The Saudi government recently approved the unified general guiding principles for mining for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The principles were adopted by the GCC Petroleum Cooperation Committee at its 36th meeting in November 2020.
According to official information, the new procedure will boost the competitiveness of the mining sector in the GCC member states.
The Kingdom has revealed that the country’s mineral wealth is worth around 5 trillion riyals ($1.3 trillion), varying between phosphates, gold, copper, zinc, and rare minerals such as titanium and niobium.
The information provided to Asharq Al-Awsat indicated that the unified general principles of mining aim at optimizing the exploitation of mineral wealth and achieving the highest added value in a way that contributes to sustainable development, enhances cooperation and integration among the GCC states, encourages investments in the sector, and protects public safety and geological heritage.
The unified general principles focus on the importance of exploiting mineral ores to enhance the added value of the manufacturing industries, and work to increase the localization of jobs in the sector, in addition to maintaining sustainability and encouraging joint Gulf projects to invest in mineral wealth.
The Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources recently revealed that the size of the mining sector in 2021 reached 83 billion riyals ($22 billion).
It added that Saudi Arabia aims to increase the size of sector to 240 billion riyals ($64 billion) by 2030, stressing that the Kingdom has implemented 80% of the mining strategy’s objectives thanks to the joint efforts deployed by government agencies and the private sector.
The ministry added that the phosphate, which was discovered in Saudi Arabia between 1965 and 1975, constitutes a quarter of the Kingdom’s mineral resources.
It noted that 85 percent of phosphate is used in the manufacture of phosphate fertilizers, which are highly demanded, especially in countries that depend on agriculture and food production.
Saudi Arabia ranks fifth in the world in the production of phosphate fertilizers and second in terms of experience in the industry.