Ma'aden Workshop

 Date :  05 December, 2017

The chief executive officer of Ma’aden Company and 10 of the company’s senior managers visited King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) to meet Dr. Turki and get to know the diverse research centers at KACST that may collaborate with Ma’aden in research and development (R&D). The workshop consisted of five research centers within KACST: the Decision Support Center (DSC), the National Center for Remote Sensing, the National Center for Oil and Gas, the National Center for Aeronautics Technology, and the Center for Complex Engineering Systems (CCES).

  • The DSC: As one of the joint centers of excellence within KACST, the DSC is a collaboration between KACST and Boeing to provide modeling, simulation, analysis, and experimentation (MS&E) to key Saudi entities. The visitors were exposed to the DSC’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and to several technical solutions that can be of a value to Ma’aden Company. One of these technical tools is WhiteStare, an advanced software that enables mining and excavation change detection and monitoring. The software has proven its efficiency in several projects in Australia.
  • The National Center for Remote Sensing: The audience was exposed to several remote-sensing and geographic information system tools owned and operated by the center. The center’s satellites (World View, Pleiades-1 A & 1B, SPOT-6 & 7, GeoEye-I) and the image collection and processing methods were explained to the audience. In addition, advanced concepts, such as the DEM application, viewshed analysis, change detection, mineral exploration, map extraction, and 3D mapping, were explained briefly.
  • The National Center for Oil and Gas: During this part of the presentation, the center’s oil and gas exploration and extraction technologies, minerals exploration technologies, petrochemical technologies, and clean energy and high-performance fuels were reviewed. A collection of the most important projects on which the center has been working were explained, including but not limited to radar for mining sites, the development and localization of hyperspectral information technology to differentiate types of minerals in the field, and methods of preventing formation damages that can occur. These damages could include clay swelling or relative permeability problems associated with water injected during fracturing, which has the potential to increase the reserve through the discovery of more mineral deposits in the Kingdom.
  • The National Center for Aeronautics Technology: The presenter reviewed the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) developed by KACST, which include the Mapping UAV, Sakr-1, Sakr-2, Sakr-4, and Al-Nawras. Moreover, the Antonov An-132 twin-engine transport manned aircraft, 50% of whose intellectual property rights are owned by KACST, was shown. Lastly, the different applications of UAVs in mining were explained, including mineral exploration, magnetic field mapping, stockpile capacity exploration, and 3D terrain mapping and modeling.

The CCES: The CCES is engaged in a partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), working on data mining, analysis, and visualization in research fields spanning water, energy, environment, industry, transport, health, innovation, urbanism, and others. Dr. Anas Alfaris (KACST vice president) explained briefly how the center works, including many of the important and promising research projects in which the center is involved with their partner (MIT).