Saudi mining facilities hit 360 as Kingdom launches database for investors

Saudi mining facilities hit 360 as Kingdom launches database for investors

Saudi Arabia sees increase in mining complexes as the Kingdom launched huge database to channel more investments into the sector that is poised to become the third income source for state funds.

The number of mining complexes in Saudi Arabia has reached 360 with the Makkah region taking the lead with 72, according to data released by the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources on Saturday.

It said the number of mining facilities in the Riyadh region is 52 followed by 52 in the Madinah region while the rest of the complexes are scattered across the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The report also said the Kingdom has 70 reserves sites for mining activities.

The ministry said these mining complexes extract gold, copper, zinc, aluminum, magnesium, iron, silica, gypsum, limestone, clay and various other industrial materials.

Limestone ore, bauxite and phosphate ore are among the minerals widely used in the Kingdom’s manufacturing industries. 

The ministry aid the mining facilities have become a steady source of jobs for Saudis and offer different positions such as quarry official, mechanical technician, electrical technician, geologist and mining engineer etc.

In January earlier this year, the Kingdom moved to capitalize on the vast wealth hidden below ground in Saudi Arabia with the establishment of a mining fund and support for geological surveys and exploration program activities.

The Saudi Industrial Development Fund is also offering 60 percent loans to investors in a bid to attract global players into the Kingdom, while the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources is investing $3.7 billion in the sector.

According to Khaled Al-Mudaifer, the deputy minister of industry and mineral resources,  studies have estimated $1.3 trillion in reserves of phosphates, gold, copper, zinc, nickel, rare earth metals and other minerals.

Under Vision 2030, mining is the third pillar of Saudi Arabia’s economic development, after energy and petrochemicals, as it aims to diversify the country’s economy away from dependency on oil.

The Saudi Geological Survey has announced 54 locations for exploration, with more to be revealed in the coming months that will be auctioned to investors.

The National Geological Database is being created to allow investors to find the locations of mineral deposits in a bid to increase the transparency and competitiveness of the sector in Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom has already attracted major international investors, including US firm Alcoa Corp., which has a 25.1 percent stake in Ma’aden Bauxite and Alumina Co., and Ma’aden Aluminium Co., as part of $10.8 billion joint venture with Saudi miner Ma’aden, located in Ras Al-Khair Industrial City in the eastern province.

Sources: Arabnews

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