The UAE seeks to develop the mining sector, during the next few years, with the aim of enhancing the utilization of mineral resources, and by launching an integrated strategy, which opens new investment fields and job opportunities in this vital sector, while some reports indicate that the size of the sector in the country has reached about 36.7 percent. billion dirhams in 2025.
The UAE is preparing to enhance the role of mining investments, in the interest of developing industry and mineral production, strengthening local capabilities in exploration and production, and by opening the door to attracting international investments.
The metals sector is one of the sectors of strategic importance, on which vital industries are based, most notably aluminum, iron, copper, nickel and lithium industries, in addition to precious metals such as gold, silver and diamonds, while the sector relies on money-intensive investment, skilled labor and the use of the latest technologies.
According to the “official portal of the UAE government”, the country provides an ideal business environment for investors because of its strong industrial and logistical infrastructure supported by professional expertise and services, which give the country a competitive advantage over other countries, and the country works to strengthen this position.
The Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure in the UAE is working on developing the first mineral wealth strategy in the country, which defines the sector’s targets for the coming years, in coordination with partners from the local and federal governments, in addition to the private sector.
The UAE has a wealth of many minerals, including: aluminium, ammonia, chromite, gypsum, hydraulic cement, quicklime, hydrated lime, burnt dolomite and raw steel.
The world is witnessing strong competition between countries to enhance their mineral resources, especially those that contribute to the development of many industries, especially technical industries such as the chip industry, which are involved in the manufacture of electronic devices and batteries for electric cars and energy storage, in addition to the iron and aluminum industries and others.
A recent research conducted by the Interregional Center for Strategic Analyzes in Abu Dhabi showed that the Russian-Ukrainian crisis highlighted, in one way or another, the weakness of the global resource market, which extends beyond fossil fuels to clean energy minerals. This is due to the fact that Russia – which was imposed on Western sanctions as a result of its military intervention in Ukraine – is the third largest producer of nickel in the world, and the second largest producer of cobalt, both of which are a major component of lithium-ion batteries, and therefore the sanctions against Russia would have had a negative impact On Western countries’ supplies of critical minerals from Russia.
The Interregional Center stated that critical metals are defined as the rare earth elements necessary for permanent magnets, which are used in wind turbines and electric car motors. Batteries, and perhaps the current geopolitical, economic and environmental conditions have enhanced the importance of critical minerals for many countries.
The Interregional Center confirmed that despite China’s dominance of the mineral market now, the figures indicate a decline in Chinese production of critical minerals from 90% at some point to 60% at the present time, which gave many countries an opportunity to increase their share of critical minerals. where international players are lining up to fill the void left by Chinese investors; This is for several purposes; The first is the displacement of China from its first position as a global exporter and producer of critical minerals, the second is supporting energy independence to avoid the negative repercussions of geopolitical tensions on energy security, and finally supporting the ambitious goals towards reducing the use of fossil fuels, accelerating energy transition, and making critical minerals a strong alternative to fossil fuels in the future.
The Interregional Center pointed out that the motives motivating countries, especially Western countries, towards possessing critical minerals and increasing their share are concentrated in: the multiple uses of these minerals in the space industries and the preferred lithium-ion batteries for electric car batteries, which support the achievement of energy security and the requirements of the green economy.
The research added: The rapid global movements in increasing the share of critical minerals are evident in a number of examples, most notably: the program for exploring mineral processing methods in Australia, the US-Canadian cooperation, France’s launch of an observatory specialized in mineral resources, in addition to the British interest and China’s efforts to exploit lithium and the Japanese focus on lithium supplies. Vietnam of these minerals.
Another research by “Interregional” indicates that the eyes of investors and major countries are mainly directed towards the production of lithium, which is called white gold, and which is one of the most requested metals. It is involved in many civil and military industries, whether in the form of carbonate or lithium hydroxide, and 3 quarters of the extracted lithium in the world is used in the manufacture of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
Securing the needs of the Emirates
Government decisions and studies indicate that the UAE tends to secure its needs for minerals in general, and strategic or critical minerals in particular, and to enhance extraction and research operations. The UAE also aims to attract potential investors from all over the world, by setting legal and regulatory frameworks related to the mining sector, to enter Its in the development stage.