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Saudi's Manara Minerals Appoints Pierre Chenard as CEO, Expands Global Mining Presence

Saudi's Manara Minerals appoints industry veteran Pierre Chenard as CEO, signaling a strategic push into global mining with a $2.5 billion Vale stake.

By Max Weldon

5/15, 08:45 EDT
AngloGold Ashanti Limited
Rio Tinto Plc

Key Takeaway

  • Pierre Chenard appointed as the first CEO of Saudi's Manara Minerals, aiming to strengthen its global mining presence.
  • Manara acquires a 10% stake in Vale SA’s base metals business for $2.5 billion, signaling aggressive international expansion.
  • Saudi Arabia's entry into global mining through Manara reshapes industry dynamics, competing with Western and Chinese firms.

Strategic Leadership Appointment

Saudi Arabia's Manara Minerals Investment Co. has taken a significant step in bolstering its leadership by appointing Pierre Chenard as its first permanent chief executive officer. This move is part of the kingdom's broader strategy to establish itself as a formidable force in the global metals and mining sector. Chenard, with a rich background in corporate development and strategy, previously served at AngloGold Ashanti Plc and held a similar position at Rio Tinto's aluminum unit. His expertise is expected to guide Manara in its mission to acquire valuable mining assets internationally. Until now, Bob Wilt, head of Maaden — Saudi Arabia's state-backed miner focusing on domestic projects — has been acting as Manara's CEO since the company's inception in 2023.

Expanding Global Footprint

Under its ambitious expansion plans, Manara has recently completed a landmark transaction by acquiring a 10% stake in Vale SA’s base metals business for $2.5 billion. This investment encompasses copper, nickel, and cobalt producing assets, marking Manara's entry into significant global mining operations. Furthermore, the company is actively exploring additional investment opportunities, including a potential $1 billion investment in Pakistan's Reko Diq mega copper project and negotiations with First Quantum Minerals Ltd. for a stake in its Zambian copper mines. These moves underscore Manara's commitment to securing a diverse portfolio of mining assets across the globe.

Shifting Industry Dynamics

Manara's aggressive investment strategy, backed by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, introduces a new competitive force in the mining industry. This development is reshaping the traditional dynamics where Western miners, Chinese companies, and Japanese trading houses have historically competed for access to prime resources. With Manara's entry, Western producers find a new avenue for capital investment, especially at a time when funding from Chinese sources faces political scrutiny and environmental concerns deter some institutional investors from the mining sector. The kingdom's venture into mining through Manara signals a strategic diversification of its economic interests and a keen eye on the future demand for base metals.