Arab News, Saturday, Jan 14, 2023 | Jamadi Al Thani 21, 1444
Saudi stock market could play key role in securing mining investment, private equity guru tells Future Minerals Forum
Global mining companies should raise funds through the Saudi stock exchange in
order to fuel investment in the Kingdom, according to a leading private equity
Speaking at the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh,
Ross Bhappu, partner and head of private equity at Resource Capital Funds,
praised Saudi Arabia for creating a dependable environment for investors looking
to become involved in the Kingdom’s mining sector.
He added that in order for the industry to really
develop, more reform was needed to attract even greater investments.
“I would like to see the expansion of the Saudi
stock exchange to where it is supportive of a general mining sector, I would
like to see general mining companies come here and be able to raise money on the
Saudi Stock Exchange and pump that money into an exploration within the country,
within the Kingdom,” Bhappu said.
Bhappu praised the Kingdom’s commitment to the
mining industry, and said: “The greatest risk and reason we wouldn’t invest in a
place has to do with fiscal uncertainty, fiscal uncertainty is a killer of
“When I look at what Saudi Arabia is doing it
provides certainty for an investor.”
Bhappu’s comments came during a discussion on the
current obstacles to securing exploration rights and mining licenses in order to
properly operate within the Kingdom.
Ali Seed AlQahtani, the chief operating officer of
Central Mining Holding, suggested ways to reduce the time between initial
submission for a mining license and it being awarded.
He talked up the efficiency and speed of the
government’s Absher platform, which allows Saudi citizens to access more than
350 services through a digital, and said an equivalent of this should be rolled
out across the mining sector.
“We have more than nine government agencies that
are involved during the licensing process, so have them in a portal and see
where it's forbidden to not do any exploration and do it as fast as Absher is
doing it because it is a fight (against) competition and bureaucracy,” he added.
Abdullah Al Shamrani, CEO of Saudi Geological
Survey, used his remarks in the discussion to argue the sector should learn from
the oil and gas industries and invest in two things: “Technology and human
“Technology will help us in order to reduce the
money spent and time,” he added.
His focus on human capital was echoed by Saleh Al
Maghlouth, executive vice president of exploration and resource development
Ma’aden, who highlighted the importance of training and guiding the next
generation of professionals in the Saudi mining sector.
“If anything, what I really want to do and
expedite as much as possible is building the local talent here and expertise,”