Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden), the largest multi-commodity mining and metals company in the Middle East, will export blue ammonia as it looks to support the global energy transition.

The announcement was made by HRH Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, at the Saudi Green Initiative Forum, taking place on the sidelines of COP 27 in Egypt.

Last month, Ma’aden was certified to export 138,000 tons of blue ammonia, one of the largest certified volumes in the world to date. The certifications were granted by TÜV Rheinland, a leading independent testing, inspection and certification agency based in Germany. The first shipment of 25,000 tons of Blue Ammonia will leave the Kingdom for South Korea this month.

While Ma’aden looks to export minerals to support the energy transition, the company is also working to decarbonize its existing operations by implementing carbon capture technologies.

To that end, Ma’aden has signed a 20-year agreement with Gulf Cryo to build and operate a CO2 plant in its phosphate complex in Ras Al Khair. The new plant will capture 300,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year from Ma’aden’s three ammonia plants.

The CO2 will be used for industrial gas applications, replacing the use of fossil fuels, thereby creating a circular carbon economy in Saudi Arabia.

Part of the CO2 will be distributed to International Maritime Industries (IMI), the largest shipyard in the MENA region. The rest will be used in industrial applications such as EOR (Enhanced Oil Recovery) and water desalination.

Commenting on the news, Robert Wilt, CEO, Ma’aden, said: “The decarbonization of ammonia production is an integral part of the global transition to net-zero emissions. Ma’aden is well placed to meet the growing demand for blue ammonia, exporting blue ammonia with minimal GHG emissions to markets around the world.

“The agreement with Gulf Cryo marks a milestone in our journey to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 as Saudi Arabia’s national mining champion. It is testament to our commitment to fulfill the objectives of the Saudi Green Initiative, in line with our goal to be a role model for sustainable operations in the Kingdom. Carbon capture will further strengthen Ma’aden’s position as major global supplier of Blue Ammonia, a low carbon approach to ammonia production”, he added.

Eng Hassan Al Ali, Executive Vice President, Phosphate, Ma’aden, added: “We are pleased to be one of the first certified producers of blue ammonia, with an agreement to export a large volume soon after receiving our certification. Additionally, our long-term agreement with Gulf Cryo will support Ma’aden’s sustainability strategy and our ambitions in the fertilizer market. Leveraging Gulf Cryo’s expertise, we will decarbonize our fertilizer operations further to contribute to the global transition to net-zero and enhance our offering to the agriculture industry.”

Amer Huneidi, Chairman, Gulf Cryo, said: “We are pleased to have signed this partnership with Ma’aden. This agreement anchors our commitment to decarbonize the region, and to support the Kingdom’s climate goals and localization objectives.”

Ammonia is an essential compound for several industries ranging from fertilizers to manufacturing. The ammonia market is valued at around $75 billion according to recent market studies with a forecasted CAGR of 8% until 2031. Blue ammonia is a compound consisting of hydrogen and nitrogen that can be used to generate low carbon energy, thereby contributing to the energy transition in a sustainable manner. 

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