As boss of Emaar since 1997, Alabbar’s place in history is already secure. He will be long be remembered as the driving force behind the development of the iconic Burj Khalifa, though equally impressive has been the manner in which he has successfully diversified the company. Emaar is now involved in hospitality & leisure, malls, education, healthcare and financial services. With six business segments and more than 60 active companies, Emaar has a collective presence in several markets spanning the Middle East, North Africa, Pan-Asia, Europe and North America. But away from the property giant, the company’s boss has been spending an increasing amount of time on his own private venture, a mining company with extensive operations largely in Africa. The result is that, barely two years since Africa Middle East Resources (AMER) was created, Alabbar has created a mega mining empire. He now has his sights on exploring commodities in a big way: coal, copper, oil and gas, gold, bauxite, iron ore, phosphate, uranium… you name it, and the chances are Alabbar is mining it somewhere in Africa.
He told Arabian Business last year: “The Burj was over. I was thinking where to go, what to do next? Yes we got there, but we’re human beings, so when we get there we say ‘So what are we going to do after this? Are you going to crawl and go back in a little hole?’ I can tell you this, that’s not me.”