“We have a huge amount of uranium resource, which we would like to exploit and put in the most transparent way,” he was quoted as telling the International Mining Conference in Riyadh.
“We will bring partners and we will be exporting and manufacturing and developing it and we will be commercially monetising that resource.”
The minister said the world needed more flexibility because the transition to clean energy is complicated. “We should not forfeit energy security for the sake of a publicity stunt”, he said. “The transition needs to be a well-thought of transition.”
Press reports have said Saudi Arabia, the world’s top il exporter, could produce over 90,000 tonnes of uranium from three major deposits in the country, enough to provide fuel for nuclear plants the country seeks to build and to export uranium.
According to the Paris-based Nuclear Energy Agency, Saudi Arabia is seeking to build its first nuclear power plant and has solicited information from various vendors from China, France, South Korea, Russia and the US.
Saudi Arabia does not have any commercial nuclear plants, but has expressed ambitions to build around 17 GW of nuclear energy after 2040.
The kingdom wants to diversify its energy mix, adding nuclear power so it can free up more crude for export. But the plans had been facing scrutiny in the US because of potential military uses for the technology.
In 2020, the Wall Street Journal claimed that Saudi Arabia had constructed a facility – with assistance from China – to extract uranium yellowcake from uranium ore. Saudi Arabia denied the report.