JEDDAH - Under the slogan “Bounties of our land,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih inaugurated the 12th International Geological Conference on Sunday and an accompanying exhibition at a local hotel in Jeddah.
The conference has been organized by the Saudi Geological Survey
(SGS) in cooperation with the Saudi Society for Geosciences. It was attended by the head of the SGS, Hussein Al-Otaibi, and a number of local and international experts in geology.
The conference discussed the Kingdom’s progress in geosciences; studies of earthquakes and volcanoes, ways of mitigating the damage caused by natural disasters and methods to reduce geological hazards; and studies in surveying and exploration of mineral resources.
Al-Falih said: “Our country is witnessing a giant transformation which requires doubling the size and diversity of the national economy, including the mining sector, to meet the increasing global and domestic demand for energy through the development and diversification of the energy mix, including traditional hydrocarbon sources as well as renewable energy sources and nuclear energy.”
Al-Falih pointed out that preliminary estimates indicate that the total value of mineral resources in the Kingdom exceeds $1.3 trillion, in addition to what can be achieved by transforming this wealth into value-added products. “The strategy aims to increase the production of base metals and precious metals to 10 times the current production to put the Kingdom among the top 10 aluminum producers in the world.”
He said mineral wealth is very important in helping to achieve the goals set in Vision 2030.
The minister said the SGS will organize and implement the comprehensive geological regional survey project over the next five years. The results of the exploration will be placed in the national geological database, he added.
Al-Falih stressed Vision 2013 aims to make Saudi Arabia a global power in renewable energy, and the Kingdom has all the elements for success in that field.
Experts are scheduled to deliver lectures on different aspects of renewal thermal energy and important papers will be presented to highlight the latest developments in the field of geosciences.
On Feb. 8, participants will visit Harrat Khaybar — a volcanic field north of Madinah — to develop an understanding of the geological formations in the Kingdom. Participants will tour the volcanic craters by helicopter, as well as other natural geological features in the area.