The Mining Executive
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Key insights from the Future Minerals Forum Conference 2024

Undeniably, the hunt for critical minerals continues to be an important topic in various industries, global markets, and global mining conferences. United States, China, Russia, and other countries are racing to secure these strategic minerals needed for energy transition and recently government officials and top mining executives converge in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Middle East is one of the regions which holds at least a third of the world’s natural resources, including these critical minerals.  

Critical minerals or rare earth elements, are essential to produce various technologies, including electronics, renewable energy systems, electric vehicles, and more hence the demand for these minerals has been increasing due to advancements in technology and the transition to more sustainable and clean energy sources. They are found in limited quantities and concentrated in specific regions, which has led to concerns about supply chain vulnerabilities and the need for diversification. 

The Future Minerals Forum which ran under the theme, ‘Creating Resilient and Responsible Mineral Value Chains in Africa, Western and Central Asia’, had countries and private sector partners discussed the creation of resilient mineral value chains in Africa and Western and Central Asia. During the ministerial roundtable, ministers emphasized the need for collaboration and coordination with mining industry stakeholders hence the collaboration will be the foundation for sustainable, responsible, and inclusive mining developments that deliver shared benefits. The presentations were from the industry experts from the private sector and international organisations. 

However, the global mining industry is marred by both challenges and opportunities emanated from the COVID-19 pandemic. Mining countries and companies continue to navigate the public health risks associated with the virus, and the economic instability caused by the pandemic. On the other hand, supply chains are recovering, and consumer demand is growing. Demand for critical minerals is growing rapidly and prospected to grow multifold in the next decades. The growth in demand for these minerals presents a historic opportunity for the Middle East and Africa region. 

Considering this opportunity, participants highlighted the region’s potential to help meet the world’s mineral needs of the future since the region holds largest reserves and resources of key commodities. One of the major insights participants pointed out was the increasing emphasis on sustainable mining practices within the minerals industry. Experts highlighted the urgent need for integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into mineral extraction processes. On that note, mining can increase the strength and effectiveness of communities, improve people’s quality of life, and enable people to participate in decision making to achieve greater long-term control over their lives. Governments have a central role to play in bringing the mining sector and society closer together to create shared value. The forum emphasized the need for governments to provide supportive policies that incentivize sustainable mining investments while ensuring fair distribution of mineral wealth. The participants also called for a roadmap for progressing multistakeholder dialogue on mining and minerals in the region. 

Conclusively, the Future Minerals Forum 2024 provided key insights into various aspects of the minerals industry, including sustainable mining practices, technological advancements, government policies, and collaboration. After all these discussions, it is evident that sustainable mining practices and the adoption of advanced technologies are essential for achieving environmental responsibility and operational efficiency. Furthermore, supportive government policies and collaborative initiatives are essential to ensure the equitable distribution of mineral wealth and address societal challenges. The mining sector must continue to prioritize these insights to pave the way for a more sustainable and responsible future. 


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