RIYADH: Mining firms battling it out to secure the largest exploration license in Saudi Arabia have been reduced to the final three, the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources has announced.
Joint bids from the Kingdom’s Alara Ventures and the Tasnim Group Co.; the Saudi Arabian Mining Co.– also known as Maaden — and Ivanhoe Electric Co.; and Mochico Resources and Ajlan & Bros. Mining Co, have made the cut.
The firms are competing for the exploration license for the Al-Khunayqiyah mining site — located to the west of Riyadh with an area of 353.8 sq. km.
The site has four separate mineral bodies rich in copper and zinc.
The final stage of the competition will start on Sept. 4, 2022, and will end with the announcement of the winner of the license.
The ministry explained that Al-Khunayqiyah offers huge potentials and great mining resources, as it received 6 offers from international companies and alliances to obtain a license to explore the site, three of which were accepted, and it will enter the final stage of the public competition.
The Kingdom’s mining industry has already attracted a number of foreign investors, most notably global giants Barrick Gold and Alcoa.
Mining is increasingly a key element of Saudi Arabia’s economic development, after energy and petrochemicals, as the Kingdom seeks to wean its economy off oil production and exports.
Saudi Arabia is expecting its mineral wealth to exceed earlier estimates of $1.3 trillion as the Kingdom plans to triple spending on the exploration of metals over the next three years.