Digging Deeper: MENA Mining Sector Prepares for Big Growth

Digging Deeper: MENA Mining Sector Prepares for Big Growth
July 16, 2013 at 04:07pm

Oil and gas have traditionally dominated natural resource extraction in the region. However, over the past 15 years, countries in the region have begun to place a much greater emphasis on mining operations. New giants have emerged, including the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden), which plans to more than double gold production to more than 400,000 ounces by 2015.

Across Middle East and Africa, production volumes are set to jump dramatically in many areas, according to data from the US Geological Survey. Bauxite mining in the Middle East is expected to grow seven fold between 2000 and 2017, largely due to Saudi Arabia, while gold mining in the region is expected to grow ten fold, in large part coming from expansion in Turkey. There also is expected to be large ramp ups in gold production in Sudan, Mauritania, Egypt and Algeria. Iron ore production in Algeria is expected to double over the period.

Meanwhile, the MENA Minerals & Mining Show 2013 reports that Morocco is the world’s third largest phosphate producer and that Algeria has 32 operating mines. The numerous cross-border opportunities for Gulf investors and companies to tap Sub-Saharan Africa’s mineral wealth recently were outlined in a leading regional magazine.

Despite these opportunities, companies operating in the region face the same global challenges identified by Ernst & Young (E&Y) in its “Business risks in mining and metals 2013-2014” report. In particular, mining companies must deal with softening commodity prices and high costs that are squeezing margins. E&Y identified “margin protection and productivity improvement” as the second biggest threat facing the mining and metals business in 2013-2014 and highlighted a shift toward “long-term optimization of operating costs” and a focus on improving productivity by removing inefficiencies.

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Proficy MaxxMine and other GE solutions for the mining industry will be presented during the GE-hosted “Mining & Metals Productivity Summit,” which will focus on how leading mining and minerals companies are leveraging GE’s technologies to improve productivity and efficiency. The event will be held August 20-22 at the Emperors Palace in Johannesburg, South Africa.

For more information on the Summit, which is open to all mining and minerals professionals from across the globe, and to register to attend, click here.

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