Inside Saudi Arabia’s plan to take over the mining industry

March 14, 2024

Mudaifer is a minerals specialist — he has been vice minister for mining since 2018, and for the seven years prior he ran Saudi Arabia’s state mining company Ma’aden, armed with degrees from the country’s King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. In a wide-ranging, nearly hour-long interview, he outlined Saudi Arabia’s aims, its plans, and its challenges. “It’s the entire value chain, whenever possible.”ScaleADMudaifer also provided more details on Saudi Arabia’s January announcement that the country may hold up to $2.5 trillion in untapped mineral resources, largely phosphate and rare earths. Taking into account all those factors, he continued, Saudi Arabia likely had trillions of dollars more of minerals reserves in its territory. International targetsDespite Saudi Arabia’s huge aspirations and potentially huge scale, Mudaifer acknowledged that “whatever we mine in Saudi Arabia will not be enough for Saudi Arabia,” because while the kingdom holds large concentrations of certain resources, other ones critical for manufacturing such as nickel, cobalt, and lithium are found elsewhere.