Study of Strategic and Critical Minerals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Osama A. Al Shaikh, Khalid O. Kattan, Khalid O. Gaidy, Omar M. Albaik, Abdulrahman A. Al Hawi, Mohammed M. Aldabbagh, Naser S. Jahdali, And Saleh M. Dini
The application of the criticality methodology in this investigation highlights (1) the importance for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of critical and strategic minerals the availability of which is subject to restrictions in the short to long term, and (2) the need for data and research to aid decision makers in taking appropriate measures to mitigate current or future restrictions in their supply. In using the methodology, assessments were made based on the importance of use and supply risk for selected commodities.
Of the eleven commodities investigated, titanium and copper are both strategic and critical for Saudi Arabia. Zinc and manganese, both very important and strategic for industry, are in the threshold of becoming critical depending on future circumstances. Iron, gold, silver, and silica sand are considered very important and strategic but are not critical. Bauxite and phosphate are strategic but not critical at this time. Nickel is very important for Saudi Arabia but not critical at present. The following commodities are considered as the most important common strategic minerals in the world but for which information required for criticality assessment using the SGS methodology were insufficient: cobalt, lead, lithium, molybdenum, platinum group metals, rare earth elements, tungsten, and uranium.
Because copper and titanium are critical, and zinc and manganese might pose a supply problem in the future, measures should be made immediately for them. Among others, recommendations include creating working group(s) tasked to further analyze the impact of emerging technologies on the demand for raw materials, developing a vision for mineral policy for the next 20 or 50 years, treating SGS and DMMR as elements of the national security community and increasing their funding to collect, disseminate, and analyze strategic mineral data, and convening a workshop to identify further strategic and critical minerals.
Al Shaikh, O.A., Kattan, K.O., Gaidy, K.O., Albaik, O.M., Al Hawi, A.A., Aldabbagh, M.M., Jahdali, N.S., Dini, S.M., 2015, Study of strategic and critical minerals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Saudi Geological Survey Technical Report SGS-TR-2014-5, 45 p., 37 figs., 48 tables, 1 app.