Mena Mining 2013 opening ceremony
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives great pleasure to welcome you all to the UAE
The Ministry of Energyformerly the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources initiated in 1975a programme of geological and geophysical investigations with the objective of locating commercial concentrations of mineral deposits. The first geological maps covering the whole country were printed in 1979.These maps were mostly based on photo interpretation with some field checking. A few years after these studies were started; it became apparentthat that metallic mineral deposits in commercial quantities were not to be found at that time.
Though we were disappointed by thenegative results, it did not stop us in our tracks and we started looking into the non-metallic resources available. We embarked on other studies targeted at industrial rocks and minerals. These studies served as an impetus to an industrial sector based on local resources. The first ceramic plant was built in Fujairah in 1980 followed in a couple of years by the Ras AL Khaimah ceramic plant which produces multiple products exported to more than 90 countries around the world. The first rock wool plant in the Middle East was established in Fujairah in 1982 and its products are distributed around the Gulf Countries.
Initiation of the industrial sector based on local resources had a profound impact on the development of real state, infrastructure as well as creating employment for the population. At the same time it liberated these activities from complete dependence on foreign imports. After the fruits of the mineral survey between the seventies to the nineties impacted the economy of the nation, it became apparent that sophisticated, accurate and reliable geologic maps were needed to replace the older maps and to meet the requirements of the 21st century. From this perspective the Ministry of Energy initiated a geological mappingand mineral evaluation programme in 2002 which was completed at the beginning of this year. An enormous amount of data sets was produced encompassing geological and geophysical reports and maps printed on high quality paper and captured in digital format as well.
Regional assessment of limestone and dolomite rocks in Ras Al Khaimah and Al Ain showed the presence of very high purity carbonate rocks in these areas. If these rocks are treated industrially they will have a profound impact on the local economy.
The outputs of the 10 year geological program are serving different sectors of the UAE society. The Etihad Rail constructing the national railway which, will run for 1200 km across the country ,is making use of our maps to delineate the pathway for the rail and ascertain that the land over which the rail islaid has sufficient strength to support the weight. The UAE University is using the main geologic report as a textbook for training the future geologists of this nation. The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation has used information provided by the Ministry of Energy to select a safe location not prone to earth movements. The Corporation will continue using the geological and geophysical information provided by the Ministry for possible future expansions.
People generally are fixated on precious metals like gold, platinum and silver. That is well and good but businessmen and local entrepreneurs should take the time to take a close look at the resources available locally which could be a profitable initiative for them if they invest the necessary resources to take these studies from where the Ministry left them forward. We plan to hold conferences and workshops to publicize the findings of these studies and inform business and industry of the opportunities available.
Due to the importance of the mining sector in the region the Gulf Cooperation Council adopted in 2011 a guideline or framework law that each member state can benefit from when they enact their domestic law to regulate the mining industry.
We are currently working on making all the outputs of the geological and geophysical studies available in the Ministry website and on smart phones for easy access.
I wish you successful conference and a pleasant stay in the UAE
Thank you for your attention