The U.S.-Saudi Business Council (USSBC) led a delegation of six U.S. companies to the third annual Future Minerals Forum (FMF) in Riyadh on Jan 10-11, 2024. This is the second delegation that the USSBC has led to the FMF since its inaugural edition in 2022.
The USSBC’s delegation to FMF24, listed below, aimed to reflect Saudi Arabia’s objective to become a mine-to-metal manufacturing hub in the region. Some of the delegates were new to Saudi Arabia and chose the Council to guide them to establish key relationships for their Saudi market objectives. These included establishing a local manufacturing presence in collaboration with local partners. Those already present or doing business in the Kingdom chose the delegation as the vehicle to explore new avenues to expand their business in the Saudi market. Others chose to participate in our second delegation to the FMF to identify new clients and opportunities to contribute to the Kingdom’s vision for the development of the mining sector.
Ana Carmen Neboisa, USSBC Vice President, and the Council’s Riyadh office team introduced the delegates to key potential private sector potential partners as well as industrial ecosystem enablers including the Ministry of Industry and Minerals Resources (MIMR), Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA), the National Industrial Development Program, the Saudi ExIm Bank as well as PIF portfolio companies including Ma’aden (a board member of the USSBC) and the Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC).
The meetings established the groundwork for future collaborations and agreements in the rapidly expanding Saudi mining and metal manufacturing sectors. One of the delegates has already discussed an MOU with a company the Council introduced them to during the week the FMF took place.
The USSBC thanks MISA, MIMR, and the FMF organizers for their invaluable support as well as SIRC for hosting the delegation for a visit to their headquarters to explore collaborations and learn about their advanced recycling technologies and objectives for the Saudi market.
CarbonMeta Technologies: Based in Woodinville, Washington, CarbonMeta is a developer of a process to produce and commercialize a carbon-negative concrete made from industrial and construction demolition waste and mining waste. The company is registered in Saudi Arabia and plans to begin a pilot project to produce precast concrete pavers, blocks, road barriers, and street furniture that capture CO2 during the manufacturing process. Information is available at www.carbonmetatech.com
Impossible Metals: A graduate of Y Combinator, the world’s most prestigious startup accelerator, and a “B” Corp” rated company, Impossible Metals aims to contribute to the acceleration of the transition to sustainable energy by unlocking the potential of seabed critical metals. Based in San Jose, CA, Impossible Metals has built an underwater autonomous robot which leverages AI to selectively pick up battery rocks without harming the environment. It has signed over $1 billion in offtake LOI agreements. Its Board of Advisors include Frank Fannon, Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, and Sir Robin Saxby, CEO and Chairman of ARM, a major microprocessor manufacturer. Information is available at www.impossiblemetals.com
PACCAR: Based in Kirkland, Washington, PACCAR is a Fortune 500 global technology leader in the design, manufacturing, and customer support of premium light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks and advanced diesel engines. Established in 1907, PACCAR also designs and manufactures advanced diesel engines, provides financial services, information technology, and distributes trucks parts related to its principal business. PACCAR Global sells the company’s products in more than 100 countries. Information is available at www.paccar.com
Rampante Automotive Design Group: Developer of a restoration-modification process for high-performance Ferrari® (1989 to 1995 Ferrari® 348® Tipo-F119 automobiles). Established in Dover, Delaware, Rampante aims to establish a restomodding plant in Saudi Arabia to serve local and international customers and manufacture components and parts. Their aim is to create unique, high-performance vehicles that retain the essence of Ferrari’s design philosophy while incorporating individual client preferences and the latest automotive innovations and components. They also aim to market the production of the bespoke Ferrari restorations, as well as “Made in Saudi Arabia” parts and components globally. Its seasoned automotive designers, engineers, and technicians are deeply knowledgeable about Ferrari’s heritage and engineering with 50+ years combined track record in designing, manufacturing, and integrating cutting-edge automotive technology, including next-generation advanced composite structures and powertrain development. They have worked for Land Rover, Dodge, NASCAR, and Scuderia Ferrari.
TechnoImaging: Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, TechnoImaging has developed the world’s most advanced 3D imaging solutions for all airborne, land, and marine geophysical methods for mineral, hydrological, geothermal, and oil and gas exploration. Key customers include Anglo American plc, BAE Systems, Barrick Gold, BHP, Cameco Resources, Duke Exploration ENI, ExxonMobil, Geoscience Australia, Haliburton, Natural Resources Canada, Nuvia, Petrobras, Rio Tinto, Tullow Oil, Shell, Stateoil, Sumitomo, Tech Resources, Total, and the U.S. Geological Survey. More information is available at https://technoimaging.com/
VOOVIO Technologies: A USSBC member, VOOVIO offers Digital Replica and Standard Operating Procedure simulators for industrial training utilizing patented Enhanced Reality technology. Founded by a group of experts in machine learning, industrial R&D, and automation in Houston, Texas, VOOVIO’s platform captures and analyses data regarding the competence and execution of the field workforce to complement a plant’s digital twins, enabling businesses to boost performance, reduce downtime and turnaround time, and solve industrial training and knowledge transfer challenges. Users include TESLA, Dupont, BASF, Linde, SABIC, Total Energies, and Eastman. More information is available at https://www.voovio.com/
FMF has become one of the world’s largest gatherings of senior government and industry representatives in only three years. It is dedicated to creating resilient and responsible mineral value chains in the super regions of Africa and Western and Central Asia. The FMF24, hosted by MIMR, welcomed over 16,000 mining and mineral experts from 145 nations. The ministerial roundtable was attended by 79 representatives from governments around the world. The FMF offered participants the opportunity to interact with government officials and influential individuals from various sectors of the mineral and mining industry, including multilateral organizations and other entities that shape the industry’s landscape. Discussions covered areas including artificial intelligence, responsible supply chains, and investments in capacity building.
The MIMR made a number of key announcements during the FMF including the revision of the Kingdom’s untapped minerals resources, including phosphate, gold, and rare earth metals with an estimated value between $1.3 trillion and $2.5 trillion. In addition, the Kingdom announced the launch of the Geoscience Data Analytics Center that is expected to play a pivotal role in utilizing AI to uncover potential mining deposits. In addition, the Kingdom signed over $20 billion in deals including an agreement with a leading technology firm to boost the energy, mining, and logistics sectors with new investment and support for entrepreneurs. Last, the Kingdom announced an $182 million exploration incentive funding program to de-risk exploration investments and secure new commodities, green field projects, and involvement of junior mining exploration companies. Council members including Aldrees Industrial & Trading Co, Aramco, Bechtel, Front End, Ma’aden, and Zahid Group were among exhibitors and sponsors of the event.
The Kingdom started awarding licenses to international miners in 2022 to deliver on its commitment to turn mining into the third pillar of economic development and expand exploration of vast reserves of phosphate, gold, copper, and bauxite, among others. Over 30 mining exploration licenses are expected to be awarded to investors in 2024. New regulations allowing larger exploration areas of over 2,000 km per license are expected to be announced.
The USSBC will continue to contribute to the strengthening of U.S.-Saudi commercial ties in the mining and metal manufacturing sectors. The Council aims to lead a U.S. mission to FMF 2025 and develop related activities throughout 2024.