Ma’aden and Gulf Cryo officials sign the agreement.

Saudi mining giant Ma’aden has signed an agreement with Gulf Cryo, the regional leader in managing the carbon full circular value chain – from capture to utilisation – with a view to setting up a carbon capture plant in the kingdom.

As per the deal, Gulf Cryo will construct and operate the mega carbon dioxide capturing plant within Ma’aden’s integrated phosphate complex at Ras Al Khair for a 20-year period, said the company.

The partnership aims at reducing the carbon emission of the national mining company while providing a clean carbon dioxide (CO2) source to be used in industrial gases applications in the kingdom, creating a domestic circular carbon economy which increases the domestic value creation, fully supporting the plan to localise industries as per Saudi Vision 2030.

The captured CO2 will be distributed by Gulf Cryo, partly to International Maritime Industries (IMI), Saudi’s giant maritime yard, and the rest will be used in industrial applications such as EOR (Enhanced Oil Recovery) and water desalination, as well as in other industries such as food and beverage (F&B) and agriculture.

The long-term agreement was signed by Engineer Hassan Al Ali, Executive Vice President Phosphate of Ma’aden, and Engineer Abdulsalam Al Mazro, Vice Chairman of Gulf Cryo, in the presence of Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, at the Saudi Green Initiative Forum, which took place on the sidelines of COP 27 in Egypt.

The agreement is considered the biggest carbon project for the merchant market targeting CO2 utilisation in the region, recovering as much as 300,000 tonnes per year of CO2 emissions that will be reutilised in various applications, said Gulf Cryo.

Ma’aden CEO Robert Wilt said: “As the largest multi-commodity mining and metals company in the Middle East, this agreement with Gulf Cryo marks a milestone in our journey to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and become Saudi Arabia’s national mining champion.

“It is testament to our commitment to fulfil 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.”

Gulf Cryo Chairman Amer Huneidi said: “It is with great pleasure that we sign this partnership with Ma’aden. We will provide the necessary solutions and expertise to support Ma’aden’s sustainability strategy.

“This agreement is an anchor of our common commitment to decarbonise the region, and to support the kingdom’s climate goals and localisation objectives by creating a circular carbon economy.”

On the strategic deal, Al Mazro said: “Investing in decarbonisation solutions in the kingdom is part of Gulf Cryo’s strategy. We are delighted to work with Ma’aden to lower their carbon emissions. Ma’aden is a significant driver behind the kingdom’s economy, and their agile ability to balance between the economic and environmental fronts is an example of a successful sustainable economy.

 “Additionally, we are vigorous in creating a circular carbon economy in which we capture and reuse the recovered CO2 within the kingdom itself. This circularity has direct results not only on the environment and the kingdom’s localisation plan, but also on shifting mindsets and setting an example for young talents on the importance of changing how we operate in this world to preserve it.”

The first phase is planned to be operational by 2024 and both parties will explore further expansion of the project, he added.