Saudi Arabia signed contracts worth 36 billion Saudi riyals ( $9.5bn ) for the establishment of a new mineral industrial city in Waad al-Shamal . The kingdom's mining company, Maaden, also signed a number of deals worth $3.6bn for the establishment of five new plants in the new city. The new industrial city will focus on mining, a "promising sector that started contributing to the national economy," Dr. Ibrahim al-Assaf , Saudi finance minister, told Al Arabiya News Channel. The project will bring larger diversity to the country's exports and increase economic growth to the kingdom and the region, according to officials' remarks during the launch. According to the minister, the project is important on a domestic level, but also more important on a regional scale, "in terms of [providing] employment, and finding services to support the mining sector." The Ministry of Finance , Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund , the national Saudi Railway Company (SAR), the Industrial Development Fund , and Sanabil Investment Company were among the parties involved in the development of the new industrial city. "The Ministry of Finance [participated] directly through financing the infrastructure of the project, and through institutes associated with it, such as the Public Investment Fund , which participated directly to the investment of the project, or indirectly through providing loans for projects to be established within the city," Assaf explained to Al Arabiya News Channel. Ministers of petroleum, electricity and economy were among the officials that attended the ceremony. Maaden, the Gulf's largest miner, recently announced expanding its aluminum exports after signing several contracts to supply Asian markets during 2014, reported the Saudi Gazette in January. The company reported a net loss of $7.8m in the fourth quarter of 2013, mainly due to low prices for its petrochemical products, Reuters reported.
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