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Saudi Arabia announces $6 bln investments in steel complex, EV metals plant

DUBAI, May 6 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources said it has secured $6 billion for a steel plate mill complex and electric vehicle battery metals plant as part of plans to lure $32 billion of investment into the mining sector.

The ministry's target would fund nine mining projects for midstream minerals and metals, said Industry and Mineral Resources Minister Bandar al-Khorayef, according to a statement.

The kingdom is seeking to diversify its economy away from oil by pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into a plan called Vision 2030 initiated by de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Mining is one of the sectors that has been identified for expansion.

The nine projects include a $4 billion steel plate mill complex for the shipbuilding, oil and gas, construction and defence sectors and a "green" flat steel complex that will supply the automotive, food packaging, machinery and equipment, and other industrial sectors. Both projects are already underway, as is a $2 billion EV battery metals plant.

Last month the Saudi government signed an agreement to purchase between 50,000 and 100,000 EVs over 10 years from Lucid Group Inc (LCID), which Saudi sovereign fund PIF owns a majority stake in.

The minister said the projects would create over 14,000 jobs and added the ministry is now processing 145 exploration license applications from foreign companies.

"These targeted investments represent an important 'down payment' in our efforts to move beyond exploration and extraction and into the creation of integrated value chains, a central focus of our overall mining strategy," al-Khorayef said in the statement.

"The investments will continue to position the Kingdom as a mining production and logistics hub for a region that stretches from Africa to Asia, while also supporting the transformation of our mining sector so it can achieve its potential." (Reporting by Yousef Saba; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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