MENA Mining Congress – Dubai – 2011

Touching down in the freezing Dubai evening with temperatures falling to 35°C, we grabbed our passes and we ready to begin Globe24-7’s first foray at the MENA Mining Congress. With around 400 delegates, including Mining, Energy and Finance Ministers from some of the most strategically important countries within the region, coupled with over 50 exhibitors, ranging from junior miners to mining services companies it was indeed compact, but highly focussed.

Not only was this an ideal opportunity to network with key stakeholders who operate within the region, but it was also the ideal chance to attend speeches and workshops in order to find out the answer to some pressing questions.

With a report earlier this year from the IMF pointing out that the MENA region will experience a rather difficult time in its economic growth (Without even taking in to account recent political unrest), this conference gave some answers as to what different governments and ministers are trying to do to overcome these issues. It seems there is some good news with it being pointed out by one speaker, that…

MENA is better regulated and managed than some of the other emerging markets such as India. Foreign investors find this market more transparent, particularly developed areas such as Dubai, Oman and Qatar, but less so for Syria and Egypt. In India, the legal structure has a long way to go and you really do need to be on the ground.”

It would seem that the most important two factors to come out of this conference are that the mining sector in the MENA region really hasn’t been exploited and has huge amounts of potential, and that the governments in the area seem to be striving to diversify their economies. Judging  from just a handful of the speeches given by representatives from the junior mining companies, it would seem that foreign investment is beginning to roll in.

With the conference organisers promising that next year’s gathering will have twice the number of attendees, it will be interesting to see how government strategies pan out and whether investment in the area will increase as some are projecting it to do.

– Mat Gladdish, Consultant – EME, CIS and Western Asia

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