Saudi Ministry of Investment inks deal with Omani firm to build liquid fertilizer plant

Saudi Ministry of Investment inks deal with Omani firm to build liquid fertilizer plant
Saudi Ministry of Investment inks deal with Omani firm to build liquid fertilizer plant

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources has moved one step closer to giving out mining exploration licenses for two of its sites as it shortlisted 13 bidders amid a drive to develop the Kingdom’s mining sector.   

The new opportunity will see the shortlisted bidders compete for permission to dig for valuable metals in two key exploration sites in Riyadh and Asir.  

The Ar Ridaniyah site, located in the Saudi capital, contains zinc and silver deposits, and spans over an area of 75 sq. km.  

Whereas the Muhaddad site in Asir has copper, zinc, lead, and gold deposits and covers 139 sq. km.   

The announcement comes as the ministry aims to support investors, enhance investment in the mining sector and encourage national industries.   

The shortlisted bidders include African Rainbow Minerals, Alara Saudi Ventures, AMAK, Barrick Gold Corporation, and ERG Arabia.   

The other bidders include Moxico Resources, Ma’aden, Yilmaden Holding, Vedanta, and Artar.   

In addition, Panoro Minerals, Royal Road and MSB Holding, and Ajlan and Bros and Norin are shortlisted as bidders.   

A ministry statement stated that the submission deadline for bidders is May 2023, and that results will be announced the following month.   

As for the winners’ exploration licenses, they are to be issued within three months after the round comes to an end.   

In February of this year, the ministry announced the launch of the prequalification phase for five new mining opportunities in Saudi Arabia.   

These opportunities were showcased at the Future Minerals Forum 2023 which took place in Riyadh at the start of the year.   

In 2022, Saudi Arabia awarded two major exploration licenses – Khnaiguiyah in September and Umm Ad Damar in October.   

The ministry plans to finish all five licensing rounds by the third quarter of 2023, according to its announcement in February.  

With Muhaddad and Ar Radiniyah checked off, Umm Hadid, Bir Umq, and Jabal Sahabiyah sites are yet to be awarded as they are set for the third quarter of 2023.   

Saudi Arabia’s mining sector is witnessing unprecedented growth as the government is pushing to develop the industry with increased investment and upgraded laws to attract more private players.     

This saw the number of mining complexes in the Kingdom rising to 377 as of the end of 2022, with an estimated area of 44,365 sq. km, according to the latest government data.   

Makkah was home to the majority of 76 mining complexes last year.     

This is followed by Riyadh and Madinah with 60 and 53 complexes respectively, while Asir’s complexes totaled 34, revealed the ministry.     

Saudi Arabia possesses more than 20 different types of minerals, including gravel, gold, iron, copper, granite and marble, stated the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources in a tweet.  

The Kingdom has 35 locations with specific geological formations, called mineral belts, that contain abundant mineral deposits. 

In line with Saudi Vision 2030, the Kingdom aims to transform the mining sector into the third pillar of the national industry and work on exploiting the mineral wealth in the Kingdom valued at around SR5 trillion ($1.3 trillion).  

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