RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s ministry of industry and mineral resources issued 1,795 mining licenses until September 2021, Argaam reported citing the ministry’s report on its mining indicators.
The licenses included 1,041 licenses for building materials quarries, 22 detection licenses, 563 exploration licenses, and 169 licenses for mining and small-scale mining, the ministry said in a statement.
The number of licenses underscores the positive restructuring of the industry investment climate due to the new Mining Investment Law.
According to geological surveys dating back 80 years, the Kingdom has an estimated reserve of untapped mining potential valued at $1.3 trillion.
Saudi Arabia’s mining industry has already attracted some major foreign investors.
American industrial corporation Alcoa has a 25.1 percent stake in two companies, Ma’aden Bauxite and Alumina and Ma’aden Aluminum, as part of $10.8 billion joint venture with the Saudi Arabian Mining Co., Ma’aden, located in Ras Al-Khair Industrial City in the Eastern Province.
The Kingdom plans to launch a comprehensive geological survey to map the country’s mining potential.
The five-year program will conduct geophysical and geochemical surveys and create detailed mapping of more than 700,000 sq. km of the mineral-rich Arabian Shield area in Saudi Arabia.
The Vision 2030 reform plan identified the mining sector as a potential third pillar of the Kingdom’s industrial growth, alongside petroleum and petrochemicals. The country is investing SR14 billion to develop the sector.
About $45 billion in private and public sector investments have gone into the mining sector over the past decade, mainly in phosphate and aluminum production.
The Kingdom also plans to auction two major mining licenses in 2022 for commodities including gold, copper and zinc.