Saudi Arabia has launched a $207 million project of detailed geological maps of the Arabian Shield, one of the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) projects, in partnership with the Chinese Geological Survey.
Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar al-Khorayef inaugurated the project, describing it as one of the most significant comprehensive strategic initiatives for the mining sector regarding the nature of the business, the volume of output, and the coverage area.
He added that the maps constitute the core of the general program of the geological survey, which is an essential element in achieving the goals of Vision 2030, and a first step towards endeavors, to be the third pillar of the Saudi industry.
Khorayef confirmed that the project aims to generate detailed digital geological data of the Arabian Shield, understand the origin of mineral deposits in the area, and strengthen the national geological database and the national library of drilling samples.
The data will provide domestic and international investors with a comprehensive understanding of Saudi Arabia's mining sector investment opportunities.
The Deputy Minister of Natural Resources for Geology and Chairman of the Chinese Geological Survey, Li Jianxing, said the project would become a new bridge between Saudi-Chinese relations, indicating that the maps will promote scientific progress in earth science and technology.
For his part, the Chinese Consul General in Jeddah, Wang Qimin, stated that the map project is an extension of the longstanding joint projects in the mining sector between the Kingdom and China.
He said it aligns with the Kingdom's Vision 2030 economic development plans and the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.
CEO of the Saudi Geological Survey, Abdullah al-Shamrani, explained that during the project, a detailed, high-tech digital geological mapping of all rocky outcroppings would be carried out, with an average of 700 examination sites per geological square.
He indicated that Saudi and Chinese geological experts would conduct several structural, mineral, and chemical analyses.
Shamrani divided the program into three main phases: initial settings, fieldwork and analysis, and final compilation of the map project.
The program is scheduled for 11 years and divided into two phases, the first extending to five years, including producing detailed geological maps of the promising mineral belt areas representing 40 percent of the project area.
The second phase spans over six years, during which 157 maps will be produced, representing the remaining area of the Arabian Shield.
The detailed geological maps project of the Arabian Shield aims to produce 271 detailed geological reports and maps of the Arabian Shield, in addition to providing the National Geological Database (NGD) with detailed digital geological data.
It will help enhance the understanding of the origin of mineral deposits and identify and explore new mineral deposits aiming to attract new investments in the mining sector.
The project is the hub for all information from the various historical and recent surveys in the form of two-dimensional maps showing the extent and types of mineralization in the Arabian Shield.