RIYADH: The recently approved mining investment law will be fully activated by January 2021, said Khalid Al-Mudaifer, vice minister for mining affairs, Ministry of Industry, and Mineral Resources.
The law aims to revolutionize the Kingdom’s mining sector and boost its contribution to the gross domestic product by over SR240 billion ($64 billion), reduce imports by SR37 billion, and create 200,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2030.
It will facilitate the establishment of a mining fund to provide sustainable finance for the sector as well as support geological survey and exploration programs.
Consisting of 63 articles, the law will help optimize mineral resources in the Kingdom, which, according to experts, are valued at SR5 trillion. To support the mining sector, the Kingdom has also launched a National Geological Database to provide access to 10,000 mining reports and 80 years of national data.
During a recent webinar titled “General geological survey program a founding pillar for the growth of investment in the Saudi mining sector,” Al-Mudaifer described the survey program as instrumental in developing the sector along modern lines to achieve the national strategic goals.
The Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) is one of the largest surveys in the world, with the budget for all its stages amounting to SR2 billion. It aims to collect and analyze over 110,000 samples of valley sediments and heavy metals in the Arabian Shield over the next six years.
The vice minister said the recently launched mining programs will help improve the mining sector’s governance, increase transparency and streamline business procedures.
He said the geological data collection from the program would help the relevant authorities make informed decisions to boost the mining sector and its contribution to the national economy.
“Everyone can access this data through the web-based Ta’adin platform,” he said. Stephan Sander, co-president at Sander Geophysics Ltd., said his company will carry out an airborne magnetic and radiometric survey in the northeastern part of the Arabian Shield.
He also said the project includes training of SGS employees. The training program will focus on geophysical data acquisition, preliminary and final data processing, quality control, and data interpretation, Sander added.
Dr. Peter K. Zawada, managing director of International Geoscience Services, highlighted the importance of data collection using modern techniques.
Speakers at the webinar also highlighted the importance of the SGS and the geological database and the impact of the new law on the sector.