Saudi Arabian Mining Company, better known as Ma’aden, signed four preliminary agreements with Indian companies to boost exports of phosphate products and ammonia to Asia’s third-largest economy amid a strengthening of ties between the two countries.
The deals, struck with different companies, aim to double Ma’aden’s exports of phosphate products and ammonia to India from 2023, with plans to explore product and technology development collaboration for phosphate fertilisers, Ma’aden said on Friday.
As part of the deals, the company will supply phosphate products to the Indian Potash Company and ammonia to Gujarat State Fertilisers and Chemicals.
It also signed two separate agreements with Krishak Bharati Co-operative Company and Coromandel International to provide phosphate products and ammonia, as well as explore collaboration in several growth areas and pursue the joint development of technology for speciality products, product development, agronomy and logistics solutions.
“India is the largest import market for phosphate and ammonia in the world, with steadily increasing demand,” Ma’aden chief executive Robert Wilt said.
“As … the largest phosphate fertiliser supplier to India, India is a strategically important market for Ma’aden.
“We aim to continue to invest in strengthening our relationship with Indian companies. These new agreements help expand our role in global food security and help bolster the long-standing relationship between Saudi Arabia and India.”
The deals come at a time when Saudi Arabia is continuing to boost its non-oil trade as part of continued efforts to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbons.
The kingdom's non-oil exports, including re-exports, grew by 31 per cent annually in the second quarter of 2022, rising to 86.2 billion Saudi riyals ($23bn), according to data from the General Authority for Statistics.
China remained the top trading partner of Saudi Arabia with exports amounting to 63.4bn riyals, while India and Japan followed next with exports of 43.5bn riyals and 39.1bn riyals, respectively.
“We first started exporting fertilisers to India in 2011 and today we export about 1.7 million tonnes of phosphate products and ammonia to the Indian market annually,” Mr Wilt said.
“In May 2020, we opened our first office in India to reinforce our commitment to the country and be closer to our customers.”
Ma’aden, which was publicly listed in 2008 and is majority-owned by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, is key to Riyadh’s diversification strategy.
The expansion of the industrial and mining sectors is an important part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plans.
Ma’aden’s mine-to-market phosphate business consists of two big plants in Saudi Arabia — Wa’ad Al Shamal Industrial Minerals City in the Northern Borders province and Ras Al Khair Industrial City on the kingdom's east coast.
The company is also developing a third large-scale phosphate project called “Phosphate 3”, which aims to increase the company’s phosphate fertiliser supply capacity by 3 million tonnes to 9 million tonnes over the coming years.
Earlier this year, Ma’aden also signed a deal to build the world’s largest solar-powered steam plant, which will be used to refine bauxite into alumina, as part of its expansion strategy.