Saudi Arabia is to pay the world’s last remaining coal mine $300 million to buy back its stock in the world largest producer.
The deal was agreed by Saudi Arabian oil minister Khalid al-Falih and deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a meeting on Monday evening in the southern city of Taif, Reuters news agency reported.
“It is a historic day for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the future of its economy and society,” Falih told reporters after the talks.
The Saudi government is keen to build its economy on coal.
But in a country where more than half the people live in poverty, the country has struggled to overcome a chronic shortage of fuel and coal.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman is expected to announce on Tuesday a new strategy for tackling climate change, including plans to phase out its reliance on fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The kingdom has the world market for oil, but it is also the biggest importer of natural gas.
Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company, is the largest single exporter of gas to the world.
It is now the world biggest importers of coal, with China, India and Russia all having huge coal-exporting markets.