Saudi Mining Company Kilomass Secures Lithium Exploration Deal in Somaliland

Kilomass, a major Saudi Arabian mining company, has secured a license to explore lithium deposits in the Republic of Somaliland, marking a significant development for the the country’s mining sector. The deal aligns with Kilomass’s strategy to expand beyond Saudi Arabia, where it is a key player in the exploration and development of gold, copper, and phosphate supporting the kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic diversification plan.

Lithium, crucial for batteries and electric vehicles, represents a high-value mineral with soaring global demand, making Kilomass’s lithium exploration endeavor in Somaliland potentially lucrative. In its native Saudi Arabia, Kilomass hosts several major mining projects, including in the Arabian Shield region.

The interest in Somaliland’s lithium reserves has also gained international attention. Recently, U.S. Congressman Chris Smith highlighted the strategic importance of these resources globally during a congressional hearing, underscoring their potential, and that a Taiwanese company is also interested in exploring it in Somaliland.

To ensure mineral resource development benefits are distributed equitably, it is crucial to involve local communities. Botswana’s diamond mining industry, through the Debswana partnership with De Beers, ensures substantial revenues from diamond mining are reinvested into national development projects, significantly improving healthcare, education, and infrastructure. Similarly, the Papua New Guinea LNG project includes equity stakes for landowners, ensuring they receive royalties, dividends, along with infrastructure and social services.

For Somaliland, adopting similar models could ensure local communities benefit from the exploration and mining of lithium and other minerals. Key strategies could include: revenue sharing agreements, community development funds, local employment and training programs, and strict environmental and social safeguards.

As Kilomass embarks on its exploration activities in Somaliland, incorporating these principles could help ensure local communities see tangible benefits from mineral resource development with minimal frictions, fostering economic growth and social progress in Somaliland. This collaboration, if managed equitably, is poised to unlock significant economic potential, reinforcing Somaliland’s position on the global mining map while ensuring sustainable and inclusive development for local communities.