Copper market facing shortages, says Barrick CEO: Saudi update


Saudi Arabia’s hosting its first major mining conference this week, as it tries to exploit deposits of copper, gold and and other metals it thinks are worth $1.3 trillion.

The kingdom sees mining as a key part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030, an attempt to diversify the economy from oil.

On Wednesday, Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman is scheduled to speak, as are the mining ministers of South Africa and Egypt. Mining executives including Alcoa Corp.’s Roy Harvey, Vedanta Resources Ltd.’s Anil Agarwal and Ivanhoe Mines Ltd.’s Robert Friedland are too. Trafigura Group’s Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Weir and Moelis & Co. Vice Chairman Eric Cantor are also on the agenda.

It’s an in-person event in Riyadh, the capital, though some speakers may attend virtually.

(Timestamps Saudi Arabia)

Copper Market Faces Supply Shortages, Says Barrick’s Bristow (10:30 a.m.)
“Copper is such a strategic metal” and it “without a doubt” faces supply challenges in the coming years, Barrick Gold Corp. CEO Mark Bristow said on a panel.

There’s been too little investment in the red metal and that’s already a problem for the sector as consumption rises, he said.

“We’re in for a long solid market demand for metals,” he said.

The Toronto-based company digs up copper in the west of the kingdom in a joint venture with the state miner Maaden.

“This is the first time I’ve seen the country reaching out and trying to form partnerships,” Bristow said. “It’s a great first step.”

Saudi Minerals Worth $1.3 Trillion, Says Minister (10:15 a.m.)
Saudi Arabia has minerals with an estimated value of $1.3 trillion, said Bandar al-Khorayef, the mining minister. These include copper, phosphates and gold.

Mining can contribute $64 billion to the kingdom’s gross domestic product by 2030, he said.