mapping. The Ministry was founded (MODS), and hundreds of thousands of diamond drilling were implemented with various types. Feasibility studies were prepared for many of deposits, such as AlJalamid, Zabirah, AlSawwain Iron, Mahd adh Dhahab, Hajar, and Jabal Sayed. This period was characterized by the high number of Saudi qualified geologists, mining engineers and technicians.

In the same period in 1979, an agreement was signed between Saudi Arabia and French Minatum Company, which is internationally specialized in uranium exploration, to implement a project of uranium ores exploration, and to determine the potential environments to find it. Studies were completed and the potential places for uranium were determined in Saudi Arabia.

In 1980, Shell Company (Dutch Company) founded its branch (Shell Saudi Arabian Mineral Exploration Company), it is located in Netherlands. The company granted a reconnaissance license for minerals exploration in Ad Dir Arabi, thus granted with Petromin a reconnaissance license for ....precious and basic metals exploration in the Umm Al-Shalahib area.

In the next year, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources was signed an agreement with the British Celtrust Company, which specializes in evaporates exploration, to implement a program of deposited minerals exploration by evaporation, and then evaluation process, especially in the salt evaporation pond on the Red Sea coasts. The work was completed on the Red Sea coasts and Farasan Island. Many potash ore places were discovered in Farasan Island, Jazan, Ras Karkma, and Wadi Afal, in the northwest of Saudi Arabia.

In 1983, during the reign of King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, may Allah be merciful to him, Mahd adh Dhahab mine was reopened. In April 1988, the commercial production started from the mine, and continued production of gold and silver ingots and copper and zinc concentrates

On March 23, 1997, a royal decree was issued to found Maaden Company for practicing different aspects of mining activity in Saudi Arabia.

In 1999, the Saudi Council of Ministers No. 115 was issued to establish the Saudi Geological Survey authority, as a national technical governmental entity to be substitute foreign geological missions, while retaining the best experiences from them. Also, to be the consulting company for the country in the fields of earth science, and to be responsible for survey, exploration and study of geological hazards.

In 2004, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, may Allah be merciful to him, was issued the mining investment system to keep up with the local and international developments in the mining sector, which was the third of Saudi mining systems, consisted of 62 articles.

In 2007, Maaden Company and SABIC were signed a strategic partnership agreement related to the Maaden phosphate project, which was one of the important mining projects in Saudi Arabia. In the same year, the Council of Ministers agreed on the establishment of the North-South railway project, known as Maaden Railway, which connected phosphate mines in Hazem AlJalamid and Umm Waal in the northern regions of Saudi Arabia, with the aluminum mines in Qassim, Hail, the Industrial City (Ras Al Khair) on the Arabian Gulf coasts.

In 2009, Maaden Aluminum Company was founded as a joint project with ALCO Company (an American Company) to invest and develop bauxite mines in Qassim and Hail, also to build an alumina refinery and aluminum sheet smelter in Ras Al Khair.

In 2010, the transportation of phosphate concentrates began on the railways between AlJalamid mine and Ras Al Khair.

In 2012, the Council of Ministers agreed on the foundation of Waad Al Shamal City for Mining Industries. In the next year, Maaden was founded Waad Al Shamal Phosphates Company as a joint project for Maaden with the American Mosaic and SABIC.

In 2016, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques inaugurated; King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, may Allah protect him, was launched mining industry projects and other industrial and development projects in Ras Al Khair. Also, he opened many gold mines throughout Saudi Arabia, thus the number of producing mines has become six mines.

In 2017, to achieve the goals of Saudi2030 vision because the importance of minerals in supporting the Saudi economy, and to contribute more to mining and mining industries of the domestic product, the comprehensive strategy for mining and mining Industries was approved.

In 2018, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, may Allah protect them, were launched the second phase of Waad Al-Shamal mining and development projects, and they were laid the foundation stone of the third phase.

In 2020, the Council of Ministers agreed on the new mining investment system, contained of 63 articles, and the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources has worked to develop it with other relevant authorities and in cooperation with some international expertise houses specialized in mining fields, so in line with the best leading international practices in this field. The Ministry has also completed the implementation regulations of the system and developed the supporting electronic channels to facilitate the performance of business and shorten the periods required to complete transactions, such as getting mining licenses. The Ministry was also signed four agreements within the framework of the general program of the geological survey for aerial geophysical surveys, geochemical survey, and preparing detailed geological maps of an area of ​​up to 600.000 km2 in Ad Dir Arabi rich in minerals in the west of Saudi Arabia.

In addition to the investment environment management in the field of mining, this mining investment system and its implementing regulations aimed to enhance transparency and sustainability in the mining sector, to protect the environment and to develop local communities. Also, providing various job opportunities for citizens and developing the services provided to Saudi and international investors in the field of mining. Moreover to clarify and facilitate licensing and business requirements for them, thus their work contributed to development of the sector, environmental protection, social development, raising the worker safety, and enhancing the sustainability of the sector's business.

Thus, the goals of Saudi Arabia were achieved to exploit and develop its mineral resources and mineral industries to contribute this vital sector to Saudi Arabia's GDP. Also, to make it the third basis of industry in Saudi Arabia, in addition to the oil and petrochemical industries.