RIYADH: Saudi Arabia issued 38 new mining licenses in November, up from the 21 it awarded the previous month as the sector continues to grow in line with the Vision 2030 economic diversification plan, according to official data.
The total mining exploration licenses in the Kingdom now stand at 2,201, up from 2,164 in October.
Of those handed out in November, 24 were for mineral exploration, 13 for the building materials industry and one for raw material production, Saudi Press Agency reported, citing data from the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources.
According to the data, there are currently 1,371 building materials quarry licenses in the Kingdom, followed by 589 exploration licenses, 172 mine and mine exploitation licenses, 36 reconnaissance licenses, and one mineral license in surplus with 33 licenses.
As Saudi Arabia expands its mining sector, the Kingdom is all set to host the 2023 edition of the Future Minerals Forum from Jan. 10 to 12 in Riyadh.
Ministers, industry experts and thought leaders, along with 7,500 delegates, will attend the forum, where they will share the future outlook, opportunities and challenges faced by the mining industry.
The forum is also expected to publish a range of academic papers into the future of mining and the ways in which the industry will reform.
The report from the ministry further noted that the Riyadh region topped the industry with 500 active licenses, followed by the Makkah region with 408 licenses and the Eastern region with 371 licenses.
The Madinah region currently has 236 licenses, while the Asir and the Tabuk regions have 186 and 139 licenses respectively.
The report added that the region of Qassim has 101 permits, followed by the Hail region with 72 licenses, the Jazan region with 69 permits, and the Najran region with 47 mining licenses.
The Northern Border region currently has 25 mining permits, while the Baha region and the Al-Jouf region have 24 and 23 mining licenses respectively.
For Saudi Arabia, the development of the mining sector is very crucial as the Kingdom is steadily diversifying its economy, in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030.
Earlier in December, during the Mines and Money conference in London, Khalid Al-Mudaifer, vice-minister for Mining Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources said that Saudi Arabia will become the world leader in sustainable metal production.
Al-Mudaifer also added that minerals are indispensable to the energy transition from hydrocarbons to renewables.
In November, speaking at the Saudi Green Initiative Forum held alongside the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh, Saudi Arabia’s Industry Minister Bandar Al-Khorayef said his government would keep “feeding” opportunities to companies who want to tap into the Kingdom’s estimated $1.3 trillion mining sector.
Al-Khorayef further noted that Saudi Arabia is providing mining licenses within a very short period of time compared to other nations.
“Saudi Arabia provides mining licenses in 90 to 180 days, but globally, it takes years of time,” said Al-Khorayef.