In line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 objective of diversifying its economy and growing mining to become the third pillar of its industrial growth, the country’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources (MIM) announced the launch of a licensing round for a mineral exploration license in respect of the Khnaiguiyah deposits.
The announcement was made during the third and last day of the Futures Minerals Forum held in Riyadh.
Commenting on this tender, Abdullah bin Mufter Al-Shamrani, CEO of Saudi Geological Survey (SGS), said the ministry expected that the SAR 2 billion Khnaiguiyah project to provide 2,000- 3,000 direct and indirect job opportunities and contribute to the development of the zinc and copper industries in the country.
Extensive exploration works have been carried out in the Khnaiguiyah district over the past few years through 3 exploratory campaigns, with more than 100,000 meters drilled. Moreover, a 3D geological model recently developed by SRK Consulting, according to the ministry's data was finalized.
SGS stressed the great geological potential of the deposits amounting to 26 million tons of zinc and copper, respectively, and that they are key minerals for the transformation of energy sources in the world. It also expected demand for copper to reach 3.5 million tons per year by 2030, while demand for zinc from the solar power alone will double to 160,000 tons by the same year.
It is expected that the SAR two billion ($533 million) Khnaiguiyah project will provide between 2,000-3,000 direct and indirect job opportunities and will contribute to the development of the zinc and copper industries in the Kingdom.
“This is another important strategic step that Saudi Arabia is taking to ensure a robust mining sector and leverage its rich mineral resources to benefit its economy and contribute to a sustainable future for the Kingdom and the world,” said renowned geologist Douglas Kirwin, who attended the Forum in Riyadh.
“With commitments to transparency and best practice data validation, the Saudi Geological Survey is playing a key role for the future development of natural resources throughout the Kingdom.”
“We are watching this tender closely. It opens the door for major international players to get involved, and shows concrete action around the new Mining Law in concert with Vision 2030. There’s a high level of interest from global and domestic investors to support the growth of the mining industry in Saudi Arabia. I expect this strategic initiative to lead to many more exciting opportunities,” said Matthew Fifield, Managing Partner at Pacific Road Capital.