RIYADH: Bids to develop zinc and copper deposits at Saudi Arabia's new mining site, named Al Khunayqiyah, will close in the second quarter of this year, according to a mining official.
The site, located 170 kilometers away from the Saudi capital Riyadh, will go into production once the tendering documents are issued and the mining company is appointed, according to the head of the mining strategy department.
“The qualification process will happen during the first quarter of 2022 and the announcement of the bidder and the closing of the bidding process will happen in the second quarter of this year,” Abdulrahman Al-Belushi told Arab News on the sideline of the Future Mineral Forum, FMF.
“We already have a resource estimate of 25 million tons of zinc and copper, 3 to 4 percent zinc, and about 0.5 percent copper. We also could find manganese,” he said. Saudi Arabia has issued the largest ever exploration licence in the kingdom for an area of more than 350 square kilometres at Al Khunayqiyah.
More than 100,000 meters have already been drilled at the site searching for mineral occurrences, he added.
There are 55 mineral occurrences in the region surrounding Al Khunayqiyah, including gold, silver, zinc, and copper which will hopefully be explored and exploited, he added.
The ministry of industry and mineral resources established the process for investors to participate and invest in the Kingdom.
“We've put in a lot of incentives, which are all performance-based. For every step that your raw material will stay in the country, you will receive a 30 percent reduction in your royalty. And also we have a five-year tax holiday. We want to encourage all miners to produce and develop their mines as fast as possible,” Al-Belushi added.
Like any other public sector in the Kingdom, this sector has its Saudization targets, focusing on the local community next to the mining project.
“We don't want to just Saudize. We want to bring people from the community next door because they are from that location, they know the location, they know its capabilities, and we want to develop them, train them,” he said.