The first ever Future Minerals Summit (FMS) will be held in Riyadh on January 11 to 13

The international mining industry is facing arguably "its most important decade" as the world starts the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, the CEO of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), Rohitesh Dhawan, said in an interview as part of the Future Minerals Summit conversation series last month.

Dhawan emphasised that mining will be at the very center of this transition because of the burgeoning demand for metals used in solar and wind power, and in the batteries needed to drive electric vehicles.

On the back of his confirmed participation at the Future Minerals Summit in Riyadh, Dhawan stressed ICMM's simple message of "mining with principles" to maximise the benefit of mining while minimising the harm to people and the environment. Dhawan said that ICMM seeks to ensure that the lives of everyone touched by mining are made better, and that the operations are safe, fair, equitable, just and sustainable.

Al Mudaifer

Al Mudaifer

ICMM's 28 corporate members represent one-third of the global mining industry, and through its association members the council has an indirect influence on most of the sector.

These issues are amongst those being addressed at The Future Minerals Summit (FMS) in Riyadh on January 11 to 13. Convened by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the Summit will include senior political and business leaders, and will discuss crucial issues facing the global mining industry. With over 150+ Mining, Exploration and Development companies expected to attend, and over 2,000 in-person attendees, the summit program will shape the future of mining with a focus on three main themes: mining's contribution to society, reimagining mining, and investing in new and emerging mining regions.

The Middle East, Central Asia and Africa have the mineral endowment and the right geography to become a hub for the minerals value chain and play a vital role in meeting the exponential growth in global demand for the critical minerals needed in a low-carbon society.

The Future Minerals Summit has confirmed participations from several international mining-company leaders and CEOs of organisations such as Barrick Gold and Alcoa, Mark Bristow and Roy Harvey; and the chairmen of Ivanhoe Mines and of Fortescue Metals, Robert Friedland and Andrew Forrest. Numerous other industry leaders will include the CEOs of Trafigura and Komatsu Mining, Jeremy Weir and Jeffrey Dawes.

The Summit in Riyadh at the beginning of next year will play an important part in driving home the message that mining is part of the solution to the world's carbon emissions problem, and new mineralized regions can, and should, be opened up to deliver the necessary raw materials.

"The caliber of speakers who already have committed to the Future Minerals Summit demonstrates the tremendous interest in the new frontier of mining that includes the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa. This part of the world will play a vital role in meeting the exponential growth in global demand for the critical minerals needed in a low-carbon society. The Summit offers a 'one-stop-shop' where countries can learn from world-class experts how to build a sustainable industry, and where investors and miners can gain in-depth knowledge about the regions' tremendous geological potential," said Khalid Al-Mudaifer, Vice-Minister of Mining Affairs.

The kingdom is also convening a Ministerial Roundtable in Riyadh the day before the Summit sessions, with the aim of defining the future of mining across the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. Ministerial representatives of 25 governments will meet to address key questions and highlight the greatest opportunities across these regions.

"Our ambition is to shape the future of mining and find solutions to industry challenges such as securing supply of future critical minerals," said Al-Mudaifer. "By bringing together governments, the private sector, multilateral organizations and NGOs, we aim to create a mining sector that does things the right way, sustainably and equitably."