Pakistan team to attend Future Mineral Forum in Riyadh

A three-member official delegation of the petroleum division headed by State Minister Musadik Malik has left for Saudi Arabia to attend the Future Mineral Forum (FMF), which will be held on January 10–12 in Riyadh.

The petroleum secretary is also part of the delegation, a senior official of the energy ministry told The News, here on Monday. Saudi Arabia is seeking to attract SR63.7 billion ($170 billion) worth of investment in the mining industry by 2030 to help the country capitalise on its wealth of mineral resources, the total value of which is estimated to exceed SR4.88 trillion ($1.3 trillion), the official said.

Last year, the Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) and Ma’aden, a Saudi-owned mining company, had developed an understanding for a survey to locate the treasures of the minerals.

Apart from attending the FMF, the official said the high-level delegation may manage the meeting with the Saudi energy minister to discuss the Greenfield mega-refinery to be set up in Pakistan. Saudi Aramco has communicated that it will invest in the project only if its demands for 7.5 percent deemed duty on both diesel and gasoline until the age of the refinery and a 20-year tax holiday are met. The demands are very tough, and the Pakistan delegation may try to influence the Saudi energy minister to help Aramco’s conditions soften.

“Pakistan has offered 10 percent deemed duty for 10 years along with a 10-year tax holiday, but Aramco has refused to accept the offer.” At the FMF, the official said that Saudi Arabia is convening a meeting of the global mining industry, regional governments, investors, and other key players to establish long-lasting partnerships.

“The Kingdom is the geographic center for three resource-rich regions and, as a global trading hub, aims to become a gateway and enabler of development, leveraging its financial resources, highly developed infrastructure, strong domestic market, and diversifying the economy with the growing demand for minerals and metals.”

The Future Minerals Forum, the official said, is the first government-led initiative that will feature diversified international and organisational representation, with more than 2,000 conference delegates and attendees from more than 95 countries projected to attend and meet leaders from the Middle East, Central Asia, and North and Central Africa. In addition, speakers from around the world will offer their unique insights.

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