The Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Ma’aden) announced that it has finalized its agreement with Ivanhoe Electric Inc. (IE) to purchase a 9.9% position in the company and form a 50:50 joint venture (JV) to undertake one of the largest exploration programs ever conducted. The deal will provide Ma’aden with access to IE’s breakthrough Typhoon geophysical survey technology, which will accelerate the exploration of Saudi Arabia’s lands, estimated to hold $1.3 trillion in untapped minerals.

Ma’aden’s exploration program is driven by the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030, which positions mining as a third pillar of the Saudi economy. Under its new corporate strategy, Ma’aden aims to grow 10-fold by 2040 and to move into strategic minerals to fuel the growth of downstream industries in the Kingdom.

“We are launching one of the largest exploration programs in the world in partnership with Ivanhoe Electric,” said Robert Wilt, CEO of Ma’aden. “It’s great to see companies like IE recognize the scale of the opportunity here. We have only scratched the surface of the potential in the Kingdom, and we need to explore faster, smarter and cover more ground to meet our long-term growth objectives.”

The JV with IE will explore at least 48,500 km2 of land, an area larger than Denmark, covering highly prospective license areas with potential for major new copper, nickel, gold, silver and other strategic mineral discoveries. The JV will deploy IE’s proprietary Typhoon technology and CGI software that will strengthen Ma’aden’s exploration capabilities and grow its resource base and production pipeline.

As part of the agreement, Ma’aden will acquire approximately 10.2 million shares in IE for $126.5 million with a top-up option to maintain its 9.9% ownership. The JV will deploy $66 million of the $126.5 million to fund exploration activities and the purchase of three new-generation Typhoon machines. Ma’aden has been granted the right to appoint a nominee to the IE board of directors.

“Our joint venture will embark on the largest exploration program ever conducted,” said IE Chairman, Robert Friedland. “With our Typhoon technology, our Computational Geosciences’ machine-based learning software, and the combined talents of our highly experienced team of women and men, we have all the tools necessary to conduct a transformational exploration program for electric and precious metals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The potential for future discoveries is extraordinary.”

Ivanhoe Electric is an American technology and mineral exploration company that is re-inventing mining for the electrification of everything by combining advanced mineral exploration technologies, renewable energy storage solutions and electric metals projects predominantly located in the United States. Ivanhoe Electric uses its Typhoon transmitter, an accurate and powerful geophysical survey system, together with advanced data analytics provided by its subsidiary, Computational Geosciences, to accelerate and de-risk the mineral exploration process as well as to potentially discover deposits of critical metals that may otherwise be undetectable by traditional exploration technologies. Through its controlling interest in VRB Energy, IE also develops and manufactures advanced grid-scale vanadium redox battery storage systems.