Jordan's mining sector: high-value industries driver

(File photo: Jordan News)

Hamzeh S. Al-Alayani

The writer is a board member of a Jordanian public-sector government investments management company and a regular commentator on regional energy and industrial matters.

In commemoration of the one year anniversary since the launch of the visionary economic modernization and public sector transformation initiatives, the government convened a forum titled “A Year of Modernization”. The event took place at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Center, spanning two days to reflect upon the accomplishments within both programs. The decision-makers in Jordan, led by His Majesty King Abdullah II and His Highness Prince Al-Hussein bin Abdullah II, the Crown Prince, have evinced their resolute intent to execute the vision meticulously and monitor its progress ardently. اضافة اعلان

The inaugural phase of the executive blueprint, spanning from 2023 to 2025, featured a multitude of initiatives and priorities across various sectors. One of the main EMV’s drivers is the “High-Value Industries”, which contains 9 sectors and 104 initiatives. This driver steers the implementation of future strategies to advance Jordan's industrial economy, turns Jordan into a major industrial hub for the region, and transforms the Kingdom into an export hub.

Jordan's mining sector is on an upward trajectory, driving the growth of high-value industries within the country, focus is placed on building integrated mining value chains, driving productivity and innovation, and realizing synergies across Jordan's industrial portfolio by seamlessly connecting sectors in terms of catalyzing local production, broadening export horizons, and its aptitude for attracting substantial investments to ensure economic viability, bolster Jordan's stance in manufacturing and extractive sectors, and meet the burgeoning demand for industrial, agricultural, and technology associated products.

The sector’s contribution to national exports stands at a formidable 23.3 percent, poised to elevate further to comprise a quarter of industrial exports. The mining industry's products span 55 global markets, amounting to JD1.88 billion in value within the past year. The sector ranks prominently in total investment volume, with over 97 operating establishments amassing approximately JD2.23 billion and engaging around 8.6 thousand workers.

Jordan possesses a distinctive advantage within the realm of mineral industries. The nation is endowed with mineral treasures, including phosphate and potash ores, propelling its global ranking to the seventh and twelfth positions respectively in terms of reserves. Beyond this, an array of industrial rocks such as silica sand and potential mineral resources like uranium, copper, gold, zircon, rare and critical earth elements, basalt, pure limestone, and substantial oil shale ore deposits.

The potential of Jordan's minerals can wield a momentous influence in satisfying future mineral requisites, enhancing value chains, supplying critical minerals, and propelling conscientious and sustainable mining practices. This potential can engender holistic development, transforming mining zones into integrated centers for green mineral production.

The mining endeavor entails catalyzing collaborative undertakings between public and private sectors to establish Jordan as a regional hub for premium high-value products. With a vision to triple the mining sector's contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP), Jordan aspires to amplify economic indicators, boosting exports by a staggering 10.5 percent annually. The goal is to reach a noteworthy $5 billion by 2033, generating 27,000 job opportunities in the process.

Jordan places a high priority on environmental sustainability within its mining operations. In line with this commitment, the kingdom has instituted rigorous environmental regulations and adopted practices aimed at mitigating the environmental consequences of mining activities. These sustainable mining practices serve a dual purpose: safeguarding the environment while also bolstering the mining sector's endurance and viability.

Central to this discourse is the commercial viability of hydrogen applications. The focus hinges on curtailing green hydrogen costs, expanding its utilization in tandem with carbon reduction in the mining and green minerals sector, promoting clean energy in industry, and fostering concerted efforts in exploration, human capital planning, and research and development.

Despite its promising potential, Jordan's mining sector faces challenges that include water scarcity, energy costs, gas connections, and global market fluctuations. The country's efforts to diversify its economy beyond mining are geared towards mitigating these challenges. Developing value-added industries that capitalize on the extracted minerals, such as fertilizer manufacturing and chemical production, can bolster economic resilience.

Jordan's mining sector is no longer just a historical footnote but a vibrant and forward-looking industry that contributes significantly to the nation's economy. Through the extraction of valuable minerals like phosphate and potash, it not only generates revenue but also supports high-value industries, technology adoption, and sustainable practices. As Jordan continues to balance its rich heritage with modern economic development, its mining sector stands out as a key driver of progress and prosperity.

Hamzeh S. Al-Alayani is a Jordanian public-sector government investments management company board member and a regular regional energy and industrial commentator. Hamzeh holds an MBA from the University of Aberdeen, UK, and a BSc in Mechanical Engineering.

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