Najran’s Al-Masane mine is now fully operational

Updated 05 October 2012

Najran’s Al-Masane mine is now fully operational

Najran celebrated the opening of the Al-Masane mine on Tuesday in the presence Prince Mishal bin Abdullah, governor of the Najran province.
The mine, which was closed for decades due to a drop in mineral prices globally, has exported 8,000 tons of zinc to South Korea and 6,000 tons of copper to India through Jazan port this week alone.
Al-Masane is the first mine in the Kingdom to export copper and zinc. The mine began test operations six months ago. It started full operations this week.
The mine's reserves are estimated at 4.9 million tons of zinc and copper, according to the Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC). In addition to the main reserve of copper and zinc, the mine's ores contain 97g of gold and 31g of silver per ton.
Talal Al-Sha'er, chairman of Al-Masane Al-Kobra mining (AMAK), said the company will start building a SR1.5 billion smelting factory about a year from now. The mine is now producing 35,000 tons of copper and 45,000 tons of zinc annually, said Al-Sha'er.
Observers said that having such a factory would help the country stop importing copper and reduce its prices.
The company built a crude material treatment plant and started operation in the third quarter of 2011. The plant is operated by a Chinese company.
AMAK is an alliance of eight companies and factories that were formed in 2006 to start work in the abandoned mine and it is the first private sector mining company.
It was Hatem El-Khalidi, president of the Arabian Shield Development Company, who discovered the mine in 1967 during aerial and surface reconnaissance.
The investors are Arabian American Development Company (AADC), which was known before as the Arabian Shield Development Company (ASDC), Durat Almasana Est., Al Shairco Trade Industrial & Constructions, Qaser Al Ma’aden Est., Ibrahim bin Ali bin Hussein Mussalam, Majid bin Ali bin Hussein Mussalam, Thamarat Najran Company Limited and the Saudi Est.
AMAK promised to help the poor in the border city of Najran. The company has already trained 100 students and sent them on scholarships to study mining in order to employ them.

A catering firm in Saudi Arabia tackles obesity from school level

Updated 19 October 2019

A catering firm in Saudi Arabia tackles obesity from school level

  • Rihab Hasanain set up Blooming Bs to provide schoolchildren with healthy meals
  • Blooming Bs strives to raise awareness of the obesity problem in the Kingdom

CAIRO: One Saudi woman was so concerned about her children’s unhealthy school-canteen meals that she decided to improve not only her family’s diet but also the eating habits of the entire nation.

Rihab Hasanain, spurred by the Kingdom’s growing obesity epidemic, set up the catering firm Blooming Bs to provide children with healthy lunch boxes and offer them advice on the importance of eating healthy food and being active.

The company’s name originates from the three Bs: Brain, body and box. The healthy boxes are provided to students and children aged two and above at schools, canteens, childcare centers and indoor playground centers.

Saudi Arabia has the Middle East’s second-highest obesity level after Kuwait with a 35.4 percent rating,  according to the CIA World Factbook.

Hasanain said that she wants to raise awareness of the region’s obesity problem, particularly among children.

“Childhood obesity is one of the greatest challenges facing health care systems worldwide,” she said.

“A number of factors have contributed to the problem, such as lack of childhood physical activities, and a low awareness around the prevalence of obesity and non-communicable diseases.”

Hasanain said that Blooming Bs’ mission is to combat childhood obesity in Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries by promoting healthy eating habits.

Rihab Hasanain

This includes educating children and parents about the importance of healthy food and lifestyles, providing youngsters with healthy food choices, and creating a community of future healthy eaters.

In Saudi Arabia, a major contributing factor to the obesity crisis is the widespread availability of unhealthy food in school canteens, she said.

In 2016, the ambitious mother of two took matters into her own hands by establishing her commercial kitchen in the Kingdom’s capital Riyadh.

Using her personal savings, Hasanain hired a team of 10 multidisciplinary women, including public relations and administration staff, social-work specialists, early childhood educators and drivers.

She also leveraged her international connections to help secure support and endorsement from a number of prominent mentors.

“They are extraordinary individuals with an outstanding track record in social entrepreneurship, hospitality and, most importantly, health promotion and healthy school canteens,” Hasanain said.

Blooming Bs has since grown to cater to more than 20 day-care units and schools, as well as hundreds of individual families. The firm has now sold more than 45,000 items and served over 10,000 lunch meals since its launch.

Hasanain said that the company’s contracts and deliveries vary according to customer categories.

“Our products range from morning, lunch and afternoon meals for children to freshly squeezed juices and individual food items that can be sold individually at school canteens,” she said.

“We take the stress away for parents. Our clients are assured that our products are healthy because the meals are created based on the consultation of our in-house nutritionist.”

While Hasanain is well on her way to transforming the diets of children in Riyadh, she has her eye on the bigger picture.

The Blooming Bs entrepreneur also aims to solve childhood obesity in neighboring countries, such as the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar.

“During Blooming Bs’ expansion, I have tried to develop a holistic viewpoint on children’s nutrition, leading to improved operation processes and ideas,” Hasanain said.

“Blooming Bs also wants to empower Saudi and Arab women by creating more job opportunities,” she added.

“Ultimately, I see my company becoming an upscale international brand, trusted by parents, schools and governments.”


• This report is being published by Arab News as a partner of the Middle East Exchange, which was launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region.