Minister of Industry: Saudi Arabia will offer three mining licenses in 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources said Wednesday that the kingdom plans to offer up to three mining licenses in 2022, including the Khenaiqiyah mines, where zinc and copper deposits are estimated. in about 26 million tons.

Licenses will be granted in on the basis of a new mining law entered in force in January 2021 and aims to accelerate foreign investment in the sector as part of efforts to diversify the economy away from oil and gas.

“Khenaiqiyah will be the first,” said the Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Al-Khorayef, adding that the bidding process will begin by the end of the quarter. in course or the beginning of the second trimester.

Al-Khorayef, who was speaking in an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the International Mining Conference in Riyadh, said the bidding process, including the pre-qualification phase, will take about six months.

He added that licenses for two other sites will also be offered.

Riyadh’s drive to build an economy that is not so dependent on oil and government support includes the extraction of vast untapped reserves of bauxite, the main source of aluminum, as well as phosphates, gold, copper and uranium.

The government estimates the value of untapped mineral resources in the Kingdom at around five trillion riyals ($ 1.33 trillion).

The Saudi energy minister said Wednesday at the same conference that the kingdom, the world’s largest exporter of crude oil, plans to use its uranium resources to develop a nuclear energy program.

Riyadh says it aims to create more than 200,000 direct and indirect mining jobs by 2030.

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