Africa|Business|Copper|Diamonds|Industrial|Iron Ore|Mining|PROJECT|Projects|supply-chain|Operations
Africa|Business|Copper|Diamonds|Industrial|Iron Ore|Mining|PROJECT|Projects|supply-chain|Operations
africa|business|copper|diamonds|industrial|iron-ore|mining|project|projects|supply chain|operations

Saudi Ma'aden has extracted lithium from seawater, CEO says

Ma'aden CEO Robert Wilt

Ma'aden CEO Robert Wilt

22nd May 2024

By: Reuters


Font size: - +

RIYADH - Saudi Arabian Mining Company Ma'aden has successfully extracted lithium from seawater, although not at levels that are commercially viable and its project remains at the pilot stage, its CEO told Reuters on Tuesday.

"We are actually producing lithium from seawater now," Robert Wilt said, without giving further details.

Wilt, who is vice chairman of Manara Minerals, also said that company was not looking at acquiring diamond business De Beers. "We are not looking at De Beers at all," he said.

London-listed miner Anglo American has considered selling off its less profitable businesses like De Beers as it fends off BHP Group's $43-billion takeover offer.

"The kingdom does not need diamonds for its downstream development," Wilt said. "Manara's mandate is industrial metals that fuel the downstream growth."

Manara Minerals is a joint venture between Ma'aden and Saudi Arabia's $925-billion sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), to invest in mining assets abroad.

Ma'aden, the kingdom's flagship mining company, is 67% owned by the PIF.

The United States and China are locked in a race over acquiring access to lithium, a mineral key for electric car batteries, laptops and smartphones.

Saudi Arabia has joined the pack and hopes to use lithium to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) as part of its ambitions to transform itself into an EV hub.

The kingdom's growing mining industry is a key pillar in de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman's Vision 2030 programme to diversify the economy away from oil dependency.

Saudi Arabia's national oil giant Aramco is also attempting to extract lithium from brine in its oilfields, although Wilt says Aramco's efforts are so far separate from Ma'aden's.

"We are both working parallel paths. Ma'aden on extracting lithium from seawater. Aramco from brines where lithium has higher concentration," he said.

"There are ongoing discussions about how we can join forces," he added.

While these projects remain in their early stages, Saudi Arabia is seeking to acquire lithium abroad, along with other critical minerals.

"We are looking overseas for interests in copper, lithium, iron-ore, and nickel," said Wilt.

Manara's first major venture abroad was to acquire a 10% stake in Brazil's $26-billion copper and nickel miner Vale Base Metals. Through Vale, Wilt said Manara had gained access to the Brazilian miner's operations in Canada and Indonesia. Manara is also in talks with other companies to open new ventures.

"We like things in East Asia through Africa, because we are potentially a centralized processing hub," he said, referring to Saudi Arabia's position in the supply chain.

Edited by Reuters



Condra Cranes
Condra Cranes

ISO-certified Condra manufactures overhead cranes, portal cranes, cantilever cranes and crane components: hoists, drives, end-carriages, brakes and...

John Deere (Pty) Ltd
John Deere (Pty) Ltd

In 1958 John Deere Construction made its first introduction to the industry with their model 64 bulldozer.


Latest Multimedia

sponsored by

Magazine image
Magazine round up | 12 July 2024
12th July 2024

Option 1 (equivalent of R125 a month):

Receive a weekly copy of Creamer Media's Engineering News & Mining Weekly magazine
(print copy for those in South Africa and e-magazine for those outside of South Africa)
Receive daily email newsletters
Access to full search results
Access archive of magazine back copies
Access to Projects in Progress
Access to ONE Research Report of your choice in PDF format

Option 2 (equivalent of R375 a month):

All benefits from Option 1
Access to Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa for ALL Research Reports, in PDF format, on various industrial and mining sectors including Electricity; Water; Energy Transition; Hydrogen; Roads, Rail and Ports; Coal; Gold; Platinum; Battery Metals; etc.

Already a subscriber?

Forgotten your password?







sq:0.383 0.439s - 192pq - 2rq
Subscribe Now