RIYADH: Dozens of ministers and other representatives from government and international organizations from around the world are participating at a ministerial roundtable in Riyadh on Tuesday. 

The closed-door meeting on “sustainable future minerals” is part of the ongoing Future Minerals Forum at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Center in the Saudi capital.

“If the huge untapped potential of our emerging mining super-region from Africa to Central Asia is realized, critical minerals can become a major development driver,” Khalid Al-Mudaifer, vice minister of mining affairs at the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, said.

He added: “We hope to establish a common framework and share best practices to ensure the reliable and responsibly sourced supply of critical minerals for the global transition to net-zero.”

Ministers from Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Oman, Kuwait, Yemen, and other neighboring countries are present in the meeting, while high-level delegates from Australia, China, France, Japan, Russia, the UK, and the US are also attending.

The meeting will discuss mining opportunities in the emerging region that stretches from Africa to Central Asia, which Saudi Arabia’s Al-Mudaifer said is endowed with rich mineral resources.

A major focus of the discussion was responsible mining, and the global environmental standards surrounding the industry.

“Responsible sourcing is a critical and part of our holistic approach that is supplemented globally by an increase in the recycling and reuse of critical minerals and the improvement of technology,” the Saudi official said.

Delegates from a number of international organizations are also present at the roundtable, including those from the Arab League, the International Renewable Energy Agency, the UN Environment Program, and the World Bank.

The eighth consultative meeting of the Arab Mineral resources Ministers was also held on Tuesday.

Arab ministers discussed the achievements made in the past years, including the establishment of a database for the production of mineral ores across the Arab world, and the creation of geological portals.

Mining has been identified as a key economic activity under the Saudi Vision 2030, an ambitious set of national objectives primarily aimed at reducing the Kingdom’s reliance on oil.

The Future Minerals Forum is seen as a platform for the Saudi government to attract investors after an aggressive exploration strategy that led to the discovery of the Kingdom’s mineral wealth.