RIYADH- The board of Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma'aden) 1211.SE , the Gulf's largest miner, will weigh whether it will pay out its first ever dividend at a meeting in December, the company's chief executive said on Tuesday.
Dividends, if the board decides to pay them, would be for 2021 and paid out next year, said CEO Abdulaziz al-Harbi.
Ma'aden reported a net profit after zakat and tax of 3.1 billion riyals ($11.63 billion) in the first nine months of this year against a net loss of 780.9 million riyals in the same period a year earlier.
Harbi said profits next year will depend on the prices of minerals.
"Definitely the prices which we are seeing now is a supercycle and it's driven by the energy crisis and also the logistics bottleneck which we are seeing across the world currently."
"I think in the future, there should be balance, in the near future, probably end of 2022. And I think prices are going, really, to sustain - but not at that high level."
Ma'aden aims to improve its environmental goals and governance, including raising women employee representation.
"We have around 100 women out of our 7,000 employees. It is a small portion - the industry in Saudi Arabia is new, the mining industry. And also, it's tough for the women, really, to work in them," Harbi said.
Ma'aden aims to reach the "norm" of the global mining industry, which is 17% women, by 2030, he said.
Ma'aden has previously said it aims to reduce its carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions by 60% by 2040. It is currently developing a plan to be carbon neutral, but he declined to say when the company targets net-zero emissions.
Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday that it aims to be carbon neutral by 2060.
Ma'aden will begin production next year at a gold mine in the north of the Mecca region, Harbi said. Its maximum capacity will be between 240 and 260 ounces per year, expected to be reached in 2023.
A phosphate project will begin producing in the first quarter of next year.
"We will start with ammonia and then we will work on the remaining phases," he said.
($1 = 0.2666 riyals)
(Reporting by Yousef Saba and Saeed Azhar, editing by Chizu Nomiyama) ((Yousef.Saba@thomsonreuters.com; +971562166204; https://twitter.com/YousefSaba))